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Monthly Focus: The Powerhouse (Jan, 2013)

By on June 14, 2013

Side Pull Up One LegTraditionally, the Powerhouse has been described as a 4 inch band that wraps around from the ribs to the hips, supported by the inner thighs and seat muscles.  We can think of it as the core but more! For a Pilates student, learning about the Powerhouse never ends. The Powerhouse muscles include not only the abdominals, but the spinal erectors and stabilizers, pelvic floor, diaphragm with other respiratory muscles, as well as the adductors and gluteals.  These muscles work to maintain posture, move and control the pelvis and the spine.  The role of the Powerhouse is to initiate and control movement, articulate and decompress the spine, move the spine in all directions, and promote proper breathing.

As a new student you are reminded every exercise by your instructor to scoop, pull your abs in and up, deepen your abdominals, tighten your seat, pull your inner thighs together- and so many other cues to help you work from the center out. As you advance in your practice the cues become more specific and detailed to both your body and the exercise being performed, but the focus on powerhouse never changes.

In life we need a powerhouse to hold us physically, emotionally and mentally when our world turns unexpectedly. Developing a strong Pilates powerhouse can help you not just move better but feel better, more confident, more able to cope with the unexpected. Pilates helps you to discover your personal power- your powerhouse!

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Pilates Blog | Studio Blog | Yoga Blog

March Monthly Theme

By on February 27, 2013

The Box

 

“Think outside the box” is a saying that encourages us to go beyond the expected parameters and to challenge ourselves with something new – to take risks. But working with the box is an important first step to understanding what you are trying to go beyond. Within structure creativity and progress can be realized.

 

In Pilates the box is a concept used to aide in aligning the body; it is an imaginary line from shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip creating a level horizontal carriage as well as creating a stacked relationship of the hips over the shoulders, thus creating a ‘box’. There is also a box within the box, the inner box created by the relationship of the low ribs and the top of the pelvis which helps to inform us as to whether or not we are lifting up through the powerhouse and encouraging space in the waist and spinal elongation. We work strongly from our center (in Pilates the Powerhouse) and work with an awareness of maintaining the box, stretching out into our periphery while holding strong in the center. Next workout, think about the corners of your box and pulling them in to find greater stability, and stretching them out to provide more flexibility.

 

The box is not only useful in Pilates but in all movement systems including yoga. When we work in yoga with asana we are not just trying to work more strongly and flexibly, but to create a greater alignment so that energy can flow more freely through the chakra system. For example, in Virabhadrasa I (Warrior 1) the body is aligned with the shoulders and hips pointing in the same direction (facing the front of the mat) and squarely aligned, as through arising out of the earth. Contrast that to Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) where the box alignment is parallel to the long edges of the mat, the hips are opening in opposition, and the arms and legs are reaching forward and back energized from the center. Often students confuse the positions especially in Virabhadrasana II where the torso  is often turned toward the front arm.  Next class,  set your feet for this asana, the your hips and shoulders, and finally stretch your arms away from your heart and turn your gaze!

 

Working with awareness of the box is a great addition to your alignment as you may discover asymmetries in your hips, shoulders, ribs… and over time working with patience you can guide your body back into better balance.

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