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o n! Torch ma jor calories on The maT (Buh-Bye, WinTer layer!)

Kick those colds to! th e c u r b


immuniT yB oo sTi nG fo o d s

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S S E R T S y h a pp y a d i l o h E E FR

12 e a sy Ways To sTay sane plus: GenTle pil aTes for When you’re noT 100%

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Head to this holiday season for the best in mindful movement gift ideas!

START YOUR MOTR® Eight exercise tracks. Three levels of resistance. One heck of a workout. MOTR® is a blast to learn and fun to teach. Perfect for group classes, personal training and workouts at home. All in a budget-friendly 43” cylinder that takes up minimal space. Instructor training available. MOTR®, $349

NEW! EXPERIENCE THE OOV™ The Oov activates core stabilizing muscles while gently extending the spine, to stimulate healthy disc lubrication. Durable foam complements the spine’s natural curves. Printed instructions and online app provide exercise options. Three sizes. Oov™, $179

EASY TO LOVE The Allegro® 2 is the most intuitive, adjustable, easy-to-use Reformer on the market. Perfect for professional and home use. And did we mention it’s incredibly beautiful? Allegro® 2 Reformer, from $2995

SUSPEND YOUR DISBELIEF The Bodhi Suspension System® has two independent ropes and four suspension points, all in one system. No other single suspension system offers this. The perfect complement to a Pilates, personal training or rehab program, with strength, flexibility, balance and proprioceptive challenges. Attaches to wall, ceiling or door. Instructor training available. Bodhi Suspension System®, from $275

NEW AND LOOKIN’ GOOD! If you’re going to work out you might as well look good doing it. We now have brand new tees, tanks and socks. Apparel, from $12-$40

NEW! AN OLD FRIEND GETS A NEW LOOK Balanced Body’s redesigned Guillotine Tower comes in two versions: freestanding (yes, freestanding!) or bolted to your floor. (Ceiling mount not required.) Invented by Joseph Pilates, it creates a remarkable environment for developing mobility and strength of the hips and spine. Shown with optional wood base for a freestanding setup. Available January 2016. Guillotine Tower, from $3595


INSPIRING INSTRUCTIONAL TOOLS New DVDs, books and manuals from our community’s most prominent and respected teachers, with workouts for every level of student and outstanding instructional tools for professionals. From $14.95

A Balanced Body gift certificate is the perfect gift! | 1-800-PILATES (745-2837)

Efi Mavrogianni Heraklion, Greece

I am a proud BASI Faculty member, teaching the BASI approach since 2013. Before I discovered BASI Pilates, I suffered from Ankylosing Spondylitis, a disease which affects the spine. Through my BASI Pilates training, I have seen astonishing improvements in my body’s ability to move and function in every aspect of my daily activities. My BASI Life has made me not only a better teacher, but a better person. BASI Pilates has affected all aspects of my life in a positive way. Visit to find the next teacher training program near you.



in each issue








CARDIO PILATES As if the method doesn’t make you sweaty enough, we tapped BASI Pilates– certified Eduard Botha, a former boxing instructor, for a heart-pounding, metabolism-revving mat workout that will have you huffing and puffing those pounds away.

PILATES AT wORk Schedule a meeting with these quickie stretches, created by Balanced Body pro Amy Zasadny, to help relieve tension and boost your energy while you’re deskside.



STRIkE A BALANCE Sometimes a gentle approach is best, says Balanced Body Faculty Member Zayna Gold. her routine, which was inspired by her battle with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, helped her heal both body and mind.

See the faces behind the stories and the pictures.






MEET ThE STRETCh-EZE whether you’re beginner or advanced, you’ll get more out of the repertoire—think: your next aha moment!— with the Stretch-eze band. Creator kimberly Dye shows you how.

we want to support YOU!


You love us, you’re mad at us. well, at least you write.

when to replace your props; wonder woman does Pilates; Spotlight Special—the hottest happenings of summer ’15

ON THE COVER Eduard Botha is wearing his own clothes. Photography by Rod Foster at the BASI Pilates Studio. Band by BASI Pilates.














Q&A The Crossfit–Pilates connection; Pros and cons of consecutive classes; Egg labels—cracked!; Staying lean while in love

LAST LESSONS Get inspired!



PilateS Style GIFT GUIDE 2015 Spend more time in the studio— and none at the mall!—with our best gift ideas for everyone on your list. They’re all just a click away.

Just in time for sniffle season, learn how you can boost your immunity—and ward of disease—with your diet.

heart failure led heather Meisner to discover her true love: Pilates.

winter sports special! Three Pilates teachers reveal why the method is essential for sports like skiing, splitboarding, ice hockey and more.

Group equipment classes might be the key to boosting your bottom line.

Sally Anderson is responsible for Australia’s first governmentcertified teacher-training program.

The first installment of our newly expanded column! The best moves for shoveling snow, tending to the lawn and more.

STRESS-PROOF YOUR hOLIDAYS Breathe a sigh of relief, on and off the mat, with these 12 research-backed tips for helping you navigate the crazy-busy season.


SIDE SwAP heavy holiday side dishes get a low-cal makeover.


Pilates Style Vol. 12, No. 6 (ISSN 1549-6937) is a trademark of and is published bimonthly (Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/June, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec) by McAby Media LLC, 12829 Trinity Street, Stafford, TX 77477. Subscriptions $34.94 per year (6 issues), Canada (price includes GST) $44.94 – U.S. funds only. Foreign prices available upon request. Please visit our web site,, for additional details on pricing and options. Single copies $4.95 plus $3.00 postage and handling, the Annual Resource Guide (Jan/Feb) single copy price is $9.99 plus $3.00 postage and handling. Visa, MasterCard and Discover accepted. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: send address changes to Pilates Style, P.O. Box 334 Stafford, TX 77497. No material in this issue may be reprinted without written permission of the publisher. Entire contents copyright 2012 by McAby Media, LLC. All rights reserved. McAby Media, LLC assumes no responsibility for the advertisements, nor any representation made herein, nor the quality or deliverability of the products themselves. Opinions of contributing authors do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher. Articles and photographs are welcome, but cannot be considered unless exclusive publishing rights are given, affording the publisher full ownership of content. Publisher assumes no responsibility for accuracy of unsolicited manuscripts and any material accepted is subject to possible revision at the discretion of the publisher. Printed in the U.S.A.


november • december 2015

A-5100N ™/® Trademark or registered trademark of Merrithew Corporation, used under license. All rights reserved.

A-5100N ™/® Trademark or registered trademark of Merrithew Corporation, used under license. All rights reserved.

Movement Movementisispower. power.Flow. Flow.Connect. Connect.Release. Release. ™ is ™a ZEN∙GA ZEN∙GA isunique a unique movement movement program program that that incorporates incorporates thethe latest latest research research in mindfulness in mindfulness with with neuromyofascial neuromyofascial training training to to create create a healthy, a healthy, resilient resilient and and more more fluid fluid body. body. ZEN∙GA ZEN∙GA mat mat and and equipment-based equipment-based courses courses useuse a playful a playful mixmix of of spiral, spiral, circular, circular, modulating modulating and and wave wave likelike movements movements to to increase increase awareness awareness of of thethe entire entire body body in space in space and and enhance enhance mobility, mobility, balance, balance, proprioception proprioception and and peace peace of of mind. mind. Enhance Enhance total total body body awareness awareness while while heightening heightening mental mental clarity clarity and and focus, focus, through through thethe power power of of movement. movement.



Looking for fresh Pilates programming ideas?

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advisory board BrenT d. AnderSOn, Phd, PT, OCS Physiotherapist, Founder/director, Polestar Pilates, Miami, FL


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rOd FOSTer

Owner and director, Kathy Corey Pilates, del Mar, CA

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Not all fitness exercises featured in Pilates Style are suitable for everyone, and these or any other exercise program may result in injury. To reduce the risk of injury in your case, consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program. You should be in good physical condition and be able to participate in the exercises. The instructions and advice presented are in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling. If you engage in any exercise or exercise program featured therein, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, and assume all risk of injury to yourself. McAby Media, LLC disclaims any liabilities or loss in connection with the exercises and advice herein. All advertising is subject to approval before acceptance. McAby Media, LLC reserves the right to refuse any ad for any reason whatsoever. Actual publication does not constitute any agreement for continued publication in any form. Advertisers warrantand represent that the description of the products or services advertised are true in all respects, and McAby Media, LLC assumes no responsibility for the content of the advertising, promises made, or the quality/reliability of the products or services offered in such advertisements. Information provided by advertisers is provided on an “as is” basis without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. McAby Media, LLC expressly disclaims any and all liabilities for any and all direct, indirect and consequential loss or damage, including but not limited to loss or damage to property or for loss of profit, business, revenue, goodwill or anticipated savings resulting or arising from the information contained in the advertisements appearing herein.

Best Gift OF ALL

It’s e asy to g e t c au g h t up In the m at e r I a l I s m t h at c o m e s wIth the ImpendIng h o l I day season.

There are gifts to buy (check out our picks on page 25), your own wish list to draft, pricey flights to book, expensive trips to the grocery store and so forth. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not putting it all down. There’s a time and place for everything, and ’tis the season for giving and receiving. Although it’s tempting to buy that “it” bag or the biggest tree at the farm, I’m a believer in not spending all my hard-earned dollars on stuff that won’t go the distance. The

holiday season is also about thinking beyond your family and friends, and giving to people in need or a cause that touches the heart. It’s inspired us to launch a new initiative, the Pilates Style Project. Throughout the year, we’re going to select four causes that use Pilates to help raise funds and awareness to dedicate ourselves to and shower with our resources. And we want your help in choosing our charities/ organizations. If you think we can help you spread your message of giving, email us at with “PS Project” in the subject line. Cheers to a happy, healthy holiday for all, with more tolerance and less of the petty stuff. see ya on the mat,

Bambi Abernathy editor–in–chief

We TOTALLY Hear You You kept telling us that you wanted more men on our covers, and we kept telling you that “we heard you.” We hope that this issue’s cover, with the fiercely talented Eduard Botha, a BASI Pilates teacher based in South Africa, is proof that we don’t take your comments and criticisms lightly. Keep ’em coming on Facebook ( and Twitter (

Congrats... to The Next Pilates Anytime Instructor 2015, Melbourne, Australia–based Sara Colquhoun! Stay tuned for our Jan/Feb issue for a workout from her. 10 november • december 2015


editor’s letter


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“The holidays bring friends and families together, so avoiding extra calories and time sitting is impossible. Try to squeeze in a workout before a big meal. A matwork session or quick jog on an empty stomach will put your metabolism into overdrive to deal with the extra calories.” —Cover guy (yes, you read that right) Eduard Botha, a BASI teacher with some serious boxing and martial arts chops, proves that mat Pilates can provide a heart-pounding, metabolism-revving workout in “Cardio Pilates” on page 44.

“To manage the holiday stress and stay in good physical form, I like to go for long walks with visiting family members and top it off with Stretching in Pairs with the Stretcheze (from my Stretch-eze for Kids DVD). We feel energized and more relaxed together. This replaces my usual solitary workout routine, yet leaves me feeling calm.” —Stretch-eze creator Kimberly Dye’s “Meet the Stretch-eze” on page 58 might just be the key to your next “aha moment.” 12

november • december 2015

“During the holidays, I splurge a bit on food, so I make sure to move more: I park my car farther away, take the stairs and add an extra workout to my week. I also have a food rule: never eat so much that I feel stuffed.” —Amy Zasadny, a Balanced Body trainer in the Los Angeles area, who’s also a believer in moving at the office, as evidenced in “Pilates at Work” on page 52, featuring simple stretches you can do with a desk chair to boost energy and posture.

“Ten-minute express workouts are the perfect way to stay fit during the holidays. Create a mini mat flow with one to three repetitions of the traditional exercises, from Hundreds through Push-Ups, perfect for reducing stress and staying calm. Add your favorite songs, and you will feel motivated to fit this into each day. My favorites? ‘Conqueror’ from Empire and ‘Young Blood’ by Bea Miller.” —Boston Body Pilates owner Zayna Gold, with more Pilates certifications than we can count, used her extensive experience to develop the routine in “Strike a Balance” on page 64. After finding that a gentle approach is best, she used it to speed her recovery from Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Photos by Rod FosteR

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Have you guys seen Blogilates founder Cassey Ho’s “The ‘Perfect’ Body” YouTube video, where she Photoshops her body to fit “ideal” standards? She made it in response to the harsh body comments she’d sadly been receiving. What do you think of her message? Will you think twice before posting any negativity?

“This made me cry. I cannot believe the harshness. We blame the media. But you know, often the worst enemies are other women—our sisters—why?” —Rossendale ENERGYBODi Health and Wellbeing

“Who are we to post negatively about somebody else’s body? She looks amazing and healthy! Did you see the smile when she looked at herself in the beginning? That’s confidence and beauty and pride! You go, girl!” —Gena Lategano Harakal “Love the body you have! Having a six-pack doesn’t qualify you as a good trainer— knowledge does. Beautiful video. Good job, Cassey Ho!” —Samantha Geneau “This made me cry, too, because just three days ago, I was watching one of Cassey’s amazing videos and admiring her gorgeous figure. I aspire to look as good as she does. Shame on those who think that is not beautiful enough. We all need to learn to love ourselves a little more, especially those who pass judgment on others!” —Balance and Movement Pilates “Ho takes any intimidation right out of the Pilates equation, and I love that about her. Of course, people will attack her—she’s a well-adjusted, happy, inspiring person. Lay off Cassey, mean girls!” —Jennifer Pagoto Cassey

January January || Stamford, Stamford, CT CT March March || Evanston, Evanston, IL IL

“She’s showing us the work we have cut out for us in dispelling myths surrounding the ideal body. She had some interesting misinterpretations of the video from fans.” —Pjcc Pilates


April April || New New York, York, NY NY May May || South South Beach, Beach, FL FL June June || Atlanta, Atlanta, GA GA September September || Boston, Boston, MA MA November November || Bermuda Bermuda Early bird rates available! Early bird rates available!

For more information or to sign up: For more information or to sign up:

“Wishing her much success with this heart-wrenching disease. Keep up the ice bucket challenge.” —Cynthia Ison “She’s an inspiration! Keep moving, Mari! Blessings!!” —Lisa Brenner Bloomquist “In fitness and in health. Thank you for inspiring my passion for Pilates.” —Denise Kokinis

OVERHEARD… Make sure an iPad is on your wish list this season. A little birdy told us about a soon-to-be-released Pilates app that will revolutionize the Pilates industry (and that includes instructors, students and even how experts and outsiders view us) and track your practice like you never thought possible. The screen grabs sent chills down our spines—and just might fulfill Joe’s dying wish once and for all. “It’s a fantastic tool, and I believe the potential of it is far beyond our imagination,” says Pilates luminary Madeline Black, who got a sneak peek, too. Stay tuned for our Jan/ Feb issue for the full scoop.

"Like us" on Facebook at Tweet us at Follow us on Instagram (@pilatestylemag) and share your pics!


november • december 2015



Featuring Afina™ Tower

Benefit Beautifully

Created nearly 20 years ago in Boulder, Colorado, Peak Pilates® continues to set the standard for craftsmanship, innovation and functionality. We find our inspiration in the timeless designs and movement founded by Joseph Pilates as well as the infinite and pristine beauty of nature. We

bring those inspirations together, offering the world’s most elegant Pilates equipment and unparalleled instructor education. It is this integrative, systematic and traditional approach that has made Peak Pilates the preferred choice of Pilates studios worldwide. • 1.800.925.3674 Copyright 2015 Mad Dogg Athletics, Inc. All rights reserved. Peak Pilates® is a registered trademark of Mad Dogg Athletics, Inc.


A. Mitch BArton, director

W H at It I S :

of product MAnAgeMent At perforMAnce heAlth (the MAkers of the therABAnd resistAnce BAnds And exercise BAlls): Exercise balls and bands do not have a specific life expectancy, and in general, tend to give users a long term of service. The life of these products is more dependent upon frequency and method of use—as well as exposure to environmental factors more than anything (e.g. heat or sharp/abrasive objects). It is very important that the user regularly inspect the products prior to use and replace if necessary. Look for nicks, tears or abrasions in exercise bands, and inspect balls for holes, cracks, or deflation. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight is not suggested.

Pilates Power! In our Sept/Oct issue, Pilates pro Lili Viola shared a Wunda Chair routine inspired by Wonder Woman, to whip you into stronger-than-ever shape [“One Wunda Workout”]. It’s no wonder (pun indended) that we found out, after the issue went to press, that Israeli actress Gal Gadot, who will play the female superhero in Warner Bros. Pictures’ upcoming film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, included Pilates in her training regimen. Super and smart! 16


Q. Do exercise bands and balls have a “shelf life”? When’s it time to replace them?

november • december 2015

You Pilates people were busy this past summer! Here’s an insider’s look at some of the hottest happenings that went down.

A chance for instructors to advance their education and get CECs at one of the industry’s most highly regarded continuing-ed events.

WHY It’S a BIG deal:

Balanced Body celebrated a decade of Pilates on Tour conferences at their Sacramento headquarters; July’s sold-out event was number 75! “It’s a huge milestone for us, and we’ve come so far since the first one,” says Balanced Body Founder and CEO Ken Endelman.



The cream of the crop— think, Alan Herdman, Elizabeth Larkam, Kyria Sabin, Amy Taylor Alpers, Nora St. John and more—presented workshops, some highlighting new Balanced Body “toys,” while others addressed fundamental yet often-overlooked issues or dug deeper into anatomy. “What always blows me away is the sense of community and family that Nora and our awesome presenters have built and fostered at these events over the years. That really resonated in Sacramento—it was incredible seeing so many professionals fine-tuning their craft and having a great time doing it together. And to be able to hold it in our hometown was just so cool,” exclaims Endelman. f o r m o r e I N f o r m a t I o N :

CALARTS/SHEPPARD METHOD TEACHER TRAINING “The [ongoing] program provides students the opportunity to earn a trade and make money before they even graduate,” says Sheppard Method Founder Risa Sheppard, who also points out that it’s a way for the dancers to keep injury free while they train. W H Y I t ’ S a B I G d e a l : It’s proof that Pilates is moving onward and upward, to colleges across the country, that is. Plus, Sheppard is continuing the Pilates legacy at CalArts. “Diane Severino and Jillian Hessel have taught there,” she says. e V e N t H I G H l I G H t S : “The diversity of the program has people from all walks of life and backgrounds and ages. But they all have such a passion for movement and for the deep work of Pilates. I was amazed by the creativity of this particular group.” U p N e X t : Sheppard has plans “to take the curriculum to UCLA and USC, where there is interest,” she says. “My mission is to help put honest, goodW H at It I S :

gal gadot by bigstock; pilates on tour courtesy of balanced body; sheppard method by rafael hernandez; big bang summer by louise albanese

reader platform

Bulletin BoArd

Lolita’s Corner by Lolita San Miguel First Generation Teacher


intentioned and skilled instructors into the world. It is not just enough to certify people, but rather, to continue the legacy of healing and helping others that was so important to Joe Pilates.” f o r m o r e I N f o r matI o N :


W H a t I t I S : Held at The Pilates Center in Boulder, the entire community—instructors, students and anyone, really— was invited to participate in the 10-day event, with 20-plus presentations taught by The Pilates Center graduates. W H Y I t ’ S a B I G d e a l : “This year, The Pilates Center celebrates 25 years of awakening, discovering and exploring the powerful path to health that is the Pilates method,” say sisters Amy Taylor Alpers and Rachel Taylor Segel, coowners of The Pilates Center. e V e N t H I G H l I G H t S : A Spine Corrector–shaped cake was an apropos kick-off to the conference. Workshop topics ranged from improving running form, to the potency of working with the nervous system, all the way to understanding the tides of the cranial rhythm. “Inviting graduates back was a very exciting, gratifying, emotional experience for us. It also provided the graduates with the opportunity to express their knowledge and skill, empowering them to use their own unique voices to carry out the mission of The Pilates Center—to spread compassion and peace throughout the world through the Pilates method,” says Taylor Alpers. “This conference further defines the excellence of our classical Pilates programs. Our goal is to be the leader in preserving the integrity of Joseph Pilates’ classical method and to continue to inspire others to do the same,” adds Taylor Segel. f o r m o r e I N f o r m a t I o N :

I am now the only first generation Pilates Master granting the title of Second Generation Pilates Master through my Pilates Master Mentor Program™ (PMMP), a two-year comprehensively structured mentor program. Many people initially sign up primarily for this reason. My graduates tell me, however, that what proves most important is the 160 hours of an intense challenge, which under my personal guidance, unlocks their potential as well as upgrades their Pilates pedigree. In addition, upon graduation they are eligible to teach my comprehensive teacher training program, Lolita’s Legacy™. Next year I will start only two (2) PMMP groups, both to be held in Palm Beach Gardens. The first one starts March 29, 2016 and the second on July 28, 2016. If you are interested, secure your place and complete the application at as I accept a maximum of 12 persons per group.

Training programs starting in the next few months in the U.S. are: Atlanta, GA • Chicago, IL • Jupiter & Palm Beach Gardens, FL • Raleigh, NC • Sacramento & San Diego, CA • San Juan, PR Internationally: Friburg, Switzerland • Istanbul, Turkey • Kiev, Ukraine • Brasilia & Londrina, Brazil • Piacenza & Torino, Italy • Perth, Scotland


Q&A ask the experts

Ask the EXPERTS crossfit as cross-training • benefits of back-to-back mat classes • cracking egg labels • staying lean while in love by Eduard Botha and Leslie Dantchik, MS Nutrition expert Leslie Dantchik,

member with 15 years of Pilates

MS, is the author of the health

teaching experience. Botha


currently teaches Pilates out of

The longtime Pilates and exercise

his beautiful studio overlooking

enthusiast has a master’s in

Camps Bay beach in Cape Town,

applied physiology and nutrition

South Africa; his classes are

from Teachers College, Columbia

featured on Pilates Anytime.


What are your thoughts on super-intense, boot camp–style workouts like CrossFit? Could they complement a Pilates practice?


I would like to approach my answer to this question from two angles. First, for those who are using cross-training as a way to stay fit, lean and healthy, activities like boot camp and Crossfit can complement your Pilates training. Pilates isn’t generally classified as a cardiovascular form of exercise, and so these other disciplines would be a great way to fill the void in your training regimen, while boosting your metabolism. However, faster, more explosive movement, often done against the clock, makes boot camp and Crossfit participants more susceptible to injury. Pilates, on the other hand, is generally done at a pace that allows for more precision and a decreased risk of injury because of its lower repetitions. My advice would be to approach these more intense activities with Pilates principles. Make sure that your bootcamp or Crossfit coach or trainer is paying attention to details and cueing you through the exercises, not just counting your repetitions. If you are trying to move too much weight too quickly, you risk losing your form. Practice drill movements with resistance well within your limits before progressing to heavier barbells or kettlebells, or even higher repetitions. The second type of Pilates practitioner likely to cross-train is the serious athlete. When it comes to athletic performance, there are certain movements that are essential for certain sports. For example, a NFL linebacker needs to be explosive and have a huge amount of upper-body strength. They are often making contact with other players who weigh more than they do. For adequate preparation, these players need to work with resistance that is heavier than their own body weight. Therefore, the Pilates studio alone might not be sufficient for their needs. That is not to say that Pilates won’t be beneficial. Of course, practicing Pilates will improve the balance, coordination, functionally flexibility and stability of any athlete. —E.B.


november • december 2015

Pilates will improve the balance, coordination, functionally fLexibility and stability of any athlete.

photo by bigstock


Eduard Botha is a BASI faculty

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Is there any benefit to taking backto-back mat classes in a single day? I‘ve noticed this becoming a trend where I work out.




6 am

break fast

7 am

drop of f dr y cleaning

8 am

Mat class 1

9 am

Mat class 2

10 am 11 am 12 pm

lunch meeting

1 pm

If you are left with some gas in the tank at the end of your mat class, it is most probably time to switch to a more advanced class.


Choosing a mat class of the appropriate level is key. While I would easily be able to do back-to-back fundamental classes, I personally find that one good mat class, where my body is worked from head to toe, sufficient. If a class is challenging enough, a consecutive class should not be necessary. The advanced Pilates repertoire should be of such a level that repetitions are kept to a minimum, to preserve the integrity of the exercises while at the same time challenging both the mind and body. My mentor, Rael Isacowitz, offers a two-hour BASI Marathon Mat ® Class. The key to the success of his class is in the structure. The body is warmed up carefully through all the anatomical planes and axes before moving on to the more demanding exercises. The order of the exercises forces practitioners to “give it their all,” without being fatigued for the repertoire that follows. If the same exercises were repeated twice in one class, we would be at risk of not achieving strength gains. Strength gains are best reached with lower repetitions at a higher intensity— and plenty of recovery time. If you are left with some gas in the tank at the end of your mat class, it is most probably time to switch to a more advanced class. —E.B.

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What do all the egg labels mean?


to check the “sell by” date. Once home, keep the eggs in their carton in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Whether you like your eggs, scrambled, poached or hard-boiled, with only 71 calories, the egg is truly a nutritional powerhouse. It is an excellent source of all the B vitamins, like B12, which boosts immunity, choline that aids in liver function and fat metabolism, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients necessary for optimal eye health that help protect from agerelated eye disease. Eggs are one of the few complete protein sources, because they include all the essential amino acids. And while they do contain almost two-thirds of the recommended daily allowance for cholesterol, studies have shown that this shouldn’t stop you from including this low-calorie, high-protein food into your diet. Being an educated consumer will help you determine fact from fiction. The key is to not be fooled by a pretty package or you could end up spending more money without any real benefit. —L.D.

Eggs are one of the few complete protein sources, because they include all the essential amino acids.

photo by bigstock

These days, buying a carton of eggs isn’t so simple. There are so many options, from color and size, to how the chickens were raised and fed, that you may find yourself standing in the cold—literally and figuratively. While certain labeling is mandatory, such as nutrition information, nowadays, cartons are designed with trendy buzzwords, like “all natural” and “farm fresh,” that have more to do with marketing than the actual egg inside. Conventional eggs are the least expensive, since they come from commercially run farms, where chickens are usually caged and most likely fed standard feed. If animal welfare is a concern, look for eggs labeled “free-range” or “pastureraised,” which mean that the hens were not only given the ability to roam freely indoors and out, but also fed on the natural environment. Be careful though, since “cage-free” doesn’t guarantee access outside the barn. As a safeguard, look for seals from third-party auditors, such as Animal Welfare Approved, to ensure proper standards were met.

hens fed a vegetarian diet produce eggs without animal byproducts. Or feed can be fortified and enriched to increase the value of nutrients like heart healthy omega-3 fats or extra vitamin D, found in an ordinary egg. Although the type of diet a hen eats has nothing to do with animal rights, it could factor into your decision of which eggs to buy and will be clearly labeled as such. Generally, you can cut through all the jargon by looking for the UsDA Organic seal. Although these eggs usually cost more, foods bearing this organic label are strictly regulated. You can be assured the chickens were fed an antibiotic- and hormone-free diet, as well as allowed free roaming without the possibility of any cruelty to the animal. Another great option are eggs sold at your local farmers’ market; these farmers tend to abide by these standards. If budget is an issue, opt for eggs with the UsDA grade A or AA. This ensures they were inspected for integrity and size. Only buy refrigerated eggs with shells that are clean and uncracked, and don’t forget


november • december 2015


I’ve heard women gain weight when they get into relationships. How can I avoid packing on the pounds?


Whether you’re dating, cohabitating or married, a good relationship can do wonders for the heart, but not necessarily your waistline. Since you spend most of your time with your significant other, he/she usually has the most influence on your diet—and not always for the better. In fact, one study found that a young woman could pack on about 15 pounds within five years of dating and around 24 pounds after five years of marriage. Another found happy couples to be more likely to gain weight because there is less pressure to do all the things a single person may do to attract a mate. The social aspect of dating probably means more meals out rather than at home. For those nights out, plan accordingly by eating a sensible high-fiber breakfast, such as whole-grain oatmeal with fruit or an egg-white omelet with avocado. Midday, grab a light yet protein-packed lunch, such as salad with low-fat tuna or grilled salmon. At dinner, pass on the fried mozzarella and chips, and suggest splitting an appetizer or salad instead. For your main dish, look for keywords on the menu—grilled, baked or broiled—and order a side of veggies. If dessert is a must, share that as well. Not only is it romantic to dig into something sweet together, but your date will be none the wiser that you’ll be saving him/her calories,

too! Remember, men need and take in more calories than women, so don’t try to keep up bite for bite. Better yet, cook a tasty, healthy romantic dinner at home, which will allow you to control everything from ingredients to portion size. Don’t be complacent and get moving. A recent study in Obesity revealed that couples who live together for two or more years are less likely to be physically active. The good news is that couples that do work out together have a better chance of sticking to an exercise routine. Plan daily activities such as a walk, run or bike ride in the park, invite him/her to try Pilates with you, or take a healthy cooking class together, where you’ll not only reap the health benefits, but also spend quality couple time. And increase your oxytocin levels by showering your love with hugs and kisses. Promising research revealed that this “love hormone” might also have a positive effect on appetite suppression. Overall, happy couples tend to sleep better, don’t smoke and report better general health. If you start implementing healthy eating habits and behaviors from the very beginning, being in love won’t automatically predestine you for those larger jeans. —L.D.

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We don’t know about you, but for us, there’s nothing merry about the mall madness come holiday time. There’s enough craziness to deal with during “the season to be jolly”—“fa-la-la” it already! Put your energy into your workouts, something that will help compensate for those pumpkin lattés and latkes, instead of wasting it on pushy shoppers. Our ideas for everyone on your seemingly endless list will give you the “warm and fuzzies”; while they won’t bring peace on earth, ordering all your gifts with just a few clicks will certainly bring some serenity into your state of mind. And doesn’t that sound oh-so-magical? To:

P.S. Tag, You’re It!


While you’re flipping through the pages of our guide, jot down your gift recipients in our handy labels! 25

To: To:





Channel your inner Flash Dancer—and keep legs toasty—with these cableknit poly-wool-acrylic-blend leg warmers ($28;

Strengthen and stretch the toes—and prevent cramps and stiffness—with this cool, resistancebased contraption ($49;






The soft material is perfect for effectively rolling out sore muscles to prevent injury ($22.50;

Place this rubber cushion under your arm for comfort as you hold a side plank, or use it to add a core stability challenge to balancing exercises ($27.50;




Your Teasers will stand out even more with this Moroccan-inspired mat that’s extra-thick (one-fourth inch) and latex-free ($86;






november • december 2015

These ingenious disks let you “skate” on carpet, tile and linoleum floors, and add a core challenge to moves like side lunges and mountain climber ($30;




Four types of tubing and a closed-loop band— available in five resistance levels—help you mimic apparatus, delivering support where you need it and a challenge where you want it ($35.95–$43.95;




Cut-outs allow you to get a firm grip during moves that require additional support ($19.99;






This game-changer of a bag has room for all your gear plus a hidden pocket to stash your mat ($128;

The open tops of these keep feet cool, while still giving you traction, thanks to rubber-based soles ($18;



Filter tap water anywhere with this spill-proof water bottle ($20;


Put this portable massager in the freezer to relieve sore muscles after a challenging session ($29.99;


Mangled headphone wires—and tediously untangling them—will be a thing of the past, with these protective covers, available in nine hues ($9.99; —Amy Schlinger 27





Move more, sit less with a height-adjustable spring-loaded desktop platform that takes you vertical in seconds ($350; FOR THE RED/WHITE/ BLUE-PROUD




Find tech devices and necessities in a snap with this attractive organizer that hides unsightly wires ($90;

This American-made easy-care board does double duty as an appetizer tray and cherished memento ($48;




Monitor distance, time, pace, speed and calories burned, then upload to the TomTom My Sports app to create a personal log with a map route ($229.99; To:



ZEROWATER PITCHER Make sure your drinking water is safe with this sleek 8-cup stainlesssteel pitcher with a filter certified to reduce lead and chromium ($39.99;


november • december 2015




Whatever the celebration, an artful arrangement of tulips, pine stems and a snowflake in a mercury glass vase conjures good feelings all around ($59.99;



Dry fruits, vegetables, herbs and meat for a quick, nutritious snack ($39.99;


It’s glittery and girly, but this convenient clip-on packs a potent punch of pepper spray ($22;




Take a stand to improve balance with a prop that can be used anywhere, even at your desk; partial proceeds benefit young adults with cancer ($289–$489;



PERSONAL CREATIONS CASSEROLE DISH Personalize this 3.5-quart stoneware dish that's dishwasher and microwave safe ($49.99;


Keep a bedside record of your dreams in a pretty, organized logbook with categories to interpret, draw and identify emotions ($15.99;


Teach your children well with this adorable cooking tool set ($24.99;

—Heidi Dvorak 29





Wrapped in rich peppermint caramel, these vanilla bean marshmallows are sinfully good right from the box—and will take that mug of hot cocoa to new heights ($18 for 8;



Send the vino lover to Wente Vineyards in Napa, where you blend your own variety and take home the bottle ($125 for a 90–120 minute class;







These addictive gluten-free and Non GMO Project Verified chips have a hint of crystallized ginger baked into every bite ($3.99 for 5 ounces;



The chocoholic in your life will simultaneously love and hate you when five-to-seven personally selected treats land on their doorstep every month ($99 for 3 months; To:


november • december 2015

With olives pressed within three hours of being picked, this oil features herby and fruity undertones ($18.99 for 17 fluid ounces;




Toast the holidays with this limitededition organic hard cider made with real sarsaparilla root and a touch of vanilla—think, grown-up root beer ($15 for 12 fluid ounces;



Holiday flicks beg for a bag of this decadent popcorn, made with non-GMO corn. We confess to eating the entire bag in one sitting—oops ($4.49 for 4.5 ounces;!

The grilling king will love this all-natural rub with espresso— and a nice kick ($8.50 for 3.2 ounces;


These organic, local treats have just four ingredients, plus a nice balance of protein and fat—because Fido and Fluffy have stockings, too ($9.50 for 14 ounces;






Delight houseguests with a parting gift of this small-batch artisan honey, with delicate fruity, nutty notes ($18 for 11 ounces;

Get the kitchenaverse a dozen vegan meals, like a Breakfast Burrito or our fave, Red Curry with Tofu and Veggies, plus juices, all free of anything artificial ($99;





Cherry and cocoa flavors meld in this medium-acidity brew that’s organic and fairly traded; twenty percent of the proceeds are donated to rescue partner shelters ($14 for 12 ounces;




This creamy, soy-free vegan cheese is almost too pretty to eat, thanks to the perfect sprinkling of lavender ($11.99 for 6.5 ounces; —Kelly McLendon 31







When paired with the mini facial-cleaning brush, the AM formula refreshes skin, while the PM gel melts into a velvety milk with super-fine particles for a deeper cleanse ($139 for mini brush, 3.3–fluid ounce day cleanser and 3.3–fluid ounce night cleanser;

With its dry and crisp aroma, this phthalatefree candle gives off a just-been-poppedbottle-of-champagne scent to get you in the holiday spirit ($18 for 11 ounces;





This faux-leather dopp bag includes samples of 15 popular fragrances for him; he can then redeem the enclosed certificate for a full-size version of his favorite at any Sephora store ($65 for 15 mini-sized scents;



Toss one of three scented, body-wash-infused sponges into your workout bag to cleanse, massage, hydrate and exfoliate post-Pilates ($25; To:




The newest collection from Odin, a cult-favorite New York perfumier, features three unisex floral fragrances—Milieu Rosa, Efflora and Vert Reseda ($210 for three 3.4–fluid ounce scents;



Any hostess will appreciate this bouquet of botanical shea-cream formulas even more than flowers ($14.50 for six .3-ounce tubes; To:


november • december 2015




With this portable palette of eight eye shadows and one cheek color, a mini mascara and nude gloss, you’ll be able to get party-ready on the go ($49;

MOLTON BROWN FESTIVE BAUBLE—YLANG-YLANG These bath gel–filled ornaments lather and smell as good as they look ($15 for 2.5 fluid ounces; To:


MIND OVER LATHER YOGA MAT CLEANING SPRAY This alcohol-free cleanser doubles as a hand sanitizer and a mat cleanser ($10 for 8 fluid ounces;




This luxe set contains five essential brushes, but is compact enough to stash in your purse ($148;






This hair-care trio contains cypress, argan and maracuja extracts to repair all types of hair ($97 for 8.5–fluid ounce shampoo, 6.8–fluid ounce conditioner and 1.7–fluid ounce heat-styling shield; To:

TWEEZERMAN CANDY APPLE RED PETITE TWEEZE SET A favorite of makeup artists, the stainless-steel tips on these two mini tweezers precisely snag stray hairs and will stay sharp for years ($30;


This kit from the hipster barbershop of choice ensures the smoothest shave and leaves skin with the shop’s signature wild watermint gin scent ($58 for 6.8– fluid ounce facial cleanser, 5–fluid ounce shave cream and 3.3–fluid ounce after-shave soother;

SOAPTOPIA MISTLETWO FOR YOU The peppermint, pine, ginger and spice scents in this homemade soap set will evoke happy holiday memories ($12 for two 6- to 7-ounce bars;

—Nicole Grippo Ruotolo 33





Not only do these luxurious gloves keep hands toasty, they work with touchscreen devices— go ahead and tweet about it ($58;!



The sporty bag converts into a messenger bag, equipped with three interior pockets to hold Pilates and day-to-day essentials ($58; FOR THE PRIM & PROPER


Keep strands perfectly in place while you work out, thanks to this set of more than 120 bobby pins, clips and bands ($30;



Warm and fuzzy on the inside and out, these ultra-soft organic cotton slippers benefit female artisan groups in Europe ($49; To:




These slip-ons have an elastic back and leather cross straps—a comfy choice for running to and from the studio ($89;






november • december 2015


This exquisite comb is crafted from sandalwood, to leave your beard frizz-free and smelling like a forest—in a good way ($39.99;




Made from sustainably sourced, naturally odorresistant wool, this breathable tee also helps regulate body temperature ($55;




Not only do these grippy socks keep feet dry, but they also have built-in arch support ($16; To:









Staying organized is simple with this compact backpack that’s chockfull of features: comfortable straps, multiple compartments and the ability to lie flat for laptop storage while traveling ($85;

Like a second skin, these light tights are moisture-wicking and keep heat in, making them perfect for those frigid morning jogs to mat class ($65;





This street style–smart, cherry-colored jacket is fully lined with spacious side pockets ($105;



Upgrade from plain sweatpants with this fast-drying pair that comes with side and back pockets, plus a concealed one for your keys ($35;





Made from recycled wool, this body-hugging top is equal parts warm and cozy ($149; To:



Easily transition from winter to spring with this weather-resistant piece that’s great for layering ($130; To:


Stay stylish with this chic tablet cover that also features an inside pocket for cards and notes ($20;


Choose from different bracelet designs, each supporting a specific cause; a portion of the proceeds go toward the foundation in question ($5;


This lightweight infinity scarf can also be worn as a hood ($14; —Robin Camper 35


THE IMMUNITYBOOSTING DIET What you eat can keep you cold- and flu-free all winter—and fight disease better than anything in your medicine cabinet. by Joanna Powell

36 november • december 2015

Have you ever known someone who never seems to gets sick? One of those lucky souls who’s just flat-out bulletproof even when flu fells her family or rages through her workplace? Truth is, it’s not just luck—or even vigilant hand washing—that’s keeping these people virus-free. Evidence is growing that the secret to staying well during cold and flu season is due in large part to the food on our plates, in the same way that a healthy diet can prevent diabetes, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, and is increasingly thought to play a role in battling other illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and cancer. “A good diet can easily help you fight off those germs for the winter,” says New York City dietitian Brooke Alpert, MS, RD, CDN, and the author of The Sugar Detox: Lose Weight, Feel Great and Look Years Younger (Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2014). “Through improved nutrition, we can strengthen our immune systems, so we become more powerful in fighting the germs that cause colds.” Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, RD, a nutritional consultant in La Jolla, CA, says that her clients mostly come seeking help with weight loss, allergies or sports-performance issues—not to stave off sniffles and sneezes. “But months later, many report with some surprise that they haven’t been sick in ‘the longest time’ or that when the rest of the family came down with a bug the kids brought home, they either didn’t get it at all, or they had a milder or shorter version,” she notes. “People initially come in to improve their nutrition for other reasons—but lo and behold, their immune system benefits!” Even with this year’s flu season quickly bearing down, it’s not too late to eat yourself well. Consider taking some of these nine steps to help ward off everything from the common cold to chronic disease. And you might even drop some pounds along the way.

1. Bring on the Good Bacteria.

Probiotics is a big buzzword these days—with good reason. Those “active live cultures” found in yogurt and fermented foods are healthy bacteria that work to balance the 100 trillion microbes that live in the GI tract. Our “second brain,” as the gut has been called, is known to control everything from our mood to how many calories are absorbed from food. What’s more, “we’ve also learned that our immune system is headquartered in our gut,” says Alpert. “I’ve watched many clients start taking a probiotic and then see a major decrease in the amount of colds they’ve caught, not to mention loads of other health benefits.”

Diet Rx: To boost the good bugs in your gut, have two daily servings of fermented

To rev up the immune system, experts say it’s important to “eat the rainbow” of red, orange, yellow and green produce. foods such as yogurt, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, kombucha, pickles, even chocolate. Add a high-quality probiotic supplement containing at least 20 billion live organisms per dose, says Alpert, who recommends Culturelle.

2. Pump Up the Protein.

The amino acids in lean protein are the building blocks for the body’s defense system—and they need to be replenished regularly to keep the body resilient and healthy, explains Dr. Bazilian, author of The Superfoods Rx Diet: Lose Weight with the Power of SuperNutrients (Rodale, 2008). While we don’t need large amounts—the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend about 46 grams of protein a day for adult women and 56 grams for adult men—consistency is key. Studies show that a protein deficiency can damage immune function and increase susceptibility to infections, because your ability to synthesize protein-containing white blood cells is hampered. Moreover, “protein helps build, repair and preserve muscle mass, and make enzymes and hormones for healthy bodily functions,” says Dr. Bazilian.

Diet Rx: Choose lean protein sources such as fish, eggs and soy products. Other sources, including poultry, beans and yogurt, “have been specifically associated with enhanced immunity,” adds Dr. Bazilian. “Each is high in zinc, a mineral essential to T-cells, which ultimately fight infection.” Aim for two to three servings a day.

3. Eat Three Colors at Every Meal.

Mom was right! We now know that fruits and veggies contain powerful phytonutrients that help protect against heart disease, cancer and age-related cognitive decline. But to rev up the immune system, experts say it’s important to “eat the rainbow” of red, orange, yellow and green produce. “Deeply or intensely colored fruits and vegetables tend to have the highest levels of antioxidants and nutrients to protect healthy cells, and increase those that help fight infection and inflammation,” says Dr. Bazilian. 37

Lycopene, the carotenoid that gives the red color to tomatoes and watermelon, is a “superhero for the immune system,” she adds. Orange-colored veggies such as carrots and pumpkins “help with skin immune response, repairing damaged cells and fighting free-radicals.”

Diet Rx: Eat a minimum of three colors at every meal, and aim for five to nine servings a day of fruits and veggies. (Snacks are a great way to pick up the slack!) Be sure to include red bell peppers, oranges and strawberries as well as dark green veggies such as broccoli and kale, all of which are especially high in antioxidant vitamin C, which has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of colds.

subjects had not only lost weight, they also experienced an 80 percent reduction in the pro-inflammatory immune cells that promote coronary artery disease and other obesityrelated illnesses. “These scientists found that even a moderate weight loss of about 13 pounds is enough to bring the levels of proinflammatory cells down to that found in lean individuals,” says Keri Gans, MS, RDN, CDN, author of The Small Change Diet: 10 Steps to a Thinner, Healthier You (Gallery Books, 2011).

Diet Rx: To drop a pound a week, reduce your net calories by 500 a day. The easiest way is to shave 250 calories from your daily diet and exercise to burn 250 more.

4. Brew a Bug Buster.

Once you’re already under the weather, hot tea can be a superstar at alleviating congestion and soothing inflamed membranes that line the nose and throat. But to best nip a bug in the bud, steep up a pot of green tea, which is higher in the chemical compound EGCG. In a 2003 Canadian study published in Antiviral Research, scientists found that adding green tea to samples of adenovirus (one of the germs that cause colds) stopped the virus from proliferating. The EGCG in green tea has also been linked to heart health and metabolism, so drink up.

Diet Rx: Use a high-quality brand, preferably loose-leaf green tea or one that comes in unbleached bags. And make sure it’s fresh: The antioxidant levels in tea decrease once you open the packaging.

5. Trim Your Waistline.

In a 2010 study conducted by Australian researchers published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism, obese adults with diabetes or pre-diabetes were put on a low-calorie diet. At the end of 24 weeks, the

Increase healthy fat— monounsaturated and polyunsaturated—which comes mainly from nuts, seeds and fish. Try for 50 grams a day, which is equal to three and a half avocados or three salmon fillets. 38 november • december 2015

6. Sip Bone Broth.

Like homemade chicken soup—aka “Jewish penicillin”—bone broth is a potent health aid. “It’s anti-inflammatory and healing,” says Alpert. But this stock—now a trendy delicacy from Los Angeles to New York City, where a cup of grass-fed-beef stock sells for upwards of $9—contains a bounty of nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur chondroitin, glucosamine as well as a variety of trace minerals. The gelatin (or collagen) that boils out of the animal bones can also beautify nails, hair and skin, and help you lose weight; bone broth is also low-cal, satisfying and hydrating, which makes it a powerful slimdown elixir. “I’ve had clients who’ve tried bone broth to boost their immunity and improve gut health, and ended up steadily losing inches,” says Dr. Bazilian.

Diet Rx: Have at least three to five servings a week during flu season. To get the most nutritional benefits, the soup should be

homemade—not store-bought, which can be filled with preservatives and sodium, and lack the nourishing, immunity-boosting minerals and collagen of natural, slow-cooked bone broth. “Soak animal bones (fish, poultry or beef) in vinegar prior to cooking, which helps leech valuable minerals from the bones into the water,” says Gans. “Then boil them with water, vegetable scraps, herbs and spices.” Simmer for 12 to 48 hours.

7. Pop a Clove of Garlic.

Forget vampires! Garlic does an even better job of repelling predator germs. The pungent bulb belongs to the allium family, which includes onions, leeks and shallots, and has been valued for its medicinal value dating back to the ancient Egyptians. In a 2001 study in Advances in Natural Therapy, participants who took a supplement containing allicin, the sulfuric compound in garlic that is responsible for its odor, were less likely to develop cold symptoms and were quicker to recover compared with those who took a placebo. Other studies suggest that garlic lovers who eat more than six cloves a week have a 50 percent lower rate of stomach cancer and a 30 percent lower rate of colorectal cancer. “The sulfur in garlic is a natural detoxifier,” points out Alpert.

Diet Rx: Add fresh garlic to dishes as often as possible when cooking—and be sure to crush or chop it first to release the healthpromoting compound, allicin. It will amp your body’s defenses, plus make your food more delicious while only adding minimal calories. Its benefits make it well worth the garlic breath!

8. Make Friends with Turmeric.

“This brightly colored little root packs a major anti-inflammatory punch,” raves Alpert. Curcumin, the active ingredient in the golden-orange spice, has been shown to have anti-viral and antifungal properties and is believed to help protect against cancer. “When stress, poor diet and lack of sleep allow

for inflammation to build up in our bodies, this spice can help offset it, and allow us to heal and fight germs,” adds Alpert.

Diet Rx: A staple of Indian curries, this spice makes a flavorful addition when sprinkled on rice, roasted vegetables or soup, or even added to smoothies. Fresh-cut turmeric root (available at Indian markets or online) can be boiled to make a mild tea, which tastes a bit like a parsley brew.

9. Cut the (Bad) Fat.

A diet high in unhealthy fat—from fried foods, fatty meats, cheeses and rich desserts—will not only take a toll on your waistline, but it can also put your immune system into freefall. “Excessive fat can increase inflammation, which has a host of negative effects,” says Dr. Bazilian. “And it can squeeze out other important immunity-boosting nutrients in your system.” A 2003 Tufts study compared people who ate a typical Western diet (38 percent fat) to those on a cholesterol-lowering diet (28 percent fat) and found the low-fat dieters had higher-functioning T cells (those white blood cells that fend off toxic invaders). But experts caution against restricting all fat, as some “good fats are needed for energy, to help absorb vitamins and minerals, and to build healthy cell membranes,” notes Gans, a consultant for Solazyme Food Ingredients. “Evidence shows that fat quality is more important than fat quantity.”

Diet Rx: Gans suggests avoiding all trans fats (the partially hydrogenated oils found in commercial pastries and fast-food French fries) and limiting saturated fats (red meat, full-fat dairy, coconut oil) to less than 10 percent of your daily calories. Meanwhile, increase healthy fat—monounsaturated and polyunsaturated— which comes mainly from nuts, seeds and fish. Try for 50 grams a day, which is equal to three and a half avocados, three salmon fillets, 100 almonds or four tablespoons of monounsaturated oil. (Gans recommends algae oil, a new product she believes to be even healthier than olive oil.) PS 39


After experiencing heart failure 15 years ago, Pilates became 38-year-old Heather Meisner’s life support. By Heather Meisner, as told to Beth Johnson Growing up in Edmonton, Alberta, I was a really athletic, healthy kid. In high school, I was on two basketball teams and two volleyball teams. Then when I went off to study design at nearby Grant MacEwan University, I was always up for a hike or a workout at the gym. After college, I moved to the Vancouver area, and promptly fell in love with its incredible beauty and outdoor lifestyle. I was working in accounts payable at the head office of a hardware store, and that’s where I met Peter. Before long, we were a couple with a wonderful, active life. Once or twice a week, we’d do a tough, steep two-mile hike up Grouse Mountain, a local trail. We worked out together at the gym regularly and even went camping on weekends. Then in mid-1999, when I was 23, I got really sick with what I assumed was a bad flu/ cold. I ended up in bed for nearly a week, but when I recovered, I just wasn’t feeling my usual energetic self.

Losing Energy

After my flu, whenever we hiked Grouse Mountain, I had a harder and harder time catching my breath. I figured that I needed to work on my cardio, so I pushed myself harder, working out longer and running to the gym instead of driving. But instead of getting stronger, I kept feeling worse. 40 november • december 2015

Racing Heart

Within a few months, I started having episodes where my heart would race—it would even wake me up in the middle of the night. After a particularly scary episode in June 2000, when my heart just wouldn’t calm down, I went to the ER. The doctors told me I was having an anxiety attack and sent me home with Ativan, an anti-anxiety medication. I thought that was really weird because I wasn’t feeling anxious about anything other than my racing heart! But I figured the doctors knew best.

Is it Anxiety??

A few days later my heart started racing again, and back to the ER I went. This time, they took an X-ray and saw that I had an enlarged heart, which was news to me...but again told me it was an anxiety attack and sent me home. I think because I was young, without a history of heart problems, it didn’t trigger any alarm. Then one morning when I pulled on my jeans, they were tight. I couldn’t understand it, since I’d barely had an appetite for the past month. I dragged myself to the office, barely able to function, but afraid to ask for more time off.

Back to the ER, Again

Sitting at my desk that afternoon, I noticed that my legs had become really swollen. I

called Peter, and by the time we got to the ER—for the third time that month—I was so swollen that my body had no definition from my waist down. My toes were like sausages. The doctors and nurses took one look at me, and the rest was an absolute whirlwind. They quickly hooked me up to an IV with a diuretic to get the swelling down, and pumped me full of drugs. I don’t remember anything else because I was in the midst of heart failure. I didn’t realize how seriously ill I was until a social worker came into my room and started talking to me about the possibility of a heart transplant. That’s when I panicked, and she panicked and then she left, and I never saw her again!

A Diagnosis

It turned out that I had dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). My heart muscles were stretched and enlarged, making it extremely difficult to pump blood throughout the body. The doctors’ best guess is that when I had the flu, the virus had mutated and attacked my heart. It was a freak occurrence, and if it had been caught sooner, it could have been treated and reversed.

A New Reality

I came extremely close to needing a new heart, but instead, was put on all sorts of medicine, which made me feel awful. I ended up in the hospital for about a week, and when I returned home, my whole life was turned upside down. I got exhausted doing anything. I couldn’t even wash my hair because it was too strenuous to raise my arms. I ended up

cutting it off because it was too much to deal with. It was a complete 180 from the active life I had lived before, and adjusting to my new reality was really tough and depressing. I was put on short-term disability, and then long-term when it became clear I wasn’t going to be able to return to work. I had so many bad days where I just stayed in bed or on the sofa, watching TV. On a good day, I might clean up one room and then have a bath, since I couldn’t stand long enough to take a shower. My doctor told me not to vacuum or bend over to clean anything, as my blood pressure was so low. Peter would take me out grocery shopping on his days off, and he really picked up the slack at home, too. He’s been my rock through everything. After all that I have been through, he has never let me down. That says a lot about a person. Gradually, my exhaustion level improved, and two years after my heart failure, in August 2002, Peter and I were married in his Mum’s homeland, Scotland. But before we traveled overseas, at my doctors’ request, I had a defibrillator implanted. It’s larger than a pacemaker, about as thick a deck of cards and half as long; its sole purpose is to restart your heart if it stops.


Pilates has made me so much

healthier than I would be otherwise; as long as I practice consistently, I continue to be more pain-free and have more energy. 41

Another Move, Another Studio In 2004, we moved across the fraser River to Maple Ridge, BC, and fortunately, there was a teacher, Barb Dales, who was Polestar trained. It was such a difference from the first studio, especially since she was very rehab-oriented. I went to her for about four years, off and on, depending on my health.

Falling in Love With Classical Pilates

When another one of my teachers, kelsey lyster, went to The Pilates Center of Boulder for training, she returned over-the-moon excited about the classical Pilates method. I started learning from her and fell in love with it, too. I’m not overstating things to say it changed my life. I truly believe that Joseph Pilates created this system for a reason, and I’m 100 percent behind the logic of the classical system. I don’t think doing a movement here and there benefited me nearly as much as learning the classical Pilates method, where each exercise you do sets you up for the next exercise.

Another Heart Emergency

Finding Pilates


42 november • december 2015

Soon after the wedding, we moved to langley, BC, also near Vancouver. By this time, I was feeling more normal, thanks in part to getting my meds balanced out. But I still had to pace myself, or I’d be wiped out. I'd grocery shop one day and clean a bathroom the next day, then need a day of rest. I was longing to do something athletic and noticed a Pilates studio a short walk from our home. Although I knew nothing about Pilates, I found out that I could lie down to exercise on the Reformer, which sounded perfect because I tended to get dizzy if I stood up, then sat down too much, plus I needed the extra assist of the machine. now that I know more about Pilates, I realize that the studio wasn’t very good. It was a choreographed class where nothing ever changed. But even that once-a-week class got me hooked. I always felt invigorated afterward.

The battery life of a defibrillator is five to seven years, and in my case, the lead that goes from the device into the heart chamber had degraded and also needed to be replaced. So in July 2010, I went in to get my implant replaced...a supposedly straightforward operation that went completely sideways. During the surgery, they didn’t realize the lead had attached itself to scar tissue on the wall of my heart. When they went to pull the lead out, it tore a hole in my heart and all hell broke loose. Within three minutes, the doctors had cracked my chest open and were operating to stem the blood flow. I actually flat-lined on the operating table for three minutes. To make matters worse, I ended up in a coma for three days. When I finally woke up in the ICU, there was an instant commotion. They sat me up and started peppering me with questions: Where do you live? How old are you? What year is it? Because I had flat-lined, they were expecting some pretty dramatic brain damage, but happily that was not the case.

Happy Holidays

After 10 days in the hospital, I came home in August 2010, but was feeling super lousy and depressed. How could my heart condition have become worse? The next year, I just felt so brutally exhausted, and it took everything I had to just get through the day. I finally started feeling better the following October at (Canadian) Thanksgiving. for the first time in ages, I could actually taste my food and enjoy it. It was very emotional for me,

As my health improved with , I was determined to push myself even further.


to feel like I was normal and alive. I felt hopeful again and started resuming my life. I could run errands and cook and clean, but it was all very slow, with breaks and rest times. I was back to 90 percent by Christmas, so when my friend Theresa Maguire opened fusion Pilates in Maple Ridge, BC, around that time, I was thrilled to get back on the Reformer.

Picking Up Pilates Again

At first, I could only do about five reps of the Hundred. In fact, sometimes all I could do was just lie there, since getting to the studio had worn me out. Since my sternum was now fused together, I had to learn how to make my upper spine move and flex, which made Short Spine incredibly challenging. I also had to re-learn how to breathe properly. It took about a year to be able to say I was seriously doing Pilates, but by really focusing on the control and the intricate movements of each exercise, I could do a flowing Reformer repertoire. It sure wasn’t pretty, but I kept getting stronger and eventually, I was able to start doing matwork.

Team Work

Another enormous help to me, starting in early 2014, was when the studio where I was training, Surrey Pilates, brought in a physiotherapist who knew the Pilates method. He helped me restore some mobility through my torso, getting my sternum to open up and working with me to reduce my chronic pain. Between doing Pilates two to three times a week and my work with the physiotherapist, cleaning and cooking didn’t completely wipe

me out anymore. While the exhaustion is always with me, not being chronically in pain was incredible.

A Slow Run

As my health improved with Pilates, I was determined to push myself even further. So on July 1, 2012—Canada Day—I did my first 5k run. All I wanted to do was finish on my own two feet, preferably without being dragged over the finish line by a kind passerby! Peter ran it with me for support and as a "just in case" something went wrong. I was scared and tired—but exhilarated when I finished! My competitive side kicked in, and I thought, Hmmm, maybe I can do a 10K!

Setting a Challenge

After that, I set a goal for myself every year. Some days, I couldn’t train because I was too exhausted. And I wasn’t fast; in fact, I ran/walked so slowly that my team’s name was Team Turtle. My Pilates teacher Melissa nagai from b.Pilates joined my team, and we did a 10k in 2013, a half-marathon in 2014 and a full marathon in 2015. I’m still amazed I did them all! There is no way I could have participated in those runs without Pilates. I would love to be a Pilates instructor, but my health and energy is still too inconsistent to hold down a job. But still, in 2013, I took a teacher-training course at fusion Pilates under Emmie li, who is a graduate of The Pilates Center Advanced Teacher Training Program and Master’s Program in Boulder. All I really wanted was to dive more deeply into Joseph Pilates’ method, and to help speed my recovery next time I need device-changing surgery.


In a Good Place

Pilates has made me so much healthier than I would be otherwise; as long as I practice consistently, I continue to be more pain-free and have more energy. I’ve even started to add the Tower and Chair work into my routine, and my next goals include doing a full Snake on the Reformer and working toward a High Bridge! I’ve come such a long way since my openheart surgery. It’s quite miraculous, if I do say so myself! PS 43



PILATES Get your heart pumping and metabolism revved with these intense combo movements inspired by boxing-style training. Warning: Stepping into this ring isn’t for the faint of heart.


As a former boxing gym owner and coach, I was always looking for effective exercises that would complement my Pilates training. Boxers have historically been very minimalist in their approach to conditioning. The sport demands extreme stamina, yet athletes cannot compromise on developing their coordination and rhythm. As a practitioner of both Pilates and boxing—it is well documented that Joseph Pilates was a boxing enthusiast, too—it seemed obvious to fuse the two to provide a well-rounded workout. I have experienced such great results with this Cardio Pilates workout both personally and with clients that I was inspired to share it, to show that Pilates can have cardiovascular benefits in addition to the countless others. Although this is a fusion of two different exercise methodologies, I was careful to maintain the integrity of the Pilates method. Here, I aim to provide a workout that builds strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and a good cardiovascular base for any athletic activity. Evidence shows interval-style training to be one of the most effective fat-burning tools. In addition to the fast-paced cardio

44 november • december 2015


By Eduard Botha • Edited by Amanda Altman

aspect of the workout, the Pilates exercises ensure that a mind/body connection underpins the routine. As a BASI Pilates faculty member, I spend a lot of time on the road teaching, so I chose not to incorporate equipment, to make the workout as

accessible as possible. The routine can be adapted to all levels, as the Pilates repertoire has endless modifications to accommodate anyone. Depending on your fitness level, each exercise can be repeated multiple times in one workout to

increase the intensity. For example, Roll-Like-a-Ball to Squat can be done as three sets of 10 repetitions, with 30 seconds of rest in between, before moving to the next exercise. Do the routine up to three times a week for a major jab to your waistline. PS

roll-like-a-Ball to Squat promotes abdominal control; improves spinal flexion; massages the back extensors; strengthens the hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps; increases cardio and muscular endurance S E T u P : Sit on the end of your tailbone, with your knees bent, feet hip-width apart off the mat and hands resting on your shins. Your spine is in deep flexion (rounded) and abdominals are engaged. PuRPOSE:

1. Inhale, rolling back onto your shoulder blades, keeping your chin tucked to maintain good spinal flexion.

3. Squat back down to the starting position. Do 10 reps. T i P S : Keep your head down when rolling. Avoid kicking your heels for momentum. Engage your abdominals and glutes at the top of the squat.

If you’re struggling to come to standing, hold a light hand weight or kettlebell. Holding the weight, give it a quick punch out before your feet touch the mat, to propel you to the squat position.

M O d i f i C aTi O n :

Do Roll-Like-a-Ball to Single-Leg Squat: Roll with one leg extended straight out. Push yourself up from the squat using only your bent leg.

adVan CE d :

2. Exhale, rolling up into a squat stance with your arms forward, then stand up tall, arms by your sides.


SteP 2 45

kNee StretCh SiNgle leg to MouNtaiN CliMBer

SteP 1

strengthens the abdominals, shoulders, pectorals and hips (flexors and extensors); encourages dynamic flexibility in the hip flexors; enhances cardio and muscular endurance S E T u P : Start quadruped on the ball of your right foot, knee deep in toward your shoulders, left leg extended behind you while maintaining deep lumbar flexion (C curve). Make sure your wrists are directly underneath your shoulders. PuRPOSE:

1. Inhale, drawing your left leg toward your body; exhale, pushing your leg back out. Do 10 reps on each side.

SteP 2

2. Lower your left toes to the floor, then switch legs in a dynamic motion. Do 20 reps. Keep your pelvis low during step 1, and a steady dynamic throughout.


If you have a wrist pathology, use your fists (as shown) instead of flat palms.

M O d i f i C aTi O n :

adVan CE d :

Double up on the reps.

FroNt SuPPort to SwiMMiNg promotes trunk and shoulder stability and strength; strengthens the back body; works on breath control S E T u P : Get in a push-up position, with your hands under your shoulders and body on a diagonal. PuRPOSE:


1. Hold the push-up position for 10 breaths.

SteP 2.1

2. While maintaining a stable spine, lower your body onto the mat, keeping your elbows back; then stretch your arms forward, lifting your arms and legs. 3. Exhale, pumping opposite arms and legs for 5 reps; inhale as you “swim” for another 5 reps. Do 10 reps.

SteP 3

T i P S : Keep your body on a diagonal from head to heels during step 1. Keep the pumps small and dynamic during step 3.

If you have a wrist pathology, use your fists (as shown) for Front Support.

M O d i f i C aTi O n :

adVan CE d :

Swimming. 46 november • december 2015

Add 10 push-ups before

haMStriNg Pull to ChaNge-uP challenges the abdominals, hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps; stretches the hamstrings; promotes explosive strength and cardio S E T u P : Lie on your back, with your head and chest lifted off the mat, and bring your left leg toward your body with your hands, reaching your right leg long on the mat. PuRPOSE:

1. Exhale, pulsing your left leg toward your chest; inhale, switching legs and repeating the pulse. Do 20 reps. 2. Cross your legs, roll up to standing, then assume a lunge position, hands behind your head.

eVideNCe ShowS iNterVal-Style traiNiNg to Be oNe oF the MoSt eFFeCtiVe FatBurNiNg toolS.

3. Exhale and in a jumping motion, switch legs, landing in a lunge position on your other side. Do 20 reps. T i P S : Keep your spine upright in step 2, landing softly on your feet between hops. Make sure your knees are tracking in a straight line.

If you have knee issues, alternate the lunges instead of jumping.

M O d i f i C aTi O n :


SteP 2 47

SwaN diVe to BurPee strengthens the back body; promotes muscular endurance and cardio S E T u P : Lie on the mat, with your legs together or slightly apart, hands in front of your shoulders, arms straight and back arched. PuRPOSE:


1. Exhale, dropping your trunk toward the mat, reaching your arms overhead and legs toward the ceiling. 2. Inhale, rocking your trunk up, lowering your legs and reaching your arms toward the ceiling. Do 8 reps. 3. Lie facedown, then lift yourself into a push-up position. 4. Inhale, hopping into a squat position.

StePS 1 & 2

5. Exhale, jumping up and extending your arms toward the ceiling; land in a squat and then shoot your legs out into a pushup position. 6. Inhale, lowering your body toward the mat; exhale, pushing yourself back up. 7. Do 10 reps of the entire sequence. T i P S : Keep your abdominals engaged during Swan Dive. Avoid sagging your pelvis when transitioning from the squat to the push-up position during the burpee.

a SPeCial thaNkS

to BASI Pilates and Rael Isacowitz, who inspired these exercises. StePS 4 & 5

48 november • december 2015

Side-kiCk kNeeliNg to Side Sit-uP

Side-BeNd to PuSh-uP

strengthens the hips (flexors and abductors) and side body; facilitates shoulder and pelvic-lumbar stability S E T u P : Kneel on your right knee, and place your right hand on the mat under your shoulder and left hand behind your head. Lift your left leg to hip height or higher, toes pointed. PuRPOSE:

SetuP & SteP 1

1. Exhale, swinging your left leg forward for 2 pulses, flexing your foot; inhale, swinging your leg back for 2 pulses, pointing your toes. Do 10 reps. 2. Lower your left toes to the mat. Bring your right arm behind your head. 3. Inhale, side-bending to the right; exhale, lifting your trunk back up. Do 10 reps. 4. Repeat the entire sequence on your other side. T i P S : Keep your bottom leg internally rotated to maximize the use of your hip abductor. Avoid dropping your lifted leg during step 1. Move your body laterally without forward flexion or extension. adVan CE d :

SteP 3

Extend your arms overhead during step 2.

builds strength in the lateral flexors of the trunk, shoulders, hips, pectorals and triceps; encourages stability in the trunk and pelvis; works on muscular endurance S E T u P : Get into a Side Plank position, with your bottom arm under your shoulder and top foot on the mat in front of your bottom leg. Reach your top arm toward the ceiling. PuRPOSE:


1. Exhale, lifting your body into an arc shape, reaching your top arm overhead and shifting your gaze downward. Inhale, returning to the starting position. 2. Rotate your body into a push-up position. 3. Inhale, lowering your body while maintaining a long line. SteP 1.1

4. Exhale, lifting up and rotating to the Side Plank position on your other arm. 5. Do 5–10 reps of the entire sequence. T i P S : Arc your body as high as you can to maximize the use of your lateral flexors. During the push-up, keep your arms close to your sides.

Side-bends can be done on your forearm for those with wrist discomfort. Do the push-ups on your knees.

M O d i f i C aTi O n S :

StePS 2 & 3

adVan CE d :

Lift one leg off the mat during the push-up. 49

BooMeraNg to BaCk SuPPort increases abdominal, shoulder extensor, back extensor and hip (flexor and extensor) strength; improves coordination; stretches the shoulders and pectorals S E T u P : Sit with your legs long, ankles crossed, body folded over your legs and arms extended forward. PuRPOSE:


1. Inhale, rolling back and lifting your legs, with your arms by your sides, palms inward. 2. Exhale, going into a Rollover, lifting your legs overhead while pressing your pinkies into the mat.

StePS 1 & 2

3. Inhale, reversing the cross of your ankles. 4. Exhale, lowering your legs, then roll up into a Teaser position. 5. Inhale, bringing your arms behind your back, interlacing your fingers, hovering your legs above the mat. 6. Exhale, lower your legs, release your hands, and circle your arms around to return to the starting position.

SteP 5

7. Do 5 reps of the entire sequence. 8. Sit up and place your hands (or fists) behind your hips, with your arms straight and fingers forward; exhale, pushing up into Back Support and holding for 10 slow breaths. T i P S : Keep a steady flow in the Boomerang. Allow your head to follow your spine during the Back Support.

Do Back Support on your fists if you have a wrist pathology. Avoid hyperextension in Back Support—keep your knees soft.

M O d i f i C aTi O n :

50 november • december 2015

SteP 8

iN additioN to the FaSt-PaCed Cardio aSPeCt oF the workout, the PilateS exerCiSeS eNSure that a MiNd/Body CoNNeCtioN uNderPiNS the routiNe.

teaSer to CroSS-leg Squat encourages trunk stability; builds strength in the abdominals, hips, hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps S E T u P : Sit with your legs lifted as high as possible while maintaining a long spine, arms overhead and palms inward. PuRPOSE:

StePS 1 & 2

1. Exhale, lowering your upper body and trunk to the mat, keeping your arms overhead and legs still. 2. Inhale, rolling up into a Teaser position, then cross your ankles. 3. Exhale, placing your feet on the mat, and push up to standing without placing your hands on the mat. 4. Inhale and squat down, lowering back to the mat; return to the starting position. 5. Do 5–8 reps of the entire sequence. T i P S : During Teaser, roll your spine up and down, articulating each vertebra. Keep your abdominals tight when your trunk is supine to protect your lumbar (lower) spine. During the squat, engage your glutes to come up from the Teaser position.

SteP 3

If you have back issues, keep your knees bent during Teaser.

M O d i f i C aTi O n :

Lower your legs to a hover during the down phase of Teaser.

adVan CE d :

eduard Botha is a Body Arts and Science International faculty member with 15 years of Pilates teaching experience. Prior to his career in Pilates, Botha was a martial arts and boxing instructor. His interests in the movement sciences made Pilates a natural progression from the combat arts. Botha currently teaches Pilates out of his beautiful studio overlooking Camps Bay beach in Cape Town, South Africa. His classes are featured on Pilates Anytime. When not teaching or practicing Pilates, Botha can be found surfing or kitesurfing his local beach, swinging a kettlebell, or practicing his current martial art of choice, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. 51

s e t a l i P k r o W t a

Stuck at the office? Do your spine a solid, and do these simple deskside stretches. Just a few minutes a day—and a regular chair—can make all the difference in your posture and well-being. By Amy Zasadny Edited by Amanda Altman

52 november • december 2015


I think we can all agree that most people sit too much. From the mounting research constantly covered in the media, one thing is undeniable: Sitting—and slumping—is bad for our health. Joe said it years ago, that a flexible spine is the key to fitness! I have been teaching Pilates for 16 years, and the one thing I see over and over again is poor posture. But can you blame us? We sit at a desk all day, in the car (or bus or train) commuting, on the couch watching television…you get the idea. Just about everyone could use a little posture boost. Happy as I am to help my clients strengthen their postural muscles during our sessions, I feel that they needed to work on them every day. So I devised a simple program that could be done while at a desk. An added perk: My clients love the rejuvenating break in the day to breathe and focus on themselves for a few minutes. I have been teaching my “Pilates at your desk” repertoire to the staff at Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles for more than a year. The exercises target the neck, shoulder girdle and spinal muscles to improve posture and relieve tension. And as great as it is to sit at your desk and stretch tight muscles, standing up gets you out of your chair and on your feet. Here, I’ve included several of my favorite desk stretches, including standing Pilates footwork, which requires a lot of focus—great for the brain as well as the body! I recommend doing these moves every day that you sit for long periods of time. If time is an issue, just pick a few that resonate with you. I can’t stress enough how important it is to stand every now and then, so make sure to include at least one standing stretch. Being productive at your desk is about to take on a whole new meaning. PS


Sit ting Hundred chair promotes proper posture and awareness s e t u P : Sit tall, forward in the chair, with your feet slightly apart on the floor. Place your hands on your belly. ProP:


1. Inhale through your nose for 5 counts, feeling your abdominals expand. 2. Exhale through your mouth for 5 counts, feeling your abdominals contract. Do 10 sets. t i P s : Don’t exaggerate the movement of your abdominals in and out. Sit tall throughout, without slumping your shoulders as you exhale. 53

d n a — g n S i t t i i n g —i s s lu m por ou r ba d f lt h . h e a id Joe sars it yea t a a ago, t h e n i p s e l flexib key to is t he es s! fitn 54 november • december 2015

Arm Circles none promotes proper posture and awareness; stretches the shoulders s e t u P : Stand tall, with your arms relaxed. ProP:


1. Inhale, reaching your arms overhead. 2. Exhale, circling your arms out to the side and then down. Do 8–10 reps. Keep your shoulders down throughout.


Seat ed Side-Bend

Shoulder Opener

chair; medium–heavy resistance band encourages proper posture; enhances flexibility in the spine; increases awareness s e t u P : Sit tall, forward in the chair, with your feet together on the floor, arms extended overhead and holding the band slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. ProPs:


1. Inhale, side-bending to the right, feeling your spine lengthen. 2. Exhale, returning to the upright position. 3. Repeat to your other side. Do 8–10 reps. t i P s : Keep your shoulders down and head equidistant between both arms. Let your head naturally tilt to the side as you bend.

chair; medium–heavy resistance band enhances posture and flexibility in the shoulders; increases awareness s e t u P : Sit tall, forward in the chair, with your feet together on the floor, holding the band slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, palms facing up and elbows by your waist. ProPs:


1. Inhale, pulling the ends of the band in opposite directions. 2. Exhale, slowly returning to the starting position. Do 8–10 reps. t i P s : Keep your elbows “glued” to your waist throughout. Avoid bringing your hands too close together.

Gear Guide Franklin Band™ 11' Blue Heavy ($9.50; 55

Seat ed Twis t chair; medium–heavy resistance band P u r P o s e : same as Seated Side-Bend s e t u P : Sit tall, forward in the chair, with your feet together on the floor, arms extended in front of you and holding the band slightly wider than shoulderwidth apart. ProPs:

1. Inhale, twisting your torso to the left. 2. Exhale, returning to center. 3. Repeat to your other side. Do 8–10 reps. Twist from your spine— don’t just move your arms.



steP 1

S tanding Swan S tretch P r o P : chair same as Seated Side-Bend s e t u P : Stand tall behind the chair, with your feet slightly apart, hands resting on the chair back and elbows bent. PurPose:

1. Inhale, lifting your chest and gaze, gently pressing down with your hands. 2. Exhale, returning to the starting position. Do 8–10 reps. Clasp your hands behind your back and lift your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together as you lift.

AdvAn ce d :

steP 1

56 november • december 2015

AdvAn ce d

S tanding Foot work chair strengthens the ankles and legs; improves posture, balance and awareness s e t u P : Same as Standing Swan Stretch. ProP:


1. Lift your heels, keeping your posture intact. 2. Keeping your heels lifted, bend your knees.

Celebrity trainer

Amy Zasadny has been teaching Pilates for

16 years. Balanced Body certified, she works out of Bodyline in Beverly

3. Lower your heels.

Hills, as well as at other Los Angeles–based studios, and also offers exclusive one-on-one intensive home sessions. Prior to finding her

4. Straighten your legs.

calling, Zasadny danced professionally throughout the world. When she moved from Michigan to L.A., she discovered Pilates and immediately

5. Do 8–10 reps of the entire sequence.

recognized the joy and power it could impart. Throughout her career, she has trained a wide variety of clients, including pregnant women,

Keep your feet and knees together, and spine straight. Look straight ahead, not down. tiPs:

cancer survivors, seniors, teenagers, movie stars and stuntwomen. Amy is inspired daily by her clients and works to create a unique set of exercises that will help each of them achieve their individual goals. For

AdvAn ce d :

Reverse the order in which you complete

more information, visit

the steps.

steP 1

steP 2

steP 3 57


Discover newfound connections—and get longer and leaner— with this resistance tool that provides hands-on feedback to beginners and advanced students alike. Eze-y does it! By Kimberly Dye • Modeled by Tatiana Trivellato • Edited by Amanda Altman Using springy resistance was one of Joseph Pilates’ critical prepatory methods for building core strength and body control. While teaching Pilates matwork in health club “no pain, no gain” settings, I often saw people misinterpreting the concept of stability: They would create rigid muscular-holding patterns, instead of achieving dynamic core strength or a “tensegrity of forces,” where the pelvis and rib cage are part of a moveable, breathing body of strength. Many students thought performing the Hundred was a feat to accomplish in any way whatsoever, even if that meant poor form due to weak muscles. Tense shoulders, overused hip flexors and general discomfort predominated. But I had an idea… 58 november • december 2015

I found that I was more effective as a teacher when providing tactile cueing and had previous success with several suspension stretch props I designed as a movement therapist. So I wrapped springy resistance fabric around my students’ backs and feet to help recreate hands-on feedback for grounding and support. As they gently “met the resistance,” while pressing through their feet and widening through their chest and arms, the “light” went on in their eyes! Newfound connections were made as they created counter-tensional pulls for multidirectional movement. With just the right amount of support to relax their hip flexors and shoulders, they could access the more subtle transverse and multifidi core muscles. It was thrilling to watch. After five years

of development through teaching, and trial and error with finding the right fabric, the Stretch-eze was born. In the following mat sequence, I have chosen to share some of my favorite Stretch-eze® wraps that can be done in just 10 minutes. You will be inspired by the way you feel during matwork—and especially the day after. You will walk with more spring, feel more connected through your feet and have more energy throughout your day. The Stretch-eze is a great tool to give to your clients for homework, or for your mixed-level mat classes, since the beginner receives well-appointed support and the more advanced student can refine their technique even more. Either way, it's the key to your next “aha moment,” something that will change your practice forever. PS




Lie on your back, with the fabric wrapped completely over your shoulders like a cape, feet placed in the center of the fabric. Press your arms out slightly, imagining that they are enveloped in a hammock.

Here’s how to position your body in the band throughout the exercises. The arrows will guide you toward multidirectional movement.


Lie on your back, with your feet inside the loop at opposite edges, legs extended toward the ceiling. Grab the middle of the fabric with an underhand grasp, creating a firm counter-resistance between your feet and hands.


Sit tall on your sit bones, with your legs extended hipwidth apart. Wrap the fabric around your low and midback, making sure it’s smooth, not twisted. Cross the fabric, and place your feet in the center. (Make an extra cross if you need more resistance.)


Assume the Shoulder Foot Wrap, and bring your arms down and out of the hammock position, so the shoulder cape is in place. Flip to your stomach, keeping your feet in the fabric, using your arms and hands to assist. Find the arm hammock position; feel free to use a small ball or towel to rest your forehead on the floor.


From Back Pack Wrap, bend your knees to 90 degrees. Release your arms from the hammock position, and slide your hands, hooking your thumbs along the edge of fabric, until the fabric comes off your shoulders. Plant your elbows on the floor in front of your head.


For more ways to use your Stretch-eze, don’t miss our upcoming e-newsletter. Sign up for free at 59

WHY THE STRETCH-EZE WORKS It promotes dynamic stretch and stability. The wraps create a closed kinetic chain, making movements involving the hips and shoulder joints more stable and less prone to injury. By meeting the resistance in the seated exercises, you create a dynamic relationship between the feet, inner thighs, hips, spine and low back, creating more space between your pelvis and ribs. This strengthens and grounds the lower half while you get longer through the spine!

of overarching and letting your knees separate, the band provides the right amount of resistance for tactile cueing.

It makes it harder to cheat. For example, during Shoulder Bridge, you'll be less likely to overshoot the Bridge, since the flexible but strong pressure helps to define the perimeter and angle of the movement. As your hips elevate, the springy fabric on your hips and thighs gently compresses. Instead

It promotes multidimensional movement. The tactile input envelops the total-body perimeter—from the bottom of the feet to the legs, arms and back. It supports our growth into fascial consciousness as we learn about the importance of spreading the load of forces.

It helps correct structural or muscular imbalances. In Roll-Up, for instance, the wrapping facilitates even pressure between your right and left sides, revealing and allowing for self-correcting asymmetries between your pelvis and rib cage, or right hip/left hip.


STRAIGHT-LEG EXCHANGE Inside Reins increases hip stability and range of motion; strengthens the hips, hamstrings, biceps and deltoids; dynamically stretches the hamstrings and calves S e t u p : Stay in the Inside Reins position. Stretch - eze Setup: purpoSe:

1. Exhale, bringing your left leg toward your head as you press your right leg toward the floor, shifting your hand hold to an overhand grip and applying slight pressure of your hands toward your navel. Step 1

Shoulder Foot Wrap dynamically stretches the hamstrings and calves; creates dynamic scapular/pelvic stability; isolates the leg/hip action; strengthens and creates more space in the hip joint S e t u p : Release your left foot from the fabric, sliding it along the floor. Reach your straight arms for the fabric, placing your palms on top of it, hooking your thumb underneath for more hand control.

2. Inhale, moving your legs through center, keeping your feet in the fabric, returning your hands to the overhand grip positioning. Repeat on your other side. Do 6–10 sets.

Stretch - eze Setup: purpoSe:

t i p S : Keep your legs parallel. Feel equal compression and extension in your ball-and-socket joint. Practice hand changing with the least amount of effort and no wrist torsion. Keep widening across your back.

If you have neck tension, rest your head on the floor or on a rolled towel. Keep your shoulders and lower back planted as you switch legs.

M o d i f i c ati o n S :

1. Inhale to prepare. Exhale, lifting your right leg toward the ceiling, foot flexed and covered by fabric. 2. Expand your body into the stretch for 4 deep breaths. Repeat on your other side. t i p S : Use the resistance of the fabric to isolate the leg action deep in your hip. Bring awareness to the equal and opposite energetic pulls. Keep your leg on the floor active by energizing through your foot, imagining that it’s an extension of your spine.

If you have tight hamstrings, bend the knee outside of the fabric, foot flat on the floor. For those with extreme lordosis, keep your back flat.

M o d i f i c ati o n S :

60 november • december 2015

Step 1

SPINE STRETCH Back Foot X-Wrap p u r p o S e : emphasizes dynamic stability in the legs, pelvis and low back; promotes tactile feedback to prevent overflexing S e t u p : Lift your arms slightly above your head. Stretch - eze Setup:

1. Inhale, engaging your abdominals by lifting, scooping and widening back into the resistance of the fabric. Activate your legs by pressing your feet slightly apart into the band, sitting tall on your sit bones. 2. Exhale, reaching your arms forward as you deepen your scoop and widen your back more into the resistance of the band, keeping your legs active. 3. Inhale, hold the position, energizing throughout your body. 4. Exhale, stacking each vertebra to return to the starting position. Do 4–6 reps. t i p S : Use the tactile feedback from the band to maintain the opposing tensional forces: Reach forward and scoop your abdominals, while you widen your back into the band.

Do Side Stretch: Reach toward the left, keeping your right hip stable and side energized into the band. Repeat to your right side. Va r i ati o n :

USING SPRINGY RESISTANCE WAS ONE OF JOSEPH PILATES’ CRITICAL PREPARATORY METHODS FOR BUILDING CORE STRENGTH AND BODY CONTROL. SWAN PREP I Back Pack Wrap increases spinal flexibility and assists the spine into extension; strengthens the spine extensors; lengthens the shoulders down for cervical decompression S e t u p : Inhale, pressing your pubic bone into the floor. Stretch - eze Setup: purpoSe:

1. Exhale, slowly evening out the pressure on the band as you lengthen and lift your chest and legs, and press your legs and press your legs into the resistance. Expand your arms into the resistance, widening your back. 2. Inhale, then exhale, expanding into the position, keeping energized throughout your body. 3. Inhale, then exhale, slowly returning to the starting position. Do 4 reps. t i p S : Keep your pubic bone anchored, and focus on keeping your head and neck in alignment. Feel the increased space between your shoulders and ears.

StepS 1 & 2 Stretch - eze Setup

Step 1

Va r i ati o n 61


SWAN PREP II Hand Foot Wrap increases spinal flexibility; strengthens the spine extensors; promotes coordination between the upper and lower body; corrects right/left side imbalances S e t u p : Inhale, then exhale, planting your pubic bone, quads and elbows into the floor. Stretch - eze Setup: purpoSe:

1. Inhale, slowly evening out the pressure on the band as you lengthen and lift your legs, and press your arms forward, lifting your sternum. 2. Exhale, energizing throughout your body, feeling all the oppositional pulls. 3. Inhale, slowly bending your elbows and knees to return to the starting position. Do 3 reps. t i p S : Feel the action of your legs and arms, imagining that they are part of the same line extending in opposite directions. Keep grounding through your pubic bone into the floor. Try to adjust your hand and/or foot resistance to compensate for any imbalance you may notice. adVan ce d :

Add a forward and backward rock.

DOUBLE-LEG ROCKER Stretch - eze Setup:


Foot Wrap assists with balance and maintaining posture during the roll; relaxes the hip flexors to allow for core work; teaches dynamic movement S e t u p : Get into a Teaser position, with your legs open in a V shape, thumbs hooked under the fabric. purpoSe:

1. Inhale, then exhale, engaging your core, and even out the resistance, pressing your back, arms, hands and feet into the band. 2. Inhale and initiating from your core, roll back, keeping your head off the floor, then roll forward to return to the starting position. t i p S : Maintain even pressure on the band between your back, legs and arms as you roll. Focus on maintaining core engagement. Press your hands/arms out and forward while rolling up. Keep your shoulders and scapulae low and wide.

62 november • december 2015

Stretch - eze Setup


Stretch-eze® is available in five sizes, from extra-small to extra-tall ($30–$44;

Step 1

KIMBERLY DYE, MS, BC-DMT, is a former professional dancer,

TATIANA TRIVELLATO holds a graduate degree in sports

licensed movement therapist and Balanced Body–certified mat instructor.

physical therapy and business administration. She hails from Belo

She's the CEO of Dye-namic Movement Products and the creator of the

Horizonte, Brazil, where she owned and managed a Pilates/physical

Stretch-eze®, “The Ultimate Full Body Resistance Band.” Her movement

therapy studio for seven years. Trivellato, PMA® -CPT, is a Polestar

therapy and fitness products have won Parent’s Choice Gold, Early Childhood

Pilates instructor and Lolita San Miguel Pilates Master. She received

Director’s Choice and best travel awards, for their unique

her Stretch-eze training from Katherine and Kimberly Corp at Pilates

contribution to movement education. Dye has also created and starred in

on Fifth, and is responsible for introducing Stretch-eze trainings

five training DVDs, and enjoys collaborating on educational projects that

and workshops in eight different Brazilian states. Trivellato also

expand the applications of whole-body resistance and suspension. For more

offers training and consulting for Pilates studios, and teaches team

information, or to purchase the DVDs, visit

management for Pilates entrepreneurs.


Upcoming Stretch-eze trainings are available at Pilates on Fifth with Katherine and Kimberly Corp; Pilates Center of Austin with Wendy Leblanc-Arbuckle; Rolates Pilates of New York with Roberta Kirschenbaum; and Pilates with Teresa in Mountain View, CA. For more information, visit 63


Balance When Zayna Gold was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, she was forced down a new Pilates path. Here, she shares the moves—and newfound mind-set—that helped her heal both mind and body. By Zayna Gold Edited by Amanda Altman

“Practicing Pilates is not about achieving perfection. Rather it is a journey toward harmony and balance.” —Nora St. John, Balanced Body Education program director

Can you imagine living in a body that is waging war against itself? This is the nature of autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. I am one of 1.6 million Americans who battle these chronic illnesses. Symptoms are horrific—imagine the worst stomach flu you ever had, then add bleeding, nausea, fatigue and joint and back pain—and they last for weeks, months, even years as doctors 64 november • december 2015

try to find the medications that might give you relief. More than 20 years ago, I was diagnosed with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) when I was a newly divorced young mom with a busy Pilates studio. I prided myself on being physically fit, strong, invincible. As I got sicker and lost control of my own body and health, I tried numerous medications and holistic treatments; nothing helped my severe GI symptoms, chronic pain and exhaustion. Simply surviving each day had become my life. Pilates was my passion, but pushing myself and focusing on perfect alignment wasn’t working for me in my vulnerable state. It just made me feel ashamed of my limitations and

frustrated. In order to regain my joy of movement, I began to develop a compassionate training style to revive my body, mind and spirit. As a trainer, this approach really resonated with all my clients—not just those with autoimmune diseases. Through the years, this has reaffirmed my love for Pilates, showing me that the right type of practice can help the body find harmony and balance on a physical and emotional level. Two years ago, I got my life back. Medications had stopped working, and my doctor recommended Remicade, a biologic medication delivered through an IV infusion for six to eight weeks. After my first two infusions, given two weeks apart, my insides felt calm and quiet—for the first time in decades.

Do you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis?


The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding cures for the conditions and improving the quality of life for those affected. For more information or to get involved, visit My GI symptoms were improving; continued Remicade treatments gave me a chance for remission! Now I faced the challenge of reversing the effects of muscle wasting, especially in the postural muscles, buttocks and core. “Muscle wasting occurs in IBD for many reasons: dietary changes leading to poor nutrition, deconditioning when symptoms are active and medication side effects, particularly from steroids. Chronic inflammatory conditions are also associated with muscle catabolism due to the metabolic burden of inflammation,” explains Dr. Alan Moss, a member of Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians (HMFP) and a gastroenterologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Another downside of the disease? Back and SI pain, even during remission. “A small number of patients with IBD also have inflammation in their joints, typically the sacroiliac joints (low back), but it can also affect elbows, wrists, knees and feet. In addition, steroids can weaken bones or cause painful joints when stopped,” adds Dr. Moss. The following Reformer exercises helped me focus on rebuilding strong muscles—including the spinal extensors and pelvic floor—while keeping my spine in a stable neutral to avoid low-back pain. But above all, they helped me regain harmony and balance, and feel strong and centered from head to toe. Do this routine two to three times a week, working up to six repetitions of each move. Don’t harp on breath patterns—just breathe naturally—but keep the resistance strong enough to fatigue your muscles while keeping your joints safe. PS

Scooter Knee Stretch medium–light to medium strengthens the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes in both the support and working sides; increases awareness of using the abdominals and upper-back extensors together, to maintain a straight back S e t u p : Stand beside the carriage with your left knee bent and right foot against the near shoulder rest, knee bent. Place your hands on the upright footbar shoulder-width apart, keeping your spine in neutral. Spring Setting: purpoSe:

1. Position your left heel directly under your sit bone. Create opposition by pressing through all four corners of your left foot and pulling that leg up into your hip. Press your hands firmly into the footbar while pulling your upper arm bones into your shoulders. 2. Press your right foot into the shoulder rest to push the carriage out, reaching the crown of your head away. 3. Slowly return the carriage. Do 6–10 reps on both sides. t i p S : Focus on engaging your glutes, abdominals and upper-back muscles while pressing the carriage away. “Zip up” through both the front and back of your pelvic floor. Release your glutes and sit bones while returning the carriage. Concentrate on head-to-toe opposition and elongation.

Decrease the resistance or range of motion. If you feel any discomfort in your knees, lower the footbar.

M o d i f i c ati o n S :

Add a twist: “Thread a needle” in step 1, then reach your arm back and straighten your spine as you push the carriage back. Stay within a comfortable range of motion to stretch your upper back and spine.

advan ce d :


Step 2

a d va n c e d .1

advan ce d. 2

Don’t have a Reformer?

Check out the Mat Moves throughout! 65


Step 3

Spring Setting:


to heavy strengthens the glutes, hamstrings and back extensors; promotes a safe, stable neutral through the balanced engagement of the abdominals, glutes and back extensors S e t u p : Lower the headrest. Lie on the carriage, with your heels together and toes on the footbar, arms by your sides and palms down.

your knees, hips and shoulders in a straight line.

position, i.e., with your legs hip-width apart and heels on footbar.

3. Press your feet firmly into the footbar, and keeping your glutes and abdominals strongly contracted, push the carriage out.

advan ce d :


1. Rock your pelvis forward and back, going through a full range of motion. Make the movement small, until you find your safe neutral, where your lower back and hips are free of strain and back ribs are released into the carriage.

4. Slowly return the carriage. Do 6–10 reps. t i p S : Think of protecting your spine with a strongly engaged front (abdominal) and back (hamstrings, glutes, back extensors) body. “Zip up” through your anterior and posterior pelvic floor while pushing the carriage out. Release your sit bones and hip crease while returning carriage.

Do Single-Leg Bridge: Place your heels hip-width apart on the footbar, and reach your right foot toward the ceiling, keeping your glutes and obliques engaged. Press the carriage out, pushing your foot firmly into the footbar. Press your left hamstring toward the floor to fully engage your hamstrings and glutes. Return the carriage with control. Do 6–10 reps on each side.

M a t M o v e : Don’t have a Reformer? Do the exercise on the mat, bending your knee instead of extending it.

Place a small (8- to 10-inch) ball under your hips for support, and limit your range of motion. Try alternating your leg

M o d i f i c ati o n S :

2. Engage your glutes and hamstrings to maintain a straight back, and lift your pelvis, keeping

Learn More

If you think IBD is just stomach pains, think again. For the nitty-gritty details of life with the condition, visit The ultra-athletic Megan Starshak, an ulcerative colitis patient and a Team Challenge alumnus for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, digs deep in her I Want You to Know blog post. advan ce d

66 november • december 2015

Lunge Spring Setting:

Healing Hints

Whether you have an autoimmune disease or just don’t feel 100 percent, Gold’s tips will help you make the most of your workout.


to medium stretches the front of the hip, including the psoas; strengthens the upper back; enhances balance S e t u p : Stand beside the footbar, with both hands shoulder-width apart on it. Place your near foot against the near shoulder rest, knee bent on the carriage. Bend your standing knee to release your pelvis and relax your pelvic floor. purpoSe:

Infuse serenity and peace into the body with an effortless flow of breath from the mouth through the digestive tract. Have an intention to calm the chaos within.

S tay p o S i t i v e .

forget about perfect forM.

1. Lift your chest, until you feel a stretch through your front hip and thigh. Use your upper-back muscles to maintain length and strength from your lower back through the crown of your head.

StepS 1 & 2

2. Press your foot against the shoulder rest to move the carriage back an inch, engaging your glutes and hamstrings. Do 3–6 reps on both sides.

Chronic digestive spasms and pain play havoc with body awareness and alignment. Focus on proper muscle engagement; self-palpate to make sure the targeted muscle groups are activated. Your safe “neutral” is a pelvic and spine position that is free from joint strain, promotes balanced muscle engagement and provides you with the strongest foundation in each exercise.

redefine neutral .

t i p S : Keep your pelvis and spine long, neutral and free of strain throughout. Press your support foot firmly into the floor to increase muscle engagement and help with balance.

b e c r e ati ve w ith b o dy p o S iti o n S a n d r e S i S ta n c e .

If your belly is painful to the touch, avoid lying prone, and instead, do an all-fours variation. If you are too weak to use weighted straps and bands, use “air weights”—imagine that you’re holding heavy objects.

It may take a while to achieve a neutral pelvis and spine—stay within a comfortable range.

M o d i f i c ati o n :

Lift your far arm toward the ceiling to increase the stretch and challenge balance.

advan ce d :

advan ce d

think before you drink ( a n d e a t ) . Your biggest concern may be getting through your workout without stomach cramps and pain. Choose low-fiber carbohydrates and proteins at least two hours before exercise. Take little sips of water during the workout; fully hydrate before and after.

Come into a comfortable lunge position, bending your front knee. Straighten your front leg by pushing your foot into the floor. Raise your arms toward the ceiling to engage your upperback muscles, including the extensors, and help your achieve a neutral spine. M at M ove :

Adjust intensity and exercise choices each day. On tough days, basic movements seem like running a marathon. On good days, feel free to push yourself.

li S te n to yo u r b o dy.

M at M ove 67

Don’t harp on breath patterns— just breathe naturally— but keep the resistance strong enough to fatigue your muscles while keeping your joints safe.

Seated Tendon Stretch Spring Setting:

light to medium–

Step 1

light increases torso stabilization; works in place of supine abdominal work if lying on the back is uncomfortable; strengthens the core muscles and back extensors to maintain a strong neutral seated position S e t u p : Facing the headrest, sit tall on the locked footbar, with your legs hip-width apart and half of your parallel feet on the carriage, pressing your palms into the footbar. Press your heels down toward the well of the carriage, if possible. purpoSe:

1. Press the carriage out, maintaining a stable, vertical torso. 2. Slowly return the carriage. Do 6–10 reps.


t i p S : Use your upper-back extensors to maintain proper posture. Keep your chest and shoulders wide.

Decrease the resistance until you can do all the reps while keeping your torso stable. Have a trainer spot you for balance.

M o d i f i c ati o n S :

Add arm variations: Hug a Tree, opening and closing your arms, and Hug a Tree with a Single-Arm Raise.

advan ce d :

Gear Guide Balanced Body Pilates Allegro ® 2 Reformer, with legs ($3,190 Balanced Body mat; the only way to nab one is to attend Pilates on Tour! For more information and upcoming dates, visit

advan ce d : hug a tree

advan ce d : hug a tree with a Single-arM raiSe

Side-Lying Leg Work


medium strengthens the glutes, hamstrings, abductors and adductors, and side body (obliques, quadratus lumborum and shoulder girdle); releases tension in the hip joint; teaches neutral and lengthened spine in a side-lying position, and to maintain a neutral pelvis through hip flexion S e t u p : Lie on your side on the carriage, with your bottom forearm propped up against the shoulder blocks. Place your top foot angled forward on the footbar, knee bent at a 90 degree angle, and bottom leg resting on the Reformer base. Make sure your hips are stacked, and place your top hand on your hip, to help you maintain an equally engaged anterior and posterior body. (If you find your anterior muscles to be more engaged, move your top hip slightly backward and vice versa.) Spring Setting: purpoSe:

1. Keeping your torso and hips stable, press the carriage out, staying within a small range of motion. 2. Hold the position while pressing through all four corners of your foot on the footbar. Visualize reaching your sit

Step 1

bones back into a squat while simultaneously reaching through the crown of your head. Feel the elongation of your vertebrae. 3. Maintaining this elongated sensation, slowly return the carriage. Do 6–10 reps on both sides. t i p S : Focus on your lateral torso muscles to maintain alignment throughout. Engage your upper-back muscles to lengthen your spine through the crown of your head. Focus on opposition by pressing through your working foot while zipping up through your thighs and pelvic floor. M o d i f i c ati o n :

Rest your head on the upright headrest

and/or a block. advan ce d :

Increase the resistance.

M a t M o v e : If you don’t have access to a Reformer, do the move on the mat, using the resistance of your own body instead of the springs.

M at M ove

STOTT PILATES ®- and Power Pilates–certified

Zayna Gold is the founder and president

of Boston Body Pilates, one of the first Pilates centers in New England. With three locations, Boston Body Pilates is also a Training Center for Balanced Body Education, and offers a mentoring program for aspiring Pilates and barre instructors. Gold is faculty for Balanced Body Education and is the creator of Balanced Body Barre. She specializes in rehab for back issues and chronic pain. Her Healing through Movement, Barre and Sculpting DVDs are available at Gold lives with her husband Clark Elefteriadis, two dogs and two cats in the Boston area. Her sons, Michael and David, live in the area and enjoy practicing Pilates. 69

You can find peace on earth—even in this crazybusy season—with these simple strategies. by A.J. Hanley

COLOR WITH US! No, we didn't run out of ink for these pages—color them in to destress on the spot! Share your art with us on Facebook ( or Instagram (@pilatesstylemag). #pilatesstylecolors

From battling Black Friday crowds and meeting work deadlines to entertaining the in-laws and cooking the perfect turkey, “the most wonderful time of the year” can also be the most stressful. As soon as the annual onslaught of anxiety begins— often around Halloween when the first holiday commercials start airing—the body’s defenses kick in, releasing hormones like adrenaline and cortisol to boost your energy and make you more focused and alert. The danger, however, is when the stress becomes chronic or prolonged. Being stuck in the “on” position for weeks or months exposes you to more of those brain chemicals, which can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, and leave you vulnerable to a host of physical and emotional problems. As headaches, muscle tension and sleeplessness become your new normal, you may find yourself feeling irritable and unable to concentrate. In addition, high levels of cortisol have been linked to heart disease and cancer, as well as gastrointestinal problems, asthma and depression. But you don’t have to just check out till New Year’s in order to have a Zen-like holiday. These easy, researchbased solutions will help you keep your cool as you celebrate the season—and cope with any stressful situation that life throws your way.

StreSS-BuSting Strategy

While wearable biofeedback tools like the Spire ($150; can be helpful in alerting you about stress overload, she advises simply checking in with yourself periodically. Ask yourself where you stand on a scale from one (super-relaxed) to 10 (complete freak-out mode). “If you’re at a four, five or six, you’ll be doing some of your best work.” If it's higher, take some deep breaths, then evaluate if you can delegate some things, postpone them or skip them altogether.

influences stress levels. An attitude of gratitude was also shown to activate the regions associated with dopamine, a mood-elevating neurotransmitter. StreSS-BuSting Strategy

To reap these benefits, use a notepad or journal to jot down things you’re thankful for (no matter how small or mundane), or send little notes to friends or family letting them know how much they’re appreciated.

3. Take it outside.

1. Find your flow state.

Research shows that the increase in vitamin D you get from exposure to direct sunlight may elevate your levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for keeping you calm and content. The sights, sounds and smells of nature also serve as a distraction, redirecting your focus from your worries, explains Patricia Farrell, PhD, a psychologist based in Tenafly, NJ, and author of How to Be Your Own Therapist: A Step-by-Step Guide to Taking Back Your Life (McGraw-Hill, 2002).

“A certain amount of stress is good for you,” says Joan Borysenko, PhD, bestselling author of Minding the Body, Mending the Mind (Da Capo Press, 2007). It not only gives you the drive to get out of bed in the morning, but the wherewithal to get through your to-do list. “If you plot stress on a graph— placing it on one axis and creativity and efficiency on the other—it’s actually the middle of the curve that’s the sweet spot in terms of getting things done,” she explains. This is called the “flow state,” and finding it is the key to being calm and productive.

Go for a stroll or eat lunch outside. If you can’t step out, sit by a window and daydream, or transport yourself to a scenic locale by scrolling through vacation photos or travel websites. “Use your imagination to walk across that beach, listen to the birds and feel the breeze on your face,” Dr. Farrell suggests. If you’re struggling to escape the grind, she recommends checking out a guided imagery video on YouTube (one to try: “Take 5: The Forest Awakens”). Or download an anxiety-easing app like Naturespace

2. Serve up some gratitude. Thanksgiving isn’t the only day to count your blessings. A 2009 study from the National Institutes of Health found that people who feel the most grateful have higher levels of activity in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that

StreSS-BuSting Strategy 71

“Color with Us” on page 70! Then put that colored pencil (or crayon or gel marker) to paper and embrace your inner artist. (free IOS and Android) and let the audio take you away.

4. Color yourself calm. Not just for kids anymore, coloring has become the ”it“ self-help hobby for grownups. Amazon’s top-20 bestseller list currently includes four adult coloring books, and clubs and Facebook groups devoted to the pastime are on the rise. In a soonto-be-published study in the journal Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 30-minute periods of mandala coloring (circular designs with concentric shapes) reduced pre-exam anxiety in first-year college students. A relaxation technique used by psychologists since the early 20th century, “coloring is a tremendously absorbing, creative and calming activity,” Dr. Borysenko says. “It helps you focus while quieting the mind.” StreSS-BuSting Strategy

Express yourself with DIY doodles or pick up an illustrated book. Two popular options: Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book (Laurence King Publishing, 2015) or Nature Mandalas Coloring Book (Design Originals, 2014). Or better yet, see 72 november • december 2015

5. Hug it out. Frequent hugs may prevent us from getting sick when we’re stressed, according to a study published this past year in the journal Psychological Science. While Carnegie Mellon University researchers attribute the illnessbuffering results to social support, other experts point to the power of touch. “Hugging may deliver the same calming, de-stressing effects as a massage, given that pressure receptors are stimulated,” explains Tiffany Field, PhD, director of the University of Miami Medical School’s Touch Research Institute. “That leads to a slowing of the nervous system, a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure, and a reduction in cortisol.” StreSS-BuSting Strategy

Be generous with your hugs. With zero hit to your bank account and more readily available than a massage, a warm embrace can feel pretty great on a cold winter’s night.

6. Sing a happy tune. Music’s ability to soothe is wellfounded, with mounting evidence

that it can reduce many of the biological markers of stress. One particularly potent way to harness the benefits of a song is to exercise those vocal cords. In a 2013 study, researchers found that one hour of weekly choir singing alleviated anxiety and decreased negative moods in those who participated. “Singing in a group provides emotional and physical closeness, both of which have stress-reducing powers,” Dr. Farrell says. StreSS-BuSting Strategy

Join a local choir or choral group, or grab a few friends who don’t care how great your voice is (or isn’t) for a karaoke night. Anyone for a few rounds of “Jingle Bell Rock”?

7. Cave to your cravings. It’s no surprise many of us seek out carbs when we’re feeling anxious. “There’s research to show that a small amount of a sweet treat can help calm the stress response,” says Elizabeth Somer, MA, RA, a nutritionist and author of Eat Your Way to Happiness: 10 Diet Secrets to Improve Your Mood, Curb Cravings and Keep the Pounds Off (Harlequin, 2009). “However, it’s not a license to binge,” she cautions. “Foods high in sugar and refined grains are now

suspected, if not proven, to alter brain chemistry and promote addiction when consumed repeatedly.” StreSS-BuSting Strategy

Indulge in a healthy snack. Only 30 grams of a complex carb is needed to raise serotonin levels, says Somer, which translates to a small apple and three graham crackers, or four cups of air-popped popcorn.

8. Fit in fitness. While it’s easy to let a daily exercise regimen slide when you’re overwhelmed, physical activity will go a long way toward making you feel better. Exercise revs your body’s production of endorphins— natural opiates that trigger positive feelings—and aids in metabolizing the buildup of stress hormones. StreSS-BuSting Strategy

If you’re pressed for time, take a walk, or do a brief Pilates session at home or at the studio. In addition to relieving muscle tension, the steady breathing and mindfulness that are essential to the practice will help you maintain a sense of calm.

9. Put the kettle on. Rough day? Curl up with a mug of tea rather than your usual glass of pinot. Regular consumption of black tea can speed the recovery from daily stresses, according to a 2010 study from University College London. StreSS-BuSting Strategy

While the study’s participants knocked back four cups of tea daily, even sipping one can provide relief. “Any warm liquid is like an internal bubble bath,” says Somer. “It slightly raises body temperature, which helps to calm and center you.”

StreSS-BuSting Strategy

“Call a funny friend or designate a shelf to flicks that make your sides split,” suggests Dr. Farrell. Or “try to see the absurdity of life and laugh at your own neuroses,” says Dr. Borysenko. “This allows you to back up and have perspective—and make healthier choices as a result.”

11. Take a sniff. Fragrance is more than just a pleasant smell. Lavender, for example, has been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure, and ease sleep problems. Other scents said to have relaxation-inducing perks include pine, vanilla, jasmine and lemongrass. To find your soothing staple, follow your nose. “Most responses to scents are learned, so you need to identify whatever is calming to you based on personal experience,” says Leslie Stein, PhD, director of science communications at Philadelphia’s Monell Chemical Senses Center, a nonprofit research institute. StreSS-BuSting Strategy

Create your own aromatherapy experience by stashing an essential oil in your medicine cabinet or desk drawer. Then dab or spritz some on a handkerchief or scarf so you can decompress on the go. An even easier option? A roll-on aromatherapy applicator, such as Aura Cacia Chakra Roll-On ($15.99;

12. Unplug.

10. Laugh it off.

If your hand is welded to your smartphone, you won’t be shocked to learn that 59 percent of us check email on traditional family holidays like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas. A recent University of British Columbia study, however, suggests that easing up on the digital missives could reduce psychological stress.

When it comes to lowering stress levels, laughter just may be the best medicine. In the short term, giggles and guffaws stimulate your heart and lungs, aid muscle relaxation and release feelgood endorphins. Make humor a habit, say researchers, and you’ll bolster your overall outlook and immune system, two factors that help to buffer the chemical reaction to stressful events.

Set up an out-of-office message to inform people that you’re not reading or responding to email until you return, then turn off notifications on your phone. A holiday should be a respite from our daily lives, says Dr. Farrell. “Take a break and give yourself the precious gift of time away from email.”

StreSS-BuSting Strategy 73


Warm Spinach with Currants, pine nutS and Yogurt The Iranians, the Lebanese, the Turks and the Moroccans all have their own variations of this velvety dish of cooked spinach combined with yogurt. Served as mezze in restaurants throughout the Middle East, this is a delicious way to enjoy spinach. Pulled from several traditions, my version includes currants, onions and pine nuts, served warm with dollops of cool, garlic-flavored yogurt and chunks of crusty bread. (Serves 3–4)


pound plus 2 ounces fresh spinach leaves, thoroughly

1 2

washed and drained cup thick, creamy yogurt cloves garlic, crushed

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2–3 1

tablespoons olive oil

1–2 1–2

teaspoons granulated sugar


red onion, quartered and sliced with the grain teaspoons finely chopped dried red chile tablespoons tiny currants, soaked in boiling water for 15


minutes and drained tablespoons pine nuts

freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon warm crusty bread, to serve

Make over your holiday side dishes—without sacrificing on taste—with these takes on Mediterranean mezzes from Ghillie Başan’s Mezze: Small Plates to Share. A little goes a long way, thanks to bright, complex flavor combinations, meaning those jeans will still fit come New Year’s. We’ll toast to that. Recipes by Ghillie Başan • Photos by Jan Baldwin 74

november • december 2015

1. place the spinach in a steamer, or in a colander placed inside a large pot partially filled with water. steam the spinach until soft. drain and squeeze out any excess water, then coarsely chop the spinach. 2. in a bowl, beat the yogurt with the garlic. season with salt and pepper, and put aside. 3. heat the oil in a heavy pan, and stir in the onion with the sugar for 2–3 minutes to soften. add the chiles, currants and pine nuts for 2–3 minutes, until the currants plump up and the pine nuts begin to color. toss in the spinach, making sure it is mixed well, and add the lemon juice. season well with salt and pepper, and place the spinach onto a serving dish. 4. make a well in the middle of the spinach, and spoon some of the yogurt into it. serve while the spinach is still warm with chunks of crusty bread to scoop it up.


roasted Butternut Sickle MOons With dukkah and Lime Combinations of garlic and spices always work well with the mild, but slightly perfumed, flesh of butternut squash. When you add these to the mezze table, you can eat them with your fingers, or run a knife between the flesh and the skin to separate them. (Serves 4–6)

1 2–3 1

medium butternut squash (approximately 2 pounds) tablespoons olive oil tablespoon dukkah seasoning

sea salt to taste

1 2

teaspoon dried mint limes, quartered

1. preheat the oven to 400°f. cut the butternut squash in half lengthways, scoop out the seeds, and cut each half crossways into thin slices. the slices in middle with the hollow will look like sickle moons, whereas the others will resemble half moons. 2. lightly grease a baking dish, and place the butternut slices on it. in a small bowl, mix the dukkah with the olive oil, and brush the mixture over the slices. sprinkle with salt, and pop them into the oven for about 15 minutes. 3. baste the slices with any of the spicy oil in the dish, sprinkle with the dried mint, and tuck the lime wedges in and around them. return them to the oven for another 10 minutes, or until tender. arrange the butternut sickle moons on a serving dish, drizzle with any spicy oil in the baking dish, and serve with the hot lime wedges to squeeze over them.

These holiday-ready recipes are taken from Mezze ($21.95; by Ghillie Basan, ç with kind permission from Ryland Peters & Small.


GarlickY Potato Purée with Olive oil, Lemon and parSLeY This is one of those mezze dishes that some people insist on serving cold, others hot. Personally, for both the texture and the flavor, I prefer it hot, drizzled with olive oil, and served with lemon to squeeze over it. Even if you serve it cold, the mixture tastes better if you combine the ingredients when the potatoes are hot. (Serves 4–6)

1½ 4 2–3

pounds potatoes (a fluffy variety suitable for mashing) tablespoons olive oil, divided cloves garlic, crushed

freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon small bunch fresh dill, finely chopped sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


scallions, finely sliced

small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1. boil the potatoes in plenty of salted water until they are soft. drain, peel off their skins, and put them into a bowl. using a potato masher, pound the potatoes with most of the olive oil. beat in the garlic, lemon juice and dill, and season well with salt and pepper. 2. spoon the hot mashed potatoes onto a serving dish, drizzle with the rest of the oil, and scatter the scallions and parsley over the top.



let it

Snow! These Pilates teachers don’t let winter put the freeze on their outdoor fun, thanks to coldweather sports that pair perfectly with their studio practice. by Sharon Liao

splitboarding NaM E :

Sloan Allen, 49

B i O : owner of Pure Body Pilates in Cody, WY W hy S h E LOvE S iT: I grew up snowboarding and picked up splitboarding about 13 years ago. Splitboarding is a type of snowboard that can be separated into two skis, so you can cross-country ski through the backcountry. Once you get to your destination, you put it back together to snowboard down. I love it because it puts you in the nature, away from the lifts and other skiers. It’s so peaceful.

76 november • december 2015

When you’re snowboarding in the backcountry, you need to be able to engage your core muscles to make a quick turn to avoid hitting a tree. Pilates also gives you that inner stability, so you won’t rely on just your big muscles and wear yourself out. C haLLE N g E S O f Th E S PO rT:

B E ST P i L aTE S M OvE S f O r S P LiTB Oar d E r S :

For leg strength, I recommend the LegPumping Series. The Forward Split or Forward Lunge on the Reformer can help you improve balance. Your feet connect you to your board

and allow you to turn, so exercises on the Foot Corrector can help reinforce that strength. Of course, the strength and balance I have from Pilates is important, but I’ve found that I also really use my breath control on the mountain. It keeps me from huffing and puffing, which gives me more endurance. Being flexible also allows me to stay loose if I fall, and my core strength allows me to get back up again for that next run. For me, spending time in the backcountry is a peaceful, spiritual experience. Splitboarding gives me motivation to work hard in the studio, because I know Pilates will give me the strength I need to stay out on the slopes all day.

arm work to connect the arms with the core, which will help you feel less fatigued while using those poles.

Th E P i L aTE S B E N E f iT:

OPPOSITE PAGE: Sloan allen loveS the backcountry acceSS Splitboarding allowS

Because of my Pilates background, snowshoeing came easily to me. Having a strong core allows me to engage my entire body, so my arms and legs don’t get tired as quickly. I’ve found that snowshoeing has given me more endurance in the studio, too. What’s more, the leg strength makes exercises like Footwork easier. Th E P i L aTE S B E N E f iT:


snowshoeing NaM E :

Jeanie Wright, 39

B i O : private Pilates instructor in Santa Rosa, CA, and leader of a Pilates-and-snowshoe retreat in Truckee, CA W hy S h E LOvE S iT: Seven years ago, I was in a car accident. Because of my injuries, I couldn’t snowboard anymore. But I missed the snow, so I decided to try snowshoeing. It’s when you put on these big tennis racquet–like shoes that allow you to step on the surface of the snow. It’s a little like walking on water! It’s also a fattorching cardio workout, burning 500 or more calories per hour. I usually use poles for stability when going up hills during an all-day hike.

ice hockey NaM E :

Holly Thompson, 37

B i O : Pilates instructor at EPY Center in Sacramento, CA W hy S h E LOvE S iT: My childhood was spent on the ice, but as a figure skater. In college, there weren’t many rinks around, so I joined an in-line-skating hockey team. After graduation, a rink opened near me, and I started playing ice hockey competitively. I love the fastpaced play and the hand-eye coordination of handling the stick. And there’s nothing like the camaraderie of being on a team!

In hockey, you crouch forward over your stick, which tightens your front body. Skating strengthens your quadriceps like crazy, but your glutes and hamstrings tend to be weaker. There’s also a lot of imbalance in hockey, which can lead to injuries—I’ve seen a lot of hurt backs, knees and hips. C haLLE N g E S O f Th E S PO rT:

Snowshoeing challenges your entire body: To hike with the poles, you’re engaging your shoulders, rotator cuffs and obliques. Of course, you’re also working your legs as you trek up and down hills, and break new paths in the snow. If you aren’t able to ignite your deep core muscles, you can strain a muscle or put stress on your hip flexors.

C haLLE N g E S O f Th E S PO rT:

B E ST P i L aTE S M OvE S f O r S N O W S h O E r S :

The Knee Stretch, or Jack Rabbit, on the Reformer works many of the muscles you use on the mountain: It strengthens your quads, hamstrings, abs and shoulders. Coordination on the Reformer also strengthens your hip flexors and adductors. I like to follow it with

B E ST P i L aTE S M OvE S f O r h O CkEy P L ayE r S :

Any spine-extension exercise, such as the Swan, can help open that front body. The Lunge on the Reformer also stretches out your hip flexors while strengthening your core. For the hamstrings, I recommend the Legs in Straps series on the Reformer. Th E P i L aTE S B E N E f iT: To chase the puck, you have to sprint across the ice. The flexibility I 77

I’m constantly drawing on my Pilates background while I ski. The body awareness is key: For instance, when I’m turning on my edges, I remember to engage both of my legs, instead of just one.


get from Pilates allows me to fully extend my legs, which gives me more power and speed. Plus, I know to lengthen my spine over my stick, so I’m not hunched over throughout the game, which prevents fatigue and back pain. Having a strong core also gives me a lot of stability on my skates, which is handy because hockey is such a physical game. It helps me stay on me feet when I’m knocking around with these burly guys in my co-ed league. On the flipside, hockey builds leg strength, which pays off in the Pilates studio.

skiing NaM E :

Sara Talbert, 40

B i O : director of Pilates at Greenwood Athletic Club in Greenwood Village, CO W hy S h E LOvE S iT: The first time I put on a pair of skis, I was five years old. ever since then, it’s been part of my life. My family skis once or twice a week during the season. We live in the denver area, so we’re about an hour away from some of the top slopes, such as Aspen and Vail. Besides the joy of spending time with my family on the mountain, it’s a terrific workout: By the time I make it to the bottom of the run, my heart is racing.

Because people are stronger on one side of their body, they tend to favor turning to that side and struggle with clean turns in the opposite direction. With skiing, your knees and shins should be forward in your boot, with your chest and shoulders perpendicular to the mountain, so you need a strong core. But many people slouch or lean too far forward or backward, which can throw their body out of alignment. C haLLE N g E S O f Th E S PO rT:

78 november • december 2015

The SideKick Series on the mat develops your hip muscles, which you need to turn on the edges of your skis. going over bumps in a squat position requires leg strength; I recommend the Wall Series (Squats) to work your glutes, hamstrings and quads.

B E ST P i L aTE S M OvE S f O r S ki E r S :

Th E P i L aTE S B E N E f iT: I’m constantly drawing on my Pilates background while I ski. The body awareness is key: For instance, when I’m turning on my edges, I remember to engage both of my legs, instead of just one. When I’m skiing, I have to be hyper-focused on my environment, looking for trees, other people and treacherous mountain conditions. Just like on the slopes, I take that mind/body awareness with me into the studio. doing Pilates, I have to be mentally connected to my body, the equipment and the people around me to prevent bumping into others, and/or taking a spill on the more advanced exercises.

figure skating NaM E :

Heather Harrington, 46

B i O : Pilates instructor at Align Wellness Center in Millburn, NJ W hy S h E LOvE S iT: I was a competitive figure skater growing up, but stopped when I went to college. When I moved to the new York area, I started coaching the sport. I love the grace and beauty of figure skating combined with the sheer athleticism. It takes an insane amount of strength and endurance to complete a program.

Those stiff skating boots limit your ankle flexibility, so your body absorbs most of the shock when you land a jump. It ripples through your knees, C haLLE N g E S O f Th E S PO rT:

hips and lower back. That’s why having proper body alignment and a strong core is crucial. Otherwise, you’re setting the stage for stress fractures, tendonitis or lower-back pain.


B E ST P i L aTE S M OvE S f O r f i g u r E S k aTE r S :


Working on the jumpboard and Wunda Chair helps build that ankle stability. The Swan on the Reformer or mat also strengthens your core and back to help you stabilize during those landings.


Pilates creates balance in the body, which is important since you’re always jumping and landing on the same leg. Focus is also an asset, because it’s easy to stress about a tricky element coming up in your routine. Pilates teaches you to stay connected with your breath and the present moment, so you don’t allow that anxiety to get the best of you. Skating teaches strength and flow, two traits that come into play in a Pilates practice. Th E P i L aTE S B E N E f iT:

HuMAn And dOgS.

dog sledding NaM E :

Nancy Brose, 60

B i O : owner of Inner Strength Pilates and Howling Dog Studio in Sammamish, WA

For years, I owned Siberian Huskies. About 15 years ago, a friend offered to teach me how to “mush,” or dog sled. I figured that she’d hook my dogs to her team, but when she showed up, she brought an extra sled. Within a month, I had bought my own sled and gear, which I use for my four dogs. I don’t race, but even on a recreational run, my dogs are moving up to 15 to 20 miles per hour; it’s an exhilarating experience. And the connection and trust I share with my dogs is nothing short of special. It’s amazing to see them in their element, doing something that makes them so happy. W hy S h E LOvE S iT:

dog sledding requires a lot of strength. To hook a dog to the

C haLLE N g E S O f Th E S PO rT:

sled, you have to pick up and move an excited 60-pound (or more!) animal by the scruff of its neck. In order to stop on the trail, you must push down on the brake, so the dogs know to stop. To keep them from running off with the sled, you have to dig in the snow and anchor a heavy metal hook. Without core strength, balance and agility, the trail can be dangerous. B E ST P i L aTE S M OvE S f O r d O g S LE d d E r S :

A Pilates workout that balances flexion, extension, side-bending and rotation is essential. The Scooter (a modified standing version of Knee Stretches) strengthens and promotes balances while you stand on one foot; this helps when you have to keep your balance while jumping on and off the two-inch runners behind the sled as you hold onto the handle bar. More advanced moves like Teaser on the Long Box and Standing Bridge on the Cadillac work your upper and lower body. Th E P i L aTE S B E N E f iT: Pilates’ balance, agility and body awareness come into play on the sled, because you must shift your weight to the side while making a turn. That core strength is also essential: I train my dogs by attaching them two at a time to the front of a bike. I have to brake, brace and balance myself to avoid toppling over. dogsledding’s peaceful sliding across the snow lets me mindfully integrate stability and movement, which is something that I can bring to my teaching and Pilates practice. PS 79


STRENGTH IN NUMBERS With debate over the Pilatespocalypse—the (supposed) decline of Pilates—raging, some pros believe that group equipment classes will make the method more popular than ever. by Anne Marie O’Connor


When Barbara Sampson opened her studio, Brooklyn Pilates in Brooklyn Heights, two years ago, the 23-year Pilates veteran began offering group Reformer classes, something she’d never done before. “When people said they hadn’t tried Pilates or had only done mat, I heard over and over again it was because they couldn’t afford it,” says Sampson, who was formerly the director of PhysicalMind Institute’s teacher-training program. “Every other studio in Brooklyn I know of offers only privates or semi-privates, and they still cost $60,” she continues. “So my business partner and I thought it would be a great idea to do group Reformer classes so that everyone could experience” Pilates on the equipment. Depending on the package, clients pay from $22 to $35 for a group class, versus $84 to $100 for a private. These group classes have kept the Pilatespocalypse—a term recently coined by New York magazine—at bay at Brooklyn Pilates. “I have eight to 12 classes a day, seven days a week, and they’re full,” reports Sampson. “We even have wait lists, which we haven’t had since the economy tanked five years ago. Even though I keep hearing about how people’s studios are getting smaller, I’ve gotten a bigger studio and bought more equipment.”

BOOSTING PILATES’ POPULARITY Connie Borho, the owner of Balance Pilates and Yoga in Bradenton, FL, and a Level IV master instructor for Peak Pilates, agrees that group equipment classes are a win-win for clients, teachers and studio owners. “Group classes definitely improve the studio's bottom line,” says Borho, who also teaches continuingeducation workshops on how to manage group equipment classes. “They maximize my studio usage: In one hour, I can service six students who will be paying up to $30 for a Reformer class, which equals $180. If I have three privates ($60 each), which is my maximum, it's the same revenue ($180), but

80 november • december 2015

I am servicing three fewer people.” Balance Pilates and Yoga offers group classes on the Reformer, Tower, Chair and Barrels; prices range from $25 to $30, while privates range from $60 to $75. To borrow a phrase from Mark Twain, we believe the reports of Pilates’ death have been greatly exaggerated. BETTER THAN PRIVATES? In addition to the financial benefits, Sampson thinks group equipment classes have other advantages over privates. “People get so much more out of it, because it’s different when you do anything in a group. There’s a camaraderie. Also, sometimes people are not verbal learners. Saying a cue doesn’t sink in, but when they look around and see someone else doing it, it’s like, oh, that’s what that means. It helps for people to see other people doing an exercise.” It also helps with the “picked on” feeling people sometimes get being the center of their teachers’ attention in private sessions, she adds. “The energy of a group class is infectious,” says Andrea Speir, who will be offering a variety of group classes at her new studio, Speir Pilates, which is opening in Santa Monica, CA, in December. “I’ve always loved watching my clients in group classes meet each other through this shared love of Pilates and fitness, and become friends and inspire one another.” She believes group classes are a great compromise between expensive private sessions and the group classes on the Megaformer (the equipment and workout system developed by Sebastien Lagree], which, she points out, “don’t follow the methods of Joseph Pilates that have proved so beneficial for so long.” BUSINESS STIMULANT It sounds counterintuitive, but group classes don’t cannibalize private clients, Sampson says. “If anything, they’ve fed the business,” she says. “We actually get a lot of private


clients from the group classes because people want to go deeper into the work—they see all the other equipment, and it’s like candy to them.” Borho agrees that group classes frequently lead to more individual sessions. She explains that students like having the option of mixing and matching privates, duets and group classes. “Say they come once or twice a week for a private, and then attend a group class,” she says. “While they wouldn't pay for another private, they will pay for another group class.” It’s also introducing a whole new generation to Pilates. “Years ago, in the 1990s, the typical client was in their late 30s or 40s, very upper crust, very elite,” Sampson says. “Now it’s twentysomethings who are getting into Pilates because group classes are affordable.”


A WIN-WIN FOR TEACHERS Instructors as well as studios benefit from group classes. “Teachers are getting exposure to six students, who may ask them for private lessons if they do a great job of teaching the group,” Borho points out. “And I pay my teachers the same amount whether they teach a private or a group class.” At Brooklyn Pilates, teachers also get paid the same rate they make doing privates, plus they get paid an additional fee for each person. “So they actually make more than if just doing a private,” Sampson says.

SECRETS FOR SUCCESSFUL GROUP CLASSES Pros who have experience with group equipment classes agree that there are several keys to an effective class.

82 november • december 2015


DRAWBACKS OF GROUP CLASSES Shari Berkowitz, the founder of The Vertical Workshop teacher-training program, has a number of reservations about group equipment classes. For one thing, she doesn’t like that group classes are usually done on just one apparatus. “I’m not the biggest fan of this, as Pilates was designed to be on many different apparatus, which challenges the client by doing similar actions with different proprioceptive qualities,” says Berkowitz. “The clients’ goals are more properly achieved on all apparatus.” Her solution: group classes that are on multiple apparatus, with everyone doing the same exercise at the same time. An even better setup, she says: “Half are on one apparatus for an exercise set, the other half on another, then you swap.” Another problem in Berkowitz’s experience is that group classes aren’t as lucrative for studio owners as privates and semi-privates. While five people are paying $20 for a group class, that’s more than you’d make on the $80 private, Berkowitz explains. But, she points out, five pieces of equipment are being used, so they’re not free for more lucrative privates or semi-privates. “Each apparatus in the studio needs to be making as much money as possible with as little overhead as possible to have a vibrant business,” she notes. “Group-class participants pay the least, so the apparatus these people are on are making very little money.” She believes semi-privates are the best bet, “especially if you teach mixed-level semi-privates using different apparatus for each client. That way, the most space is available for more clients and use of apparatus.” But teaching students with so many levels of experience and proficiency at the same time isn’t for everyone. “Teaching all levels is fine, but a big challenge for teachers,” says

While many studios offer multilevel classes with students of all proficiencies, Barbara Sampson divides her students into beginner-, intermediate- and advanced-level classes. “With levels classes, people are not in over their heads,” she says, so advanced students aren’t waiting for beginners to master Roll-Up and beginners aren’t frustrated they can’t do Side Splits. To advance to the next level, two of the studio’s teachers must verify you’re ready for the next level, she says.


Sampson limits her classes to seven clients, which she believes is the maximum optimal number. “You can still get your hands on people, so they’re not just running wild.” For Connie Borho, the maximum number of students for a group class is six. “I have had up to 10, and find that this is too many,” she says. “Six allows us to give our students the most individual attention possible.”

HAVE PREREQUISITES BEFORE STUDENTS CAN BEGIN GROUP CLASSES. At Balance Pilates and Yoga, “students must take a minimum of

Berkowitz. “Teachers [who take my workshops] share with me that they often feel that they can’t take care of everyone in the class, which may include injured to advanced to pregnant to first-timers. There is a technique to this that is learnable, but most teachers don’t know what to do.”


THE PROS OF MULTI-LEVEL CLASSES Other teachers believe multi-level classes can benefit students. “I think there is something to be learned from the clients’ perspective by being in a class with people at varying levels,” Speir says. “I have always learned something about my own practice by hearing cues given to people who were not only more advanced than me, but more beginner as well.” (Her studio will offer specialty classes that cater to specific clients, including pre/postnatal.) Borho’s group classes are all multi-level, but she admits teaching them is tricky. “We try to teach to the lowest common denominator in the class and build up to more advanced versions of the exercise with subsequent reps. You then whisper to a student with less experience, ‘you should stay with this version today until you have more experience.’” SETTING UP THE SPACE How you arrange the equipment is key for a successful group class. For Sampson, the ideal is to place her eight Reformers in the front of the studio, in two rows of four, facing the mirrors. (One Reformer is reserved for privates.) “Because I have three Reformers in the back row and four in front, I can see everything and get to people quickly.” Borho, meanwhile, prefers having her six pieces of equipment in a single line. “That way, it is easier for the teacher to see all the students at the same time.”

two private sessions in order to be eligible to take a group equipment class,” Borho says. “And that is a minimum, because sometimes students aren’t ready after just two privates, so we require that they take more. They must be selfsufficient on the equipment, know the names of the exercises and be ready to flow through transitions with very little rest.” Speir Pilates also offers firsttimers a complimentary session before they join a group class, as does Brooklyn Pilates. Besides teaching clients how to change their springs, how to adjust their straps,

MAKING THE TRANSITION TO GROUP TEACHING Convinced that teaching group equipment classes would benefit your career? Pros agree it’s a great career move and will make you more marketable. But that doesn’t mean that making the transition is a no-brainer. “I’ve found that teachers who have been teaching for years, even 10-plus years, are great at doing privates, but have no idea how to teach a group Reformer class,” says Sampson. “They don’t know how to open up their cueing, keep a class moving and train their eye to look at more than one person to generalize cues.” So how can a teacher make the switch from privates to groups? “My advice to new teachers is to get mentoring in group-class-teaching skills, or start with trios or quads,” Borho says. “Watch an experienced group teacher. Teach a group mat class...if you can teach mat, you can teach anything. Then just do it. You can't be good at group teaching if you don’t push yourself to do it!” You may also want to consider a workshop that focuses on group equipment classes. Borho (and other Peak trainers) teaches two 16hour Peak workshops, Group Reformer Training and MVe Chair Training. Sampson teaches a sixhour Group Reformer Certification, and Shari Berkowitz offers a workshop, Great Groups and Sensational Semis. PS

etc., there is a big emphasis on safety. “The free intro really helps,” says Sampson. “They can take it as often as they want until they feel comfortable going into a group class they are actually paying for. I have friends who say, I can’t believe you offer free classes. But it’s only going to feed my business. People try it out and realize they love it.”


“We do exclude people who have injuries from taking group classes,” says Borho. “These injuries don’t even have to be serious; sometimes someone has an ‘issue’ like a tricky

ABOVE: StudentS in a group equipment claSS at connie Borho’S Studio, Balance pilateS and Yoga, do long Stretch on the reformer.

back or neck or a shoulder issue, so we ask them to stick to privates for a while for their safety.”


“A group class teacher has to learn what technique precision points are the ones you can’t let go, and which you can,” says Borho. “Not everyone is going to be perfect in a group class, and I think it’s hard for some Pilates teachers to accept the fact that all movement is not perfect. I look for the biggies: lower back and neck compromises, and don’t let anyone get away with something that could really hurt them.” 83


e s u o h r e w The Po r e D n U n Dow From

One of the pio neers of the m ethod in Austr Sally Anderso alia, n founded Pila te s In ternational, th first governme e country’s nt-certified tea cher-training p rogram. by Anne M 84 november • december 2015 arie O’Conno r

Pilates Style: Tell us about your childhood. Sally Anderson: I was born in Sydney, but grew up in rural Australia. my father had an agricultural degree and would manage properties, so we would move whenever he’d go on to manage another property. he suffered from complications from type 1 diabetes, and when I was 10 or 11, he was given a poor prognosis. my parents sold the house, packed up the family and we traveled around Australia in a double cabin truck with three kids’ bunks and towing a caravan, which was great. we were homeschooled, but I always went to dance school or participated in amateur musical theater societies. I did a lot of Scottish dancing as well as jazz, tap and a little ballet. I was really interested in singing and dancing and musical theater. my father died quite young, when he was 46, at which time we had settled in Central Queensland, which is where I completed high school. PS: What did you do after high school? Sally: I worked in theater, ending up in Sydney, where I did a combination of performing and production in commercial theater. while I was working on a show called Lend me a Tenor, I ruptured my ankle. In order to avoid surgery, the physiotherapist suggested I try Pilates. At the time (the late ’80s) Pilates was like space travel—no one had heard of it. One of the two people teaching at that time was [bASI founder] rael Isacowitz. he had a little studio on the campus of mcdonald College, a performing arts college in Sydney. I was sent there to rehabilitate my ankle. And the rest, as they say, is history. my first session with rael lasted two hours. when I went back to the train station afterward, I could barely walk my legs were shaking so much. PS: So you were hooked? Sally: yes! my ankle was healed in record time, and I was soon back to work. but I kept doing as many sessions with rael as I could, and I never stopped. I feel incredibly blessed that I found rael and did my foundation training with him. his training and influence gave me so much. PS: How did you segue into becoming a teacher? Sally: I was still doing theater part time and moved back to melbourne for a show. I started working for a physiotherapist down there who didn’t have a lot of training, but who had opened a studio. I started teaching there because I knew all this work from rael. god knows what I taught in those early years! It was before there was formal training—I don’t think rael even had bASI at that point.

then in the early ’90s, rael led a weeklong immersion in his work on an island called Couran Cove, and I assisted him. At the same time, we were formalizing the bASI modules, and training all these wonderful Pilates devotees. It was a great time and produced many of our leading teachers in Australia to this day! bASI has a strong history in Australia. At this time, I was still working in theater as well as teaching in Sydney for megan williams, whom I had met when we both started training with rael. She ran a number of Pilates studios over the years in Australia; we worked together for many years, and she was one of my closest colleagues and friends. She passed very young from cancer, but I still have some clients who started with her, and she is strongly remembered.

OPPOSITE PAGE: AnderSOn ASSIStS A PIlAteS InternAtIOnAl StAff member, lIz StrIde, AS She dOeS ShOulder brIdge On the CAdIllAC. BELOW: AnderSOn (SeCOnd frOm left) wIth (frOm left) KAren beAttIe, rAel ISACOwItz And megAn wIllIAmS In wIllIAm’S Sydney StudIO durIng the eArly dAyS Of bASI PIlAteS. All fOur were InStrumentAl In the develOPment Of PIlAteS In AuStrAlIA.

PS: And you continued to be involved with BASI, even after Rael moved to the States? Sally: yes, rael rang me one day and said, will you come over here and teach? I said yes—I think I left the next week to work at rael‘s studio in Costa mesa, CA. [Pilates Anytime founder] Kristi Cooper arrived at the same time. we were both training with bASI, and teaching in the studio as well. I worked for bASI for many years, delivering training all around the world as well as teaching.

PS: When did you return to Australia? Sally: I came back to Australia in the very late ’90s, because I had a boyfriend and family here. there were also logistical issues to obtain a green Card, so I decided it was time to head home. back in Sydney, I worked for bASI for a while. but in Australia, we have a vocational training system whereby you have to have an Australian company to be able to get accreditation. having decided to go through that process, I parted from bASI and established my own company, Pilates International, which developed the first government-accredited Pilates courses. 85

Five MinuTes wiTh Sally anderSon favorite apparatus: this is so hard, but if I had to nail it down, I’d probably say the reformer. It’s like coming home. It suits my body. I love the work on it. Move hardest to Master: reformer Pilates headstands. It was a loooong work in progress! favorite Mat Move: the Pelvic Curl or bridge. It solves a multitude of challenges in my body. I think the Pelvic Curl is one of the best exercises ever. It gets the hip extensors fired up, opens the front of the body and articulates the spine. I do a set of Pelvic Curls every day. with clients, I can see what’s happening in their bodies in this exercise. Who inspires you as teacher: So many people! I really love teachers who have a combination of personality, ethics and depth of work. Julian littleford was one. he was really dear to me. he was one of the most aware people I’ve ever met, he had a wicked sense of humor and he was amazing with movement. deborah lessen is another. She has an incredible history and overall picture of the industry that I think no one else could possibly have. She has been through so much on behalf of the industry. She also has a fantastic personality, but doesn’t take herself too seriously, yet she also makes you move in ways that are really beautiful. I couldn’t narrow it down to these people, but that’s the combination for me—a wonderful person as well as a wonderful Pilates person, and you’ve got me for life.

At the time (the late ’80s) Pilates was like space travel—no one had heard of it. one of the two people teaching Pilates at that time was [BAsi founder] rael isacowitz. PS: How does government accreditation work in Australia? Sally: there are two aspects to it. your organization needs to be registered; this is called an rtO, a government registered training Organization. the courses also need government accreditation, which is a separate process.

PS: Can you take us through the process? Sally: there are crossindustry guidelines and standards that are issued by the government for how courses have to be developed; you create your curriculum based on all the government’s standards and guidelines, then it Biggest career high: getting our goes through a thirdcourses accredited that first time was an party review and audit enormous moment for me. It has set the process. way forward for our industry in Australia. the audit is conducted by an independent panel, including Pilates experts, physical therapists, anatomists, osteopaths, general practitioners and educational specialists. they evaluate your courses for meeting the standards of the government. If you pass, your courses are then government accredited. PS: What are the upsides of going through the government accreditation? Sally: It sets a standard that every educational program must meet, yet you’re 86 november • december 2015

also able to layer your own approach onto that. Polestar just accredited their courses in Australia this year, and romana’s Pilates is in the process of doing so. Setting standards that everybody has to meet has really raised the quality of Pilates and has given us formal structures so that we can get health-care provider numbers, which allow clients to claim rebates. It also allows us to be part of the allied health therapeutic network of Australia. It has given the industry a lot more recognition here, and therefore our public can assess who they’re going to more effectively. when guest presenters come to Australia, they always make the comment that we have a really high quality of graduates. PS: How long did the accreditation process take? Sally: Initially, about three years. we finally got ours in may 2004, which was the first recognition for the Pilates industry in Australia. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I did it, but it does teach you an enormous amount about education and really current ways of training people, and helps improve the quality of training. PS: Where are your facilities? Sally: we have our headquarters and one of our studios in a suburb of Sydney called Pymble. we have three other studios as well, two in Sydney and one in melbourne. we run student work placements through our studios. Our accredited courses are delivered online now for the most part, although we still do face-to-face training as well. All our repertoire is filmed and available online. throughout our courses, students can go home, and at the end of the day, watch the exercises and review them. they can choose to do everything online, though everyone comes to in-person training weekends to get more out of it. then everyone does work placement in our studios or a studio that is part of our network. PS: Has the online content been popular? Sally: more than I had even anticipated. we developed it years ago, and students love it.

Particularly because Australia is a really big country, and it’s very hard for people in small towns to find studios or afford travel on top of everything else. One of the reasons we wanted to do it is we had so many people wanting to train in regional areas. PS: Are there academic degrees in Pilates in Australia yet? Sally: not yet, but that’s where we’re headed. right now, they can take our courses right to the end of Advanced diploma, which is kind of like a post-graduate-level Pilates course. they can also apply their credits toward a healthsciences degree at the university of Canberra. we’re working toward offering a Pilates degree now, and to facilitate that, we’re doing a lot of research in conjunction with the universities. we have a team that’s led by our director of curriculum, lanette gavran. She’ll be presenting some of our initial research at the PmA [meeting] this year. we did a preliminary meta-analysis that she led, and we have completed the first research study. we’ve got two more running in conjunction with the university at the moment.

ABOVE: AnderSOn’S COmPAny, PIlAteS InternAtIOnAl, Put On the fIrSt PmA PIlAteS dAy. LEFT: AnderSOn leAdIng A mAt ClASS AS PArt Of the InAugurAl AuStrAlIAn PmA PIlAteS dAy event On the

PS: Tell us about your involvement with Cirque du Soleil. Sally: I toured with them nationally as their Pilates trainer in 2011 with Saltimbanco. backstage was a minimal Pilates studio with a reformer, Spine Corrector and wunda Chair. the performers come in every half hour until show time, so it really challenges you as an instructor to nail exactly which exercises each performer needs the most in that 30 minutes. I loved it because it combined my passions— theater and Pilates. the music was so fantastic, and I had very compliant bodies—I was happy as a cat in cream! this year I have been training the cast of Cirque’s Totem on its national Australian tour. we are excited to have just had the show’s lead performance medicine therapist choose our Pilates course to complete her own training. PS: How is your time divided? Sally: three days a week, I still see clients I’ve worked with for a long time. I also direct the training organization and work on progressing projects we’re doing for the training, keeping the programs up to date and running the team that works on everything. I also do a number of continuing-education workshops around Australia. PS: What’s your favorite? Sally: I love any workshop that has to do with changing people’s posture. Seeing how much people’s health and wellness can be helped by posture and internal health is a big focus for me. I probably assign this in part to watching

ShOreS Of Sydney hArbOur In 2011.

my father suffer from diabetic renal failure and die quite young. PS: I know you’ve done a lot of writing. Sally: yes, I’ve written a lot of articles and was the Pilates expert contributor for the Sunday Telegraph, one of our biggest papers in Australia, for a few years. I’ve written one Pilates matwork book, and I have others that are in progress. PS: Tell us about your personal life. Sally: for 20 years, I’ve been with my wonderful partner, lorry. In America, that’s a girl’s name, but it’s actually short for loriano. (he’s a handsome Italian). we live in Sydney, though we travel a fair bit. lorry is a performer and producer of entertainment. I love animals, but am still getting over losing my beautiful cat lulu, whom I had for 18 years, a few years ago. So at the moment, I only have the neighbors’ pets to play with. PS 87


PREP YOUR BODY FOR: YARD WORK! By Larkin Barnett • Modeled by Miami City Ballet Soloists Didier Bramaz and Callie Manning Need extra motivation to get to work? Chores are a great practical opportunity to keep your core activated! But it’s a smart idea to train for tasks like mowing the lawn and shoveling snow. If you’re unprepared for these vigorous repetitive activities,

you may suffer aches, pain, fatigue, overuse syndromes or injury. Heavy snowdrifts and yard work require strength training and proper technique for putting your back— arms, legs, hips and abs—into them. Keep “chore-specific” muscles in

fighting form with the following squats, rows, twists and movements, which target the back and gluteal muscles. You can do these these prop and mat moves anywhere—even at your indoor workstation—two to three times per week.

SIT UP AND TAKE NOTICE: SQUATS AND ROWS chair; resistance band squats strengthen the glutes, abs and legs; seated rows increase strength in the upper, middle and lower back, as well as the secondary stabilizers of the shoulders and upper arms S E T u P : Sit tall at the front of the chair. PrOPS:



5. Inhale to prepare. Exhale, contracting your thighs, gluteal, back and deep abdominal muscles. Inhale, then take slow, powerful exhales, moving your elbows upward and then backward into a rowing motion. Do 10 reps.

1. Inhale to prepare. Exhale, and contracting your abs and glutes, rise from the chair with your pelvis tipped backward, then come to a standing position. Inhale, then exhale, returning to the chair by tipping your pelvis backward, engaging your deep abdominals and glutes throughout. Do 5–8 reps. 2. Place the band securely underneath the arches of your feet, holding onto the ends. “Walk” your hands down the band until it is taut. 3. Inhale to prepare. Exhale, contracting your abs while stacking


4. Press the soles of your feet into the floor, imagining that they are growing roots into the earth; feel this strong connection to the ground through your feet and legs. Inhale, then exhale, stretching your body toward the ceiling, away from your feet.

your hips, ribs, chest and head like building blocks. Sit tall on top of your sit bones; rock from side to side to feel these bones.

T i P S : Concentrate on engaging your glutes and entire core throughout the squat to improve overall stability and balance. Contract your deep abdominals, glutes and legs throughout the rows for proper posture and overall body strength. V a r i a T i O N : Perform the squats with the band, and the rows without it.

none slow upper-trunk rotations with a gently elongated spine target the waist; improves range of motion and strengthens the core muscles S E T u P : Lie on your back, with your legs in a tabletop position. Lift your upper body, with your hands stacked behind your head without interlocking your fingers, elbows wide. PrOP:



1. Straighten your right leg at a 45 degree angle. Inhale, twisting from your waistline, as you bring your right elbow toward your left knee. Exhale, holding for 3 counts as you deepen your abdominal contraction. 2. Inhale, repeating step 1 to your other side. Do 3–5 sets.


88 november • december 2015

T i P S : Feel your abdominals contract to support your spine and keep your hips quiet. Each time you twist, visualize a corkscrew spiraling, and look at your back elbow. Picture tucking your shirt into trousers to organize your shoulder girdle.

BOW ON ALL FOURS none improves balance; recruits all the muscles that encircle the body; strengthens the back body when focusing on activating the hamstrings, glutes and back; calls on the core to maintain spine stability in flexion and neutral S E T u P : Kneel on all fours, with your hands underneath your shoulders, knees underneath your hips and spine in neutral. Keep your elbows straight, but not locked, and your head level, eyes focused directly in between your hands. PrOP:



1. Inhale to prepare. Exhale, contracting your abs as you curl your back into spine flexion (like a cat arching its back), bringing your right knee toward your chest. 2. Inhale to prepare. Exhale, straightening your right leg behind you, returning to a neutral spine position. Repeat on your other side. Do 3–5 reps. STEP 1

Keep your legs, glutes and abdominal muscles engaged throughout.


V a r i a T i O N 1 : Same as above, but keep your gesture leg bent at a 90 degree angle, foot pointed toward the ceiling, while moving it backward. V a r i a T i O N 2 : Inhale, then exhale, contracting your abs as you curl your back into spine flexion, bringing your opposite arm and leg toward your navel. Inhale, then exhale, tightening your abs to support your back in neutral; extend your opposite arm and leg. Repeat on your other side. Do 3–5 reps.


Va r i aTi O N 1

Va r i aTi O N 2

Polestar Pilates–certified Larkin Barnett, with a master's in dance, is a

Exercises taken from Larkin Barnett’s

Nautilus Award–winning author of six fitness books and the Pilates Performing

Practical Pilates Using Imagery,

Arts and Sports DVD. She has been sharing her AthleticKinetics™ Pilates/

(chockfull of moves to integrate into

cross-training system for four decades, as a dance professor, movement therapist

chores, errands, desk work and traveling

and fitness professional at several universities and Canyon Ranch Spa, where she

for busy schedules, as well as matwork),

has trained celebrities and Olympic athletes. For more information on Barnett’s

2nd Edition, © 2009, Lorenz Educational

resources, or to earn 60 PMA CEUs for specializing in AthleticKinetics™ (3-D

Press. Available at

Pilates sports and dance training), visit her website (

and Photography by

or Facebook page (

Ray Graham. 89


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