PMS syndrome: more women experience it

PMS syndrome, this big word that everybody ear nowadays, and nobody understand. Myself, my friends, my relatives and more and more women report that they experience : moodiness, depression, sadness and some other discomforts in a period of 10 days to 1 week prior the menstruation. So I’ve wanted to understand :

Is there more and more women touched by PMS syndrome or we just simply talk more about it ?

I have dig deeper into sciences and went to interview Hati, S. Malinova, who’s a perinatal psychology counsellor and  a doula, specialized in women’s health. And Also former member of our program Belle Maternity, for motherhood support.

Today about 75% of women experience some discomfort and may be quite suffering from headaches, cramps, tender breasts or other symptoms. Many find ways of coping with this.However, 20-40% of women are troubled by their premenstrual symptoms which may be physical, behavioral or emotional in nature.  PMS may be diagnosed.

So Hati, could you remind us what is PMS syndrome ?

It goes for PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME and defines a state of physical and emotional symptoms that many women get after ovulation and before the start of their menstrual period. These symptoms can be more severe or more mild from one woman to another. But it has been discovered that women are most likely to experience it on average in their 30,s than in their twenties.

I feel like nowadays more and more women experience it. Is there a growing number of women experiencing PMS ?

PMS Is like most hormonal syndrome very cyclic and unstable; We refer that three in four women get PMS symptoms at some point in their lifetime. Also it can be severe at a certain time, then goes away or fades with time, or get worse. We also recall 5% that have more severe syndrome form of PMS called PMDD ( premenstrual dysphoric disorder)

PMS is often reinforced when women have :

  • High level of stress
  • Family history of depression
  • Personal history of depression, or postpartum depression  
  • In Time of hormonal change.

Also nowadays there’s more and more people who have poor healthy habits and bad life hygiene, lots of stress and very sedentary in their work, that is can explain a growing number of women touched by PMS.

What are the symptoms ?

SYMPTOMS Are various and diverse, and can depends from one woman to another, but we listed some of the most common ones :

  • Swollen or tender breasts
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Bloating or a gassy feeling
  • Headaches

But the ones that women suffer the most from are the emotional roller coaster:

  • Irritability or hostile behavior
  • Feeling tired
  • Appetite changes or food cravings
  • Depression, feelings of sadness, or crying spells
  • Mood swings

What are the solutions ?

Women have a range of things to be beneficial in decreasing the effect of PMS symptoms.

Taking time for yourself  is an important step.  Reducing feelings of unwelcome stress is particularly important during the premenstrual phase.  Clarifying the number of days in your cycle and when bleeding is likely to occur allows you to become aware of times you need to pay particular attention to yourself.

Examples of self-care are:

  • getting enough sleep, rest and relaxation
  • doing some exercise
  • eating a healthy diet
  • Practicing Yoga, Pilates, mindfulness
  • enjoying time with a partner, family or friends

Supplements are often considered by women suffering PMS, usually herbal, vitamin or mineral. Talk to your healthcare provider before beginning to take supplements.


The biggest misunderstanding for Pilates and pregnancy

Don’t let prejudices and misinformations keep you away from the mat or the reformer while you’re expecting

For most women, being pregnant is a good news, and goes with celebration. But when you hear the heartbeat a few weeks later, it’s not uncommon for some of that initial excitement to morph into worry and stress. After all, it’s a lot on your shoulders, and women are then placed in the position to make that little life grows healthy or not; They receive many injonctions and orders ; what to do, what not to do; No pressure.

Of all the things that might be stressful and source of anxiety, Pilates should not be one of those.   To help calm down any fear you might have—and keep you safe and feeling good throughout the next nine months—I’ve asked my expert friends: doctors, midwife and my self (Pre&postnatal Pilates expert) about the risks and benefits to practice Pilates while pregnant;

Pregnant women shouldn’t do Pilates if they didn’t practice before

“Pilates is easily adapted to anyone and everyone. It can be modified to suit any needs and any level, whter you’ve practiced before or not is not a problem : Pilates will be adapted to pregnant’s body’s needs. One of the key principle of Pilates is . The to help women maintain strength in a safe environment. if you haven’t done Pilates before is not a problem, we will start and adapt throughout the pregnancy. Jey Pilates Instructor _

When you are not pregnant and start Pilates, there is a deep emphasis on lower abdominal contractions and the action to use your abs “in, up, and forward”, which means pulling them and suck the abs in. The aim is to use deep abs work and to get the deeper layer of the abdominals to be activated. If you start Pilates and you are pregnant, that type of contraction and depth of connection in the core cannot be the focus—the core will more a general support and the focus will be on whole body’s strengthening. What is true is your Pilates workout will be different from traditional Pilates workout.

Wunda chair pregnancy workout

Pilates only benefit for getting back in shape after birth

One of the worst comment i can hear, it’s so reductive, there are so many benefits to regular Pilates classes when you’re expecting. What most people don’t know: it brings benefits for both : the mother and the child.

When a mother exercises frequently, her progresses benefits the foetus. Epigenetic changes are when environmental factors affect whether a gene is expressed or not. The baby has a set genome from conception, but maternal exercise (an environmental factor) seems to positively affect the baby’s cerebral and physical development. Staying in shape (especially in the core and hips) also helps the mom prepare for the actual labor and childbirth. Plus, exercise helps you feel better in your body and release stress. Deep breathing patterns we use in Pilates are a set for life and can be used for labor and delivery as a powerful tool to control your birth, and reduce pain.

Pilates is also amazingly useful for bringing body’s education and anatomy awareness. Because of it’s precise instruction toward one muscle over another, it provides to the mom-to-be, a stronger sense of body’s awareness and help women to get used to their new bodies with ease, and acceptance. Control and stabilisation helps with any aches or pains from pregnancy such as low-back or hip pain, said The mid-wife.

Pregnant women shouldn’t do any core work

“Pregnant women should not do any core work that takes them from a supine position (lying down on their back) to flexing their spine ( for example classical crunches). There’s a truth behind it that Prenatal women wants to avoid diastasis recti ‘spread out of superficial abdominals’ and intra abdominal pressures, so it’s safer to avoid any head & chest lift. However, it is actually good for women to work on stabilization of the core and pelvis’s muscles .

We can modify the supine abdominal work by changing the body position from supine to lateral work, standing, or sitting. That’s why I also love to work with full range of Pilates equipments for Prenatal workout – reformer is an amazing tool to stay strong while pregnant. Jey Pilates Instructor.

side’s muscles strengthening

The appropriate way to ‘work your core’ when you are pregnant is focusing on the transverse abdominis as opposed to the rectus abdominis. Give up doing the Series of Five, and instead focus on corseting your waist while you do standing exercises.” — DR ZU, gynaecologist.

Now don't let your prejudices stop you from being healthy and active while pregnant. At @jeydancepilates we do provide classes from 12 weeks pregnant. 
Fore more infos& bookings: please email us JEYDANCEPILATES

What Is Magic Circle ?

magic circle prop

What is the magic circle ?

magic circles Pilates group

The magic circle is a Pilates tool created by founder Joseph Pilates that’s intended to help practitioners find their center. It’s also referred to as a fitness circle, exercise ring, and a fitness ring, but “magic circle” is still the preferred name within Pilates. It is said that Joseph Pilates made the first magic circle from the ring of a keg.

Magic circle is a “add-on” meaning it’s not mandatory to perform exercises with, it diversifies the benefits. Because the props are small, lights and not expansive, a lot of studios are equipped with it, and also individuals.

More than anything, magic circles has many benefits.

What is a Magic circle ?

The Pilates magic circle is a ring, usually made of flexible metal or rubber, about 13 inches in diameter, with small pads on either side. It provides gentle to moderate resistance in an exercise. It also gives the body feedback about which muscles are being used. Flexible metal is the most common material for magic circles. There are some that are all rubber, but the rubber models tend to be to soft. ” If you have more strength person and wants more muscular challenge, then you will not want a rubber ring or the versions of the metal. If your purpose is mild resistance and more body placement oriented, then a lighter ring could be perfect. Sometimes lighter moves are more efficient than strong ones.

This little resistance prop is very popular due to its easy to be carried on, and used both in Mat classes & reformer classes.


Magic circles resistance is light, but they enhance an exercise benefit and feedbacks; It gives the body & mind a very good feeling of which muscles contracting and how to engage properly. The magic circle provides gentle to moderate resistance in an exercise.

Instead, this prop is integrated to be mindful into the body to support or challenge you during exercises. It provides gentle tension to activate muscles. It can be squeezed light to hard to increase the resistance during certain exercises to build strength, control and body-mind connection.

pilates mat shanghai jeydancepilayes

It helps develop more awareness and mind focus, magic circles with light tension, gives you a lot of feedbacks on the movement performed. I explain: this prop can be used to “guide” the body, target the right muscles and the right sensation in an exercice. It develops control & precision.

When placed between ankles or thighs, the resistance from the ring is great for strengthening inner thighs and activating the pelvic floor. We use it a lot for postnatal Rehab.

Squeezed between hands, this ring is an effective way of building arm, chest arm and shoulder strength, thoracic spine control and shoulder girdle.

Adding the magic circle to your mat workout can also help you find the right muscles and challenge your movement (precision, center, see above)

Used in combination with the mat leg circle series, for instance, squeezing the ring can help you find those hard to target side hip muscles & adductors

When placed between your hands behind your back for extension exercises, like dart, the ring shape supports your chest opening. Squeezing on the ring as you move into extension means that the tension creates a further challenge to the movement and strengthens your back muscles.


1- Into the hands

Place your open palms on the pads on the outside of the ring. With slightly bent arms, raise the ring directly above your chest and keep it there.

Press gently on the ring to create some tension and keep this tension as you perform the exercise. This will increase the challenge to your arms and involve (and work) the whole body in this exercise. It creates shoulder strength, chest arms, and pectorals development. Upper back strength.

magic circle hands

2- In your ankles

Place in your ankles the magic circle is adding inner tights muscles challenge and pelvic floor activation. With proper breathing it will also helps feel your deep core muscles such as transverse abdominis. The adductors are ribbonlike muscles attached along the femur thighbone that help to rotate, flex, and squeeze the thighs together. Potentially, they are among the strongest muscles in the human body, even though we forget to use them enough in modern life.

3– Inside the knees – lightly above knees

This will target right into your adductors, but also external rotators, back muscles and deepest abdominal muscle, it’s a good exercise to feel core & pelvic floor. The anterior muscle chain of the legs is also targeted.

4- Side lying leg press

side lying press leg

The side-lying leg press is a mat exercise done with the Pilates magic circle. It is a good exercise for thigh that focuses challenge on the inner thighs. It also tones the glutes (butt muscles) quite well. The whole Pilates powerhouse is engaged and creates length and stability.

This exercise especially works the adductor muscles which draw your legs together.

4- Palm Press crossed legs

This exercise is very good for pectorals, chest, pelvic floor and obliques, lower abdominals.

In the palm press, the position of the body combined with the pressing of the magic circle with flat palm activates and lifts the pelvic floor muscles while strengthening the waist, obliques and lower abdominals.

Pilates ring and exercise mat kept on wooden floor
Pilates ring and exercise mat kept on wooden floor in fitness center
There is so many exercises we can use Magic circles with, now you have some examples - if you want to learn more or practice 
EMAIL US to discover our schedule & book your class:

How to combine Pilates with other training

How to combine Pilates with other training ? 


If you do Pilates and add other forms of exercise into your weekly routine, you are cross training. There are some good reasons to do this. Here are a few:

  • Pilates exercises are oriented toward functional fitness, meaning that Pilates teaches you to move better, in general, thereby enhancing performance and reducing risk of injury in other activities.
  • Cross training that combines strength training with cardio is said to be the best way to get in good shape.
  • Cross training helps to add variety to a workout routine & develop balanced muscles.

Pilates with other training:

Strength and Flexibility in Cross Training

Cross training is really just combining exercise types. Pilates is the moderate strength training aspect of a cross training program.Pilates has so many more benefits, it’s hard to leave it at that but for today’s topic let’s look into that aspect:

Among Many Benefit Pilates huge benefit is to develop both: Strength and flexibility are of special interest for cross trainers.


The Pilates Method is founded on core strength.

Pilates mat and equipment exercises strengthen not just the outer muscles of the center of the body but also the deep inner Stabilizer muscles of the pelvis, abdomen, and back: like muscles: pelvic floor, deepest layer of the abdominal, and back muscles. These kind of precision is hard to obtain in any other disciplines as many sport target a result, a goal and a performance, whereas Pilates is all about correct & precise movement.  

Core strength by supporting trunk muscles is giving a nice and sculpted posture.  The joints without any pressure are free to allow a natural flexibility of the limbs.

While gaining this precision and right musculature will lead you to get better performances in any others sports.


Pilates is a full-body integration training. It develops amazingly: core strength.

However, if you are going to depend on Pilates exclusively for your strength training, you will probably want to add the resistance exercises done with large and small Pilates equipment. I like to use props in my group classes: magic circles, balloons. That will expand your options for developing strength in the limbs as well as the core.

Most of people love the long, lean-looking muscles that come from Pilates. Most of my clients are satisfied with the level of integrative, moderate strength training that Pilates provides.

Pilates resistance training is enough to give you:

  • -functional power
  • -help build bone
  • -burn more calories (because muscle is a calorie burner)

Continue reading “How to combine Pilates with other training”


Pilates the power of Reformer

Pilates the power of reformer

Reformer Jey
jeydancepilates studio Reformer

There is probably no piece of equipment more famous than the Pilates reformer—and that is for good reason. The reformer makes a dramatic impression when you first see one, and an even more dramatic results in your body when you use it.Reformers classes are usually one of the main choices and most popular choice for Clients and Pilates practitioners.

What makes the reformer so special?

pilates Balanced Body

First, take a look at what is a reformer is and how to properly use it, then we will see tremendous benefits of it on your body. The reformer was invented by Joseph Pilates. It is like a bed with a flat platform on it, called the carriage. The carriage is attached to the reformer by a set of springs more or less resistant and heavy / light. At the spring end of the reformer, there is an adjustable bar called a footbar. On the Footbar you put the feet or hands. The reformer has straps with handles on them that are attached to the top end of the frame. They can be pulled in legs or arms, hands, elbows, to move the carriage as well and perform exercises.


How to Use

With endless possibilities of exercises, you can perform almost everything, any kind of muscles group, different range of motion, different levels and modifications on the reformer. From classical exercises to creative and modified versions: catalogue is infinite.

Exercises motion goes from lying down, sitting, standing, pulling the straps, pushing the footbar, up on the ​footbar, up on the shoulder blocks, with some add-on equipment, upside down, sideways, and all kinds of variations.

long spine reformer
Pilates long spine reformer jeydancepilates

Benefits of Reformer 

From: Overall strength, flexibility, coordination, and balance, benefits from Reformer are the same than benefits of Pilates.

  • Better posture
  • Graceful and efficient movement
  • Body awareness
  • Pain relief (ease chronic pain)
  • Restore physical balances

The Reformer creates a unique and varied exercise environment; It is large enough to accommodate full-range motion, which is wonderful for increasing flexibility while building strength.

The action of the Machine itself: Pushing and pulling with legs or arms against the resistance, carriage, and body weight is helping strength building.


So Mat or Equipment?

 This is one of the one of the most common question and sometimes it can be confusing for new comers. Both Mat and Reformer workouts provide tremendous benefits, many Pilates newbies and regulars are often confused about which form is right for their current goals and abilities. Both methods train you to initiate the movements from your body’s powerhouse (your core/centering) and accordingly will quickly translate into benefits across your day-to-day activities.


The level of Reformer I would say can reach from basic to highly advanced movements in virtually any position on the reformer.

The Reformer can also provide a more challenging strength and endurance due to resistance than mat classes, leading to visible results sooner. Basically, you can do more exercises on a reformer compared to a mat and it gives you the option of performing exercises in more different body positions, from your back, side, stomach, being seated and also on your feet or knees.

Note also that pricing is different:

Reformer’s classes are more pricey than Mat classes- due to the highest cost of the machine it self for studios. 

For the same reasons I find it amazing on Prenatal workouts as most pregnant women suffer from deep unbalances and back pain but can’t lay down the whole class. With reformer we can play in other planes such as kneeling, sideways, up on your feet, and much more.


 Marylin, 34 yo, former Athlete, beginner practitioner

“I found Reformer easier that it targets faster my muscles and I can control my movement better with the help and assistance of the machine. Mat is nice too but really difficult and hard to control your body at the first place”

Marie 28 yo, Young Mom, practicing Pilates postnatal,

“For me Reformer helps work deeply and target more precisely some group of muscles; Thanks to the moving carriage It challenges gravity and balance and help me work on my weaker side and muscles’ unbalance. I feel every inch of body’s muscle; With resistance you can choose heavy / lighter and that push you through your limits and beyond;When I stretch with Reformer I can go deeper in my stretches and reach a bigger range of motion. I love the Reformer, definitively my favorite!”

Arnaud, 41 yo, Reformer and Yoga practitioner

“Reformer allows me to focus more on my breathing, the machine helps me structure my practice. As a beginner it gives me a strong guidance and the ability to work deeply and effectively, with no risk of injuries. I like the emphasize on my upper body: arms and back exercises are really interesting and shaped me fast. Fully recommend to do Reformer ”


The importance of taking some time Off

time off  -jeydancepilates- 

Holidays and summer are around the corner, and you already trying to figure it out: how to continue my routine? Keep my efforts all together and keep on progressing?

One week with no sport and you already freaking out thinking about it;

In this article I will let you know how to compensate 1-2 weeks without sport and which benefits (yes, yes) you can even get from it.  

First question is: How often do you practice?

To understand benefits, you can get from one-two weeks off: you first have to know where you stand. I explain:

-are you a regular practitioner?

-or occasionally workout If you a regular, meaning you train at least 2/ week during the whole year, even more if you’re an athlete: it’s brings benefits to stop your routine 1 to 2 weeks off /year.

The off-season is a necessary part of the training cycle.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with specializing in one sport year-round, it does present a problem when there is no time taken to let the body properly recover.

If you an occasional, you do less than 2 hours / week and you are not strictly regular, then it’s different: it might cause more negatives than positive to stop your sport. It can break down the fragile habits and make you get back to sedentary lifestyle.


 When you stop your routine: how to compensate?

Now big question is: you are taking some time off, ok, for 1-2 weeks, sometimes more: no regular sport : how to compensate?

  • Eat less

It might not be the advice you want to read. But big truth is: you are less active, you need less fuel: logic.

You need to reduce your amount of food and choose lighter options;

I see a lot of my athletes’ friends’ gaining weight when they stop training, because they keep on eating the same amount of food, sometimes more. It can lead them to sometimes 4kgs a week.

To enjoy your rest without alerting the scale: you’ll have to reduce your carbs intakes, sugar intakes and eat smaller portions;

Choose raw veggies, fruits full of water like watermelon (awesome in summer) and nuts : they will be your best friends.

  • Drink a lot of water


 Water plays a role in both muscle repair and growth.

Our body is made primarily of water, and water helps carry nutrients, electrolytes and virtually every other substance in your body to your muscles and organs. In fact, most experts affirm that a lot of disease, injuries and infections could be avoided by drinking sufficient water the whole year.

If you exercise regularly during the year your heart rate increased so your muscles can get a quick supply of blood and oxygen. But if you don’t drink enough water, this process becomes less efficient. The result can be muscle pain, spasms, cramps and slowed muscle growth. And of course fatigue.

While you taking some time off you want to get rid of all the toxins accumulated and help your metabolism to regenerate. Water will help with that.

  • Get plenty of rest

 As your’ on holidays all the point is to rest and enjoy with your loved ones right?

And if I tell you, (to make you feel even more guilt-free) that resting is playing a huge role in fitness results & muscles gain: then it’s even better right?When we regularly exercise: some of the fatigue stays with us, gradually accumulating during long periods of intense training dedicated to our favorite sport.

Even as we get fitter and fitter, the mechanisms of recovery and adaptation begin faltering, putting us at risk for chronic exhaustion, difficulty sleeping and loss of motivation, evidenced in part by declining testosterone levels and increases in creatinine kinase and urea.

  • Plenty of sleep

 How many times you heard that sentence huh?

As you taking some days off from your usual routine, it’s the right moment to allow you intense nights’ sleep. And those naps during daytime, along by the pool: why not?

Researches has shown that poor sleep is a major risk for heart disease and overweight;

Sleeping 8 hours a night is an amazing tool for:


-weight loss

-muscle’s gain

-sport performances

Athletes know that and most professional trainers ask for 10 hours sleep to their athletes.

A study from Stanford university women’s tennis team for five weeks as they attempted to get 10 hours of sleep each night. Those who increased their sleep time ran faster sprints and hit more accurate tennis shots than while getting their usual amount of sleep.

iStock-619238534-5a7884986edd6500365a247f (1)

Sleep can, in fact, be one of the best workouts you give your body, enabling it to rest and recover enough to hit the gym with more vigor the next day.

  • Move

Taking a long break doesn’t mean getting overly friendly with the couch and laying down all day long.

You don’t want to fall completely out of shape, and you certainly don’t want to add kgs that will be hard to shed later.

It’s time to diversify: Instead of your usual routine: take it easy an try new things.

Look for activities that either build up some attribute useful in your main sport or keep you moving but with a different mental focus.

For example if you’re a cyclist or runner: choose low impact activity and it might be the right time to try some yoga and stretch those legs!

And if you play basketball or tennis, dabble in mountain biking to keep the heart and lungs working, while giving the joints a break. 

If you spend a lot of time in the gym normally/ you can just enjoy some outside walks or go swimming each morning, your body deserves a rest and taking a Summer holiday is the perfect excuse.


I like to take 10 days completely off from my routine, and I feel that’s what my body needs after 10 months of intense training and teaching; During those 10 days I just take walks, slow swimming in the sea and that’s it : stretching, reading, enjoying  sun tanning sessions.


logoJeyPilates copie
Enjoy your holidays

Get plenty of rest, love, friends, sun, fresh air

Love jeydancepilates

What about your Bones ? Pilates for osteoporosis

Modifying Pilates for Clients With Osteoporosis

jeydancepilates abdominal

Find out who is at risk for fracture and which exercises they should avoid

Osteoporosis is globally epidemic in Europe and in USA : more and more people, younger and younger are concerned. 

Why does this concern the fitness professional?

One in every 2 women and 1 in every 4 men aged 50 or older will suffer an osteoporosis-related hip, spine or wrist fracture during their lives

 Among women over 50, 1 in every 2 who walk into your exercise classes has low bone density and is at risk for fracture.

In France : 3 millions of women are touched by osteoporosis and 130 000 fractures caused it. 

Research has shown that given the fragility of the osteoporotic vertebrae, most fractures are caused by the stresses of everyday life (Cummings & Melton 2002; Keller 2003).

As the disease progresses, bones can become so vulnerable that fractures can occur spontaneously or through such mild trauma as opening a stuck window, lifting a light object from the floor with a rounded thoracic spine or even just coughing or sneezing.

What Is Osteoporosis?


Osteoporosis is the gradual and silent loss of bone and not a normal aging process. It is defined as a systemic skeletal disease characterised by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue, with a consequent increase in bone fragility and susceptibility to fracture (NOF 2005). Osteopenia is mildly reduced bone mass—a loss of approximately 10%– 20%indicating the onset of osteoporosis.

Persons with osteoporosis usually discover bone loss insidiously or later at their on cost: often they find out  that their pants, clothes  are too long; People around notice that they are shrinking in height, they’re developing a dowager’s hump or their arms look longer. Other persons complain of waistline pain (caused when the ribs sit on the iliac crests), mid-back pain or neck pain. Hip pain is not common with osteoporosis and is present only after a fracture.

A Question of Lifestyle


In my practice as  a Pilates instructor, I am finding that clients and even Pilates teachers are discovering they have osteoporosis at younger and younger ages.

Now I’m frequently seeing osteoporotic clients in Pilates studios, and health clubs where I teach Pilates mat classes. What are we doing wrong?

Evidence suggests that lifestyle is a major culprit. Studies have found that Americans & European are not engaged in enough physical activity, do not take in enough nutrients to support good bone health

In modern societies : we base our habits of daily living on convenience and time management. We have computers for shopping: TVs to entertain us; and microwaves, washing machines, elevators, escalators, cars and high-tech devices to “save time” and to make our lives more “efficient”. M

More efficiency means we are increasingly sedentary, and sedentary living is bad for our bones. We walk less, we bear less weight, and we do less physical labor.

In short, our high-tech assistant labor-saving lifestyle is destroying our bones. 

Who is at risk ? 

Instead of what we think osteoporosis is largely spread out among populations. We estimate that 30% of women at 50 years old, and 50% of women above 5Os have osteoporosis. 

Women are more subject to osteoporosis than men: 

Factors that help increase osteoporosis

  • Hormones (lack of oestrogen during menopause or before)
  • Some medications like pain killers, corticoïdes and hormones. 
  • High intake of alcohol and caffeine 
  • Big smokers
  • Lack physical activity
  • Lack of calcium and D Vitamin Intake 

The Solutions: The Role of Pilates

The importance of weight-bearing exercise that loads and strengthens bone cannot be underestimated.In fact, research has shown that physical exercise alone can decrease the progression of bone loss.One program that is often suggested for building strength is Pilates.

Do the same contraindications apply to her as would apply to a client with osteoporosis?

The thoracic spine is the area of the spine at greatest risk of fracture. That’s because the vertebral bodies get smaller as you move up the vertebral column and also because the thoracic vertebral bodies’ orientation toward flexion loads the spine anteriorly. Statistically, we know that bone density decreases from the cervical to the lumbar spine. However, bone size and ability to distribute force load decrease from the lumbar to the cervical spine. So if someone has osteopenia of the lumbar spine, an exercise specialist should assume that the person may have osteoporosis of the thoracic spine.

What’s more, until the results of the client’s next bone density test are known, the instructor doesn’t know if bone loss is progressing as he or she is working with the client. Therefore, all exercise specialists should use the same precautions for clients with osteopenia as for those with osteoporosis.

Forward flexion causes excessive compression force on the anterior (or front) surface of the vertebral bodies, where most of the trabecular bone is located.  Compression forces on the vertebrae are also excessive during side-bending of the thoracic and upper-lumbar spine. Forward flexion, side-bending and particularly forward flexion combined with rotation are therefore contraindicated for clients with osteoporosis—and hence for clients with osteopenia.

Spinal extension is a different story. These areas do get compressed as the spine moves into extension, but the movement is much less risky than flexion because of the strength of cortical bone.

Testing with Pilates

When clients with low bone density or newly healed fractures are ready to start a strengthening program, modified Pilates is an option. But safety must be paramount. 

1. Make Sure Clients Have Obtained a Physician’s Clearance to Do Pilates. Anyone who has osteoporosis or is at high risk for it must have clearance before beginning a Pilates program.

2. Use Safe Evaluation Techniques. Do not test the spine’s mobility!


Sleep like a baby – 5 tips

Sleep like a baby – 5 tips

Funny-Baby-Sleep-Pictures-HD-Wallpaper.jpgSpring is here, time changed (in France), weather changed, everything comes to open again.

In between it requires your body a lot of adaptation and sometimes « season changes’ time » can be disturbing for internal functions. At this time of the year or in general you may experience some trouble in your sleep.

Researches shown that most of half of the people in modern cities are deprived from good sleep and don’t sleep enough. Shanghai is not the best city regarding sleep, and we all know how it can be struggling having your 8 hours sleep while lifestyle can be extremely busy, stressful and dense.

Here are 5 easy tips to improve your quality sleep (tested on my self)

All these advices are adaptable for mummies or especially mom to be who can experience big trouble to sleep last few weeks before delivery

1-Time sleep routine:

Very often, sleep is the first thing busy people compromise, so simply making time to sleep will help protect our health and well-being. To achieve this, you can create and commit to a schedule. 

For exemple 11 or 11.30 (the latest) Researches shown that before 10 pm is the best, but it’s not doable every day I admit. But Once per week: try to make a full recovery night: sleep time at 10/ 10.30 pm

2- Use Melatonin.

Some will not agree, but I did back and forth to France in five days, and had no jet lag feeling or sleep issues thanks to melatonin. I Will not recommend to use on a long term period, but for short terms sleep issues and some nights where you know (mind overthinking) you will not sleep well: go for it. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep and is primarily made in the pineal gland in the center of the brain;

It’s 100% natural, and safe under 3mg for pregnant women.

(ask sproutslifestyle to purchase some)

3- Calm the mind

Use breathing (calm baby breathing) and meditation to ease your mind before sleeping; It’s often the time where we start to think, and think, and over think and then leads to insomnia; Instead: use deep breathing method (see deep breathing pattern with Pilates or Yoga). I found out some applications are really useful with guided mediations.

For French speakers: petit bamboo offers some nice range of free meditations, and guided ones. Body scan meditations are the best to easily fall asleep.

English speakers: Calm App is good option too.

4- Avoid upsetting talks at night

One of my wise and very close friend gave me precious advice : Do not start upsetting conversations after 6 pm. It will create stress, it starts messing up with your brain, thoughts and emotions and will ruin your night.

So no ‘financial conversations’ with your siblings over the phone, no deep controversial subjects, no arguing or even possible fights” matters with your husband, boyfriend, etcera. Leave it for the morning.  Hardest to apply, but honestly one of the most effective advice too (so simple right?)

5- Get tired

Finally most obvious one but not so easy: get yourself tired. Do exercises, move, feel tired from good fatigue at night.

Physical exercises are the best way to spend a good night sleep; from walking (for our pregnant ladies) to running, exercises with Pilates or even enjoy good sex with lover indoor bedroom: they all work, they will make your tired!

The secret is exercise will increase pleasure hormone the endorphin and dopamine, it decreases the cortisol: it helps you relax and unwind physically and mentally.

Remember lack of sleep is responsible for poor health: depressive mood, lack of interests, chronic fatigue and affects most of your abilities during day time. So get get this good night sleep you deserve now!



Pilates exercises to help with sciatica

What is sciatica and what causes it? Are there sciatica exercises that will help relieve the pain?  

Dr. Brent Anderson has dedicated a lot of researches to that question. He is a physical therapist, Orthopedic Certified Specialist, and the founder of Polestar Pilates method, one of the leaders in Pilates instructor training focusing on rehabilitation. 

So in this article we will see what’s sciatica, and the role of Pilates exercise can play in relieving the pain.


The sciatic nerve is one of the largest nerves in ​the body. It provides the majority of the motor and sensory activity for the lower extremities. It is made up of a nerve plexus originating from L1 to S1 and passes from inside the pelvis to outside the pelvis through the sciatic notch – a little hollowing in the pelvis. The sciatic nerve then typically goes under the piriformis muscle, runs down the back of the leg behind the knee and splits, going inside and outside the calf and along the top and bottom of the foot.

sciatica23117022_m2- Causes of the pain

Anything that puts pressure on the sciatic nerve or its root can create the irritation we refer to as sciatica.

This can happen from a vertebral disc putting pressure on the nerve root, or you could have some problem in the sciatic notch – an accident or fall on your buttocks that caused a trauma to the nerve passing through the sciatic notch.

The injury could cause swelling and that could cause sciatic pain. An overactive piriformis muscle  pressuring sciatic nerve is also a common reason for sciatic irritation.

Another common cause of sciatic pain is neural tension (NT) (tension of the nerve).

NT is thought to be caused by restriction on the sheath (biological term for girdle) that surrounds the nerve. The nerve should glide smoothly through the sheath like a bicycle brake cable gliding through its casing. But sometimes the nerve does not glide through the sheath well and this can cause restriction.

3- Protect the nerve

As we’ve seen sciatica is a nerve injury; First preventive is to : protect the nerve.

With a sciatic injury, you want to be careful not to irritate the nerve more than it already is. Consider that the nervous system is continuous through your whole body from the crown of head to the toes and fingertips. Anywhere we move the body we are in essence moving the nervous system. So what you want is a gentle movement without over-stretching the nerve.

Adapt the movements

In my approach I Like to caution people about “over recruiting” the muscles; for example, if you follow classical Pilates, you have some moves where you tuck your bottom a little bit or squeeze hips extensors, it might not be appropriate for sciatica.  

That would increase the pressure on the sciatic nerve and decrease the space around the nerve. You want to work in a more neutral spine. 

If the sciatica is coming from a herniated disc, then we have to take all the disc precautions.

Disc precautions include:

  • not going into unnecessary flexion, and sometimes extension.
  • Avoid overusing the buttocks and the piriformis muscles. Avoid putting the nerve on stretch.
  • Avoid too much flexion [forward bending] in the lumbar spine which could irritate the nerve if there is a disc lesion.
  • Work from a neutral spine, get things to move and relax, and get the core

My advice:

  • Work with a qualified instructor, one on one one if possible
  • Find instructor that knows sciatica and can put you in touch with physiotherapist or chiropractors if needed adjustments
  • Also work on your own

People with sciatica should do exercises at home too.

I have clients who say “I feel great here but terrible when I go back to work”, and I say, do Pilates at work!

4- Home exercises for sciatica

In general, pre-Pilates simple exercises are good to practice:

  • Quadruped with knees / hands support; like Cat stretch
  • Pelvic curl and bridging exercises to mobilize and articulate the spine
  • Sides exercises: clams and glutes
  • Pre-swan
  • Leg circles

5-Exercises to avoid

Exercises that would probably bother a person with sciatica would be exercises:

  • like rolling like a ball
  • intense stretches like spine stretch, spine twist, and saw

But in my approach I’m much more inclined to do whole body movement and do modifications to perform the movement successfully.

As a teacher, I know how to modify the exercise and make corrections to provide a successful workout experience without pain.

I’ll tell the student it’s their responsibility to let me know when they have discomfort, and my responsibility to modify the exercise so that they have a successful movement experience and results. Pain free is my mojo.

In general, that formula of equal responsibility and knowledge has been the best for dealing with the ones with back pain, sciatica or any kind of injuries.


Conclusion and general tips for people with sciatica
You want to improve awareness of the core, increase mobility of the hips, and become efficient movers, minimizing over recruitment of the body’s musculature.

Jey Geraldine Pilates Shanghai



8 foods To enter Fall with energy

Fall is around the corner, Shanghai has done its back to school and with it it’s craziness of: work, social reunions, parties, birthdays and activities. We love it, but it’s gonna require you to have a good level of energy.

Now you may know from TCM (Traditional Chinese medicine) and others holistic sciences that food can heal and prevent a lot of things, especially when it comes to energies and the way you feel.

Today let’s have a look at 8 easy recipes and ingredients to get you all pumped up.

  1. Lemon Water


Start your day with this beverage, it’s the best way to clean you inside out. Lemons are loaded with healthy benefits, and particularly, they’re a great vitamin C food source which is partly responsible for energy level.

  1. 2. Bananas


If you feel tired you might lack of magnesium, and in any case it’s always good to do a cure when fall comes. So let’s you full of this mineral.

Bananas take 1 every two days is enough to get the trick. Bananas are rich in potassium, packed with vitamins, and high in flavor. They are nutritious snack at around 100 calories per serving. They’re best consumed mid-morning 10 am, when you feel the fatigue, or before a workout. With all the fiber, bananas will help you feel full and keep cravings at bay last until the next meal.

  1. 3. Nuts

Grab a hand of those every day.

Chock full of heart-healthy fats and other nutrients, those nuts you like to munch on are a superfood that’s super good for you. Which nuts?


Two of my favorites are:

  • Walnuts: provide a significant amount of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linoleic acid, a compound that helps reduce plaque buildup in arteries and fights heart disease. Studies have also linked walnuts with stronger bones.
  • Almonds: Almonds are high in calcium, fiber, magnesium, potassium, copper, protein and vitamin E. They contain more vitamin E than any other nut—just one ounce of almonds holds half your daily vitamin E needs. To top off their health benefits, almonds are also high in antioxidants. These superfood nuts will fill you up fast.

I love to get those two during my day, just before giving a class. You can grab a hand while leaving home for work that’s also a healthy option.

  1. 4. Ginger

My favorite!

Ginger has so many benefits that’s unbelievable how much you can get from this root.

As we talk of energy today let’s look how It goes for ginger: two things.

  • Circulation: it is increasing the circulatory system, allowing the blood inside you to move more freely throughout the body. The sensation this provides is one where you feel the get up and go that you once did in your younger years. It helps you feel like you can be more active.
  • Sugar: Ginger can help keep blood glucose levels in check. This is important because these levels have a direct impact on weight loss and weight gain, as well as how energetic or lethargic you feel throughout the day. If you’ve noticed that you get a midday crash it’s likely due to your blood sugar levels, and adding ginger to your lunch might help you stay focused and on task. An all-natural alternative to products like 5 Hour “Energy”.

I like to pour it into water (ginger water)  or eat it raw sliced on my meals; I also like the Japanese option pickled ones. Just right after your meals.

  1. 5. Spinach


Spinach is extremely high in iron, magnesium and potassium.

Magnesium plays a vital role in producing energy, and paired with potassium enables effective digestion in the stomach and the regulation of nerve and muscle function.Add some fresh spinach to your favourite salad, or serve it wilted with some eggs for breakfast.

If you think you have enough spinach, think again Just keep adding it!

  1. 6. Spirulina

Talking about Iron, this superfood is my “chouchou” (little favorite in French). So as a non-meat eater I might need to double dose my Iron to get the good amount per day that I need. As a woman you also need more to get the same amount of energy than men.

The first sign of iron deficiency is fatigue, and spirulina contains high levels of iron. The iron-rich content of spirulina is not just for those with a deficiency. Spirulina can help to increase athletic performance; as adequate iron intake maximizes the use of oxygen throughout the human body.

Get a spoon of spirulina everyday into your yoghurts, meals, soups, or if you can’t stand the taste: get a pill version (only organic). Mix it with some Vitamin C to get the full nutriments of it, and absorb Iron.



Talking about super food these ones are little but so efficient. Chia seeds help with hydration by absorbing 10 times their weight in water. Plus, they have the right ratio of protein, fats, and fiber to give you an energy boost without a crash. BY boosting digestive system, they will get you go to toilets faster and eliminate better, by it: get rid of low energy due to slow digestion.

  1. 8. Tea


By now, it’s no secret that green tea has a slew of health benefits. You can add putting some pep back in your step to the long list. The combination of caffeine and L-theanine give you energy without the jitters. Bonus: Research suggests that green tea boosts brainpower as well, which may come in handy when you’re down to the wire at work.  Take the time to brew the tea yourself because store-bought varieties often have lots of added sugar.

Tips for summer / Fall: I like to do it cold version. For your homemade cold tea: brew your tea in hot water as usual, let it cool down, then put it into the fridge for one night. The next day you have this delicious version of green iced tea.

For a detox version add lemon and ginger ! It’s delicious! I also like caffeine free version with Rooibos and infusions !