Why wait until January when you can do it in December!? Our Pilates Holiday Sale continues this week with 40% Off ALL Introductory Packages! Whether you’re new to our studio or giving the gift of Pilates to a loved one, there are NO excuses with these prices.
Use Code DOITINDECEMBER to purchase online. Happy Holidays!
Sound intriguing? It’s more than intriguing — MELTing will help you relax, repair and rejuvenate the connective tissue in your body. In many cases, this simple exercise rou-tine can restore mobility and reduce pain in just one session. Over time, adding even just ten minutes of MELT three times a week to your usual physical wellness routine can dramatically improve the results from other diet and exercise choices you’re making to live healthier, longer, and live free from chronic fatigue and pain.
Bigos has been teaching the MELT method for four years — won over to the practice thanks to experiencing almost immediate relief from knee pain after one session. Physical therapy had helped, but her days still revolved around ‘managing’ the pain and stiffness in her knee, until one day a friend recommended she MELT.
“I felt relief, real relief from pain — that very first session. I was hooked and I knew I had to become a MELT instructor and share this (MELT) with others. Physical injury and simple wear and tear is a fact of life for most of us, and when I found something that is this simple, intuitive and accessible —that actually works — I started my training right away.”
The MELT Method was created by Sue Hitzmann, a nationally recognized manual therapist, exercise physiologist, and founding member of the Fascia Research Society. Like Joseph Hubertus Pilates, the creator of Pilates, Hitzmann developed MELT to address the need for a program that develops physical resilience and encourages the body’s natural ability to heal from injury and stress. Pilates focuses on developing the body’s core strength. Hitzmann’s focus is on the connective tissues and the impact that damaged or ‘dehydrated’ connective tissue has on the rest of the body’s function. This is how Hitzmann explains MELT:
“Daily repetitive movements and postures cause connective tissue dehydration, and over time, “stuck stress” and inflammation. What starts out as a small ache can escalate into sleeplessness, digestive issues, anxiety or depression, and ultimately a chronic state of disarray. It’s a complex molecular and cellular issue that diet and exer-cise don’t address and medication can actually make worse. I believe that when you address the dehydration, your body stops sending cries for help to your brain in the form of pain.”
When practiced in conjunction with other healthy lifestyle choices such as a healthy diet, good sleep habits, exercise and the incorporation of a mindful practice such as yoga or Pilates, the MELT Method can help heighten the body’s ability to repair and heal itself.
Introduced in 2001, to the program’s success isn’t only supported by the anecdotal stories of practitioners. There is also growing body of scientific evidence to back up Hitzmann’s claims that connective tissue issues are the culprit in much of our chronic pain and fatigue issues:
“This is a relatively new area of research… not that many people are looking at the fascia and that needs to be looked at more.” said Dr. Helene Langevin, the director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “[Fascia] literally forms a network in the body and connects everything with everything else. I think that is might play a role in the interface between body systems. We can have a better understanding of the body if we understand connective tissue better.”
What scientists do know is that people feel more pain in their fascia than they do in their muscles.
“Fascia has a lot of nerve endings in it,” Langevin said. “When it is inflamed, it can feel painful. It’s a part of the body you don’t think about very much. The nerve endings in the fascia are more sensitive than the nerve endings in the muscle.” ABC News site, Article By Juju Chang, Claire Pedersen, Lauren Effron, March 7, 2015
One of the biggest advantages to “MELTing” is that its a simple, self-directed practice. Once a person learns the MELT Method, they can practice it anytime in their home or office — making it a perfect fit for nearly anyone no matter what their lifestyle or demands on time.
“When I began MELTing, I found a lot of value working with an instructor,” Bigos says. “It’s a discipline that emphasizes small, focused movements that exert ‘pressure’ on our ‘stuck stress’ points. But we’re not supposed to be in pain,” she says emphatically. “That’s the whole point of MELT…to relieve pain! An instructor with experience can help new practitioners learn the right positions and movements and tailor their practice based on their unique goals. Instructors also help experienced MELTers to update their practice based on their current physical state and goals. But yes, it’s a wonderful thing to be able to MELT in your own home whenever it’s most convenient for you.”
Bigos tells a story of a 70 year old woman who had given up taking her trash to the end of her driveway because of pain and dysfunction in her legs. After practicing MELT for a few months, she experienced relief so profound that now, she is not only taking out her own trash again, she’s also adding back many of her favorite physical activities. Thanks to a growing confidence in her physical health, she also has a renewed sense of optimism about her overall health.
And it’s not only the 40 plus crowd that can benefit from MELT. Bigos asserts, “I teach at several local high schools — the football team, basketball team, men’s and women’s sports. It’s a great regimen for young people and athletes who want to experience their best performance and protect their physical health while they demand more from their bodies than the non-athlete.”
If you’d like to see these results for yourself, join Janine Bigos and Sandi Villacoba, owner of the Pilates Project in Fair Haven, for the next session in The Body Care Project Workshop Series, RELEASE YOUR NECK AND SHOULDERS.
The workshop is being offered in The Pilates Project studio at 560 River Road, 11/20/2016 at 11:30 a.m. For more information, call: 732.530.5050. REGISTER HERE. >
“You cannot drink from an empty cup.” This bit of wisdom is ancient and ubiquitous, and we all know the modern-day analogy of putting the oxygen mask on our own face, first, so we’re able to assist others. Still, we are imperfect beings and perhaps no group of people practice this principle less perfectly than new mothers.
The Pilates Project is working to help mothers change that.
“The body changes that allow you to grow and birth that baby are miraculous and necessary…until you actually give birth. Post-birth, you need your pre-pregnancy fitness and strength back to be the healthiest, happiest mom you can be…and you and your baby deserve that.” Annie Caruso, Red Bank, NJ.
Annie Caruso danced ballet for twenty years. She, like her 11-month old son, is an active person who loves to move, “I was always very physical. Besides ballet, when I lived in Brooklyn I attended a studio where I did a high intensity, interval training boot camp five times a week.” The new mother laughs. “Back then, I always had 6-pack abs.”
After a slight pause, she continues, “When I got pregnant, I assumed I would continue my physical activity with an appropriate pre-natal exercise routine— it was a no brainer with my background of dance and working out. But that’s not what happened. I had horrible morning sickness and lethargy that constantly interrupted any regular exercise routine. All my plans for a ‘fit pregnancy’ went to hell.”
We all know a woman’s body changes during pregnancy — the most obvious evidence being the celebrated ‘baby bump’. Once hidden beneath billowy drapes of soft fabric, this obvious sign of motherhood is now commonly accentuated and even nakedly revealed in pregnancy fashion.
However, once the little miracle moves from residence in utero to taking up space in our arms, the same changes that enable a woman to grow and carry another human for (typically) 36 weeks become a physical liability for new mothers. More than just a mother’s physical appearance can remain changed, post-pregnancy.
Pregnancy hormones signal muscles and ligaments to stretch more than 50% their normal length. The physical stress of carrying a growing child for 36-40 weeks literally separates abdominal muscles beyond their ability to simply ‘bounce back’ post delivery. During pregnancy, the ribcage flares to accommodate the new life growing and competing with mom’s organs for room, and posture is most certainly altered as spinal alignment re-calibrates, compensating for the change in the center of gravity.
A woman’s overall physical wellness and stamina are dependent on her core strength, strength that is challenged as a result of pregnancy. The very same strength, flexibility and resiliency that are at the heart of Pilates is an essential requisite to a person’s ability to be physical with a sense of comfort and ease. Compromised core strength almost always results in a state of managing chronic soreness, pain and tension.
New Mom. New Body. New Normal? No Way.
And we know that new mothers are almost always demanding more from their bodies. In addition to all the ordinary physical stresses of managing a household and other activities that were important before baby, add to that all the repetitive, exhausting bending, reaching and lifting necessary to care for an infant.
The Pilates Project recognizes these particular challenges and has added special classes for mothers that incorporate modified Pilates exercises that support a new mother’s full recovery from pregnancy and childbirth.
Caruso, who first started her Pilates practice as a way to recover from dance injury while in high school, says she renewed her practice with The Pilates Project to regain her physical and mental resilience and connectedness — key components in any successful Pilates practice: “I was used to having a certain level of strength before I got pregnant. For me, choosing to restart my Pilates practice wasn’t about losing the baby weight. It was about getting back my pre-baby energy level, losing the aches and pains that developed during pregnancy, re-asserting my best posture and reminding my body of its best form and functioning.”
It was also her choice to resume her practice with a studio that is grounded in what Caruso terms a ‘pure practice’: “I see value in different styles of Pilates practice, but I’m a bit of a purist at heart,” she confesses. “I like Sandi Vilacoba (owner and founder of The Pilates Project) so much as a teacher because she teaches Pilates in its purest form. She’s always instructing you, never simply demanding that you bang out as many reps as you can until you’re fatigued. Her focus is on alignment and technique and as a professional athlete for many years, I value how she honors the process of building towards your strength, not simply muscling your way through.”
Her son is nearly a year old, and Caruso still combines private instruction with group sessions in her weekly Pilates practice. “I started out again with one private session once a week and, over time, worked up to where I am now. I highly recommend taking an introductory session whether you are a new mom or not. It gives you a chance to really focus on your particular, personal goals and to set you own pace. The focus on our unique, individual aspects is, I think, the key to a successful, rewarding practice.”
Sandi Vilacoba is proud that her studio is able to respond to the needs of pregnant women and new mothers in a practice that offers all the benefits of classic Pilates training in the supportive, encouraging environment women deserve, “Both before and after their babies are born, mothers have special exercise needs and deserve options that respect and answer those needs.”
Classes Are Open. Register Now.
The Pilates Project is pleased to introduce two, new classes designed especially for mothers. Pre & Postnatal Thursdays offer Mommies to Be 11:30 a.m. and Mommy and Me 12:30 p.m. weekly classes in their Fair Haven studio. Instructor, Alissa, leads each class in the classical Pilates method with pre/postnatal modifications to aid in healing and strengthening the body during pregnancy and after delivery.
Register online, here: http://bit.ly/1AhTh4d.
Pilates, The Sudoku of Exercise
If you’re like many busy people, maybe a few times a week you grab a few weights, throw on some headphones, trudge over to the treadmill and train your brain to ignore the pain. But what if you could actually bring your brain to the exercise game, engage those neurons, and make a host of healthy connections working both the mind and body.
That’s where the Pilates method comes in.
Invented by Joseph Pilates, a German physical trainer who uniquely recognized that modern society was in poor health, suffering with bad posture and inefficient breathing. Joseph, who had asthma himself, devised a series of exercises and training techniques and engineered all the equipment, specifications, and tuning required to teach his methods properly.
Originally called Contrology, Pilates relates to the use of the mind to control muscles, focusing attention on core abdominal muscles that help keep the body balanced and providing support for the spine. The exercises teach awareness of breath and of alignment of the spine, strengthening the torso and abdominal muscles. The regimen builds flexibility, strength and stamina.
“A few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence are worth hours of doing sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion.”
– Joseph Pilates
Sandi Vilacoba, Senior Instructor and Owner of the Pilates Project, is trained in Joseph’s classical method, and shares her insights about making the mind/ body connection.
Why is it important to make a mind/body connection in Pilates (or in any exercise)?
Exercise has become a chore for many people. If you go to the gym, you see people watching tv, reading books and doing things to distract themselves to make the time go faster. In a true Pilates workout your mind works as hard as your body and you have to bring your brain to the game.
If you are aligned properly and put your brain to the muscles and how they are moving, the exercises are more intense and efficient. You can actually get more done in less time. Your chance for injury is less. I think this goes for any exercise — alignment and mind/ body connection are super important.
What are a few tricks to make the mind/body connection while working out?
No matter what kind of workout you are doing — whether it’s Pilates, running, or weight training — give yourself a theme or a goal for your workout to keep your brain engaged.
Maybe one day you focus on pulling in your abdominals and lengthening your spine on every exercise; maybe another day you work on breathing or focusing on stamina, working a little longer or doing a couple extra reps; or you could try adding resistance, focusing on working as many muscles as you can at once or on precision.
Pilates is for everyone. Even the most athletic person may be drawn to the work it takes to slow down and think about how you’re moving and using your body. It’s for people who crave the brain, body connection.
After only a few classes, Pilates will become that voice inside your head while you drive, sit, or walk down the street, reminding you to pull in those abdominals, roll your shoulders back, and lengthen your body. People will take notice. And your brain and body will thank you for it.
Interested in seeing what Pilates can do for you and your brain? Contact us at Pilates Project to schedule your first class.