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We’ve Got Company! Woodpeckers Move In

male woodpecker

You’ve likely heard the tap-tap-tapping of a Red-bellied woodpecker looking for insects along neighborhood tree limbs. Although they’ll never be confused with a songbird, their distinctive call makes them easily identifiable.

male woodpeckerspacerfemale woodpecker in nest

A couple of months ago, that tapping turned into a full-fledged construction project 20-feet up in our backyard red maple. Pretty soon, the industrious pair had hollowed out a nest and finished moving in.

In the weeks since I’d see them take turns coming and going, but haven’t been able to see the little ones they seem to be successfully raising.

Lately, the nest activity has turned quiet as the young are tended to and cared for. Still haven't actually seen the new family yet, but every once in awhile I catch a faint shadow of the youngsters waiting for the dinner bell.

Garden Fresh Herbs Add A Big Flavor Boost

herb garden

Trying a new approach this year, by cramming everything I can think of into my herb garden. At last count, oregano, basil, mint, three kinds of sage, parsley, and thyme. Still to come are chives. My rosemary is right outside the door.

How to Find YPL On Facebook, Google+, and Twitter

facebook page schedulerspacerFBapp

I use social media to stay in touch with my profession and my great YPL clients. For Pilates and fitness news, visit my Do The 100 blog. I also tweet and post on Facebook and Google+, so please follow, like or circle my channels to find out what’s on my mind and to let me know what’s on yours.

You can also reserve your next YPL Private or Duet on YPL’s Facebook page.

How Long You Plank Matters


This Canadian sports scientist says holding your plank pose for longer than 10 seconds at a time is not just a waste of time, but can end up injuring your spine if done to excess.

book your fitness session todayspacerAccording to Stuart McGill, formerly a professor of spine biomechanics at Ontario, Canada’s University of Waterloo, shorter hold times and more frequent reps are the key elements to building a solid core and a strong lower back.

He says that in addition to planking, sets of Bird Dog, Roll Ups, and Side Planks should be part of your daily basic workout.

He recommends letting your body work the kinks out for an hour or more after waking before starting any strenuous exercise. This lets the spine warm up slowly and naturally, making sure it’s ready to handle the demands of a vigorous workout.

Lets Stay Connected

rock those abs with a power pilates workout!

Eventually a favorite student stops showing up, usually without warning. Sometimes new pastures beckon, life throws a curve ball, or the family is growing. Or maybe it’s just time to take a little break and relax.

Whatever the reason, lets stay in touch. If you’ve got unused sessions and don’t want to see them expire, I can put them on hold until you’re ready. The important thing is to stay connected and keep that positive Pilates energy focused for a strong physical and mental benefit.

This Boston Pilates Instructor Stays Engaged All The Time

A former gymnast and ballet dancer, Julie Erickson is a certified Power Pilates instructor at her Boston Endurance Pilates and Yoga Studio. That’s where she and her staff train everyone from NBA court greats and NFL stars to marathoners recovering from injury to college students in search of fitness.

save with a group or private package

Her favorite tip for building and maintaining muscle tone is to stay actively engaged no matter what you’re doing, whether it’s standing in line at the grocery store, sitting at your desk, or just walking down the street. “Your goal with Pilates isn’t to get better. It’s that Pilates lets you get better at everything you do,” she says.

Keeping your abs active really helps build a strong core. At first it takes constant concentration, but Julie says that, “After about a year, it’s automatic.”

For instance, when you’re “just sitting,” she recommends squeezing your butt. Over time you’ll achieve better muscle tone, simply by making a small effort to activate muscles that otherwise go unattended most of the time.

Julie’s approach to a “passive workout” is guaranteed low-impact, while delivering maximum benefit at the same time. The time commitment is small, and the potential benefit is huge.

Dermatologist Says Workouts Help Improve Your Skin

skin care

According to dermatologist Shari Lipner, one of the side benefits of regular exercise is the effect fitness has on keeping our skin looking its best.

She says cardio is the key — it boosts blood flow and circulation to nourish and invigorate our skin, the biggest organ in our body. (Pilates people know that cardio is built in to many of our routines.)

A regular workout schedule also helps reduce inflammation, which in turn also helps our appearance.

She says don’t expect results overnight, especially if you’ve been off your game for awhile. It may take six months or longer to begin seeing the effect of exercise on our skin, but eventually you’ll see a difference.

Managing Your Workout Schedule Is Easy And Convenient

its easy to sign in and manage your YPL online accountYPL has several convenient ways to manage your sessions. The main YPL online scheduler (left) is perfect for booking your appointments, classes, and for maintaining your account. It’s fast, easy, and available 24-7. Not sure how it works? Visit my help page for tips.

What happens if you miss the cutoff time for the workout slot you wanted? Just text or call, and if there’s a spot you’d like open I’ll work you in. The same goes for those rare occasions when the system’s down, or if you need to late cancel.

Getting Enough? Don’t Overlook Your Fluid Levels

water bottle

By now there isn’t anyone who hasn’t heard about the need to stay hydrated daily. The need to stay properly hydrated (translation: drink before you need to) has spawned entire industries devoted to the otherwise natural process of drinking, usually water.

But how much do we really need? Mayo Clinic’s formula for determining how much is enough is consistent and practical. Knowing what’s best for your body, and your practice, is essential for maintaining a healthy fitness level.

While dehydration can be catastrophic — blood pressure can bottom out, among other undesirable side effects — the opposite can also be devastating. Over hydrating can, in fact, be fatal.

Everyone’s needs are different. Generally speaking how much is enough depends on factors like age, gender, weight, and activity level. The bottom line is that there’s a minimum and a maximum amount that shouldn’t be exceeded.

Pilates Cross-Training In Action

For the three trainers featured in this Pilates Style profile, Pilates doesn’t stop when they leave the studio. The trio stays on game by integrating their Pilates practice and experience into their other fitness activities; stand up paddling, hiking, and surfing.


If you’re familiar with the water activity of Stand Up Paddling (SUP) you already know that core strength is essential for this popular offshoot of surfing. SUP is all about strong abs, and a solid Pilates practice really enhances the experience.

Those same Pilates attributes apply to the other featured activities, hiking and surfing. Balance, reactions, core strength, and flexibility all come into play for these and other physical interests, from golf and fishing to running and contact sports, to – yes – housework and gardening.

In the final analysis, a strong Pilates practice is all about enhancing all the other physical activities in our daily lives.

The Pilates Contrology System

When Joseph Pilates created his fitness training method, his focus was on controlling the body by engaging the mind. He named his theory Contrology, and when understood and followed greatly improves the results you’ll experience at every level.

It isn’t easy to combine the physical with the mental. When we do The 100, for instance, it’s a lot easier to simply go with the flow than it is to concentrate on proper form, breathing, engagement, and the other factors that could be called multi-tasking.

You can learn more about the mind-body connection in this short article that does a good job of explaining the rewards of pursuing a Contrology workout.

Pilates balance

At Your Pilates Lifestyle, my Classic Practice focuses on achieving the rhythmic harmony that naturally occurs when mental focus and physical conditioning are in synch. The feeling experienced after powering through the challenge of a Classical workout is one of accomplishment, control, and exhilaration.

Pilates Method Alliance member: Pilates Method Alliance
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