Melanie Talks About Pilates, Nutrition and the Springtime!
The Springtime, in Chinese medicine, is known as the time of the liver. The liver is known as the “General” — it’s responsible for directing the flow of energy through all the systems of the body, clearing away accumulated toxins so we can be clean and strong for the summer. When the body is filled with toxicity, the General is overwhelmed, and we can feel sluggish and “stuck” in our bodies.
It seems that Joe Pilates was aware of the value of moving with the seasons and being in touch with the natural world. He always took the winter off to go skiing, and also kept a place in the Catskills, where, it seems, he enjoyed spending time outdoors (there is footage of him demonstrating his exercises on the soft earth, surrounded by trees).
In this article, Vintage Pilates instructor Melanie Petri (who holds a Master’s in Nutrition and worked as a Registered Dietitian) talks about how a regular Pilates workout, together with a gentle shift in nutrition can assist your body’s natural detoxing process, so you can avoid that stagnant, achey feeling, and be full of life for the Spring.
Spring is here! Spring is the time for casting off our outer layers of clothing. You may have extra energy brought on by longer days of sunlight, thus supplying you with motivation to get into the Pilates studio. It is the season of renewal with a whole new crop of vegetables and fruits coming into our local markets inspiring us to change up our palates to a lighter fare. It is also the time we do a “spring cleaning.”
Pilates IS a Detox
Should we also “detox” or “cleanse”our bodies this spring? Joe Pilates taught us that a good Pilates workout would give us an “internal shower.” A sweaty reformer workout would certainly be classified as “cleansing” as perspiring is one of our bodies natural ways of detoxifying. A dietary cleanse is designed to rid our bodies of harmful toxins that have built up in organs and tissues. As our bodies are designed pretty perfectly, you have a system that is meant to do just that…. your liver is a natural filter as are your kidneys. A dietary cleanse can be used if you need to shed a few pounds quickly, but is it necessary? I think not.
Optimal health can be achieved by sticking to a regular exercise program that you love and causes you to sweat, stretch, and get your blood moving through your organs. In addition, eat foods that are good for you on a daily basis. By that I mean, free of artificial colors, flavors, hormones, and antibiotics. Instead eat foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibers, colors, and natural flavors. It is easy to do in spring! If you like having a goal for yourself for the season, consider lessening or eliminating gluten from your diet. I don’t believe most people are sensitive to gluten, although some certainly are, but you might be surprised at how much more good, vitamin rich food you eat when you are forced to be creative and not default to the same old sandwich or pasta. Go to the farmers market for inspiration. Fresh cherries may feel like a luxury, but they are so satisfying and inexpensive compared to “a cleanse.”
If your energy is low as we move into the Springtime, don’t fret. Momentum towards health can be achieved by keeping up your Pilates practice, and making small and conscious choices in the food you eat. Jay Grimes likes to say, “Let Joe do the work” — as in, do the exercises, and have faith that Joe Pilates’ method will help you be clean, balanced, and strong.