If I am honest I have been much more aware of Yoga as many of my friends participate in it. As far as I was concerned I didn’t think there was very much difference between Pilates and Yoga (The Huffington Post compared the two). Now I’ve learnt that there are even different forms of Pilates.
After speaking with Amanda during my introduction she went back to the very beginning and gave me an idiots guide to Stott Pilates and how it differs from other forms of Pilates practised around the world. Stott Pilates is a contemporary approach to the original exercise method pioneered by the late Joseph Pilates. As a child, Joseph suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. After being introduced to gymnastics, boxing, martial arts and bodybuilding he decided that the “modern” lifestyle, bad posture and inefficient breathing lay at the roots of poor health. With the assistance of his wife Clara, they devised a series of exercises and training techniques using movement to increase muscle elasticity improve flexibility.
Lindsay and Moira Merrithew, along with a team of physic therapists, sports scientists and fitness professionals have refined Joseph Pilates’ methods and created Stott Pilates. The Stott method contains exercises designed to restore the natural curves of the spine and rebalance the muscles around the joints. The method focuses on following five basic principles of breathing, pelvic placement, rib cage placement, scapular movement, and head and cervical spine placement.
“I believe in the five core principles that govern the STOTT Pilates practice and have seen the positive impact it has had first hand. I am keen to work with people to help with their athletic conditioning, injury rehabilitation and improve their mind-body connection to create a more holistic view of physical training and enjoying life.” Amanda Miller
My time with Amanda was spent taking part in private sessions. Being a complete novice I wouldn’t have felt comfortable or competent taking part in a class. I feel that I would have held up the class while hogging the instructor’s attention. In the first session we began by establishing my goals, which were to improve my flexibility, body awareness, joint mobilisation and help you improve your training with Luke.
As someone that studied Sports Science and coached youth football for over seventeen years I am well aware of the importance of using correct techniques whatever you are doing so we spent the rest of my first session understanding and practicing the five basic principles that underpin all the of the Stott Pilates exercises to ensure these are used in other forms of exercise and daily movements to improve posture and overall health.
As a newbie, it did take me a while to get used to the language and terms but fortunately Amanda was patient with me and happy to remind me. Of course after a little practice it I started to retain it all. Some of the terms I had to get my head round were to supine (laying on your back, with your knees bent and heels in line with sit bones), prone (lying on your stomach, face down on mat), imprint (lumbar spine flexed/flattened into mat while lying supine) legs to table top (lying supine the legs are lifted and bent with 90 degrees from hip to knee and knee to ankle), thoracic spine (the 12 vertebrae that make up your upper back, each vertebrae is attached to the 12 rib bones) and cervical spine (the 7 vertebrae that make up your neck).
As someone who is used to more dynamic forms of exercising this was all a little bit alien to me. I don’t feel like I would have been able to turn up at one of Amanda’s classes without the one on one input, I would have felt like I would have been holding the rest of the class back and holding it up. Now I know what I am doing I feel like I could happily take part in a group class and hold my own.
If you are interested in getting involved then you can contact Amanda via email at [email protected]. She is more than happy to chat online or meet in person to discuss your goals and or physical issues that are hoping to improve. She can then I can determine if the best route of action is classes or targeted private sessions.
While we discussed the overall benefits Amanda was telling me about how popular it was becoming with mothers during their pregnancy and after the birth. Stott Pilates utilises precision instruction and exercise movements to ensure the safety of you and your baby while working your muscles, joints and muscles groups that are essential to birth (pelvic floor). It helps relieve the pressure and stress your body experiences as it changes throughout pregnancy, while also giving you a workout. It is so safe and effective that it can be practised right up until birth!
Amanda also advised that “Stott Postnatal Pilates helps women regain strengthen in their Pelvic Floor, deep abdominal muscles and correct there posture bringing it back to pre-pregnancy, or even better! Exercising strategically and effectively after giving birth is key to ensuring you return to your post-natal body, fitness and health.”