Mind & Motion

The Equestrian – Women’s Interview Series

Posted in Inspiration by Meghan Pickrell on September 15, 2013

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(Judie and Bolero)

I’d like to introduce a new interview series to Mind & Motion this week. In this series I will interview women from all walks of life about their movement practice and how it has effected them.  I find how women connect with their body through movement, exercise and somatic practices very inspiring. I’m very excited!

I couldn’t imagine a better way to begin this series than starting with my mother. My mother, Judie, has had a major influence over my history as a mover and seeker of all things kinesthetic. She provoked my interest in exercise by taking me along with her to Jane Fonda’s aerobics studio at the young age of five. I was told to sit quietly in the back, set up with my coloring books. However, I couldn’t stop myself from getting up and trying the steps. That lead to dance classes, intensive ballet and well, you know the rest…

Since then my mom has become an equestrian and a lover of danger! Ha! Please continue to read about her exciting journey into all things horses at the ripened age of 58.

M & M: What do you do for exercise? 

Being retired I now have more time for exercise. I ride my horse 4-5 days a week and take a Pilates session one day a week. I was also taking a tennis lesson, but I have had some problems with my knee, so that is on hold for the moment.

Have you always considered yourself a “fit” person?

I guess in a way I have but not consciously. I certainly exercise more now than when I was young. I was probably in my late 30s to early 40s before I realized how important it was to my well being.

What does being fit mean to you?

Being fit means having your body perform at its best. That can vary from person to person. It also means testing your physical strength to see if it is at its upmost.

At what age did you become an equestrian?

I was 58 before I ever took a riding class. I am now 72. If I had started younger I would be a far better rider than I am, but considering half of my high school class is not walking around any more, I am proud of where I am.

Was it daunting to start riding horses at such a late age?

It was terribly daunting to start such a tough and dangerous sport so late. As a child I was always afraid of not doing well or getting hurt doing something. At age 7 I had an opportunity to take an elephant ride. I waited in line with my parents and when I was ready to go up the ladder to get on, I said I can’t and didn’t do it. I have always regretted that. I think it has taken courage to do this now.

How did the other women (and girls) at the barn perceive you then, what about now?

I don’t think anybody paid any attention to me when I started and it took a couple of years before I had time to devote much attention to riding. The important thing is I haven’t stopped. Have I had falls? Absolutely! Is it risky? You bet….but I feel so good about myself when I do well. That feeling carries over into other parts of my life. It is so nice to communicate with girls and women of all ages and we all relate to one another through horses. They don’t think of me as “this old lady”.

What is so gratifying about your sport?

I think the fact that you are always slowly improving. Working with a horse is so different than other forms of exercise because you are dealing with a large animal who can have a mind of his own! You constantly have to be aware of him, your surroundings, the weather, everything. This keeps all your senses working and your balance and muscles ready for anything. I had a very gratifying moment today when I was able to canter Bolero (who is very fast & big) without stirrups. The only thing holding you on are your legs. I achieved something today.

Has horse riding changed your self image, if so, how?

I have learned I can start a whole new area of my life and develop parts of myself yet unexplored. I think it has helped me be more positive about achieving things that seem very difficult. I am proud of what I am doing and only compete with myself. I am also my worst critic.

How did you stay in shape prior to horse back?

I was a dancer (not particularly good, but I enjoyed it). Then I did aerobics for many years especially during the Jane Fonda period. Even when I was working so much and traveling, I would try and find a place to take an aerobics class. I love the feeling of tired muscles. I sleep better when I am physically tired.

How has keeping a weekly movement practice (with any form of exercise) effected your life? has it effected it for the better?

Routine is important for me. I am not one who can exercise on her own. I need other people in a class, the right atmosphere and mind set and total focus on what I am doing. This has made me disciplined in other parts of my life and I think that is good. I hope I will be doing some form of structured exercise until my dying day. My goal is so get better at riding and have as much fun out of life that I can!!!

Thanks Mom!!!! I loved hearing about your movement practice! xo

Weekend Workshop

Posted in Blog news, Pilates by Meghan Pickrell on June 10, 2013
Pam, Lise, Deborah, Carole and Heather for the Bodies Mind Intro Course

Pam, Lise, Deborah, Carole and Heather for the Bodies Mind Intro Course

Last weekend we had the pleasure of holding a workshop presented by my mentor, Carole Amend. We had a fantastic weekend looking at teaching styles and cues, new ways of thinking of the body and understanding process. On the practical side, we broke down movements found within the pilates repertoire to better understand how we can serve our clients.  We even had a “virtual” colleague from Nova Scotia… ahhh technology. The weekend was both educational and inspiring. Thank you Carole!

Carole and I at the studio

Carole and me at the studio

I’ve Stayed Away Too Long…

Posted in Inspiration, Personal Essays by Meghan Pickrell on May 5, 2013
Los Balcones Del Rioja in Basque Country

Los Balcones Del Rioja in Basque Country

La Sacragada Familia- the modern day vision of heaven

La Sacragada Familia- the modern day vision of heaven

Seabass at Mugaritz

Seabass at Mugaritz

Carlos and I in San Sebastian

Carlos and I in San Sebastian

I’ve stayed away too long… I know, it’s tragic. After my wedding in September and subsequent health issues my focus was pulled between my health and my new husband. That coupled with an insanely busy pilates studio this year, has occupied me to no end. But do not fear, I hope to begin posting on a regular basis once again. Yippee!

SO, what’s new people? As I wrote about last October, Carlos and I postponed our Spanish honeymoon last year from which we have just returned. It was amazing- Spanish tapas, historic art, and the Basque countryside all laid the perfect groundwork for a romantic honeymoon. The highlight was reading our vows overlooking San Sebastian. I feel so…blessed.

The vacation also helped bring us to a place of deep relaxation. A feeling that is rarely experienced in day-to-day life unfortunately. That being said, our promise to one another is to stay SANE now that we are back in Los Angeles- to keep stress at bay and laugh at the trivial stress impostors (if I may) that seem magnanimous when piled atop one another. It’s all about perspective, right? The scrapbook fillings and photos are scattered over our dining table, the bed is unmade (something that would normally drive me a little nutso) and I am OK with it. I take a breath, relax my body and find the same soothing relaxation while writing this blog. Please enjoy some of the photos above!

Jonathan’s Hundred

Posted in Fitness Tips, Health by Meghan Pickrell on February 17, 2012

 

It’s Friday… ahhh. Here is a little inspiration for the weekend. My client Jonathan is modeling the hundred for us in this little video I shot this week. Doesn’t this make you want to go to pilates? Have a wonderful weekend!

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Class vs. Private Instruction

Posted in Fitness Tips by Meghan Pickrell on October 10, 2011

A lot of times clients ask which would be more appropriate: classes or privates. Todays post gives a little breakdown of the differences between a group fitness session and a private session. I teach both but have spent most of my time teaching privately until recently.

Private Session: A private pilates (or personal training) session should be tailored to you! That’s right, smile, you get all of the attention. Because of the intimate nature in this setting, focus is spent on achieving your personal goals, correcting postural imbalances specific to your body, and toning up areas that need strength for you. Cues from your trainer or practitioner will be specific and will help you perform the exercises optimally. The pace of the session will also be suited to your needs. You may need to slow down and really focus on the sequencing. Or, you may be someone who needs to really start moving!  Point blank – you and your practitioner will direct the flow of the session together to create the perfect session for your body.

Class: A big bonus of taking a class rather than a private session is that it’s generally less expensive. This can be a huge bonus. There are other incentives as well, however. In a private session you are mainly being told what to do. This can be great for someone who is unsure about the movements, timing, pilates apparatus, or even their own body. In a class you won’t receive as much specific information. However, it can be great for a client who needs a bit of autonomy. Because your teacher is no longer lurching over you for the entire hour, you can decide where and how to direct your focus. This can be a great platform to work on the specific cues  that you have received in private. This is where we see how much you have learned. You can see this as well… and it’s often times rewarding to feel that you have figured it out alone.

Although my group classes are very small (the smallest I’ve seen in Los Angeles) I like for clients to interchange privates and classes. This way they get the best of both worlds. If you are interested in a pilates program and are not sure what would be best for you, please comment. I will try and help!

New Studio- ooohhh! ahhhh!

Posted in Blog news, My Practice by Meghan Pickrell on September 27, 2011

Here are a few pics of the new space. Carlos bought those cypress trees to frame either side of the door. I think they look quite nice if I do say so myself.

The waiting room. Let’s actually call it “The Library,” shall we? The bookshelf to the left is filled with exercise, anatomy and pilates books for your perusal. Soon I will serve tea for you to enjoy pre-session.

The studio – where you can get your sweat on.

The cadillac – where you can hang like a monkey (I know that’s been your life’s ambition)

The reformer – enough said.

Your educational tool in understanding how your joints articulate. Please visit my website to schedule for a free introductory class www.mindandmotionpilates.com. I’d love to have you.

Grand Opening Party

Posted in Blog news, My Practice by Meghan Pickrell on September 25, 2011

Yesterday was the grand opening of my new pilates studio, aptly named Mind & Motion, Pilates and Beyond. I kick started the day with free classes starting at 9am. Classes ended at 4pm and the reception was held that evening. My stepdaughter, the lovely Melina Hannemann, was kind enough to help out with the admin duties during classes and photographic duties for the party. Here are a few shots of the studio and party last night.

We have four reformers and a trapeze table…

The lovely Lucy playing with a blue ball, one of the many fun props we have at M & M.

The party in full swing

Gigi and I enjoying some wine

Sherri, Jane and I

Chatting with Linnea

Carlos with the very talented Paul Wehby.
My website is also up and running where you can book classes online www.mindandmotionpilates.com. Sign up for a free intro class when you have a chance.

Pilates Video

Posted in Pilates by Meghan Pickrell on August 14, 2011

Watch out! I’m going to be incorporating video on Mind & Motion- a promise made too long ago. AND I’m starting with my clients. The idea came to me as I was teaching one day and realized that my clients can sometimes perform exercises better than me. I have talented group, I must admit. So, I’m taking their best exercise, filming them and posting it for inspiration.

In this clip Amanda is rounding through her upper back, grounding in her tail, and extending her arms and legs in a coordinated manner. This exercise is called coordination because of the sequencing, breath and difficulty of the task. Amanda does quite a lovely job! You can perform this at home without the reformer- just follow our timing and try it lying on the floor. Enjoy!