Ice Bath Basics with First Generation Wim Hof instructor Jesse Coomer

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Ice Bath Basics with First Generation Wim Hof instructor Jesse Coomer

Wim Hof, also known as “The Iceman,” is a Dutch extreme athlete. Known for Guinness world records swimming under ice, he attributes his superhuman capabilities to the Wim Hof Method (WHM), a combination of frequent cold exposure, breathing techniques and meditation.

I had the pleasure of talking with first generation Wim Hof Method instructor, Jesse Coomer. Jesse Coomer is the lead Wim Hof instructor in the midwestern United States. He hosts in-person Wim Hof trainings and has thousands of viewers subscribed to his youtube channel. His e-book, A Practical Guide to Cold Training, comes out later this month.

We talked about physical preparation before an ice bath, recovery, mindset and everything in between. Read the takeaways from our conversation below.

Eat something light before an ice bath

“You want something in your stomach but if you eat really heavy your body is going to be focused on digesting that food and it might take longer to warm up”

If you take any daily medications, check with your doctor before taking a dip in the ice

“If you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, epilepsy or are pregnant you should not practice ice bathing.”

Nobody cares what you wear in an ice bath

“The more ice baths I did, the more comfortable I became with my body. If you don’t feel comfortable in a suit, wear clothes instead.

The vibe is so fun. You kinda become a kid again and you aren’t looking at one another in that way. There’s no big gender divide like that. Instead, we’re all looking at the bath going, “are you gonna put your face in the ice?! I’m gonna put my face in the ice!’”

It’s no surprise that getting in an ice bath could be uncomfortable. Try to relax through the discomfort but at the end of the day you should always listen to your body and respond accordingly

“For your first few seconds in the cold, you will feel some new feelings and there always seems to be one area of the body that feels extra cold. For me it’s my arms, some people will feel it in their neck or shoulder blades or their ankles. If you relax, those sharp cold spots will typically relax as well.”

There is discomfort involved, but if excessive, pay attention to your body’s signals. When in doubt, JUST GET OUT.

You’re in an elite group of impressive humans for even considering an ice bath

“It’s a very extraordinary group of people who would do something like this. If you’ve gotten in an ice bath, even if you just get in the ice and get right out, you've already done way more than the average person is even willing to consider.”

PRO TIP: Mindset is important. Don’t get into the bath and think “I hate this. I’m going to just hate it and endure it anyways.” Instead, think, “I’m choosing this, I want to do this and I can get out any time.’”

Cold Training teaches you to trust yourself

“On a daily basis, whether it’s a cold shower or an ice bath, it never necessarily gets any easier. So every single day, you are making a hard decision. You get to observe yourself making a hard decision. Then, you get to know yourself as that person who can make hard decisions; a person who is the master of your own decision making process.”

For best results, take a bath with friends

“It’s kind of a lot to get an ice bath all set up, so you might as well share it with friends! Plus there’s this social courage that you get from the group. Even though getting in the bath is always optional at these events, by the time we get to the ice bath, the apprehensive people are always ready. The energy of the group just gets you there.

Join a community of bold adventurers at the next Ice Bash

Sunday September 29th

9am-12pm

Ampersand CoWorking in Logan Square, Chicago

Space is limited. Get your tickets here

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"Breathe, Motherf*cker!" -Wim Hof

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"Breathe, Motherf*cker!" -Wim Hof

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Your body’s cells are responsible for how you think, move, digest, build, heal and more.

The energy currency for cellular function is called ATP. ATP is produced in the mitochondria of the cell using oxygen. When our cells are properly oxygenated we function, think, move, digest, build and heal more efficiently.

When the cell runs out of oxygen, it can no longer produce ATP. You can easily feel this during physical exertion, when your body gets “out of breath.” 

The good news is that you can “strengthen” your cell’s ability to intake oxygen through breath work just like you can strengthen your muscles by lifting weights. The more oxygen you can take into your body, the more stamina you will have in physical activity.

Also….

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Being alkaline is so hot right now, but what does it even mean?

You probably know your body’s cells like to function at a very specific temperature of 98.6 degrees. Did you know that they also function best at a specific pH (about 7.4). When the pH is too low, the body’s pH is said to be “acidic.” Most commonly caused by stress, alcohol and food; the symptoms can include headaches, fatigue, GI distress, impotence, anxiety and depression.

When not oxygenated well, we rely on our cell’s back up plans. Those plans are okay, they will keep us alive, but they will also create additional acidic byproducts and additional physical symptoms.

Help support your cells in times of acidic stress by making sure they are fully oxygenated. When we breathe in and out for longer periods of time, we can bring our pH even higher, to an alkaline state. Reportedly, there are health benefits like better sleep, less illness and less stress when the body is more alkaline.

Shallow breath will definitely keep you alive but DEEP breath will keep you FEELING alive.

If you are in the Chicago area, please join us for a breath work class this Sunday, August 4th at 9am on the beautiful rooftop deck at Ampersand in Logan Square. Afterwards, we will have ice baths available for even deeper breath work.

Check out details of the event here.

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"YOU CAN GET HIGH ON YOUR OWN SUPPLY" -Wim Hof

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"YOU CAN GET HIGH ON YOUR OWN SUPPLY" -Wim Hof

Does the thought of a cold shower make you shiver in terror? Do memories of winter chill send you hiding under the covers? What if you could reframe that discomfort and learn how to use it for your own personal benefits?

Cultures worldwide have used ice baths for thousands of years to keep the mind calm while making the body healthy and strong. There is great power in strategically harnessing the energy and experience of the cold.

It takes a whole lotta mental strength to stay in an ice bath when your mind tells you to run. Learning to stay and push through temporary discomfort gives you acute willpower that carries over into other areas of your life. Have you ever forfeited long-term benefits because you doubted your tolerance for short-term displeasure? What if you could shift that?

In addition to the enduring mental benefits, ice baths deliver immediate physical results. Even a short period of time spent in ice will reduce cortisol levels for an instant reduction in stress. Then, once you acclimate to ice baths and make them a habit, you will find yourself dropping into a meditative state when facing that cold water. This sense of calm and rising distress tolerance gives you the sort of inner strength and vitality to take on any challenge.

Soaking in an ice bath also helps reduce and manage symptoms of chronic pain, anxiety and depression. As your temperature drops, your body sends blood to the brain and core, reducing inflammation linked to a wide assortment of chronic symptoms.

After only 90 exhilarating seconds in an ice bath you’ll be alert, sharp and energized. Enjoy a lasting positive emotional state for the rest of your day, potentially even the rest of your week! When you go to bed, count on truly restful physical slumber and a mind at ease.

Benefits of cold training include:

  • Increased willpower

  • Icreased physical endurance

  • Increased metabolism

  • Reduced symptoms of anxiety

  • Reduced symptoms of depression

  • Reduced cortisol (stress hormone)

  • Reduced chronic physical pain symptoms

  • Reduced inflammation

  • Improved sleep

  • Improved mood

I know what you’re thinking, this won’t work for me because I don’t like the cold. I’m gonna tell you a little secret: NO ONE LIKES BEING COLD!

The point of challenging yourself in the ice is not to train yourself to “like” the cold, it’s so that you can learn how to accept discomfort, learn how to accept stress. If you felt an ice bath would be a nice relaxing thing to do for yourself, there would be no challenge. The change you want will always be equal to the challenge you must face.

Curious about how ice baths might help you? Ask me! We can figure out if this practice is a good fit for you. 

Ready to dive right in? Purchase your ticket in advance to Deep Line Health’s FIRST EVER Ice Bath Disco Rager on the lovely rooftop deck at Ampersand Cowork in Logan Square, Chicago.

Click the image below to be connected to ticket sales. SPACE IS LIMITED!

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Sober-curious?

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Sober-curious?

Enter: Drynamics.

In Drynamics, we examine how our everyday patterns and behaviors are unintentionally holding us back. We start with just one pattern— the way we use alcohol— and the changes grow from there.

Drynamics is NOT an addiction recovery program. It’s a starting point. Drynamics is NOT about learning how to live without alcohol for the rest of your life. It’s giving yourself a structured three-months of space to grow in the absence of distraction. Drynamics is NOT about turning you into someone else. Your supported self-examination will allow YOU to reveal the self you’ve been trying to find all along.

-Clean up the ways you show up in your relationships.

-Find the missing tools to make progress in your business.

-Throw away bad habits like procrastination and avoidance.

-Figure out what you really want from your life and start making moves in that direction.

-Create some space. Clear out what you don’t need from your body and your mind.

Are you curious about how a program of small changes can bring you big results? Are you interested in reevaluating your relationship to alcohol, food, exercise, etc.? This current session of Drynamics is full and off to a great start. Join me and 20 motivated peers on our next adventure in recreational sobriety, starting January 2020. Plant the seed now and get ready to change your life. Space will be limited. Let’s connect.

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April is Alcohol Awareness Month!

Need some free tips on how to curb your urge for drinking? It’s a lot simpler than you think. I’ll be posting all kinds of useful information throughout the month of April!

Follow me on Instagram @deeplinehealth or on Facebook at Deep Line Health.

Check out this live video I posted today:

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I don't have a drinking problem per se

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I don't have a drinking problem per se

I just like wine. A lot.

And when I used to drink regularly, I didn’t get out of hand with it. Well, not too often, anyways. Wine was just my reward for working so hard! It helped me relax for a few hours. Wine helped me be more comfortable around other people and FUN!

So yeah, I can’t say that I had or have a drinking problem at all.

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Life of the party over here

I was great at getting drunk.Super happy, so much fun to be around. I never got sick, never got a DUI. It was a non-issue for everyone, except me.

However, after I drink…

After I drink, I’m usually anxious for a few days, frequently depressed too. I lack motivation and discipline. I question myself like crazy. I have ruminating thoughts. I’m more insecure, more vulnerable to the opinions of others. Foggier. Weaker.

I have known for a long time that regular drinking definitely wasn’t helping my life. I had BIG dreams, but frequently exhausted from playing catch up for lost weekends, I never seemed to get anywhere. No time, money was tight too. I often just felt stuck.

Still, dropping alcohol seemed way too hard-core. A life without alcohol would be boring! Plus, what would my friends think? What would I do for fun?

Despite my negative beliefs, it became glaringly obvious that if I wanted more balanced days, I had some hard decisions to make about my nights.

I started doing cleanses. At times I would give up alcohol for a few weeks or a month. But outside of losing a few pounds, dropping booze for short breaks never did anything to change my life (besides piss me off). I would always go back to my former drinking style.

But with every passing hangover, the desire to make BIG changes in my life grew stronger. And the longer I studied my patterns, the more I realized that if I wanted my drinking style and my life to change I was going to have to pause my habits for way longer than a month.

That’s when I decided to use the extra money I was saving from not drinking to create a support team of therapists, coaches, healers and body workers. I studied nonstop and came up with unique strategies to change my thinking patterns around alcohol use. I practiced them again and again and again.

Along my journey I discovered all kinds of tips and tricks. I knew what to say when I felt pressured. I learned strategies to help myself when I was stressed. I was full of energy. I felt confident and clear.

But there was still something missing…

There’s a special quality about the culture of drinking. Drinking alcohol creates an immediate bond with the people around you. Everyone’s your best friend, at least for the night. And yes, easy come easy go at times for sure, but STILL, there’s community, a primitive human need, always available at the drop of a drop.

After about the first month or so, I didn’t crave alcohol for more than ten minutes a week. But what did I crave, all the time, was the easy community that alcohol guaranteed to provide.

I knew there had to be others like me. Others who weren’t ready to be sober, but were sick of the status quo. People who knew they would be better off if they just drank way less, but for many reasons, they couldn’t quite maintain the lifestyle.

Where were all of my people at??!

So I took matters into my own hands and in the fall of 2018, I created an alcohol-free, online community, with options to meet in real life. I call the group Drynamics. It’s a collective space with diverse, open-minded people where you can re-start the practice of being YOU. The old you.

No, not this buzzed performance of who you think people want you to be now. The real you, a 100% authentic version. Mask off.

What does Drynamics look like?

There’s live strategy meetings online and unique options to hang out in real life, too. Choose to join live meetings with life coaches, spiritual guides and more. Learn how meditation and journaling can be used as workouts for your mind.

And all of these tools will join forces in the same simple effort: RETRAIN YOUR BRAIN TO ENJOY A LIFE THAT’S ACTUALLY GOOD FOR YOU.

And the best part? The steps you’ll take to become more satisfied with less alcohol, will automatically help you feel more satisfied in other areas of your life. Lil’ domino effect for ya right there.


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Do I miss being drunk?

Eh, I had my fun with it. I wanna do other stuff now.

I made it 6 months on that first break in 2017 and I’ve taken loads of long breaks since then. Removing alcohol is so easy now because my life is just different. I’ve changed too much and drinking doesn’t fit in anymore.

On the rare occasions I have alcohol, (once a month at most), I’m mindful about it. The desire for intoxication is GONE.

If you think you’re ready to check out this whole “living with peace and clarity” thing, the next sober club lasts 15 weeks and it starts in July.

Getting your shit together is fun! Seriously. Click here. Let’s connect.

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A New Sensation

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A New Sensation

In 1945, Joseph Pilates wrote his famous exercise manual titled, “Return to Life.” His intent was to motivate others to combat a “modern culture” full of “constant pushing, shoving, rushing, crowding and wild scrambling.” He saw the damage of this pace “in our manner of standing walking, sitting, eating and even talking…resulting in our nerves “being on edge” from morning to night and depriving us of our needed sleep.”

We live even less natural lives than we did in 1945. Physical health has continued to decline, emotional stress has continued to increase. Many of us feel hopeless.

"Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness."

-Joseph Pilates

In recent years, science has identified the anatomic location where the mind and body connect. It is in our FASCIA. Fascia is our connective tissue and it is present everywhere in the body. It runs deeply throughout every cell, and also superficially as slippery “silver skin,” encapsulating our muscles and organs.

Some areas of the body have dense layers of fascia and other areas are less dense. A single layer of fascia is much like an elastic spider web. Then, as fascia is layered, it becomes more supportive like a mesh, supporting our movements and keeping our bodies in an upright suspension.

This mesh of connective flesh is a single, unbroken organ. For this reason, fascia carries vital messages to and from the body and the brain. In order to maintain clear communication on these fascial highways, our tissues must be smooth and clean. This cleanse is achieved, naturally, by movements which spiral and stretch.  Modern lifestyles, full of convenience and ease, no longer require that we spiral or stretch. 

Since most of us aren't even aware that these movements are important, we simply don’t do them.

As a direct result of an unnatural, linear movement style, many of us have areas of fascia which are bound and dry. If unmoved over long periods of time, these tissues become dysfunctional, which can be felt by the body in two main ways.

First, the tissues will get tight. This restricts range of motion. As our fascia is a singular, connected being; less movement in one area of the body will cause a domino effect of tightnesses throughout the entire physical system.

Tightly bound tissues are unnatural, so the fascia will send messages of danger back to the brain. As there is no actual threat, our emotional stress will increase (anxiety) and the brain may trigger physical pain symptoms as a distraction, a phenomena known in the medical community as Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS), a psychophysiologic disorder (PPD). TMS pain symptoms can include migraines, headaches, back pain, digestive issues, neuromas, high blood pressure and more.

In our present culture, emotional detachment is praised and valued as strength while natural sensitivity and vulnerability are shamed and seen as weakness. Emotional stress, especially when repressed, can trigger a vicious cycle of fear and pain symptoms which can last days, weeks, months or years. 

Learn how to feel well.

What is that like? Physical wellness provides a natural feeling of strength and grace. Look at a wild animal. See how they move with such intention, power and lightness. You can feel natural in your body as well.

Coupled with the support of the brilliant Pilates springs, you will begin to trust your elastic connective tissues to suspend your body through movements. You will gain strength and confidence in those movements and in life. As the limiting beliefs and fears that you hold about your body begin to diminish, learn that you are stretchy. Learn that you are strong. Unlearn everything else. 

Ultimately, my philosophy is very simple: feel more so you can hurt less.

I can't teach you how to stop feeling pain, but I can teach you how to start feeling something else.

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My Pain Story

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My Pain Story

In January, I began to have a deep pain through the right side of my hip and back. I had taken up running and was trying some new classes so I chalked the pain up to some kind of related tweak. I knew there were ways to move which should be helpful. So I did those movements. Some days they were effective and other days they were not. 

The pain continued to grow. It grew so much that eventually I couldn’t sit for more than 10 minutes without excruciating pressure. After sitting, it would take several minutes before I could completely stand and start walking. I started spending most of my awake time in constructive rest position, on the floor. 

I scheduled a deep tissue massage. In the past, this method had always taken care of any muscle tweaks in my body. The massage therapist remarked that my QL was tight and so I followed up with some suggested methods to release that muscle, but the pain was still there.

Next, I saw my chiropractor. He was able to see an imbalance in my hips which was causing pressure in my Sacro-iliac joint. He released my hips and gave me some exercises, but again, the pain had not left.

Four months later, longer than any injury in my life, my frustration and depression really began to grow. I tried to both ignore and conceal my pain while teaching Pilates but I had constant ruminating thoughts:

 "WHAT is wrong with my back?! Where am I weak? Where can I stretch? Why isn't this working? I must have the beginnings of arthritis. Is this osteoperosis? I ruined my body. I don't understand my body. I don't understand anyone's body." 

I stopped all exercise but walking. Long walks were helpful, but I couldn't always take an hour every day, so the pain would ebb and flow.

At five months of pain, I saw a Physical Therapist. He observed no alarming tension patterns but felt my upper body was weak and and advised some strengthening. I know many people with weak upper bodies who aren't in pain, but I started doing pull-ups anyways. Again, some relief was provided but the pain didn't completely go away.

And then one day a friend noticed that I was walking stiffly. She asked me if I've been stressed, lately. I had been under an extremely high level of stress and I openly shared those frustrations with her. 

She replied, with certainty “You have TMS pain symptoms. This is emotional pain.” She continued to tell me that she had a herniated disc and degeneration in her spine. The diagnosis was surgical. Before giving in to the knife, she decided to read "Healing Back Pain" by John Sarno. After that, she visited a doctor who specialized in TMS. She was able to treat her pain without surgery.

She suggested that I write down my stresses whenever I felt physical pain. Look at the list and then throw it away.

I was curious about her experience and I considered TMS, but I did not believe that journaling would help my pain symptoms. After all, I am a person who goes to therapy, reads self-help books and takes time for self-care. I'm on top of my emotional health! 

However, with her experience in mind, I reached out to a trusted energy worker. to help shift some of the negative energies that had taken residence in my life. The session was successful! I left his office 100% pain-free! Nothing. Not even a tinge. 

"Finally," I thought, "Something FINALLY worked!"

It was about an hour later when my pain returned. All it took was a stressful text. That's it. The pain was back.

"What a waste," I thought. "If only I didn't get that text."

The next day, still frustrated, and now having no other body workers on my call list, I journaled. And by journal, I'm saying I made a quick list on scratch paper. I read through the list, I thought about it for a moment and I threw it away. I didn't feel better but I didn't feel worse either. Journaling helped calm my mind down but the pain was still the same. I continued the process for another week.

At first, I noticed that I was waking up with less stiffness. I was able to tolerate sitting again. I started doing Pilates again! In less than two weeks from my first journal entry, the pain was gone! Completely gone!

How could this be? How did my emotional pain manifest into physical pain symptoms? And how could this journaling practice have been so effective?

For one, I have always been an emotionally “strong person.” I can work a lot. I'm the one who helps others "fix" their problems. I have always been very proud of that strength.

Some of that strength, I have come to realize, was not strength at all. Instead, I had actually just learned a useful skill. I had the power to calmly detach from emotional trauma in order to keep things moving. In fact, I could function through almost any trauma! My mind could anyways. 

Essentially, I had learned to be an "adult." An adult who knew how to hit the ground running. An adult who knew that I could sleep when I was dead. That as long as I worked hard, whatever I needed, would happen. 

Thirty-five years of living equals thirty-five years of emotional traumas. There have been big traumas, like the suicide of a friend and becoming a single mother. There have been small traumas, like accidentally watching animal rights videos on Facebook or frustrating arguments with a friend. All of these traumas eventually get boxed up and they get packed away. With age, I had become quicker and more skilled at packing. 

Connecting these pain symptoms to my emotional well-being, was the most important thing that has happened in my life since the birth of my child. Now, I look to my body to help regulate how much I pack into my life. My pain gave me permission to stop pushing and start feeling again. Sometimes I even need to sob once in a while, for like a whole minute, without trying to suffocate the tears away. Instead of creating a constant flow of self-deprecating punch lines, I've learned how to have gentler thoughts towards myself.

I'm not great at it yet, and the pain does come back at times, but now it's a signal for me to check in with myself. Small life changes and the occasional open conversation bring me back to living pain-free. 

Please consider tracking your pain symptoms before you consider surgery. You do not need to have suffered an unhappy childhood or a great emotional trauma for your pain symptoms to be TMS. We are all regularly faced with emotional traumas, both big and small. TMS is the simplest and the hardest solution for your pain symptoms, but one that will continue to reward you with vitality. 

If you would like to talk about your pain symptoms with a Chicago MD who specializes in Tension Myositis Syndrome, please follow this link for an appointment or online workshop.

Recommended Text :

Healing Back Pain, Dr. John Sarno

Unlearn Your Pain, Dr. Howard Schubiner

The Great Pain Deception, Steve Ozanich

 

 

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Park Core Lifted Lunge

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Park Core Lifted Lunge

The swing can offer a huge support for the body in deep lunging. The swing will take pressure off the knee joints to allow for a smoother and deeper bend. If you're tall, shorten the swing by looping it once over the top of the support beams. Remember that old trick? But please don't forget to throw it back down when you're done!

I would love to hear your feedback!

Email me katie@deeplinepilates.com or DM me @parkcore.tv. 

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5 things your mother didn't tell you about your first time...

5 things your mother didn't tell you about your first time...

...going into a Pilates studio.

Have you been curious about Pilates for a while, but still a little confused and scared? Are you starting to feel like the only one of your friends who hasn't done it yet?!? I gathered this list with help from my students to prepare you for that special day you go all the way...into the Pilates studio.

 

Here's five things your mother won't tell you about your first time doing pilates.

 

1. Your teacher might touch you

Touch, or kinestethic feedback, will enliven your Pilates practice. Touch is one of the very big differences between watching a Pilates video and attending class in a Pilates studio. A touchy teacher will help your body understand unfamiliar movements. The touch should be helpful and feel good. It might "hurt so good" kinda good, but should still be good. If the touch is uncomfortable, let your teacher know. Sharing your body’s experience may provide some helpful information for both of you.

2. There’s gonna be foot stuff

The feet are your foundation. They are covered in muscles and fascia. To help connect you with your feet, Pilates is done without shoes. Barefoot is best, but some studios have policies about wearing socks. Do not wear athletic socks in these cases, as you will slip. You can usually purchase or borrow ToeSox at studios which have that policy. And please, do not have to apologize for the condition of your feet. Most people do not get pedicures every other week. Most people are normal, with normal imperfect feet, like yours! 

3. There IS such a thing as too much lube

I love a pair of freshly waxed legs covered in coconut oil as much as the next gal, but your Pilates practice does NOT. There are many positions which require you to grab your own body parts for support. If your body is greasy, you can not grab. Sometimes trying new exercises can feel a bit precarious. Adding additional instability because your feet or hands are slipping on lotion does not help the body open and release. 

 

4. You might cramp 

In Pilates we activate and release muscles who may not have been moved or activated in the last month or year. Don’t be surprised if your body responds to these new movements with a cramp (often in the foot). This doesn’t happen to everyone, but if it happens to you, know that the cramps get less frequent the more time you spend practicing Pilates. If you are prone to cramping, make sure to be well-hydrated before your lesson. Some people can reduce their cramps even more by eating foods high in Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium. 

 

5. You can just fake it

No one will be able to tell that you don't know what you're doing. NO ONE. Well...EXCEPT your teacher. But that teacher was once a beginner and understands how the body progresses in Pilates. A Pilates practice is something to build up over time. As your body learns the details of the movements, your body will move more smoothly. Pilates class is a community space to love your body and nourish it, not a space to shred your body and compete with your neighbor. And the wonderful thing is, even if you have absolutely NO idea what you’re doing and don’t move like that guy in the front row, your body will still be doing Pilates and still be feeling the benefits of Pilates!

SO...

If you are in the Chicagoland area, let me pop your Pilates cherry at Frog Temple in Bucktown. I'm gonna give you my whole class schedule. You can take that as a sign that I'm serious about you.

Wednesday:

6pm Beginner Group Equipment. This is an equipment class designed for first timers, just like you. Introduce your body to The Joy of Reformer.

7pm Slo-Mo Release & Flow. A mat class designed to help release tightnesses before focusing on technique and details. You will feel the work but the pace is perfect for someone who's nervous their first time will be too fast or too hard. 

Friday:

9am Circuit Work-It. You're WILD! You want to SWEAT. You want to be on ALL the equipment. This class will have you on the jump board, reformer, tower and low chair. It's designed for all levels of experience.

Saturday:

9am Group Equipment: A classical-style equipment class. Classical means we do it the way German hottie Joe Pilates did it.

10am group mat MAT class: A classical-style mat class. Get your Joe on again.

11am Circuit Work-It: You're WILD! You want to SWEAT. You want to be on ALL the equipment. This class will have you on the jump board, reformer, tower and low chair. It's designed for all levels of experience.

Your first group MAT class is ALWAYS free. Sign up here.

Just you and me? Let's connect over here.

Keep moving mamas!

Keep moving mamas!

This week's prenatal-safe Park Core exercise uses the support of the swing to move deeper in rotations and extension. Twisting and Extension are two movements that can become trickier to access in later pregnancy. Keep these valuable movements in your body for more comfort throughout your pregnancy.

In much of the Pilates sequence, extension begins in a prone position (face down). Laying on the belly certainly becomes less comfortable as baby gets bigger. However, the body still desires and needs extension for many reasons. Notably, extension also helps reduce the effects of diastasis recti.

Spinal Extension helps safely stretch the front of the body to accommodate for the growing baby. If the front of the body is gently encouraged to open, the risk of tearing is greatly reduced.

Spinal Extension helps safely stretch the front of the body to accommodate for the growing baby. If the front of the body is gently encouraged to open, the risk of tearing is greatly reduced.

Let's not only open the front of the body! Forward neck pulls stretch the connective tissue of the whole back line of the body: Shoulders, low back, hamstrings. 

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Lordosis and Pregnancy

As the load in front increases, the back body shortens to accommodate. This particularly affects the spine and muscles of the lower back.

Finally, adding twists keep the ribcage flexible. Twists also stretch the chest and deepest muscle layers of the abdomen.

If your joints are lubricated and supple, you will have a better outcome for your labor/delivery and postpartum recovery. You'll also just feel better. Keep moving mamas!

 

Lubricate. Release.

Lubricate. Release.

 

Lubricate the joints of the spine and ribcage to help release the connective tissue and muscles throughout the entire torso. 

Movement of an area occurs at the joints and there are over a hundred of them in the ribcage and spine. When a joint experiences movement, synovial fluid is released to help lubricate and move it more, like giving oil to the Tin Man.

What movement will produce the valuable fluid needed to keep all of these joints feeling youthful?

Seated Mermaid.

The broad spiraling of Seated Mermaid will efficiently move the connections throughout ribcage and spine, both laterally and also in rotation. The opening of those joints will allow for a greater stretch of the connective tissues which will be felt throughout the entire side body, shoulder girdle, hips and back. Breathing deeply through these movements will encourage even more movement.

Enjoy this exercise until you feel released.

 

The Return of PARK CORE

The Return of PARK CORE

Standing Swing Series

These exercises are generally safe for pregnancy, but always consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

A squat is one of the most simple and beneficial movements for any body, but especially the pregnant body. Squats strengthen the legs, abdominals and back. Importantly, they also stretch and strengthen the pelvic floor. When executing this movement, let the connective tissue (fascia) of your pelvic floor and hips open even more by hanging into the deep sit for a few extra moments.

After you’ve become stable in the two-legged squat, try the single-legged, figure four squat. This squat is especially valuable for the pregnant body. The gluteal rotators of the deep hip can be very tight in pregnancy, and this movement provides an amazing stretch. Again, remaining in the sit will offer the fascia of these muscles more time to open into the stretch. 

In the figure four squat, the standing leg is working very hard. Make this exercise more stable for the standing leg by including the muscles of the inner thigh and glutes. You can encourage these muscles to engage by pressing firmly into all four corners of the foot. Add pressure to the big toe, little toe and both sides of the heel, as you straighten the leg.

The side stretch will help open a tight ribcage. If this is a new position for your body, pull the swing further away from the support poles. Then, as you become more flexible, you can start closer to the poles for more bend. Just like in the deep squat, it’s beneficial if you can remain in the bend a few seconds. Add a full inhale. The filling lungs will push the ribcage into an even deeper opening.

Once you feel fairly flexible, try to rotate the ribcage toward the ground while both arms will continue to reach for the horizon. This twisted side bend effectively stretches the low back, namely the quadratus lumburum muscle (QL). The QL can be especially tight while carrying a baby because it shortens to help support the extra front load of the pregnant body. Stretching this muscle provides an immense amount of relief in all bodies.

A strong grip is necessary in these exercises. If your hands are lacking strength, wear weight lifting gloves, or wrap a hand towel around the swing’s chain. Your hands, like everything else, will get stronger. 

Enjoy this series often to help support the needs of the growing, pregnant body. And if you are not pregnant, enjoy this series to help support the movement needs that exist in every human body.

PARK CORE Brings the Mystery and Magic of Pilates to Your Own Back Yard

PARK CORE Brings the Mystery and Magic of Pilates to Your Own Back Yard

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The Pilates Method is just a few basic movements, which when layered upon each other, create a series of exercises. 

How will you know if Pilates is for you? Try Park Core for free, and then you'll just know.

Park Core will be loaded with simple, Pilates-based movements you can try in real life. Then, when you come see us in the Pilates studio, you'll get your mind blown by how a degree of rotation or an inch of movement can change your entire experience with these exercises. #believe

Follow on Instagram @parkcore.tv. 

Citius, Altius, Fortius.

Citius, Altius, Fortius.

"Faster, Higher, Stronger." -motto of the Olympic Games

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”Students of Latin see immediate benefits to their spoken and written English. Latin students gain an expanded vocabulary and an understanding of word formation that can help even with unfamiliar words.” - Department of the Classics, University of Illinois
 
“Students of Pilates see benefits to their current sport or exercise program as well as their daily lives. Pilates students learn exercises that teach their bodies to move with strength which will improve all activities, even when the movements are unfamiliar” - Katie Tomaszewski, Deep Line Pilates 
 

Do you drive? What if you didn't have power steering? Could you use your hand and oblique to turn the wheel instead of your pec and shoulder?

Pilates will teach you how to connect your hands to the muscles of your belly, so that you can do that.

Do you like barre class? Could you arabesque without hyperextending your low back?

Pilates will teach you how to extend your leg without letting go of your abdominals, so that you can do that.

Do you luge? Could you internally rotate your feet from your inner thighs instead of your ankle joints?

Pilates uniquely tones the deep hip which will help you internally rotate your thigh bones, so that you can do that.

Studying the method with a thoughtful Pilates teacher will refine the movements in all that you do in the same way that studying Latin will refine your relationship with language. You can still be an excellent runner without Pilates and you can also learn French without a background in Latin. However, undeniably, an education in the fundamentals and roots of any study will always enhance fluency and comprehension. 

Understand why your body moves the way that it does and choose ways to make your body feel better in those same movements. Study Pilates.

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It's all in the hands

It's all in the hands

I routinely see clients who have wrist-pain from exercises like the plank and press-ups. Often, it is not for lack of strength in the wrist, but rather from lack of awareness in the hand. Without a strong connection to the hand, the body will overuse the wrist joint for support. This causes stress in the joint and subsequent pain.

When the hand is supporting the body, make sure to keep active pressure in the ball of the hand as well as the thumb pad. I use active pressure to describe an effort to push down. Below is a diagram which highlights the areas of the hand which typically need more attention to sustain active pressure. By keeping a firm, sustained press in these areas of the hand, you will trigger the muscles of your arms and back to start working. This effort will help keep the body feeling light on the wrist and elbow.

NOTE In order for the pressure in the hand to most effectively communicate with the back muscles, elbows can not be hyperextended. Make sure the elbows are not locked.

TRY THIS! In a plank, press evenly through the hand. Next lock and unlock your elbows. When the elbows are locked, you will feel the work in the chest and the wrist. when the elbows are unlocked, you will still feel the work in the chest but you will also feel work distributed to the upper arms and the back. This extra muscle activation will lift pressure up out of the wrist.

Below is an ADVANCED series. Please try after your body is very warmed up.

If you find the series below impossible, know that in most cases, with a little hard work and TLC (from yours truly), this series is very achievable. Please come join one of my public Pilates classes at Frog Temple Pilates in Chicago or reach out to schedule a private lesson. Click on MENU for links to both options.

Adult the park

Adult the park

Park Core! In this series, I explore using park equipment to accomplish advanced Pilates exercises. Varying movements every day will keep your body moving as nature intended. Look for the opportunities around you and seize them...even if someone's watching!

November 22, 2017

November 15, 2017

November 8, 2017

November 2, 2017

The Psoas pSweat

The Psoas pSweat

Here’s a deceptively challenging exercise, which will both lengthen and tone your psoas. 

  • Stability is key in this exercise.
  • Practice reaching a single leg long
    • Keep the leg as high as your hip, or higher. 
    • Try to access your deep glute muscles to hold the leg in the lengthened position instead of tipping the pelvis. 
  • Find work from the inner thighs by properly positioning your body’s weight over the stabilizing knee. 
    • Keep your body weight on the center of the stabilizing (non-moving) knee.
    • Resting on the outer border of that knee will be more available AT FIRST, but your outer hip will quickly start to burn and become exhausted. 

Challenge your body, but do not continue working if you have lost your form! Take a short rest and come back to it.

The Psoas pSlide

The Psoas pSlide

Try this luscious psoas release after you have finished your constructive rest position to help lengthen and release the psoas.