Stand Tall, Be Strong and Move Free

What is my purpose with this Pilates thing? In short, “to help you Stand Tall, Be Strong, and Move Free”

You may be thinking, “That sounds nice, but how?”

Stand Tall:

The classical series of Pilates exercises often leaves clients feeling taller when they’ve completed a workout. Throughout most of the series, the aim is to think length. We do this by stretching a little further, sitting a little taller or by imagining space between our bones as we move through the series. This helps us to stand tall in our posture. It is also my desire to help you stand tall in your faith. I pray over the participants in each of my classes and welcome any prayer requests that you may have. Prayer is one of the easiest, most effective ways that I can have a positive impact on the lives of people I meet every day.

Be Strong:

If you’d ask any of the women who have regularly taken class with me, I think you’ll hear the consistent message that they all feel stronger. Pilates does not bulk you up, but rather creates long, lean muscles that allow you to accomplish your everyday activities with greater ease. Pilates focuses on core strength (abdominals/back/shoulders) which are the muscles which support your spine. Because society in general spends a lot of time seated, we all have weaker core muscles as a result. Pilates helps to counter that by strengthening the core muscles. My desire is that by taking Pilates my client’s leave stronger and better able to go through everyday life with more energy and less pain/struggle. Life is hard sometimes. When we regularly condition our bodies both mentally and physically to overcome new or difficult scenarios, then we’re in a much better place to confidently deal with any challenges life may throw at us.

Move Free:

The practice of Pilates allows you to improve imbalances in the body, to strengthen weaker areas.
         “Pilates elongates and strengthens, improving muscle elasticity and joint mobility.  A body with balanced strength and flexibility is less likely to be injured.” — (Balanced Body website)

As we age, our bodies begin to lose muscle mass, which if not countered by regular resistance exercise, will lead to frail bodies and loss of mobility. Regularly attending Pilates classes helps prevent this muscle loss which will keep you freely moving throughout your life. We’ve all been called to different roles. By incorporating regular exercise such as Pilates, we can maintain our mobility and be prepared for the life to which we’ve been called. I believe we each have a special gift that only we can provide to the world. By staying healthy, you will be better able to use your gift whenever and wherever you may find yourself.

Ginny Smith Pilates Mission Statement:

To equip women to stand tall in posture AND in faith, be strong to face life’s challenges and to move freely in the work to which they’ve been called.”

Sometimes we just need to BREATHE!

I don’t know about you, but when life gets crazy and stressful, sometimes the best way for me to handle it is to stop and take a deep breath!

“Breathing is the first act of life, and the last. Our very life depends on it.” Joseph H. Pilates

Breathing, besides the obvious fact that it keeps us alive, also can improve our mood, help relieve stress, and also energize us, but it is something that we can sometimes take for granted. I have activity-induced asthma which means whenever I exert myself and elevate my heartrate, I typically have difficulty catching my breath. Because of this, I am routinely doing research and trying new techniques to find better ways to control my breath in different circumstances. Here are some that I’ve found helpful:

1. For running or cardio activity – I’ve found it best to breathe to the beat of your feet. For instance, whenever I run, I typically use a 5 or 7 count breathing cadence. So, I breathe in for 3 footsteps and out for 4 footsteps. By spending more time breathing OUT, your body will naturally re-fill the air more quickly, thereby being more efficient and effective. Try to stay with odd-number counts as this also helps prevent side-stitches (bonus!)

2. For Pilates, I use a different form of breathing. Since the breath is one of the six basic principles of Pilates, you focus on lateral breathing by expanding your lungs and rib cage, while keeping your belly tight. This helps to keep your deep core muscles active and engaged making the most of your movements.

3. For stress relief – I recently found a new technique that I’ve already put into practice with a lot of success! It is called 4-7-8 breathing. You breathe in through your nose to a count of 4, hold your breath to a count of 7, and then slowly breathe out through your mouth to a count of 8. When you first try this, it is recommended to only do this cycle 4 times. After a week or so of becoming more accustomed, you can work your way up to 8 cycles. I have personally found this extremely helpful whenever a stressful situation arises at work or if I’m trying to relax and unwind in bed at night.

These are just a few of the ways that I have found helpful. I’d love to hear other ways that have worked for you. Leave a comment with your tips!!

Tackling the Uphills

In addition to a great Pilates workout, I also enjoy a good run. There is just something about being outside in nature and breathing in the fresh air with no distractions and interruptions. A few years ago, I ran my only half marathon. I did fairly well considering I move at a turtle’s pace most of the time. The thing that really did me in though was a pretty significant hill at mile 10. At that point, I was running out of steam and the hill didn’t help matters any! Since then, I’ve done some research to find the best way to train on hills. Since we live in rural PA, there are plenty of hills for me to practice on. While I was running and going through some of the tips in my mind, I couldn’t help but think of how these also relate to the “uphill battles” we face in life. Unfortunately, we all have to face them. Here are the tips that I learned from my research:

1. Keep your eyes about 10 feet in front of you. This keeps from straining your neck while you’re running, but in our life’s battles, this keeps us focused on the next few things. I don’t know about you, but if I try to keep my eyes on the top of the hill–it either keeps moving further away, or I feel overwhelmed.

2. Use your elbows to push away the ground you’ve already covered. This helps your momentum push you up the hill. In life, you have to let go of the past in order to move forward.

3. Shorten your stride (take baby steps). This helps you keep the same effort while moving up the hill. Sometimes when facing uphill battles, it requires that we slow our pace in order to maintain the same effort.

4. Keep your posture upright. This helps you keep good running form in order to prevent injury while running. When facing uphill life battles, keep your head held high. This helps you to keep a positive attitude in whatever you may face in each new day.  

The most important thing we can do during trials is to turn our focus even more on Jesus. He never promised this life would be easy, but He did promise that he will never leave us or forsake us! When life becomes overwhelming, let us find our peace in Him, slowly take one step at a time, don’t look back and stay positive!!


Introducing Ginny Smith Pilates!

Welcome to Ginny Smith Pilates! I’m so glad you’ve found my page!

First, a short professional background on me. I was introduced to Pilates in 2015 by a co-worker who was a Pilates instructor in Sweden. I immediately connected with this form of exercise. I could feel my abs for days and I felt that stood taller even after just 1 class!! I was hooked. Since then, I began my own journey and recently earned my own Mat instructor certification through Power Pilates. It was a lot of work, but so much fun! I hope to pass this love of Pilates and the motion of movement on to you!

Outside of Pilates, I am married to an awesome man and together we have 2 terrific (and very active) teens! We live in very rural Pennsylvania where we have a higher population of cows than people! This is a blessing because I get to see God’s beautiful creation in front of me every day. Along with my new Pilates adventure, I work full-time as an Internal Control Specialist at a local manufacturing company and love organization and structure. This makes Pilates a terrific fit because it is very focused and precise.

My goal with this Pilates adventure is to help people live a more balanced and healthy life through movement. By meeting people at their current ability level, it opens a more mobile and healthy life for all, no matter the age or circumstance and providing a positive fitness experience for anyone. I’d love for you to join me on this adventure!