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Pilates Practitioner 101: Spring Return

Kristen Howe has been practicing Pilates at her local gym for 3.5 years, and even at home during the winter season.

Returning to Pilates Class

For this week’s Pilates class, it was back to the averages size, which was less than ten. Instead of the usual rings, we did the original mat routines by warming up with the Pelvic Tilts. We started with the 100, the Single Straight Leg Stretch, the Double Leg stretch, the CrissCross, the Straight Leg Stretch, and the Sidekick Series on both sides with the Bicycle/Backpedal, the Side Sashay and Reverse Side Sashays, the double leg lower lifts. and the Double Leg Circle. We also had done the Scissor kicks on the mat, the Two-Pulse Point Flex Exercises, the 100 on our stomachs, Swimming Cycle, a couple of Bent Elbow and Straight Arm Planks, the Side Planks, the Child’s Pose, the Arm-Leg Reach with a Single Leg Circle, and Pilates Stance to finish the routine.

During Hydro-Pilates Class, You Stretch in Water.


Splashing Around in Hydro Pilates

For my 7th and 8th Hydro Pilates sessions, we’ve warmed up with some Body Twists and Side Stretches in the cold pool water. We’ve did Squats with straight and bent legs, and some Press-and-Pull Side Stretches on both sides. We’ve also did the Plank and the one-legged Plank, when we raised one leg in the air, then followed it with a One Leg Circle in another set of exercises with Foot Circles on both sides. We’ve also done a couple of Arm Circles and the Side plank to do some Bicycle/Backpedal exercises and the Side Sashay/Reverse Sashays. In one exercise, we’ve performed the One-Bent Arm Plank with one arm leaning in from the wall. Then we've worked on balancing with the Tree Pose, the Warrior I/Airplane Pose, the Warrior 2/Reverse Warrior Pose, and then cooled down with another set of the Press-and-Pull-Stretch pose, and the Chair Squat Pose in the water too. To finish out the session, we’ve done the Mermaid Side Stretch and the Spinal Twists, and the Pilates Stance.

If you want to try something new and love Pilates on land, give Hydro Pilates a try. It's a 50-minute class that focuses on core strength, flexibility, stretching and balance. The water temperature is 83 degrees and chest deep. Equipment is provided for this medium-intensity class that's available at your local gym, health club, fitness center, or YMCA.

Yoga strap poll

Yoga Straps Modifies Your Exercises


Consider a Yoga Strap for Your Pilates Workouts

If you have a yoga strap, also known as the Yoga Belt, you can use them for stretches in your Pilates workouts, when you can't reach certain places with your arms. They're also perfect to use for Yoga class and for your physical therapy exercises, whether you're at home or in the studio.

Like the Yoga blocks, it helps you feel more comfortable and enable you to perform exercises with correct form and alignment. It helps you achieve certain positions, extend and lengthen your reach in different positions, such as reaching for your feet, or holding your hands behind your back, like in the Double Leg Kick. Without straining your other body parts--neck and shoulders in particular--the Belt focuses on enabling you to perform certain stretches correctly. It improves flexibility and range of motion without needing a fitness buddy or a personal trainer. From stances to stretches you never thought was imaginable, these belts are so simple, durable, and versatile to help you achieve various poses in Yoga and Pilates. And in slow increments, you'll exceed your expectations for your range of motion too.

For physical therapy, it's ideal for undergoing physical therapy, rehab, or from accident recovery. It's so flexible to use for a range of stretches and resistance exercises for PT or rehab routines. If you want to strengthen your resistance and challenge yourself, loop the belt through the medal rings. To assist with various stretches including the arm, shoulder, back, and calves, use the strap at full length.

At eight feet long, they're easy to coil, inexpensive to buy, and comes in different colors. When we don't need the elastic quality of the band, the Yoga Belts can be used to replace the Elastic Bands in the more static stretches. If you don't have one, you can use the belt from your bathrobe as long as it's sturdy enough.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 Kristen Howe


Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on May 13, 2015:

Good for you, Cat. Thanks my friend. It still does hurt a tiny bit--but I still have medicine when I need it for the rest of the month. Yikes. Revision surgery? I'm glad it's working out for you. xx

Catherine Tally from Los Angeles on May 13, 2015:

It's a big "ouch!" in my budget; however, it has allowed me to continue working on my feet and postpone revision surgery. My instructor knows how to correctly guide me with my limitations/weaknesses and shows me how to work out w/ bands and stretches at home. Glad you're feeling better:)

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on May 13, 2015:

Cat, thanks so much for commenting. I wish I can do Pilates expensive, but it's so expensive for those sessions. Maybe in the future. Hydro Pilates are challenging for sure. My knee is feeling better, not exactly 100% but close enough for now.

Catherine Tally from Los Angeles on May 12, 2015:

Hello Kristen, I really enjoy reading your hubs! Since I have trouble getting up and down from the floor, I have been working with an instructor for over 3 years in the Pilates studio using the reformer, Cadillac, and wunda chair. I started w/ physical therapy there after a failed hip replacement and continue to reap the benefits of core strength, flexibility, stamina, alignment, and balance. I still have physical limitations and need revision surgery, but these wonderful exercises keep me going. Love your tips and writing about hydro-Pilates too since pool exercises are SO great! All the best on your knee recovery:)

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Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on May 02, 2015:

Yikes! I'll be careful. I still have plenty of medicine for this month to take before my classes or if it acts up. I'm glad it was just sore and sprained and not serious like a knee operation. xx

Nell Rose from England on May 02, 2015:

Yes be careful, my aunt had an op on her leg many years ago, it did take a while to get better, she hobbled around on crutches for what seemed ages! lol!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on May 02, 2015:

Thanks Nell for your kind words. Good luck with your exercise, Nell. I'm taking it slow with my knee, until it's 100% better.

Nell Rose from England on May 02, 2015:

Glad you have recovered, I really need to get on with some exercise as my waist is expanding! lol! good luck with it, nell

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on May 01, 2015:

Thanks Alicia. My knee is about 90% better as I'm taking things slow and nice and easy. It's a great workout for your core muscles.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 01, 2015:

I'm glad that you've recovered enough to return to Pilates, Kristen. It certainly sounds like good exercise!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on May 01, 2015:

I'm glad I've made you smile. Anytime you want to compare notes on yoga poses, please let me know.

Susie Lehto from Minnesota on May 01, 2015:

You are welcome, Kristen. I had to laugh because it has been some time since I have been called a "fellow yogi". :)

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on May 01, 2015:

Susie, thanks for commenting (I'm so glad it got approved last night). So glad you're a fellow yogi and visiting my friend.

Susie Lehto from Minnesota on May 01, 2015:

I have never gotten into a routine with Pilates.

But, yoga is a part of my everyday life, Kristen.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on April 30, 2015:

Hi Billy. Yes it was. Some yoga poses are also Pilates exercises. Way to go Bill!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 30, 2015:

I didn't know the plank was a pilates exercise. We just started doing it last week...that and yoga....feels great. :)

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