Tag Archives: meditation

Chris Hunt Blog is moving!

So, after having so much fun with my blog over the past few months, the limitations of having it on the free WordPress hosting have become just too unbearable. So today my blog will be moved to the new domain address of www.chrishuntblog.com.

This move should be seamless, and the new domain hosting should be up and running by this evening, but if there are any problems then please let me know because I do not want to lose any of my valued subscribers or readers.

So here’s to a brave new world. Well, it’s not so new. And it isn’t really brave either.

Chris is an international Pilates presenter and educator based in Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He also organises Pilates Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. For more information about Pilates with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway?

 

Chinese Medicine on the NHS? Whatever next! Pilates?

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Chinese medicine could be available on the NHS if there is enough evidence to prove that it would benefit patients, UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has suggested. Let me repeat that. Chinese medicine could be available on the NHS. It’s not April 1st and I am not still suffering from an overdose of wine and cake after my birthday this week.

So, the NHS, that bastion of all that is traditionally British and not what you would ever describe as being particularly cutting edge when it comes to new therapies or treatments is considering integrating traditional Chinese medicines with Western medical techniques. Jeremy Hunt said his frequent travels to China (his wife’s home country) had taught him that it is important to “follow the scientific evidence” concerning Chinese medicine. He said that taxpayers’ money should never be spent on the traditional techniques if there was not “good evidence” that they would be beneficial.

He made the comments in the Commons on Tuesday in answer to a question from the Conservative MP David Tredinnick.“In your travels to the People’s Republic of China, what have you learnt about the integration of Western medicines with traditional Chinese medicine?” Mr Tredinnick asked. The Health Secretary replied: “What I’ve learnt is that the most important thing is to follow the scientific evidence and where there is good evidence for the impact of Chinese medicine then we should look at that but where there isn’t we shouldn’t spend NHS money on it.”

This is truly music to my ears, but why? As a Pilates teacher why do I care so much? The reason is that Chinese medicine can involve methods such as herbal remedies, acupuncture and massage therapy. The very fact that it is being discussed at the echelons of UK Government shows a huge shift in the way the Western world is thinking about health and healthcare. You could say that thinking is coming full circle.

I am Buddhist and I have studied Buddhism and spirituality. I am also qualified in Thai Massage. If you read my blog regularly you will know that I have a profound belief in the link between the mind and the body. You will also know that that I think tradition and science both have a vital role in our thinking. We all know that Pilates is holistic, mind and body. I have long believed that the mind connection is understated. This is why that in my system Pilates EVO I integrated NLP, meditation and most importantly for this article meridian exercises and stretches.

So what are meridians?
Meridians (also known as collaterals) circulate in each of us, and can be thought of as paths in which energy flows.  The central idea in Eastern medicine is the assumption that all physical problems are due to an inhibition of the energy flow and that the revival of this circulation can contribute to improving health and well-being. Meridian exercises can also be used as preparation for meditation. In a traditional sense Meridians are functionaries without substantial structure as most people cannot feel or see them. The discovery of the meridians was made possible only by a very sensitive perception of Chinese people and their close relationship with the nature. The twelve meridians in the YIN-YANG pairs are responsible for six basic functions. Six of the basic functions with six yang meridians and their associated organs refers to the more superficial layers of the body. The other six basic functions with six yin meridians refer to organs, and so are more inside the body.

It is my opinion that a knowledge and use of such ancient methods as meridian and meditation can perfectly complement modern exercise science and psychological methods such as NLP, which is why Pilates EVO includes all of these.

To see Chinese methods and also meditation (a future blog about this is coming…) potentially moving into the mainstream of Western healthcare is for me a wonderful step in the right direction. A shift away from drugs can only help us all as Pilates and yoga teachers as our holistic methods will increase in their value and acceptance.

If you want to talk more about Pilates EVO, meridians or Pilates then you know where I am 🙂

Chris is an international Pilates presenter and educator. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He also organises Pilates Carnivals, Pilates conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. Read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway? for more.

Vanessa Hudgens: Does Pilates create a flat stomach?

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Pilates brings many benefits, most people know that. In my experience most people come to Pilates because they have an existing issue with their body that they want to rehabilitate from, they want to improve performance and quality of life (especially in a sporting sense), or because they want to change their body shape.

Pilates can achieve all these things. But I think it is always vital that clients understand exactly what Pilates is and exactly how it achieves what it does.

I am often asked the question, “will Pilates give me a flat stomach?” To help answer this question, I will use the example of Vanessa Hudgens, as she is a Pilates fan and is regularly complemented for her great figure. She was pictured this week leaving a Pilates studio in LA.

First of all, if you are not familiar with Vanessa, she is a 25-year-old American actress and singer. She rose to prominence playing Gabriella Montez in the High School Musical series and has also appeared in various films and television series for the Disney Channel.

So, back to the question, will Pilates give you a flat stomach? The simple answer is it will help for sure if it is done properly, as the abdominal muscles are trained as part of the holistic exercise system. But, and it is a big but, exercise alone is not enough. I like the saying that flat abs (or even a six-pack) is creates 20% in the gym and 80% in the kitchen. It’s an obvious fact that we all have a six-pack, of course some are genetically blessed with a head-start, but we all have one! The problem is some people’s six-packs are a little shy, they like to hide behind a layer of fat! This is why diet is vital.

I think it is important not to simply equate a stronger core with a flatter stomach. For most people, flatter abs means weight loss as well as exercise. I do not think that Pilates teachers should advertise Pilates simply to get flat abs, as this demeans the whole system. It makes me very angry when I see headlines like “5 Pilates exercises to get a six-pack”. What we should be saying is that Pilates is a holistic system that will make your body stronger, more flexible and healthier. A nice side-effect of this is often a slimmer more toned body and in turn a flatter stomach, something that is also helped by the improvement in posture that Pilates will bring. If most people simply learn and are able to stand up straight in a neutral position, then hey presto their stomach will often flatten.

Also, Pilates is about how to use your body and body awareness. This is what I really stress through NLP and mindfulness when I am teaching my system, Pilates EVO. Pilates can give you swagger!

Something that many gym goers are unaware of is that the abs should also be flexible. It’s a dangerous myth that to be strong and look good muscles should be tight. Nonsense. Every muscle needs flexibility. If we have no flexibility and balance in our bodies then eventually our bodies will break-down, often not in the area of the inflexibility.

As always, if you want more advice on anything Pilates, or about how exercise and diet can help change your figure, then please drop me a line via my website, Facebook or the form below.

 

Pilates EVO: The Past is Dead

The Past is Dead

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Since its birth around 100 years ago, the Pilates method has been modified and arguably made more effective by some distinguished presenters, but diluted and the basic principles largely ignored by less scrupulous teachers.

Pilates EVO© (EVO is an abbreviation of evolution) is like no other Pilates class you have ever been to. Developed by Chris Hunt Pilates in London, it takes Pilates in a new and exciting direction incorporating more functional training methods and movement patterns, whilst staying true to traditional Pilates principles.

Pilates EVO© expands the mind and body element of Pilates by incorporating Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Mindfulness Meditation techniques to maximise the psychological and physical benefits, improving concentration and making clients emotionally, mentally and spiritually fitter. It improves motor fitness such as agility, balance, speed, co-ordination, reaction time and power. Pilates EVO© also draws on the thousands of years of teachings from Kundalini yoga and meridian stretches to enhance the overall experience.

It has more flow and movement with sequences of moves made up from the sacred numbers 3, 7 and 21, and it uses unique, uplifting soundtracks mixed in London by DJ Shameless to enable clients to really connect with how their body is moving and working, giving a far deeper and rewarding experience. Most moves have different levels progressing muscular fitness using repetitions, range of motion, rate and resistance. This creates a system that will remain challenging to a wide range of training goals from elite athletes, people seeking everyday fitness, to clients rehabilitating following accident or injury.

This system increases muscular strength and endurance as well as flexibility, and helps prevent injury and improve performance with movements that are applicable to life and sport.

Pilates EVO© is more than an exercise system, it is a way of life. A way to maximise your potential physically, mentally and emotionally.

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Depression Part 2: Positive thinking

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Yesterday I published Part One of my blog about depression. As promised, here is Part Two.

I said yesterday that I am a fitness professional, I do not pretend or try to be an expert in everything I write. But I do mean everything I write.

I want today to talk about staying positive. We live in troubled times. How can we stay positive and deal with negative thoughts? Here are some ideas that you can try.

1) The first thing to realize is that negative feelings and emotions can’t be stopped, they arrive without invitation and that’s natural.  Everyone feels down sometimes as it’s the normal ebb and flow of our physiology.

2) While you can’t control what type of negative emotions show up, you can control your reaction. You have a choice.

3) A negative emotion loves a negative thought, the more negative and dark the better. The two can then conjure up negative images, creating an unholy trinity. This barrage of negativity can trigger hopelessness.

4) We start to believe our circumstances can’t change, that we will never find happiness, and everything looks bleak. Hopeless individuals can’t see the opportunities, only the failure and disappointments of yesterday. A vicious circle begins, with negative emotions causing negative actions, which cause more negative emotions. We start to act and talk negatively.

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So, how do we stop it? At Number 2. A negative emotion is normal and can be connected to an event such as a relationship breakdown or loss of a job. You can’t and shouldn’t run from it. But, you should take charge of your thoughts and prevent yourself from thinking and seeing negative images.

First acknowledge if something negative happened. You can’t delude yourself. If you lost your job you’ll feel terrible, but if you begin to think that you are a loser and see yourself as becoming homeless, you are going way too far. The emotions can’t be stopped, but this is how you stop and take charge of a negative thought before it goes further:

1. Stop or interrupt the negative thought (it’s your mind, you can change it) even if you have to say “Stop” out loud. You might get some strange glances but who cares?!

2. Challenge the thought. Ask yourself, “is this really true, is it realistic to think like this?” Most of the time you will realise what you are    thinking is not the truth or not realistic.

3. Change the thought by choosing a more realistic one. If you lose your job and think, “Oh no, my life is over,” change it to “This is a big setback for my life” or “I’m faced with a significant challenge.” If you feel rejected after a breakup, don’t think “my life is over; I will never find someone again.” Stop it, challenge it, and change it to “I’ve had a loss and it hurts, but I will get through this.”

4. Change the image connected with the negative thought. We think in images; for every thought we create images. If you fall prey to hopeless and despondent thoughts you will begin to see yourself in that position. Instead, choose another image of hope, the most   powerful of all emotions. Everything that’s   accomplished is based on hope. Give yourself hope, then you have the ability to accomplish any goal as long as you follow through.

5. Choose your behaviour, and act positively and proactively. Instead of isolating or mixing with other hopeless people, decide upon at least three positive and proactive things you can do every day, and then do them.

6. Be thankful for all the good things you have in your life. Stop worrying about things you don’t have. Write down things you have to be thankful for. You may be surprised. The key is to stop the vicious cycle of hopelessness    before it becomes a pattern and forms a stronghold in your life. You have the power to stop and change your mind. That is the wonderful thing about your mind.

Now, think about this. The only moment in which we can truly be happy is the present moment. The only moment that we have control of is the present moment. So let go of negative thoughts, and be happy now!

Because if not now, then when?

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Let’s talk about depression… Part 1: Is it real?

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One of my aims for this bog is not to write all pretty and happy articles, but to try to talk about real issues however uncomfortable or taboo they are. I am a fitness professional, so I am not an expert on all the topics I talk about, but what I say comes from my heart.

So, the “season to be jolly” is fading fast. But the sad fact is that this time of year is also a desperate time for many people. I wrote recently about dementia (see my blog “I lost my father, don’t lose yours”) and how it is still for many people a taboo subject, whilst for many other it is totally misunderstood. The same could be said about depression, so let’s try to blow the lid on that as well.

It’s been reported recently that as many as three quarters of a million young people in the UK may feel that they have nothing to live for. A study for the Prince’s Trust charity says almost a third of long-term unemployed young people have contemplated taking their own lives.

The Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index was based on interviews with 2,161 16 to 25-year-olds. The report found 9% of all respondents agreed with the statement: “I have nothing to live for” and said if 9% of all youngsters felt the same, it would equate to some 751,230 young people feeling they had nothing to live for. The research found that long-term unemployed young people were more than twice as likely as their peers to have been prescribed anti-depressants.  One in three (32%) had contemplated suicide, while one in four (24%) had self-harmed. The report found 40% of jobless young people had faced symptoms of mental illness, including suicidal thoughts, feelings of self-loathing and panic attacks, as a direct result of unemployment. Three quarters of long-term unemployed young people (72%) did not have someone to confide in, the study found.

I talked from personal experience about dementia having lost my father to the disease. I can also talk from some personal experience of depression, as I have several family members and friends who have in the past suffered from this debilitating illness.

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First and most important, no one should be ashamed or embarrassed to be talking about depression. If you think worse of anyone who has or is suffering from depression, then with respect this really is your problem, and you should definitely read on! If you still think that depression is just an excuse to stay in bed and be lazy, a pathetic reason to feel sorry for yourself and wallow in self-pity, and that people who say they have depression should “man-up”, pull themselves together and stop feeling sorry for themselves, then again, please read this blog. It might make you begin to realise that you are totally wrong. In fact hopelessly wrong.

I do have sympathy for people who do not understand depression because it is difficult to empathise with something you have never suffered from. I mean, how can it be a real illness when you cannot see it? So let’s get one thing clear from the start. It is an illness. A real, bonafide illness that can be clinically proven. At its worst, it is as totally debilitating as any physical illness, making what most people consider a “normal” life impossible.

The worst thing you can say to someone suffering from depression is to “pull themselves together”, “stop being so pathetic”, “stand up for yourself”, “snap out of it”, and many other nuggets of similar ignorance that I have heard in the past. Why is this such a bad approach? It’s simple if you stop to think. Most people who are depressed already feel useless and hopeless. For you to point out and confirm that fact to them only reinforces their negative self-belief. It makes them feel even more inadequate because they know they are incapable of doing any of those things for them self however much they want to.

The roots of depression are varied, and it’s not my intention here to go into details as to causes. What I want to do is get people talking and thinking. And to stress that people suffering from depression need your support, not your judgement or criticism. It’s not easy not to judge, not to have a holier than thou attitude. In fact I think it’s the mark of a real man who does not judge, who can offer a hand of support and understanding.

As a fitness professional, I cannot stress enough the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise to help deal with many mental and physical issues. As my dementia article pointed out, there is a proven link that what’s good for your body is also good for your brain. By exercising regularly and eating healthily, many people can really improve their physical and mental condition. But this is not always the only answer, sometimes people need professional help.

My experience of depression was one of the reasons that led me to discover meditation, and I thoroughly recommend this to everyone whether you are suffering from depression or not. It doesn’t require hours of sitting in the lotus position either. 20 minutes a day is a good start.  As the saying goes, if you do not have enough time to do 20 minutes meditation, then no problem, do 30 minutes. 🙂

If you know someone who is suffering from depression, don’t judge or offer them advice. They don’t need that and it doesn’t help. They need your understanding and support. Question is, can you give them only that?

In tomorrow’s blog I will give you some ways to deal with negative thoughts, and ways to try to stay positive. So, see you tomorrow.

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Something money cannot buy

Even if you are not in the wellness industry, I hope that you will read this article. I organise conventions two or three times a year called Pilates Carnivals. They are very different to any other convention, in fact as far as I know they are unique in the health and fitness world. It’s not only Pilates, it also includes yoga, meditation, health, fitness, diet and functional training. But what makes them different?

It’s different because it is non-profit. All the profits that are made go to a local children’s charity. Everyone who participates (including me of course) does so free of charge, giving all their time and energy knowing that we are all creating something very special, a very positive energy. The aim is to teach, learn, socialise and break down barriers whilst sharing our passion and our ideas.

Pilates Carnival aims to promote and assist with the training of teachers all over the world. It does this by providing free places to training courses, conventions and workshops and through the conventions. I am creating a global community who are not motivated by money, but simply what to give something back to the fitness community that we love and rely on, whilst also helping charity at the same time. Of course the truth is that the more we give, we more we get back, it’s one of the Laws of the Universe.

My next goal is to arrange Fitness Carnivals based on the same principles, including all forms of exercise. That will be a lot of fun!

My conventions have been very popular, I’ve held them in several countries including the UK, Germany and Poland and this year will be Spain and Australia (I want many more in places all over the globe). But a few people have met my idea with bitterness and animosity. They say I am reducing the value of Pilates. This is of course nonsense, the truth is they are afraid that their commercial interests might be reduced. And some people will never get the fact that by giving, we are creating something money can never buy.

So if you “get it”, you can help. Please get involved. The more we spread the word, the more we can buck the trend of money-making commercialism, bring the Pilates and fitness communities together, improve standards and the more we can raise for very worthy charities. You do not have to be a Pilates teacher. If you have any interests in the area of wellness then you can get involved. You can help by sponsoring the events, donating products that can be sold at events (everything from clothing to drinks, equipment to retreats), donating places on your training courses, presenting at events, offering to work with me to organise an event in your City, giving time in promoting events or web development, and by simply sharing this blog or the Facebook Page.

Please join this community. We can make a difference. Never let anyone tell you that we can’t.

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