Align Pilates Team

Align Pilates Team

If you want to get in shape, better your life, or just need help with finding the best Pilates and yoga experience, connect with Nicole or Cara by calling (949) 481-3577, stop by the studio at 31896 Plaza Drive, Suite E-6 in San Juan Capistrano or visit www.alignpilatescenter.com

There is no shortage of reasons why people suffer from neck pain, but primarily, the root cause is due to improper posture of the spine. The lack of strength from core muscles not supporting the head correctly overtime wreaks havoc on the neck.

You probably guessed it, improper posture is no doubt an outcome of today’s reliance on technology. With the constant checking of smartphones, typing on computers, and driving, plus, the stressful pace of life, people’s posture have suffered and become what is known as a “forward leading head” syndrome. This leads to postures like rounded shoulders, or a kyphotic posture. These actions put way too much stress on the structure of the neck, consequentially leading to many issues like headaches, muscle soreness, pinched nerves and degenerating spinal discs. These issues quickly become debilitating with pain, making everyday life very miserable.

If you suffer from neck pain, there can be a holistic answer to alleviating the symptoms. At Align, we believe that pilates and yoga can help prevent all of this from happening.

Both modalities of movement are grounded on the premise of correct spinal alignment and achieving a balanced posture. Joseph Pilates, the inventor of the pilates practice, believed that the spine was the key to physical and emotional well-being. He once said“Neutral spine alignment is everything. If your spine is stiff at 30, you are old.

If it is flexible at 60, you are young.”

Starting with their first pilates session, one is taught how to put their spine into a neutral posture. From this point forward, the exercises are designed to strengthen and enhance correct posture. The belief is that when the stresses of everyday life are occurring, muscles have the strength and stamina to carry one’s head properly on the shoulders. Also, many yoga postures help align and strengthen the back to aid in correct posture.

“Without the accurate spine movement, one can’t exist dynamically,” said BKS Iyengar, the founder of the style of yoga known as “Iyengar Yoga”. He was considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world before his passing in 2014.

When dealing with neck issues, strength is important but so is range of motion. Gentle yoga stretches and poses will help achieve suppleness throughout the torso and achieve correct posture. It’s not uncommon for the muscles surrounding the neck and shoulders to take on stress and tighten up. Fortunately, many studies have found that doing mindful breathing and meditation can dramatically reduce stress and tension in muscles. Both Pilates and yoga method address breathing and how it relates to posture. Yoga not only stretches muscles, but also contains a huge meditative component. Again, helping the neck, shoulders, and the mind to work with ease.

Pilates and yoga for the neck is a win-win. Come into Align today and get your head on straight.

Pilates and yoga have many of the same goals in mind, especially the purpose to unite the mind, body and spirit.

And at first glance, these mind-body modalities seem nearly identical. Both use the body’s own resistance to build physical strength, flexibility, and help reduce stress. But the origins, intentions, and application of practicing yoga and Pilates are very different. At Align it’s these differences that give value to both activates, and is why we believe the combo of doing both yoga and Pilates Mat, compliment each other greatly. Together they truly help produce overall wellness!

Both practices are categorized as “mind-body” exercise, because they focus on the mind’s ability to control and guide the physical body. Allowing practitioners to gain self-confidence and poise in their movement, but also in their everyday life. Both yoga and Pilates concentrate on building physical strength, flexibility, and full-body coordination. Also, both apply methods of breath control, which in turn has a calming effect. Each practice provides a number of mind-body benefits, but the approaches differ. Let us explore these differences to gain deeper understanding as to why both are worth doing.

Yoga’s holistic approach to wellness is in a multi-part system and goes beyond just stretching. It’s a mental and physical practice originating in India around 5,000 years ago. It includes philosophy, meditation, breath work, lifestyle and behavior principles, plus exercises called poises. Yoga’s history is vast and complex, with hundreds of texts, teachers, and traditions. Today’s western yoga is a result of merging these philosophies over thousands of years. Allowing for many different styles and levels of yoga, making it suitable of all walks of life.

Joseph H. Pilates form Germany at the turn of the 19th century, created a movement system called Contrology. He developed the practice as a way to rehabilitate wounded soldiers. After relocated to the United States before World War II, dancers began to learn his techniques. They quickly adopted the Pilates system and used it to cross train, and prevent injuries. In the 1990’s is when Pilates really became mainstream, and hitting the fitness market.

Because Pilates is based on rehabilitation, the exercises strongly focus on core strength and stability, correct alignment of joints, an overall body posture and coordination. Making the method suitable for anyone to participate in. Additionally, there are principles to Pilates- Awareness, centering, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow. When these principles are applied to movement, major health benefits are achieved.

With the differences of application, Yoga and Pilates work well as complementary practices. This Ying and yang allows one to reap the benefits of both modalities, and truly enhance one’s mind, body and spirit. At Align we offer both methods of movement, plus special classes that combined the two. Look on the schedule this fall for Pilates and Yoga Fusion Mat classes.

Sunday May 5th is International Pilates Day. Pilates Day is an annual, international community event, celebrated on the first Saturday of May every year.

The Pilates Day mission is to foster the public’s appreciation, and awareness to the Pilates Method. Through a network of varied, innovative, and high quality grassroots Pilates events, that are taking place around the world and accessible and affordable for all.

Align Pilates and Yoga is excited to be participating in this world-recognized event. To be part of this exciting day, it’s paramount for Align to explain what the hoopla with Pilates is all about. Pilates is truly for any and everybody! In its simplest form it’s a resistance-based method of exercise that focuses on stability of the core, and mobility of the joints, all the while achieving a full body workout. Of course, like many other types of movement Pilates goes beyond just moving for movement sake, and is more complex with it’s own philosophy of breath to movement.

It all started in the late 1800’s with German-born man, Joseph Pilates. He created a form of exercise he dubbed “Contrology.” As a child, he was afflicted with asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever. He quickly became determined to overcome his physical disadvantages. Therefore Joseph began to self-educate himself in anatomy, bodybuilding, wrestling, yoga, gymnastics, and martial arts. He was inspired by the classical Greek ideal of a man- who is balanced equally in body, mind, and spirit. Pilates believed that everyone should strive for this ideal, and that our modern lifestyle, bad posture, and inefficient breathing were the roots of society’s poor health.

His answer to these problems was to design a unique series of physical exercises to correct muscular imbalances and improve posture, coordination, balance, strength, and flexibility, as well as to increase breathing capacity and organ function. He invented two separate ways to his method. First the mat portion, which uses body weight and gravity to help create resistance while doing exercises on the floor. The second, he invented a variety of machines based on spring-resistance, which could be used to perform these exercises. And the method also centered on the concept of mindfulness. The combination of all these qualities is what gives Pilates its depth and complexity.

Joseph Pilates died on October 9, 1967 in New York City at the age of 84. But his method still lives strong today. One can find Pilates studios all over the world, DVD’s, books and websites just dedicated to the method. Today, many famous athletes, dancers, models, and actors — as well as business professionals, housewives, and retirees have participated to only improve their lives with Pilates.


If you want to get in shape, better your life, or just need help with finding the best Pilates and yoga experience, connect with Nicole or Cara by calling (949) 481-3577, stop by the studio at 31896 Plaza Drive, Suite E-6 in San Juan Capistrano or visit www.alignpilatescenter.com

To most the idea of doing an aerial yoga class sounds a little scary, but in all honesty, it’s for anyone that enjoys a fun workout, a good stretch, and a calming meditation.

If you partake in a yoga practice already, then you can do aerial yoga. It doesn’t require you to be an acrobat and on the contrary, it can be easier than a traditional yoga class.

Here is how it works— You sit on a soft, fabric hammock that looks kind of like a long scarf. The hammock is kept close to the ground, generally no higher then one’s own hipbones. At any point your hands or feet will be able to touch the floor. It becomes a swing that supports and takes gravity out of the equation.

These hammocks are made out of special, high-density nylon material that can support over 2,000 pounds. Throughout the class you do adaptations of traditional yoga poses using the hammock for support. For many people, yoga postures that are difficult on the ground can be performed easier and with less strain on the body in mid-air. So, that handstand you have been trying to nail on your mat, not a problem in the hammock.

Aerial yoga has many benefits like strengthening and stretching the whole body, decompressing the spine, improving circulation, boosting digestion and lifting one’s mood. Here are 5 good reasons to try aerial yoga today...

1. Total body workout: Due to the nature of aerial yoga movements, almost all the body parts are forced to move and stretch. Muscles are toned and redefined, and joints are decompressed and strengthened due to these movements.

2. Improves flexibility: Aerial yoga helps you to move more freely, with less effort, by counteracting gravity. Suspension in the air releases tension on the bones and muscles, increasing flexibility and deepening your practice.

3. Psychologically beneficial: Just like other mindful movement modalities, aerial yoga helps clear the mind, and releases stress due to its meditative qualities. Most aerial yoga classes end with you lying in the hammock for a peaceful rest.

4. Mood changer: Another key benefit of doing aerial yoga is that it gets your adrenaline going while defying gravity. Releasing “happy” hormones like serotonin, endorphins, oxytocin, dopamine, all boosting your mood and helping you feel more energetic. After class you will feel like a kid again.

5. Improves balance: Going against gravity is exciting for the body, consequently strengthening muscles that aid in balance and stability. With the addition of the mood benefits, an aerial practice will create a whole body balance inside and out.

Try an aerial yoga class today at Align Pilates And Yoga!


If you want to get in shape, better your life, or just need help with finding the best Pilates and yoga experience, connect with Nicole or Cara by calling (949) 481-3577, stop by the studio at 31896 Plaza Drive, Suite E-6 in San Juan Capistrano or visit
www.alignpilatescenter.com

February is national Heart Health Awareness month and at Align we are excited to participate. According to the American Hearth Association, someone dies from heart disease, stroke or another type of cardiovascular disease every 43 seconds in this country!

Making heart disease the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. But the good news is, it’s one of the most preventable diseases. With a nutrient dense diet, exercise, and meditation a healthy heart is easy to achieve.

Heart Disease is actually a generic term for variety of issues that take place within the Cardiovascular System. The Cardiovascular System is comprised of our blood, the blood vessels, and the heart. The intricate coordination of these three components is truly the life force of the human body. A properly functioning cardiovascular system delivers oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body like the organs, muscles and bones. Making the health of this system crucial to the overall function of the human body, and its wellness.

Defects of the heart present at birth are known as congenital heart defects.

Coronary artery disease, also called coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease, is a condition in which plaque that is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances in the blood, builds up inside the coronary arteries. This plaque build-up is called “atherosclerosis”. Plaque can grow large enough to reduce, or completely block blood flow through an artery. This plaque may rupture causing a “blood clot” to form. When the blockage takes place in a blood vessel that feeds the heart, the result is a “heart attack” or depending on the severity, Sudden Cardiac Death. If the plaque build-up or blood clot rupture occurs in the carotid arteries on either side of the neck, this is called Carotid Artery Disease and can result in a “stroke”. Peripheral Arterial Disease is when the major arteries that supply blood to the legs, arms or pelvis are obstructed. If blood flow to any of these areas of the body is reduced or blocked, numbness, pain and sometimes dangerous, infections such as gangrene can occur.

Rest assured! By choosing a heart healthy lifestyle your chances of heart disease are greatly reduced. According to The Heart Foundation, engaging in moderate exercise for 30 minuets a day, 5 days a week is part of a heart healthy lifestyle. Pilates and yoga fit that prescription perfectly. Both Pilates and yoga are systems of exercises designed to improve physical strength, flexibility, and posture, and enhance mental awareness. Also, chronic stress has been strongly linked as a contributor to heart disease. The enhanced mental awareness, mindfulness, and meditative qualities of Pilates and yoga have proven to offset the negative effects of stress. Thus making both forms of movement a great choice for a healthy heart.

Come and experience Pilates and yoga this month at Align and fill your heart not only with love, but with wellness too.


If you want to get in shape, better your life, or just need help with finding the best Pilates and yoga experience, connect with Nicole or Cara by calling (949) 481-3577, stop by the studio at 31896 Plaza Drive, Suite E-6 in San Juan Capistrano or visit www.alignpilatescenter.com

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Scoliosis affects nearly six million people in the U.S. alone. Making it the most common spinal deformity in our society. Scoliosis is a generic term that refers to any imbalanced curvature in the spine due to a genetic predisposition, or habitual muscle patterning.

Either way, exercising has shown to be extremely beneficial in addressing issues associated with Scoliosis. Especially, exercise modalities known to emphasis core strength like Pilates and yoga.

Scoliosis in its simplest terms is a problem of asymmetry. Ideally the right and left sides of the body should be balanced equally with strength, flexibility, and alignment. Scoliosis is classified in two ways, structural or functional.

Structural scoliosis is a genetic disturbance in the normal growth pattern of a healthy child. Approximately 70% of those afflicted are girls, and higher rates of occurrence are evident in young athletes. The highest rates are among female dancers, gymnasts and swimmers. Nonstructural or functional scoliosis is due to imbalanced muscular loading on the spine. It is a reversible curvature that appears in a structurally normal spine. The causes for functional scoliosis can be due to lower limb discrepancy, poor posture, and chronic repetitive motion.

In structural scoliosis, there is generally a predominant C or S curve and several secondary or compensatory curves. The most common curve occurs in the upper part of the thoracic spine. The compensatory curves often develop in the opposite direction either above or below the major curve. The body compensates for these structural misalignments by creating a concave side of the trunk and a convex side of the trunk. The spine is not only curved to the right and left, but usually has rotation or a spiral also. Scoliosis is measured in degrees and is categorized as being mild under 20 degrees, moderate 20–40 degrees, and severe is over 40 degrees. Surgery may be recommended for severe scoliosis, but only a very small percentage of cases are in this category.

“For the non-operative scoliosis patient there is nothing better than exercise,” says Dr. Ramin Bagheri of the San Diego Center for Spinal Disorders. “My main goal is to the have my patients keep their back muscles, core abdominal muscles and spinal musculature in tip top shape.” He highly recommends Pilates, Yoga, and swimming to his scoliosis patients regularly.

The principles and repertoire found in Pilates and yoga are very detailed in spinal alignment, balance, strength and flexibility. Making them the perfect option to help overcome issues associated with scoliosis. At Align, we strongly advise anyone who has scoliosis to attend private sessions first. Eventually joining classes once they have a clearer understanding of their curvature and the method of movement. Everyone is unique, and so to are the curves in scoliosis. Private sessions will allow one to learn and understand their own body’s curves and imbalances. Giving them the proper tools to combat scoliosis with movement, and produce the best results possible.


If you want to get in shape, better your life, or just need help with finding the best Pilates and yoga experience, connect with Nicole or Cara by calling (949) 481-3577, stop by the studio at 31896 Plaza Drive, Suite E-6 in San Juan Capistrano or visit www.alignpilatescenter.com

“I've got to keep breathing.
It’ll be my worst business mistake if I don’t,”

Steve Martin once said.

Not to sound too morbid, but if you are not breathing you’re not living—literally.

Now, please take a moment to inhale. Breathe in through the noise. Fill the lungs. Softly exhale through the mouth. Notice that when you inhale your ribs expand. The chest lifts and the muscles in the upper torso are stretched. As you exhale the ribs gently fall and your abdominals engage, bringing you back to your core.

Do you feel lighter, hopefully a little calmer and more aware of your body? With the constant go-go-go mentality these days and the rat race pace we all try and keep up with, most people don’t adequately breathe. Sadly, this starves the body of valuable oxygen. Not taking time to fully breathe can put major stress on the body and contribute to undesired health issues. The simple act of noticing your breath at any point in time can do wonders for your wellbeing.

As humans, our respiratory system separates us from all of the other animals on Earth. We are the only species that can control our breathing independent of our body’s action. This simple fact allows us to be sprinters, long distant runners and swimmers.
For example, a cheetah’s leg muscles are attached to its diaphragm. When it runs faster the lungs pump harder, delivering more oxygen when needed. Our leg muscles are not attached to our diaphragm or lungs. This gives us the power to hold our breath or breathe faster when needed. Our respiratory system contains both voluntary muscles, like the external and internal intercostal muscles of the ribs and the diaphragm, as well as many involuntary muscles—such as the lungs. All of this means you can consciously control your breathing to point of manipulating it.

Or you can go all through life never think about it and some how still be alive.

With the complexity of breathing, the pace of life, the stress of our society and the impact it all has on our bodies, learning how to breathe is another tool or secret weapon you can gain to provide yourself a better quality of health and living. Studies have show stress to be the number one cause of disease, including depression, hypertension and much more. Learning few different ways to breathe can be priceless.

Within all of the various yoga and Pilates practices there are numerous techniques to help you realize the potential of breathing. At ALIGN we know that a good quality Pilates and yoga sessions will get you breathing differently.

Here’s what happens when you take five minuets out of your day and do a few breathing exercises:

  • Your muscles relax—you’ll find it’s difficult to maintain a lot of physical tension when you are breathing properly.
  • Oxygen delivery improves—fresh oxygen is then able to pour into every cell of the body, increasing the functionality of every system in the body.
  • Blood pressure lowers. As your muscles let go of tension your blood vessels dilate and your blood pressure can return to a normal level.
  • Endorphins are released helping with feelings of well-being, as well as providing pain relief.
  • Detoxification improves—good breathing habits help the lymphatic system function properly, encouraging the release of harmful toxins, cleansing the body, giving it power to direct its energy to more productive functions.
  • Most of our clients at ALIGN notice that after a breathing session they look ten times younger with more vitality and sparkle in their eyes.
  • You will also notice improved mental concentration and physical stamina.

Come breathe at ALIGN today. Breathe! Reap the benefits and feel alive!

If you want to get in shape, better your life, or just need help with finding the best Pilates and yoga experience, connect with Nicole or Cara by calling (949) 481-3577, stop by the studio at 31896 Plaza Drive, Suite E-6 in San Juan Capistrano or visit www.alignpilatescenter.com

In the medical and science field research is finding the act of meditation contains a multitude of health benefits. These studies are discovering that the many forms of meditation drastically offset the effects of stress and aging at a cellular level. So much so, that some doctors and scientist are proclaiming meditation could be the future of medicine.

For example, a study published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, looked at 201 people with coronary heart disease and asked them to either take a health education class promoting better diet and exercise or one on Transcendental Meditation. Researchers followed up with participants for the next five years and found that those who took the meditation class had a 48 percent reduction in their overall risk of heart attack, stroke and death.

Another landmark study led by Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital found in as little as eight weeks of meditation people experience decreased anxiety and greater feelings of calm; it also produced growth in the areas of the brain associated with memory, empathy, sense of self and stress regulation.

Many more studies like these are being conducted and continue to prove the benefits of mediation. The best part is that mediation is easy! Anyone can do it. Any preconceived ideas about meditation should be forgotten. Meditation is a practice that helps us take a break from the hectic pace of everyday life. It doesn’t require a specific spiritual belief, even a few minutes of meditation helps, and you don’t even have to be sitting in an awkward lotus position to start soaking in the positive vibes.

There are many different forms of mediation backed by doctors and scientists, including Mindful Meditation and Transcendental Meditation. These same doctors and scientists also recognize mindful movement like tai chi, Pilates and yoga as mediation. In the end, all types of mediation result in taking us beyond the noisy chatter of the mind into a place of stillness and silence. It is here where the brain and the body can begin to heel and create a better quality of life. Come and combat aging, release stress and mediate with us at Align Pilates and Yoga Center.

If you want to get in shape, better your life, or just need help with finding the best Pilates and yoga experience, connect with Nicole or Cara by calling (949) 481-3577, stop by the studio at 31896 Plaza Drive, Suite E-6 in San Juan Capistrano or visit www.alignpilatescenter.com

When the glutes and abs work harmoniously together the body will live happily ever after. In the last few years the abs have been getting a great deal of credit for a healthy back.

But the glutes (a.k.a. your bum) are just as important when it comes to proper posture and back health. And when the core and glutes coordinate and connect with one another magic truly happens!

The buttock area consists of muscles called the Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus, as well as a group of six smaller but very important deeper hip muscles. Together they are known as the glutes and they have a number of import roles in the body. Gluteus Maximus, the largest, has a primary role to extend your leg backwards as your walk, run, climb stairs and get up from sitting. The Glutius Medius and Minimus work to stabilize the pelvis and femur, and aid in rotation of the leg.

The Pilates and yoga method have a firm understanding of the glutes and abs, with exercises and poses designed specifically to strengthen them.

The combination of both strong glutes and abs is what gives them their power. It also plays an enormous role in joint health. If the glutes and abs are not strong and working correctly with one another, other muscles in the body will take over whenever you walk, run or pick up something heavy. Muscles at the front of the leg, like the quadriceps and your psoas, which runs from the spine to top of the femur, may compensate and overwork. In turn this creates compression and tightness in your lower back. Your hamstrings may try to assist and shorten. The surface muscles along your spine may also try to pull the leg back to propel you forward, as this is not their primary job, these back muscles will tighten and fatigue. Leading to many problems within the ankles, shins, knees and spine. But when working together, these muscles produce a powerhouse body that is stable and strong.

The Pilates and yoga method have a firm understanding of the glutes and abs, with exercises and poses designed specifically to strengthen them. Unite your glutes and abs today at Align and experience this loving relationship.

If you want to get in shape, better your life, or just need help with finding the best Pilates and yoga experience, connect with Nicole or Cara by calling (949) 481-3577, stop by the studio at 31896 Plaza Drive, Suite E-6 in San Juan Capistrano or visit
www.alignpilatescenter.com

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