45 Minute Pilates Makeover

You might be aware, our Pilates class (previously called Metal) got a 45-minute makeover for the New Year! What you might not know is the how, why, and who behind the change.

Lots of things remain the same with this class. It’s still on the mat – no reformer machines makes it an easier point of entry for most students. Unlike at other studios, it’s still in a warm room – 90° with 60% humidity so you’ll get a good sweat in. Lots of great movements are at the core of this class to challenge your “powerhouse” muscles – abs, back and glutes. But we knew it was time to give Pilates a fresh start at Sunstone!

AliciaMeet Alicia Lavender, the Manager and teacher at both our Preston Towne Crossing and Eldorado Crossings locations.

Alicia’s original career as professional dancer, performing in both national and international Broadway tours, was cut short when her dance partner dropped her. The resulting knee injury led her to physical therapy and Pilates.

Inspired by the physical and mental benefits she experienced, she went on receive her 600-hour certified Pilates Mat and Apparatus certification from The Fitness Guru in Brooklyn, NY, and even founded her own studio. She trained with many studios and has helped other studios establish their own Pilates programs. Sunstone was lucky enough to find her last summer when she moved to Texas!

While revising the sequence for the Sunstone Pilates class, Alicia says she “focused on flow, precision, and control,” strategically sequencing it so that students can get the maximum benefit from every posture. Some of these changes include:

  • More movement: As part of her focus on flow, Alicia chose to keep the class moving almost the entire time, eliminating all but one of the breaks.
  • Balancing exercises that heavily work one set of muscles with exercises that work the opposing muscles: After a series of exercises that tighten the hip flexors, for example, she placed exercises that release them.
  • Eliminating kneeling sequence: Many postures performed on hands and knees were cut to make the class more joint-friendly and allow rehabilitating students to focus on their powerhouse muscles and core.
  • Shorter, back-to-back intervals: By the end of the first interval, she found, people’s muscles were shutting down so that they either dropped out or sacrificed their alignment. “The shorter intervals allow you to maintain proper form, but we’ve placed them back-to-back—a one-two punch—so it’s still very intense,” says Alicia.
  • More instruction: The shorter sequence allows instructors more time to convey all the information—very important in such an alignment-based practice! While helping to train Sunstone teachers in the new class sequence, Alicia has emphasized imagery (such as visualizing core engagement as a “corset” of muscles wrapping the mid-section) as a way to help bring abstract concepts to life.

We hope that you feel the benefits of this new sequence in your practice! Try it out and let us know what you think in our class surveys!

 

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