I will be presenting Pilates EVO in Moscow, Russia at MIOFF in October 2014. I hope to see lots of my friends there and I am sure that I will meet lots of new friends as well.
Click on the image above to read about MIOFF and Pilates EVO (there is an English language option).
During my visit in October I will be holding a 3 day Pilates Foundation Education, a 3 day Pilates EVO Advanced Education, and a 2 day Introduction to Pilates course. There will also be some Pilates EVO masterclasses.
For more information about attending the courses, please contact me as soon as possible as places are very limited. If you are a club in Moscow and you want to talk about bringing Pilates EVO to your club, then please contact me.
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.
Another amazing example of Barcelona Street Art. There are some very talented people around this city. So please by all the comments on my article from Monday about mental illness. There are some very compassionate people in this world.
As I said in a previous blog, “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?”
My father died whilst suffering from Alzheimer’s. “Dementia: I lost my father, don’t lose yours” was the hardest post I have ever written. So it’s with interest that I have been watching the media following the tragic death of Robin Williams.
The increasing number of public figures who are having to apologise for comments they made in the past few days clearly shows the absolute and total ignorance some people have when it comes to depression. There is no excuse, no excuse to make such stupid comments, especially when you are in a position where some misguided people may actually listen to you and take your words for the truth.
Rock star Gene Simmons has apologised about his “spur of the moment” remarks about people who suffer from depression. The Kiss singer and bassist sparked outrage after saying he is “the guy who says ‘Jump'” to those who are suicidal. He is quoted as also saying that his advice was that if you are depressed you should “kill yourself”.
Robin Williams’ daughter Zelda has quit Twitter following the abuse she got from followers. People were telling her that her Dad was selfish and a coward to kill himself. Fox News TV anchor Shepard Smith sparked criticism after also suggesting the actor was a “coward” to kill himself. Meanwhile TalkSport in the UK has apologised after its radio presenter Alan Brazil said he had “no sympathy” for suicide.
All of these people have now apologised of course, no doubt worried about their ratings and future job prospects, but I have little doubt that their first words were the true way they feel about depression. And that worries and scares me in equal measures.
Make no mistake, anyone who thinks that Robin Williams is a coward or that he is selfish, or that suicidal people should “jump”, have a serious problem. These people should go educate themselves about depression and think before they make totally ignorant statements. I am serious. If there is even 10% of your mind that when reading this is thinking “they should pull themselves together” then please read my blog articles above and then go educate yourself because you are misinformed.
In my blog today I want to ask you to share your opinions and experience with clients who suffer from depression. Many distinguished Pilates teachers say that Pilates can help people suffering from depression. Pilates without doubt helps to relax the mind and energise the body, gives body awareness, can improve self-image and has meditative qualities if taught in the correct way. I found meditation after my own personal experience with depression, and this is why I travelled to Bangkok to study meditation in a Buddhist monastery. This is also why in my Pilates system Pilates EVO, I integrated mindfulness meditation. When I am travelling the world to train new Pilates EVO teachers, this is one of my favourite parts of the education because most teachers have little or no experience of meditation, and at first some find the whole concept very difficult to grasp.
Meditation is becoming more and more acceptable and proven in Western medicine as a treatment for depression. There are many books on the market, but one of my favourites is The Mindful Way Through Depression. Click on the picture below to read more.
Thank you Robin Williams for all the joy you bought into this world. You will be missed. I hope that your torment will continue to bring the debate about depression to a wider audience, and I hope that more and more people will gain a greater understanding.
In the U.S.: If you are contemplating attempting suicide, there are people who can help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
In the U.K.: For confidential support call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 or visit a local Samaritans branch
So, after having so much fun with my blog over the past few months, the limitations of having it on the free WordPress hosting have become just too unbearable. So today my blog will be moved to the new domain address of www.chrishuntblog.com.
This move should be seamless, and the new domain hosting should be up and running by this evening, but if there are any problems then please let me know because I do not want to lose any of my valued subscribers or readers.
So here’s to a brave new world. Well, it’s not so new. And it isn’t really brave either.
Chinese medicine could be available on the NHS if there is enough evidence to prove that it would benefit patients, UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has suggested. Let me repeat that. Chinese medicine could be available on the NHS. It’s not April 1st and I am not still suffering from an overdose of wine and cake after my birthday this week.
So, the NHS, that bastion of all that is traditionally British and not what you would ever describe as being particularly cutting edge when it comes to new therapies or treatments is considering integrating traditional Chinese medicines with Western medical techniques. Jeremy Hunt said his frequent travels to China (his wife’s home country) had taught him that it is important to “follow the scientific evidence” concerning Chinese medicine. He said that taxpayers’ money should never be spent on the traditional techniques if there was not “good evidence” that they would be beneficial.
He made the comments in the Commons on Tuesday in answer to a question from the Conservative MP David Tredinnick.“In your travels to the People’s Republic of China, what have you learnt about the integration of Western medicines with traditional Chinese medicine?” Mr Tredinnick asked. The Health Secretary replied: “What I’ve learnt is that the most important thing is to follow the scientific evidence and where there is good evidence for the impact of Chinese medicine then we should look at that but where there isn’t we shouldn’t spend NHS money on it.”
This is truly music to my ears, but why? As a Pilates teacher why do I care so much? The reason is that Chinese medicine can involve methods such as herbal remedies, acupuncture and massage therapy. The very fact that it is being discussed at the echelons of UK Government shows a huge shift in the way the Western world is thinking about health and healthcare. You could say that thinking is coming full circle.
I am Buddhist and I have studied Buddhism and spirituality. I am also qualified in Thai Massage. If you read my blog regularly you will know that I have a profound belief in the link between the mind and the body. You will also know that that I think tradition and science both have a vital role in our thinking. We all know that Pilates is holistic, mind and body. I have long believed that the mind connection is understated. This is why that in my system Pilates EVO I integrated NLP, meditation and most importantly for this article meridian exercises and stretches.
So what are meridians?
Meridians (also known as collaterals) circulate in each of us, and can be thought of as paths in which energy flows. The central idea in Eastern medicine is the assumption that all physical problems are due to an inhibition of the energy flow and that the revival of this circulation can contribute to improving health and well-being. Meridian exercises can also be used as preparation for meditation. In a traditional sense Meridians are functionaries without substantial structure as most people cannot feel or see them. The discovery of the meridians was made possible only by a very sensitive perception of Chinese people and their close relationship with the nature. The twelve meridians in the YIN-YANG pairs are responsible for six basic functions. Six of the basic functions with six yang meridians and their associated organs refers to the more superficial layers of the body. The other six basic functions with six yin meridians refer to organs, and so are more inside the body.
It is my opinion that a knowledge and use of such ancient methods as meridian and meditation can perfectly complement modern exercise science and psychological methods such as NLP, which is why Pilates EVO includes all of these.
To see Chinese methods and also meditation (a future blog about this is coming…) potentially moving into the mainstream of Western healthcare is for me a wonderful step in the right direction. A shift away from drugs can only help us all as Pilates and yoga teachers as our holistic methods will increase in their value and acceptance.
If you want to talk more about Pilates EVO, meridians or Pilates then you know where I am 🙂
Pilates brings many benefits, most people know that. In my experience most people come to Pilates because they have an existing issue with their body that they want to rehabilitate from, they want to improve performance and quality of life (especially in a sporting sense), or because they want to change their body shape.
Pilates can achieve all these things. But I think it is always vital that clients understand exactly what Pilates is and exactly how it achieves what it does.
I am often asked the question, “will Pilates give me a flat stomach?” To help answer this question, I will use the example of Vanessa Hudgens, as she is a Pilates fan and is regularly complemented for her great figure. She was pictured this week leaving a Pilates studio in LA.
First of all, if you are not familiar with Vanessa, she is a 25-year-old American actress and singer. She rose to prominence playing Gabriella Montez in the High School Musical series and has also appeared in various films and television series for the Disney Channel.
So, back to the question, will Pilates give you a flat stomach? The simple answer is it will help for sure if it is done properly, as the abdominal muscles are trained as part of the holistic exercise system. But, and it is a big but, exercise alone is not enough. I like the saying that flat abs (or even a six-pack) is creates 20% in the gym and 80% in the kitchen. It’s an obvious fact that we all have a six-pack, of course some are genetically blessed with a head-start, but we all have one! The problem is some people’s six-packs are a little shy, they like to hide behind a layer of fat! This is why diet is vital.
I think it is important not to simply equate a stronger core with a flatter stomach. For most people, flatter abs means weight loss as well as exercise. I do not think that Pilates teachers should advertise Pilates simply to get flat abs, as this demeans the whole system. It makes me very angry when I see headlines like “5 Pilates exercises to get a six-pack”. What we should be saying is that Pilates is a holistic system that will make your body stronger, more flexible and healthier. A nice side-effect of this is often a slimmer more toned body and in turn a flatter stomach, something that is also helped by the improvement in posture that Pilates will bring. If most people simply learn and are able to stand up straight in a neutral position, then hey presto their stomach will often flatten.
Also, Pilates is about how to use your body and body awareness. This is what I really stress through NLP and mindfulness when I am teaching my system, Pilates EVO. Pilates can give you swagger!
Something that many gym goers are unaware of is that the abs should also be flexible. It’s a dangerous myth that to be strong and look good muscles should be tight. Nonsense. Every muscle needs flexibility. If we have no flexibility and balance in our bodies then eventually our bodies will break-down, often not in the area of the inflexibility.
As always, if you want more advice on anything Pilates, or about how exercise and diet can help change your figure, then please drop me a line via my website, Facebook or the form below.
Since its birth around 100 years ago, the Pilates method has been modified and arguably made more effective by some distinguished presenters, but diluted and the basic principles largely ignored by less scrupulous teachers.
It has more flow and movement with sequences of moves made up from the sacred numbers 3, 7 and 21, and it uses unique, uplifting soundtracks mixed in London by DJ Shameless to enable clients to really connect with how their body is moving and working, giving a far deeper and rewarding experience. Most moves have different levels progressing muscular fitness using repetitions, range of motion, rate and resistance. This creates a system that will remain challenging to a wide range of training goals from elite athletes, people seeking everyday fitness, to clients rehabilitating following accident or injury.
This system increases muscular strength and endurance as well as flexibility, and helps prevent injury and improve performance with movements that are applicable to life and sport.
Yesterday I published Part One of my blog about depression. As promised, here is Part Two.
I said yesterday that I am a fitness professional, I do not pretend or try to be an expert in everything I write. But I do mean everything I write.
I want today to talk about staying positive. We live in troubled times. How can we stay positive and deal with negative thoughts? Here are some ideas that you can try.
1) The first thing to realize is that negative feelings and emotions can’t be stopped, they arrive without invitation and that’s natural. Everyone feels down sometimes as it’s the normal ebb and flow of our physiology.
2) While you can’t control what type of negative emotions show up, you can control your reaction. You have a choice.
3) A negative emotion loves a negative thought, the more negative and dark the better. The two can then conjure up negative images, creating an unholy trinity. This barrage of negativity can trigger hopelessness.
4) We start to believe our circumstances can’t change, that we will never find happiness, and everything looks bleak. Hopeless individuals can’t see the opportunities, only the failure and disappointments of yesterday. A vicious circle begins, with negative emotions causing negative actions, which cause more negative emotions. We start to act and talk negatively.
So, how do we stop it? At Number 2. A negative emotion is normal and can be connected to an event such as a relationship breakdown or loss of a job. You can’t and shouldn’t run from it. But, you should take charge of your thoughts and prevent yourself from thinking and seeing negative images.
First acknowledge if something negative happened. You can’t delude yourself. If you lost your job you’ll feel terrible, but if you begin to think that you are a loser and see yourself as becoming homeless, you are going way too far. The emotions can’t be stopped, but this is how you stop and take charge of a negative thought before it goes further:
1. Stop or interrupt the negative thought (it’s your mind, you can change it) even if you have to say “Stop” out loud. You might get some strange glances but who cares?!
2. Challenge the thought. Ask yourself, “is this really true, is it realistic to think like this?” Most of the time you will realise what you are thinking is not the truth or not realistic.
3. Change the thought by choosing a more realistic one. If you lose your job and think, “Oh no, my life is over,” change it to “This is a big setback for my life” or “I’m faced with a significant challenge.” If you feel rejected after a breakup, don’t think “my life is over; I will never find someone again.” Stop it, challenge it, and change it to “I’ve had a loss and it hurts, but I will get through this.”
4. Change the image connected with the negative thought. We think in images; for every thought we create images. If you fall prey to hopeless and despondent thoughts you will begin to see yourself in that position. Instead, choose another image of hope, the most powerful of all emotions. Everything that’s accomplished is based on hope. Give yourself hope, then you have the ability to accomplish any goal as long as you follow through.
5. Choose your behaviour, and act positively and proactively. Instead of isolating or mixing with other hopeless people, decide upon at least three positive and proactive things you can do every day, and then do them.
6. Be thankful for all the good things you have in your life. Stop worrying about things you don’t have. Write down things you have to be thankful for. You may be surprised. The key is to stop the vicious cycle of hopelessness before it becomes a pattern and forms a stronghold in your life. You have the power to stop and change your mind. That is the wonderful thing about your mind.
Now, think about this. The only moment in which we can truly be happy is the present moment. The only moment that we have control of is the present moment. So let go of negative thoughts, and be happy now!
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.