The Six Principles of Pilates

Pilates has always been noted as among the trendiest and most effective exercise programs around. It is currently one of the most popular fitness programs not just in the United States but in many countries across all continents. Among the best selling points of Pilates is that it works very well for a great range of people. It is popular among dancers, athletes, women, seniors, and even expecting moms. What makes the program effective?

There are six main principles that serve as important components or factors in a good Pilates workout. The method has always highlighted quality instead of quantity. Thus, unlike most other exercise systems, Pilates does not require numerous repetitions for every movement. Here are the six Pilates principles so you could better understand the philosophical foundations of the program.

Centering

In general, Pilates physically brings the focus of the entire exercise to the body’s center, which is considered as the powerhouse area. It is located in between the pubic bone and the lower ribs. Thus, you may notice that the exercise movements are energetically and strategically sourced from that center. This makes the program effective in focusing at the core.

Concentration

Unlike other exercise programs, Pilates methods require your full attention. The movements are not repetitive. You have to focus to be able to go on with the flow. Experts assert that if you would bring your full attention to Pilates movements and do them with your full commitment, you surely would attain maximum value and benefits from doing the program. Pilates could also serve as a practical test on how well you could control and target your focus.

Control

You would notice that every movement in Pilates should be done using complete muscular control. The methods are strategically developed to make sure no part of the body is left uncontrolled and missed out. To be able to attain the benefits, you have to learn how to control your movements and the pacing of the routines. It is like observing proper and correct form when exercising.

Precision

Awareness is effectively sustained throughout every movement in Pilates. Take note that there is an appropriate alignment in relation to body parts, placement, and overall trajectory for every muscle. The key to doing the methods in Pilates is in precision. Every movement should be performed correctly.

Breath

Joseph Pilates, the physical trainer who developed Pilates methods, emphasized the use of full breath when carrying out his exercise routines. He advised people to think of the lungs as bellows, which should be used strongly enough to pump air in and out (fully) of the body. Thus, you would notice that most Pilates movements are coordinating with the breath. Remember that breathing properly is a very integral part of Pilates.

Flow

Do the Pilates exercise program in a seemingly flowing manner. There should be grace, fluidity, and ease when doing every movement. If you do so, you would feel that the energy of the exercise is connecting with all the parts of the body and is flowing throughout the body in a very even way.

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A Family Road Trip

Deciding on a family road trip can be a daunting challenge, not to mention an exercise in patience.  However if you prepare ahead of time, the trip can be one of the most memorable experiences of your family’s life.

Here are some quick and easy tips for making your family road trip a fun and safe one.

First, prepare a checklist of items you will need.  This will include first aid kit, food, snacks, drinks, and lots of toys, coloring books, paper and crayons, a portable DVD player so your kids can watch their favorite movies; and a cooler.  A good idea is to ask the kids what games they would like to take, within limits of course.

Ensure that the snacks are healthy in nature.  Too many sugar snacks can have the kids bouncing off the car seats.  Remember, this is a relaxing family vacation and you want to avoid the kids getting bored or repeatedly asking you when you are going to arrive.

Check online to print out games for the road that you and the kids can play along the way.  There are an assortment of puzzles and riddles as well.

In addition, if you have very young children you will need to take the diaper bag and wipes for the occasional spills, blankets and pillows if applicable and a favourite item or stuffed animal for the young ones is a good idea as well.

Second, decide on the destination and then contact AAA for a trip ticket.  Ask for the scenic route, one that is much more calming and pleasing to the eye, especially the driver!

Third, as you check out the planned route you may want to check online to find gas stations along the way that offer the cheapest gas.  Also if there are any points of interest along the route mark them on the map and plan to stop at these sites.

Fourth, while on the road ensure that you make pit stops regularly.  This will allow the kids to run around and let off some steam, while allowing the adults to stretch and reenergize.  Bring along a football or soccer ball so that the entire family can have some fun while exercising at the same time.

Finally, it is very important that safety concerns are met.  This includes having the car checked at your local mechanic or gas station.  Ensure that the oil and filter are changed; the tires are well inflated (don’t forget the spare tire, too); the windshield wipers are replaced (if needed); and the car is in great condition before you head out.

In addition, you may want to place the following items in your trunk: a lawn chair, extra blanket, emergency road kit, umbrellas, water, flashlight and batteries, a battery-powered radio, and windshield wiper cleaner.  In the glove compartment include a first aid kit and cell phone charger.  Keep all medications in a Ziploc bag in the glove compartment as well.

Another good idea is to take a list of telephone numbers including the hotel or motel where you are staying as well as those of family and friends you may need to contact.

If you enjoy scrapbooking, this road trip may be a perfect opportunity to add new treasures to the book.  As you make stops at some scenic sites, ask the kids to find an item they would like to include in the scrapbook.  Or if the kids point out something along the way that they find fascinating, take a picture of it to include in the scrapbook as well.

Engage the kids in the decision making, age appropriate, and allow them to decide what they would like to bring.  Have them pack their clothes (check the suitcases afterwards) so they feel part of the overall experience. Planning ahead of time for a family road trip will save you time, stress, and money.  And the kids will enjoy this adventure, too!

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Alternative Therapies for Emotional Overeating

Emotional overeating can make a person feel imprisoned – it can seem like there is no way out of the cycle of feeling sad, angry, anxious and so forth, and then eating to alleviate the emotional pain. There are treatments that are available, though – some of them conventional and some of them alternative.

Conventional therapy, surgery, and medication have all been utilized at one time or another for the treatment of emotional overeating. There are, however, some alternative therapies that are worth exploring. Here are some of them.

Hypnosis

Because emotional overeating begins in the mind, hypnosis is said to be effective because it addresses the mind directly with the power of suggestion. Hypnosis is not the mumbo-jumbo stuff of cartoons and swinging pocket watches; it’s a clinical practice and many practitioners have used it with success to treat emotional overeating.

Meditation

The intent of meditation as a treatment for emotional overeating is to “tune in” to the emotional thought center that is driving your cravings and/or binge eating. Meditation, sometimes taking a form called “mindfulness,” is the opposite of mindLESSness, which is what often happens in emotional overeating. The person does not really think about what he or she is doing; it’s mindless eating.

Herbal Supplements

It seems like every time you turn around there’s a new herbal supplement promising to help you lose weight. But there are some herbs that can help with the issue of emotional overeating. Here are some of them.

* Hoodia – This much-publicized herb is said to be effective at appetite suppression and boosting energy. Its effects tend to be subtle, and it also has a good safety record.

* Vitex – This hormone-balancing herb for women may help those whose emotional overeating is influenced by hormone fluctuations.

* Ginseng – This ancient herb is said to help sugar cravings and curb the compulsion to overeat in response to one’s emotions. Both American and Asian ginseng are purported to be equally effective.

Acupuncture

Acupuncturists are often asked if acupuncture can help with weight loss. The answer, in general, is yes – but not always. However, the good news is that acupuncture tends to be more successful with treating emotional overeating than just overeating. This may be due to acupuncture’s alleged ability to release endorphins and boost metabolism – making the client feel better emotionally, effectively curtailing the emotional overeating.

Nutrition

Interestingly, having the right balance of vitamins and minerals may affect emotional overeating – it’s not too much of a stretch to speculate that nutritional deficiencies could play a part in this kind of overeating. So make sure you’re not eating a lot of artificial, processed, pre-packaged foods; opt for fresh, whole foods as a general rule. It’s also a good idea to take a vitamin and mineral supplement that is formulated for your gender and life situation.

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I am the body in motion that stays in motion.

This universal law of physics applies to both my body and mind. Once I start an activity, it’s easy to maintain momentum. Knowing this, I can soar past obstacles in my path and remain focused on my tasks and goals.

I create my action plans so they begin with undemanding tasks. This allows me to start any project with ease. Then I can quickly complete that task and move effortlessly onto the next, gaining momentum as I move forward.

The energy of my forward momentum helps push challenges aside. My active and focused mind is able to figure out a way to work with or overcome difficulties. Sometimes I may have to alter my plans, but I always maintain momentum.

It is similar to a game of pool. Once the cue hits the ball with enough energy to give it a strong push, it continues its momentum regardless of anything in its path. When it hits another ball or the wall, it simply changes its path and keeps going.

Like the ball, each and every day I have a chance to take my turn and do with it what I will! I choose to maintain my forward momentum with my eyes on my prize, even if I must change my plan from time to time.

Just as the ball comes to a stop at the end of its turn, I wind down at the end of the day and rest. The next morning I feel rejuvenated and I have the energy to take another exciting turn in this wonderful game of life!

Today, I strive to be the body in motion that stays in motion. With my forward momentum, I can handle anything that steers me away from my tasks. I may change my route to overcome challenges that arise, but I am still on course to attain my goals.

Self-Reflection Questions:

1. Do I include easy tasks at the start of my action plans?
2. What challenges in my life do I allow to stop my momentum?
3. Can I alter my path to get past my challenges so I can keep moving forward?

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Al Jarreau, Singer Who Spanned Jazz, Pop and R&B Worlds, Dies at 76 – NYTimes.com