Ipswich Pilates Class with Julia – Tips To Take Home
Juliaʼs classes are based on pilates based exercise. However, Julia also brings in some
other movement and rehabilitative exercise therapies which compliment and bring about
improved balance and function in the body. The Franklin method is one of these which is
popular with many Ipswich based clients and can be practiced at home. This article
explores the method in more detail.
Franklin Method – the power of imagery.
The best way to improve function is to start with an image that corresponds to how the body is designed. Imagery, together with physical practice is the fastest way to change how your nervous system and body interact.
The brain remodels itself throughout life and it retains a capacity to change itself based on the way we behave and think. Imagery is a powerful tool to facilitate positive functional change. Mindful awareness is the ﬁrst step in learning to use imagery.
Without mindful awareness imbalances will persist – simply adding weight, endurance or
ﬂexibility will not correct bad movement patterns but only make you more strong, fast or
ﬂexible in your imbalance. Juliaʼs classes are gentle and slow paced and allow you the
opportunity to notice your own body and how it functions. For example where you may be
holding unnecessary tension.
When we have balance and alignment in our every day life, we have a great starting point
for exercise. Then we can build strength, endurance and ﬂexibility into a well organized
Principles of Ball Rolling – using a small soft inﬂatable therapy ball (a little larger
than a tennis ball)
1. Ball exercises allow you to sense areas of your body that are not easily accessible
and become aware of points of restriction and tension. Tension is caused by using more
effort to produce a movement than is necessary to do so. In ball rolling you will discover
these points and use imagery to melt them away from the body.
2. Ball exercises help you discover where you move freely and easily and other areas
that feel more restricted. This awareness forms a baseline to creating more balance in
3. Ball exercises awaken your proprioceptors, the sense organs that convey
information on movement and posture to the brain. This enables your brain to ﬁne tune
the guiding of your body.
4. Ball rolling is a form of self massage. The effect of massage depends on the size and
texture and give of the ball together with your mental focus.
5. Ball rolling is best performed slowly. If you roll too fast you will roll over tension
spots without releasing them or even being aware of their existence.
6. Monitor your breathing – if you encounter a tension spot, resist any tendency to hold
your breath. Add a sigh like sound – like “Ahh” or notion of softening breast bone and ribs
while ball rolling to ensure free breathing and help move tension and pain out of your body.
7. Ball rolling should feel comfortable. It may feel tender as you discover tension
spots but it should be a “good pain”. A pain that emulates the release of tension.
8. Never roll a ball over an acute injury. To release tension you may roll a ball in the
vicinity of an injury but always avoid sharp pains.
9. How long should I roll? It is up to you! It can be safely done for long periods of time
if you move the balls to a variety of positions and avoid acute injuries. The minimum time
depends on your focus. If you are attentive whilst you practice and use imagery – even a
few minutes can have a great effect.
10. After every exercise it is recommended to take a moment to notice any changes in
your body. This will help your brain record the new sensations most often of relaxation,
ﬂexibility and improved posture. This will make it more likely for these desirable feelings to be anchored in your nervous system as new and more efﬁcient postural and movement
Imagery for Ball Rolling
Ball rolling is much more effective if you include imagery. One image can effect many
muscles e.g imagine your shoulder melting like ice cream/butter – this image can help the
nervous system create the changes necessary to release tension in the shoulders.
The other advantage of imagery is that you can help create a scenario resembling how
you would like to feel in your body. For example, if when moving your shoulders the
muscles feel tense, you may try to do the movement in our mind exactly in the way you
would like it to feel without moving at all. This programs the brain to create the necessary
change. If you keep moving with tension, however, the tension gets more ingrained and
will become more and more difﬁcult to remove from your body.
Imagery that works
We also use imagery to visualize anatomical function – e.g visualize joint surfaces of neck
sliding while you move your head. As you raise your arm imagine your shoulder blades
sliding on your ribcage like slippery bars of soap. Imagine the ball rolling separating out the
different muscles and connective tissue; Imagine the movement lubricating the joints –
producing synovial ﬂuid nourishing the cartilage. This will increase the longevity of your
Use your breath to blow the tension away.
Muscles melting around the ball
Be inventive! If none of the images work for you simply ask the tension spot which image
will make it go away. You will be surprised at some ideas your body and mind have to help
you release pain.
Many of Juliaʼs clients purchase a ball (or two) and use them at home for maintaining
optimal function. Many have found quick techniques to prevent habitual problem areas from recurring. As you tune in with your body you are likely to notice early signs of an
exaccerbation, and learn how to manage it yourself.