Are there massages or exercises that can strengthen lower back muscles and prevent lumbar strain? Halle on Dec 13, 2011 Yes, there are Pilates exercises that strengthen the lower back and there are Pilates exercises that may prevent lumbar strain. These are not necessarily the same exercises. When directly strengthening the back with exercises like the cobra (in yoga), prone leg lifts, or plank position, the most important tip is to make sure that the back isn’t going into hyperextension. Hyperextension (extreme arching) does contract the back muscles concentrically but may also create compression, pain and irritation in the lumbar spine. Exercises that prevent lumbar strain could be drawn from a large pool of Pilates exercises that aim to stabilize the spine so that the lumbar spine is not doing all the work, such as abdominal, leg, and upper back exercises. Of course if the lumbar strain is due to spine pathology such as stenosis or disc injury then additional contraindications would apply. To conclude, there is never one exercise that prevents back strain because the causes are too variable. Halle Clarke, NYC Mongoosebodyworks.com
Most women who maintain regular exercise regimens tend to voice the same concerns about fitness—whether they’re pregnant or not. How can I tone my arms? How can I avoid injury? and Should I get a personal trainer? are universal queries; and in reality, it’s the answers, not the questions, which differ when a woman decides to work out while pregnant. Halle Clarke, a Pilates expert and the owner of Mongoose Bodyworks in Soho NYC, knows what women need and responds to these same types of questions on a regular basis. Eager to educate others, Halle was kind enough to contribute to our Ask the Expert series and impart some of her infinite wisdom on Pilates for a healthy pregnancy to you, our inquisitive Zeel readers. What are the benefits of practicing Pilates throughout pregnancy? As a form of exercise, Pilates has an inimitable ability to strengthen the pelvic floor, including the transverse abdominis and the lumbar multifidus. This “inner unit” of core muscles (and other muscles too) are placed under an incredible amount of strain for many months, so the more awareness a woman can have of her inner core, the more pain-free the pregnancy can be. What should women who are pregnant think about during Pilates? Women (all women!) should consider a basic Pilates principle: Every movement begins with a very gentle sense of support from the core. The reason why I stress “gentle” is because, if a woman overdoes abdominal work while pregnant, she can actually create a diastasis, or abdominal separation. There’s a fine line between gentle and not gentle, and it’s important to avoid overloading the abdominals to the point that they work against the body. How important is personal Pilates instruction for pregnant women? Because a woman’s body is changing so quickly, I do think that private instruction is really important. The ways in which they should move their body one month is going to be different the next month. To help her make that transition, she probably needs an outside eye to guide and making changes to each movement. Of course, not everyone can afford to work with a personal instructor twice a week. But it would be a tremendous help to schedule a session twice a month to discuss what types of adaptations should be made as the body continues to change. What positions require adjustments throughout the pregnancy? Certainly by the fourth month, it’s no longer comfortable to lie on the stomach. Around that time, inversions may no longer be ideal as well, which in Pilates includes short spine and corkscrew. Toward the fifth and sixth months, when the hormone relaxin starts to percolate, splits and straddles can over-mobilize the pelvis and be unsafe. The intention should be to prepare the muscles for labor, not to hyper-mobilize the muscles in the lower back and hips. The SI joints can become hyper-mobile during this time too, though a personal Pilates instructor can help to maintain this stability. Interview by Stacy at Zeel
It’s important to stay in shape. We all know that; most of us value our health, and understand that exercise is a vital way to keep ourselves going. Pilates, which offers a low-impact, easy way to stay in shape, is a fantastic option—we know that, too. The increasing popularity of Pilates, though, has led to a significant rise in the number of classes available. The challenge now isn’t finding Pilates in Soho, it’s how to choose the right class. As with any workout, the experience of your instructors and the size of the classes make an enormous difference. Obviously, you want your teachers to know what they’re doing. What use is experience, though, if you’re in a class so big you can’t get the attention you need? Pilates is meant to be a comprehensive workout, leaving you refreshed and energized even as you get fit. Clearly, then, it’s important to have an experience that leaves you satisfied. Mongoose Bodyworks, which offers Pilates in Soho NYC, have you covered. Instructors at Mongoose boast years of experience and an understanding of the most basic goal of Pilates—your mental and physical health—that ensures you get what you need from your experience. Classes are offered in three sizes: single, making you the absolute center of attention; “duet,” which gives you the option of bringing a friend, while still getting quality one-on-one instructor time; and small group, which provides community atmosphere without getting lost in the crowd. Instructors at Mongoose have studied Pilates, yoga, anatomy, and massage to make sure that you get the best workout you possibly can. If you’re looking to get in shape, Pilates is a great option. Low-impact workouts (especially for those with neck or back pain) help you look and feel better without grueling over-exertion. Like any workout program, though, not all Pilates studios offer the same programs, or the same experience. Mongoose Bodyworks wants you to feel your best: and their classes help you achieve that goal with qualified instructors, one-on-one attention, and genuine focus on enjoying your workout. Mongoose Bodyworks 594 Broadway, Suite 904 Soho, NYC,10012
Workouts are not universally interchangeable. To keep all of you in shape, from biceps to calves, can seem daunting. No matter what your workout program, it seems like you’re always leaving something out, as hard as you might try to cover it all. Plenty of programs boast an ability to tone each and every muscle in your body, right down to the ones you didn’t even know you had; it’s hard to know, though, if they’re for real. Mongoose Bodyworks, offering Pilates in Soho NYC, not only offers a comprehensive workout but instructors who have studied Pilates, yoga, massage and anatomy, guaranteeing that your workout will keep you covered, head to toe. Pilates has long been admired for its ability to work all of your muscles, not just the over-trained muscle groups we’re all familiar with. Being healthy is what’s important, not whether you can bench-press a car. Instructors at Mongoose understand that, and they want your experience to be something you can be enthusiastic about, leaving their clients with a sense of refreshed energy that they can carry out of the studio and into the rest of the world. Pilates is designed to work out your body without undue strain on your muscles; focused on engaging all the core muscles used for everything from a long walk to an endurance run, the idea is to find balance between fitness and over-exertion, between physical and mental health. Mongoose, offering Pilates in NYC downtown, understands those divides, and strives to ensure that their workouts engage their clients on all fronts. Flexibility, endurance, proper breathing, and expert instruction guarantee that your workout will meet those goals. Most of us exercise to be healthier, not to prove to the entire world that we can have grapefruit-sized biceps. Improving your body in its entirety through a comprehensive workout might not make you look like a body builder; but you will look and feel better. What’s really important, after all—having arms so big you can’t buy normal shirts, or being healthy, fit, and ready to take on the world?
Pilates might seem like a recent fad. Certainly, it has an aura of “buzz” quality; celebrity converts, books being published left and right. However, Mongoose Bodyworks, offering Pilates in Soho NYC, is anything but a recent addition. In fact, one might say Mongoose was into Pilates before Pilates was cool: since 1999, Mongoose has been offering classes, providing expert instruction from the tranquil, convenient setting of its Soho studio. There’s a reason for the current popularity of Pilates. As a workout, Pilates offers flexibility, strength, and an emphasis on both mental and physical health. We all know a good workout both relaxes and energizes: feeling good and looking good keep us going in the face of hectic schedules and busy lives. Through small classes—offered either in “private,” “duet,” or “small group”—the instructors at Mongoose Bodyworks strive to ensure that you receive the attention you need. Whether you want to get fit or just make sure you have enough energy to keep up with a busy schedule, Pilates is a great way to meet those goals. It takes years to truly become great at something, and the instructors at Mongoose can attest to that; they’ve dedicated countless hours to Pilates, yoga, anatomy, and massage, to truly be the best they can be. As with anything, experience is key, and the classes at Mongoose prove it. Tailored to give you the best experience possible by emphasizing the connection between body and mind, Mongoose—ever so conveniently offering Pilates in Soho NYC— keeps classes small to ensure that you get the attention you need. Pilates might seem “faddish” at the moment. Mongoose Bodyworks, though, is anything but a fad, and its instructors know that the only way to truly understand what they teach is through dedication. Pilates offers a workout that builds muscle, promotes relaxation and provides energy for world-weary clients. Devoting years to the study of Pilates and its effect on the body, the staff at Mongoose offer a wealth of experience from their studio: all they ask is that you come give them a try.
Despite what coffee commercials might tell us, it’s hard to stay energetic. A morning caffeine fix just isn’t quite enough to stay cheerful and bouncy through the entire day, no matter how cheerful you are. There is, however, one sure fix for the energy deprived: staying in shape. Exercise doesn’t just keep us looking great, it keeps us on the go, long after the coffee gives up. Mongoose Bodyworks, teaching Pilates in Soho NYC, knows the benefit of a good workout on work-weary clients; and their enthusiasm, it can be said, is contagious. While it might seem like a drag, fitting classes into already-packed schedules, Pilates is really the key to making sure those same schedules are kept with all the energy and attention they deserve. Instructors at Mongoose know how important it is to feel great physically and mentally; their years of experience attest to the fact that they’re committed to what they teach. With a workout designed to help you understand your body, Mongoose strives to ensure that all their clients are prepared to meet life’s challenges head-on. For those of us with chronic neck or back pain, feeling “peppy” 24/7 can be even more of a challenge. Pilates, however, has long been a refuge for chronic pain sufferers. Low-impact workout plans, dedicated to flexibility and overall harmony between body and mind, make Pilates an ideal solution. The instructors at Mongoose Bodyworks, offering Pilates in NYC downtown, are experienced with chronic pain and offer a workout designed to not only perk you up but to keep those aches at bay. It’s one of those “true-isms” that can’t be avoided: caffeine might perk you up for a few hours, but to really stay energized, a regular workout is key. Mongoose Bodyworks, in downtown NYC, designs their classes with that in mind. Emphasizing the connection between mental and physical health, Mongoose ensures that their clients not only stay in great shape, but also carry that energy and enthusiasm out of the studio and into the rest of their lives, busy schedules and all.
We all know the feeling. That moment when, halfway up the stairs, you realize you’re breathing a little too heavily. Or the point where you realize you’re not as flexible as you were, say, a few years ago. Whatever it is, it’s a moment we’ve all had: the moment when you realize it’s time to get in shape. There are lots of ways to get fit: but with daunting schedules and on-the-go lifestyles, it’s easy for exercise to fall by the wayside. Mongoose Bodyworks, which teaches Pilates in Soho NYC, wants to help. Staying healthy is, obviously, important: but being in shape also keeps us relaxed, cheerful, and ready to keep up with hectic schedules and busy lives. We’re not all up to ten-mile sprints or hours of bodybuilding, though, and a “spin” class can verge on the ridiculous—so much spandex! I, personally, suffer from a condition I like to term “workout awkwardness.” Sure, sweating is good for me. Sure, I love Pilates. I just don’t like people seeing my “do you feel the burn?” face. Thankfully, Mongoose has people like me covered; classes are offered in “single,” “duet,” or “small group,” ensuring that workout sessions are comfortable and intimate. Extra attention from the instructors doesn’t hurt, either. “Duet,” which lets you bring a partner, saves both of you money and means that you get to share your post-workout glow without worrying about how silly you may or may not have looked—not to mention that the convenience of offering Pilates in NYC downtown means that Mongoose is accessible whatever your schedule. Pilates has become more and more popular over the last few years, among all kinds of fitness enthusiasts—from celebrities to coworkers, it’s hard not to hear about everything Pilates has to offer. Emphasizing muscle control, flexibility, and attention to breathing, it helps you get in shape without feeling like you’re in boot camp. The instructors at Mongoose know that it’s important for you to feel comfortable, and for you to leave feeling good about your workout, and about yourself.
Whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle tone, or simply help yourself feel like a better, healthier you, Mongoose Bodyworks has you covered. The studio, offering Pilates in Soho, NYC, promises not only a tranquil setting for your workout but downtown convenience and enthusiastic, expert instruction from certified Pilates instructors. Taught either in private, “duet,” or small group classes, Mongoose Bodyworks is less about “bulking up” than learning to be closer to your body and meeting your personal goals. Intimidated? Don’t be. Pilates isn’t just for experts or the workout-obsessed. Emphasizing muscle control, flexibility, and strength, the workout method has experienced budding popularity over the last decade, especially due to its low-impact method of muscle building. Mongoose puts the priority on your comfort and the quality of your experience; after all, an unpleasant workout isn’t only off-putting, it’s counter-productive. For some of us, a regular workout can seem unachievable. Busy schedules, tense workdays, and stress can make the gym seem like systematic torture, not healthy relaxation. For those with chronic back or neck pain (spending hours at a desk, perhaps?), exercise can feel downright risky: is staying fit worth a doctor’s visit? Pilates in NYC downtown at Mongoose Bodyworks offers low-impact, breathing-centric exercises that not only promise not to exacerbate current issues; they offer lasting improvement. The instructors are familiar and comfortable with clients looking to ease chronic pain issues: they offer years of experience, whether you’re a chronic pain sufferer or “pain free” and just looking for a healthier lifestyle. Life can be frantic. It’s a challenge to stay on top of everything; the majority of us have a hard enough time, between work, our private lives, and taking care of ourselves. Pilates is more than a celebrity-fueled fad or workout craze: it’s an experience meant to help all of you, mind, body, and soul. With small classes, a tranquil setting, and certified instructors, Mongoose Bodyworks ensures that your experience will keep you cheerful, fit, and relaxed—no matter how stressful the rest of your life might be.
No one really listens and takes the advice of their mothers, especially when something new is involved and mom just does not seem to be up on her information. I am shamefully guilty of ignoring my mother’s advice, even if it may be about one of the best NY Pilates classes that will change the way I view workouts. My story is more of a tribute to my mom and I want to thank her for directing me to Mongoose Bodyworks. My mom has always exercised, back in the day of Jane Fonda’s shiny leotard. I remember watching her jump around our living room, following these tapes and perfecting her moves. She turned to light weights to tone trouble areas and was quick to jump on the dance-aerobic bandwagon. All these seemed like silly ways to get in shape. At just 10 years old, what did I know? I was young, healthy and fit. All I needed to do was going outside and play; I did not understand the struggles of the adult body. When I became and adult and mother myself, I found that I needed to find a way to “play” again. Of course, this led to actual workouts. Being younger than my mom is, I found that I looked to newer workouts, joining a gym for all the cardio machines available. With a weak mid section, I began to look into New York Pilates studios since there has been a bunch of new information stating that Pilates will tighten your core. I was all about trying that. During lunch with my sister, she mentioned mom’s new workout and how she has gone to Mongoose Bodyworks in search of a better 60-year-old body. My jaw dropped as I realized that this was the very conversation that I have been ignoring for the last few months. My mom looks great and she only does Pilates and a little light walking. I admit I am jealous of her results. Apparently, she knows something that I should have been paying attention to, Pilate’s classes are the way to go if you want to change something and Mongoose Bodyworks classes deliver results.
I never thought of myself as someone that would take a Pilates class. I spent all my time working up a sweat on the elliptical machines and pumping iron in the weight room. I was pretty convinced that there was nothing that could compete, never mind top, the workouts that I was doing. This was before I looked into New York Pilates studios. This is where I found a workout that exceeded my expectations. To me, Pilates was nothing more than another name for yoga. I did not spend any time learning just what this was and how it can help me achieve a higher level of fitness. Instead, I focused on lifting heavier weights and pushing harder in my cardio workouts. I turned to the internet to find some answers as to what Pilates is and how it can help me condition my body in a way that I have never thought of before, through flexibility improvement. In my searches, I found New York Pilates sessions in the Manhattan area that caught my eye. Mongoose Bodyworks seemed to be what I was looking for since they work on flexibility and aim to improve strength in addition to working on the “core” of the body. Even more impressive was the list of instructors that range from massage, yoga and energy. They all come from different backgrounds as well; some are dancers as well as physical therapists. I am feeling confident that I will gain more strength through private sessions. I have always been one that enjoys learning new things but find that I can be a little shy. Mongoose Bodyworks offers different sessions depending on your level of comfort. I can say that Pilates gives me a different kind of workout, one that I did not expect to be as difficult. It is much more than some stretching, I actually find that my body quivers where muscles are not as strong as I expect them to be. With time, I feel that those areas that I have let remain weak will begin to build strength. This has been a fantastic addition to my regular workouts and I leave feeling renewed, ready for a new day.