For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure

To help you get the most from my online Pilates classes, a few tips…

WiFi Signal

First, try and have the device you’re using to access the class as near to the router as possible.  This will ensure you have the best WiFi signal you can get.  Those using a laptop or desktop, better still would be to connect to the router via an ethernet cable.

Next, shutdown all the other apps etc that you may have running in the background so that all your device’s resource is concentrated on running Zoom as efficiently as possible. It also stops you being distracted during the class by notifications etc popping up.

Audio

I’m now using an external USB mic during my online Pilates classes.  To optimise the sound quality still further I’d recommend you change the Zoom audio settings on your device.  It’s very easy to do.

If you use the Zoom app on your tablet or phone, simply click the gear icon on the home page to access the ‘Settings’ page…

…then scroll down and make sure the ‘Use Original Sound’ button is switched on…

That’s it.  You’re now all set to hear me without any noise suppression, which can make the audio signal chop in and out.  Noise suppression is helpful in a busy office environment where there is a lot of background noise but not necessary in an online Pilates class at home setting.

If you use a laptop or desktop, the above process is very similar plus you have a few more advanced setting options which will enhance the audio even further. You can make these changes before the class as follows…

First, open up Zoom Client, go to the home page and click on the gear icon top right to access the ‘Settings’ page…

On the ‘Settings’ page, select ‘Audio’ and uncheck the box next to ‘Automatically adjust microphone volume.’  This now allows you to control the volume of your speakers and mic by moving the sliders…

On the same ‘Audio Settings’ page, click the Advanced button bottom right, which brings up this screen…

Check the box next to ‘Show in-meeting option to ‘Enable Original Sound’ from microphone.’  Then in the ‘Audio Processing’ section of this page, disable the ‘Suppress Persistent Background Noise’ and ‘Suppress Intermittent Background Noise’…

You can also make the above changes after you’ve joined the online class in the 5-10 minutes before we begin.  In the bottom left of the screen next to the mic icon is an arrow.  Click it and you can see ‘Audio settings’ at the bottom of the list.  Click this and it brings up the screens shown above so you can make the changes I’ve described.

Speakers

To further enhance the sound quality during my online classes, you might want to use external USB speakers.  Almost any on the market will give you better quality sound than the internal speakers in your device.  I have the Creative Pebble Plus 2.1 Speaker Set –  not too expensive, very good sound quality and nice design.

Video

Finally, I’m now using a webcam instead of the internal camera in my laptop so the quality of the images should be even better.

Hope that helps.  See you online in class soon.

 

 

Pilates for Feet – Suggested Kit

Following on from last night’s online Pop-up PILATES X MELISSA foot tutorial, here are the three items of kit you might want to invest in to continue doing the exercises we covered in the session for yourself at home.  Click the links to find where to buy them online…

  1. Spikey massage ball – 6cm yellow one for small feet or 7cm red one for larger feet
  2. TheraBand – medium resistance
  3. Footsie roller

To close, happy feet wearing tap shoes.  Check out Syncopated Ladies…

The Idea of a Perfect Movement

Thought for the day…

The body’s instinct is to move. The IDEA OF A PERFECT MOVEMENT is innate in our brain, bones and tissues.  Notice how your body feels when you see a dancer…

or when you watch this performance by rhythmic gymnast, Yana Kudryavtseva…

You might notice your body wanting to or even trying to copy these beautiful movements.  At a deep neural, cellular level inside us, they feel known, possible even.

Pilates helps us realise this idea of perfect movement by encouraging us to be present in the body, to breathe correctly, to concentrate deeply, to centre ourselves physically and mentally, to be in control of our movements, to be precise and efficient in the way we move and to flow.

 

Pop-Up Pilates Tutorial – Feet

I’m now doing occasional pop-up PILATES X MELISSA tutorials focusing on a specific part of the body or exercise or skill (e.g. balance, coordination, breathing.) The 30-minute tutorials provide a chance to work more closely on this one area than we’re able to do in a general, holistic Pilates class.

The pop-up PILATES X MELISSA tutorials are FREE, suitable for most people and live-streamed via Zoom. The first one is on Thursday 4 June at 1830 and the topic is feet.

Inspired by the work ballet dancers do to ensure their feet are strong and supple, I’ll take you through a series of strengthening, stretching and myofascial release exercises you can then do for yourself at home to help you achieve your best feet.

Who will benefit

  • Anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet.
  • Anyone who does load-bearing, impactful activities like running or tennis or football.
  • Anyone who regularly wears heels.
  • Anyone who has circulatory problems affecting their feet.
  • Anyone who finds their feet cramp a lot.
  • Anyone who spends most of the summer months wearing flip-flops or fashion sandals.

If you have any healing fractures or new sprains or strains affecting the foot or ankle then none of the exercises in the pop-up tutorial are suitable for you to do just yet. Best to watch and take notes as these exercises will help you enormously once your injury has healed enough to resume gentle exercise.

The myofascial release exercises will not suit people with the following issues – malignancy, aneurysm, acute rheumatoid arthritis, advanced diabetes, severe osteoporosis, open wounds or bruising to the foot.

How will you benefit

The exercises over time will help the proper functioning of the foot and ankle, particularly when balancing, walking and running by:

  • improving their strength, especially at the joints;
  • increasing the range of movement;
  • reducing tension by encouraging the release of deep knots or trouble spots;
  • improving blood flow;
  • reducing aches and pains;
  • improving the transmission of information from your feet to your brain.

There is also evidence that performing myofascial release exercises on the plantar surface of the feet improves the flexibility of the hamstrings and lumbar spine.

What you will need for the pop-up Pilates tutorial

To get the most from the session you will need:

  • a 6-7cm ball of some kind, preferably a spikey massage ball or you could use a golf ball or a juggling ball;
  • a tennis ball or similar;
  • a hair elastic or a small but strong elastic band;
  • a TheraBand or a hand towel;
  • a large handkerchief or a tea towel.

To attend this free pop-up Pilates tutorial for the feet, please register with Zoom here. Once you have done this you will automatically receive a confirmation email from Zoom (please check your spam folder if it doesn’t arrive straight away in your inbox), which contains a link. On the day of the tutorial, 5-10 minutes before the start time, you simply click on this link to join the session.

Before the tutorial, if you’re using a tablet or mobile to take part you will need to download the Zoom App from the App store, which is free. If you’re using a laptop and want quicker access into the session, download Zoom Client for Meetings from their website. You don’t need any kind of Zoom account to attend my online classes and pop-up tutorials on Zoom.

Please help me to help others by sharing details of these free pop-up PILATES X MELISSA tutorials and inviting any friends, family members and work colleagues you think might be interested.

To close, a fine tune from Benjamin Clementine and a fantastic video. It’s like looking inside someone’s head while they’re dreaming…

Recommend to a Friend Offer

Existing clients, if you recommend an online PILATES X MELISSA class to a friend anywhere in the UK and overseas (except the US and Canada), who then attends a class, to say thank you for the recommendation you will get your next online PILATES X MELISSA class free.

How it works

To get your free place, please ask your friend when they book to say in the ‘Questions/comments’ section of the form that you have recommended the class to them. Please make sure they type in your full name.

After your friend has attended an online PILATES X MELISSA class, you can then apply for your free place. In the ‘Your chosen method of payment’ section of the booking form, please tick the ‘Free place (recommend to a friend offer)’ box. Then in the ‘Questions/comments’ section, please write the full name of the person you recommended and when they attended their online class.

The Recommend to a Friend Offer is valid until 30 June 2020.  This offer is not valid for referrals to the free Pop-up PILATES X MELISSA online tutorials.  If the same friend books in for another class, the original referrer is not entitled to another free class.

Here’s a favourite song and an interesting cover…

Clapping for Carers Pilates-Style

The Seal Puppy is an exercise in the Pilates repertoire which involves a clapping action.  Here was my contribution to tonight’s show of appreciation for our carers, NHS staff and other key workers…

Thankfully making a seal noise isn’t part of the exercise.

 

Pilates to Rehabilitate

The 1230 to 1330 online class on Mondays has more of a rehabilitative focus.  Anyone can attend the Monday lunchtime session of course. It will just be a bit less physically demanding with the emphasis more on beginner, improver and intermediate level exercises.  For full details about the rehab Pilates class including who might benefit most from it and what to expect from the session, please visit this new page of my website.

The above image is of Dr Gunther von Hagens’ plastinated gymnast from his Body Worlds exhibition.  I saw this in London in 2002/03.  I was studying anatomy as part of my Pilates Teaching Training course so it was the perfect opportunity to get under the skin (see what I did there) of the musculoskeletal system.   As those who practise with me know, the engagement of the pelvic floor muscles is a key part of the Pilates Method and this exhibition provided a chance to actually see them up-close. If I see a pelvic floor in the flesh again I’ll be surprised…and frankly disturbed.

To close, here’s a beautiful video from the Dutch National Ballet of their dancers performing at home in lockdown.  Pirouetting in socks on a tiled floor – respect!

Branding and Social Media

As you may have noticed from the website, I’m now trading as PILATES X MELISSA, which I think is more relevant and meaningful to people than Embody Pilates.

PILATES X MELISSA is now on Instagram, Twitter as well as Facebook. Follow me if you’d like to see regular musings, updates, competitions and exclusive offers.

To close, a video of Christine and the Queens with another fine pop-contemporary dance fusion performance…

“When you dance you own everything you have. You are really in your own body. You do it with your muscles and your bones and your weight and your height — it’s how to love yourself by moving.” Christine and the Queens.  It’s the same when you do Pilates.