Spring means new springs!

Happy spring! It’s right around the corner, isn’t it?

springsI should say springs! While we wait patiently for Spring, we are excited to have new springs for the equipment at Centerspace! After years of loyal service, our ‘old’ springs are just plain tired. So we thought you might be interested in a little tutorial about what to expect from your new springs.


Deborah Lessen is a renowned Pilates instructor and creates her own Pilates equipment for use in her studio! So needless to say, she’s very serious about how the equipment should perform. This is what she has to say about springs:

Extension springs are wound to oppose extension. So how tightly the spring is coiled is critical. Extension springs absorb and store energy as well as create resistance to a pulling force.

The initial tension of the spring is very important. The user should always feel the initial tension when beginning a movement. This is the moment that tests the body’s muscle coordination, full body organization and strength. After initial tension, the resistance should decrease evenly as the spring is extended, allowing the user’s joints to ‘breathe’ when fully extended.

Spring resistance should be suitable to necessitate dynamic stabilization, an underlying concept of Pilates exercise. The spring should feel smooth during movement, quiet, give the feel of circular motion and mimic breathing.  Like muscles, springs should be effective both concentrically and eccentrically. In other words, they should provide resistance as you extend them and pull back in so that your muscles have to control the return movement, the muscles’ eccentric contraction, which is dominant in Pilates training. Springs should give accurate feedback regarding which muscles are working and how much effort is being exerted.


And our teacher and mentor, Amy Taylor Alpers, had this to say about the relationship of springs to the Pilates experience:

Ideally, the springs in Pilates exercises should offer both resistance and support, much like a bird uses air to fly, or a fish uses water to swim. Because this relationship can be quite subtle it is very easy and common to either overpower the spring, or conversely, let the spring overpower you, or to just simply hang off it. One of the really valuable and unique aspects of the newly rediscovered “archival” exercises is that they truly help you understand this relationship; they teach you how to connect to the spring most effectively – to find the freedom that comes with relinquishing a certain level of control to the spring, and then to move with more flow and speed to create deep length, strength and integration in the tissue. This is how Pilates achieves its ultimate goal – uniform development so you can breathe more powerfully and circulate all that oxygen everywhere – the “internal shower”.


A New Approach to Pilates with Kim Haroche

Practical applications of nervous system theory to Pilates teaching and practice

Friday, May 2 – Sunday, May 4 2014

Friday & Saturday: 12pm – 7 pm

Sunday: 9am – 4 pm

Price: $750 for the 3 day workshop ($695 early bird until March 31)

Sign up here

80% or more of all health conditions requiring medical assistance are autonomic nervous system events.”  -Dr. James Jealous, D.O.

3d rendered illustration of the male nerve systemThis three day training will emphasize advanced teaching skills in areas which are new to Pilates. We will explore discoveries about the autonomic nervous system and their valuable relationship to the performance of Pilates exercises.

The training will broaden your perspective of Pilates exercises as you learn to read your client’s body and their state of being through the map of the nervous system. Often structural imbalances are rooted in nervous system dysregulation. Discerning when a client cannot accomplish an exercise or movement due to structural imbalances, or when the impediment is rooted in the nervous system, will give your work more precision and effectiveness.

In this training you will learn to:

  • Change the way you see Pilates movement and how you teach it.
  • Understand the autonomic nervous system component to performing certain movements and exercises. This will clarify skills needed to help those people who tend to hold onto certain patterns and blockages.
  • Recognize the states of hyper, freeze, and hypo arousal and, through a series of very specific interventions within the scope of Pilates, you will be able to help someone come into balance, alignment and regulation.  They will then be more resourced to perform movements that were previously not possible for them and to accomplish more advanced work.
  • Deepen your teaching skills based on cranial sacral practitioner skills.
  • Learn how to use interpersonal neurobiology in teaching Pilates.
  • Learn what it means to “change the brain to change the body”.
  • Recognize the subtle signs of a client being disembodied from surgery, accidents, falls and brain injuries.
  • Understand the effects of car accidents on the nervous system, the subsequent boundary ruptures, and how repairs can happen through a more attuned teaching of Pilates.
  • Recognize when a client’s system is still “caught” in the accident
  • Become aware of your impact when you teach. You may be helping or impeding a client’s progress after an accident.


Over three days we will cover the above material in a relaxed, inclusive, and playful way.  Time will be allotted for lectures, experiential exercises, demos, practice teaching, case studies, anatomy, and the use of Kathy Grant’s work in relation to the material.

The training is based on Kim’s many years of experience as Kathy Grant’s assistant, Presenter of The Pilates Center Teacher Training Program and Master Training Program, and her subsequent studies and work with Anna Chitty of Colorado School of Energy Studies and Pat Ogden of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute.


PMA CEC and TPC Masters Accreditation.



Tips for Choosing a Pilates Studio

Marcia and Kristin, educators at Centerspace, were recently interviewed for an article on Ottobock’s blog for tips on how to choose a Pilates studio and instructor for those seeking adaptive Pilates. While written for those who have survived limb-loss, these tips are good for anyone looking for a good Pilates experience. And since we think Marcia and Kristin are pretty great, we wanted to share their internet fame! Good work ladies!


Considering Adaptive Pilates?

Have you heard of Pilates but not sure exactly what it is? Ottobock asked three Pilates experts in the Minneapolis area, Emily Easton, owner of Align Pilates and Kristin Wallner, Instructor & Marcia Svaleson, Manager, of Centerspace Studio, to share their professional Pilates expertise and tips when considering an adaptive Pilates experience.

The Origins of Pilates

Pronounced pee la teas, Pilates is named after the German physical fitness specialist, Joseph Pilates ( 1880 -1967). Pilates created a system of exercises using special equipment designed to improve strength, flexibility and posture. In fact Pilates was devised as a form of adaptive exercise for people injured by accidents or the affects of World War I as he sought to devise ways to help them restore their mobility and health. Pilates cleverly created exercise apparatus out of their hospital beds and using the frame and springs and created exercises to address the needs of the bedridden. Much of the modern exercises used today came from the background of rehabilitation.

Pilates Today

Today, Pilates is done in a studio with an instructor in private or small group class. It is an exercise that is highly adaptable to meet the needs of almost any level of fitness.

Pilates makes use of spring loaded equipment designed to support the body even while providing challenge to the muscles. It also increases our body awareness through feedback delivered from the equipment and springs. The majority of the work is done lying down or seated. There is some call for standing or arm bearing, but it is easily modified. Pilates is generally more active, and is focused on improving your posture, alignment, breath, and use of the body.

Is Pilates Right For You?

Pilates is a great choice for someone who wants to learn how to use their body well, to correct the misalignments, strains and painful patterns that keep us from enjoying our bodies fully, and achieve vitality, strength and flexibility to do more in their daily life with greater ease and enjoyment. Many people living with limb-loss or mobility challenges find that Pilates allows them to reconnect to their body as a whole on a physical and mental basis.

5 Tips to Selecting a Pilates Studio & Instructor

Visit. Schedule a time to come in with either an owner, or an upper level instructor to discuss your needs and goals. This gives you an opportunity to get a tour, meet other instructors, and see if the studio is a good feel/fit for your needs.

Training. Start with reading the instructor’s bio. If you can’t find it on the studio website ask for it to be send to you prior to your visit. How comprehensive was their training? A reputable training program is a course with at least 600 hours of study and teaching. A very extensive training can be well over 900 hours with 250 hour of teaching prior to certification.

Ask if he or she has been certified on all the equipment, or just one or two? Pilates is a very expansive system and makes use of several different pieces of equipment, each with its own strengths. If the instructor has experience with only one or two, they will be unable to provide you with a varied, adaptable experience. They should have a Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda Chair, Mat, and Barrels and be qualified and experienced teaching them all.

In addition to initial training, find a studio that has committed to ongoing instructor education and inquire about the instructor’s recent Continuing Ed course. A reputable instructor will be registered and certified with the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) and have logged at least 16 hours a year of continuing education credits.

Chemistry. When you meet with your potential instructor, do they take the time to talk with you and learn about your expectations, needs, and concerns? Pilates is a wonderfully adaptive system, and can easily accommodate to almost any situation. The best lessons are when the instructor really applies what you want and need and helps you find the exercises that serve you best. Each lesson should be crafted to address YOU, and should be as unique as you are! Can they adapt if something isn’t working for you? Do they work with you to have a successful experience? If you’re getting the feeling you’re being expected to conform to a standard set of rules and exercises, this instructor may not be for you.

Even the best instructor may not be the one for you if there just isn’t that chemistry between you. Can he or she really relate to you and give you instruction you understand, or do you find yourself scratching your head and wondering if you’re doing it right? A good instructor is clear, concise, and knows how to explain things so you get it.

Empathy. Does the instructor have experience with injury, trauma, or limb loss; either personal experience or with a client? Having an ability to empathize with a clients’ limb loss is important. Does their personality make you comfortable? If you’re going to be working closely with someone, you may as well like them, right? It’ll make the lesson that much more enjoyable.

Equipment. Does the studio have access to a variety of equipment? In particular a Cadillac is a table like piece of equipment that extremely versatile for people with limb loss. Full studios have Reformers, Chairs, Cadillac, High Barrel, Small Barrels, Tower Stations and a variety of props at hand.

Amenities. Does the studio have accessibility to restrooms? Private changing rooms? Identify the areas that are must haves for you and ask to see those things on your tour.

As always we recommend that you please consult your physician or health care professional prior to beginning any fitness regimen.

Read our blogger Kate’s experience with Pilates here!