When we create something ourselves, it can be a difficult step to share our creation with the world. What will people think? Will they like it? Will they criticize or praise? Will it be a success? I have always followed the words of Aristotle, who famously said, “there is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing and be nothing”.
When I was young, I suffered from a lot of back pain. I was born with a spine defect and that led to poor posture which made my problem worse. Hours spent playing sports and practising the piano further added to my problems. I tried many things to help, but Pilates was the thing that really changed my life. It enabled me to live a full life, to run marathons, to snowboard, surf, play golf and never think twice about my back before trying something new. From that day forward, I had a passionate belief that Pilates could help many people improve their quality of life.
In the early days, whilst still practising and studying Pilates I was worked in the City of London as an Insurance Manager. I continue to this day working as a Senior Business Consultant so my life has an excellent balance.
I travelled the world teaching Piates and learning (we never stop learning, and anyone who says any different is very sadly mistaken). As well as Pilates, I was interested in kundalini and other methods of functional training. I also developed a deep love of meditation which took me to the Buddhist Temples of Thailand. Whilst there, I also discovered and studied meridians, becoming qualified in Thai Massage. It was not just the body that interested me. I had always been interested in psychology, in what I saw as “total fitness”. I studied Buddhist psychology and other modern concepts such as Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP).
As I travelled teaching Pilates, within my subconscious there was a seed that was growing, an idea that I could use all my knowledge to create a different type of Pilates that reflected the ancient and modern. I am classically trained, and it pains me to see some of the new systems that claim to be “Pilates” when they are clearly nothing of the sort. So I took my time to think about how my new system could stay true to the principles of Pilates, to my principles, but how I could add to the experience my own knowledge, character and ideas.
It was important for to me to create a system from my heart, a system where everything has meaning and purpose. In my opinion there are too many systems and teachers who teach not from their heart, but from their bank balance. To quote Einstein, “Nothing truly valuable arises from ambition or from a mere sense of duty.”
Music has always been a massive part of my life. I am a classically trained pianist and I play guitar, sing and write songs. I wanted every detail of EVO to maximise the total experience, so it has its own unique uplifting soundtracks mixed in London designed to enable clients to really connect with how their body is moving and working, giving a deep and rewarding experience.
Anything that raises the awareness of Pilates can only be a good thing. In today’s celebrity culture, it is a fact that many people associate themselves with the people they see in magazines or on the screen. I have no intention of arguing the rights of wrongs of this. I just accept it as a fact, and if just one person tries Pilates because of one of my blogs, then I consider this to be a success. If you want technical Pilates information that please click on the link above to my website and let’s chat
Today’s celebrity Pilates news is about Gal Gadot. The long rumoured role of Wonder Woman for the Man os Steel follow-up has been officially announced by Warner this week, with the Israeli actress taking on the role in Batman Vs. Superman.
Gadot is perhaps best known for her role in the Fast and Furious films, appearing as the character Gisele Harabo in the last three films. In a statement, producer Snyder said:
“Wonder Woman is arguably one of the most powerful female characters of all time and a fan favourite in the DC Universe. Not only is Gal an amazing actress, but she also has that magical quality that makes her perfect for the role. We look forward to audiences discovering Gal in the first feature film incarnation of this beloved character.”
But how does the 28-year-old former Miss Israel and mother of one maintain her body? Any guesses? In her own words “I just keep active—everything that’s challenging me, everything that I feel like doing. It’s not like I’m only TRX or Pilates. I do sports.”
As I have said many times before, Pilates should be one part of an exercise regime and I agree with Gal about TRX as that is my favourite way to train as well. About TRX Gal says “because everything’s working your whole body,” she said. “I do cardio, but I don’t like it as much. I’d rather do weights.”
Her diet is of course very important but she is human. She says “I try to eat healthy, but sometimes though, I eat cheeseburgers. That’s good for the soul. I make sure to balance everything out. I drink tons of water.”
If you want more ideas about a balanced diet and exercise regime, then contact me via my website link above or by Facebook.
So Let’s talk about depression. One of my aims for this blog is not to write all pretty and happy articles, but to try to talk about real issues however uncomfortable or taboo they are. I am a consultant and fitness professional, so I am not an expert on all the topics I talk about, but what I say comes from my heart.
So, the “season to be jolly” is fading fast. But the sad fact is that this time of year is also a desperate time for many people. I wrote recently about dementia (see my blog “I lost my father, don’t lose yours”) and how it is still for many people a taboo subject, whilst for many other it is totally misunderstood. The same could be said about depression, so let’s try to blow the lid on that as well.
It’s been reported recently that as many as three quarters of a million young people in the UK may feel that they have nothing to live for. A study for the Prince’s Trust charity says almost a third of long-term unemployed young people have contemplated taking their own lives.
The Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index was based on interviews with 2,161 16 to 25-year-olds. The report found 9% of all respondents agreed with the statement: “I have nothing to live for” and said if 9% of all youngsters felt the same, it would equate to some 751,230 young people feeling they had nothing to live for. The research found that long-term unemployed young people were more than twice as likely as their peers to have been prescribed anti-depressants. One in three (32%) had contemplated suicide, while one in four (24%) had self-harmed. The report found 40% of jobless young people had faced symptoms of mental illness, including suicidal thoughts, feelings of self-loathing and panic attacks, as a direct result of unemployment. Three quarters of long-term unemployed young people (72%) did not have someone to confide in, the study found.
I talked from personal experience about dementia having lost my father to the disease. I can also talk from some personal experience of depression, as I have several family members and friends who have in the past suffered from this debilitating illness.
Let’s talk about depression and talking
First and most important, no one should be ashamed or embarrassed to be talking about depression. If you think worse of anyone who has or is suffering from depression, then with respect this really is your problem, and you should definitely read on! If you still think that depression is just an excuse to stay in bed and be lazy, a pathetic reason to feel sorry for yourself and wallow in self-pity, and that people who say they have depression should “man-up”, pull themselves together and stop feeling sorry for themselves, then again, please read this blog. It might make you begin to realise that you are totally wrong. In fact hopelessly wrong.
I do have sympathy for people who do not understand depression because it is difficult to empathise with something you have never suffered from. I mean, how can it be a real illness when you cannot see it? So let’s get one thing clear from the start. It is an illness. A real, bonafide illness that can be clinically proven. At its worst, it is as totally debilitating as any physical illness, making what most people consider a “normal” life impossible.
The worst thing you can say to someone suffering from depression is to “pull themselves together”, “stop being so pathetic”, “stand up for yourself”, “snap out of it”, and many other nuggets of similar ignorance that I have heard in the past. Why is this such a bad approach? It’s simple if you stop to think. Most people who are depressed already feel useless and hopeless. For you to point out and confirm that fact to them only reinforces their negative self-belief. It makes them feel even more inadequate because they know they are incapable of doing any of those things for them self however much they want to.
The roots of depression are varied, and it’s not my intention here to go into details as to causes. What I want to do is get people talking and thinking. And to stress that people suffering from depression need your support, not your judgement or criticism. It’s not easy not to judge, not to have a holier than thou attitude. In fact I think it’s the mark of a real man who does not judge, who can offer a hand of support and understanding.
Let’s talk about depression and exercise
As a fitness professional and creator of PilatesEVO, a mind and body system, I cannot stress enough the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise to help deal with many mental and physical issues. As my dementia article pointed out, there is a proven link that what’s good for your body is also good for your brain. By exercising regularly and eating healthily, many people can really improve their physical and mental condition. But this is not always the only answer, sometimes people need professional help.
My experience of depression was one of the reasons that led me to discover meditation and make it an integral part of PilatesEVO. I thoroughly recommend this to everyone whether you are suffering from depression or not. It doesn’t require hours of sitting in the lotus position either. 20 minutes a day is a good start. As the saying goes, if you do not have enough time to do 20 minutes meditation, then no problem, do 30 minutes.
If you know someone who is suffering from depression, don’t judge or offer them advice. They don’t need that and it doesn’t help. They need your understanding and support. Question is, can you give them only that?
In tomorrow’s blog I will give you some ways to deal with negative thoughts, and ways to try to stay positive. So, see you tomorrow.