The studio has an interesting collection of all ages and genders, with the oldest into their 80’s. All are positive thinking individuals who come ready to learn, progress, and in many cases heal. They bring their challenges with optimism and continue to challenge my years of expertise.
Most people are aware that one side of their body is stronger than the other. This can be the result of an old injury. The body learns to compensate more on one side and then continues to favour that stronger side after the injury is healed. Another reason, you can be born with one limb stronger or longer on one side. There are many reasons and the majority of people have imbalances that start to cause more problems as we age. Lower back pain is most common and often the results of imbalances.
I have started incorporating a few Pilates ball exercises in the Pilates Mat section of the classes. It has been a long time since I worked with a ball myself. I think a lack of space got me going in a different direction. Incorporating Pilates exercises with the ball is a natural progression and one that I am really enjoying again. As a teacher, I am able to see where a student’s imbalances originate. And equally important, the student realizes what imbalances they have and can better feel how to correct them.
When muscles on each side of the body are working with different strengths, an imbalance happens and balancing becomes a challenge. Paul Chek, an internationally recognized exercise and spinal-care specialist who started using exercise balls for atheltic conditioning, explains how working on a mobile surface creates more demand on the motor system. The unsteadiness of the ball forces the body’s stabilizing muscles to fire up out of absolute necessity.
There is a little child inside all of us. The ball was a toy we enjoyed from a very young age. When I am teaching and class members are a little glum or they are having trouble focusing, out comes the ball. After one exercise the mood changes and people are more focused. They have to be in order to balance. Best of all, they are getting a deep core work-out and having fun while they are doing it.
There are some excellent books explaining Pilates work using a ball. Colleen Craig has written a series of books that are easy to read and understand and are useful to all ages and levels of fitness. Her best seller, Pilates on the Ball, is an excellent read and book to practice from. She also wrote Strength Training on the Ball and Abs on the Ball.
Julie Akin, head Pilates Instructor at Synergy Pilates in Ocean Park / White Rock BC
Pilates Classes for beginners and intermediate levels. Rehabilitation Pilates Classes also available.