Therapy for the body and sole

When I first learnt Pilates, the feet was something Pilates Master Teacher, Ron Fletcher, talked about and he emphasized a lot of it. He had this 7 standing and centreing cues which forms the foundation and fundamental tool for my teaching. With this understanding, I start all my Pilates classes standing and have been doing so for more than 7 years. Nobody really taught us how to stand when we were young. The very most I hear is “Stand Straight” and that was from my mum! I understood a lot more of this when I started learning the Fletcher Towelwork and the Leg and Footwork on the Pilates equipments.

I chose to bring your attention to the article below when I came across it because I also noticed there aren’t too many Pilates books that give much attention to talking about the feet. At the same time most books go too much in depth that many of you might not be interested to read further so such articles are good to get you started. I wanted us to take a moment today to give more awareness to our feet in our Pilates training and start exercising them!


Therapy for the body and sole

By | 06/08/10

The thought of running around barefoot in the grass may conjure memories of childhood play, but people are leaving their stuffy gyms and running shoes in the dust to take fitness back to its roots, to move the body the way it was designed. Believe it or not, those fancy shoes may actually be hindering your performance, and your health. With warm weather here, now is the time for you to get in on this innovative, fun and surprisingly beneficial way to work up a sweat.

training tip: Because of our history, in order to safely run barefoot we must undo years of bad habits. Since most Americans grow up wearing shoes and are used to running and walking striking heel first, barefoot running should be eased into by alternating shoe and barefoot runs, and starting out on soft surfaces like grass and sand.

Going au naturel
While running barefoot might seem like all fun and games, it has helped eliminate knee, foot and Achilles pain where running shoes cannot. Researchers have found that those who run in shoes land on the heel of their foot, causing an impact of up to two to three times the runner’s body weight. Multiply that impact with each step you take on a long run and it’s no wonder avid runners are often plagued by repetitive stress injuries. Those who run barefoot, however, tend to land on the ball of their foot, which generates almost no collision force at all. Because of this change in strike, people can run barefoot on some of the hardest surfaces and not feel any pain or discomfort while many shoe runners experience constant knee or foot pain.

Not a runner? You can still reap the benefits of barefoot fitness:
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Standing poses that need to be held for an extended period of time (such as tree and dancer), are a great way to challenge your feet and gain overall health.

The reformer, or trapeze table, works your feet through their full range of motion against resistance. Joseph Pilates, the founder of Pilates exercise, recognized the importance of foot health and even developed two pieces of equipment just for your piggies—the Toe Tensometer and the Foot Corrector.

Targeted exercises
Build balance, strength and control with the following two exercises. No fancy equipment required… just you and a towel.

Sit with your legs out straight and loop a towel around the arches of both feet. Hold the towel in both hands, gently pulling it toward you and stretching the arches of the foot. Provide a little bit of resistance using the towel and slowly, steadily point your toes. Repeat.
2. Lay a towel flat on the floor and place your toes at the edge. Repeatedly scrunch your toes, pulling the towel towards you, until you reach the end of the towel. Smooth it back out and repeat.


The Top Selling Pilates Books

When I see the word “Pilates Books“, I think about my students. I’m not saying they are like bookworms, but I think about how eager they are for information and improvement. I am thankful that my students are keen to learn because this is infectious. When one student starts to ask a question, another one starts to ask as well, knowing that they are welcomed to! I used to think that it is sufficient for my students to practise their Pilates in class twice or thrice a week and really encourage them to. However it can come to a point where it becomes too much. This is a problem that I commonly see in a gym. In my opinion, Gym-goers have a higher tendency to think the MORE classes the better, the tougher the workout the better, the MORE they perspire the better, to the point that a lot work to fatigue. I think it becomes a problem over time when they do not have strong foundations and when this becomes the mindset. I want my Pilates students to be better than that and so…

My solution is Pilates Books

With an exercise repertoire or movement based activity, learning always involves our physical body. I was thinking “Why can’t we have more breadth and in turn depth in our learning?” Hence I thought about how Pilates Books can do the trick. I think Pilates beginners will benefit greatly from books as it introduces them to the concept of Pilates and how one needs to emphasize a lot on form. Yet I believe for Pilates students who are more advanced, it is even more crucial to help them progress and bring greater results. When we move, we normally are so busy multi-tasking that we tend to forget/neglect what the piece is trying to achieve. Hence reading about it at another time, in the comfort of one’s own home can give my students a chance to reinforce the learning that they had in the Pilates class.

Which Pilates Books should I read?

With so many Pilates books around by so many authors, which is THE ONE. Hence I thought it might be useful to include the article that I came across. Here is the opinion of someone whom I sincerely think knows what he/she is talking about. I for one would not recommend something I think is bad. However do note that this is only 1 opinion and this opinion does not represent what the Pilates community thinks.

Different Pilates Books apply to different stages of learning

I strongly believe most Pilates books are good. It depends on where you are in terms of learning. At different point of time, different things stands out more and makes more sense to us. When I first started out, I believed focusing on the core was the most important hence at that point of time, that would have stood out for me. At another later stage, I thought breathing was the most important. Focusing on that and breathing right automatically engages the core and so breathing books would have appealed more. Then much later, I think the mind is the most important because it is what sets the intention of our exercise and activity and after all the mind enables us to focus on the breathing. Hence my belief that as long as we read to reinforce our learning, many Pilates books can be good and really useful to you!

I personally endorse reading for better learning so please CLICK HERE to see what type of books can bring your Pilates learning to greater heights! Enjoy the article below.


One of the most popular books about Pilates is The Pilates Body: The Ultimate At-Home Guide to Strengthening, Lengthening and Toning Your Body–Without Machines, written by Brooke Siler and presented in a way that makes it easy to access and very informative. The author has credentials from training with the oldest protégé of Joseph Pilates himself, and creates a wonderfully organized book that helps offer tips and ways to build the perfect Pilates regimen for you. First, Siler discusses the ways to align your body and the ways to properly move your knees and neck and lower back and once she offers you some basics, she offers an array of over sixty wonderful exercises that can help you get started immediately.

Conveniently, the exercises are divided among beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, so no matter where you fall, you will have a section that is perfect for you and offers you different exercises that will be neither too hard nor too easy. In addition to offering you inspiring new exercises, she also includes a side blurb called the Inside Scoop which gives you even more information, little hints and tips that she had picked up from trainers and fellow Pilates peers that will perfect your skill and give you an extra boost of motivation. This book is essential for anyone striving to have an excellent Pilates experience.

Another popular book about the subject is Pilates: Body in Motion by Alycea Ungaro. An author who owns Real Pilates and has written many other books on the topic, the author has experience with training many celebrities in this very field. Madonna, Uma Thurman, and Christy Turlington have all gotten their tips and skills from this author, who also presents her work at fitness seminars and is part of the board of advisors for Fitness Magazine. Knowing her business, she offers a book that gives you a very nice and clear step by step guide book that is great for someone who is wanting to work out without messy and heavy equipment or machinery. She also emphasizes how Pilates not only positively affects your entire body, but your whole mind, as well, giving you step by step work out exercises that are divided between beginner and advanced.

Pilates’ Return to Life Through Contrology, written by Joseph H. Pilates himself is another very popular book that gives you the basic origins of the entire exercise. Joseph Pilates details all of the instructions and poses and exercises so you know exactly what you are doing and what the point of it is. All of the exercises that he and Clara developed are there in the book and you will get an elaborated expression of the balanced Body and Mind that he emphasizes. Also, you will learn all about body mechanics and the correct posture so you can be sure that you are doing the exercises properly and without flaws or errors. You will be able to make sure that you are doing the right breathing exercises and procedures all in the name of balancing body and mind and bettering your overall fitness.

Roberto Sedycias works as an IT consultant for PoloMercantil

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Pilates Store

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