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2018-2019 Passing the Torch Mentoring Program Graduates share their transformations and some SPECIAL MOVEMENTS and MOMENTS THAT SHOOK THEIR WORLD!
What a joy it is to complete this yearlong program with these 2018-2019 Passing the Torch Mentoring Program Graduates! Allow yourself to LISTEN as they each share how the program has impacted their lives…and then explore with each of them, following this video, as they each SHARE a MOVEMENT SEQUENCE that has been personally valuable! ENJOY!!
Carrie Belanger – Big Sur, California
I’m so grateful for the many experiences and explorations in this year’s Passing the Torch Mentoring Program. I’d like to share some major shifts that occurred through Fascial Dog Flow Series…
From so many years as a dancer, my chest and ribs have felt very held. After experiencing a major shift and release of tension from hanging on the Swedish Ladder, my head to tail to hands and legs got free for the first time ever!
Sensing the texture of the chair in Fascial Dog, Phase I, and discovering I didn’t have to pull up my ribs, freed up my hips, and my tail released, so a Squat became more possible.
Moving into Phase II, my spinal extension moved from “trying” to open my chest, to softening my ribs and collarbone, which naturally gave me my hip opening, and allowed my heels to reach back naturally, so my natural uplift in the front of my body, was from a new place, and felt so good!
In Fascial Dog, Phase 3, rotation, I have found a totally new freedom throughout my body from sensing the support of ground and wall, and feeling the release of tension travel through my head and tail, discovering a freedom in my hips I have never felt before!
This program has been life changing and I am so grateful!
Lisa Schechter – Los Angeles, California
This year’s Passing the Torch Mentoring Program has been an absolutely amazing year of learning…new awarenesses in myself and in my body, and a great meeting of wonderful, inspiring people in my PTT course who are now lifelong friends. I am so grateful to have had this experience!
A few things I would like to share with you that have been so valuable for me….I now feel so grounded in my feet, which I’ve learned can give me support and uplift through my body, and help me find connections that used to be elusive.
I’ve learned how to connect through my whole body…from hands to feet…head to feet, and how breath supports me.
I’ve learned that the SIDE of my body is sometimes missing, along with my back body, which is why I had difficulty with uplift and would get caught efforting in my neck.
I’ve always liked rotating, twisting, and I learned what that is! It really does help me find lift in extension, which was often missing for me…and sometimes still is. Yet I now have ways that I can find it again and I want to show you one of those valuable learnings…
This flowing series using a chair is so simple, and helps me ground my feet, feel lift and naturally rotate with my natural breath:
Sitting on your sitting bones on the front edge of a chair, place your thumbs outside and fingers inside your knees (which opens your back to breath)…Allow your INHALE to float you up, then EXHALE and gently curl in C curve, softening your chest, with soft eyes…repeat that about 3 times…now I just found my “waterfall” down my back, with my shoulder blades releasing, so my neck can lengthen.
Now, adding rotation, look to the RIGHT and reach your arms away from one another, so your head and tail feel like they are reaching through your arms. Breathe naturally, and gently pour yourself into your feet to stand up, staying rotated, pause, then sit down, staying rotated. Now repeat, by looking to the LEFT, remembering your soft gaze (keeps your chest soft) and stand up while reaching your arms, pause, then sit down…you can repeat that 3 times to each side. Breathe naturally throughout the movements.
Now standing up, I notice that I’ve found the sides of my legs and feel more grounded…my pelvis feels more free, hips that were locked feel more free, and when I take a walk, I feel less lopsided!
I’m just so grateful for this experience!
WALTER ZHANG…Shanghai, China
In this yearlong Passing the Torch Mentoring Program, I learned so many things that are valuable, and have a few that I will share with you, that I feel were very important to myself
One distinction I learned is that when doing any movement, along with Pilates, I don’t have to use too much force. I can really relax into the movement so it becomes more efficient and graceful.
One AHA! Moment is when doing a SQUAT. Usually when I do a SQUAT, I tend to grip the muscles around my ankles and shins, but one day we learned how important it is to release into gravity and can palpate the front of your ankle to feel that it can soften. This feeling changes how I can go into the SQUAT position, with more freedom in my entire body. After I learned this, I used this principle in every other exercise.
I can also feel changes, not just in my body, but in how I sense my environment, for example, if I am pressing this Magic Circle…what I used to do is feel which “muscles” I was using to squeeze the ring, and how much force I used. But now, when I do the SAME THING, I feel the texture of this Magic Circle into my hands. When I press it gently, I can sense how much the reaction force is coming back through the ring, through my arm, and how my breath is participating.
So this opened up a whole new world for me! When I teach, I am sharing this experience I got with my clients. I am so happy and appreciative that I came to this yearlong Passing the Torch Mentoring Program. Now I got my Torch, hopefully, in the future, you will get your Torch!
Kristen Luppenlatz Grech – Sebastopol, California
Thirteen years ago, I met Wendy, and was in pain from several accidents. Working with Wendy changed everything….not just my Pilates practice and teaching… but how I live my life!
Back then, in order to let go of pain, I thought that if I worked harder, got stronger, and stretched more, I would feel better. What Wendy taught me was how to soften into gravity’s support, by releasing the weight of my body and trust my innate biointelligence to guide me. I’d love to share a movement that speaks to this distinction.
In curling up with the Push Thru bar, I learned to release the weight of my spine into the Cadillac, and into my feet, which naturally awakens lift up the front of my spine…no pain or tension…just allowing movement to happen!
What was especially interesting, is that, along with eliminating pain, I became aware of much deeper support within my body, and that is the real value that has informed my practice and teaching.
Bringing this valuable awareness to this year’s Passing the Torch Mentoring Program, has given me a new level of awareness in my own body (sensing the waterfall Down the Back, feeling weight into my feet, feeling shoulder blades to low deep belly)…and all of that allows me to be free in my neck…allowing my legs to lift in TEASER from a much deeper place!
This has been a great experience, and I’m excited to continue this journey, and to share the gifts that I have learned!
Jana Logan – Overland Park, Kansas
This year’s journey in Wendy’s Passing the Torch Mentoring Program has been so transformational! I have changed professionally and personally…so much more open in so many ways.
One of the most significant things for me, coming from being a Physical Therapist and Pilates practitioner, BREATH is supposed to be our main focus. However, I have had numerous injuries to my upper back and, like many clients, I found myself living in that place of working really hard to breathe…I was generating so much tension in my neck and upper back.
A powerful practice I learned in this program is “hanging”, which has changed my upper back, and has gotten me in touch with a deep release so I’m no longer forcing a big INHALE, and trying to get an EXHALE. There is a place of relaxation, which I’m noticing with clients, may be the first time, in a long time, they are able to tap into.
It’s so interesting to me that when I began “hanging”, I tried muscularly to “hold myself up” and to grip, and once again it got me the exact opposite reaction that I wanted.
Through Wendy’s coaching and program, I learned to let go into the movement. I’m not worried that my shoulder blades come up a little, and can sense tightness in my pinkies and forearms, which has I got a deeper connection, began to let go. I found that it wasn’t weak muscles, it was my FASCIA, through my chest and upper body, sometimes shaking, that would start to let go. I found my shoulder blades to deep belly connection, so now, rather than something I was trying to DO, hanging is supported, free and playful!
This awareness has changed how I go for a walk…I stop and play, hanging on the playground bars, and then notice how my walk becomes more buoyant…a much deeper fascial connection with my whole body!
So, whether you are looking for more spring in your step, or are aging and want to unscrew lids of jars, keep a good connection with your hands to your whole body!
Jenna Coulter – Gaithersburg, Maryland
This Passing the Torch Mentoring Program has been very important in my growth and finding my voice…it’s also given me a deeper sense of spiraling through my body, and how everything we do comes from a spiral!
One of the explorations that I would like to share comes from the Tensegrity Spirals that I learned in this course. I have adapted it to Leg Springs, and find that it deeply informs my whole body connections…from head to tail to foot.
With my hand behind my head, I’m playing with deeper connections that inform my natural length and shoulder blades to deep belly, which frees up my leg to spine connection. It just becomes a yummy movement that feeds my lower to upper body relationships…and sitting up, I feel my whole body connected!
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Fascial Dog Series
The following whole body movement sequence "Fascial Dog Flow Series, Phases I, II, III" , is one of our favorite home practices that we teach at Pilates Center of Austin. Learn how gravity can support your spine's natural flexion, extension and rotation…and how you can self-heal chronic ankle, knee, hip, spine, shoulder and neck problems by learning how to partner and ground with gravity through your feet and hands, which supports a natural uplift from inner ankle to inner ear! This practice creates a solid foundation for every Pilates exercise to progress from Basic to Intermediate to Advanced.
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