Pilates, You, & 26 Miles
From the desk of Sharon Barry.... Admittedly, I’ve yet to run a marathon as my idea of long distance running is packing everything I own into my car and moving to a new state. But I have worked with many marathoners, using Pilates, Thai yoga massage and occasionally throwing in some acrobatics or flying trapeze. Just kidding. I rarely teach circus arts in conjunction with marathon training. Picture in your mind the human skeleton: all the bones are meticulously balanced and arranged, the muscles intricately interwoven between the bones. Ideally, each muscle has a specific function and when the body is balanced, it performs like a well-oiled machine. But over time, we all develop musculoskeletal imbalances that can cause injury and decreased performance. The first step in Pilates is re-training the body to work most efficiently while simultaneously improving posture and decreasing neck, shoulder and back pain. The “core” of each exercise in Pilates, comes from stabilizing and working outwards from the “powerhouse” or the deepest abdominal and back muscles. When the “powerhouse” is strong and working efficiently, it allows the peripheral muscles of the arms and legs to function fluidly as well.
Next comes the “body mind” connection. I’m not referring to that blissful, zen-like state you’ll discover in one of the amazing yoga classes here at OMBE, I’m talking about that little voice in your head that takes over when your feet refuse to take another step. Zoom in on the next picture frame: me lounging in a golf cart moving alongside of you while you’re at mile 10, sipping a cool, tasty beverage and nibbling on a slice of pizza. Intermittently, I call out to you with my bull horn: “MOVE IT SLACKER! I RAN 26 MILES BEFORE YOU EVEN CONSIDERED EATING BREAKFAST TODAY”, and other similar discouraging lines. In Pilates, you’ll use your mind to re-train and encourage your body, especially when you feel you‘re at your pain threshold and can‘t go any further. You’ll be able to tell your arms to drive forward from the powerful latissimus muscles when your legs are screaming in pain. You’ll command your abs to pull in to assist in engaging your psoas muscles to help lift your legs and lengthen your stride. You’ll demand that your shoulder blades glide down towards your waist to relax your neck and shoulders and stand tall. And, those muscles will obey with ease and help make your run more graceful and less painful because you’ve trained them to perform efficiently with Pilates.
And finally, a few days after you’ve glided past the finish line, pranced around a bit yelling out “WHO WANTS TO GO ANOTHER TEN???!”, before you collapsed in a heap on the ground, you can come back to see me for Thai yoga massage! Have fun out there!!
Sharon Barry, CPI Certified Pilates Instructor, Thai Yoga Massage and Reiki Practitioner
Sharon Barry began her Pilates training as a dancer in college 17 years ago. In 1996, she received her Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography from Arizona State University and has been a certified Pilates trainer since 1997 through the PhysicalMind Institute. Additionally, Sharon was a professional choreographer and dancer, trainer and performer with the San Francisco School of Circus Arts where she taught Pilates, flying and static trapeze, teeterboard, trampolining, and acrobatics. In 2002, she received her First Degree Reiki certification and in 2008 she completed her Thai Yoga Massage certification.
In addition to teaching Pilates classes and private sessions, Sharon combines her training in Reiki and Thai Yoga massage with her clients. Over the past 12 years, Sharon has trained professional dancers, circus performers, gymnasts, golf professionals, marathon runners, and triathletes. She has coaxed bodies through injury rehabilitation as well as helping clients improve athletic performance. Throughout her career as a Pilates instructor, Sharon has enjoyed working in conjunction with physicians, chiropractors, orthopedic surgeons, acupuncturists, and physical therapists.