Keeping the Fire Lit – with regular Pilates

According to legend, Pele lives in Halemaʻumaʻu of Kīlauea in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.  

This story of Pele and Lonomakua relates well to our current times. We must be excited to learn about and be passionate about the space we live in may that ‘space’ be the land you live on, the body you live in or the home you keep and the area where you work. Having a healthy land, self and home are so important these days. We no longer can take for granite having a healthy space to live, work and play. The new now takes pono, a Hawaiian word for righteousness.

There are many stories told in Hawaiian culture. The story teller’s role was to pass down information about important events, some in the form of a myth. The stories are told in various ways, with a chant or mele, with use of elements like fire, wood or water, with dance or hula and with images. The story of Lonomaku and Pele I heard recently from Dr. Povalani Kanahele. She explained how when Pele came of age, her uncle Lonomaku, shared with Pele, his wisdom and knowledge of the space where we live. He shared is knowledge of the space over our head – the sun, stars, moon, clouds, wind and rains. He told her about the island earth we live upon, the ocean water, the fresh waters, all the mountains and valleys, the kinds of soil, everything that was born on island earth, all the animals that were born on this land and in the ocean, and the cycles of weather and seasons. Once Lonomakua passed on all his wisdom about the space we live in, he showed Pele how to make fire with the Anuaki. It was then her kuleana to keep the fire burning and be the governess of fire.

Unlocking the wisdom in this myth reveals that we all must understand the space we live in and live in it with passion. The space we live in impacts you and you impact the space. We become part of this land and we must keep the fire lit in us to have passion about where we live and for what we do.

Our homes are becoming a hub for everything including our fitness. I started the Pilates Equipment Shop in November 2019 just before the pandemic. I had no idea that local gyms and fitness studios would go through such hard times. It has made me consider priorities and what are the truly essential parts of my ‘space’.

With lockdowns, the lack of usual services, trails and beaches being closed, it has made me look seriously at how to stay fit while staying in my home. My partner and I enjoy playing tennis, hiking trails, going surfing and the occasional golf game – when we can. Since the pandemic started I’ve been teaching 2 Pilates mat classes, 2 days per week, virtually, to a regular group of clients. I love the way I feel after a Pilates mat workout. It truly is all you need to hit every muscle, a full body workout. We now have a dedicated mat and reformer Pilates area as a permanent part of our living space. Working out at home can be as simple as having room to lay out a mat to an outdoor workout area or building. Below are a few home fitness room ideas to stir your inner flame.

Sure I miss all the out door activities, however, I find there is no better total fitness program than a good Pilates mat or reformer workout. Yes I said it again and I don’t just say Pilates is ‘the best’ because I am a Pilates instructor. No, I am a Pilates doer as well. I do it because it is the most efficient workout I have ever experienced. Meaning, in just a short 50-60 minute workout I can work every muscle group with my core, pretty well to exhaustion, if I want that much of a workout. Exercises can be modified to any fitness level. Plus it is a pain free workout with no undue stress on the joints. This is the most important factor in having passion for what I do. I love how Pilates makes me feel. I feel better in my body, I move better with Pilates. It makes everything else I do feel better too, may that be going for a hike, a swim, a surf or tennis game.

Even more importantly in today’s environment are the mind-body effects that result from practicing Pilates. These include improved connection with ones breath, improved immunity, decrease in stress and tension and an increase in the sense of being calm, centered and balanced. Thus, why I believe in these times, it is even more important to bring Pilates to our communities and to our homes. To learn more about how to bring Pilates and exercise rooms or ‘spaces’ into your home see my design blog here.

Since I have been teaching and doing Mat Pilates online twice a week since April, it has renewed my love of the Pilates mat routine. It truly should be in everyone’s data bank just like essential yoga exercises. There is no excuse to miss your Pilates matwork. All one needs is to get on a mat with a DVD or online class. So simple and easy to add to your routine and you will definitely feel the results. Join the broadcast from my home studio in Honolulu every Tuesday and Thursday mornings for Restorative and Essential mat Pilates classes. Click here to register, select the classes or packages tab.

In June my Pilates Reformer arrived from the mainland. Now, I know I said just above how I love mat Pilates and it was all I needed. Well I have a strongly lit fire for Reformer Pilates. What’s so great about the reformer? Well it is called a reformer and it does help restore your entire body – seriously. If you haven’t tried a reformer workout please give it a try at your local studio or contact me for a private sessions here in Honolulu. You can also schedule a class or a private session under services with this link:

It can be argued that the Pilates reformer is the most effective therapeutic method of exercise for efficient change in body shape, strength and flexibility.

The At Home SPX elevated reformer

What I think is so powerful about the reformer workout is the fact that you develop a greater understanding of how you are living in your body – in your space. The basic reformer exercises where you are lying on the carriage, easily enable you to position yourself in neutral of the lumbar spine, pelvis, rib cage, shoulders blades and cervical spine. As an instructor I often help clients understand how the shoulder blades move and how to know if your low back and neck are in neutral. Then the reformer exercises challenge your ability to hold this neutral position – mainly with your core.

Reformer Basics: Foot work, hands in the loops & Feet in the Loops

The reformer is often looked upon as a very challenging, strengthening athletic workout. However, the more I work with various types of people, the more I like the reformer for gentle, therapeutic exercises that help older clients, those with joint issues, those recovering from injury or illness attain greater range of motion and overall strength. Springs can be adjusted and exercises can be modified to your fitness level. I find those clients with knee issues love the footwork and feet in the loops as these exercises help restore normal movement patterns at the knee, ankle and hip. Again these are done while lying on your back, holding neutral of the spine and pelvis, working with spring resistance set to your fitness level.

The spring resistance and working in a supine or prone position allows gradual, progressive joint loading. To read more about how to keep your joints healthy and why Pilates is such an effective form of exercise for easing joint pain and stiffness click here. We all know that we need weight bearing exercise to develop bone density and keep our muscles strong. Yet with mobility and/or balance issues from aging or injury traditional weight bearing exercises become difficult. The reformer will become your best friend.

Seniors Pilates I highly recommend reformer and/or stability chair workouts for seniors. Did you know over the next 30 years 1 in 5 people will be over 65. Our baby boomers are entering retirement and it’s my kuleana to get those seniors who have never tried Pilates to do Pilates! I want you to stay excited about learning and listening to your body and stay fired up about the space you live in. Pilates can teach you a lot if you are willing to listen.

Pilates is ideal for seniors.

Pilates is safe and the equipment makes it easy to move from one exercise to the next. You do not have to rely on your trainer to help transfer you from exercise to exercise. The beginning exercises are done lying on your back, some lying on your front, some are done seated. Single leg exercises can easily be done without fear of falling. Exercises then advance from lying to sitting, to standing with support, then to standing without support. The National Academy of Exercise Sciences recommends that Senior fitness include seated exercises and progress to standing with support to free standing exercises. With Pilates, joint forces are progressively added to the joints, with positioning and spring selection, so that one can gradually restore normal movement patterns, range of motion and strength. We learn to move well, we place our body ‘parts’ in better positions. Eventually imbalances and instabilities can resolve with consistency and mindfulness. All this leads to neuro-muscular re-patterning. A big word for better balance, posture and stability.

If you are an older person I encourage you to visit your local Pilates studio or schedule private reformer and stability chair sessions with me , select the equipment combo pack. Or join our silver & fit Pilates classes soon to be offered, sponsored by the Active & Fit HMSA and Kaiser wellness programs.

International Marketplace Waikiki Pilates classes on the third floor open-air lanai starting in October, 2020.

6 Week Beach Pilates Challenge: Take the Pilates challenge and see why everyone loves this method of exercise. Participate in our 6 week Pilates mat challenge at the International Market Place. Enjoy the Hawaiian beach- like, outdoor conditions, with ocean breeze on a shaded, open-air lanai. Take two beach or mat classes per week for 6 weeks with a wellness survey. Register here for the Beach Pilates Challenge.

Written by: Samantha Reed-Omick B.P.H.E.
Comprehensive Pilates Instructor
Owner Pilates Equipment Shop – Therapeutic Pilates & Recreation LLC

Original Article from Pilateon Blog on

Published by PilateOn

Pilates instruction: . therapeutic to athletic Pilates & yoga conditioning . improve spinal mobility, alignment & muscle balancing . for every body, athletes, trades persons, seniors, youth and more . . .

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