Benefit of Pilates for Dancers

My Thoughts:

I had an opportunity to teach Pilates to a group of dancers at a local dance school years ago. This group of dancers took Pilates as a module as part of their Diploma of Dance. Before I taught them, I thought since they were great movers, was there a need to teach them? I soon realised why they really needed it. They moved well, had great flexibility but they were getting injured easily. With their flexibility they could do many beautiful movements, but without enough core control to support those dynamic movements.

In that 1.5 years teaching there, I realised the importance to have balance between STRENGTH and FLEXIBILITY. With that, it comes Grace and Control. I think it applies to whatever we do in life as well. We have to have great mental strength to clear obstacles and at the same time be able to give allowances as well. This will ensure a graceful living. Enjoy the article!

We all know the rigorous training involved in being a dancer. The long hours, sore feet and the strain placed on the body from continuous working of the joints and muscles can take its toll. This continuous strain on the body can be very draining and even cause injury to many dancers. This is why Pilates has always been so essential to the rehabilitation and avoidance of injury.

Pilates emphasis on posture, strength and flexibility have made it a popular workout choice for dancers alike. It’s an excellent exercise routine encompassing a strong focus on upper body strength for better balance, alignment, posture, turns and other points of work. It is also very effective at strengthening body parts – especially ankles and feet, which are essential to dance.

Pilates engages the body making you feel alert and leaving your body and mind in a state of feeling revived and focused. As each movement intricately takes into account each individual muscle group, while also sustaining balance and agility, the structure of Pilates is specific and works every body part.

The reason why dance coaches use and recommend this method of exercise with their dancers is because it improves and restores the dancers muscles and movements adding strength and agility without injury.
The rigorous work routines of dancers are very demanding. Pilates works the body while also avoiding injury – which is a common occurrence with most other conventional strength training methods like weight training or other aerobic activity.

The rhythmic style of dance with abrupt movements sometimes interchanged with simple shorter movements can be hard on the body. That is why Pilates and dance are an excellent compliment.
Imagine restoring your body back into shape with an exercise program that rewards you with the grace of a dancer while at the same time toning and building muscle to give your body perfect posture along with muscular definition. Pilates has been the secret exercise program for millions over the years, especially dancers.

Pilates does not only work isolated muscle groups, but it works all the muscle groups helping to restore and rebuild any damaged muscles or soft tissue but also building strength to avoid any further damage – which is a common occurrence with many dancers.

The physical and mental conditioning of Pilates has made it the common exercise choice for many dancers. It’s fun, relaxing and improves alertness. But best of all, it’s a great way to bond with fellow dancers and friends alike. No need for heavy equipment with this exercise program.
A simple floor mat and the proper knowledge of the techniques and positions used in Pilates is the perfect formula to restore and strengthen any dancers physique.

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Pilates for Beginners – Pelvic Press

I personally think this is an exercise that all Pilates Beginners should learn and practise. This piece gives you an opportunity to learn how to articulate your spine (move 1 vertebrae at a time) which is so important for spinal health. Most people have jobs which require them to be in front of a computer for long hours and their spine becomes stiff as a result. I would highly recommend you watching this Pilates video and practising this to start getting a more flexible spine.

One of the most common things I see in this mat Pilates piece is that a lot of people do not start with their pelvis completely on the floor. They go into a slight tilt (also known as Posterior pelvic tilt). The problem is most people do not even realise they are tilted or they are supposed to have their pelvis completely grounded, unless you have a special condition and your physiotherapists or doctor ask you not to.

Also I think many people use their lower backs to lift themselves straight up which does nothing to articulate their spine and may even bring them backaches. If done well, this is a critical piece to add to any Pilates work out or Pilates at home routine. Enjoy practising it now!


Benefits of Pilates – 25 Reasons to Give Pilates a Try

My Thoughts:

If my Pilates videos has not successfully gotten you to get out of your seat, get a Pilates mat out to practise the Pilates for Beginners exercises, then my greatest wish for you is to look through the 25 reasons and find 1 that resonates with you! You can use that one as a Daily Affirmation and start practising Pilates everyday. When I look through the 25 reasons, I asked myself “Why would anyone not want this for themselves?” Everyone in this universe deserves to be in a good state of health. Not everyone though has the chance to come to know about Pilates in greater detail, great enough for them to try it. The fact that you have arrived at my site shows that universe has planned for you to take up Pilates and make it a part of your life.

Through my years of teaching Pilates, I have discovered an EXTREMELY important word (in my opinion) in the English dictionary, INTENTION. I personally think what we have intended for ourselves in any situation, physical/mental/emotional/ spiritual form will materialise in our true life and reality. And regardless of the countless times we hear of what is beneficial to us, I think it is in printed words that we see and understand the most. So please look through this list of 25 reasons because from the bottom of my heart, I know this will change your life!


Pilates has come a long way in the last 50 years. It started by being a means of conditioning for a very small group of people (dancers primarily in New York), gradually progressed through the years and exploded as a exercise trend about 10 years ago. Now its glory is fading away while giving place to other new fads. When Pilates became popular everybody was talking about its benefits and how great it is but today almost every reputable source is trying to disclaim all its benefits simply by saying that there is no scientific research to prove anything that links Pilates with being an exercise that should be respected. While not all Pilates benefits are proved scientifically, still there are millions of people who tried it and proved by their own example that Pilates can do miracles and change lives. Here is what they say.

  1. It’s the best way to get a flat belly especially after pregnancy. Just 1 month of Pilates after delivery strengthens your core and improves muscle tone.
  2. Pilates improves posture. Pilates puts a lot of emphasis on proper alignment during exercise. It makes you more aware of your body and the right position of your body at all times. It also exercises muscles that are responsible for your posture – the muscles of your trunk. These three facts make Pilates different from all other exercise programs out there and make it more effective for creating a graceful posture.
  3. Pilates gives you a lean body like a professional dancer. Pilates is an endurance workout that is why it exercises red fiber muscles that tend to shrink in diameter in response to exercise.
  4. Pilates helps people who have back pain. This is especially true for those who suffer from pains that are due to a sedentary lifestyle, muscle tightness and weak muscle tone. A study published in Journal of Orthopedics and Sports Physical Therapy, July 2006, proved that Pilates is effective for people suffering from chronic lower back pain.
  5. Pilates helps to lose weight. Pilates itself won’t make you slim in the shortest period of time, but if you add Pilates workouts to your regular cardio routines and combine it with a well-balanced diet then you can expect some really amazing results.
  6. Pilates helps to cope with discomfort and even pains during your menstrual cycle. Practice it a few days before the period starts and even during menstruation (choose easier exercises), and you will feel the difference.
  7. Pilates makes you more flexible. A lot of Pilates exercises increase flexibility of your back, the area that causes the most problems for all of us, as well as your suppleness in general. Being flexible means having fewer injuries, less pains connected with tight muscles and performing better in any type of physical activity.
  8. Pilates energizes you after even the most exhausting day.
  9. It makes you feel light and relaxed, like you have just had a massage at a spa.
  10. Pilates helps you to sculpt your body and give it the shape you are dreaming about.
  11. If Pilates is performed with weights or a resistance band then it increases bone density.
  12. It purifies your mind while it exercises your body. Pilates is a mind and body technique that promotes health of your body as well as health of your mind and inner balance.
  13. Pilates helps with your sexual life because it gives you the body that you like as well as helps you to understand and feel your body better.
  14. If you practice Pilates with your partner then it’s a very sexy workout that can grow into another workout, in a different place.
  15. Pilates does not hurt your joints if performed properly. Please note that if you have any joint pains or injuries then you should talk to your doctor and make sure that you can try Pilates. Private class at a Pilates studio that specializes in rehabilitation might be the best option in this case.
  16. Pilates helps you to find your inner balance and get rid of anxiety. A recent study at Tel Aviv University found that a simple course of workouts with Pilates can increase balance as well as resolve anxiety problems.
  17. Pilates enhances neuromuscular coordination.
  18. Pilates can help to improve memory. Workouts that include exercises for coordination as well as sequences of a few exercises help to improve memory.
  19. Pilates mat exercises can be practiced anywhere.
  20. The study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies proves that Pilates improves stability and balance in older adults. This is a very important fact because it can greatly improve the quality of life of older people.
  21. Pilates strengthens you core. All Pilates exercises use your midsection as the starting point for all movements that guarantees strong abs and a strong back.
  22. Pilates promotes body awareness that changes the way you sit, walk and look.
  23. Pilates teaches you body control. It does not isolate any muscles; instead it exercises your body as a whole which does not create any muscle imbalances that are common with other types of exercises. Pilates works the whole body in synergy, which is how we should be moving on a daily basis.
  24. Pilates improves blood circulation in your body that makes your skin more radiant and your body healthier.
  25. According to a recent study held at the Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, Pilates improves self-efficacy, sleep quality and mood.


Pilates for Beginners – Neck Pull

This is one of my favourite Pilates mat exercises. I like it that when done correctly, I really get a good backline stretch from the top of my neck all the way to the heels. In addition this Pilates mat piece is a good piece for people to differentiate using their abdominals in a straight and round back. If you are practising Pilates at home I would recommend you to do this piece for a good Pilates work out!


Pilates For Beginners – Is Your Posture Giving You Pain?

I came across this Pilates video and wanted you to watch it. When I first learnt Pilates years ago, my teacher said “Your age is in your SPINE”. This is really true from my perspective many years later. I have seen how young ones in the 20s has repeated spinal problems and have to cut down on their physical activities to reduce their exposure to pain. At the same time I have seen wiser ones in their 70s continue to exercise actively.

Our Spinal health is important and a very important element to this is our Posture. From young, my mum used to ask me to stand up straight and emphasized a lot on my posture. She never explained and I continued to slouch. It was until I started Pilates that I understood what it does for the body when emphasized and what it causes when we neglected it. If you have a child who is like this (1) Tell them about their posture (2) Tell them again (3) Tell them what you told them. In addition explain why they need to have good posture so that they can see the value in practising it.

If its hard to get started, even for yourself, start watching some Pilates online videos to stimulate your visual learning! You never know but you may just get started physically when you start to have fun watching them!


Pilates for Beginners – Double Leg Kick

This is a great piece in Mat Pilates to practise! However also a piece which we have to be careful about. One of the common things I see in class is students using just the head/neck to lift the body up. This can put a lot of strain on the neck and do little to strengthening the back. A good cue would be to “peel” the body off the ground starting from the head down the rest of the back/spine.

I think if you are someone who works a lot in front of the computer/laptop, this can be a bring many Pilates benefits to you. It will get you to stretch your front which can be really tight from long hours in front of the screen. In addition with a lot of bending forward especially in the upper back region, this Pilates mat exercise can help your upper back be upright again!

Enjoy this Pilates Online video and practise this more!


Pilates by Ear

My Thoughts:

What type of a learner are you? Visual, Audio or Kinestatic?  I noticed a large majority of my students are visual learners and in my opinion, it is a learning style of many people here in Singapore. While we are comfortable with a certain type of learning style, I personally feel it is important to develop various learning styles. When we fall into the habit of seeing things from the same perspective, we develop a condition in psychology called “Schetoma, also known as a blind spot.

One of the things I do in my group classes is to not demonstrate for certain period of time and start teaching verbally so that my students can take their eyes off me, and start bringing more awareness and attention to their own bodies. It may be challenging to listen to a commentary of instructions, but in doing so we start to question “Do I feel right?” rather than “Do I look right?”. Also, there can be a greater level of flow in the class especially when my students become more independent in movement. So if you are someone who always had to ‘copy’ the exercise, start taking the audio route and feel more in your bodies and amazing things may just happen for you!


Those of us who have been to Pilates classes know that Pilates teachers tend to keep up a running commentary of instructions, cues, and images through the whole class. It can be unnerving until you get used to it. But once you get the hang of learning/participating that way, it can be quite liberating — for both instructor and student. Taking the fixation of watching an instructor out of the equation can help bring the attention back to ones own body and experience, which is where it belongs.

When I first started teaching Pilates mat classes, I would do every exercise with the students. I’d get them started, then I’d jump up to look around the room and offer cues, corrections and encouragement. It was too much. I’d be worn out after each class. Then what happens when you have another class and then a private? It can’t be done. Not only that, but being able to verbally articulate not just the choreography but the dynamics of an exercise — with basic instruction, physical cues, and imagery — creates and demonstrates a high level of integration with an exercise for an instructor. I have heard that Romana Kryzanowska, the renowned Pilates Elder, said that a good Pilates teacher teaches by words alone (read: Romana on Teaching Pilates).

As a student, it requires a certain kind of receptivity to take instructions and translate those into ones body almost simultaneously. It’s quite amazing how well that can work. In fact, bypassing the thinking/judging mind, going straight through ear to body, can be very helpful. But the point is not to go unconscious and follow along like a sleepy sheep either. Just the opposite. When the process is at its best, both instructor and student are very present and there is a flow of information and receptivity between them. That can only happen when both parties are alert and committed to awareness, one of our Pilates principles.

As one matures as a student, there is also the opportunity to take more responsibility for what one is working on and how. Then the teacher has stay receptive and be aware of when to instruct and when to let go. For many years I was one of those students who tried to take in and apply every single cue that flew into the room. Now I give myself a break and do what I can — and better yet, what actually applies to me! I also say less when I teach. Being quiet can make room for the innate body intelligence to kick in.

I started thinking about the merits of verbal instruction because I recently reviewed a new Pilates workout podcast, a Basic Pilates Mat Class by Lynda Lippin. I’ve reviewed other Pilates podcasts as well. They work surprisingly well and I think part of the reason is that we do have this highly developed verbal tradition in Pilates.

I’m not advocating for no visuals, far from it. I just want to acknowledge the amazing quality of instruction we get verbally in Pilates. Sometimes, you just need a great visual. If you are getting mostly verbal instruction and you are not getting the exercise, you need to see it, and see it done well – not out of the corner of your eye. If you are in a class, ask to have the exercise demonstrated either by the instructor or another student. You can also look up just about any Pilates mat exercise, and many others small equipment exercises. right here at I’ll have a picture for you. And, there are many wonderful DVDs, books, online videos and so forth.

It has happened that I’ve gone years not quite getting inside an exercise and then had one photo or demonstration, seen at just the right moment, clarify the whole thing for me. Of course, my first response is: Well, why didn’t you say so?! Which is why my instructors lose their hair early.


Pilates for Beginners – Single Leg Kick

This Pilates for Beginners mat exercise works your hamstring (back of your thighs) quite a bit if you do it correctly. Although it looks really easy, I often see students making the mistake of dropping their knees on the ground which does nothing much to the hamstring. For best results 1. Keep the knees hovering off the ground. 2. keep the abdominals pulled in and do not collasp on the back.

Generally many people train the front thigh more than the back but we know a balance to the tone of our legs is important. Hence this Pilates mat piece becomes more important as it brings balance to us. If you happen to work the leg curl on the stack weights in a gym, try doing the above and see how it maximizes your performance in the equipment!


Pilates for Beginners – Swan Dive

I personally love this piece because mat Pilates has so many exercises bending forward that this piece requires you to do the opposite and make you more balanced. When I first started doing this exercise long ago, I always found this piece a torture, but the more I did the more I got out of it. I think its a case of the more we find an exercise uncomfortable or difficult, the more we actually need it.

I think many people has hunched back from working long hours in front of the computer, or simply due to lack of exercise to the back. The Swan dive has the ability to change that! It can result in a more open chest/front which improves our posture. On a deeper level, I personally think this piece can help a person become more open in life, open to changes and become less resistant to new things. Our physical bodies tell a lot about our personality and self. In my opinion, when you change your body for the better, you change your personality and your life.


Pilates Therapy for Children with Neuromuscular Disorders

My Thoughts:
When Joseph Pilates created Pilates, he did not call it Pilates. He called it Contrology. This is exactly what this article talks about – muscle control. While we are borne with an ability to control the way we use our muscles, each of us has a different level of competence to do so. There are many people who get injured after overexerting force that they did not realise or embarking on an activity that requires a level of muscle control way above their own competence level. In my opinion, this is even more dangerous than people who do not exercise at all. I feel that this group of people need to focus on resistance training whereby there is some contact with an equipment to help them understand body placement better when they move in space. This teaches them better muscle control. That is why, although mat Pilates has tremendous benefits to people, equipment Pilates is still a must-have in an exercise/conditioning program.

Lately I noticed a trend in some large group classes I teach in gyms (not so much in Pilates studio setting), the students who were getting more advanced were moving with the intention of going the fastest and furthest in every piece of Pilates mat exercise we do, to the extend of compromising on control. At the same time, there is also a thinking that if they are not working ‘HARD”, they are not working well. I would much prefer them working towards changing this mindset to: I work efficiently towards having CONTROL and GRACE.


As the use of Pilates grows, especially within the area of physical therapy, therapists are finding more and more new areas in which to integrate Pilates exercises into their therapy regime. On new exciting area where Pilates is showing positive results is with children who have neuromuscular disorders. In this article, provided by Pilates Glasgow, we will look at we will look at how Pilates can help children with neuromuscular disorders.

Neuromuscular disorders include a fairly wide range of specific illnesses and chronic problems, all of which share the commonality of attacking the nervous system and impeding the person’s ability to control their voluntary muscles. Multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy are two of the most widely known diseases in this category.

Therapists on the cutting edge of utilizing Pilates to work with children who have these diseases have uniformly reported excellent results. The children respond very well to the exercises, and show marked improvement in their ability to control their muscles.

The thing that makes Pilates an ideal choice for these patients is the degree of control that is associated with Pilates exercise. Instead of trying to go the fastest, farthest or use the greatest weight, the patient is taught to control the movement, drawing it out to gain the maximum benefit from each exercise movement.

Since most neuromuscular disorders are problems with controlling the muscles, Pilates therapy helps these patients learn how to control their muscles. More specifically, the great difference between motor control of a normal healthy person and one who has a neuromuscular disorder is in the degree of control they can exercise over their muscles.

A normal person can control their muscles, coordinating between the flexion and extension of different muscles in a full range of degrees. Those who have neuromuscular disorders, have a control that is more “on/off” than the typical varied degrees of on and off that the rest of us have. By utilizing Pilates, therapists are able to help them learn how to better control their muscles.

As children perform these Pilates exercises, especially the “Reformer” exercises, they receive resistance from contact with the equipment that they are using. This helps them with understanding their body’s position as they move through space and time; a major part of motor control.

Pilates exercises can also be customized to work on very specific muscles or muscle groups, isolating them, so that the patient doesn’t have to concentrate on several movements at the same time. Allowing them to exercise in the supine position, avoids the necessity of concentrating on staying upright and allowing them to concentrate instead on controlling the specific muscles they are exercising.

All in all, using Pilates with these patients shows great promise for making breakthroughs in their motor control ability.

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