Scoop of the Week: Pilates Stuff I Love!
When my childhood friend, Ana Caban (Pilates Video Star for GAIAM), contacted me about her Chair Workshop, there was no way I was going to miss it. I haven't seen her in... forever... and a Pilates workshop would be the perfect place for a couple of Pilates geeks and old friends to re-connect.
Her workshop was held at In & Up Pilates which is currently in the Grand Opening phase of it's new location in the hip and trendy Silverlake area of Los Angeles. The boutique studio, owned by Power Pilates certified Stephanie Herman and Robin Lim, is equally hip and trendy and filled with Gratz and Peak equipment. No complaints here!
Back to Ana's workshop. First of all, I was thrilled to walk in and see her wearing a "Contrology Freak!" T-shirt from Joe's Pila-T-Shop.
Ana, with her natural enthusiasm, led us in a really fun "name game" followed by a fascinating concentration exercise to demonstrate the power of our minds. It was a compelling example of how effective Pilates can be when we incorporate concentration into our workouts. Speaking of workout... that's what we did for the 3 hour workshop! Ana led us through an invigorating Pilates mat warm-up. We were completely energized before we had even begun our discussion about why the Electric Chair and Wunda Chair are invaluable and often under-used pieces of apparatus.
I love the Electric Chair aka High Chair, yet I rarely see it in Pilates studios here in Los Angeles. We agreed that it's an over-looked gem that safely and effectively challenges our beginner clients in vertical positions. The stability it provides is an ideal way to isolate and engage the powerhouse in seated exercises like Pumping. It's also the perfect place to learn standing exercises like Going Up Front for the same reason. We reviewed a total of about 6 exercises on the Electric Chair that challenged the strength and stamina of my powerhouse,legs and arms and the stability of my pelvis and shoulder girdle. That alone was worth the affordable price of the workshop!
Next, we completed an extensive list of exercises on the Wunda Chair aka Low Chair that included prone, supine, side-lying, seated, kneeling and standing exercises. It is truly one of the most versatile pieces of apparatus in the studio. Ana reminded us of how Mr. Pilates' dream was for every home and hotel to have a Wunda Chair; so much so, that he designed it to convert into a functional chair with a modern design. Genius!
After the inspiring workout and greater clarity on a few exercises, Ana and I went out to lunch for a long-overdue catch-up session. It's funny how two old friends who grew up together in Amherst, MA as "bun heads" in pointe shoes, would end up with Pilates careers based in Los Angeles. Friends for life!
Rock Your Powerhouse!