Teaser Tuesday

10928850_10153035819945883_3462015285274761256_nI am posting this just a few days late for #TeaserTuesday but if you follow me on other social media sites you may have already seen it! Teaser is one of my favorite exercises in the Pilates repertoire to do. It really activates so many muscles in the body not only to come into the exercise but to be able to hold it. I don’t do it often on the Reformer, but the exercise is so much more challenging with the addition of the springs.

Read more about the benefits of doing The Teaser and show me your best Teaser on social media using the hashtags #TeaserTuesday and #PilatesEveryDamnDay and tag me in your posts (Twitter: Om_Boy1 and Instagram: Om_Boy)

Acai Bowl

1978685_10152957149155883_4757196625231341062_n

I recently stumbled across something that is my new healthy/clean eating obsession: the Acai Bowl. It sounds exotic and fancy, yes? Really it’s just a smoothie in a bowl, but with a texture like ice cream. The Acai Bowl has become a trendy food item that is found at juice bars in big cities like LA and NYC. It’s a favorite of people to fuel up after a ride at the local SoulCycle or Hot Yoga class. I’m not one to follow trends, especially a foody trend (it’s even weird to think of a food item as trendy to me), but I had to try the Acai Bowl. I’m in love!

Not only is it delicious but it’s super easy to make. Here is how I made mine. In a blender combine the following:

  • 2 Packs of Sambazon Acai Smoothie Packs
  • 1/2 of a frozen banana
  • 1 Tablespoon of your favorite nut butter
  • 1/2 – 1 Cup of Almond Milk

You want it thick like an ice cream texture. Spoon into a bowl and top with your favorite toppings. I added fresh banana, walnuts, fresh blueberries, more peanut butter and some ground flax. Grab a spoon and dig in. It was so delicious and more satisfying than just drinking a smoothie, plus it’s packed with super foods. I like that you can add different fresh fruits, nuts, etc to the bowl, which you cant do with a regular smoothie.

Pilates with Weights

The latest video is a short mat Pilates workout utilizing hand weights. I recommend using 1-3lb weights and no more. The weights add some resistance to the workout, allowing you to deepen the work in the powerhouse. The actual workout is short and begins after the introduction in which I talk about the weights.

Please feel free to view, share, like, comment and subscribe.

The Pilates Teaser Exercise

large_josephpilatesteaserThe Pilates exercise known as the Teaser is the shining star of the Pilates series of exercises. Almost every exercise, including the Roll Up and Open Leg Rocker, that is done in the mat series up until this point prepares you to perform the Teaser. Joseph named this exercise the Teaser, because he felt it was a “teaser” of all that his exercise method worked towards.

The goal of the Teaser is to use your core, hip flexors, and spinal flexors to come up into the position as you balance on the sit bones. Notice in the picture above of Joseph doing Teaser, that there is a bit of a curve in the back, especially the low back as you hold the position. This exercise is different from Navasana or Boat Pose that you see in Yoga, which has a more neutral spine.

Read all about the Teaser and give it a go over the weekend! Practice makes PERFECT!! Get ready next week for “Teaser Tuesday”. I would love to see your best Teaser posted in the Facebook group page, or on your social media and tag me (Twitter @Om_Boy1 and Instagram @Om_Boy) as well as using the hashtags #TeaserTuesday and #PilatesEveryDamnDay.

Benefits of the teaser include:

  • works the obliques more than traditional crunches
  • engages and strengthens the hip flexors
  • stretches the hamstrings
  • increases abdominal strength
  • focuses on balance
  • improves spinal articulation and strength

Tips on the Teaser:

People often struggle with the Teaser not because of core strength, but because of poor hip strength/flexibility or tightness in the back and hamstrings. As you work up towards the Teaser, the goal is to start with and keep the legs in one position (typically out at a 45 degree angles as seen in the picture above) as you articulate up and down through the spine. Having tightness in the hamstrings or hips makes it hard to maintain the position of the leg. You can work up towards this by keeping the legs in a position you can hold, or start with a slightly bent knee.

There are many variations of Teaser that you can try. Start with One Leg Teaser (also known as Teaser Prep) as a modification until you feel strong and flexible enough to move into Teaser 1 (or Full Teaser). Below are two videos on performing different variations of the Teaser.

A Brief History of Pilates

Joe-doing-1001One of the things that I absolutely love about Pilates (other than how amazing it is as a form of movement) is the history behind it. Compared to Yoga, which is 5000 years old or something, Pilates is relatively new to the health and wellness world. It’s very easy to trace back it’s origins to the man it is now named after, Joseph Pilates.

Joseph Pilates was from Germany, and as a child he was in very poor health, suffering from asthma and rheumatoid fever. In the earlier 20th Century he devised his physical fitness system, originally called “Contrology”, which was inspired by gymnastics, martial arts, calisthenics, yoga and ancient Greek workouts (all which he practiced personally). Even at a young age, he worked as hard as he could to improve his health.

joes_roll_upb1dcfbDuring World War 1, Pilates was living in England and interned in a prison camp as a “enemy alien”. During his imprisonment he used his system of exercises to train his fellow Germans in an effort to rehabilitate them from injuries, as well as to keep their health vital and their bodies strong. It’s interesting to mention that during this time there was an outbreak of influenza. Thousands of people died from this epidemic. But, not one of Pilates trainees died. A great compliment to his system of mind, body and spirit health.

Also at this time, Pilates created some of the original apparatus that is still used today such as the reformer. In order to help some of the prisoners that were confined to beds, Pilates detached a hospital bed and used the springs to give some resistance to the moves the prisoners performed. It’s even been said that Joseph Pilates ripped the metal ring off of a beer brewing barrel to create what we know now as the Magic Circle. Even today, much of the apparatus we use was originally created by Joseph Pilates.

Joe-Double-Leg-Pull_0001

Eventually, in the mid 1920s Joseph Pilates moved to the USA, and settled down into an area of New York City. At first his fitness studio was a place where Pilates used his method to train boxers. As the studio was located near lots of dance studios and companies, eventually some of the dancers came to Pilates with injuries that needed rehabilitation. This is how it later became known to some as “the dancer’s workout”.

It’s always been funny to me that so little men do Pilates; thinking it’s “just stretching” or “something dancer’s do”, when originally the system of exercises was used to train soldiers and boxers! I love that currently we are starting to see more men coming to the practice, including many professional athletes.

Pilates wrote two books on his methodology, “Pilates Return to Life Through Contrology” and “Your Health”. Today, a new generation of teachers carry on his legacy by teaching the system to people from all walks of life throughout the world. As more and more people come to learn about the Pilates method, it continues to grow in popularity. Pilates is now practiced in studios, gyms, community centers, and homes across the globe.

Some interesting facts about Pilates:

  • “Control” is one of the Pilates principles. The exercises are not meant to be done in a fast paced manner, but rather to move the body with control. No wonder it was originally called “Contrology”
  • Pilates has been proven to be effective in relieving symptoms of fibromylagia, and osteoarthritis
  • A recent study from The Appalachian State University shows that Pilates improves your quality of sleep
  • Joseph Pilates used to be a circus performer before being detained in an English prison
  • A study on the effects of Pilates on low back pain showed that practicing Pilates actually decreases pain and discomfort in those with back pain. By strengthening the core and focusing on lumbar stabilization we can ease the discomfort of back pain

Pilates Every Damn Day Mat Series

It’s here! It’s here! Pilates Every Damn Day starts today. Here is the video of the short mat series that you can do everyday as part of the challenge. Remember throughout the month I will be posting more Pilates videos that you can use as add ons to this one. For the challenge, the least is to do this video below, but feel free to do more if you feel so inclined.