Recovering from an Injury #4

bailey_200x200The Lesson in Taking the Time It Takes

“Appearance is absolute, but reality is not that way.
Everything is interdependent, not absolute.” Dalai Lama
Taking Charge: Self-Guided Recovery

To be pain-free is often confused with being ready to pick up right where you left off. The problem is that athletic skills require a commensurate level of strength to execute without injury. Strength builds in increments. Nobody wants to start over when they graduated years ago! What you believe you can do is indeed what causes everything to change—and sometimes not for the better if the reality of an appropriate starting point is ignored.

Say, for example, you could ride a bike for more than an hour before one knee started hurting so badly you could not ride at all. You have no clue what happened or what you did that caused this problem. The first order of business is to review or rule out possible issues including, but not limited to, the following:

• Proper adjustment and fit for all gear
• Dietary cause of inflammation such as allergy or excessive sugar intake
• Joint injury requiring surgical intervention
• Muscular imbalance
• Improper technique
• Genetic predispositions and conformation factors
• Overtraining or inadequate rest
Get the help and advice necessary to make informed decisions. Talk with people who’ve been through something similar as well as professionals. Your network plays a major role in long term fitness and health. If cross training is indicated to build a better foundation, go for it. This is a pay now, or pay dearly later, life moment. Knees and shoulders are missed once they are gone.

Assuming all of the aforementioned have been either ruled out or confirmed and corrective action taken, a great plan for the first solo ride on the bike might be slowly spinning for 5 minutes in front of a mirror to watch alignment, going both forward and backward. Then a wait to see what happens. No news is good news since that means you get to do it again instead of wait even longer for new pain to go away. More is not better. It is just more. The lesson of increments means to work smarter rather than harder.

To keep moving forward is to quit while you are ahead; that means to stop on a good one instead of pushing into fatigue. Hold the belief that smart work will continue the upward trend. Use the rear view in this instance for a quick survey to establish progress and perspective. A relative progress check is a one to two-week previous comparative, and the perspective check is 2-4 months back depending on the nature of the injury. Absent pain, the finding of no progress is a red flag that indicates a consult or program revision is necessary. No more and no less.

Doing just enough is the key. Being willing to discover what just enough means for you as an individual is the tipping point of reclaiming active health.

Personalized Pilates on the Wunda

Seated Mermaid on the Wunda ChairI was speaking with a client the other day, who had just finished a Beginning /Continuing Wunda Chair class, complimenting her on excellent form. “Thanks – it helps to have someone correct me with my form. Plus I’m loving the anti-gravity results!” she enthused, patting her glutes. I laughed, but  later I thought, here I am being a little “in my head” about Pilates benefits and what it often comes down to is that most of us, regardless of our age, want results quickly.  We strive to accomplish a lot in our workouts and yet most of us don’t have two or three hours a day to exercise. We are busy! We are likely sitting far too much in front of the computer and we’re trying to perk up suddenly sagging, soft areas!

Now it is also true that when the same client mentioned that she noticed how great her arms looked in a sleeveless dress, she followed it up with, “And I just FEEL stronger. Have never had upper body strength before. That’s what I like about the Wunda Chair work, besides the small class size, I feel stronger and look more defined.”

That was satisfying for me to hear, because when I designed the Chair classes in 2011, no one else in the Tucson area was offering these kind of specific progressive Chair classes. I started out with custom-designed classes based on progressions at four different levels and we’ve stuck with that model. When I talked to long-time clients about what they wanted from an equipment class, I heard two things repeatedly:

  1. We want to see results as quickly as possible and we want to exercise without risk of injury.
  2. We are much more likely to show up regularly to a small class with personal attention than a big class where someone just calls out moves from the front.
As a result, that is the Pilates class I created and this is what we offer:

Multiple Pilates Chair Quartet classes at different levels, incorporating Reformer,  Magic Circle, and Pilates Mat work.

My studio is private and maintains small classes, which appeals to those seeking  such. When our clients walk in, they don’t see rows of Wunda chairs.

My studio, because of the personal attention we’re able to provide, teaches a range of students both in age and fitness level. We have clients who have never taken a Pilates class before. We also have classes where colleagues and fellow Pilates instructors come to challenge themselves and practice advanced techniques. The level of strenuousness for each workout is decided by the client (and of course, by fitness level).

So if you are looking for a private setting, small classes, personal attention and the ability to choose to work at an easy or strenuous level and everywhere in-between, call us (520-299-6541)!

Geneviève sign off avatar



A Thought is Movement, Paul Rohrer

Greetings from 6200 feet. It is a great privilege to write for those who recognize the importance of movement. The very word defines change. A thought is movement. Movement of electrical impulses in the brain, referred to as synapses, which trigger ideas, thoughts and action. Action is what I am taking at this very moment. Writing the first (in what I hope are many) shared blogs with Genevieve. The most remarkable pillar of the Pilates “movement” I have ever met. Excuse me while I digress a moment to expound.

I met Geneviève years ago in Denver as an actress and a darned good one at that! As we got to know one another, I was able to let her know that as an extreme athlete in my youth, I had practically destroyed every major joint and their function in my body. Surgery was unavoidable for my knees and lower back but I was not about to let surgeons cut into my shoulders which I had torn some 20 years earlier. I was quickly gaining weight, losing mobility and in constant pain. Geneviève in her patient, caring and always supportive gentility, allowed me to discover the miraculous alternative to regaining mobility, strength and above all. . . HOPE! I know that is why each and every one of you reading this, love Genevieve. I mean, look at her! She still looks as young, vibrant and beautiful as the day I met her!

Thank you for taking that divergence with me.

Genevieve’s thoughtful and powerful introduction of how I would no longer need to POUND and JOLT and FORCE my ailing body into submission, rather through gentle stretching and simple motions, I could once again regain everything I need to feel better, look better and do better! All it would take (like anything worth much) is commitment, patience and a passion to CHANGE.

A blog entitled “Changing Through Movement” may then, by definition, be considered redundant. (Written in the department of redundancy department.) But that is why I love the title so much. We apply what we learn best through repetition. One thought of what you want to remember, means you will usually forget. One abdominal crunch . . . one look . . . one . . . “One is the loneliest number. . . ” But again I digress. The point I wanted to make before I so rudely interrupted myself, is that in our “microwave society” we want everything now. Great looking bodies, strong rapid-acting minds, mature, healthy and polite children (even though they were born last week and just pooped with a loud fart in their diaper) what the heck, they feel better! But the fact is, most pharmaceuticals are about as helpful as that diet soda and as is whatever excuse we use to be “right” instead of healthy, happy, loving and alive.

In these posts, I look forward to getting to know all of you better, as you are now somewhat aware of my sick, demented sense of humor – that like aging, we must all adopt or forever become cynical, depressed, anxious blobs of disgusting worthlessness bickering about why our lives are so bad, when we have the POWER to CHANGE, to MOVE, to love, live and laugh. Now stand up. Breathe deep and laugh. It’ll do ya good.




Taking it to the next level: The Wundas of Pilates Chair

So first things first: I am not an exercise fanatic. You will not find me at the local gym 5x a week, churning out cardio, lifting a multitude of weights or pushing the squats (as much as I fantasize about regaining my 30-year old backside, reality is…). That said, I’m “into” the Pilates Chair; specifically, the Pilates Chair Quartet class I’ve been taking at Body Fundamentals here in Tucson.

It started with exploring an alternative to the monotony of guilting myself into a gym workout a couple of times each week with limited results. I’m a marketing writer, which means a lot of sitting in front of a computer. Not conducive to fitness or flexibility. I’d done some Pilates in Seattle several years before and knew I’d enjoyed the variety and the class camaraderie. Over coffee one day, Geneviève Nedder suggested I try the Beginning class she’d recently developed and launched at the studio.

After only a few sessions, I remembered why I’d enjoyed Pilates so much. I felt so good after each session. Because there are only 4 of us in the class, Stevie (the instructor) could easily correct our form or suggest alternative moves to accommodate a bad knee or ankle, back injury or the like. Within weeks, I could see the definition in my arms, my hips were narrowing (!) and I was feeling more optimistic about anti-gravity effects than I had in years!

I’ve since moved to the Beginning / Continuing class for more challenging, faster paced work on the Wunda Chair (Intermediate is really fast and more suitable for those who are teacher level). I’m challenged in each class because every workout is different. Each movement and progression hits different areas, so you can’t “zone out” but need to remain very “in the moment” to complete successfully. That’s a great benefit of Pilates too, it makes me slow down and focus. I can’t think about what’s next on my to-do list or project deadlines. I have to breathe and pay attention in order to move properly.

I’ve committed to a weekly Beginning / Continuing Pilates Chair Quartet class and recently added a semi-private Pilates session to the mix. The visible results include a narrowing waist, more defined arms, and tighter glutes. Plus, I’m more flexible and have better posture. My most exciting achievement to-date? The Pike! I think of it as kind of an inverted push up. Very challenging, I feel really strong each time the bar rises a little higher.

Yes, I still (try) to work in straight-up cardio a few times a week with either a round on the elliptical, a walk or a bike ride, too, but Pilates has become my gift to myself, my health… and my anti-gravity efforts!

nora haileNora Haile runs her own marketing writing and communications support firm, nhaile communications, providing writing and online marketing support services to small to mid-sized businesses in Arizona and the Pacific Northwest.

Forward Equals Backwards Series #3

Diana Bailey Essential Motion Pilates

Forward Equals Backwards and You Own It: Balance and Coordination

By featured Guest Writer Diana Bailey

The Popular Equipment: Easy to Learn and Portable

The number one balance challenge in this studio, based on ease of learning, is the foam roller. The variety and unique core strength challenge this auxiliary piece offers are of the highest caliber. The roller offers work that can be both engaging, and in light of the diverse skills needed, astonishingly difficult to master. It is easy to see why clients love it.

The BOSU lessons are more devious because balance is challenged in all directions at once; Up and down, side to side, front to back, and rotation. It can be used seated, prone, supine, kneeling or standing. It is more difficult to stand on it without shoes, and when it is less inflated. The safety issues are nominal, but this does require a higher degree of core stability than the roller. To get the best training, the directive is to consciously disturb the balance—and if lost, work to recover–rather than attempt to hold stillness.

Comparatively, on a danger scale of 1-10, the roller is a 2, and the BOSU can be up to a 5. For the sake of perspective, aerial dance, climbing, or slack line work can be a 10. The best training for the most people takes place in the 1-5 range: Nominal safety issues with great mental/physical difficulty. The floor is a piece of cake after standing on a foam roller or a BOSU!

The bonus of both pieces is that, after a few simple instructions, they teach self-regulation and correction by speaking directly to the part of the mind that governs motion. Poor alignment choices or missed timing result in a restart with improved chances of success. Unlike a treadmill or stationary bike, these offer no surface for clothing to hang on or cover. They lurk in the corner, always in view, inviting use.

The roller and BOSU are a fun way to learn about and improve the following:

1. Core stability and flexibility
2. Balance and Coordination
3. Arm and Leg freedom
4. Breathing and relaxation in motion
5. Mental focus and stillness
6. Posture—especially head, neck & shoulders
7. Hunching or swayed back
8. Stiff shoulders
9. Deep abdominal strength
10. Spatial reflexes—knowing how to “land on your feet”.

In this region of the US, ice is a major cause of injuries. Clients have commented on the difference even a few sessions of training have made in their responses to a sudden, uncontrolled loss of footing. Skiers notice improved awareness of weight shift and greater control. The compass that keeps us responsive to challenging moments becomes more internal as balance and coordination improve. The applications range from developing the confidence and stability to walk easily down a set of stairs without the need for a hand rail, to improving the layout portion of a back flip in a gymnastic routine.

Congratulations Suzanne Baron Helming!


Suzanne Baron Helming

This past September was Suzanne’s 13th Pilates Anniversary. 13 years!!  I want  to congratulate Suzanne I and invite you to join me in celebrating her on this incredible milestone.  If you know her, please take a moment to recognize her with a comment below or message on our FB page.

Congratulations wonderful Suzanne!  In the midst of a demanding career, a beautiful busy family,  community and charity work, and Life, you manage to show up week after week and practice Pilates.

Thank you so much. It is a pleasure knowing you and teaching you.

With Much Love,


Help with Depression from perimenopausal symptoms

By Monica B.

Depression during perimenopause is an all too common symptom for many women. More women are speaking about it and seeking support during this transition into menopause.
A few weeks ago  I received this thoughtful and touching sharing from a dear client and long time student. She has given me her permission to share this with all of you  on my blog,  I’d like to pass it on to you. Thank you Monica.

group class

Saturday morning Fletcher Floor class @ Body Fundamentals in Tucson.

“Approximately four years ago I found myself going through a severe depression which was ultimately triggered by peri menopausal changes. During this rough period in my life I bumped into Genevieve Nedder’s mama at a social gathering and we were talking about life and its stressors. Florence Nedder chimed up and said: ‘ I want you to meet my daughter. . . . she teaches Pilates and may be able to help you.’  I was a bit skeptical that Pilates could help with my depression, but I agreed to get the Body Fundamentals literature and meet Geneviève.

To this day I am so grateful for that meeting and have found that not only has Pilates given me physical strength that I had previously been lacking, but also, my teachers at Body Fundamentals in Tucson  have given me emotional strength to help fight my depression and anxiety.”   



Congratulations, Lynne, on 10 years of Pilates!

resized_03B39390Congratulations, Lynne Dusenberry on 10 years of Pilates and Movement training at Body Fundamentals studio!

Ten years ago today, Lynne started Pilates with us.  Since day one, she’s been a dedicated Pilates enthusiast and a loyal patron to Body Fundamentals.

She is an amazing and inspiring woman in our Tucson community and one who we’re proud to have in our Body Fundamentals family.

Lynne is also a strong representative of committed Pilates practice. As one of the Chair Quartet participants says, “Seeing Lynne perform the movements so smoothly and yet push herself motivates me to reach a greater strength level. I look forward to being in class with her each week!”

If you know Lynne, please join us in celebrating her.

Thank you so much Lynne, for your patronage and referrals over the years, and congratulations on reaching this milestone!  We always look forward to seeing you!

– Geneviève

Neurexan sleep aid

Neurexan tablet bottleDo you remember the December post about Neurexan, a homeopathic sleep aid that helps with sleeplessness and overactive mind?

Well, as someone with an overactive mind and frequent insomnia, I decided to give it a try. I admit I was skeptical, thinking “can homeopathic really beat my prescription sleep meds?” With my prescription sleep meds, I’d often wake up groggy and be irritable the next day. I had tried taking Melatonin for a while some years ago, but it gave me nightmares. You could say that I was cautiously optimistic about trying something new. sleepSo I’ve tried taking Neurexan as needed for the past month. One of the nicest things about it is that it is gentle, it doesn’t make you start to feel overly drowsy like you’re slipping into one of the prescription sleeping pill comas. In fact, if you take a Neurexan tablet before you get in bed and relax, it seems like you then just have to take another one after 15 minutes. So I’ve adjusted my bedtime routine and after I wash my face and brush my teeth, I dissolve the tablet under my tongue and read something non-stimulating until I feel tired, typically it takes about 10 minutes to kick in for me.

The final verdict: Neurexan sleep aid does work to calm my overactive mind and help me in winding down and drifting off to sleep. I still have to actively engage myself in slowing down at night, but I do prefer it to the prescription pills that would just take over my body and make me drowsy. This gently guides me into a peaceful sleep, and that is definitely worth a “thumbs up” to me. If you’re interested in Neurexan, it is available at Body Fundamentals Tucson studio.


– Guest Writer Hilary Beckovich

A Hundred Modifications- Pilates matwork

smallpicOne of the things I love about the Pilates work is that you never outgrow it. Once you’ve diligently worked on an exercise and it is perfected, it can almost always be modified to be more advanced and challenging. On the flip side, if an area of your body is tight or troublesome, an exercise can be modified down to be more comfortable. I always think of the Pilates Hundred and its many modifications. Sometimes I keep my knees bent at 90/90, some days I feel very strong and I lower my legs out towards the floor. On days where my neck is tight, I put one arm behind my head.
I love that about Pilates. I never get bored and am always challenged!
– Hilary


Previously Published October 2011