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Pilates.


Fiz
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My new dance school offers this and I thought I would try it. Darcey Bussell credits Pilates with resurrecting her ballet career after injury and childbirth which are big claims. I absolutely loved it and can see why dancers have it recommended to them. It isn't ultra difficult but it is several small things in combination all at once. My teacher takes my ballet class and she kept saying "It really shows that you do ballet!" Story of my life! ;)

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Fiz, it’s wonderful that you’ve discovered Pilates. You will see the benefit of it in very short time, especially if you can relate it to ballet. All my Pilates teachers were dancers with very inquisitive eyes - they helped me to get rid of a knee problem and also a chronic achilles tendonitis which had bothered me for years!

 

By the way, I not only recommend the classic mat work but if you can, try to take classes on the reformer also. Working with different levels of resistance increases strength as well as body perception and awareness. And it's great fun to try out all the endless possibilities of this versatile device!

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I can only confirm what you have said Petunia. ........though feel worried that you said you have had Achilles tendonitis for years!! Please don't tell me it can last that long!! Ive only probably got another couple of years for doing ballet!!

 

I'm doing Pilates at the moment as am recovering from similar problem and have only been back in a ballet class for a few weeks and can only do one a week still with no jumping etc.

 

However the Pilates has kept me more or less sane!!

I too like the variety of it. I'm sometimes one to one in the room with all the equipment in sometimes in a reformer group and sometimes in a group of three or four in the equipment room. May be in a mat class by Christmas.

 

I work on my core and my foot or rather feet and also do lots of other lovely stretches and exercises for hips and thighs and so it does give me confidence that I'm keeping fit but also strengthening parts which will hopefully really help my ballet.

I already feel much more on the top of my legs and not sitting back in the hips so much which feels nice and solid and also am getting much better alignment in turnout so pliés for example stress the ankle and knees much less.

 

Ive got a one to one this Saturday .....where we are going to concentrate on the upper body and shoulder area more for a change so,looking forward to this.

Are you planning to do,once a week Fiz?

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The place I attend is in Hove and has been especially set up for Pilates so has three rooms. You can see the sea from the very top room with the equipment in!!

The rooms are already at the very top of the building though so it's up about three flights of stairs......so usually arrive puffed out and needing to sit down immediately!!

 

I love going on their "wobble" thing. It's quite a biggish one.......like one of those large exercise balls cut in half and then stuck to a solid bottom piece. When I'm on this I can do a reasonably deep demi plié without my ankle hurting .......just to make me feel happy that it's all still there somewhere.....however as soon as I go off back to the floor (and cold reality) I still can't do what I call a decent demi yet without it pulling and feeling restricted still. ........until this eases I cannot go back to jumping!!

 

You can just do Pilates on a mat on the floor though with many very effective exercises and of course the only ones you can take home with you so to speak.

In this studio there is a room with eight mats in but they are like mini mattresses so very spoilt even with the mat classes!

 

Ive really got into the Pilates breathing and have been working on not tending to push the hips forward on the out breath. I think this comes from being told to,"tuck the bottom under" in ballet. So am really learning the true subtlety of this movement so the hips remain in neutral. This gives a much more stable position for the body.

 

Anyway happy Pilates sessions all :)

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It sounds amazing, Lin! Ours is solely mat based but after some sleuthing, I found several other local classes including two in two different fitness centres so they might have a machine, I suppose. The trouble is finding the time - I'm so busy all the time now.

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When I'm on this I can do a reasonably deep demi plié without my ankle hurting .......just to make me feel happy that it's all still there somewhere.....however as soon as I go off back to the floor (and cold reality) I still can't do what I call a decent demi yet without it pulling and feeling restricted still. ........until this eases I cannot go back to jumping!!

 

Have you tried your local swimming bath?

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Well Alison I have!!

 

Unfortunately a few weeks ago I was thinking my ankle was feeling much better......and it was ......so in my weekly trip to the swimming pool I thought I would try some jumping in the water.......water supporting you and making you lighter etc etc. I probably got a bit carried away and did some jumping on just the right leg as well as both feet.

 

Well I paid for this the next day with a very sore ankle :(

 

Obviously wasn't ready to jump even in water so at least knew for sure no hope in a studio.

In principal though when it is a bit more ready trying out in water should be a good thing.

 

There is so much great (and mysteriously named) equipment in this Pilates studio and I have been strengthening the ankle via these.

Today I was starting to push off from a flexible wall end ......while lying on my back.....lvery gently in preparation for jumping so was pleased no ill effects.

It's all rather strange really as the foot feels so much stronger and it's no problem supporting a developpe at the barre .......?And in the centre now.....My tree pose in yoga is virtually back to normal .......however doing a simple plié is still problematic so still a way to go yet!

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Lin, besides all this strenghtening, do you also relax and massage? I also tend to develop very hard calf muscles and sometimes I just sit on the floor and put a tennis ball under the calf, then gently rolling it until I find the trigger point (ouch) and then I try to massage it with the ball, using only the weight of the leg. Sometimes it helps.

 

If you can do a decent plié e.g. in a supine position with your feet on the footbar of a reformer machine it still makes a big difference when you are standing and the foot has to carry your body weight.

 

I have a slight lower leg torsion on one side which affects the ankle as well as the knee joint. When I learned to control that, the Achilles tendonitis as well as the knee became much better.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I had my first class for a fortnight thanks to a singularly unpleasant cold which my darling youngest brought home. It was just me and my teacher today. We spent the first twenty minutes discussing pointe shoes! ;) After that we decided that although we could talk all afternoon, some work was in order. Did I ever notice that I had missed two lessons! We did work really hard in the end and my teacher also gave me some specific dance exercises, including putting each foot in almost tendu and then peeling each toe separately from the floor and then doing it the reverse way round. It sounds simple, doesn't it? Trust me, it isn't! I loved it. I was also told to get myself to cardio because I would love it as there was more Pilates in that plus ballet too. I still have a few dozen bulbs to put in the garden but after half term I will start cardio. There is ballet tonight too! :::Happy sigh :::

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