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Alycea Ungaro

Pilates Blog


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Lessons Learned

Sunday March 23, 2014

In 2002 I published a book chock full of everything I knew about the Pilates Mat work.  It's a body of work I'm still very proud of but it did contain one item that I came to question.  This month I took an entire article to edit that item and improve what I have come to see as a weakness in the book.  As a teacher of Pilates, I consider myself first and foremost a student of Pilates.  The ability to revise your thinking about something you feel passionate about is the hallmark of a good student and an open minded individual.  I have learned much about Pilates since 2003 and I hope to continue to learn more so that I may revise my thinking for the better and share it with as many people as possible.

Beginner students also have much to learn about the inner workings of Pilates.  I hope this month's article on finding your Abdominals will shed some light on the role of gravity and how you can use it to your advantage.  I do hope that you were able to participate in the March MATness event this year which is intended for newcomers and beginners. What a joy to learn about the broader practice of Pilates, learn from key players in the industry and experience the light-hearted side of Pilates.  There are so many lessons to learn from the teachers participating in this event.

For those of us with an existing practice or those just wanting to know more about Pilates props, modifications and progressions, enjoy my article on the Pilates Bean Bag and how you can strengthen your wrists in preparation for larger exercises.  Did someone say push ups?  Learning about your own body's limitations and then how to move past those limitations (as well as when not to move past them) are the deeper benefits of Pilates and perhaps the ones that linger the longest.

May the method itself be your best teacher this month.


Pilates Perceptions

Thursday February 27, 2014

It's been a very busy week at my studio in New York City. Besides the flurry of bad weather (get it?), we've had a flurry of new teacher trainees embarking upon their careers as Pilates instructors. Watching them absorb the elements of Pilates, both large and small made me look at the method in a whole new way.  I often compartmentalize exercise into those with large or gross motor patterns and those with fine or detailed smaller movements which tend to be less...well, big.  Watching the trainees learn the large sweeping choreography of classical Pilates coupled with the intense focus on detail I was reminded me that Pilates is a magical method,  combining both gross and fine motor skills.  Even more important, it combines both gross and fine mental ability.  For example, in Pilates you are often required to execute big moves with small attention to detail or just the opposite.  This merging of physical and mental skills is also the bigger story of Pilates.  This month, I shared with you the story of my client struggling with Cancer. His personal fight was big but many of us use Pilates to fight or simply manage much smaller issues.

The Two by Four exercise this month is a small move done with big concentration. A reminder once again that you don't need big moves to make big changes - just big thoughts.

Taking Pilates out of the studio and into the real world, I was so happy to profile March MATness this month. An event like this is one of those moments when a method can transcend its' humble beginnings from one man and 5 original teachers, to finally reach the masses on a large scale. I hope you'll take advantage of it this month in both big and small ways.

Just so long as you benefit from the wonderfully varied system in some significant way, I don't care if you like your Pilates big - or small.


Always a Beginner

Tuesday January 28, 2014

Hello You!

If we haven't met yet - I'm your new Pilates expert here on About.com.  I hope you were able to enjoy some of my new articles these past few weeks.

This month was full of research for me as we explored topics like the Pilates springs, personal Pilates preferences and exerciser types (which one were you?) as well as an exercise test-drive of the Hundred and some at home moves to help you recreate the work of the Pilates springs.

These foundations of Pilates are never too basic to go back and re-visit.  As your practice grows, you will attack the beginner work and concepts with even greater control and strength. Keep in mind as you progress what a privilege it is to be a student on the precipice of new information and new skills.


Alycea Ungaro


Meet the New Pilates Expert

Thursday January 16, 2014

Hello You!

This is a quick note to introduce myself as your new Pilates expert here on About.com.  I am tremendously excited to be here.  I have followed this site for years and I am a big fan of Marguerite Ogle, the former Pilates guide.  You have my promise that I will always strive to deliver valuable information and please know that I am open to your feedback. Finally,  feel free to follow me on social media.  I'm easy to find and would be happy to chat .


Alycea Ungaro

Alycea Ungaro

Real Pilates, NYC

Featured Workout: The Classical Pilates Mat Exercises

Monday October 7, 2013

If you learn the Pilates mat exercises, in the classical sequence, you will always have a powerful and effective way to get in shape and enjoy the benefits of Pilates.
Learn the Classical Pilates Mat Exercises
-- modifications and ideas for beginner development are included.

Related: Pilates mat exercises, Pilates ring exercises, Pilates ball exercises, Pilates band exercises, Pilates large equipment exercises, Pilates workouts.

A Special Note from Your Guide to Pilates at About.com

Wednesday October 2, 2013

Marguerite OgleMy Dear Pilates Friends,

I have to say this quickly or I might cry, even though I am happy.  Over the past 7.5 years I have written close to 1,500 articles, exercise instructions, and blogs about Pilates and related topics. I have loved doing it and it has been an honor to write for you, dear reader. Now, it is time for me to retire as the Guide to Pilates here at About.com. New adventures are calling. Read More...

Your Pilates Points of Contact

Monday September 30, 2013

Pilates Teaser on ReformerWhen you workout, your points of contact are the places where your body is either touching the mat, or Pilates equipment, or both.

Your points of  contact have a huge influence on your balance and alignment as well as how the lines of energy move through your body, and the equipment. Read More...

Exercise of the Week: Pilates Boomerang

Wednesday September 25, 2013

advanced pilates boomerangBoomerang is an advanced exercise from the classical Pilates mat sequence, and a fun one. It takes a lot of coordination to put boomerang together, and core strength, but once you get it  boomerang is a very satisfying exercise.

You can build up to boomerang with skills you learn in exercises like teaser, roll over and rolling like a ball. So focus on those first, then when you are ready, learn boomerang!

Have the Exercise of the Week, along with other great Pilates info, sent directly to you each week in the Free Pilates Newsletter.

photo: Susie Haggas, (c)2011, Marguerite Ogle

Which Pilates DVD is Best for You?

Monday September 23, 2013

Readers often write to me wondering which Pilates DVDs are best. Naturally, we all want to spend our money wisely and get something that is going to suit our needs. The thing is, without seeing each individual it's hard for me to make a specific recommendation, which is why my Pilates DVD reviews are often a bit lengthy -- because it all depends! But of course I have ideas... Read More...

Pilates Exercise of the Week: Standing Leg Press with Circle

Thursday September 19, 2013

pilates ring exerciseThe magic circle, or Pilates ring, is an inexpensive and very useful small piece of exercise equipment. This week, we use it for resistance and a balance challenge as we tone inner thighs, hips, abs. What's not to love?.
Learn Standing Leg Press w Circle

See more magic circle exercises

Have the Exercise of the Week, along with other great Pilates info, sent directly to you each week in the Free Pilates Newsletter

(c)2009, Marguerite Ogle

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