Bad posture is readily recognized. Stiff low back. Stooped and rounded shoulders. Protruding abdominal muscles. All contribute to aching joints and painful muscles.
Three cues for physical performance can greatly improve posture in the majority of clients: 1. Lengthen the spine; 2. Glide the shoulders down your back; and, 3. Strengthen the abs by connecting ribs to hips. To “personalize” your cues, get a formal Postural Analysis to assess your own posture. A static Postural Analysis will allow you to identify postural imbalances and design an efficient Pilates exercise program to help you look and feel better.
It starts by looking at the alignment of your body from head to toe from a side view. The major joints –ankle, knee, hip and shoulder-need to be in proper position relative to the spine and to each other. Flexed or hyper-extended joints cause stress on the affected joint and on the spine.
Next, the shape of the spine and pelvis are assessed. The presence or absence of the natural curve of the cervical (neck), thoracic (upper back), and lumbar (low back) spine is noted. The ability of the spine to flex and extend with ease is assessed as you roll down toward the floor and return to a standing position. The pelvis may be tilted forward (excessive curve in the low back) or backward (flat low back) and correlates with specific muscle imbalances.
From the front view, the ankles and knees may bow in or out creating stress in the joints. The pelvis and shoulders may be uneven, tilted or rotated.
From the rear view, the position of the shoulder blades is noted. The scapula (shoulder blades) can be out of position in a variety of ways-protracted/retracted, elevated/depressed, tipped, winged and/or rotated. All imbalances that affect the ability to stabilize the shoulders during movement.
Your postural analysis is a good starting point for designing an effective Pilates program and monitoring progress. For instance, a flat low back is often associated with shortened hamstrings predisposing to hamstring injury and low back stiffness. Certain Pilates exercises target the hamstrings for lengthening and strengthening.
Rounded shoulders (kyphosis) and a hyperextended low back (lordosis) are associated with weak neck flexors, weak upper back muscles and weak external obliques. Exercises are prescribed to strengthen the upper back muscles and abdominals and elongate the spine.
Remember, faulty alignment results in undue stress on bones, joints, ligaments and muscles. Correct your posture and improve the way you look and feel. Restore posture. Relieve pain. And improve well being.
“Sandi and Elaine have the ability to deliver a class that meets the needs of all attendees in the class, even when there is different levels of experience. They have a great manner of presenting poses and ensure good form for a safe and enjoyable Yoga class.”
I have taken yoga and Pilates classes from Stephanie for many years, and I can say that she is terrific. Her background in physical medicine and rehab makes her uniquely qualified to instruct and coach with a focus in balanced strengthening, proper alignment, and prevention of injury. I enjoy the low key environment at the studio, and have made many friends in her classes.
Stephanie’s class is well-paced, challenging yet welcoming for first timers and those who are more experienced. She offers seamless coaching throughout and her enthusiasm and energy is inspirational.
“Sandi and Elaine have the ability to deliver a class that meets the needs of all attendees in the class, even when there is different levels of experience.They have a great manner of presenting poses and ensure good form for a safe and enjoyable Yoga class.”
SDK Pilates is great! So far I’ve taken Pilates classes with Steph and Nancy, and I’m looking forward to Yoga with Mark. Currently working on core strengthening, shoulder mechanics, overall conditioning, and my golf game.
I love the classes and instructors at SDK Pilates! Stephanie, the owner, has been a tremendous help to me with understanding challenges I face with a bad hip. Her expertise and medical background have helped me select exercises that are appropriate for me and I have learned there are still plenty of things that I can do to strengthen my body! At other places, I sometimes overdid my workouts (and hurt myself) – SDK’s instructors have helped me increase my flexibility and strengthen my body in a s…
My experience with SDK Pilates has been outstanding. All of the instructors have been knowledgeable and welcoming. All levels of fitness and capabilities are embraced, addressed and challenged. Individual needs are seamlessly met with in the class. Every class is different and I always walk out feeling better than when I walked in. I take Pilates twice a week and wish I could take it every day!
SDK Pilates is wonderful! I have been taking classes from Stephanie for a number of years and thoroughly enjoy both her Pilates and therapeutic yoga sessions. Her training as a doctor enables her to work around physical limitations and injuries and strengthen weaknesses. She has helped me immensely with chronic shoulder issues. The fun nature of the classes, the camaraderie of the attendees and the great workout make SDK classes my favorite way to exercise!
“SDK Pilates’ yoga instructors are beyond wonderful and very reliable. Our community and hospital staff truly enjoy the classes and we are extremely thankful for their partnership with us.”
Pilates has been a wonderful experience both physically and mentally – it relieves stress and gets your body in a “can do” spirit to stretch and feel good. The instructors are the best and the people I’ve met in class are fun to be with. Friendships develop. I will do this forever!