Pilates isn’t just for the Core July 31, 2012

Darrell Duane-Wray, Certifited Pilates Teacher

Last Saturday I challenged my Chair Pilates class at YouYoga to get off the chair, and to try a few series of standing movements.   The goal  was to focus on developing some upper body strength, as well as improving posture.  The students practiced 3 individual, standing, upper body movements which have been outlined below.  These movements were done with the aid of a wall to help increase body awareness, along with proper body alignment.  As the student’s body awareness grows,  these exercises can be done without the wall to develop greater strength in the upper body, and core.  The beauty of these movements is they require little to, no equipment…..just your willingness and effort to move, and connect with your own body.
Zip-up  (2 lb weights if desired)
  • Standing up straight (shoulders, hips, knees and toes in alignment) back against the wall,  or if more advanced away from the wall.
  • Arms down at your sides.
  • Inhale and begin by, bending your elbows out to the side as you draw your hands up the mid-line of your torso.  Plams face in-ward, and fingers tips face each other.
  • Exhale and lower the hands and arms slowly, resisting gravity as you go.
  • As you gain body awarness, add 2lb weights to increase intensity.
  • Repeat 8 to 10 reps.
  Bicep Curl (2 lb weights if desired)
  • Standing in the same position as the Zip Up.
  • Arms down at your side, this time palms facing forward.
  • Bend the arms at the elbows, as you inhale lift the palms up towards the shoulders, and exhale as you bring them back down.
  • As you gain body awarness, add 2lb weights to increase intensity.
  • Repeat 8 to 10 reps. 


Wall Push 

  • Standing up straight facing the wall.
  • Extend your arms straight onto the wall from your shoulders, palms sealed to wall.
  • Walking your feet back to add more resistance.
  • Inhale, engage your core.
  • Exhale, bend your arms allowing elbows to go out to sides, and lower your body towards the wall.
  • Inhale, push back up to your starting position.
  • Repeat 8 to 10 reps.

Most students participating in Chair Pilates classes are unable to share in a traditional mat Pilates practice; however, at YouYoga we don’t want that to limit our students growth!  So, there are many ways to adapt a practice to help meet each students individual needs.  These standing arm movements are just a few examples of how we can help improve your upper body strength, while at the same time bringing more stability to your body’s core.  Remember, Pilates begins in the core and moves out to the rest of the body giving you increased awareness, strength and balance.  We look forward to seeing in Chair Pilates soon!


Helping you connect in Mind and Body,

Darrell-Duane Wray, Certified Pilates Teacher



Chair Pilates defined by Darrell Wray May 2, 2012

Pilates Body by Valentin ::: Pilates Studio in Dublin, CA


Chair Pilates helps you to locate your true core by using tactile touch.  Once the true core, or “powerhouse’ is located you begin to understand that all stability, and increased balance starts at the core, and flows out to the rest of the body.   All the way to the finger tips and toes.

When the breath is used in unison with a Chair Pilates practice it helps to give the body strength, allowing you to flow from one movement into the next.  It also helps to detoxify and replenish the body leaving you feeling energized after your practice.

A Chair Pilates practice helps to stretch and strengthen the entire body, one day at a time, one practice at a time.  You’ll also learn that Pilates is never to be forced.  It’s never to leave the body hurting or sore, but to make the body flexible, stable, and strong.


“PowerHouse”……defined in Pilates Terms March 27, 2012

Darrell Duane-Wray, Pilates Instructor

Hello Everyone,

Wow, what a fun time I had doing some ”mini pilates” sessions in the flow and chair yoga classes, as well as meeting and talking with some of you !
Thank you Danelle and Ericka for opening up your classes to share some Pilates in them 🙂
I would like to share a little bit about the ” Powerhouse” what is it? and where is it in the body?
The Pilates exercises start from the abdominals, hips, buttocks and lower back. This band of muscles circles the body just under you belt line.
Think about how you stand and how you sit. Probably, if you are like me, you will sink most of you weight into those areas…… Right?
This can cause stress on the lower back making it sore.
The action of pulling up and in simultaneously will automatically engage your “Powerhouse” or core and help protect you lower back.
When doing Pilates exercises on the mat or on the chair, you will want to constantly be working up and out from the “Powerhouse” area of your body.
I hope this will answer the some questions about the “Powerhouse” and you can start to keep it engaged in all your daily activities.
Don’t forget to breathe as you move!
Thanks to you all,
Darrell-Duane Wray

Pilates Anyone? YOUYOGA has you covered………. on the mat and on the chair March 15, 2012


Darrell-Wray sharing the Pilates Roll-Up with YOUYOGA students.

Special thanks to Darrell Wray for sharing your Pilates on the mat and on the chair with YOUYOGA’s students last week……everyone enjoyed YOU and your approach to building a strong “powerhouse”.  So….. Darrell will be joining us again next month on Thursday, April 12 @ 9:30-10:45 am for a mat class.   And Saturday, April 21 @ 9:30-10:30 am for a chair class……Can’t wait to work that core again!!

Pilates with Darrell Duane-Wray: On the Mat, and On the Chair March 3, 2012

Darrell demonstrating Pilates 100 Exercise.

Hi Everyone,

First, I am honored that Ericka has asked me to be a guest blogger and a Pilates Instructor for YOUYOGA in Overland Park, Kansas! Thank you Ericka 🙂
I would like to share a little about Pilates and some of the benefits of adding it to your Yoga practice.
Pilates is a body conditioning set of exercises that starts in the core (trunk) of the body and works outwards all the way to the finger tips and toes.
It strengthens and tones muscles, improves posture, provides balance and flexibility and joins the mind, body and spirit into a more streamlined shape.
It was designed to be done on a mat just like Yoga, and also can be done from a chair.  As you become more in tune to your core muscles, you will begin to take the Pilates movements into all your daily activities, hopefully as you do with your Yoga practice.
I will be sharing some “Mini Pilates” sessions during some of the Yoga and Chair Yoga classes this week, and I will be around after class to answer any questions.  So wherever you are in your Yoga practice, beginner, intermediate, advanced, either on the mat or chair, I believe Pilates will add to, and go hand in hand with your Yoga practice. 

Join me for a “Mini Pilates” session during the last 10-15 minutes of the following classes:

  • Monday, March 5 @ 6:15 – 8:30 pm YOU in  flow
  • Thursday, March 8 @  9:30 – 10:45 am YOU in flow
  • Thursday, March 8 @ 11:00 – 12:00 pm Chair Yoga
  • Saturday, March 10 @  9:30 – 10:30 am Chair Yoga

I would like to end this post with a quote from Joseph Pilates the creator of the Pilates Method of Contrology:

”Physical fitness can neither be achieved by wishful thinking nor outright purchase.”

Thank You and Namaste,
Darrell-Duane Wray


Introducing YOUYOGA Guest Blogger: Darrell Duane-Wray February 23, 2012

Darrell Duane-Wray, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, Group Exercise/Pilates Instructor

Darrell’s interest in working in the fitness industry started in 2006.  A car accident in 2001 caused a crushed pelvis, collapsed lungs and a broken leg and ankles, among several other injuries.  An orthopedic doctor told him he would never walk unassisted again, but after five years on crutches, a walker and a cane, and seven hip surgeries including two total hip replacements, he is walking, and more!

With the use of many different rehabilitation therapies, Darrell found Pilates to be one of the most helpful to strengthen his body.  Learning to walk again, created a passion to help people, as he was helped.

As a N.E.T.A. Certified Group Exercise Instructor he started teaching Pilates and Cycle, and then Boot Camp, Body Shaper, Bar Bell Strength, Joints in Motion and most recently, in March of 2011, became a Water Arts Aerobics instructor.  He always includes cues for beginners, intermediate and advanced clients with modifications to each step when appropriate.

Upon teaching this wide variety of group exercise classes he saw many people with arthritis or who had orthopedic surgeries or had been injured.  Many of these people were struggling to regain their health.  This led him to become an A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer in June of 2010.

After performing a fitness and health history assessment, he designs personalized strategies and introduces his clients to workouts which are designed to reshape mind, body and spirit.  One of Darrell’s strengths is to make sure all his clients use appropriate form.  As he says, “It is not about how many repetitions you do, but how well you do them.”  He is very knowledgeable with all gym equipment and has the ability to monitor and instruct clients regarding safe and effective use of cardiovascular, flexibility and strength training equipment. Darrell gives clear and concise explanations for his recommendations.  He has a calm and relaxing communication style which his clients enjoy.  His teaching technique is motivational and goal oriented.

Darrell is passionate about helping people improve their health, increase their stamina and regain their physical, mental and spiritual well-being.