Spring into action!

It's finally spring here in Edmonton! I see many people (myself included) out and about on the trails walking, hiking, running, and biking which feels so great after a long winter. With this short warm season, I also know there is the tendency (myself included) to go a bit overboard in our activities because let's face it, we don't know how long the nice weather will last! Sometimes this can lead to unnecessary injury and actually prevent us from enjoying what we set out to do. I thought I'd share with you what kind of action I take to stay injury-free so my body can thoroughly enjoy each day.

1. I take one private lesson a week with my Pilates teacher(s). This experience helps me to stay on top of my Pilates game and ensures that I will train wisely when I workout on my own.

2. I also participate in other movement modalities like walking or doing some gymnastic/yoga-like stuff. Sometimes I just need to mix it up! 

3. When I need a rest, I will rest. My body is not the only thing that gets tired. Sometimes my whole self just needs some downtime. Honoring the rest rather than pushing myself through another workout is a wiser choice in the long run.

4. When I do start up the summer activities I love such as walking, hiking, and riding my motorbike, I will work into it slowly so as to build up the stamina in the body over time. 

Remember that being injured sucks, so take it easy!

Enjoy the nice weather with meaningful movement experiences.

ox

Carmen

 Paul, Pablo and I enjoying a springtime walk along the Red Deer River.

Paul, Pablo and I enjoying a springtime walk along the Red Deer River.

The many blessings.

December is when I like to reflect and feel gratitude for the many blessings I have experienced over the past year. With my Pilates, there have been many. I successfully graduated from The Work with Jay Grimes and Sandy Shimoda. From this experience, I gained many new relationships with pilates friends from all over the world. And, right here in our own studio, we added an amazing new teacher, French-born, Julie Fontana-Giusti from Sydney, Australia.

I interviewed Julie for some Q & A to find out more about this awesome gal and pilates teacher who, by the way, thinks Edmonton is exotic!

Carmen Lanteigne: Where did you train?

Julie Fontana-Giusti: I first trained at Authentic Pilates in Sydney (Australia). I also completed the certificate of anatomy and physiology and the bridging diploma which is an accreditation of Pilates in Australia aligned with the health industry. A year later, I decided to further my training with Cynthia Lochard, a level 1 teacher with Romana’s Pilates program. I completed two-thirds of the training before I moved to Edmonton. I plan to finish my advanced training in the summer of 2018. 

CL: What is your favourite piece of apparatus? 

JFG: I love the reformer! On the reformer, I get a great workout without stopping in a progression of exercises perfectly designed by Joseph Pilates. I feel so good after!

CL: What is your favourite Pilates exercise?

JFG: My favourite exercise is the shoulder bridge on the cadillac. I love exercises where I articulate my spine and I love to be "in the air.”

CL: What is your least favourite Pilates exercise?

JFG: Crisscross and tictoc! My legs are very long and they feel heavy so it’s work for me to hold them upright without using my hip flexors.

CL: How have you benefited from Pilates?

JFG: Before practicing Pilates I didn't have any pain in my body, nor did I really pay any attention to my body’s position. But, now I stand significantly straighter and have a better silhouette. Furthermore, I noticed when I train in other sports I love such as tennis, windsurfing, and skiing, my performance is much stronger. Pilates has helped me to find my centre and understand that every movement comes from that strong torso.

CL: What do your students love about you?

JFG: First, I was mentored by excellent teachers in Australia which gave me a good base for the teacher I am today. I am passionate about Pilates, and I believe in what I teach. I guide my students with a calm,  encouraging voice, and if necessary I will guide their movement with my hands.

CL: What do you love about teaching?

JFG: I love passing on my passion, guiding and accompanying people in their movements. I find it very satisfying to help them feel better in their bodies. It is very rewarding to hear feedback from my students that since practising Pilates they do not have anymore pain. I feel like I am doing something very useful.

CL: You are new in Edmonton. How do you like it so far?

JFG: Yes, I arrived in Edmonton last spring after a few years in Australia with my husband and our three daughters. I am French born and lived in France up until our time in Australia. My husband, who is Italian and who was born in the US, has lived in six different countries so we wanted to give the same multicultural experience to our girls. When the opportunity came up to come to Canada we located to Edmonton.

CL: What do you like about Edmonton?

JFG: For me, it's totally exotic, totally different than I am used to! I am very excited being here! I love the snow... so far. I am pleased to swap out my swimsuit for skis, ice skates, and snow boots. As for the people, we have had a wonderful welcoming from our neighbours like we’ve never felt before. And most people in Edmonton we meet are very nice. 

To find out more about Julie, you can find her teaching private, semi-private lessons, and guiding students in our AP classes.

Until next year, keep moving!

Peace and love,

Carmen Lanteigne

 Julie Fontana-Giusti, our Senior Instructor at Aligned Pilates.

Julie Fontana-Giusti, our Senior Instructor at Aligned Pilates.

Winter is coming!

 

In my city of Edmonton, Alberta,  the leaves have fallen which means but one thing - Winter is coming! For a long time. 

Pilates and the practice of pilates remind me of what it is like to experience the different seasons. There is a time where the new student will be on the reformer and mat for what seems like forever, but, there will come a time where exercises from the other apparatus will be introduced to the body. Like the changing seasons, if we truly utilize ALL of Joe’s system the body will also experience change and new growth.

Completing THE WORK Teacher’s Program with Jay Grimes has shown me that in order for the body to truly come back into harmony with itself, meaning all parts working uniformly the work of Joseph Pilates must be practiced in its entirety.

How lucky am I to know the work of Joseph Pilates, as it was taught to me from the perspective of Jay Grimes and the teachers at VINTAGE PILATES, but even more grateful now with the knowledge and understanding that I must trust the method, choose from his system wisely, and spring will surely follow. 

I dedicate this blog post to my beautiful Kuwaiti friend Noor who kept me going this past year.

Love you my dear pilates sister (and #GOT superfan)

OX

Carmen

 

IMG_0601.JPG

Patience is a virtue.

As a teacher of a particular physical fitness regime such as Pilates, I see many people come into it with a mindset that Pilates will be the “quick fix.” I have wonder what it is that gives someone this impression? We don't need to look to far! We live a society where quick, easy and minimal effort seems like the norm. 

Take social media for example. It presents us with this idea that to “look good” at something, one needs only a kick-butt social media campaign, savvy filter apps, and some cute slogan. Suddenly that person is at the top of the chart, looking like it. And that image that society is given is what I believe drives people to come to me and say they want to look like this, be like this, have a body like this. However, after ten sessions with pilates, a person will usually see that perhaps the learning of Pilates is going to take a bit more time. 

It takes a long time to change our body.  Let’s face it! Some of us want to change a body of 40 plus years. Well, news flash! We didn’t develop a sore back, a weakened core, and our body imbalances overnight! We don’t usually hire a trainer, seek out the physiotherapist, and visit the doctor’s office when we are on a body-winning streak. We have problems! And it’s going to take some time, probably a lot of time, to work through these problems. 

I believe the practice of Pilates will bring change and balance back into the body in time, but it does require both patience and time for that to happen. So the next time we want to be instantly good at something, we might want to consider how long it took us to get really bad or in need of a tune up in the first place. 

With practice and patience comes change. There are no quick “instant fixes’ for our bodies; otherwise, why would we even be given a body and mind to learn how to change. We’d be perfect, and I’d be out of a job. 

- Keep moving

Carmen Lanteigne.

   My first teacher training program circa 2003  

My first teacher training program circa 2003 

In The Moment

The summer is coming to an end, and for a commitment to blog every month (my last one was on June 1st FYI),  I seem to have fallen short. Or did I? Instead I like to think that due to circumstances beyond my control, I was asked by the universe to take life one day at a time, let my days happen, blog or no blog. You see I have always been one to set lofty goals, have HUGE expectations or plan my life weeks, but I'm starting to learn (SLOWLY) that sometimes things must happen on their own and my best living is when I let life unfold naturally.

 

If it's one thing that Pilates is teaching me is that staying in the moment focused is where I will have the most success. Instead of having expectations or preconceived ideas of what my pilates is supposed to feel like, be like, look like, I will most likely gain the trust in the work of Joseph Pilates if I just let it be. The work is teaching me to take it easy, be in the moment and control what I can control -- like questioning "how is this good for my body right now." 

 

Indeed, I try to do my best at most of what life brings me, but I am learning that I don't need to have this all figured out, perfectly, in fact, it might be somewhat messy, and so might my Pilates. But with time and practice, I'll get things done just the way they're supposed to be. 

 

There is something magical that happens when one lives in the moment as if it all comes together perfectly. Here's a picture from my recent training in August at Vintage Pilates with my teacher Sandy Shimoda. I feel it captures myself being in the moment and knowing exactly how awesome this exercise is for my body.

 

    Photo credit Vintage Pilates

Life is good. Pilates is great!

Carmen Lanteigne

#Pilateseverydamnday. Really?

This year May 6th came and went like any other day, except that in my world May 6th is my mother-in-law's birthday and International Pilates Day.  And, guess what?! I forgot both! Lucky for me my sister-in-law saved the day and hosted a great family gathering to celebrate my mother-in-law (phew). 

As for International Pilates Day, I thought, "shoot, I missed a perfect opportunity to do something special with my pilates peeps!”

The best conclusion as to how I could possibly let International Pilates Day slip by without so much as a celebratory #internationalpilatesday post on Instagram is that I celebrate the genius work of Joseph Pilates every day. I am either training my own pilates, teaching pilates, or incorporating pilates in my day to day activities. To set aside one day to make it special I guess yes, I did forget. As for forgetting about my mother-in-law's birthday, well there's no excuse (sigh).

   Our family with my lovely 82-year-old mom-in-law.

Our family with my lovely 82-year-old mom-in-law.

Pilates is something I do every day for the most part. Nothing keeps me from my pilates - not even my holidays, being tied to my desk, or coming off a long day of teaching. I always try to find the time and do something from his work. I may not train a full on reformer workout, but there's always something from his amazing system of exercise that I can practise. Take the mat, for instance. You can do the mat anywhere, anytime. Or, how about the wall exercises?! The wall exercises require no equipment, just a wall. And let's not forget the towel, marbles, and 2x4 exercises. Think bottom rung on your staircase and viola, you've got your 2X4 exercises!

I get that not everyone has the luxury to train every day at their local pilates studio to experience the amazing work of Joseph Pilates, so I’ve come up with a few ideas to keep you practising in between your sessions (and these are not original).

YouTube.  Now a days you can pretty much YouTube how to do anything and pilates is no exception. You can check out my YouTube channel for free home videos. Note the quality is just that -- home video! 

Professional on-line pilates videos. My go to is Pilatesology.  As an on-line pilates resource for classical pilates workouts, I can always find something on Pilatesology to keep me motivated and practising.

Skype lessons. I take Skype lessons from teachers twice, and sometimes three times a month. Skype lessons are a great way to keep me motivated and accountable with professional pilates teachers. If you have pilates apparatus at home doubling as a drying rack time to fold up the clothes and book a Skype lesson today!

Much like the trending hashtag #pilateseverydamnday, Joseph Pilates' desire was that we practise his work so that we can have strong bodies to go out and play. Pilates is not my whole life (well, maybe), but with a consistent practice I have a strong body and focused mind to try other incredible things in life.

   Last year I took my street bike to the track. What an invigorating yet demanding experience. Thank you Joseph Pilates!

Last year I took my street bike to the track. What an invigorating yet demanding experience. Thank you Joseph Pilates!

Keep practising!

Carmen Lanteigne

The Work: What is it really worth to me?

This April I made my way back to LA to study the mat portion with my mentor, first-generation teacher Jay Grimes, and owner Sandy Shimoda of Vintage Pilates in the graduate program THE WORK. In January I completed the reformer portion of the program. To say I was “matified” before I even left for my training is an understatement! I had practised my mat to the point that it came almost without thinking. We were all well prepared so our time was not wasted worrying about order, choreography, and repetitions. Instead, we were able to receive those subtle corrections from Jay and the other teachers that would fine tune our pilates during the lessons.

Jay has us practising how Joseph Pilates trained his students. Like the good old days of Joe, there is no time for hand holding, or coddling. You just do the work. You practise regularly, and when a correction is given, you’re able to hear it, assimilate the information, and make a change.

I am learning as a teacher that I must let my students practise too, which means allowing them to be responsible for their own practice while in the studio and at home. Don’t get me wrong! I still catch myself being the enabler, control freak, and know it all, but as I grow deeper in the work I am starting to sit back and let the students experience their pilates. It’s not my job to entertain, hand hold, or do the work for them. Instead, I am learning what Jay Grimes means when he says, “To know pilates you must do pilates. There are no short cuts.” I need to get out of the way, let the students experience the movements, and learn for themselves how to control their own bodies. 

A good practitioner of pilates will have a consistent practice, an open mind, and loads of patience. I cannot force or coerce pilates into myself or my students for that matter. Instead, as a practitioner of pilates, our thoughts or preconceived notions of what a movement is "suppose to feel like" will eventually melt away and intuitively we’ll begin to know just what is needed from the body in that moment.

Doing the THE WORK has been such an amazing journey for me so far. It has opened my mind, transformed my practice, and most importantly taught me to trust my body. I will not break, nor falter, but I may go to places I didn’t know I was capable of going to. Thanks Joseph Pilates for believing in me!

Keep practising.

Carmen Lanteigne

   The Work Program with Jay Grimes 2017

The Work Program with Jay Grimes 2017