Pelvic organ prolapse and how Pilates can help

This is a summary of a blog by Wendy Powell posted several years ago. It's still relevant today. It is estimated that 50% of women of childbearing age will experience some level of Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP). It is not simply caused by childbirth or having a weak pelvic floor. It's something still not discussed enough. What is it?  Excessive pressure inside your abdomen and pelvis can build up to the extent that it eventually pushes everything away, outwards and downwards (a prolapse is literally a “falling down”). Many internal organs can be affected: the bladder, large bowel, intestines, vagina or uterus. Prolapse, Hernia and Diastasis Recti (when the muscles of the rectus abdominus, the 6 pack, part) are all conditions which can result from this internal pressure. There are some factors which can make the pressure inside your abdomen high: past pregnancies and obesity can be contributing factors, as can any straining, such as heavy lifting, or violent or prolonged coughing. How...
Read More

Moderation in all things…including meditation

A recent article in the Telegraph newspaper has suggested that meditation can be bad for your mental health. Read the article and then my comments below. I'll be interested in your views. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2019/05/09/meditation-retreats-bad-mental-health-study-suggests/?WT.mc_id=tmg_share_em Today for many everything has to be done to the extreme and done now. Meditation has of late become “trendy” but by its very definition, it takes time to learn; there’s no fast track. Meditation - the process of quietening the mind in order to spend time in thought for relaxation or religious/spiritual purposes (definition from Yogapedia). The simplest way to begin meditating is to stop whatever you’re doing, sit comfortably and concentrate on breathing more slowly and deeply while keeping the breath’s natural rhythm. Building the capacity to quieten the mind has undeniable value at a time when our attention is under siege, and trying to do several things at one time our habitual state. Done even for a few minutes each day, it’s also valuable as a means to relax the body and calm the emotions. Mindfulness...
Read More

What is Pilates?

Joseph Pilates was born in the German town of Düsseldorf in 1810. As a child he suffered from asthma and rickets. Despite this, he refused to let his physical problems trouble him. He began therefore to study the various forms of physical education and muscular strengthening choosing those elements which interested him most. From these he developed his own personal method of exercise which he called “Contrology”. His aim was a holistic approach to well being. His philosophy was that regularly practicing his exercises would not only optimise physical health but also tone the physique and sharpen the mind. After working with other pioneers of physical exercise and then with dancers, athletes and gymnasts he finally changed the name Contrology to Pilates, or the Pilates Method. The seven basic principles of Pilates are as follows: Breathing - breathe in deeply through the nose and feel the incoming air, expand the ribcage right around to the back. Breathe out through the mouth, at the...
Read More

Why your brain does not want you to lose weight

Why do some people gain weight while others stay slim? Read on... A neuroscientist called Sandra Aamodt was interested (from a neuroscientific point of view) in finding a way to lose weight without dieting. She learnt to eat intuitively and lost 10 pounds in the process. What makes losing weight so hard? The brain is an incredibly efficient regulator of body weight. Current thinking, that weight loss is about how much you eat versus how much energy you burn is only part of the story. Hunger and energy use are controlled by the brain, mostly subconsciously, and this unconscious force is stronger than mere willpower. The brain has its own sense of what your body should weigh - no matter what you believe your perfect weight to be. This is called the "set point". It has a range of about 15 pounds. While lifestyle changes (such as taking more exercise or drinking less alcohol) can shift your...
Read More

Yoga for bone density

Our bones, like everything else in the body, must be used in order to remain strong and durable. The older you are, the more this becomes important in order to avoid osteoporosis (brittle bones) in later life. Yoga could be the answer for you if you're looking to boost your bone's density and strength. When we think of exercise we connect it with either losing weight or building muscle. A good exercise session will also have an impacto on our bones. Weight bearing movements stimulate increased bone density because the muscles pull against the bones during the workout. The bones respond to this pressure and stress by building themselves up. The stronger the muscle, the more pressure is put on the bones. Yoga backbends support the spine while seated postures safely open up and work the hips. Cobra pose counteracts the forward hunch from which many individuals with bone loss suffer. Standing poses work the hip bones by putting a great deal...
Read More

What can we do to prevent cancer?

These days cancer prevention is a common topic. Family history is one of the greates risk factors for certain cancers but this does not necessarily have to dictate your future well being. Here are 7 sensible things you can do to ensure optimum health. Get screened - early screening can prevent many cancer diagnoses and even deaths. Stop smoking - tobacco use is one of the main risk factors in the development of cancer in the lungs, head, neck, pancreas and urinary tract. It is in fact one of the leading causes of cancer diagnosis and death. Stay active - according to the International Agency for Research on cancer, about 25 percent of cancer cases worldwide could be due to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. Eat a health-promoting diet - we should do what we can to reduce cancer risk by eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and beans. Start consuming more sweet potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, blueberries, garlic...
Read More

9 (health related) things you may not know about me

My dentist recommended Pilates to me to improve my posture after remedial work on my teeth. I’ve been a Weight Watchers Gold Member for 25 years. I’ve practiced yoga for 42 years. My teacher training was at the Sivinanda Centre in Orléans. I’ve run the London Marathon twice, both times in 5 and a half hours. I once taught a yoga class (in French) on a squash court when I was living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I had an overweight foster cat whom I gradually slimmed. I've swum a mile only once and that was in a small, hexagonal pool. I passed the Cordon Vert Diploma for the Vegetarian Society in 1992. I’m a Tour de France fan but my own cycling is done on my stationery bike. at home Finishing my second marathon ...
Read More

Sugar – friend or foe ?

When I was younger, my great aunt used to say that we need sugar to give us energy. These days I’m not so sure. Of all the food groups, carbohydrate is the most maligned. Sugar is a carbohydrate which has various names a few of which are : sucrose, fructose, dextrose, corn syrup, maltose, galactose, honey and  lactose . Here are two points of view, based on fact. Read more should you wish to and make up your own mind. While Information is UK-based, the same is rapidly becoming true in France. 1. Robert Lustig, is professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of California (USA), an expert on childhood obesity and an endocrinologist (his area of expertise is human metabolism and how our bodies break down food and turn it into energy). You can search for videos of him and his work on YouTube.  Lustig says that sugar should be restricted by law in the same as alcohol and tobacco since they pose the same risk...
Read More

Teaching yoga to prevent back injuries

As any chiropractor will tell you, improper posture or spinal injury can create a host of seemingly unrelated physical issues. For example, misaligned cervical vertebrae might be related to headaches and sore throats while problems in the lumbar region of the spine could also lead to tingling in the feet or persistent knee pain. Basically, the back and neck have a lot of responsibilities; they support lifting and carrying, walking and running, turning and sitting still and any other type of physical activity a person is involved in. The majority of the population suffers from or will suffer from moderate to severe back pain. Many with weak or chronic back pain use yoga to build strength and flexibility plus manage their symptoms. Yoga is one of the few strength building or fitness activities that can claim respect for the spine and all that it does. In fact, rather than putting stress on it like when weightlifting or putting it at high...
Read More

Mindful walking

I’m often asked how to begin meditating (and, no, you don’t have to sit crossed legged on a cushion with your eyes closed, chanting). My answer is simple - stop whatever you’re doing, be aware of any tension you’re holding and take 5 long, slow, deep breaths before resuming the day. Meditation and mindfulness go hand in hand. What’s mindfulness? For me it’s doing something with your whole heart. Let’s look at how it combines with walking. Spending time outside in the fresh air and sunlight helps regulate circadian rhythms (your body clock) and increases serotonin levels. This in turn raises energy levels and may make you feel happier with life. Walking raises your heart rate, depending on your speed. It also balances the left and right sides of the brain making you more aware of what’s going on inside and around you. Moving with your whole concentration is a wonderful way to notice your surroundings and the changing of the seasons. Many of us spend a lot of time in cars,...
Read More
12