Back to the basics here. Where do you breathe? Where is your focus? Can you listen to your body? Can you create a strong base and have ease all around it?
Check in as you take a breath. Feel where it goes. Notice the expansion of your abdomen and the soft lift of your bottom ribcage. Take a few minutes to just do that. Breathe naturally. Now, gently press your tongue to the roof of your mouth and maintain it there throughout this experience. Then see if you can move your inhale around and create more space through the ribcage. Without forcing, but just by sending your mind there.
Once you've got a little more movement in the bottom ribs, check in around your jaw, collarbone and sternum. Are those areas tense and rigid, or can they release as you grow your breath? Can you keep a soft smile?
And lastly, while keeping the above two concepts in mind, see what happens when on the exhale, you make it last longer. Visualize yourself cleaning out the lungs by really finishing up the exhale. It is akin to finishing chewing the food that is in your mouth before you take another bite of food. After that concept feels taken to its limit, add the finishing touch...go from being a normal passive action of exhaling to it being an active exhale. Try that for 3 rounds and then go back to passive, normal breathing. Repeat 3 times.
Check in around your body at the end of this process. How do you feel?
As I evolve in my teaching, I see the way all important elements to well-being are linked. The notion that health is separated into different domains is a concept whose time has come and gone. At last, western science now concedes that these domains overlap and there is much nuance in the relationship of the different parts.
I am embarking on a new and interrelated path. I have found a wonderful modality that brings another dimension into body/mind work. As I go about the training I am getting to learn about the ways the physical body, the mental body - thanks to new understandings in neuroscience, and the emotional body interact.
To be well, our physical body, mental & emotional self (and spiritual nature) must all be in harmony. Obviously, what I teach here in the studio, is only part of the wellness equation. But what I see is when we start to feel more connected to our body, when we can erase or reduce pain, we regain a sense of mastery, which has a great effect on our emotional well-being. Conversely, when we allocate an hour of our time per week and make the commitment to work on ourselves, our emotional/mental self glows and that radiates to the physical self whose improvements are clearly noticable and felt. So the effects have the potential to create a feedback pathway between the physical and emotional & mental.
With time, in my personal practice, I have noticed that as my strength and mastery evolve, fluctuate , grow, shrink and repair, it helps bring me closer to the divine that is all around. This also permits me to accept with grace and equanimity the obstacles that I have faced and given me the faith to get back up and try again. And I feel the comfort of a presence far bigger than myself or any ONE person. This feeling of support soothes the emotional & mental body, which then softens and balances the physical body and creates flow. This is my observation, what do you think?
It goes without saying that I do not bring my personal, spiritual beliefs into the session.
The studio Accès Pilates is closed again this week because I have a cold. I'm spending my time reading, learning and letting my imagination soar. I'm meditating and connecting to my body - marveling at how the immune system is mobilized. I'm working on a puzzle and dreaming about whipping up creations in the kitchen (which for now is just not practical because I have to blow my nose every 5 minutes! You can imagine then how many times I'd have to wash my hands!?!)
Gift of Pilates
It's true that after a certain age, material gifts become superfluous. Truly it is the gesture of offering that counts. Personally, it has been quite a few years now that the gifts I offer adults will be edible, drinkable and/or biodegradable.
And then there are services, healing therapies and classes/courses. And yes, even packs of Pilates sessions! Since the year 2000, when I opened my own Pilates studio, I get this question, is it possible to offer a gift certificate for Pilates sessions with you, Sabrina Cauvet? I am honest, yes, I am happy to create a lovely, original gift certificate, that is as unique as the person who will receive it is. But is the recipient really ready to dedicate to themselves? It is a question that must be addressed. Consider it seriously: a gift certificate for wellness can only bear its fruits if the person has the drive, desire and enthusiasm to see it through.
I am always amazed, even after 22 years of teaching the Pilates Method, at how wise the body is.
I see people who have suffered pain and physical DISease who then are given tools, information and know-how, who can regain control of their lives. I love to share in that process as people become more confident in their inherent, divine body and its capacities. They escape the confines of a dogma that hijacks the laws of nature, tricking people to believe that our physical bodies are somehow locked into a state of being. People direct their minds to their bodies and the process of change begins.
Nothing in nature is fixed, why should the human body be different? Like a river that is constantly carving out its pathway, our bodies too, change and deviate. The Method that I teach helps you determine which type of path you will flow down.
I have, over the years, been confronted by people in my community who decided to go in direct competition against me. I try to take it in stride, but sometimes it is irritating.
I saw a meme the other day that reminded me that, the eagle, a mighty and noble bird, will occasionally be pestered by crows. One can see the image https://pin.it/4mIPCMA of a crow hanging on the back of the eagle and aiming at its neck feathers. But the eagle is not bothered. It will simply rise and rise in altitude until the crow can no longer stay because it cannot breathe at such altitudes, and it lets go.
That is a fitting metaphor that I have tried to hold in the fore of my mind. How do you handle such situations? Do you use this mindset elsewhere in your life?
I have never opted for anything but the high roads, simply because those are my standards. Thusly, I have been rewarded with amazing people who come into the studio to embark on a journey with a genuine instructor.
We lived through such an unreal time. I did not make the most of the confinement. At first it was great. Some forced down time. A break. I was working out in the studio every other day and that felt awesome. But the rules for going out in nature were how can I say it...RESTRICTIVE. We were not allowed to go past a 1 kilometer radius of our home for physical fitness. So I was not allowed to go hiking at all! So while the air was cleaner than usual, I felt deprived of NATURE.
The order of things on day one of the deconfinement was to get an entire day outside in the clean country air. Then open the studio back up for those who were feeling the void of their Pilates practice.
Here we are, embarking on a new school year and people are making plans. The work in a private setting is a nice option, permitting less exposure to others in a closed setting, and obviously, working on your specific needs, to help you achieve a body in harmony.
Set up a session with Sabrina and feel and watch your body change. Notice your mind stay absolutely focused and develop a sense of your movement potential that you never imagined! TEL: 06 88 34 12 35
Life's little pranks
So, here it is a few months since my last post. What's been going on? Well, despite my healthy eating, proper sleep schedule and high level of physical activity, I am unwell. Let's break this down...
1. Beginning of January I started getting these rashes around my eyes. I thought it might be my eczema returning, but then I also got it around my nose.
2. Started getting really exhausted during kung fu training and running out of breath and heart was pounding well before it seemed should.
3. Beginning of February first I barely sprained my right ankle and was up and about 6 days later. But fatefully, I injured my left foot during my martial arts training. It took me another half hour after the occurence to notice the pain and then I stopped participating in the class and my foot began to swell. Went to see doctor, had X-rays and not broken. However still pain and swelling and bruising. A month later had MRI and CT scan and in fact my 2nd Metatarsal was fractured! Oops, I had been walking on it for about 6 weeks and it had not been able to heal. Prescribed a really ugly shoe which prevented foot articulation and after a couple of weeks, it began healing. In the meantime...
4. Doctor ordered blood tests and turns out my iron level, B12 and vitamin D were all below the acceptable norms!!! This does not compute because I eat very well, perhaps neurotically nutritionally-balanced, I go hiking weekly and practice martial arts outdoors on Sundays for 3 1/2 hours (winter months, otherwise we do all our training outdoors), so I get sunlight in good doses.
Right now I'm doing more tests to determine if it's malabsorption. On my own I'm starting lots of things and stopping other things. I've started Blackstrap Molasses daily (since Sunday), eating lentils or beans daily, at least one egg daily. I read somewhere in all my research that radiation may play a role in malabsorption, and for the last 9 months I had been putting the laptop on my lap, so perhaps my intestines were getting zapped. So, to be on the safe side, I cut that out. Additionally I read that some women at peri/menopause develop gluten intolerance and Celiac disease. Celiac disease is connected to malabsorption in the small intestines, so as of yesterday I'm eliminating gluten to see how it goes.
I have been exhausted, yet barely doing any physical activity. My muscles have become weak. I don't recognize myself right now, I am so frustrated and a bit scared. I'm trying things out and hearing out suggestions. I have an appointment on Thursday with my doctor and should have the labs back to see what we can make out. Think good thoughts friends...
Never too late
My daughter had a friend over the other day. She is 15 and has the body and mannerisms of a dancer. I asked this young lady if she took lessons and she said no, but she would have liked to. But now she thought it was too late. I told her that she could start now and if she was really motivated, she could have no problem making great progress.
This conversation mirrors what I think about Pilates. It is never too late to get the body working at its optimum level. Granted, starting when one is already fit is great, but one can start at any time and reap the benefits of a mindful movement practice. Over the years I have helped people get out of pain, I've helped people to become aware of postures that reinforce pain (so they can stop doing it) and I've guided many people through a regular pursuit of well-being and harmony that the human body is designed to experience.
Private training permits a person to quickly gain access into their particular needs, deviations and devises specific goals to orient them to a body in balance. The lessons learned in the Pilates studio can benefit the person in all of their other activities as well as routine activities. It is an investment in one's good health and will pay dividends into the future.
My whole thrust as a Pilates instructor is to help people learn to listen to their bodies. And hopefully to live fully and well inside of them. The idea is to start earlier in life, rather than to wait until things have progressed to pain and people feel they have to undergo drastic measures, surgeries or the like in order to function normally.
It is hard in our day and age to stay off the computer. We use it for work, school, and recreation. But all of that repetitive use can have some negative consequences. The same principles that we apply to our backs can be applied in this case and throughout the human body.
So what to do when we encounter this dilemma? There is simply no way we will cut back on use of the computer (or tablette), so what are the options? The most obvious thing is to break down the position and analyze what the various joints are doing, then simply, put them in the opposite position. (Note to over achievers: don't overdo the range of motion nor try to beef it up with resistance or what-have-you)
Here is my recipe to nip the problem in the bud...
To me, taking the time to do these stretches is akin to eating kale. I might not always like it, but it is really good for me and once I have my first bite, I realize that it is not so bad after all ;)