The Feldenkrais Method(R) and the effortless movement of the skeleton….

    As a Feldenkrais Practitioner, one of my greatest challenges is trying to describe what the Method is, how it works, and what Feldenkrais can do to help you. At first, it seems quite complicated. In reality, it’s actually very simple.

    In Feldenkrais, we focus on moving from our bones and our skeleton, rather than pushing from our muscles. Our skeletal structure supports us, our bones move us, and our nervous system is the computer which functions as the control center. Our muscles simply contract and relax as a result of the messages they receive from the very sophisticated, highly developed and extremely intelligent nervous system.

    I know, it’s a different way of approaching movement, and it may be contrary to your current belief system about the science of movement. However, once you learn to move from the skeleton instead of pushing through your muscles, you experience how movement becomes easy, elegant and effortless.

    The truth is, when you move from your skeleton, magic happens!

Be healthy!
Cheryl Ilov, PT, GCFP

Adding the minutes on the hands of time….

    Changing the clocks twice a year seems like a huge waste of time, so to speak. It doesn’t matter if we fall back or spring forward, I always feel like I’ve lost an hour. Even worse, I can’t find it anywhere, no matter how hard I look.

    Time is a funny thing anyway; it seems to slip away when you’re not looking. Add that pesky one hour time change and it’s amazing how it gets away from us. It disrupts our schedule and our circadian rhythm. On the other hand, if one hour can mess us up, doesn’t it make sense that one hour can work to our advantage?

    A lot of my clients tell me that they are simply too busy to exercise. Between work, family and other obligations, they just don’t have the time. I know, and I understand. However, I explain that just a few minutes of exercise a day quickly adds up and can have a huge positive cumulative effect on their basic fitness goals. Certainly they can manage that.

    They usually look at me as if they don’t believe me. After all, conventional wisdom tells them that they should go to the gym five days a week or at least get down on the floor and do an hour of tedious exercises to get into some sort of shape. But, small changes have a huge impact. And, they are easier to implement and result in longer lasting healthy habits. 

    If you exercise just ten minutes a day, six days a week, you’ll log in an hour a week to get started on a path to fitness and better health. It might not seem like much at first, but it’s a start. If you already have an exercise routine, try adding an additional ten minutes of light weights, core strengthening, stretching or balance training. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel, and that is a powerful motivator to keep going. It’s worth a try. After all, the time is going to pass anyway. Why not make good use of it?

Be healthy!
Cheryl Ilov, PT, GCFP

Don’t fear the reformer….

    It’s funny to see the reaction from most people the first time they see a Pilates reformer. A common response is, “It looks like a rack. Or a torture device.” Until they try it. And, they fall in love with it.

    The truth is that the Pilates reformer is a very safe and comfortable tool (when used correctly) to help people of all ages and all levels of function stretch and strengthen their entire body. Even people who have chronic pain, injuries, balance problems, postural deformities and neurological conditions can safely and effectively strengthen their core, lengthen their spine, improve their posture and learn how to move without pain.
    
    My clients who are injured, deconditioned (out of shape) or have chronic pain are amazed at how good they feel, not only while doing Pilates, but long after they finish their workout. They are also surprised and delighted to notice that their stomachs are flatter, their clothes fit better, and they have more strength, energy and endurance than they ever thought possible.

    My clients who are already fit and active are surprised to discover how challenging it is to do exercises slowly, carefully and on light resistance. Many of them are shocked when their muscles begin to fasciculate, which is just a fancy word for tremble and shake. I have a rule in my office; when my clients shake, I get chocolate. They don’t seem to understand the rationale behind it, but it works for me.

    The point is, don’t fear the reformer. With the right guidance, the reformer is your friend, and it can help you achieve a level of fitness that you never thought possible. And don’t worry if you fasciculate. It just means that your nervous system is busy recruiting more muscle fibers. And it also means that I get more chocolate.

Be healthy!
Cheryl Ilov, PT, GCFP