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Illium Center of Light, Jerome Andrews, Refined Pilates


I have shared with you that Jerome Andrews said that Joseph Pilates spoke about 4 spinal positions or successions. I have written blogs on the first 2. See my blog on the First Spinal succession here in a new tab), about the Second Spinal Succession in a new tab) Here is the 4th.

The fourth spinal succession has to do with lateral bending.

The Mermaid is the perfect exercise to explore this.



This exercise is good for everyone. The starting position may sometimes bother those with knee problems but you do have more than one starting position to choose from. Hopefully one will suit the student.


Pregnant women can do this exercise throughout their pregnancy.  At a certain point when the belly gets larger it is better to sit cross legged or in the second starting position.




 3 – 5 on each side.


This exercise is performed  in smooth, continuous way, with flow. The breath is always just as important as the movement.

Jenny with Pilates student and dancer Ariadne Kitsou


Sit on the left hip with both legs bent. The knees are pointing forward and form a zig zag. Relax in the right hip and lower it to the floor. Have the spine long and proud. The pelvis is square to the front. The arms are at the sides of the body, gently rounded as if framing the body.

There is an alternative starting position which is called 4th position in contemporary dance. This is the position shown in the picture. Sit on the left hip. Both knees are bent but this time the front leg is bent at a  45% angle and the shin bone is parallel to the front of the mat. The right knee is bent inwards and goes behind the body. Once again relax in the right hip and has far as possible lower it to the mat. The pelvis is square to the front. The arms are at the sides of the body, gently rounded as if framing the body.

Your focus is in the *middle body.

The arm can come a little closer to the ear.

Being careful not to hyper extend the elbow, feeling the support of the left lung and shoulder blade, raise the left arm to the side and above the head in a wide, graceful arc. Keep the shoulder soft, slide the shoulder blade downwards without strain and bring the arm as close as possible to the ear. Make sure the hand and fingers have shape but that they are not tense. Once there is tension in the hand and fingers there will be tension in the shoulder. Feel the fingers extending out into space.
Feel the sit bones rooted and the crown of the head lengthening to the sky.

The arm could come closer to the ear.

Lengthen the spine, keep the left hip rooted to the floor and lifting up and over, bent the spine to the right. Keep the body on one plane, this is just a lateral movement which means  both shoulders will be flat to the front. The head moves as a continuation of the spine. Think of the crown of the head as being the last vertebra. At the same time the right elbow comes to the mat directly under the shoulder joint. The forearm  and the palm of the hand are parallel to the front of the mat. Make sure the underneath arm does not block your stretch. Slide it further out if you need to. Feel as though the fingertips and the crown of the head are being drawn out into space. The side of the body facing the mat should soften and condense in order to allow the the stretch in the side of the body facing the ceiling.

Stay in the stretch. Feel of the side of the ribs, facing the ceiling, filling with your breath.

Deepen into the stretch by relaxing where you feel a resistance or pulling and surrendering the torso and arm to gravity. Remember to keep the opposite hip grounded. Imagine the side of the spine facing the ceiling and how the spaces in between each the vertebrae will be open like a fan.

Roll back up vertebra by vertebra, starting, truly, from the very base of the spine, the tip of the coccyx. You place one vertebra on the other as you move up. This is the fourth spinal succession. As you come up have a picture in your head of where you will return to. You will return to your axis feeling the sit bones like they have roots going deep into the earth and the crown of the head lengthening up into space.


Open the arm to the side and bring it down beside you.

*Middle Body. Imagine your body as if it were in 3 slices. Front body, back body and between those is the middle body.

Illium Center of Light, Refined Pilates



When I first did the lunges and some similar exercises on the Wunda Chair I was very impressed by how it automatically engaged me with the pelvic floor and my axis..


Precisely align the bones. Geometry is sacred. Aligning the bones makes the movement effortless. The muscles and fascia follow the bones effortlessly and naturally. You will never injure yourself this way.

 I have found it very effective to explore, moving, as if I were just made up of bones. It can put you better in touch with the skeletal system. 


Rather than acting like a dictator, open yourself up to listen to your body.

Experience sensation fully.


Imagining lines of energy helps the body understand where it should move to. Using your imagination is a powerful tool. 


Personally I find that when people imagine they have a huge amount of space, their spine lengthens. Movements have more generosity and freedom.


Being curious about how far the body will go is joyful.


Let the breath take you like a piece of music moves you. Practice breathing just a little ahead of the movement and then allow the breath to colour all of the movement.

There are many ways of breathing, all valid, and all serving a different purpose.


The springs are there to give you support. The equipment is designed to be your best friend. Go with it, play with the support and see what it will do for you.


One spring up and one down.


3-5 on each side. 

Always do the same repetitions on each side. If you do three on the right do three on the left, even if you you feel the one side is stronger. It is a matter of balance.


What is it you would like to learn about your body in this exercise today. It may be something as simple as, “Today I will not tense my shoulders” or “Today, my legs are perfectly aligned throughout. Or “Today I will feel plenty of space around me.”

Themis Andreaoulaki. Dancer and Refined Pilates Teacher Training Graduate.


Stand sideways to the chair. Take the bar down with the foot, let’s say this is the right foot, that is nearest to the chair. Mount the chair. Have the inside foot on the wooden part and the align the left (outside) foot along the bar towards the back corner. Place the right (inside) foot on the top of the chair at 45’ angle, the toes towards the front, furthest corner. The exact positioning of the feet will depend on the flexibility of your hips. Bring your axis, your spine (on the line of gravity) between your legs. Bring the triangle of your pelvis ( the front of the two iliac crests and the pubic bone) so that it is on one plane and facing directly front. You may need to release in your hips to achieve this.

The alignment of the knee on the seat is super important. The knee cap is focused directly over the space between the first and second toe. See my previous blog on leg alignment.


Draw air into the back of the lungs.


Slowly and smoothly. Empty the lungs completely.

Feel energy rising from the toes, up through the pelvic floor, up through the spine and out through the top of the head. This energy draws you upwards. You are subtly aware of the left foot on the bar. It never leaves the bar. There is a contact with the bar that lightens as you go up.l

The right foot imprints down powerfully and the leg engages strongly. The pelvis remains facing front. 

Themis Andreaoulaki. Dancer and Refined PIlates Teacher Training Graduate.


Smoothly, descend with a sense that the crown of the head continues to be drawn out into space.


It is nice to come to a balance, with the leg extended to the side, on the top of the chair at the end of each set. Make sure you straighten the knee.


Illium Center of Light



Open space in your body.



For people who have mastered the basics of Refined Pilates and, especially, leg alignment. Please look at my blog


Medium Support. On my Wunda Chair, one spring up and one down is good.

The exercise can be done with, as shown in the photos, or without the poles.

The poles afford a very light and subtle support. They are not meant to be leant on!

Themis Andreaoulaki, Dancer and Refined Pilates Teacher Training Graduate. Starting Position.


Stand facing the bar. Place the hands on the handles for a modicum of support. Press the bar down with the toes of the left foot. Mount the bar. Place the right foot, in parallel, on the back edge of the seat of the chair. Softly spread and lengthen the toes. The knee is bent and the knees cap is in a straight line with the space between the first and second toe. The left leg is straight, the toes are spread and are on the bar. The heel is soft. It is in, what dancers call, “demi relevé”. The front of ankle is soft. The foot stays in this position throughout the exercise. The left leg is in parallel.

Think of the bones that form your pelvis and bring your pelvis so that it is centered between the legs. Bring the iliac crests in a line. This will probably involve softening in the hip joints. Make sure the triangle of the pelvis ( the two iliac crests and the front of the pubic bone are in one line. This will usually mean an enlivening of the pelvic floor, the engagement of the deep abdominals and an allowing of the coccyx to be free and hang. The spine in in the second position (see my blog) or naturally straight, with the curves present.

The palms of the hands are placed on the top of the handles. They very softly push down for support. Use the support, soften your shoulders and gently widen between the elbows. The collar bone is open.

If you do the exercise without the help of the poles you can extend the arms to the side, or have the left arm forward and the right to the side.

Having the left arm forward reminds you to keep the left hip forward.

It is important to sense the extremities, to feel the toes at all points of the exercise, and their contact with the bar, and the crown of the head actively lengthening upwards.


Feel the air traveling into the back of the lungs. Lengthen the ribs away from the hips to create more space.


Feel the toes on the bar, it is as if an energy rises from there, connect the pelvic floor, in your mind’s eye feel the that energy rising up through your axis and out of the crown of the head. It is as if the crown of the head is being drawn out up to the sky. It almost feels as if you are being pulled upwards and out into space. 

Feel the right foot very firmly on the seat of the chair. Feel gravity and press into it (be extremely vigilant about the foot alignment).

Allow the springs to lighten. They help draw you upwards.

Themis Andreaoulaki, dancer and Refined Pilates Teacher Training graduate at the top of the movement.


Leave the crown of the head where it is and gently and smoothly lower the bar.


Keep the two iliac crests facing front throughout.

You can come up into a balance on one leg (arabesque), on the seat of the chair, either each time, or on the last repetition.



Illium Center of Light



On my hand made (before commercial machines) Wunda Chair, the best setting is to have one spring up and one down.

Look for medium support on your Wunda Chair.


Face the the seat of the chair.

Place the palms of the hands on the back corners of the seat. The fingers are facing outwards. Keep all your fingers together. There is a little bit more weight on the little finger and the outside edge of the arm.

The elbows are very slightly bent. It is important to avoid hyper extending the elbows. You should feel the connection between the arms and the upper back.

Spread your toes, particularly between the big toe and the second toe, and place the toes of one foot on the bar and press it down. Mount the bar with the other foot, spreading these toes as described. Have the  feet and legs closed, straight and in parallel. Be careful not to hyperextend the legs. The legs should feel like 2 columns of energy. An alternative is the “V’ position, with the legs moderately turned out. I am choosing this position because it is easier to be sure of the leg alignment. See my blog  GOOD LEG ALIGNMENT IS ESSENTIAL FOR EVERYONE

It is a position which makes it easier to release the lower spine.

Shift your body weight and bring the shoulders directly over your wrists.

Make sure the shoulders are relaxed and down away from the ears.

Bring the back into the FIRST POSITION (or rounded) of the spine. See my blog about all the details of this position. Jerome Andrews’ Pilates. THE FIRST SPINAL SUCCESSION.

Check that your hip joints are fully relaxed.

The weight of the head is surrendered completely to gravity and is in a position where you can look at the legs through the exercise “spot” the leg alignment.

Themis Andreoulaki. Dancer and Refined Pilates Teacher Training Graduate. The highest point of “The Pike”


Feel the toes, especially the big and second toes if you are working in parallel. Sense an energy passing up through the inside of the legs and engages the pelvic floor This energy passes through the back of the spine, spinous process by spinous process, starting at the coccyx and arriving at the atlas, and out the top of the head in a long arch, as you move.

The weight of your body transfers more and more onto the arms and you feel the support of the shoulder blades.

Allow the springs to lighten and help you, allow yourself to be carried up. Without losing the First Position of the spine, think of sending your sit bones high to the ceiling.


Feel as if you fill the back of the lungs with air. Breathing in this way will deepen the position of your spine.

Reverse the spinal succession, following the back of the spine from the atlas to the coccyx. 

Lower the bar with moderate speed.

Themis Andreoulaki. Dancer and Refined Pilates Teacher Training graduate. The starting position of “The Pike”.



Breakdown of repetitions.

  1. How does my body feel, today, right now, as I do the exercise. Notice using the knowledge that I have, what can I do better?
  2. I apply my knowledge and refine what I am doing.
  3. According to my teacher, Jerome Andrews, number 3 is perfect!
  4. I hone my concentration and see if I can do the exercise better than my previous best.
  5. All the above applies. What can I do even better.


I have chosen an out breath to go up. As we breath out the diaphragm travels up internally leaving more space for the engagement of the pelvic floor and the hollowing of the abdomen as our spine deepens it’s position.

Breathing in on the way down gives a sense of suspension.

It can, of course be done the other way round, just as effectively, and slightly adjusting the focus. 

The “Washer Woman”, see my video is a great preparation for The Pike.

Illium Center of Light, Refined Pilates, Yoga


Joseph Pilates referred to 4 different positions of the spine. 

Second position of the spine is when the spine is “straight”. Second spinal succession is when the spine moves from another position to straight in sequence.


The vertebral column retains it’s natural curves, when we are in second position of the spine, as these curves work like shock absorbers.

Joseph Pilates knew that many people often place a lot of strain on the lower back especially the area of the 5th lumbar and sacrum. He would therefore ask people to subtly lengthen the tail to the coccyx. This results in an equally subtle engagement of the pelvic floor and in sequence the deep abdominal muscles. It is a very subtle adjustment. Doing it too much would result in a slight tucking of the tail bone. Over time that would lead to the lumber curve being reduced, which in turn would cause imbalance and injury.


See the video, “Bouncing on a Pole”. An exercise  which teaches not just the importance of the suppleness of the feet but, the bouncing motion gently encourages the release of the hip joints and an allowing of the coccyx or tail bone to hang and lengthen. It is sometimes useful to imagine that we actually do have a tail.

When we are in the second position of the spine or when we are moving into it our focus is on the centre of the spine, or the spinal cord.


Imagining the axis is a very powerful addition to focusing into the center of the spine. It serves as a guide for the spine. Imagine a line of light that starts directly above the crown of the head ( the part of the head which is soft when we are babies). This line of light is like a plumb line, if we are upright,  which travels down through the body exits through the pelvic floor and goes deep into the earth between our feet.

I have found it very effective for people to imagine their axis as being longer than their physical body. I have noticed that spines get longer, when people visualise the axis in this way. This freeing and creating space in the spine is important for us all, in particular for people with conditions like scoliosis.


A longer spine makes people feel taller and more self confident. It has a positive psychological effect.

This axis can be imagined in any position, standing, sitting, on all fours, on a diagonal like the position we take when we do Front Support.


When we are in the Second Position of the spine the pelvis is in a neutral position. It is neither tilted forward or back. How can we check this? When we lie on our back, we can place our hands over the lower part of the belly. Our fingertips are on our pubic bone and part of our arms end up resting on the front of our iliac crests. We can imagine these 3 points are like a triangle. The three points of the triangle are all on the same level parallel to the floor. The same principles apply in the upright position, the three bones of the triangle of the pelvis are on one plane. 


In finding the second position of the spine it is essential to remember that the spine and the segments of the spine need to be free, free is move effortlessly. We often mistakenly gather tension at the base of the spine and at the top. Check yourself out. Do you feel as if there is a hand wrapped around the bottom of the spine squeezing it? If so let it go. The same goes for the cervical spine which is like a tail at the other end. Remember the top vertebra is just behind the nose. Explore releasing it. In the cranial sacral work, the bones of the head are often viewed as the last vertebrae. I have found this to be a useful view in achieving a continuation of the energy beyond the top of the head without tension.


When moving into the second position, spinal succession, it is possible to start at either the top or bottom according to the type of movement. I have found that moving from the tail up gives a better sense of grounding and moving from the cervical spine down, a lightness. Think about the movement you are doing and choose, consciously, according to what you may wish to achieve and the movement.


There are two videos on You Tube which are about Footwork on the Reformer. The exercises are done in the Second position of the spine and we I do focus a great deal on creating space in the spine even though the exercises are with the resistance of the springs. You may find them interesting.

Enjoy your practice!

Copyright: Jenny Colebourne.

Illium Center of Light


Leg alignment is one of the most important things that you can learn in terms of injury prevention and in helping those who already have knee and back injuries.

Good leg alignment is essential for everyone. It is super important for dancers, athletes, those with knee problems and back problems.


You can do this exercise by yourself with good results. It is nice to practice with a teacher or a friend. Follow the instructions as if you are both student and teacher. You will need to use your imagination (which is a powerful tool) and observe your body carefully. You will not be able to reach to touch all the places mentioned. Define your kneecap with one hand and place the other hand on your sit bone to help yourself have a sense of the architectural lines.


When teaching this, presence and a good sense of touch is essential you also need to really take as much time as it needs. This time is never wasted as the body remembers what is good for it. The next time you come back to it will be better. As you develop as a teacher or student you will get better and better at teaching this.


The student sits on a mat with her back supported on a cushion placed against a wall. Her knees are bent, the heels in a straight line with the sit bones. 

☆ Sit directly in front of your student with your legs comfortably open. (You may need to move back as the exercise progresses.) Explain to the client that you will be working on aligning the bones. The flesh, the muscles and the fascia need to be as relaxed as possible in order for them to follow the new alignment of the bones. They should feel like a bone person. Tell them to imagine three straight lines of energy.


  1. THE FIRST LINE CONNECTS THE SIT BONE TO THE HEEL I imagine a string that connects the sit bone to the heel.
  1. THE SECOND STRAIGHT LINE IS DRAWN BETWEEN THE CENTER OF THE KNEECAP AND THE SPACE BETWEEN THE BIG TOE AND THE SECOND TOE. Be very careful that you define the actual kneecap (patella) and find the center of it. You need to let the leg slide down on some people to find it. Do not look at the general shape of the knee. Work only with the bones. If there is miss-alignment some muscles may be overdeveloped. 
  1. THE THIRD LINE IS AN IMAGINED PLUMB LINE THAT BEGINS ABOVE THE KNEE, RUNS THROUGH THE CENTER OF THE KNEE TO THE GROUND (TO GRAVITY).  Imagine there it like a string with a weight at the end. The client will slowly straighten the leg keeping this image in mind.

The teacher/helper holds (and therefore defines) the kneecap between the thumb and the second finger of one hand and keeps the heel in alignment with the other. Be careful that your touch is firm but not harsh.

Ask the student to begin sliding her foot along the mat moving towards straightening the leg. Both of you make sure that the architectural lines are adhered to.

The client leaves the weight of the heel well into the floor (without pushing). This helps her to keep the hip joint soft and relaxed. The toes are relaxed.


Problems with miss alignment usually occur about half way down. The second there starts to be a miss alignment stop. Ask your client to close her eyes and to focus gently and non-judgmentally into her own body and notice where she might have tension, holding or even pain. Once she identifies this area ask her to keep her focus there. Remind her that energy follows thought. Just by focusing 100% on an area of her body in a loving non-judgmental way she has already started a process of change, of healing. Tell her to take a deep breath in and as she breaths out to soften in that specific area. Take your time. The process may take two or three breaths or there may be more than one area of tension. ONLY when you have both completed this process start continuing the exercise. It may be that you must stop more than once before the leg is finally straight.

Another moment in time, which is very important in this process, is just before the knee finally straightens. Many people grip the knee as they do this. In order to prevent this happening ask your client to imagine the floor coming up to the knee rather than thinking of the knee straightening. This often helps to avoid old patterns.


Now that the leg is straight, define the shinbone both for yourself and your client by, starting at the top of the shinbone and gently walking your fingers down the length of it. Noticing where the top of the shin bone is in relation to the Patella will give you an idea as to whether the connecting ligament is misaligned and therefore under strain.

Ask the client to lengthen the shinbone. You can do this by initially defining a small distance between two of your fingers on the upper surface of the bone. Make sure that you are touching gently but the client can feel your fingers. 

One finger will always be at the head of the shinbone the other further down. It is possible to feel if the client is lengthening the bone or not. Increase the distance until you are accessing the whole length of the shinbone. Continue the process of lengthening by placing the fingers at the point between the end of the first and second toe and getting the client to lengthen towards your finger. Keep microscopically moving your fingers away all the time encouraging the client to lengthen.


When you are satisfied that the lengthening is enough for this moment in time ask the client to continue the lengthening process. Define a spot on the thigh bone one third down from the highest point ask the client to send that point straight down to the mat. The lines of energy should be exact and specific.

Continue the process of lengthening (place your finger once again at the point between the big toe and second toe) until the leg lifts. The minute you might feel that the client shortens the leg in an effort to lift make her stop and start again changing the habit of shortening and griping the muscles to lift.


Once you have achieved this either with the leg in the air or on the mat continue the process of lengthening and get the client to rotate ONLY IN THE HIP JOINT. 


I love  the Anatomy Coloring Book. Colour the page or pages of the bones of the leg and put it up somewhere that you can see it often.

Practice the leg alignment exercise alone or with help make a note in your journal how these exercises help you personally.


Continue to observe how people use their feet but now also the alignment of the whole leg especially the relationship of the foot and the knee.

Notice if people with back problems or knee problems have good leg alignment or not. 

Make notes on what improves in your own exercise with better leg alignment.

My deepest thanks and gratitude to the late Don Farnworth , a wonderful ballet teacher and Reiki master who passed on this very essential work to me.

Copyright Jenny Colebourne.

Illium Center of Light



Jerome Andrews’ explained that Joseph Pilates referred to four positions of the spine.
The first position of the spine was a rounded back, or what is sometimes referred to as the “C” curve.
The easiest way to explore the first position of the spine is on all fours. it is important that the thigh bone and the arm bones are perpendicular to the floor. Imagine that you have roots extending from the knees going deep into the earth. The knees are in a straight line with the hip joints. The arms are straight. It is important that we avoid hyper extending or tensing the elbows. The palm of the hand is fully in touch with the floor and the fingers are are spread wide. The middle finger points directly forward. Make sure the whole length of the finger is in touch with the floor, especially the roots of the fingers. Making sure that we distribute the weight of the body through the whole hand out into the fingertips helps us to avoid pressure or tension in the wrists. Imagine that you have roots extending from the palms deep into the earth and that he wrist is directly in a line with the shoulder joints.


The palms of the hands and the knees are sites of support. Accuracy is important. If we have our knee, for example, just 1 cm more back of the hip joint, we will not have the as much support and as a result our attempts to articulate the spine will be less effective. We allow gravity to affect our sites of support because the more we feel our roots the more easy the exercise will be and the more subtle our movements can be.

The spine is in second position (straight and parallel to the floor) to start.

The student focuses on moving from the bones of the body, the skeleton, and leaves the muscles and fascia relaxed so that they follow the direction of the bones.

First spinal succession can start either at the top or the bottom of the spine depending on what is more appropriate for the movement.

The focus is extremely specific. The student concentrates on accessing the back edge of the spine, when moving into the first spinal succession . The spinal processes form the back edge of the spine and have a completely different quality to the front part of the spine. Let us say that the student is starting the movement from the tip of the coccyx. The student focuses on the back edge of each vertebra, moving one vertebra at a time into the rounded position. It is important to truly follow the spine one vertebra at a time, paying attention to each one until you reach the very last vertebra in the neck which is just behind the nose.

 It is important not to skip over a vertebra that might be a little more difficult to move individually. Those vertebrae are often the more important ones that we need to mobilise! When we are exploring and being curious about this process we can spend more time with a “stubborn” vertebra, soften and relax around it, and with our out breath achieve a movement.


You can think about the spinous processes like they are the quills of a porcupine that pop out of the skin one by one. An image that worked for me was to think about how a mother cat picks up her kittens. It is as if you delicately lift up the vertebra and it pops out of the skin.

It is important not to grip around any area of the spine. In order to mobilise the coccyx and the sacrum (the tail) the back of the pelvis needs to be soft and it is very important to avoid tension in the hip joints.

When we move into the neck area the shoulders need to be completely relaxed.

To achieve full articulation make sure the front of the body is totally relaxed. Soften the last rib and allow the breast bone to move gently inwards.

There is no need to think of engaging the pelvic floor or pulling the abdomen in. If we can articulate the spine our pelvic floor muscle will engage just enough and we will access the deep abdominals. This happens in a much more essential way, if we truly move from the bones of the spine, and allow the muscles and fascia to follow.


Use as many breaths as you need. Take as much time as you need to explore and be curious about this process. The body remembers deep work and will reward you. Just use your out breath to relax any holding patterns or pain.

Being able to move the spine bone by bone with such sensitivity is healing. It will relieve pain and sites of tension. As we learn to apply the spinal succession to all forms of movement and even advanced exercises we will never injure ourselves.

It is a process which is good for everyone.

Copyright: Jenny Colebourne

Illium Center of Light



Every Friday for 8 weeks 18.30-20.30 starting March 5th  on Zoom

Price: 320€
Or 40€ a week 
A commitment to attending the full he course is required.

Teachers have asked me if I could put together an intensive course about Healing Pilates. I will be focusing on how our approach to our body can make all the difference and exercises that can be integrated into a class whether it is Pilates or Yoga to prepare and transform even the most difficult of bodies.


Our neck and shoulders relate to our expression center. It is important that we can sing our song clearly and confidently. To begin to do this we need to release tension, pain and stress patterns on a physical level. I will be teaching self-help techniques from Refined Pilates, Yoga, Reiki, Sound Healing and Cranial Sacral Therapy.

On Saturday 20th of February 
At 15.00-17.00 (EET) on Zoom 
Price: 25€

Illium Center of Light



Υπάρχει μια ολόκληρη επιστήμη της αναπνοής στην Hatha Yoga. Ονομάζεται Pranayama. Η Pranayama αποτελείται από πολλές διαφορετικές αναπνευστικές ασκήσεις, οι οποίες ενισχύουν τη μυϊκή και περιτονιακή μας υποστήριξη για όλες τις φάσεις της αναπνοής και απελευθερώνουν τη διαφραγματική κίνηση. Η κίνηση του διαφράγματος είναι μεγάλη, όταν η αναπνοή είναι σωστή, και δημιουργεί ένα φυσικό, θεραπευτικό μασάζ για όλα τα όργανα του σώματος και της σπονδυλικής στήλης. Το θωρακικό διάφραγμα έχει τη μεγαλύτερη περιτονία στο σώμα. Είναι σημαντικό να είναι χωρίς ένταση. Ένα θωρακικό διάφραγμα που αναπνέει σωστά έχει θετική επίδραση σε όλα τα διαφράγματα του σώματος, όπως π.χ. το πυελικό διάφραγμα.

Η σωστή  και βαθιά αναπνοή έχει θετικά αποτελέσματα στο σώμα μέχρι το κυτταρικό επίπεδο.

Γνωρίζουμε ότι ο Joseph Pilates έδωσε έμφαση στην αναπνοή.

Οι καθηγητές του Πιλάτες διδάσκουν συνήθως μια μορφή αναπνοής στις μέρες μας: “εισπνεύστε από τη μύτη και εκπνεύστε από το στόμα.”

Έμαθα από τον δάσκαλό μου, τον Jerome Andrews (ο οποίος ήταν 10 χρόνια με τον Pilates), ότι έχει  χρησιμοποιηθεί μια πολύ μεγαλύτερη ποικιλία μοτίβων αναπνοής, όπως το κράτημα της αναπνοής μετά την εκπνοή, η αναπνοή με συνοδευτικό ήχο και μια μακρυά αργή εκπνοή.

Κάθε τύπος αναπνοής έχει τον δικό του συγκεκριμένο σκοπό.

Προσωπικά, έχω απολαύσει και  επωφεληθεί από όλους αυτούς τους τύπους αναπνοής.

 Έχω εφαρμόσει την αναπνοή Ujjai, από τη γιόγκα, στις ασκήσεις Pilates και το βρήκα πολύ αποτελεσματικό, ειδικά για μαθητές με προκλήσεις.

Ο Πιλάτες έχει μιλήσει για «ροή». Η γιόγκα μπορεί να εξασκηθεί σύμφωνα με το ρυθμό της αναπνοής.


Μία από τις αρχές της τεχνικής Pilates είναι η ακρίβεια.

Η Hatha Yoga ασκείται σύμφωνα με τις αρχές της ιερής γεωμετρίας.

Ο τρόπος με τον οποίο τοποθετούμε τα πόδια και τα χέρια μας είναι πολύ συγκεκριμένος στη γιόγκα. Είναι επίσης σημαντικός και στην τεχνική Pilates.

Η καλή τοποθέτηση του σκελετού  είναι εξίσου σημαντική στη Γιόγκα όπως και στο Pilates.


Στα αρχικά στάδια της Hatha Yoga τα μάτια είναι κλειστά έως ότου ο μαθητής αναπτύξει μια βαθιά και ειλικρινή σχέση με το εσωτερικό σώμα. Αυτή η σχέση συνεχίζει να μεγαλώνει και ο μαθητής φτάνει στο σημείο να είναι σε επαφή με το σώμα του και ταυτόχρονα να έχει τα μάτια του ανοιχτά και να μην αποσπάται η προσοχή του από το περιβάλλον. Στη συνέχεια, το βλέμμα του εστιάζεται πολύ συγκεκριμένα σε ένα σημείο, το οποίο ποικίλλει ανάλογα με την asana.

Η βαθιά χαλάρωση, Sarvasana (πόζα πτώματος), ασκείται έτσι ώστε να μπορούμε να ηρεμήσουμε σε σημείο που είμαστε ικανοί να ακονίσουμε τη συγκέντρωσή μας. Η Γιόγκα μάς διδάσκει πώς να επικεντρωνόμαστε σε ένα σημείο, είτε αυτό είναι, (για παράδειγμα) ένα μέρος του σώματος, ένα συγκεκριμένο σύνολο λέξεων (όπως ένα μάντρα) ή μια φλόγα κεριών. Μας διδάσκουν να εστιάζουμε και, όταν συνειδητοποιούμε ότι έχουμε χάσει τη συγκέντρωσή μας, μας διδάσκουν να επαναφέρουμε την εστίασή μας στο σημείο εστίασης χωρίς να σπαταλάμε ενέργεια ή να κριτικάρουμε ή επιπλήττουμε τον εαυτό μας. Αντιθέτως, αυτό θεωρείται ως φυσικό μέρος της διαδικασίας μας.

Ως αρχάριοι στη γιόγκα αναπνέουμε ελεύθερα και κρατάμε τις ασάνες για όσο διάστημα είναι άνετο για εμάς και καθώς προχωρoύμε μετράμε τις αναπνοές μας για να φέρουμε περισσότερη ισορροπία στην πρακτική μας, σε όλα τα επίπεδα, και για να αυξήσουμε την ικανότητά μας να συγκεντρωνόμαστε.


Η Deep Relaxαtion, Savasana, Corpse pose ασκείται για τουλάχιστον 20 λεπτά. Αυτό δεν είναι κάτι που διδάσκεται στο Pilates.

Η πρόθεση είναι να απαλλαγούμε από ένταση σε όλα τα επίπεδα, είτε είναι σωματική, ψυχολογική ή συναισθηματική. Κυριολεκτικά αδειάζουμε τον εαυτο μας, κάτι σαν ένας μικρός θάνατος (εξ ου και το όνομα “Corpse Pose). Μόνο όταν είμαστε άδειοι μπορούμε να φέρουμε φρέσκια, θετική ενέργεια στον εαυτό μας (συχνά μέσω της αναπνοής)

Αυτό βοηθά τους ανθρώπους να αντιμετωπίσουν την κατάθλιψη, το άγχος και την ανησυχία και τους φέρνουν πίσω σε επαφή με την ουσία τους. Αυτό είναι προφανώς ευεργετικό για όλη τη ζωή τους. Έχει θετική επίδραση στην ικανότητά τους να ασκούν Pilates ή Yoga.


Ως δάσκαλοι γιόγκα αναπτύσσουμε συνειδητά την παρουσία μας ως εκπαιδευτικών. Μας διδάσκουν ότι δεν υπάρχουν δύο ρόλοι, ο δάσκαλος και ο μαθητής, αλλά ότι είμαστε ένας.

Ένας δάσκαλος γιόγκα αναπτύσσει την ενέργειά του έτσι ώστε να διδάσκει χωρίς λόγια. Η δική μου δασκάλα γιόγκα δεν είχε παρά απλά  να κοιτάξει το μαθητή της και αυτός ένιωθε ότι το κέντρο της καρδιάς τους είχε ανοίξει.


Οι καθηγητές Pilates χρησιμοποιούν το άγγιγμα αλλά οι δάσκαλοι γιόγκα, ακολουθώντας το μάθημά μου, μαθαίνουν πώς να εμποτίζουν τα αγγίγματά τους με ποιότητες που βοηθούν τους μαθητές τους να τους εμπιστεύονται και ως εκ τούτου να ανταποκρίνονται πληρέστερα σε αυτούς.

Οι μαθητές μου μαθαίνουν πώς να αισθάνονται το σώμα των άλλων, τι  χρειάζεται το σώμα αυτό, την εσωτερική του κίνηση, καθώς και το ενεργειακό σώμα.

Ως καθηγητές γιόγκα διδασκόμαστε ότι η εσωτερική στάση μας επηρεάζει την ποιότητα του αγγίιγματος και το πώς θα ανταποκριθούν οι άνθρωποι σε αυτό το άγγιγμα.

Μας διδάσκουν να συντονίζουμε την αναπνοή μας με τον μαθητή που αγγίζουμε. Αυτό φέρνει τις αντίστοιχες αύρες μας σε αρμονία.

Ο καθένας μπορεί να αναπτύξει αυτές τις ικανότητες.


Όλοι οι δάσκαλοί μου έχουν διδαχτεί να βρίσκουν πάντα θετικούς και διαυγείς τρόπους διδασκαλίας.

Η επιλογή των λέξεων είναι πολύ σημαντική. Πολλοί άνθρωποι έχουν υποφέρει στο σπίτι, στο σχολείο ή στο εργασιακό τους περιβάλλον. Είναι σημαντικό να διατυπώνετε τα πράγματα με θετικό τρόπο.

Έχει διαπιστωθεί ότι ο ήχος και η μουσική, με τη δόνηση, μπορούν να μεταμορφώσουν και να θεραπεύσουν ένα άτομο.

Ένας δάσκαλος γιόγκα μαθαίνει να χρησιμοποιεί τη δόνηση της φωνής του σαν όργανο. Υπάρχουν συγκεκριμένες ασκήσεις για την ανάπτυξη αυτής της ικανότητας.


Όλοι, ως δάσκαλοι, ακούμε. Ένας δάσκαλος γιόγκα αφήνει συνειδητά αρκετό χώρο στον άλλον για να εκφραστεί και, αποφεύγοντας μια άμεση ανταπόκριση, λειτουργεί σαν ηχείο και αφήνει χώρο για να αποκαλυφθούν βαθύτερα επίπεδα συνειδητότητας.

Μαθαίνουμε πώς να ακούμε συνειδητά και να μην βιαζόμαστε να απαντήσουμε ή να έχουμε την «απάντηση», αλλά μάλλον να αποκαλυφθεί η απάντηση.


Τόσο το Pilates όσο και η Yoga ενθαρρύνουν την ισορροπία μεταξύ μυϊκού τόνου και ευλυγισίας.

Οι τεχνικές χαλάρωσης και αναπνοής της Hatha Yoga είναι ιδιαίτερα χρήσιμες για άτομα που πάσχουν από δυσκαμψία ή πόνο.


Οι μαθητές γιόγκα διδάσκονται να είναι πάντα νωρίς στην τάξη. Είναι απαραίτητο όχι μόνο για το πώς το σώμα προετοιμάζεται σταδιακά για διαφορετικές ασάνες όπως στο Pilates, αλλά και επειδή δημιουργείται μια χαλαρή εστιασμένη ατμόσφαιρα από την αρχή του μαθήματος η οποία χτίζεται στη διάρκεια του μαθήματος μέχρι το τέλος. Επιτυγχάνεται μια πολύ συγκεκριμένη ενέργεια. Κάποιος που αργεί διακόπτει αυτήν τη διαδικασία. Επομένως, η καθυστέρηση δεν γίνεται αποδεκτή στη γιόγκα.

Μόλις εισέλθουν στο χώρο γιόγκα οι μαθητές δεν μιλούν μεταξύ τους. Δεν υπάρχει συνομιλία μεταξύ μαθητών ή μεταξύ μαθητών και δασκάλου. Καμία ερώτηση. Απλώς η δόνηση του ήχου της φωνής του δασκάλου και σαφείς και διαυγείς οδηγίες. Αυτό συντελεί επίσης στη δημιουργία μιας συγκεκριμένης, ιδιαίτερης ατμόσφαιρας.

Στο τέλος του μαθήματος μένει χρόνος για να μοιραστεί κανείς εμπειρίες ή για ερωτήσεις.


Ο χώρος στον οποίο ασκούμε γιόγκα διαποτίζεται από την ενέργεια της πρακτικής. Είναι ένας ιερός χώρος. Ανάβουμε ένα κερί πριν από την εξάσκησή μας. Το φως του κεριού μάς θυμίζει το φως προς το οποίο κινούμαστε.

Δημιουργούμε ένα βωμό, ο οποίος μπορεί να έχει εμπνευσμένες εικόνες. φωτογραφίες σπουδαίων δασκάλων, κρύσταλλα και λουλούδια, και αιθέρια έλαια που μπορεί να καίονται. Όλα αυτά μάς  θυμίζουν πού θέλουμε να οδηγηθούμε με την πρακτική μας.

Όσο πιο συνειδητά δημιουργούμε τον χώρο μας, είτε πρόκειται για Pilates είτε για Γιόγκα, τόσο πιο γρήγορα μετακινούμαστε στην κατάλληλη κατάσταση του νου για την πρακτική μας.

Illium Center of Light

12 Reasons Why Pilates Teachers Should Do My Sounding The Sounding The Heart Hatha Yoga Teacher Training Course

Here are 12 areas in which I believe yoga has a lot to offer.


There is a whole science of breathing in Hatha Yoga. It is called Pranayama. Pranayama consists of many different breathing exercises, which strengthen our muscular and fascial support for all phases of breathing and liberates the diaphragmatic movement. The movement of the diaphragm is large, when it is healthy, and creates a natural, therapeutic massage for all the organs of the body and the spine. The breathing diaphragm has the largest concentration fascia in the body. It is important that it be free of tension. A healthy breathing diaphragm has a positive effect on all the diaphragms of the body such as the pelvic diaphragm. 

Healthy, powerful breathing has positive effects on the body right down to the cellular level.

We know that Joseph Pilates placed an emphasis on breathing. 

Pilates’ teachers usually teach one form of breathing nowadays, “breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.”

I learned from my teacher, Jerome Andrews (who was 10 years with Pilates) that a much bigger variety of breath patterns were used, such as holding the breath after the out breath, sighing breath and a long slow out breath.

Each type of breath has it’s own specific purpose.

I personally have enjoyed and benefited from all these types of breathing.

 I have applied the Ujjai breath, from yoga, to Pilates exercises and found it to be very effective especially for students with challenges. 

Pilates talked about flow. Yoga can be practiced according to the rhythm of the breath. 


One of the principles of the Pilates technique is precision. 

Hatha Yoga is practiced adhering the principles of sacred geometry. 

The way we place our feet and hands are very specific in yoga. It is also important in the Pilates technique.

Good placement of the skeletal body is as important in Yoga as in Pilates.


In the beginning stages of Hatha Yoga the eyes are closed until the student develops a deep and honest relationship with the inner body. This relationship continues to grow and the student advances to being able to be in touch with the body and at the same time have the eyes open and not be distracted by his or her surroundings. The gaze is then focused very specifically on one point, which varies according to the asana.

The deep relaxation, Sarvasana, (corpse pose) is practiced so that we can calm ourselves to a point of being able to hone our concentration. Yoga teaches us how to focus on one point, whether it is, (for example) a part of the body, a specific set of words, like a mantra or a candle flame. We are taught to focus and when we realize we have lost our concentration we are taught to simply bring our focus back to the point of focus without wasting energy criticizing or berating ourselves. Rather this is seen as a natural part of our process.

As beginners in yoga we breathe freely and hold the asanas for as long as is comfortable for us and as we progress we count our breaths to bring more balance to our practice, on all levels, and to increase our ability to concentrate. 


Deep Relaxtion, Savasana, Corpse pose is practiced for a minumum of 20 minutes. This is not something that is taught in Pilates.

The intention is to let go of tension on all levels whether it is physical, psychological or emotional. We literally empty ourselves, rather like a small death (hence the name “Corpse Pose). It is only when we are empty that we can bring fresh, positive energy in to ourselves (often via the breath).

This helps people deal with depression, anxiety, and worry and brings them back in touch their essence. This is obviously beneficial for all of their life. It has a positive effect on their ability to practice Pilates or Yoga. 


As yoga teachers we consciously develop our presence as teachers. We are taught that there are not two roles, the teacher and the student but rather we are one.

A yoga teacher develops his or her energy so that he or she teaches without words. My own yoga teacher had only to look at her student and he felt his heart center open.


Pilates teachers use touch but yoga teachers, following my course learn how to imbue their touch with qualities that help their students to trust them and therefore respond more fully to them.

My student teachers learn how to sense the others’ body, what it needs, its internal movement and the energy body.

As yoga teachers we are taught that out internal stance affects the quality of touch and how far people will respond to that touch.

We are taught to coordinate our breathing with the student we are touching. This brings our respective auras into harmony.

Everyone can develop these abilities.


All my teachers are taught to always find positive and lucid ways of instructing.

The choice of words is very important. A lot of people have suffered some kind of abuse at home, at school or in their work environment. It is essential to phrase things in a positive way.

It has been found that sound and music, according to the vibration, can transform and heal a person.

A yoga teacher learns to use the vibration of their voice like an instrument. There are specific exercises to develop this skill.


We all, as teachers, listen. A yoga teacher consciously leaves enough space for the other to express herself, acting like a sounding board and refraining from an immediate response leaves room for deeper levels of consciousness to be revealed. 

We learn how to consciously listen and to not rush to respond or to have the “answer” but rather that the answer be revealed.


Both Pilates and Yoga encourage a balance between muscular tone and limberness.

The relaxation and breathing techniques of Hatha Yoga are particularly helpful for people suffering from stiffness and or pain.


Yoga students are taught to always be early for class. It is essential not just for how the body is gradually prepared for different asanas as in Pilates but also because a relaxed focused atmosphere is created from the beginning of class and that builds all through the class until the end. A very specific energy is achieved. A latecomer interrupts that process. Lateness is therefore not accepted in yoga. 

Once entering the yoga space students do not talk between one another. There is no conversation between students or between students and the teacher. No questions. Just the vibration of the sound of the teacher’s voice and clear lucid instructions. This is also to build a specific, special atmosphere. 

Time is left at the end for sharing or questions.


The space we practice yoga in becomes imbued with the energy of the practice. It is a sacred space. We light a candle before our practice. The light of the candle reminds us of the light that we are moving towards.

We create an altar, which may have inspirational images; photos of great teachers, crystals, flowers and essential oils may be burnt. All these things remind us of where we wish to go with our practice.

The more consciously we create our space whether it is for Pilates or Yoga the more we quickly move into the appropriate state of mind for our practice.

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