We are well settled in our beautiful new studio in Maunu with its spectacular view. All the machines are in constant use by old and new clients alike and there is already a bit of a waiting list for the more popular times. That is why we have a 24 hour cancellation policy. There is always someone waiting to jump into any vacant times.
I still recommend doing some Pilates at home to keep your muscle memory strong and the rhythm of your work flowing. If all else fails, be sure to practice your wall work, no equipment needed.
Mindfulness is becoming more and more recognised as an essential part of any exercise programme and Pilates fits the bill for this as well as for strength and flexibility. It is also recognised that correct breathing patterns enhance exercise so do try to follow my breathing instructions, even if it's just to keep breathing and not hold your breath.
It is an absolute pleasure to be back to work with you all in my studio and we're looking forward to a great year.
We have received a conditional offer on Hatea Drive so fingers crossed. I will keep you posted on whether the sale goes through or not.
Whatever happens with the sale, I am taking some months off work from the beginning of June this year. Simon has the opportunity to take all his accrued leave in one four month batch so we are using this time to go sailing north and I don't anticipate reopening again till January next year. I know this leaves some of you with a long break from Pilates as there are no other comprehensively equipped studios in Whangarei. I am very, very sorry to disrupt your programmes.
There are a few other options available to you. Carla is still offering a wide range of mat classes at Just Thrive. Bream Bay Pilates in Ruakaka has a very comprehensive Pilates programme for those of you who live south of the city. Jie may be able to offer some privates if she can find a venue.
We still have seven weeks until I leave on Queen's Birthday weekend to arrange your programmes. Jie and I plan to see you all as usual till then.
I apologise for causing you this inconvenience but this chance to go long distance offshore Pacific cruising is just too good to miss!!! Best wishes, Niki.
Well the clocks have gone back and it's officially autumn but it is the stickiest time so far this year. We are still using the air conditioning at a time when open doors are usually all we need to stay cool. At least the water shortage is getting sorted.
It is also holiday time again, how quickly has that come around ? So we have school holidays, easter holidays and Anzac day all happening this month.
We will close for Good Friday April 14th and Monday April 17th and also on Tuesday April 25th. With the school holidays as well, there will be a lot of you wanting to change or cancel classes so please give us plenty of notice, at least 24 hours if you need to cancel so that we can accommodate all those who want to change.
In the last newsletter, I had trawled through the significant amount of research into Pilates to give you accurate information about its many benefits and the list goes on and on but I will focus on low back pain and the impact that core training has on it. Low back pain is significantly improved if core strength and stability are improved. Your core is not just your abdominal muscles, it is the whole of your trunk from your armpits to hip bones, front back and sides and all the bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons that are part of it.
If you have back pain, the muscles and structures of the core forget how to work properly and in sync with each other and need retraining . This retraining needs to be in all different positions and needs to be dynamic and constantly moving. This is why Pilates is the ideal core training programme, especially with us at NPF as we have such small classes and such well trained instructors and we can always modify for bad backs.
Not everyone has back pain of course but improving core stability is a great way to ensure you never do.
I must just add that walking is one of the best ways to reduce back pain and it will give you the cardio workout that Pilates doesn't. A great exercise combination would be regular walking on at least 5 days a week and at least 2 Pilate's sessions per week. Ideal !
At the other end of the spectrum for the fit and pain free, increased core strength gives dancers and athletes improved jumping and leaping ability. Ask Carla.
We have fabulous news that Val is pregnant and her baby is due in August. We are thrilled for her though we will be so sorry to lose her after 6 years. It seems to be an occupational hazard amongst our instructors !! Jie is hoping to come back and do some teaching soon so we'll look forward to having her as Val moves on to other things.
Here we are already into February when it feels as if the year has just begun especially with the schools only just going back. We also have our two long weekends one after another which I hope you all enjoy so a couple of short weeks too. With the weather the way it is, summer feels pretty endless up here and makes it hard to get back into a routine. Some of you will only just be making your way back to class so if you are returning after a long break, please work a little more carefully till your body is back into its Pilates rhythm.
As you all know, Jie is on maternity leave and will be until at least Easter which has resulted in me taking over most of her work but that is about to change as we have been lucky enough to have a new instructor come to work with us.
Mia has moved from Muriwai to the north and brings a lot of Pilates experience with her including teaching in Finland where her son and grandson live. It will be great to have her as part of our team now and she will gradually take over some of Jie's old classes that I have been teaching since Jie went on leave. This will be very helpful as I am away for a week at the start of March and it will mean minimal class disruption.
I have been trawling through some of the research into Pilates so you don't have to (!!) What follows is just a tiny bit of the research that has been done, there are pages of it so I will continue searching for more and share it over the year in these newsletters. What there is, is all very positive.
Pilates has been shown to improve low back pain and help to straighten out curvature of the spine. It improves spinal flexibility.
It improves both static and dynamic balance and increases endurance. Activation of the power house increases the contraction of other muscles and this is one way it helps improve strength. In cases of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, it helps maintain function and reduce the pain associated with these conditions.
The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends Pilates to improve strength and flexibility so they also endorse the benefits of Pilates.
As I always say when quoting research is that Pilates is practiced at least twice a week over a long period to gain the benefits shown in the studies. It needs to be done more than once a week. If you can't do more than one class a week, a little homework is good. We have the class exercise sheets or can suggest a few of the exercises to do at home.
Mindfulness and centreing are two of the principles of Pilates and we should pay attention to these as we get into back into classes and be very aware of how our bodies feel. If an exercise feels wrong, uncomfortable or downright painful, please stop and alert us straight away so we can modify it for you.
Welcome to the very last newsletter of 2016. It is always an exciting and hectic time of year. For those with children, the term is very disrupted due to exams or school camps or school productions etc etc. With the weather getting so much warmer, we all get out and about more and of course, the seasonal festivities are just around the corner. This makes for very busy lives.
Of course, our big news is the arrival of Jie's baby boy, Kol Francis Kelly, on Sunday November 6th, safe and well. Many congratulations to Jie and Nick.
Last year, we changed our Christmas party to a birthday party in February and I plan to do the same again this year. It is a quieter time of year, the schools are back, perhaps Jie will be back, Carla won't be organising a ballet show and Val's parents will have returned to Italy and I will have some time to breathe ! Plus it's always fun to have a birthday party.
ZIPS MEAN RIPS.
This is not the first time I have kindly requested you do not wear clothing with zips . They have no place in a Pilates studio. Please check your clothing. There are excellent and inexpensive Yoga and Pilates pants around in Cotton On, The Warehouse and K Mart if you don't want to spend a lot on new workout gear but please, NO ZIPS.
From time to time, no matter how fit we are or how well we look after our bodies, we strain or pull something and end up with sore bits. For some of us, it's a regular occurrence especially at this time of year. When the weather improves, so does our time spent outdoors having fun, being on the water or doing a lot of gardening and home projects. Injuries from this sort of activity often respond well to massage and pressure techniques. You don't necessarily have to go to a massage therapist as there are a range of self massage tools you can use that we carry in the studio. The variety is endless, foam rollers, massage balls with or without spikes, soft or hard, purple green or blue ; it's just a case of picking the right one for you and getting one of us to show you how to use it. These are all small and easy to carry and you can use them anywhere at any time you need them. Please talk to us if you feel it might be helpful for you.
At the end of the year, it's always good to recap on the benefits of Pilates which are many and well researched and documented.
Pilates gives you an overall increase in strength and flexibility while targeting your core . It therefore helps rehabilitate injuries of any nature and the pain associated with them. As it is an endurance workout, it improves stamina. It can be done by anyone regardless of fitness level or age so is suitable for both the elite athlete to compliment their programme to the very deconditioned person. The basic Pilate's programme structure can be modified to suit injuries or restrictions while still working the rest of the body. It also has a positive cardiovascular effect. Regular Pilates practice has been shown to reduce back pain and improve function in arthritic conditions. The mindful element reduces stress and helps improve brain function. Also, with summer coming, it gives you a great summer body, if that matters to you as much as me!
There are many reasons for coming to Pilates both for mind and body but the benefits all remain the same. I hope this renews your enthusiasm as the year comes to an end and the busy season starts to take over. And remember, Pilates is also fun!
Our 24 hour's notice is even more important now with Jie away and a lot of people moving from class to class and time slot to time slot. I don't mind getting texts on a Sunday to change a Monday class but if you contact me after 8 pm, assume I won't get it till the following morning. Please contact me rather than your instructor directly as I am the keeper of the diary and so only I know if someone is looking for another class.
My contact information is home, 438 8289 or text 021 036 0448 or e mail.
There is a lot of research on the negative impact of all our devices on our lives so please leave yours switched off and forget about it while you give yourself up to 50 minutes of fun with us.
Traffic can be unpredictable so make sure you allow enough time to get to class before it has started. Arriving late means you miss all the warm up work and you disturb the whole class.
All concession cards have an expiry date. A 10 session card has an expiry date of 4 months from the first session and a 4 session card has an expiry date of 2 months from the first session. Let us know if you will be away and we will make sure we accommodate it on your card but regular attendance will easily use up your card within the time frames and make sure you get all the benefits of Pilates too.
So we need to keep up the Pilates even if life gets very busy or especially if life gets really busy ! See you in your next class.
I just loved watching the Olympics in August. To see such incredible athletic skill and dedication on display was amazing. The amount of hard work those sports people put in just to participate, let alone win a medal is mind boggling. My stand out favourite moment was Eliza McCartney winning the bronze medal in the pole vault. What an unspoilt, humble, beautiful and very happy girl. For once, I didn't mind that the weather was awful in August and felt no guilt at binge watching as much as I could. I think that the weather is improving at last and there is an occasional hint of spring in the air, as it should be seeing as September 1st is the official start of the season.
You may have seen a number of athletes at the games visualising their actions for their discipline, going through their movements repeatedly before their event. Imagery and visualisation are techniques that elite athletes use to enhance their training and is something we try to incorporate at all levels in our classes. We constantly use cues to give you the idea of what is expected of your Pilates moves and how they should feel. ' Roll your marble to 12 o'clock', 'reach your head to touch the ceiling', 'your limbs float like balloons' and many, many others. We try a raft of different cues to find those which work and we suggest you hang on to the ones that seem to work best for you. Use your favourite imagery all the time to help you activate your power house.
Even for elite athletes, time passes and the effects of ageing affect their wonderful bodies just like the rest of us mere mortals. Bone thinning (osteoporosis) and loss of muscle mass (sarcopaenia) are an avoidable side effect of growing older. Research suggests that increasing leg strength and muscle power and improving balance help reduces bone and muscle loss. Pilates is the way to go as it improves strength and balance in safe and supported positions. It is also important to maintain flexibility and put your joints through full range of movement. We need to know if you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis as certain exercises will have to be modified but you can still do your regular class.
We have lots of lovely baby news. Jen had a gorgeous baby boy in May early, by a number of weeks. In fact, she was back in class again before her actual due date which must be a record anywhere. Mum and baby are both thriving and well. You may have noticed that Jie is pregnant ! She is due in the first week of November. We will miss her but it is very exciting as we love having pregnant and new mums in class. We know we have at least one other in the pipeline. Pilates is a great exercise to do before, during and after pregnancy as it makes you so strong just where you need to be but you must tell us really early in case we need to modify anything. We NEVER divulge this information.
We have already made some timetable adjustments to accommodate Jie's ante natal classes on Wednesday nights and may have to tweak further when she has to stop working. I will keep you posted. There is one other timetable adjustment on Mondays at 9.30 am. The advanced class is now intermediate instead to give more people a chance to join. I have attached the latest timetable for you all to look at. All the prices are current including the cost of a shared session at $45. Our special has ended on that.
I know it hasn't been a bad winter but I'm loving the occasional hint of spring in the air. It starts to make you think of summer activities and perhaps how your body might look while doing them ! If you would like to add in an extra class in the week to help achieve a summer body, let us know and we'll try to fit you in.
July is going to be a very interesting month for us at Northland Pilates. Jie will be away the first two weeks, I will be away the last two weeks and the school holidays fall in the middle two weeks. With all these breaks, we would be really grateful for plenty of notice if you are unable to make class or are affected by school holidays. We plan to run our usual timetable throughout the month and August will see everyone back to normal.
It is the season of snuffles so please don't come to class if you are one of the poor people afflicted with a cold. Stay home, allow yourself time to recover and keep your germs close.
It has been a very chilly start to July so you might need some of our non slip socks to keep your toes warm and try to prevent any cramp. They are $20 a pair. Let us know if you would like some.
The latest thinking on wellness is that exercise is medicine and that mind and body health can be enhanced through fitness. There are some interesting facts about how exercise can help your brain.
School students who engaged in a dynamic morning exercise programme improved their reading and maths scores by up to 30 %. We offer morning classes every day of the week by the way.
Endurance training helps the brain maintain memory and cognitive skills and your 50 minutes of Pilates is definitely endurance work. Regular bouts of endurance exercise also helps the brain with verbal memory and learning.
Physically active people are better able to focus on the task in hand and ignore distractions.
For every flight of stairs or equivalent climbed, your brain age decreases by 0.58 years....Not sure I believe that one, I climb an average of 25 flights per day and can detect no beneficial effects on my brain!
There are also a number of techniques for improving physical and mental wellness and performance that you will do in every class.
Relaxation and tummy breathing which is where our breath focus is in class.
Concentration on the task in hand and quietening the mind. Sound familiar ?
Imagery and visualisation which is what we aim to give you with our cues.
Regular and repeated routines. Just like your class.
It is obvious from all of this that Pilates is a great exercise for the mind as well as the body so even more reason to come and enjoy yourself at the studio.
Pilates should not feel painful or awkward. If you are performing a move and it just doesn't feel right for your body, please stop. There is no point in having two minutes of struggle and ending up needing two weeks or more of rehabilitation. Your instructor can always give you an alternative move to do.
Another set of school holidays has passed and still the weather is behaving like summer which is to be enjoyed. We have noticed though that the season of colds and sniffles has arrived. If you know you have a cold, even if you are desperate to come to class and feel okay, please stay home to avoid infecting the rest of the class and your instructor.
There is a very interesting piece of television from BBC Scotland that you can view on line about how to live longer. There is a very simple test that researchers in Brazil have shown to be a most significant indicator of life expectancy. It is whether you can sit down on the floor from a crossed leg position and stand up again just as we do in Pilates class.
It is an indicator of leg strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. As we get older and lose these functions, we are more in danger of falling, more in danger of breaking a hip and never being able to recover. Falls are a significant cause of death in older people.
Pilates is an excellent way of maintaining function and it is worthwhile practising this move as an exercise in itself, not just as a way of getting up and down from the mat.
More research from Brazil where they take their Pilates very seriously indeed, shows how effective Pilates is at improving dynamic balance, the balance you need to move around all the time and not fall. They showed that participants who took part in a Pilates class of 50 minutes, three times per week significantly improved their dynamic balance in just four weeks which is an amazingly short space of time and a very impressive result. Dynamic balance is considered the most important key element in falls prevention no matter what your age or your other activities.
As I say in every newsletter, it is consistent and regular Pilates that gives these results. Twice a week is the minimum. Even if you can't get to class, we have the class exercise lists available for you to do a little work with at home and a trawl through U Tube will find you some good clips if you know what you are doing.
We have a Facebook page for Northland Pilates if you would like to take a peak. Make sure you hit the like button when you do!
Even though it hasn't got too chilly yet, we have noticed people getting increased leg and foot cramp during class. We have non slip socks for sale to keep your feet warm and help prevent cramp. Also, try to relax your feet while working and focus all your work in your power house.
It seems to have taken forever to get into a normal rhythm for 2016 with so many short weeks and long school holidays but I think we are finally there. It's back to business as usual at last and it is very hot business indeed so we promise the air conditioning will be on and there will be plenty of cold water.
Our wonderful tenth birthday party was held on February 25th and was a great night. The cake made by Kim Donker was amazing. Pictures of the cake and of the evening are on our Facebook page and will accompany this newsletter on our website. I made a small speech (which I hate doing) thanking everyone for their loyalty and attendance at Northland Pilates and I must say it again to everyone who wasn't there that night. If you didn't keep coming, there would be no Northland Pilates so thank you all so very much and we are looking forward to the next ten years with you.
I acknowledged some hardy clients who have been around since the very beginning, Rangi Price, Jackie Leech and Jo van de Walt were my original three in March 2006 closely followed by Julie Dakers, Teresa Pickering and Tim Baker. The others who are celebrating ten years with us this year are Sonia Mulligan, Kim Morris, Deb Abel and Judy Burch . Well done to you all. I'm sure you all remember the tiny original home studio then the various works to enlarge it then finally the move to our lovely studios at Hatea Drive six years ago. How things have changed.
How to tell if you are receiving good Pilates instruction.
This is good to know if you ever go and train elsewhere. To start with, your instructor should have trained with a recognised institution. This will mean that they have completed hundreds of hours of personal practice, observation and instruction at each of the levels of Pilates and passed both theory and practical exams. All of your instructors at Northland Pilates have done this. We do not fill our limited wall space with our certificates but we all have plenty of them!
You should never be in a mat class with more than ten people in it. These are our industry guidelines for safe and effective instruction and supervision. Your instructor should be teaching, correcting and looking at you throughout the class, not down on the mat doing the class with you ( except if they are demonstrating a challenging exercise) . We are very lucky to have such well qualified instructors and we keep ourselves updated regularly so you can always have the latest and best Pilates on offer. Beware of imitations !!!
We will continue to offer our special deal on personal training till Easter. This is $35 for either a half hour personal session or a shared session of one hour. Please let me know if you would like to try this and we will organise it for you. It's a great way to get a flavour of how Pilates on the machines feels.
As our classes are small to allow the requisite supervision you should be receiving, we have a strict cancellation policy requiring twenty four hours' notice if you need to cancel a class. Please bear this in mind when booking.
Having had a deserted Hatea Drive over winter when the Mill Rd intersection was being restructured, we now have quite the opposite. Both Western Hills Drive and Kamo Rd have major roadworks on them and this is pushing a huge volume of traffic onto Hatea Drive. Please do not turn right onto Hatea Drive from our car park. It is much too busy, not safe and blocks others from both leaving and entering the car park. You may also have to allow more time to get to us at peak rush hour, morning and evening.
Our car park has generous space for ten cars if all are parked correctly. There is space directly outside on Hatea Drive and both side streets, Mair St and Parahaki St if the car park is full. Monday mornings and Wednesday and Thursday evenings are the very busy times when both studios are in use.
Niki Barker is a lifelong fitness devotee. Previously a physiotherapist with a long career history in paediatric and adult rehabilitation and extensive experience with war injuries.