PMA 2012!

I’ve spent the last four days in Las Vegas at the PMA (Pilates Method Alliance) conference.  While most go to Vegas to gamble, drink too much, stay out too late and exercise bad judgement… I went to exercise my mind and body, expand my knowledge and love of Pilates and meet other Pilates enthusiasts and experts.  And I had a wonderful trip!

The PMA is the governing board internationally for Pilates and was formed to preserve, promote and educate around the teachings of Joseph Pilates.  It’s a non-profit organization and made up of the greatest minds and educators in Pilates.  I had the opportunity to mingle with and learn from Mary Bowen and Julian Littleford just to name a few.  I also learned about Pilates in Motion, an initiative to share pilates with severally wounded (double amputees) soldiers.  It was motivating and inspiring to see how by teaching these soliders to engage core muscles they could learn to walk, run and play sports naturally with prosthetic limbs.

I had the opportunity to attend workshops on the topics of Fascia, Spine Stability, Core Strength, the Pilates Arm Chair and more.  Some of the interesting things I learned:

  • Tightness in the feet overtime will lead to incontinence in women.  That may sound bizarre but if you think about it – tight feet pull on the legs which in turn pulls down on the pelvic floor.  How do you solve for this- Pilates running on the reformer is one great exercise to do!
  • Fascia was a big topic this conference.  If you are unfamiliar with fascia it is the ‘goop’ that surounds muscles, bones, and organs in our bodies.  For many years when examiners looked at bodies – fascia was what went in the bucket so they could get to the good stuff.  Now we are realizing it has a purpose and Pilates can help with keeping our fascia healthy.  Stiffness and tightness is often a sign of dehydrated fascia- using small micro-movements (like pilates can give you) will return water to our fascia in these tight areas.
  • When properly engaging the muscles of the core for a rolldown – here’s how to think about the break down: upper abs pull in, middle abs pull up then in, lower abs flatten across the core.  If you can do all of that you will create the perfect Pilates scoop allowing for extension in the spine. (we’ll work on this together clients!)
  • Many of us miss the spine extension portion of the work – we are going to focus more on that too in class!
  • The barrel – which I have- offers more ways for us to really connect with the work and I picked up some great moves there … so look for that bad boy to show up in your next class!

That’s just a sampling of what I picked up over the past few days. I also learned that as much as I know – there is so much more to learn.  It was wonderful to be surrounded by smart, supportive peers and mentors.  This Pilates community was inclusive and welcoming – no egos or one-uppping here!  If I could do this every three months I would!  But for now- I can’t wait to have you in class and share some new learnings with you too!

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