Amy Taylor Alpers is teaching in Raanana Israel
The Spine to Organ Connection
Wednesday May 23, 2018 11:30am
5 PMA CEC hours
The human spine is amazing. It’s strong and flexible and powerful. It houses and protects the entire spinal cord, and it also includes openings for all the spinal nerves to exit the spine and innervate every organ in the body. We know that Joseph Pilates was clear about how important a healthy spine is. He wanted you to bend front, back and sideways, twist, and roll it. He said “If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.” Why is this so important though? What difference does a strong, flexible spine actually make to your health?
In this workshop we’ll explore how each vertebral segment of your spine correlates to specific areas of your body, especially organs. A spine that articulates beautifully – naturally and normally as it was designed – therefore stimulates and cleanses every organ and system in your body. Then we’ll look at Pilates exercises from this perspective – discovering how Pilates affects the health by directly affecting specific organs through spinal articulation, and consequently how tightness, rigidity, fear, and lack of flexibility at any place in the spine would directly negatively affect certain organs and systems as well. From your brain to your lungs to your colon, from your endocrine to your circulatory to your digestive system, and more, a healthy, flexible spine is the key to your whole body health in so many ways.
Your “Second Heart” – and Possibly the Missing Link
Thursday May 24, 2018 11:30am
3 PMA CEC hours
The Pilates method is first and foremost about circulation – the “internal shower” of oxygen-rich blood flow required to “return to life” as Mr. Pilates intended his system of exercise to enable. We are all familiar with how our heart plays the essential role in that job. However, do you know you have a “second heart” too? Often, this second heart is not used as well as it needs to be and becomes the missing link in our vital health. This second heart is the powerful contraction of …. your calves and feet!
The pumping action of the heart delivers oxygen-rich blood to cells via arteries. After cells have been nourished, the blood is returned to the heart through the veins to be re-oxygenated in the lungs. The residual pumping force of the heart helps propel the blood back through the veins – but here’s where that missing link might be. The contraction of the muscles of the calves and feet need to powerfully aid in this uphill trip. This calf/foot pumping system is what is often referred to as the “second heart”. In this workshop we will explore how our modern life-style – especially the chair – leads to a reduction in the ability of the second heart to help with circulation. Add to that the prevalence of hyperextension of the knees which essentially cuts the leg off at the middle, and now our calves are nearly off the circulation map entirely. Then we will discover the many ways in which Pilates is specifically designed to keep the calves and feet – this key part of our ultimate health mechanism – strong, flexible and connected.
The Cathedral of the Human Body – Using Your Flying Buttresses
Thursday May 24, 2018 3pm
4 PMA CEC hours
Early buildings were made of stacked bricks or stones and, therefore, could only be built as high as the pressure those stones could handle – maybe a story or two. Architects of the medieval ages, however, began to explore how to make churches soar to the heavens and allow for thinner walls with lots of windows to bring in light. To do so, they needed a new concept that could transfer the force of the walls into a lateral support system – a flying buttress. The buttresses provide inward and upward thrust in opposition to the downward force of gravity from everything above them.
The human body always has always had the beauty of this architectural wisdom. This is what enables us to stand tall and rise upwards, instead of collapsing under the force of gravity. But how? Through our skeletal design. Our feet have a flying buttress – the fifth metatarsal. Our lower leg has a flying buttress – the fibula. And our femur is a powerful flying buttress as it turns and enters the pelvis and provides upward thrust to the spine and upper body.
In this workshop we will explore how to take advantage of this perfect human anatomical design to enable the upward lift we are looking for in Pilates to create suspension, lift and decompression.
Finding Your Center through your Feet and Hands
Friday May 25, 2018 11:30am
4 PMA CEC hours
In Pilates we often focus a lot on the abdominals and the “center”, but Mr. Pilates’ writings make it very clear that his work is about normal, natural, whole body movement – that we should move like the animal we are. In other words, our abdominals should not need to be arbitrarily and mechanically contracted and held, but rather be automatically activated through normal, natural, full body movement. Given our innate design as an originally four-footed animal, this automatic access should naturally occur through the connection of our hands and feet.
Our feet and hands constitute half of all our bones. Given that, the number of joints in each is also considerable – several dozen at least – and therefore the number of muscles and nerves proportionally greater as well. This is a simple way to recognize the value and potential available in fully utilizing them. In other words, the strong connection from brain to hands and feet, and back again, is undeniably essential to our survival and to our health.
In this workshop we will explore the Pilates exercises through the perspective of hands and feet better connecting to our brain and center, to learn how to achieve the fullest potential of the movements to create whole body health. Watching film of a cheetah running, we will discover how the feet/hands trigger the appropriate action of all other muscles to enable the most efficient, effective movement possible. In this way, breathing is enhanced and unimpeded, and movement more powerfully cleanses and re-oxygenates the body.
Intuition: Becoming an Intuitive Teacher
Saturday May 26, 2018 11:30am
4 PMA CEC hours
Learn to develop your own gifts as an ‘intuitive’ – to read the energetic anatomy and story of the whole body, not just the physical, to discover how to unlock the deep healing powers inherent within each person. We will discuss what it means to literally embody our stories – our history – and begin to learn to read those physical revelations with all our senses, including, and maybe especially, our 6th one, our intuition. To be a great teacher you need to be in open discovery mode, and on your own constant personal journey to profound health. There is no other path.
Amy Taylor Alpers co-founded The Pilates Center (TPC) and The Pilates Center Teacher Training Program (TPCTTP) over 20 years ago in Boulder, Colorado. When not traveling the world to teach both foundational and graduate level Pilates teacher education she remains part of the core faculty for TPCTTP, mentors advanced teachers, teaches classes and sees clients. In addition to teaching TPC sponsored workshops, Amy has presented numerous times at the Pilates Method Alliance Annual Meeting, Balanced Body’s Pilates on Tour and Passing the Torch. In 2013, Amy presented at the Shared Traditions Conference for Fletcher Pilates and will present at The Pilates Roundtable.
Amy was born in Youngstown, Ohio where she began classical ballet at age two.
She attended The Juilliard School for Dance, danced with the Garden State Ballet in New Jersey, and received a B.A. in Dance and a M.A. in Dance History from New York University. In addition, Amy taught ballet at various dance schools in New York City for ten years before launching her Pilates career.
Both Amy and her sister Rachel studied Pilates under the direct tutelage of Romana Kryzanowska at the original Pilates Studio in New York City. They received their Pilates teaching certificate from there in July of 1989. In 1990, after moving to Boulder, Colorado, Amy and Rachel founded The Pilates Center. The sisters then created and established The Pilates Center Teacher Training Program in 1991. The school has since expanded to include an Intermediate Program, Advanced Program, Bridge Program, Master’s Program, and a Mentorship Program. In addition, TPC now has “Licensed” and “Host” studios established all around the world.
Amy and her sister wrote The Everything Pilates Book, published in 2002. She was a founding board member of the PMA and sat on the board that created the PMA Certification Exam. Recently she has also had the honor of filming classes and workshops for online organizations such as Pilates Anytime and Pilates On Demand.
In 2011, Amy, her sister Rachel, and Ken Endelman of Balanced Body, developed CenterLine – a line of equipment designed for classical Pilates and based upon the specifications pioneered by Joseph Pilates
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