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Chandel Stallworth of Curls & Pilates On How Pilates Can Improve Your Health and Wellbeing

Uncategorized Mar 09, 2023

An Interview With Maria Angelova

Do you get out of bed and feel tight and achy? Pilates will teach you how to resolve that by increasing your ability to move your spine. Our spines were meant to bend, extend, and rotate (to an extent), but these days, we’re very locked up in our thoracic spine (the mid-back). Pilates helps to give you movement in your spine that you may not have had in years.

Pilates was invented around 100 years ago, and it is becoming an increasingly popular form of exercise. What exactly is Pilates? How is it different from other modalities like Yoga or Tai Chi? What are the benefits of Pilates? Who can most benefit from it? In this interview series, we are talking to Pilates professionals & practitioners who can talk about how Pilates can improve your health and wellbeing. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Chandel Stallworth.

Chandel is a Pilates Instructor, Personal Trainer, Pregnancy and Postpartum Corrective Exercise Specialist, and owner of Curls & Pilates fitness company. After years of working in an administrative position in healthcare, Chandel found that her body was being wrecked from sitting at a desk for most of the day. She turned to Pilates to help restore her core strength and flexibility and fell in love with the practice. She followed her passion for healing through fitness, and opened her company to assist those in similar situations. She now works with some of the top names on the Fortune 500 list, teaching them how to tune into their bodies and create fitness practices that blend in with their busy lifestyles.

Thank you so much for joining us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

Thank you for having me! My story is a bit different than most Pilates instructors that I meet. Many of them started as dancers, while I worked as Director of a department in the healthcare field. Like many professionals, I sat at my desk for hours upon end, day after day. Even though I found time to workout after work and on weekends, it just wasn’t enough to combat the damage that continuous sitting was doing to my body. My low back and hips were constantly sore and tight, and I knew that I wasn’t as strong as I could be. I decided to supplement my Pilates at home workout videos with studio classes. I found immediate feedback that I wouldn’t have gotten doing home workouts alone. I also fell in love with the Pilates method. I knew that I wasn’t alone in the pain that I had been in, and I decided to change the course of my career and become a Pilates instructor. From there, I started taking strength training seriously, and became a Certified Personal Trainer.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

One thing that keeps me on my toes is that you never know who you’ll meet working in NYC. I was teaching a class one evening on the Upper East side of Manhattan. My class was full (8 people) and included 7 regulars and one woman that I had never met before. She was pretty boisterous, kept cracking jokes through the class, and asked for extra hands-on attention. I love having new clients, so this was not a problem. At the end of class, she thanked me, told me how much she enjoyed the class, and made her way out. After she left, one of my regular clients came up to me, and said, “I can’t believe it was her — I tried not to stare at her through the whole class”. I had no clue what she was going on about, and I asked her who the woman was. Apparently, she was one of the Real Housewives of NYC. I don’t watch that show, so I had no idea.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

I think that one of the most important traits that I can demonstrate to my clients is compassion. The world of fitness is unfortunately fraught with body image issues. Clients often come to me feeling defeated and sometimes ashamed of their weight and/or the way that they view their bodies. I meet every client where they are, and one of my goals is to help them view themselves and their bodies with compassion.

Perseverance is another key trait that I have to embody. Every client comes to me with different strengths and weaknesses. It may take a quite few sessions before they feel as though they’re making any progress, and they often get frustrated with their lack of strength and ability to do various movements. I remind them that building strength takes time, and that perseverance is the key to accomplishing the physical goals that they set for themselves.

Lastly, it’s important that my clients see me as proficient and an expert in my field. I train all of my clients privately, and they’re paying for my knowledge and particular skill set. This means that I’m constantly learning (attending workshops virtually and in-person) and giving myself opportunities to be of even greater service to them.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that might help people?

Great question! I’m currently studying to become a Corrective Exercise Specialist. It’s currently reported that almost 90% of people working with a trainer report temporary or chronic musculoskeletal issues which cause them movement limitations and/or discomfort. This will deepen my knowledge of what causes these issues, and allow me to write programs that will help them be as pain-free as possible.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview about Pilates. To begin, can you tell our readers a bit about why you are an authority on the topic of Pilates?

I am recognized as a Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher (NCPT) by the National Pilates Certification Program (NPCP). I have apprenticed for over 600 hours at one of the best studios in NYC and have been teaching for the past 5 years. I also either teach or practice Pilates (sometimes both) every single day.

Let’s start with a basic definition so that we are all on the same page. What exactly is Pilates?

There are so many definitions of Pilates. First, you should know that it was developed by a man named Joseph Pilates, and at the time, both he and his wife Clara called the practice “Contrology”. It was not termed “Pilates” until after his death. In his book, Return to Life Through Contrology, Joseph Pilates defined Contrology as, “complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit…that develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit”.

How is Pilates different from other movement modalities that you have practiced?

Pilates is a system of exercises where each exercise is built upon the exercises that proceed it. There is an order to the exercises, whether you’re in the studio on a reformer or if you’re at home on your mat. The best part is that you can choose to go in the order that taught as the “classical” style, or you can teach exercises to your clients based on what each client needs. I love the ability to do both!

On a personal level, what are the biggest benefits that you have gained from regular Pilates practice?

Mindfulness and an understanding of my body that I definitely did not have years ago. Of course, I also love that I’m more flexible than I’ve ever been, and that my core is stronger than it was before I had my son. However, the ability to notice the smallest muscle engagements in my body is something that I still marvel over, and something that only comes with regular practice.

Who do you think can most benefit from Pilates?

Everyone…absolutely everyone! No matter their age or fitness level, every single person that I know can benefit from increased core strength, flexibility, and especially increased mindfulness.

Pilates can sometimes be expensive. Can you share with our readers your perspectives on why Pilates is worth its costs?

Pilates can be expensive, but I know quite a few Pilates practitioners who are committed to making Pilates available to anyone who wants to learn. I do believe that it’s worth your time and effort to find a Pilates studio or private trainer who can meet you at a price point that you can afford. It’s an investment into your current health and state of mind that future you will be grateful for.

Based on your research or experience, can you please share your “5 Ways That Pilates Can Improve Your Health and Wellbeing”?

Based on your research or experience, can you please share your “5 Ways That Pilates Can Improve Your Health and Wellbeing”?

Here are my 5 Ways that Pilates Can Improve Your Health:

One — Do you get out of bed and feel tight and achy? Pilates will teach you how to resolve that by increasing your ability to move your spine. Our spines were meant to bend, extend, and rotate (to an extent), but these days, we’re very locked up in our thoracic spine (the mid-back). Pilates helps to give you movement in your spine that you may not have had in years.

Two — Can you sit up straight for 3–5 minutes? Most clients that I meet cannot sit up straight for that long without feeling extremely tired in their back. Forget about me making it more challenging and asking them to sit up straight with their legs extended out in front of them. It would seem an impossible task! Why? Because your core strength determines your ability to hold yourself upright. A strong core is so much more than ripped abs and a six-pack. It’s having a body that supports you throughout each day.

Three — When is the last time that you really tuned in to your body? My clients are crushing it in their professional fields. They’re powerhouses who are so busy with work and their familial obligations, that they sometimes have trouble scheduling time to tend to themselves. When I first meet a client, I often find that they spend so much time “living in their head”, that they are out of touch with what they’re feeling in their body. Pilates forces you to slow down, center yourself, concentrate on your body and what you’re asking it to do for you.

Four — Is your body out of control? Are you really exercising with control, or are you just moving about? One of the main parts of my job is to slow clients down. My clients live fast paced lives, and they will attempt to bring that fast pace to a workout. This has no benefit as far as I’m concerned. Control is one of the Pilates principles, and I agree that you need to move at a certain pace for your muscles to have time under tension, and thus get stronger.

Five — This may sound like a silly question, but, do you know how to breathe? Breath is another Pilates principle, and I’ve never had a client come into our first session knowing how to breathe properly. Almost every single person that I ask this question of cannot breathe properly either. Their inhalation is shallow, and they hold their breath more than they realize. This breathing pattern is dysfunctional and terrible for your body. Pilates can help you finally learn how to breathe.

In my own Pilates practice, I stress the importance of precision in Pilates. Based on your experiences and research, what are your thoughts about why precision is important in Pilates?

Precision over everything. It’s one of the six Pilates principles, and arguably, one of the most important. Anyone can come into a Pilates studio, do the workout, and walk out feeling nothing. The work can be done with a rushed pace, and with little attention to how your body feels during each exercise. If you do that, you’re wasting your time. On the other hand, if you walk into the studio with the intention of being precise with your movements through the session, you’ll be well on your way to becoming stronger and more in tune with your body.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I started my professional career working in nursing homes throughout NY. As soon as I stepped into a nursing home, I saw residents with varying stages of physical debilitation. If I had never thought about it before, I then realized just how blessed I was to have a body that could do pretty much whatever I wanted it to do. I want people to understand just how frail physical health is, and I want them to enjoy being able to move and strengthen their bodies for as long as they can. I tell my clients that we don’t work out solely to achieve an aesthetic, we work out to honor and to preserve our physical strength so that we can age as well as possible.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?

The best way is to visit me at www.curlsandpilates.com where they can sign up for my mailing list and receive weekly exercise videos, blog posts, etc. They can also follow me on IG @curlsandpilates

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

About The Interviewer: Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl. As a disruptor, Maria is on a mission to change the face of the wellness industry by shifting the self-care mindset for consumers and providers alike. As a mind-body coach, Maria’s superpower is alignment which helps clients create a strong body and a calm mind so they can live a life of freedom, happiness and fulfillment. Prior to founding Rebellious Intl, Maria was a Finance Director and a professional with 17+ years of progressive corporate experience in the Telecommunications, Finance, and Insurance industries. Born in Bulgaria, Maria moved to the United States in 1992. She graduated summa cum laude from both Georgia State University (MBA, Finance) and the University of Georgia (BBA, Finance). Maria’s favorite job is being a mom. Maria enjoys learning, coaching, creating authentic connections, working out, Latin dancing, traveling, and spending time with her tribe. To contact Maria, email her at [email protected]. To schedule a free consultation, click here.

Source : https://medium.com/authority-magazine/chandel-stallworth-of-curls-pilates-on-how-pilates-can-improve-your-health-and-wellbeing-52ecdeb0a877


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