laugh-croppedWelcome!  I’m Christine Binnendyk, a Pilates trainer and movement geek based in Portland, Oregon.

WHAT I DO

I help people improve the way they move, so that they can enjoy life.

Primarily, I do this using Pilates training, but over the last 20+ years of working with bodies, I’ve accumulated many additional tools and techniques that I use with my clients.

I teach both Private Sessions and Group Classes.  If you have a “situation” – a diagnosed issue or anything that slows you down please schedule a private session so that I can assess your body – I can help you so much more if we both understand what’s going on. Many of my clients take group classes AND do private sessions.

List of conditions that I’m trained to work with:

Achilles Tendonitis Low back pain
Ankle pain Low Bone Density
Arch Pain / Arch Strain Lumbar disk disease
Arthritis Lymph edema
Balance Issues Mid-back pain
Breast Cancer Multiple Sclerosis
Bulging Discs Neck pain
Bunions Nerve Impingments
Cancers of all types Neurological Conditions
Carpal tunnel syndrome Neuro-muscular disease
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Neuropathy
Compressed Discs Osteo-arthritis
Compression fracture Osteopenia
Degenerative disk disease Osteoporosis
Diastasis Recti Parkinson’s Disease
Disc Compression Plantar Fasciitis
Elbow pain Post- Stroke
Epicondylitis Post-natal
Fibromyalgia Pre & Post rehab: hip replacement
Foot pain Pre & Post rehab: knee replacement
Frozen Shoulder Pre & Post rehab: shoulder replacement
Gait issues Pre-natal
Golfer’s Elbow Rheumatoid Arthritis
Hand pain Sciatica
Herniated Discs Scoliosis
Hip Pain Shin Splints
Hip replacement Shoulder pain
Jaw pain Shoulder replacement
Joint Hypermobility Spinal stenosis
Knee Pain Spondylolisthesis
Knee replacement Tennis Elbow
Kyphosis Upper back pain

A LITTLE HISTORY

Modern day Pilates was invented by a real person, Joseph Pilates, in the early 1900’s.  There are lots of legends abut Joe; some are true and some are not.  Did he invent the mat exercises? Probably not – people around the world were doing Turner Exercises devised during the Physical Culture era well before Joe’s time, and many of those made their way into the Pilates lexicon.  (If you’ve clicked that link: skip down to the section “Athletic clubs and sports” and read on from there.)

ymca

Physical Culture in the late 1800s: all the cool kids were doing it at the YMCA.

He DID invent most of the Pilates exercise machines that we see in modern Pilates studios: the Universal Reformer, the Trapeze Table, the Wunda Chair and many more.

joe-bednasium

Joe’s “Bednasium” is very similar to his Trapeze table, aka “The Cadillac”

joe-inventions

Joe constantly tweaked his inventions and sought out different markets for them

joe-reformer

The Universal Reformer is the most well known of Joe’s inventions. Think Pilates isn’t athletic — try doing a pistol squat on a moving platform, like Joe is doing here!

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One the first pieces of Pilates equipment I acquired as a student: the Spine Corrector!

Your first piece of Pilates trivia:  Joe didn’t call his method “Pilates.” That would be like me saying, “let’s do Binnendyk.” You’d think that was weird, right?  Joe called his method Contrology, the art of Control.  When you become a Pilates geek like, you become a Contrologist.

HOW IS PILATES DIFFERENT THAN OTHER TYPES OF EXERCISE?

Each Pilates exercise incorporates your entire body. When one thing moves, everything else stays still. To the naked eye, the exercises may look easy, but keeping your torso still while your legs are moving is not easy. It takes control.  We never isolate; we always work the entire system. Every exercise uses your core and more.

Most other exercise forms focus on concentric contraction — the shortening of muscles while they work.  Pilates focuses on eccentric contraction, which asks a muscle to work while in a lengthened position. You guessed it: those lengthened muscles look flatter while still being wicked strong.

The machines you’ll use in Pilates support and assist you – they can make exercises easier or harder.  They’ll also help you notice where your body has become imbalanced or asymmetrical. Once you notice the imbalances, we can fix them.  We focus on body alignment that you’ll use in your everyday life. And we focus on getting you feeling balanced, energetic and eager to get into the game of life.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PRIVATE TRAINING AND GROUP CLASSES

Private training focuses on your body’s specific needs; you can book one-on-one sessions with me, or two-on-one sessions. People always progress more quickly in private training because all of the exercises are selected specifically for you and your needs.

Group training offers camaraderie in a small group of up to 8 participants.  My Group classes are offered on semester basis –you are committing to a 10-week series that progresses over the course of the semester. Group classes cover exercises selected for benefit of everyone in the group.

WHO I WORK WITH

Privately, I work with a wide range of people from professional and elite level athletes to performers to folks rehabbing from illness or injury.  From a sport perspective, I have experience working with: football, baseball, soccer and hockey players; marathon and ultra-runners, triathletes, skeleton racers, fencers, mountain climbers and equestrians.

Got a condition and you’d like to work with someone who’s seen it before?  See my list under WHAT I DO. I’ve spent much time and travel getting training and experience working with many conditions. Occasionally, someone walks in with something I haven’t seen before. I’ll give you my honest opinion on whether I’m a good fit for you.  If I’m not, I’ll likely be able to point to someone who’d be a better fit.

In Group Classes, you’ll work out amongst a diverse crowd of Portland-based professionals: authors, doctors, professors, artists, and more.

HOW IS PILATES COMPLEMENTARY TO PHYSICAL THERAPY, CHIROPRACTIC, MASSAGE AND OSTEOPATHIC WORK?

Physical Therapy treats disease, injury or deformity using physical methods rather than drugs or surgery. Most PT’s accept insurance, which may require them to focus on a specific issue, rather than your whole body.

Chiropractic treatment uses manual alignment of joints, especially those in the spinal column, to address disorders by affecting the nerves, muscles, and organs. Your chiropractor may recommend specific exercises to help you “hold” your adjustments, but they don’t typically put you through a workout.

Massage involves manipulating soft tissues of the body to relieve tension or pain. Your LMT (licensed massage therapist) may recommend specific stretches or strengthening exercises, but they don’t typically spend a lot of time working through either of these with you.

Osteopathy is a form of manual medicine that treats and strengthens the musculoskeletal framework, including joints, muscles and the spine, to re-set your nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems. Your Osteopath can recommend exercises, stretches and other techniques to help your body stay in balance; they don’t often spend much of your session doing this.

Pilates is smart exercise that focuses on bringing all of your bones and muscles into balance – the front and back body work equally, the right and left body work equally, the lower and upper body work equally. That balance takes away the tension that most people feel when some muscles are working too hard, and some aren’t working at all.  This balanced approach complements other modalities like PT, Chiro, Massage and Osteopathy. Pilates doesn’t beat you up, it gives you the strength, flexibility and mobility to take on your life. The balance that Pilates creates can make all of the other modalities work even better.  Psst:  if you’re attending group classes, you’ll find practitioners of these modalities in class with you!

MY BACKGROUND

I’m Classically trained by Pilates elder Romana Kryzanowska. She is credited as being the person who studied and worked directly with Joe for the longest period of time. I’m told that when he passed away in 1967, his wife asked Romana to carry on his legacy.  I learned from her how to teach the way that Joe taught, which was a fabulous place to start helping people with their bodies.

joe-and-romana-caddy

Romana, about age 19, working with Joe on a Tower unit. We have these in the Effortless Movement studio!

After a 3-year apprenticeship in the 1990’s under Romana Kryzanowska in Evanston IL, I traveled, studied more and eventually moved to the west coast.  My Classical continuing education included stints with other Pilates elders — Ron Fletcher, Kathy Grant, Jay Grimes and Mary Bowen.

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Romana demonstrating “Bicycle” — she’s in her late 70’s in this photo

My Contemporary continuing education has focused on working with physical therapists who use Pilates to address all types of physical issues. We’ve learned things about the human body since Joe passed in 1967; I think it’s important to keep abreast of new findings.  “Contemporary Pilates” often follows a different structure than “Classical Pilates” — I feel fortunate that I’ve been trained in both styles and have the ability to choose what I think will work best for my clients.

2016 marks my 21st year of teaching Pilates. My dear teacher, Romana, passed away just a few years ago at age 80. I hope to enjoy traveling and teaching for as many years as she did.  Yep, she traveled, wore heels and drank champagne until pretty close to the end. Pilates was a key to her longevity;  I’m hoping to enjoy the same and to pass it on to you too!