‘Pilates is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit.’
-Joseph H Pilates
Over and over again we are shown that an open heart can harness an open mind. The beautiful side effect is an open body, light and free to house our souls through the short life we dance through here on earth.
In 17 years of owning our 2 studios, I am humbled by the privilege of watching students and their families evolve through life. I encounter A LOT of personalities, especially in a city like NY.
I continue to learn more from my students than they will ever know. Not just about the body and mechanics, but about finding common ground, acceptance, and patience. I feel somewhat gifted in uncovering the unique humor that lies in each of us as we explore movement. As much as I love life’s motion, I secretly want to freeze time, and keep everyone close, my family & friends, work colleagues, and our awesome students and clients. So it is with great honor and sadness that I share the memory of 2 impactful personalities who have recently passed away. Wynter was an 11 yr old girl who I worked with for a few months at her end stages of brain cancer. She was the first recipient of our in house scholarship from www.virtualogic.earth. Howard was a long time student of mine and the studio for over 13 years.
Wynter, you continue to shine even after you are gone. You were much too bright of a star for this earth. You brought your talent as a dancer/gymnast along with your sass to each session. I hope that our time together brought joy to your life. We should all try to be more like you, www.thewynterdivafoundation.com.
Howard, I’ll always admire the hard work and persistence you brought to your career. I am proud that you were so trusting in me to keep you pain free. I will always giggle over your regular question of why isn’t there a machine that could just do the exercises for you? I’ll miss all your stories of a life well lived, and how behind your dry blunt humor was the kindest man there is.
As we start the holiday season I wish you all to keep an open heart, mind, body, and sense of humor
One of our favorite heart opening exercises on the apparatus called Hanging Back, followed by 4 supportive progressions on the mat to help prepare you.
A major confidence building exercise. It is so fun to see people conquer their self doubt. It is anything but a superficial instagram post, when taught and executed correctly.
- Ability to find the neutral line of your spine in a v position creates hamstring length and requires shoulder stability.
- Spinal articulation into an upside down plank relies on shoulder girdle placement to cancel out unwanted shoulder and neck tension.
- Hip extensor (hamstring/glute) strength is imperative to support the lumbar spine as you extend the thoracic spine into the “back bend”.
- Neck alignment, particularly deep neck flexor strength, is key to working with the shoulder stabilizers to control the return.
- Your body goes to where it’s strength can take it!
We love how the mat and apparatus support each other. Here are some great exercises that help prepare you for Hanging Back.
Roll Back w/ Extension
Achieve strong thoracic extension using the ball to support the lumbar and cervical spine. Following the usual cues for roll up on the mat while putting some secret work into the back of the legs and feet for more balance and strength makes all the difference.
Back Support/Leg Pull Back Progressions
Watch these 4 progressions that build strength in the hip extensors. Tight shoulders often inhibit the ability to access these important muscles so work through.
- Crab walk/tabletop position – establish strength in the hip extensors and shoulder girdle.
- Stepping one leg out straight while maintaining pelvis height
- Back support- shoulder stability while hinging at the hips.
- Leg pull back – lifting one leg without changing the pelvis.
Healthy full back extension comes primarily from thoracic and hip extension to take the load off the lumbar spine. As this strength and rom is being developed, straighten your elbows only as much as you can maintain the support of the thoracic and hip extensors.
Reminder to move within your own range that is balanced by your strength.
Trunk Alignment Finder
Knowing where you are in space is often half the Challenge. Shown here are 3 isolations:
- Neck flexion and extension while maintaining deep neck flexor awareness.
- Rib inflation and deflation to find a calm connection around the torso.
- Shoulder protraction and retraction without elevation.