Meet the Massage Therapist- Melanie Farmer

Meet the Massage Therapist- Melanie Farmer

Meet Melanie Farmer, our in-studio Massage Therapist

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Tell us about yourself / your family:

I’m an independent health-care practitioner. One son who lives in DC with his girlfriend.

Did you grow up in Seattle / how did you end up here? 

I grew up in Kansas City and moved to Seattle in 1985. Moved here for the arts community and creative freedom.

If you could go anywhere in the world -- where would you want to visit?  Mongolia

Favorite type of food or restaurant: Japanese

Favorite drink: Water

Favorite season: Summer

What do you do for fun when you're not massaging? Riding – I’m an equestrian

Is there a motto you live by?

Give what it is you think-feel you are lacking in your life

What 3 items would you bring with you if you were stranded on an island? Water, Food, Shovel

If you could be any animal, what would you be? Eagle

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be? Mary Magdalene 

Describe Emerald City Pilates in three words: Authentic, Smart, Technical

What are your favorite ways to incorporate movement into your life in addition to Pilates? Riding, Walking, Yoga

Melanie is available for in-studio massage the second Sunday of each month. To learn more about Melanie and schedule a session with her,  please check her bio page

Meet the Instructor- Jordan Blair

Meet the Instructor- Jordan Blair

Get to know Jordan Blair

Tell us about yourself / your family: 

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I am a Seattle native, and I have a son studying linguistics in college.

Did you grow up in Seattle / how did you end up here? 

I grew up near Black Diamond and moved to the big city as soon as I graduated high school.

If you could go anywhere in the world -- where would you want to visit? 

I am Italian, and would love to visit Italy.

Favorite type of food or restaurant: I am a big fan of tacos and burgers.

Favorite drink: Rye.

Favorite season:  What’s not to love about the sunny warm days of summer?

What do you do for fun when you're not teaching?

I am an avid fitness junkie, and in addition to Pilates, I love lifting heavy things up and putting them back down.

Is there a motto you live by?

Sidebending is the key to a happy life.

What 3 items would you bring with you if you were stranded on an island?

Sunscreen, snacks, and Ironman to fly me to civilization.

If you could be any animal, what would you be? A crow or a wolf.

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be? Neil Gaiman.

Pilates:

Why did you start practicing Pilates? I started practicing Pilates in 2004.

Why did you become a Pilates teacher?  

I have always felt passionate about fitness and health, and this was such a natural fit for me.

Describe Emerald City Pilates in three words

Fun, friendly, and supportive.

What are your favorite ways to incorporate movement into your life in addition to Pilates? 

I love long urban hikes.

Jordan is available for Private and Duet sessions on Monday from 3:30pm-8:30pm. To learn more about Jordan, and schedule a session with her, please check her bio page

Meet the Instructor- Nora Kosack

Meet the Instructor- Nora Kosack

Get to know Nora Kosack

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Tell us about yourself / your family:

I am married and we adopted a sweet little pup called Ava.

 

Did you grow up in Seattle / how did you end up here?

We moved from San Francisco to Seattle two years ago. I grew up in Frankfurt Germany and always wanted to live in the beautiful PNW.

If you could go anywhere in the world -- where would you want to visit? New Zealand

Favorite type of food or restaurant: ITALIAN

Favorite type of drink: Hawaiian Mai Tai

Favorite season: Spring/Summer/Fall and Winter ;-)

What do you do for fun when you're not teaching? hiking, playing with my pup and doing pilates.

Is there a motto you live by? Everything happens for a reason.

What 3 items would you bring with you if you were stranded on an island? my husband, my dog and sunblock.

If you could be any animal, what would you be? Surprisingly a dog, but only in our home ;-)

Pilates:

Why did you start practicing Pilates? out of curiosity and lower back pain.

Why did you become a Pilates teacher?  to transport Pilates out into the world.

Describe Emerald City Pilates in three words: individual, knowing and fun.

What are your favorite ways to incorporate movement into your life in addition to Pilates? I love hiking and cycling.

Nora is available for Private and Duet sessions on Mondays from 6am-11am, Wednesdays from 12pm-5pm, and Thursdays from 6am-12pm. To learn more about Nora and schedule session with her, please check her bio page

Meet the Instructor- Ellen Liang

Meet the Instructor- Ellen Liang

Get to know Ellen Liang, our new Thursday evening instructor.

Did you grow up in Seattle / how did you end up here? 

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Born in New York where I spent my first decade, then lived in Spain, France and Taiwan, college years in New York and France...also lived in Washington, D.C. and Hong Kong. I moved to Seattle from Hong Kong in 1998 because I had always been attracted to the West Coast and was seeking an outdoor lifestyle and a good place for my daughter to grow up.

If you could go anywhere in the world -- where would you want to visit?

Cambodia and Laos (where I am going soon), I love SE Asia; also interested in Sri Lanka and India, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina and more...

Favorite type of food or restaurant:  Vegetarian or seafood, usually Asian and spicy

Favorite drink: Wine

Favorite season: Summer

What do you do for fun when you're not teaching?

Pickleball, hiking, making pastries, watching foreign or indie films, reading literary thrillers

Is there a motto you live by?

Care for your body like the house it is for your soul, and live in every space.

What 3 items would you bring with you if you were stranded on an island?

E-reader, comfortable bedding, Swiss Army knife

If you could be any animal, what would you be?

A pampered dog

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

Jane Goodall

Pilates:

Why did you start practicing Pilates?

I had been practicing yoga for about 10 years and found it to be a great complementary practice, with more focus on individual muscles.

Why did you become a Pilates teacher? 

I had been teaching yoga for a few years and wanted something new but similar in my toolbox. I became especially interested in the rehab aspects of Pilates and believe it provides a more targeted and deliberate approach to correcting alignment than other disciplines.

Describe Emerald City Pilates in three words. 

Urban training sanctuary

What are your favorite ways to incorporate movement into your life in addition to Pilates? 

Pickle ball, hiking, dance

Ellen is available on Thursday evenings from 4:30pm-8:30pm. To learn more about Ellen, check out her bio page

PILATES FOR PREHAB

PILATES FOR PREHAB

PILATES FOR PREHAB

Whether you know it or not, many injuries begin before the point of contact in which the actual injury occurs. Quite often, we don’t “just get hurt;” We were likely already suffering from some type of imbalance or inadequacy that later met with the wrong movement, and BAM!—we’re looking for the ice pack.

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If we’re honest, most of the time, we’re mindlesssly going through the motions of life, ignoring nagging little pains (because they’ll resolve, eventually), and are generally unaware of what’s going on within our bodies. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can protect yourself against injuries, big and small, by implementing a little prehab into your self-care regimen.

“Prehab” is the term that’s been assigned to proactively avoiding pain and injury before it becomes a problem. By building strength and stability around areas that are prone to injury, you decrease the possibility that anything will actually happen.

Pilates is the perfect prehab approach, because:

·      It is corrective. Corrective exercises are those that fix the problems we may have with our muscle balance or posture that cause an array of preventable injuries. Although recurrent knee issues, ACL tears, and muscle pulls might be common, they’re not normal. When the body is functioning as intended, we are much less susceptible to injuries like these.

·      It’s all about the core. If you’ve spent any time around a Pilates enthusiast, you know this to be true. The “Powerhouse” is the connector of every bone and muscle in the body. It’s been said that if you have a strong core, you have a strong body. If you don’t have a strong core, no matter how fit you might look, you have skipped the foundation. At that point, injury is sure to follow, because your body can’t fully support itself without a solid core.

·      It forces you to stay present. Most people are doing something “here,” but their mind is “there.” When we don’t fully concentrate on what we’re doing, we open ourselves up to pain. When we are mindful, we can focus on our movement, position, and breath. Mindfulness staves off the possibility of things “just happening,” or “coming out of nowhere.” It’s said to be a superpower, and for those who’ve mastered it, life unquestioningly moves up a level.

If you take part in any sort of sport or competitive event, consider using Pilates for your prehab needs. Not only will you see dramatic changes in your core, posture, and mindset, but the increase in your confidence will be exponential.

PRO FOOTBALLERS ARE JUMPING ON THE PILATES TRAIN,  AND YOU SHOULD TOO!

PRO FOOTBALLERS ARE JUMPING ON THE PILATES TRAIN, AND YOU SHOULD TOO!

PRO FOOTBALLERS ARE JUMPING ON THE PILATES TRAIN, AND YOU SHOULD TOO!

Professional athletes often challenge the status quo, signing up for any activity that will take their game to the next level. Several years ago, we learned that professional football players were attending ballet classes to improve their game. While the world today is a little more flexible than it was when footballers were beginning to learn first and second position, some men are still squeamish about entering women-dominated domains.

Pilates is for everybody. It was created by a man and initially used to rehabilitate soldiers who’d been hurt in the line of duty. However, as with other fitness regimens that don’t involve throwing iron around, the misconception is that men don’t necessarily fit in Pilates studios. Well men, it’s time for a revolution.

In case you need further convincing that Pilates is a challenging, well-rounded place to enhance your fitness using variety and engaging the mind, read on to learn how the practice has improved the game of three NFL athletes.

·      Tom Brady—Quarterback for the New England Patriots

Why he does Pilates: According to his former instructor, Tom Brady uses Pilates to improve his footwork and to strengthen his lower body. The variety of the Reformer was a draw for him, too.

Why you should, too: You’re probably not going to need footwork like Tom Brady in your everyday life, but agility is important, no matter what your daily routine consists of. If you spend time playing any recreational sports, footwork is important. If you hike on rocky terrains, footwork is important. If you run around chasing your kids or step on and off of curbs throughout the day, footwork is important. Pilates helps develop the agility and body awareness that help maneuver your body from position to position, effortlessly. The difference between a challenging hike on uneven ground and a disastrous hike on uneven ground is your ability to remain upright, no matter what uncertainties try to trip you up.

Martellus Bennett, Tight End for the Green Bay Packers

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Why he does Pilates: According to stack.com, “To counteract the joint compression caused by weightlifting, I go straight from weights to Pilates as often as possible. [It] helps me work on rebalancing and activating my muscles…supporting muscles that hold up the bigger ones.” His instructor added that Pilates helps him change directions on the field, since his regimen has brought a major increase of flexibility to his hip flexors.

Why you should, too: The weight room is important, and no one’s asking you to lighten your load in there, but just know that Pilates can provide balance to your efforts under the weight bar. “Little muscles” are often ignored in the weight room, as the exercises that target these muscle groups aren’t as well-known and celebrated as the bench press, curls, and squats. However, little muscles provide support and stability for the big ones, help keep you free from injury, and make the big muscles look better. That’s something we can all get behind.

 Antonio Brown, Wide Receiver & Punter for the Pittsburgh Steelers

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Why he does Pilates: Brown’s time in the Pilates studio is geared towards core strength and explosion, which means lots of work for the hips and glutes. According to stack.com, he commented, “It’s not like weight training…it’s all about control and body position, which receivers like myself need the most.”

Why you should, too: The muscles on both sides of the body need to be balanced. It’s no good to have one side overpowering the other. Pilates provides thorough corrective work that will make sure your muscles are parallel as possible. Core strength, control of the body and breath, and body awareness are the foundations on which anyone can develop true strength from within. When these three elements are established and developed, the leaps and bounds in gains, lower recovery time between sets and workouts, and mental stimulation will speak for themselves.

So fellas, are you ready to claim your position in the Pilates studio? No more hesitation. Once you get into your first session, you’ll realize that you’re truly at home.  

FOR THE FIRST TIMERS

FOR THE FIRST TIMERS

FOR THE FIRST TIMERS

You did it! You signed up for your first Pilates class, you’ve laid out your fitness gear like it’s the first day of school, and you’re ready for the challenge—at least you think you are. Here’s what you can expect on your first day.

1.     You’ll walk in to calm, smiling faces. You’ll let your guard down and start to think that your session is going to be either a nice hour of stretching to help loosen you up from the workouts you did earlier in the week, or a tactic to help you back away from the couch potatoness that is your present life. Either way, you’ll laugh at yourself in two hours when you think back to this moment.

2.     You won’t remember sitting upright being so difficult! In fact, you probably won’t remember the last time you sat upright.

3.     You’ll appreciate how long a minute actually is, because time seems to stop in those seconds when you’re holding your arms parallel to the ground.

4.     You’ll be tempted to ask if you can do fifties instead of hundreds, being that it’s your first day and all.

5.     You’ll think to yourself, “My run would have been over by now,” or “One episode of my series on Netflix would be have been over by now.” You’ll start to question all your life choices.

6.     You’ll wonder why your instructor didn’t have you do push-ups at the beginning, before your arms and shoulders were screaming for mercy. But you go with it, because she’s the professional.

7.     You’ll try to keep your grunting and tears on the inside, since this doesn’t seem to be that type of party. How are these people breathing so…seamlessly?!

8.     You’ll lie on the floor after it’s done, hoping no one will notice. “That was totally not what I expected,” you’ll admit to yourself. Yes, it hurt. But did you like it? You kinda did! You’ll peel yourself up off your mat, wipe the egg off your face, and sign up for a package of classes. You’ve found your new thing.

DRINK UP!

DRINK UP!

DRINK UP!

Let the temperature drop a few degrees, and here comes the pumpkin-spiced everything. It seems that every year, pumpkin flavor makes its way into just about any drink we can put into our mouths. And who can blame the powers that be? It’s delicious! But as yummy as it might smell…and look…and taste, the human body hasn’t yet evolved into such a machine that can run on the stuff. We still need our water, and while they say that water consumption among Americans is up 38% since around 15 years ago, many of us still aren’t getting enough. 

People cite all kinds of reasons for not drinking enough water: “I just don’t think about it,” “I always forget the bottle at home,” “Water has no flavor.” No matter why we don’t get it in, our bodies don’t respond to excuses or intentions.

Seventy percent of the human body is water. We lose hydration throughout the day via sweat and urine, and not replacing this necessity could mean illness, dehydration, dry skin, and fatigue. All that, just from not getting enough H2O? Really? Really.

No worries though. We’re here to light the fire under your desire to step your water game up. Take a look at these handy facts that will remind you just how amazing the clear stuff really is.

·       While some people push for everyone to chug a gallon of water a day, that’s not really necessary. Take your weight in pounds, and divide it by two. That number, in ounces, is the amount of water you need each day. If you weigh 150 pounds, you need 75 ounces of water in a day. Simple enough, right? If you work out, add another 1-2 bottles.

·       There is such a thing as water intoxication (when ingesting too much water severely dilutes the sodium in your body), which, in some cases, has led to death. So, while you may need to increase your intake, there’s no need to get all beastmode on the water hole. Just follow the guidelines above, and call it good.

·       You’re actually thirsty way before your body even feels it. By the time you’re parched, you’ve already lost over 1% of all the water in your body. Another sign of thirst is hunger. If you need to keep eating and eating can’t figure out why, you might not be hungry at all. Have a glass or two of water, and if the cravings subside, then you know that all you needed was something to drink.

·       Since coffee and tea are diuretics, the water you get from drinking those doesn’t count. Sorry!

·       Many people who suffer from acne claim that drinking enough water daily greatly diminished, and in some cases, even cured, their ailment. So if you’re tired of breakouts, challenge yourself to 30 days of adequate water, and see if you get similar results.

Even though it’s cooling down and you may not be sweating as much, it’s still necessary to stay on top of your hydration. Keep a log to track your intake, and pay attention to your energy levels and complexion. While other yummy beverages might tickle our fancies for a while, when it comes to the greatest beverage of all time, water still reigns supreme.

On Your Mark, Get Set, STRETCH!

On Your Mark, Get Set, STRETCH!

On Your Mark, Get Set, STRETCH!

Race season is upon us, and runners are tightening up their laces to smash their marathon, half marathon, 10k, and 5k goals for this year. While running may seem simple enough—put on some shoes and put one foot in front of the other—there are lots of moving parts involved in clocking a good time. Even the fittest among us can stand to tweak and fine tune certain aspects of our run game, like recovery routines and such, but have you taken time to assess your joints—specifically your hips—to insure they’re in tip top running form?

Flexibility, though it’s been downplayed in recent years, is king when it comes to keeping you injury free and race ready. The hips especially need to be strong, flexible, and balanced to avoid back pain and a distorted gait. If they’re imbalanced, you’ll be sidelined by unwanted injuries and disappointed by personal records that never get broken.

Flexibility is the strong, silent aspect of the fitness world. There’s nothing flashy about stretching, but when it’s absent from your regimen, you know it. When you’re ready to get serious about stretching, please know that not just any type will do. Static stretching is better post-race or workout, as it is most effective when the body is warm, it lengthens the muscles, and it helps you feel less like the Tin Man the next day. Before pounding the pavement, take a chunk of time to engage in some dynamic stretching, instead. What’s dynamic stretching? Glad you asked!

Dynamic stretching exercises are those that warm your body up through repetitive motions, stretching each body part a little further with each rep. Such warm-ups will activate your muscles and lubricate your joints before a run, making you less stiff and susceptible to injury.

After a workout, pull the static stretches back out, and engage in poses that stretch your body from bottom to top, holding each one for several seconds. This practice will elongate your muscles and reduce the stiffness and soreness that follow a workout session.

Pilates is a beautiful thing for reasons that could fill up page after page, but one of its benefits is that it prepares its practitioners for activities outside of the studio. Consult your Pilates professional about the best dynamic exercises to add to your running program. She’ll make sure your powerhouse stays strong, balanced, and ready for sessions inside the studio, as well as life on the roads and the trails.

Welcome, Nora!

Welcome, Nora!

Welcome Our Newest Instructor, Nora!

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Nora was busy, hurting, and scared.

On the brink of a major life achievement, while writing her master thesis, she struggled with back problems that stood between who she was and who she was striving to be. Nora was ready to be done with the pain, but the thought of shots in her back was terrifying.

In her search for relief, she found a calling.

Nora began her Pilates journey on the mat. One session turned to ten, and she’d begun to notice that not only was her back feeling better, but her posture was better, too. She kept going. Eventually, she progressed to the Reformer, which is now a part of her everyday morning routine.

Nora is a STOTT trained Pilates instructor who believes in the proper alignment and movement of the complete body--everything working together, synergistically. Stories like hers are an inspiration, because they prove that when we give our bodies what they need, we give ourselves a chance at holistic health, free of unnecessary medical intervention. In the process, we may even set our lives on a new path, spreading the passion of wellness on to the next person, who’s also looking for a way to tap into the best their body has to offer.

Would you like to know more about how Nora implemented Pilates into her life to eliminate the back pain she battled? She’s now part of the ECP family, so drop by and chat with her about how she can you help you overcome nagging pains and debilitating injuries the way she did.

Nora is available at the studio on Mondays from 6am-11am, Wednesdays from 12pm-5pm and Thursdays from 6am-12pm. Get on her schedule while there's still room!

Pilates for Teens? It’s a Thing.

Pilates for Teens? It’s a Thing.

Ah, the teenage years—a time of volatile internal change, anger for no good reason, and the search for identity. Adolescence is a trying time in a person’s life, and the challenges of today don’t make it any easier to navigate. How can a young person deal with the inevitable pressure of the years leading up to adulthood?

It should come as no surprise that Pilates is the PERFECT outlet for the youth among us. We could really drone on and on about its benefits, but today, we’ll just concentrate on three.

1.     It’s good for the mind. Although the generations before them may not be able to find much good to say about how the youth of America spend their time, the truth is, they spend a large portion of time worrying about the future. In 2013, the APA ran a study and found that America’s teens are even more stressed than adults. Climate change is taking a toll on the planet, higher education’s prices are climbing by the minute, and social media is creating a fantasyland that they feel like they absolutely have to live up to, even though they know they can’t. Pilates can help slow down young brains and teach them to master the life-altering skill of mindfulness, or living in the present and accepting things as they are without judgment. Can you imagine if we’d all learned this trait early in life?

2.     It’s good for the body. They say this is the first generation of children who won’t outlive their parents, due to obesity. People are sitting more now than ever, as our society isn’t one in which everyday life calls for much movement. If you’re not an athlete, plugging into an activity that gets the blood pumping may not always be a priority. Fortunately, Pilates offers an opportunity to develop a love for fitness without the pressure of scoring a letter jacket. Its emphasis on core strength, flexibility, and body awareness makes it a great fit for students who sit much of the day, or put strain on their posture by holding and looking down at devices.

3.     It’s good for the soul. While Pilates has no religious leaning, its low-impact, focused nature has a way of drawing us into ourselves, calling us to explore the intrapersonal oneness that comes along with thinking about what we’re doing, overcoming hurdles, and strengthening the body that carries us through this life. Pilates helps us work as one complete being. Since the practice requires synergy, teens will learn to operate synergistically in and out of the studio.

What youngsters do you know who could benefit from what Pilates has to offer? Give them a hand and point them towards a studio ASAP. The difference you’ll see in just a month will leave you and them saying OMG.

Step Into the New Millennium with Massage

Step Into the New Millennium with Massage

Isn't it funny how luxuries of the past have become present-day necessities? Back in the day, only cool guys in convertibles with white suits and pastel shirts owned cell phones, but today, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone with a landline. Remember when direct deposit was causing a corporate uproar, but now, people are like, “A paycheck? What is this—1998?”

Well, I don't mean to sound sensational, but massages are next in line. They have made their way from beach canopy vacation luxuries to an integral part of a sound body and mind. Let me explain.

We live in a go-go-go world, where we hustle from place to place to sit more than the human body was designed to. With an increase in careers and activities that require little movement, and the speedy pace of life we rarely question, it's no surprise that the overall health status of the country is less than stellar. It's up to each of us to make a conscious effort towards self-care, and the winning trifecta consists of a nutrient-rich diet, a steady fitness regimen, and regular massage. So why is massage such a big deal?

1.     It soothes your body. A legit massage therapist does far more than rub oil on your skin until the hour’s up. Professional massages reduce muscle tension and nerve compression, relieving you of spasms, contractions, and conditions made worse by muscle tightness. Like what? Anxiety, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, and even insomnia. If you're looking for a pharmaceutical-free method to help alleviate such issues, massage could be your answer.

2.     It eases your mind. Studies show the stress hormone cortisol drops after a massage. What does that mean for you? You don't have to walk around in a perpetual state of tension. Couple your massage with regular Pilates, being sure to practice mindfulness throughout both activities, and you'll start to see your mindset transform from one of pressure to one of peace.

3.     It's readily available. Quality therapists can be found in spas, or you can book them to come right into the comfort of your living room. How's that for relaxation?

So, are you ready to add a regular massage to your list of necessities? Once you do, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.

Elevate your Hiking with Pilates

Elevate your Hiking with Pilates

Elevate Your Hiking Adventures with Pilates

Autumn is right around the corner, and that means beautiful hikes on colorful tree-lined trails! The temps are dropping and you’re ready to strap on your boots, but is your body in tip-top hiking condition?

We’re not talking just a stroll in the woods. To complete a strenuous hike safely and efficiently, you must have strength, stability, agility, and focus. If your last hike left you feeling like your fitness is lacking, or if you’re ready to embark on some tougher escapades, read on to learn how Pilates can take your hiking game from subpar to superb.

Breathe In, Breathe Out

Hikes are a cardio fest, and if you’re struggling to get up the inclines, you’ll be too busy gasping for air to enjoy the natural beauty surrounding you. Above all else, Pilates focuses on breathing patterns and techniques. As with hiking, Pilates requires breathing correctly through physical stress, and in your sessions, you’ll develop the skill of executing deep, full, rhythmic breaths that will work to your benefit, whether you’re lounging around or climbing Mt. Everest.

Body Awareness

Hikes are full of little surprises—a wayward tree root here, slippery rocks there. If you’re not fully aware of your body and what it needs to do to stay upright, you can end up with a sprained ankle, or worse. Agility is about mindfulness and precision in movement, skills that Pilates makes a primary focus. You can’t get through a Pilates session by going through the motions; you have to fully engage your mental capacity in order to perform each rep of each exercise correctly for maximum benefit.

Core Strength

Pilates is all about the “powerhouse,” or the entire core of the body, which includes your abs, lower back, pelvic floor, hips, and glutes. It sounds like a lot, but when was the last time you hiked and didn’t use all those body parts? Think about it. You strap on a heavy backpack, you’re taking big steps to cover group going uphill, and you are exerting your energy in an effort to remain upright and stable. Since there isn’t one movement you can perform in Pilates that won’t recruit the muscles of your core, there isn’t a better workout to whip said muscles into shape.

Hiking requires breathing, body awareness, and core strength to work together, synergistically. Before you strap on your pack and head for the hills this fall, drop in for a few Pilates sessions to make sure you get the most out of your adventures.

Summer Recipes- Halibut Tacos and Fruity Mojitos

Summer Recipes- Halibut Tacos and Fruity Mojitos

Summer Yummies: Halibut Tacos & Fruity Mojitos

We are still in the glory days of summer, so it’s the perfect time to experiment with new fresh food recipes that you wouldn’t normally give a second look. This month, we’re highlighting Pacific halibut and putting a spin on one of our favorite summertime mixed drinks.

These halibut fish tacos are so easy to grill or bake, they can quickly become one of your weekday staples or weekend party go-to dishes. On top of offering you a quick option, they deliver a full range of health promoting ingredients. And the flavor? Your taste buds will be turning backflips and begging for more.

I prefer to use a white-flesh fish for my tacos, since the flavor is mild and the texture is tender. I elevate my fish taco game by putting the spotlight on the seasonings and extras. Halibut is a legit omega-3 protein source; it’s high in energy-boosting vitamins B12 and B6, magnesium, and vitamin D; and it provides the full daily intake of selenium!

You’ll pair the fish with a traditionally prepared nixtamal tortilla and an easy cabbage slaw for the ultimate nourishing crowd pleaser. The versatility of simple slaw leaves room for chopped seasonal fruits like strawberries, blueberries, or pears, or an unexpected crunch from jicama or sugar snap peas.

Now for the drinks.

To add some nutrition to your adult beverage, give a blackberry mint mojito a shot. This drink is void of refined sugar or other ultra-sweet juices that can leave you dehydrated. Now, look below for these refreshing recipes that are full of antioxidants, freshness, and deliciousness.

Fish Tacos with Lime Cilantro Crema

(Adapted from Cooking Light)

Serves: 2

Tacos:

1 lb wild caught Halibut, Cod, or Snapper

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

½ tsp smoked paprika

¼ tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp Himalayan sea salt

1/8 tsp garlic powder

Cabbage slaw and crema:

¼ c extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp lime rind

1 lime, juiced

½ c full fat plain Greek yogurt

¼ c Cilantro, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1/8 tsp Himalayan sea salt

¼ tsp ground cumin

½ purple cabbage, shredded

Optional: summer berries, mango, jicama, shredded carrot, green cabbage, sugar snap peas

4-6 organic corn tortillas (Recommended: Three Sisters Nixtamal, Portland OR)

Additions: avocado, lime

Cabbage Slaw Instructions

1.     In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, yogurt, lime rind, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, sea salt, and cumin. Shred cabbage and place in medium bowl.

2.     Pour yogurt mixture onto the cabbage and mix thoroughly. Add additional prepared items if desired.

3.     This can be served on top of the fish or as a side salad.

Fish Taco Instructions:

1.     Preheat oven to 425 degrees, or prepare grill

2.     Line baking sheet with foil in preparation for the fish.

3.     To prepare slaw, combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Pour crema over shredded cabbage and mix thoroughly.

4.     To prepare tacos, combine cumin, coriander, paprika, pepper, salt, and garlic powder in small bowl. Place fish on lined baking sheet, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil to coat all sides. Rub fish with spice mix until all sides are covered. Cook at 425 for 9 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. If using a grill, wrap fish in foil and grill for approximately same amount of time.

5.     Wrap tortillas in foil, and heat in the oven or grill for 3-5 mins.

6.     Break fish apart into bite size pieces, watching for bones and removing if necessary. Place fish on taco and top with cabbage slaw. Finish with lime slice and additional items if desired. Enjoy!

 Blackberry Mojito Cocktail

Adapted from LetsTalkFitness

Serves: 1 or 2

Ingredients

6 oz blackberries

3-4 mint leaves

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

2 tsp raw honey or raw maple syrup

¼ cup plain vodka or rum

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

½ cups seltzer water or club soda (no sugar added)

4 ice cubes, crushed

Instructions

1.     Put the blackberries, mint, lemon juice, lime juice into the glass(es).

2.     Muddle the mixture.

3.     Add seltzer or club soda and vodka or rum.

4.     Stir cocktail.

5.     Add ice and serve.

***If you want to make this blackberry mojito alcohol-free, remove the rum or vodka and replace with an additional 1/4 cup seltzer water. Also, a fun way to serve the cocktail (either version) is to freeze some of the blackberries and serve them on top of the drink in place of 2 ice cubes – the frozen fruit will keep the drink cold and makes for a nice presentation.

Planning a trip? Pack your Pilates!

Planning a trip? Pack your Pilates!

It's travel season, which means you're probably going to be hitting the road or the friendly skies soon for an escape from reality. Some time off from a normal routine is extraordinary for our physical and mental health, but only if we do it right.

Travel has a tendency to throw our bodies all out of wack if we let it, but the power to maintain your fitness progress is in your hands. If you're planning a getaway, here are a few tips to keep your Pilates practice in line.

1. Put in the extra time before you leave.

Spend some time before or after your normal class having your instructor observe your form and routine. This way, when you pack your bands or mat to take with you, you can workout in full confidence that you're performing each movement correctly.

2. Stay focused.

Trips can mean long nights and lazy days, but it's possible to carve out some quality you time, even when you're in chill mode. You're probably thinking about how exhausting vacation activities can be, or how the point of the trip is to recuperate from the craziness of everyday life in the first place, but arguing with the fact that exercise gives you energy is a battle you just can't win.

3. Do it online.

Does your instructor offer online sessions? Could you tease and 100 your way through a Skype workout? Why not?! Ask if she'd be willing to make that accommodation for you while you're away. That's the beauty of the Internet—it's made the world much smaller.

4. Find a studio where you're going.

In fact, your coach may even be able to refer you to a quality instructor in your destination city. This is a great way to stay accountable while making new acquaintances. And for a bonus, the locals will be more than happy to point you towards the hottest spots in town.

So there they are—four excuse slashers to keep your body moving in the right direction while you're gone. The discipline it takes to stay on a fitness regimen on vacation can empower you. Now go have some fun, and come back rested and ready for some advanced Pilates action.

STP + ECP: Why Cycling & Pilates are a Win

STP + ECP: Why Cycling & Pilates are a Win

STP + ECP: Why Cycling & Pilates are a Win

Emerald City Pilates would like to take a few moments to give a shout out to the thousands of super-fit maniacs who just completed the STP Bicycle Classic!

You trained, you showed up, and you cycled over 200 miles through the beautiful hills of the Pacific Northwest. We have no doubt that you feel euphoric, accomplished, and stiff. While you bask in your accomplishment, let us school you on how Pilates can help elevate your recovery to the next level—not only after ultra-races like the STP, but as part of your normal training regimen.

Upper Body

If you experience pain in your shoulders and chest after riding, chances are these muscles lack the strength to support your head’s weight for extended periods of time. Any muscle group that must stay contracted for long periods must intentionally be developed to do so. Otherwise, you can consider pain and injury a constant sidekick. When riding a bike, there is a lot of work going on with the nerves and muscles between your shoulders and chest. Pilates is an ideal way to strengthen these muscle groups, because it strengthens and balances not only the shoulders, but the muscles around the shoulders. Pilates employs strengthening dynamic and static movements, which ensure a synergistic balance between the shoulders, neck, and chest, taking the pressure off the muscles that work to support the head the most.

Lower Body

If you get off your bike after a long run and feel like being the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz would be a step up, it’s time to give some focused attention to your hip flexors. Pilates considers the hips as part of the core, so naturally, we give them all the attention they deserve. Cycling’s repetitive movements can result in shortened hip flexors, which can cause tight glutes, which can cause pain and injury. Pilates ensures that not only are the flexors strengthened, but that they’re lengthened, as well.

Movement

Cyclists spend a lot of time leaning forward in what’s called the sagittal plane. In order to maintain quality mobility, stability, and balance, it’s important to also operate in the frontal plane (moving side to side) and the transverse plane (rotating and twisting). The body is created to work in all three, so when we neglect doing so, we increase our probability of injury and weaken muscles and joints throughout the entire body.

Working on a bike for hours, while a formidable accomplishment, is sure to throw the body out of balance. Incorporating Pilates into any cycling regimen is a move that will keep you rolling in the right direction.  

How to Love Monday

How to Love Monday

How to Love Monday

Mondays have gotten a bad rap. Honestly, this leading day of the week hasn’t done anything wrong to anybody, but on Sunday afternoons, millions of people everywhere start to dread Monday mornings, consider writing letters to their congressmen and women about adding a third day to the weekend, and question the overall choices and direction of their lives. But perhaps this isn’t the fault of Monday at all—maybe it’s a result of what psychologists call “negative affect.”

Psycologydictionary.org defines negative affect as, “an internal feeling or emotion which is typically experienced after one has failed to complete a task or goal, or where they have completed the task but at a lower than required standard.” Not everyone hates Mondays, as we see on ads for webinars that promise to help you cultivate a life you don’t need a vacation from. The “Mondays” are an individual disorder that attacks those who desire to be “there,” but feel stuck “here.” So what can its victims do to fix it?

Pilates. One session. Ten weeks.

Seriously. They did a study on this, and the numbers show that just one session of Pilates each week, for ten weeks, yielded a significant 12% decrease on negative affect for sedentary young women. It also showed positive changes in muscle mass, flexibility, balance, core strength, ab strength, and body awareness. One of our previous blogs expounded on how Pilates increases mindfulness. One session of Pilates each week isn’t enough movement for the human body, but it’s a good start. And think about it—if one hour can bring such results, what could happen with a regular practice?

A decrease in negative affect, an increase in body image, and the practice of mindfulness can all work wonders for the state of our mental health. Eckhart Tolle, author and spiritual coach, says, “The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation, but your thoughts about it.” When we practice presence in our daily lives, we can see value and beauty in our circumstances, and the dread will melt away. We can find satisfaction in even the most mundane tasks. We can show gratitude for abnormal schedules and the ability to pay our bills. We can look for good qualities in the most annoying colleagues. And we can do it all while creating the physique we want.

How’s that for getting rid of the Mondays?

July Events

July Events

Meet the Artist Spotlight

We cordially invite you to join us for Meet the Artist on July 7th, where Dr. Agnes Lee, contemporary Chinese painter and biomedical researcher, will be the guest of honor.

Agnes will be at the studio from 6:00-7:30pm, displaying specially selected art pieces especially for this event. All are welcome to stop by, mingle with the artist, and check out the studio. Vine Street Markets will provide the wine. We would be honored for you and a friend to join us.

After retiring in 2003, Dr. Lee traveled throughout Europe to study art, a love affair that began as a grade school student who learned to create pencil sketches from her sister. A chemist, Lee assisted the Tzu Chi Organization in establishing a Bone Marrow Registry in Taiwan, and as a result, has had a hand in assisting hundreds of people over the greatest obstacle of their lives. Through all her accomplishments, art remained a passion, and with the help of her teacher, Mr. Deng Zuolie, coupled with the experimentation of various techniques, Agnes has created a style all her own.

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The fun doesn’t stop after Friday night! Join Kelsey on July 8th at Sweetgrass Food Co. for Kegels & Kale at 10am, where food planning will be the topic of the day. This event is free for members and $20 for non-members. Sign up here.

In the mood to give back? Dress for Success is looking for volunteers for their summer clothing sale from Thursday, July 13-Saturday July 15. Please contact Dress for Success directly for more information.

Pilates Anti-Aging Benefits

Pilates Anti-Aging Benefits

Keep waking up in the morning, and one thing’s for sure: you’ll age. We know you’re thinking, “Thanks, Captain Obvious,” but the years fly by without warning. If we’re not diligent in establishing routines to keep us fabulous and fit, the aging process will sneak up on us.

Aging itself is not a disease. The ailments of aging often involve pain, stiffness, and loss of body awareness and control. Disease and discomfort, which are common in the geriatric community, are part of the vicious cycle of pain, which decrease the desire to include physical activity into your day. Everyone’s looking for the fountain of youth, and since that fountain might lie in a cocktail instead of one single faucet, Pilates is a tailor-made solution to combating the woes of the golden years.

Pilates reduces inflammation.

Studies show that mat Pilates aids in reducing CRP, a protein in the blood that increases with inflammation. Compared to resistance training, Pilates was more effective in reducing inflammation. While Pilates doesn’t cause a drastic decrease in the protein, it does increase the protein’s tendency to drop off. Therefore, when paired with healthy diet choices and other consistent forms of movement, Pilates serves as a secret weapon against inflammation, the main culprit of aging.

Pilates keeps you on your feet.

Whether you prefer the mat or reformer, Pilates is unmatched when it comes to methods of increasing balance. The fear of falling is a valid concern, as broken bones and bed rest follow such injuries, making it significantly more difficult to establish and maintain a regimen of movement. One marked result of a regular Pilates practice is improved balance. The heart of Pilates is core strength, and a strong core means more grace, agility, and the ability to stay on your feet when missteps try to knock you down, literally.

Pilates loosens you up.

Remember those arthritis commercials featuring ladies and gentlemen who were just trying to find a solution for the pain and stiffness in their bodies? You don’t have to qualify to audition for those commercials. Pilates is well known for its ability to add suppleness to your frame. Where there is flexibility, you won’t find stiffness or slow-to-heal injuries. The body will respond better to changes in your physical environment, and you’ll find that the ease of movement seemingly adds years to your life.

Paired with other healthy lifestyle choices, Pilates serves as a real game-changer for the more seasoned community. So sign up for a class, and pair the wisdom of this season of life to the fitness of before.