"Chair Classes are For the Elderly"
People often infer that Chair sessions are for the Elderly and that they are the easy option!...........I completely understand this take - after all, my mind quickly conjures images of the elderly sitting on chairs in a circle following instructions to lift limbs - so of course chair sessions, per se, are associated with care homes, and the like. We know that exercise classes sitting on a chair are simply, yet importantly, keeping the elderly motivated and mobile. This is good.
However - Chair Pilates is for Everyone
A Chair Pilates Class is for Everyone and is not the easy option! These classes have proved so popular that I offer three a week. One in person at All Saints on Wednesdays at 1030, and two over Zoom on Mondays at 11 am and Thursdays at 10 am.
We use a Chair in our Chair Pilates sessions as apparatus. A chair is a solid, stable, piece of apparatus, and should be just the right size for you. It is important that the chair you use is the right height for you when sitting and when using it as a barre.
How Do I Know the Chair is Just Right For Me
Sit on a dining-type chair, relatively near the front of the chair, so you are able to put both feet on the floor and notice the level of your lap/your knees. Ideally your knees should be slightly lower than your hips. When standing, using the back of the chair as a barre, you want to rest your hand on the back of the chair with no tension in your shoulders, your elbow softly bent and shoulders completely relaxed.
Can I Use Cushions
Feel free to use as many as you like behind you, between your back and the back of the chair, so you can feel the cushions snuggling into the curves of your back. So you feel comfortable and supported.
Why Should I Do Chair Pilates
The chair will stabilise and balance your pelvis. We begin the sessions with awareness of the alignment of our pelvis and start with breath and connection. The chair maintains our pelvic stability and alignment, as we work through the body - with many moves - from the shoulders to the neck, into the arms and the back, to the flexibility of the back, and giving length to our posterior, anterior and lateral chains of the body. Because our pelvis is stable, the process of lengthening becomes instantly and safely effective. We use the chair as stability for our resistance work too, for instance we create our own resistance apparatus with a band around the chair - in an instant! In all chair sessions we find every stabiliser and every mover from top to tail.
We also stand and use the back of the chair as a barre. During the barre phase of the sessions we find every stabiliser and mover from tail to toe with the luxury of our own "just right" barre. This adds confidence and support to every move and, for example, allows us to increase our technique with our eyes closed, and when standing on one leg, and indeed when moving through one foot at a time.
Any imbalances in the body are felt and corrected, leading to effective and constant progress.
When Is A Chair Session "better than" A Matwork Session
Think of them simply as sessions that use different apparatus. The apparatus that you feel is better for you on the day is the deciding factor. I would say neither chair, nor matwork, is "better than" - both are excellent full body workouts. The question is how do you feel today, what's going on for you?
In matwork - we stand, lie down, roll on our spines, go onto our knees.
In Chair, we sit, stand, and barre. In chair you don't lie down, You don't lie down at all, not on your front, or back, or side, you won't roll and you won't go down on to your knees. Just right for second and third trimester and post natal, too. Just right for pre-op and post-op. Just right for visual learners who like to see the instructor at all times.
In both Matwork and Chair sessions, the whole body is strengthened, stretched, aligned and worked from the inside out.
Have a Go Now - Grab A Chair
Sit on a chair - as described above. Slide your heel away in front of you until your leg is full length. Gently flex your foot bringing your toes towards your knee. Now sit as tall as you can and release your shoulders, feel your shoulder blades sliding down your back, as the top of your head feels pulled to the ceiling. Now tip forwards from your hips, like a cardboard cut out that has one seam across the top of the legs, and don't bend anywhere else - not in your back or neck and keep your chest open and your shoulders down and still. Feel a huge stretch in the back of your leg, breathe deeply and after a few breaths ease a little further, still without bending anywhere in your back or neck and continue to keep your chest open and your shoulders down and stable - still keeping the foot flexed and the leg long. A very effective hamstring stretch that you'll feel throughout your body because you're stable in your pelvis and you've stretched through the posterior chain of the body. Now do the other leg.
You're Welcome To Get In Touch
Do email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org and do join me with your Chair - over Zoom at 11 am on Mondays, 10 am on Thursdays, or in the Room at 1030 am on Wednesdays.
"To neglect one's body for any other advantage in life is the greatest of follies"
Wendy Jardine Pilates
PO Box 6945
London W1A 6US
Copyright © 2019, Wendy Jardine Pilates