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CAlORiE-SiZZliN’ MOVEs + hOW shE gOT ABs liKE ThEsE








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Looking to carve a beach bod? STOTT PILATES® –certified Rebecca Beckler’s killer workout on the suspension trainer, which fuses Pilates with fitness moves, gets real results.

Get Suspended

Core from tHe Body’s Perspective

Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle, a veteran of the industry since its origin, shares a piece of her world-renowned 3Core Connections® Perspective to help decrease tension throughout your body while taking your practice to new heights.

Everyday Pilates

To be a true Pilates devotee, it’s important to live and breathe the principles, says Power Pilates–trained Deanndria Seavers. Her moves will help your body feel better, grow stronger and become more flexible, no matter where you are.

THe TriumpHant Teaser!

Mind/body educator extraordinaire Jennifer Kries reveals her secrets for tackling the Teaser, from beginner to super-advanced variations, once and for all.

9 HealtH Habits WortH tHe Effort Summer Soiree

We’ve found easy changes that really make a difference, adding years to your life while subtracting pounds on the scale.

Seasonal entertaining made light ’n easy.
ON THE COVER Rebecca Beckler is wearing a bikini top by Sunsets, Inc. ( and shorts by Hardtail. Photographed by Rod Foster. Hair and makeup by Amelia C. & Co.

Pilates Style Vol. 10, No. 4 (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.


july • august 2013

to propel your career upwards.

BASI Pilates® Advanced Education
A structured program for every Pilates professional to ensure that you have the opportunity to continue developing your career.


in each issue

10 12 14 16

Finding inspiration.

28 CORE A roundup of noteworthy Pilates
Day events from around the globe; Pilates for gardening

78 COMPLEMENTS Practicing yoga in a heated room
ups the benefits, from enhanced flexibility to increased strength, which may translate into a better Pilates practice for you. Plus, new trend alert: Hot Pilates classes!


See the faces behind the stories and the pictures.

30 WELLNESS Buzz-worthy coffee news; How
to get your vitamins without pills; Summer’s best produce; Products to prevent seasonal sickness

ZONE 82 PRO World-renowned anatomy expert
Thomas Myers deconstructs the breath, offering invaluable insight into how teachers can help students improve their every inhale and exhale.

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


32 FOOD Pack the basket! We’re bringing you
guilt-free eats and treats, perfect for noshing on while at the park, on the sand or by the pool.

Ideas for instructors dealing with constant schedule changes; A new online Pilates community; Scientific Pilates “method”; Inside the recent Fletcher Pilates Conference; Research on stress and heart health

34 BEAUTY Just in time for beach season,
we’ve found sweat-proof makeup that actually stays put.

86 POWERHOUSE In honor of the silver anniversary
of their STOTT PILATES® brand, we talked candidly with Merrithew Health & FitnessTM founders Moira and Lindsay Merrithew about everything from their secrets to the company’s success to their Pilates ambitions.



Tips for activating the glutes; How to score a discount on private sessions; Health benefits and detriments of wine; Foods that prevent migraines

36 STYLE Smart, sports-inspired clothes
add posh and function to your workout wardrobe.

SMART 38 EAT Resident nutritionist Jonny Bowden
spills the skinny on soy. It’s not what you might think!

90 HOMEWORK The best new DVDs and books.
LESSONS 96 LAST Pilates words to live by.

THE GO 26 ON Some of our favorite Pilatesfusion methods.

STORY 42 SUCCESS The inspiring tale of how one
woman turned her life around— broken back and all—with a 100-pound weight loss and a new career as a Pilates teacher.


july • august 2013



& Os c lor



mindbodyonline. com/taylorandoscar

Co-Owners, Pilates ProWorks MINDBODY Clients Since 2009

Well-performed movements beat senseless reps any day. MINDBODY software gives Taylor and Oscar one complete system for their studio, with Pilates-inspired precision and control.



s ar’



The Essential


Editor in Chief

AmaNda AltmaN
Managing Editor Copy Editor

Executive Editor


Editorial Interns

With the right tool, like the patented STRETCH OUT® Strap, you’ll find new and motivating ways to explore Pilates movements. Discover how to creatively lengthen, strengthen, de-stress and align in 40 mindbody exercises from STRETCH OUT Strap Pilates Essentials,

Senior Creative Director


Creative Director

Graphic Designer

Contributing Photographer


Design Interns

by Angela Kneale, OTR.

Executive Advertising Director 832-768-7999 [email protected]



Vice President

Accounting Manager

Customer Service Representatives


Pilates Style is published by McAby Media, LLC 12829 Trinity Street Stafford, Texas 77477 832-886-1120

800.367.7393 |


july • august 2013

socks, sandals and more
1.877.486.3769 7

Pilates instructor Carrie Macy photographed by Jasper Johal

first-generation teachers
Killingworth, CT; Northampton, MA

Los Angeles, CA

New York, NY; Fort Worth, TX

San Juan, Puerto Rico

advisory board
Physiotherapist, Founder/Director, Polestar Pilates, Miami, FL

President, Great Spas of the World, New York, NY

Owner and Director, Kathy Corey Pilates, Del Mar, CA

Owner/Director/Teacher, Suzanne Gutterson Pilates Body Conditioning, Albuquerque, NM

Author of Pilates Basics, West Hollywood, CA

Evolve Integrative Wellness, Orange County, CA

Founder/Director, BASI Pilates™, Costa Mesa, CA

Executive Director of Education, Merrithew Health & Fitness™ Toronto, Canada | Premier brand STOTT PILATES®

Board Member, PILATESfoundation UK Ltd., London, England

Holistic OB/GYN, Best-selling Author, Lecturer, Yarmouth, ME

Kyria Sabin
Director, Fletcher Pilates®, International Director, Body Works Pilates, Tucson, AZ

Creator of the Sheppard Method Pilates, Los Angeles, CA

Owner/Director, Winsor Pilates, Los Angeles, CA

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.


My Inspiration Board
Boston the brave. This past April, tragedy struck when two bombs went off during the annual Boston Marathon, one of the most prestigious races around and the oldest in the world. Three people lost their lives, 264 were injured and American history was forever impacted.

G As with the catastrophes of late—Hurricane Sandy, the STRON Oklahoma tornadoes—we’ve all banded together to help, both monetarily and emotionally. So it came as no surprise to us when we found out about the efforts of our own, tight-knit Pilates community to assist those affected by the Boston horrors: Through the PMA’s Heroes in Motion initiative, Boston-based Pilates teachers were connected to the expertise they needed to help their local heroes. On June 7–8, Balanced Body offered a course, Movement Strategies in the Contemporary Pilates Environment, taught by Balanced Body Faculty Elizabeth Larkam, PMA® –CPT, at Boston Body Pilates. Larkam led Boston instructors through techniques and movement sequences for teaching clients with such issues as motor control, vestibular dysfunction, traumatic brain injury, posttraumatic stress syndrome and prosthetic limb(s).

The Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) has officially designated the project a model site for their Heroes in Motion™ international initiative, which supports the development of a network of Pilates teachers from the world over, who work toward facilitating functional movement through the method. Larkam will mentor Boston instructors and provide individual sessions to injured clients. For more information, visit Rebecca rules. Our cover girl Rebecca Beckler, a STOTT PILATES® instructor trainer, has inspired me—and the entire PS team—on many levels. For one, her insanely cut body is proof that she practices what she preaches (doing lots of Pilates). In “Get Suspended” on page 46, she shares a routine with moves from her amazing Pilates Suspension Training Method—they’re not for the faint of heart! But above all, Rebecca’s real-life story is what has moved me so incredibly: Her adorable daughter, whom we met at last year’s PMA convention in Las Vegas, was recently diagnosed with leukemia. Somehow Rebecca is able to provide the utmost care for her child while running her own studio, Be Buff Pilates in Southern California, and finding the time to work out herself—no easy feat, not even for Wonder Woman. You! According to a report detailing the 2012 national retail newsstand sales, recently released by Curtis Distribution of New Jersey, of the top 15 fitness magazines in the U.S., Pilates Style ranked second in gross newsstand sales efficiency growth. Number two—that’s quite an accomplishment! And we owe that to you, our dear readers, who support us each and every issue. We’d be nothing without you, which is why we want to hear from you even more: Drop me a line at [email protected], and let me know what you like—or don’t like—about your Pilates Style. See ya’ on the mat,

Bambi Abernathy Editor-in-Chief 10
july • august 2013

Evolved from the Source

Educational Centers
International United States
Australia Brazil Canada Colombia Great Britain Hong Kong Italy Japan Kenya Korea Mexico Philippines Singapore Arizona California Colorado Florida Illinois Indiana New York Nevada Ohio Pennsylvania Texas Virginia Washington

Shape Your Pilates Education
Comprehensive Program • Continuing Education • Licensing Courses • PMA CEC Provider
I endorse this program 100% and encourage all of you who are devoted to knowing, and teaching Pilates at the highest level, to participate. ~ Ron Fletcher
registry of schools
Our program meets the PMA’s criteria for inclusion in the Registry of Schools.

888.RFC.8884 .


If you weren’t a Pilates teacher (heaven forbid!), what would you be?
“If I wasn’t a Pilates instructor and I could sing really well, I would be a famous country singer. Born and raised in Alabama, I love my country songs, cowboy boots, pickup truck and bling. Carrie Underwood, watch out!” —Cover girl Rebecca Beckler, a STOTT
PILATES® instructor trainer and owner of Be Buff Pilates in Southern California, who created a calorie-busting workout, based on her killer Pilates Suspension Training Method, just in time for beach season (“Get Suspended,” page 46).

“Lately, I’ve been thinking about how fun it would be to be an international food critic; I love trying different cuisines.” —Bride-to-be Deanndria Severs, a Power Pilates–certified
teacher and a graduate of the Masters Program at The Pilates Center of Boulder, is on a mission to help you live and breathe the Pilates lifestyle, with strengthening moves you can do on-the-go, at home or in studio (“Everday Pilates,” page 58).

“I’d be an acupuncturist. I’m fascinated with how the subtle energy body supports a healthy physical, mental and emotional body.” —Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle,
director of education at the Pilates Center of Austin, shares her groundbreaking 3Core Connections® Perspective to help you decrease tension throughout your body and experience Pilates like never before (“Core from the Body’s Perspective,” page 52).

“An astrophysicist, a marine biologist or Maggie Smith on Downton Abbey.”
—Pilates master and mentor Jennifer Kries, a mind/ body/spirit innovator, who is spilling her expert tips and tricks for tackling the Teaser—and its super-advanced variations!— no matter your level (“The Triumphant Teaser,” page 64).


july • august 2013



Do you do more OR less Pilates on the weekend?
"Like us" on Facebook at READER LETTERS

“This weekend more...I'm attending the Polestar studio course.” —Pilates Academy

35% MORE

20% SAME

“I literally live and breathe Pilates. I could not imagine it any other way.” —Eva Pettinen

“I try to do a light, Pilates workout Saturday morning, then take the rest of the weekend to play and have fun with my family.” —Anne-Marie Fallon Stoner

45% LESS

Your cover story workout [“Band Aid,” May/June] rocks! I love that all I need is a cheapie band to do the moves anywhere. I’ve been doing the routine three times a week for a month now and I’m definitely seeing results. Even though I started doing it to look better, I’m more excited that I’ve been feeling better. I have a desk job and now sit taller, much more effortlessly than before. I don't look like [cover girl] Kahley Schiller (just yet) but people have recently been complimenting me on my posture and definition. I’m officially ready to hit the beach— thanks, Kahley! —Melissa Kando, Encendidas, CA

MommY DearesT

Mother–Daughter Pilates Teachers
When the family business is Pilates, mothers and daughters share an even deeper bond.
by Anne Marie O’Connor
Sharifa and her daughter Nadia are co-owners of Bodytree in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.


Connie is a level III teacher trainer at Peak Pilates. Her daughter Carly works at Connie’s studio, Balance Pilates and Yoga Centers in Bradenton, FL. CONNIE:

I’ve been a Pilates teacher for more than 30 years. I gave Carly her first Pilates lesson when she was 12. She started teaching her friends soon after that, so I eventually suggested that she do the Peak Pilates teacher training.

C A R L Y : I first got involved in Pilates when I was 12. I had an awful car accident. My mom was told I wouldn’t walk again but she knew Pilates could change that. She taught me how to walk again on the Reformer. In college, I taught two movement classes a week. When students asked me questions I couldn’t answer, I realized I needed an education. So I went through my Peak Pilates Level 1 training in 2005. CONNIE:

Great “Mother’s Day Special: Mother-Daughter Pilates Teachers” [May/June] article! I run a business with my mother so I know how rewarding (and sometimes how tough) it can be. I related to the piece on another level, too: I got into doing Pilates after my mom became addicted to it. I’m so thankful that she inspired me to take on such an amazing practice, one that will forever be a part of both of our lives. For Mother’s Day, I bought her a package of sessions and she said it was the best present she’s received in a long time. I’m hoping she repays the favor in December when I turn 30! —Katie Holt, Skoke, IL
S H A R I F A : I’ve lived in Abu Dhabi for close to 35 years. Sixteen years ago, I was introduced to Pilates while in the U.S., undergoing chemotherapy for colon cancer. I had to have major abdominal surgery and Pilates helped me reconnect to my core and strengthen my abdominals. I started out teaching yoga, and then decided to do my STOTT PILATES® teacher training eight years ago at Studio Praxis in Montreal. NADIA:

I was very excited because I knew she would be a wonderful Pilates teacher. I was also very proud that she could know what she wanted to do at that early age. I certainly didn’t. It was obvious from the beginning how talented Carly was and how great she would be at helping people get fit and healthy through Pilates.

friend and my mentor, Carol ValmyMerchant, and never looked back.

S H A R I F A : Then in 2011, we partnered with our close friend Elina Nykanen of Yoga Tree and opened Bodytree Studio. In June 2012, we moved into our new, much larger facility. We have tripled the class offerings and now offer yoga, dance, meditation, pre- and postnatal programs, children’s programs and community activities. NADIA:

C A R L Y : I’ve worked in other studios and gyms, but I always missed the challenge of working next to my momma. Now, we work side by side at her studio. She is a resource for my learning and she inspires me, much like an athlete practicing with someone far more seasoned. I am excited to continue on my own path to becoming a Peak teacher trainer by attending their next certification camp in the fall. CONNIE:

daughter Tamika has followed in her footsteps. CYNTHIA:

Cynthia opened Cynthia Lochard’s Pilates Method Studio in Sydney, Australia in 1994. Her

My mom encouraged me to try Pilates in 1998 when I was in university in Montreal. Coincidentally, a woman named Daniella Moretti started a home studio in the building where I lived, so I decided to try a session. I fell in love with Daniella’s classes and with Pilates. I began discovering things about myself and my body that I had never tapped into.

Pilates has become incredibly popular here. We work with talented instructors and clients of all ages and nationalities.

It's amazing to watch her evolution as a teacher and a mentor to other teachers. She observes me teaching and I see her apply her new knowledge the very next time she works with someone. It's very special to be able to mentor her.

S H A R I F A : After I got my certification, I began teaching Pilates in Abu Dhabi eight years ago, initially to close friends and eventually as a paid private instructor. NADIA:

S H A R I F A : Nadia and I have a very special relationship and working together helps us bond even more. We had envisioned turning our place into a full-fledged holistic/community center and we have achieved just that. We strongly believe in empowering women in particular, but also men and children. NADIA:

A few years after I graduated from college, my mother and I spoke of the idea of starting a Pilates studio in Abu Dhabi. None existed at the time. We launched our first studio, SOMA Pilates, in 2007 with our great

My mother is my mentor and my best friend. I’m so privileged to see her and interact with her on a daily basis. It has been an incredible journey for both of us to see each other grow both mentally and spiritually, and realize our dreams through our business.

It was obvious from the beginning how talented Carly was and how great she would be at helping people get fit and healthy through Pilates.

I’ve done Pilates for 36 years, starting as a very young dancer in New York. One of my ballet teachers encouraged all her students to go see Romana Kryzanowska and start doing Pilates. I hated it because it was hard, but it didn’t take too long to start feeling how it would benefit me. Throughout my career at the New York City Ballet and beyond, I hardly ever sustained a serious injury! I was certified by Romana in 1994, then returned to Sydney, where I’d been living, and opened Cynthia Lochard’s Pilates Method Studio. My kids were around a studio all their lives, so I guess it was somewhat inevitable that Tamika became a teacher.

I’ve been raised by such a wonderful, caring, passionate woman and I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher in Pilates and in life.

T A M I K A : I remember playing “shop” with my little brother in my mother’s studio, “selling” the equipment to her clients! Around the age of 15, I started taking it seriously as a conditioning workout for my high school sports. Without my really knowing it, my mother had

continued on page 74


may • june 2013 73

I really liked Andrea Speir’s exercises for biking (“Moves of the Month: For Biking,” May/June]. I do a lot of spinning on my non-Pilates days and recently signed up for a local bike race, so the routine came at a perfect time. You’ll be proud of me: After mat class, I stick around and do the three moves. I’m hoping the newfound strength will help me to power through my rides like never before! —Sam Owens, Long Island, NY

Thanks for Rael Isacowitz’s “Building a Better Shoulder” [May/June]. I, too, suffered a debilitating shoulder injury (due to overtraining for a triathlon) and Pilates helped me to recover much faster than anyone expected. I brought the article to my Pilates teacher and we did it together—everyone can use some extra shoulder stability, she said! —Simon Miller, Atlanta, GA

“‘Practice What You Teach!’ [May/June]—great article from great teachers!” —@JennaZaffino 14
july • august 2013

“@grantkorgan, just read your story in @PilatesStyle magazine! You are truly an inspiration!” —@fashioniista16

“Happy day to me! I got my @pilatesstyle mag.” —@AshleyBensonFit


At the studio where I teach, there are frequent schedule changes. I’m finding it hard to cope, especially in regard to appointments outside of the studio. I’m constantly feeling nervous about double booking myself or simply not showing up when I’m supposed to. Do you know of any software that might help solve this problem?
August 26, 2013 FRIDAY

THe SCientiFiC (Pilates) MetHod

A. Georgia Suter, of MINDBODY, responds: MINDBODY is the

world’s leading provider of online business-management software for health and wellness practitioners. Our web-based program allows you to manage Pilates classes, appointments and client profiles from anywhere at any time, and its mobile apps allow for on-thego management. For each appointment, you can set up automated alerts and reminders for yourself, and, when changes are made to your teaching schedule, the software will send you an automated notification to alert you of the change. Rest assured, the program is specifically designed to prevent you from ever overbooking or double booking yourself. Along with tracking your schedule, streamlining all of your business needs and helping you monitor your clients’ progress and history, you have access to live, unlimited tech support.

Connect with fellow instructors across the globe with Fusion Fitness Online, a new—and free!—online community hub for Pilates pros, created by Balanced Body–certified Jennifer Gianni and Casey Maries Herd. The site features articles and videos on everything from creative cueing to new ideas for modifications and props, by Gianni, Herd and other teachers like Marie José Blom, Katy Thompson and Lesley Powell. You can add to your own repertoire by enrolling in the online and on-location training courses, with topics like anatomy and pre/postnatal. And, for those itching to get certified, there’s also an online Apprentice Program for up-and-coming teachers. Community is king on the site; instructors are invited to participate in conversations by sharing concepts and methods. “We welcome all styles and backgrounds and we’d like to see a huge variety of workshops and continuing education,” Gianni says. Fusion offers a profit-sharing arrangement for online and in-person workshops and courses as well as assistance with planning, filming and spreading the word about online courses. For more information, visit —Shayli Lones 16
july • august 2013

Ever wish you could know definitively the order in which Pilates exercises should be performed for optimal results? Well, thanks to a new Pilates-centric study, which uses electromyography (EMG) to measure muscle output and behavior while doing Teaser prep and variations, we can. “The purpose of this study is to determine the differences in abdominal muscle intensity for Ab Prep, Modified Roll-Up, Single-Leg Teaser, Teaser 1 and Full Teaser,” says study author and Pilates teacher, Michele Olson (pictured above), a professor of exercise science at Auburn University Montgomery, who has performed five other Pilates studies to date. “The research results can help guide instructors and devotees toward strategies to individualize and tweak the Teaser Series, since the research will tell us precisely how the muscles of the abdominal wall behave when performing each of the different moves.” Stay tuned for all the details on Dr. Olson’s results in the March/April 2014 issue of Pilates Style !  —Amanda Altman




The Professional Bridging Program

ProBridge grants you a full BASI Pilates teacher qualification while recognizing your professional credentials and experience. The next course begins in Costa Mesa, California this September. Contact us today for more information!

(866) 992-2742

[email protected] 17

Fletcher Pilates Conference 2013

FRom top RIGht coUntERclockwIsE: ThE nEXt GEnERatIon of PIlatEs pRos pERfoRm RollInG LIkE a Ball; BREtt HowaRD; a REfoRmER class; PanEl paRtIcIpants (fRom RIGht): BREtt HowaRD, AmY AlpERs, DIanE SEVERIno, DEBoRah LEssEn, MIchElE LaRsson, KYRIa SaBIn, CaRa REEsER, Blossom LEIlanI CRawfoRD and Jillian Hessel; Ron’s TowElwoRk In actIon


july • august 2013

Aptly named Shared Traditions, the second Fletcher Pilates Conference took place this past May, with instructors from almost every continent and half of the States—plus our very own Bambi and Matthew Abernathy—uniting at the Westward Look Resort in Tucson, AZ, for four days of classes, workshops, motivation and more. “By better understanding our shared history and traditions, we can celebrate both our similarities and our differences. We can also celebrate what unites us as a larger, worldwide community,” said the ever-articulate Fletcher Pilates program director Kyria Sabin, in her welcome speech. From Fletcher classes like the Fletcher Spine Corrector to Towelwork to Fusion and workshops like Anatomy and Physiology of Breath, Pilates for Children, the Magic of the Circle and Shoulder Girdle 101, there was never a dull moment. A huge highlight was the tribute to our first-generation teachers in a panel discussion with: Michele Larsson, student of Eve Gentry; Blossom Leilani

Crawford and Cara Reeser, students of Kathy Grant; Brett Howard and Amy Alpers, students of Romana Kryzanowska; Deborah Lessen and Jillian Hessel, students of Carola Trier; and Diane Severino and Kyria Sabin, students of Ron Fletcher. (For video footage of this historical event, visit Also noteworthy was a special performance by participants in the Pilates Youth Program that received a standing ovation. “Thank you, Kyria, for your wonderful idea of sharing traditions. I am sure that this event made the Pilates world better and closer. You make a big family of it!” gushed attendee Nataliya. “This is the first Pilates conference I have attended since becoming an instructor. I never could have imagined the inspiration and passion I would gain from the weekend. I feel connected and alive in my teaching!” said Anne, another attendee.

TaKe Heart
Stress has become an unfortunate part of our everyday lives. It follows us to work in the morning and back home in the evening, affecting our attitudes and more importantly, jeopardizing our health. While our eyes can’t see the stress which plagues us, recent research conducted by Columbia University Medical Center has shown that our hearts can definitely feel it. And it doesn’t feel good! According to the study, published in the American Journal of Cardiology, stress—which gets compounded over the years, researchers report—is associated with a 27 percent increased risk for coronary heart disease (CHD). CHD is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S; more than 385,000 people die each year from plaque buildup in the arteries, which prevents the supply of oxygen to our hearts. So next time stress strikes, take heart, breathe deep and just relax!

Romana on


the legacy edition
A comprehensive approach to apparatus work from Romana Krysanowska, as taught to her by Joseph Pilates.




ONLY $99.95!
Suggested retail price $149.95
Keeper of the Flame and Force of Nature – A personal documentary. Between friends - Romana and Jay Grimes reflect on the life and work of Joseph and Clara Pilates 3 bonus exercises designed to complement your daily pilates practice.

Matwork | Wake-Up Exercises | Wall Work

—Nurit Lewis

or visit
Shipping & Handling $14.95 in USA 19

To order call 866-378-2952


Rael Isacowitz, MA, has been practicing Pilates for more than 30 years and is recognized internationally as an expert in the field. In 1989, Rael founded BASI Pilates®, a comprehensive Pilates education organization represented throughout the world.

tips for getting the glutes going • how to score a discount on privates • pros and cons to wine • foods to fight migraines
by Rael Isacowitz and Leslie Dantchik, MS

Nutrition expert Leslie Dantchik, MS, is the author of the health blog The longtime Pilates and exercise enthusiast has a Masters in Applied Physiology and Nutrition from Teachers College, Columbia University.


I have a couple of clients who cannot activate their glutes in almost any position and, in turn, never feel like they work them. I have exhausted my angles. Any ideas how to get these muscles to fire?

It is important to work the gluteals, and this becomes increasingly imperative if you are working with a more mature population. The gluteals play a key role in everyday activities we often take for granted, including walking, running, climbing stairs and getting up from a seated position. There are some very good gluteal exercises we can do on the Pilates apparatus, such as the Skating Single Leg (description follows). However, they require more experience and are not suitable for the novice practitioner, so I typically augment the Pilates repertoire with some simple gluteal exercises common in the fitness world with the addition of ankle weights. In a series I teach, the client begins in a side-lying position, with the lower leg at 90 degrees in the hip and knee joints. The top leg is straight and relaxed, as if it is hanging off the hip joint. The leg is lifted and lowered 10 times. Then, the leg is 20 july • august 2013

moved forward so it is perpendicular to the body, lifted and lowered 10 times, and then the client returns to the starting position. Finally, the leg is again positioned forward and

perpendicular, and the client does 20 little drops of the leg and then returns to the starting position. (This series, and others, can be found in the BASI Pilates Auxiliary Movement
continued on page 21


save the date!

13th Annual Meeting of the Pilates Method Alliance
Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale, FL
The PMA conference is not just another educational event. It is the only event of its kind. It is the largest global gathering of Pilates practitioners representing every school and lineage. This is where Pilates professionals come together to shape the future of our industry.
REGISTER NOW! We anticipate a sell-out event this year! Register now – don’t delay! SAVE $100 Delegates who register by May 16 during the ‘Pre-Registration’ period receive a $100 discount off the regular price.
FOLLOW US Tweet us @pmatweeter CONTACT US Toll Free 866 573 4945 [email protected]

October 9–12, 2013

Visionary Sponsor

Media Sponsor

live life to the core


continued from page 20


I can’t afford regular private sessions but think they would really help further my practice. Are there any ways to get a discounted rate?

I think a private session once a month is a great way to fine-tune your work and skills while helping you to avoid bad habits.

This is a tough question, as it is completely dependant on the studio you go to and their policies. However, I have always been a strong believer that students/clients that show commitment should be rewarded with discounted rates. If my clients sign up for 20 or even 50 sessions, I want to give them a steeply discounted rate. However, private sessions do not need to be taken on a regular basis and can be one-off, special events. For instance, treat yourself to one for your birthday, or put a package of sessions on your wish list. I think a private session once a month is a great way to fine-tune your work and skills while helping you to avoid bad habits. A concept that I try and promote among our students is trading off sessions with each other. Of course, this is only applicable if you are enrolled in a Pilates program. Also, if available at your studio, take sessions with student teachers. Keep in mind that, although an experienced teacher has a great deal to offer, newly qualified teachers, or even student teachers, also offer fantastic insights. The most important aspect of your Pilates practice is consistency. Keep up your regular practice no matter what—be it through group classes, mat classes, semi-private sessions or self-practice. To augment this practice with a private session periodically is indeed the cherry on top. —R.I. 22 july • august 2013


A glass of wine might help you unwind after a tough day, but it’s important to be aware of the pros and cons before you uncork that bottle. The good news is that research suggests that a moderate amount of alcohol, including red or white wine, is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. But what does moderate mean? According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the recommendation is no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks for men. If you’re deciding between a glass of Chardonnay or Cabernet, it seems red wine may have a slight health advantage, since it contains a higher concentration of resveratrol, a flavonoid found in the skin of the grapes, which acts as a powerful antioxidant. Some studies suggest that this phytonutrient may be a key factor in raising good cholesterol, reducing inflammation, preventing clotting, fighting cancers, lowering blood sugar and sharpening your memory. But be mindful of your consumption. Heavy drinking, defined by the CDC as consuming, on average, more than the recommended amount per day, can have adverse effects on your health. This ultimately can lead to high triglyceride and blood pressure levels and increase your risk for certain types of cancer. Plus, wine is considered a common trigger of migraines (see my next response). Nutritionally speaking, a five-ounce glass of wine contains approximately 120 calories, primarily from sugar and alcohol, so factor that into your day accordingly. If you eat out frequently, keep in mind that restaurants typically serve about six or seven ounces per pour, which can add up to an additional 50 calories to your glass. No health professional would advise you to start drinking solely for the aforementioned benefits. But if you’re of legal age and lead a healthy lifestyle that includes a sensible diet and regular exercise, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a glass of wine every now and then. Remember to drink responsibly. Cheers! —L.D.


Analysis Workbook .) Due to the side-lying position, this series targets primarily the gluteas medius. To target the gluteus maximus, the exercises should be performed in a quadruped or standing position. To perform the Skating Single Leg: Stand sideways on one leg on the foot platform in the front of the Reformer, and place your other leg on the front edge of the carriage. Bend your standing leg, placing all of your weight on it. Straighten your other leg out to your side completely and bend it back in. Do 10 repetitions, with the resistance on 1-2 springs. (This exercise can be found in the BASI Pilates Reformer Movement Analysis Workbook .) I love this exercise, as it is functional, works the entire body, particularly the gluteals on both sides, and utilizes the gluteals as stabilizers on the standing leg and movers on the moving leg. —R.I.


I love indulging in a nice glass of wine a few nights a week . Are there any health benefits or detriments to this habit?

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3 X Women Men
than in
Can eating healthy—or certain foods — prevent migraines?
There are a number of foods that have been found to trigger an attack, especially those containing the amino acids tyramine and phenylethylamine, histamines and/or nitrates. Examples of these include beer, wine, aged and moldy cheeses (cheddar, Brie, Swiss, blue, feta), caffeine, cured or smoked meats and fish (sausages, hot dogs, anchovies, lox, bacon), processed foods (packaged deli meats, canned soups, frozen dinners), chocolate, dried fruits and additives (MSG and aspartame). Even healthier foods like citrus fruits and juices

more likely to occur in

Trigger Foods


If you’re one of the 30 million people who suffer from migraines, you know how debilitating they can be. Migraines are three times more likely to occur in women than in men, with symptoms, including intense throbbing, nausea, vomiting and light sensitivity. While the actual cause of migraines is unclear, common offenders like stress, environment, hormonal changes, lack of sleep, fasting, dehydration and, yes, even the food you eat, are known to bring on one of these excruciating headaches. 24 july • august 2013

(oranges, grapefruits, lemons), grapes, papaya, raisins, red-skinned apples, raspberries, as well as vegetables like peas, onions, eggplant, beans (fava, navy and lentils), vinegar (red, balsamic), nuts and seeds may be a trigger, too. On the other hand, studies have shown that certain essential nutrients and healthy fats have had a positive effect on alleviating the frequency, duration and pain of migraines. Try adding foods rich in magnesium (spinach, potatoes with skin, quinoa, oatmeal), riboflavin (lean beef, fortified, whole grain cereals, low-fat or fat-free milk, mushrooms, broccoli), omega-3 fatty acids (wild salmon, halibut, fortified eggs, canola oil)

and monounsaturated fats (olive oil, avocados). What sets off a migraine is unique to each individual, and unfortunately, there is no definitive cure. Start by keeping a detailed food journal and note if and when a migraine occurs. Then, follow up by eliminating any possible offending foods for a period of time and see if the situation improves. While eating a healthy, balanced diet with regular meals, along with getting adequate sleep and proper hydration, may not completely stop your headaches from occurring, it will, hopefully, keep them fewer and farther between. If this still doesn’t work, check with your doctor, as medication or other therapies may be necessary. —L.D.



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Create D B Y : H O W It Ca M e a B O Ut:

Fusing the method with other sports and practices—and even species—is a great way to add variety and fun to your practice. Here are five of our new favorites. by Anne Marie O’Connor PRAIsERCIsE = Chair and mat Pilates +
stretching + yoga + weight training + worship Inez Watson, a Baltimore health-care administrator who began teaching fitness after she retired

“The pastor at my

church said, ‘You’re really into fitness, how about you start an exercise program here at Calvary Baptist?’”

SUPILATEs = Pilates + stand-up paddleboarding
Create D B Y : Karen Mirlenbrink, owner of Dunedin Pilates in Dunedin, FL, and a professional paddle boarder H O W It Ca M e a B O Ut:

recalls Watson. She designed a program geared toward the older members of her congregation that includes 10-minute segments of: stretching; yoga; chair and mat Pilates; and hand weights or pool noodles (which are easier for arthritic hands to handle). “I called it Praisercise because we exercise to praise music,” she explains. “Our focus is on the spiritual, the mental and the physical, in that order. My body is God’s temple and I try to take care of it.” Her students range in age from 50 to 80; classes are free and everyone is welcome.
F O r M O re I N f O :

“I came up with the idea after seeing that my friends were offering yoga on paddleboards in Tennessee,” says Mirlenbrink. “Since the boards are essentially a floating mat, I figured Pilates would be completely applicable on the board as well. The class is a mix of paddling and Pilates, but sometimes, due to water conditions, we paddle more than we practice Pilates. When it’s calm, we practice more than we paddle. Either way, it’s always a good, fun workout.” Mirlenbrink is now offering instructor workshops.

F O r M O re I N f O :

e-mail [email protected]


july • august 2013

SuRFILATEs = Pilates + surfing
Create D B Y :

Kim Kuznitz, owner of Bent Pilates in New

York City
H O W It Ca M e a B O Ut:

“When I started

surfing about five years ago, my pop-ups and balance were good, but my paddling was weak,” says Kuznitz. “I tried exercises on the Reformer and Tower, but the tension of the springs was too dangerous
therapy + ergonomic training
Create D B Y :

COmpuTER FIT = Pilates + physical

for the shoulders. So I came up with a mat-based workout using balance discs, weighted balls and a surfboard/ mat that I designed and had a surfboard shaper create. I tested the workout and was amazed at how much my paddling improved. My surf friends and regular Pilates clients also loved it, because it takes your practice to a whole different level. I hope to have a teacher training program ready to go by next fall.”
F O r M O re I N f O :

Raza Awan, MD, medical director of Synergy, a sports medicine and rehabilitation clinic in Toronto
H O W It Ca M e a B O Ut:

“Repetitive strain injuries from using computers are very common and very difficult to treat,” explains Dr. Awan. “For years, I have seen patients who have tried multiple treatments but didn’t get better. I found Pilates when I had a knee injury. I liked it so much, I took a STOTT PILATES® mat certification course.” Dr. Awan then asked veteran teacher Riki Richter to come up with Pilates exercises that could address the problems specific to computer overuse. After trying the moves out on patients, Computer Fit was launched at Synergy last fall. The class focuses on three areas: the hands, wrists and forearms; the neck and upper back; and core strength. Students are also given exercises to practice at home and are taught proper hand and wrist techniques to use when working at a computer.

F O r M O re I N f O :

doggie fitness

DOGLATEs = Mat Pilates +

Create D B Y : Julie Baskin, owner of Julie B Pilates in Jacksonville, FL H O W It Ca M e a B O Ut:

Doglates was conceived after Baskin adopted a dog from the Jacksonville Humane Society. Inspired to raise money for local shelters, she came up with a novel idea for a benefit: a class that incorporated students’ dogs into a mat routine. “For example, we do standing Roll-Downs to ‘pet the dog’ and Side-Lying Leg Circles with a dog biscuit in between the toes,” she explains. Sessions are held several times a year at the Jacksonville Beach Seawalk Pavilion. 27

F O r M O re I N f O :


Here’s an inside look at how studios around the globe celebrated the method this past May 4th.


The MovemeNt Factory


Kalijo Pilates, Dance & Health W H A T : The open house featured free mat and apparatus classes, along with an advanced Reformer demo, plus time set aside for healthcare practitioners to check out the studio. Participants learned about Joe’s history, the equipment and the many styles of Pilates offered. “We had a few dozen people show up to enjoy gift drawings, free classes and the demo class. It was a fantastic day in the studio!”

—Owner Katherine Denham


The Pilates Tree The studio hosted a day of mat, Reformer and Yamuna Body Rolling classes by donation, with all proceeds going to Angela Veltri, owner of local business Kix4Chix, who’s fighting her battle with terminal terminal cancer. (To donate, visit the studio’s Facebook page.) “It is our hope that the dollars raised will help contribute to Angela’s journey and give hope and strength to her and those around her.” —Co-owners

The Movement Factory W H A T : After two free mat classes, the studio held “mini” mat classes and Reformer and Cadillac demos at an open house with neighbors, The Screw Factory Artists—more than 40 resident and visiting artists who work with different media, some of which do Pilates at the studio. The studio offered Pilates Day coupons for apparatus sessions and packages. “People who came for the artist studios really enjoyed stopping by my studio and learning about Pilates and seeing demos on the equipment. It was a nice blend of art and Pilates!”

sessions. One of our activities was a “Joe quiz” and we brought my album of Joe Pilates by Chuck Rapoport and a postersize picture of Joe.”
—Co-owner and manager Patricia Massey Welter
PHOENIX, ARIZONA W H O : IM=X Pilates Studio, with Remedy Pilates, Pilates by Fitness Solutions and Cityscape W H A T : “Pilates in the Park” festival—with vendors, entertainment and live apparatus demos—held at the downtown mall/ entertainment center Cityscape. The studios attempted to break the Guinness World Record for the largest Pilates mat class, currently held by Spain. “Our event was great! We didn’t break the record but it was the largest Pilates Day event, to date, for Arizona by hundreds!” —Melissa Murray,

Park. “Today’s class was super-hard, really fast, and I feel two inches taller!”
—Lisa, an attendee
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA W H O : Pilates International Training Centre (PilatesITC) W H A T : The first Pilates Day event in the country offered a free outdoor Pilates class to 100 students in view of the landmark Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge on Blues Point Reserve. “The scenery was pure Sydney on display! I think Joe and Clara kept the skies clear for us. And true to the intention of Pilates Day, we had a real mix of people from all over Sydney come to our event, from people who had never done Pilates before to those who are devotees.” —Instructor and studio director Sally Anderson

—Owner Alyssa Lee Wilmot

Christine Waterman and Nicole Bruce, who raised more than $1,100 for Veltri

Suncoast Pilates The studio educated the public on the method—and did some impressive Chair demos— at Macy’s “Meet the Experts” event at a local mall in Clearwater. “Our mission was to educate people about Pilates. At our table, we offered drawings, gave away several free mat classes and introductory private

owner of IM=X Pilates Studio
SANTA MONIcA, CALIfORNIA W H O : Pilates pros and PS bloggers Kristen Matthews and Andrea Speir, who recently launched the YouTube channel, The Pilates Fix. W H A T : A free Pilates boot camp class by the beach in Santa Monica at Palisades

Pilates ITC

—Amanda Altman


july • august 2013


MOVES Of THE MONTH: by Patty McNichols • photos by Sara Stathas

Pilates Squat
P U R po S E : strengthens the large leg, glute and core muscles

It helps to be in garden-ready physical condition from the get go. Do these exercises, which will strengthen and stretch your core, 3–4 times per week.

1. Stand tall with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart, hips stacked over your knees and knees over your ankles. Roll your shoulders back and down away from your ears, and keep your back as straight as possible. 2. Extend your arms in front of you at shoulder level so they are parallel with the ground, palms facing down. (For extra support, hold onto a tree as shown.) 3. Inhale, pull your abdominals in and, keeping your chest open and your back straight, sit back, allowing your butt to stick out as if you were about to sit on a chair, until your knees are bent at about 90 degrees. 4. Engage your core, then exhale to return to standing, driving through your heels. Do 8–12 reps. Squats might look easy, but they are challenging. Make sure your alignment is in check and keep your abdominals engaged throughout. When returning to standing, imagine that your feet are spreading the floor (your left foot to the left, your right foot to the right) without actually moving them.
TIpS: M o D I F I C at I o N S : Don’t do a deep squat if you have any damage to your knee cartilage, knee cap or knee ligaments. Hold onto something for support until you get stronger and more flexible.

P U R po S E : stretches the hamstrings, calves, spine, neck and legs while strengthening the deep abdominal muscles and hips and enhancing spinal articulation and shoulder and hip flexibility

1. Lie on your back on a mat with your legs extended long and together in front of you. Extend your arms toward the ceiling in line with your shoulders, palms facing down. Your shoulders are down into the back and your abdominals are pulled in. 2. Inhale as you sequentially curl your head, neck and shoulders off the mat until your head is between your arms. Continue to roll up vertebra by vertebra until your rib cage is off the mat. Exhale and pull your belly deeper into your spine as you continue to articulate your vertebrae, peeling your entire torso off the mat and reaching your head and hands toward your feet. Your arms and spine should be parallel to the floor, with your head between your arms. 3. Inhale as you begin rolling your pelvis and then your spine to the mat. Gradually and gently lay one vertebra at a time back toward the mat, elongating your spine. 4. Exhale as you unroll until you have sequentially stretched out your entire

spine, shoulders, neck and head on the mat, with your arms above your eyes reaching for the ceiling. Do 5–8 reps.
T I p S : Keep your legs squeezing together the entire time. Do not tuck your pelvis. Don’t overstretch— muscles take time to release. M o D I F I C at I o N S : Hook your feet under a strap or piece of furniture to keep your feet from lifting off the ground when rolling up. Or, do a partial Roll-Up: Sit with your knees bent and together, feet flat on the mat, spine curled as much as possible and belly drawn in. Hold onto the backs of your knees with wide elbows. Inhale as you partially roll down until your arms are straight, then exhale to return to the starting position, bending your elbows high and wide. Practice until you are strong enough to do a full Roll-Up. ADVaN CE D:

Keep your arms by your ears throughout the entire exercise.

Check out our e-newsletter for a bonus move! Sign up for free at

Patty McNichols, trained by The Pilates Center in Boulder, owns and teaches at The Lift Pilates & CoreAlign Studio in Fox Point, WI. She holds a degree in exercise science from San Diego State University and has worked in the fitness industry for more than 25 years. Patty has competed in 60 triathlons, 19 marathons and two Ironman World Championships. For more information, visit 29


Getting our vitamins is important, but constantly popping pills is the last thing we want to be doing! So instead of always reaching for a bottle, try eating more whole foods, which, according to holistic nutritionist Kimberly Olsen, CNC, creator of the FitKim lifestyle and nutrition blog, are rich in the nutrients our bodies need. “Fruits and vegetables contain naturally occurring phytochemicals, which help protect against cancer, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Antioxidants are found in whole foods and slow down the natural process that leads to cell and tissue damage,” she says. To get the most nutrients out of the foods you eat, follow Olsen’s simple tips and tricks.


Keep it fresh. Ditch the labels and fill your shopping cart with foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Packaged foods have been altered with artificial flavors, salt or sugar, causing their nutritional value to falter. Oranges, on the other hand, provide not only vitamin C, but also beta carotene and calcium, which a vitamin C supplement lacks. Follow the 80/20 rule. Fill your plate with 80 percent whole foods—like fiber-rich whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes—and 20 percent with whatever you want, within reason. Go green. Thumb, that is. Even in a small apartment, you can start a garden for growing your favorite fruits, vegetables and herbs. “There is something magical about being the one that nurtured your fruits and vegetables into existence,” Olsen says. Plus, if you take the time to grow them, you’re more likely to eat ’em. Choose local. Farmer’s markets have an abundant supply of fresh and local produce that is usually fresher. Plus, it contains a higher amount of nutrients since it’s not mass produced, sprayed with chemicals or genetically modified. —Shayli Lones



Get the skinny on summer’s bounty, plus cooking tips from Peggy Kotsopoulos, registered holistic nutritionist and author of Kitchen Cures: Revolutionize Your Health with Foods that Heal (The Penguin Group, 2013).

NORTHEAsT Kitchen Cure: It contains cancer-preventative antioxidants, Syringic acid (a flavonoid that helps control blood sugar levels), along with bone-building vitamin K, calcium and magnesium. Cooking Tip: Lightly steam, then drizzle with some extra-virgin olive oil and minced garlic. Kitchen Cure: Red beets are rich in anthocyanin, a phytochemical antioxidant that not only gives the veggie its gorgeous hue, but it protects your brain from oxidative damage and age-related memory decline. Cooking Tips: When cooking beets, keep the skin and top of the root in tact to prevent bleeding of the red pigment (and nutrients). Roast beets in the oven (like you would potatoes), wrapped in aluminum foil. After they’ve cooked and cooled, simply rub off the skin with a paper towel.
july • august 2013

SOUTHEAsT Kitchen Cure: Thanks to vitamins B6 and C, the fruit helps to ward off stress: B6 helps to produce “happy” neurotransmitters in your brain, while C helps to mitigate stress-hormone levels. Bananas also contain magnesium, which calms nerves, and melotonin, which helps you to relax. Cooking Tip: When they get too ripe, peel and freeze them for smoothies or blend them on their own for a frozen treat.




Kitchen Cure: They’re amazing for your skin: Beta carotene converts in the body to retinol, an active form of vitamin A, which protects the body against oxidative stress and UV damage; vitamin C firms and tones the skin while protecting collagen fibers. Cooking Tip: Cut lengthwise along the seed and scoop out the flesh with a tall drinking glass (the way you would scoop out a kiwi with a spoon).


Logging hours on a plane, cruise or in the sun can wreak havoc on your health. Prevent summer sickness and discomfort—the worst kind!—with these handy new products. C.






E. Your morning cup just got a little better for you. According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, drinking green tea or coffee regularly might reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. The study examined more than 82,000 people in the Japanese community over 13-plus years, observing their intake of these standard a.m. beverages. Those who drank more than four cups of green tea daily, or two of coffee, lowered their risks for cardiovascular disease and stroke, which researchers attributed to the antioxidants in the green stuff and the antimicrobial powers of diterpene in java. We’ll sip to that! —Valentina Palladino

Zap germs—like e-coli, salmonella, mold, fungus and MRSA (staph)—by waving the device’s UV-C light over any surface. The handheld tool uses the same technology found in operating rooms ($14.99; www.

men, women and children ($14.99–$19; for stores).


Repel insects with this hypoallergenic, DEET-free spray, with rosemary, citronella and wintergreen essentials oils. Works for up to four hours ($12.95 for 4 fluid ounces;

TOwEL Chill out with this sweatabsorbing towel. When the fabric is moistened, it evaporates to lower your skin’s temperature up to 20 degrees for hours ($12.99; for stores ). chemical-free, washable band, with an elastic back, absorbs moisture while cooling you down, thanks to the fabric’s evaporative technology. Available in Dark Blue, Purple and Grey ($19.95; —SL


C. Psi BANDs These waterproof, adjustable

wristbands naturally help to relieve nausea with the use of acupressure points. Bands come in several colors and patterns for

MiDwEsT BLAckbERRIES Kitchen Cure: The berries are loaded with antioxidants, including anthocyanins to keep your mind sharp and the skin wrinkle free, while also preventing cancer by combating free-radical damage. Cooking Tip: Blend them with coconut milk and bananas and freeze in popsicle molds. Kitchen Cure: It contains Indole-3-Carbinol (I-3-C), a chemical compound created through cooking and chewing, which is then broken down into diindolylmethane (DIM) in the intestinal tract; DIM has anti-cancer and immune-boosting properties. Be sure to chew your arugula well to activate this compound. Cooking Tips: Make a delicious salad by rounding out the “pepper-y-ness” of the arugula with fresh, seasonal, sweet berries. It also pairs perfectly in an omelet with goat cheese. PEAcHES TOmAtOES

WEsT COAsT Kitchen Cure: Peaches are a great source of beta carotene and lutein, both of which help to boost eye health. Cooking Tip: Slice and toss into a salad, preserve into a jam, or use as a topping for French toast. Kitchen Cure: The fruit contains lycopene, which acts as a natural sunscreen, protecting your skin from UV damage, and it also builds your skin-firming collagen. Cooking Tip: Chop and add a little extra-virgin olive oil, oregano, sea salt and pepper, or make a cool gazpacho soup.


Reprinted from Kitchen Cures: Revolutionize Your Health with Foods that Heal by Peggy Kotsopoulos with permission from Pintail, a member of The Penguin Group Inc. Copyright © Peggy Kotsopoulos, 2013.

c i n c i P sun
Avoid packing on the pounds at the beach, pool or park by packing your own healthy, portable snacks instead.
by Valentina Palladino


in the

Refuel after a grueling swim with EVOLVE , packed with 20 vitamins and minerals and naturally sweetened with stevia, monk fruit and cane sugar. Available in glutenand lactose-free Vanilla Crème, Chocolate, Mixed Berry, Café Latte and Strawberry ($6.99 per 4 pack;
Per 8.25 ounces (Vanilla Crème): 110 cals, 2.5g fat, 13g carbs, 12g protein

KAShI HUmmUS CRISPS, made with fiber-rich

chickpeas and seven whole grains, are a savory pick me up that will keep you feeling full. Choose from Sea Salt & Olive Oil, Sundried Tomato, Basil & Feta and Caramelized Onion ($2.99 per 4 ounces;
Per 27 crisps (Sea Salt & Olive Oil): 120 cals, 3.5g fat, 21g carbs, 3g protein

Crispy, all-natural HANNAhMAX COOKIE ChIPS, free of hydrogenated oils and GMOs, simultaneously satisfy a sweet and crunchy fix. Available in Original, Chocolate Chip, Cinnamon Sugar and Sea Salted Peanut Butter ($5.99 per 6 ounces;
Per 5 cookies (Original): 120 cals, 5g fat, 17g carbs, 1g protein

Made with natural fruit juices and extracts and without artificial colors, GOODY GOOD STUFF GUmmIES are fatfree, vegetarian snacks you and the kids will enjoy. We love the Cheery Cherries, Sour Fruit Salad and Cola Breeze varieties ($2.49 per 3.5 ounces;
Per 7 pieces (Cheery Cherries): 107 cals, 0g fat, 26g carbs, 0g protein


july • august 2013

KIND BARS, in delicious new flavors like Dark Chocolate Chili Almond and Maple Glazed Pecan & Sea Salt, provide antioxidants and a boost of protein ($1.99 per bar;
Per 1.4-ounce bar (Maple Glazed Pecan & Sea Salt): 210 cals, 16g fat, 13g carbs, 6g protein

Sweetened with raw honey, SImPLE SQUARES chewy snack bars combine organic vanilla, nuts and spices with fresh-tasting herbs. Available in Sage, Rosemary, Ginger, Coffee, Coconut and Cinna-clove ($2.49 per square;
Per 1.6 ounce square (Coconut): 230 cals, 17g fat, 16g carbs, 6g protein

Hot Tips
“The key to packing the best beach snacks is knowing the healthiest foods that can weather the heat and keep you feeling great,” says Chrissy Wellington Garner, MS, CNS, LDN, CPT, a nutritionist at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA. Here, she dishes out her expert tips.
DON’T BE SPOILEd ROTTEN. Carry small bags of snacks that won’t perish easily, like mixed nuts, dried fruit, whole grain crackers and dry roasted edamame, to munch on at any time. BEAR FRUIT. Whole fruits, such as apples, bananas and oranges will save you space and packing effort. Simply toss ’em in your tote and go! BEAT THE BLOAT. Baby carrots, celery, peeled cucumbers, pumpkin seeds, watermelon and pears are all easy to digest and, as long as you eat mindfully and slowly, won’t wreak havoc on your belly. DITCH THE SALT. Avoid high-salt foods like chips and pretzels because they can increase your risk of dehydration. 33

all-natural ingredients like non-GMO corn, boasts a mere 37 calories or less per cup. Choose from savory Sea Salt, ExtraVirgin Olive Oil, Parmesan & Herb and Onion Dijon ($3.99 per 4.4 ounces;
Per 3½ cups (Sea Salt): 130 cals, 6g fat, 18g carbs, 3g protein


and preservatives, are made with organic ingredients like brown rice flour, cranberries and raw almonds. Choose from crunchy, sweet Sunshine Biscotti Bliss and Almond Biscotti Bliss ($1.99 per 1.7 ounces;
Per cookie (Sunshine Biscotti Bliss): 45 cals, 1g fat, 6g carbs, 1g protein


Summer Beauty
When the heat is on, these water-resistant skin and makeup essentials will keep you looking flawless—no matter how sweaty your studio sessions get.
by Carol Kim
Waterproof products help keep your makeup and skincare looking fresh—but they can be tricky to apply and difficult to take off. Here, the pros offer up the top three secrets to making them work, even when the mercury hits 100.




Collection Color Proof Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
($12 for 0.082 fluid ounces;

Create a smudge-free cat eye or winged-out look with Sephora

Swipe on Maybelline Volum’ Express The Rocket Waterproof Mascara for long, thick lashes without raccoon eyes— even after a dip in the pool ($8 for 0.3 fluid ounces;

Add a subtle flush to cheeks with splash-proof Becca Cosmetics Beach Tint— it comes in eight vibrant hues and can double as a lip stain ($25 for 0.24 fluid ounces;

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Waterproof Concealer masks
blemishes as it soothes skin with vitamins A and E ($22 for 0.07 fluid ounces; 34
july • august 2013

Give skin an instant golden glow with Per-fékt Matte Body Perfection Gel, which triples as a moisturizer, bronzer and body treatment. As a bonus, the sweat-proof formula has ceramides to hydrate skin ($48 for 3 fluid ounces;


Look for products that won’t cause breakouts.

If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, look for “non-comedogenic” on the label—this means it won’t clog pores. “Waterproof formulas are safe to use” even if your skin does tend to break out, says New York–based dermatologist Dennis Gross, MD. “The key is to wash them off properly before going to sleep.” (See below.)

2 3

Let products dry before you apply another layer.

“The secret is to gradually build color,” says New York makeup artist Keiko Hiramoto. If you want to layer more than one no-budge product such as concealer and eyeliner, make sure to let each coat dry fully. “Otherwise, it’ll smear or run—even though it’s waterproof,” says Hiramoto.

Waterproof cosmetics require special care to remove, depending on the product.

• For sunscreen or lotion, just use a mild cleanser. “You don’t need a harsh remover,” says dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD, the author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist (St. Martin’s Press, 2013). • For waterproof lipstick or gloss, use soap and water. Since long-lasting formulas can be drying and cause your pout to flake, “smooth on a moisturizing balm like Aquaphor to rehydrate lips,” advises Dr. Jaliman. • For concealer or cheek tint, “Always use makeup remover before cleansing so you wash away any alcohol or impure substances that can cause irritation if left on the skin,” says Dr. Gross. • Waterproof mascara tends to be the most difficult product to remove. To prevent breaking lashes, use removers specifically labeled “for waterproof eye makeup.” If you have sensitive skin, be wary of removers that contain alcohol. “Witch hazel is a gentle, natural alternative,” says Dr. Gross. Afterward, rehydrate lashes with baby oil. “It’s completely safe to use on the delicate area surrounding the eyes,” he says.

Long-wearing Bite Beauty Lush Fruit Lip Gloss is 99 percent natural and comes in 12 pretty shades ($22 for 0.13 fluid ounces;

Long Lasting

Highly pigmented Make Up

Supergoop! Save Face A.M. Moisturizer SPF 35+, free of oil and full of
antioxidants, is a great choice for everyday use; it can be worn under makeup, but can also withstand water for 40 minutes ($28 for 3 fluid ounces;

For Ever Professional Aqua Cream won’t crease
even on the hottest days ($23 for 0.21 fluid ounces;

EOS Lemon Drop Smooth Sphere Lip Balm with SPF 15
is water resistant for 80 minutes and contains shea butter and jojoba oil to keep your pucker soft ($3 for 0.25 fluid ounces;

Sun Protection
SPF 50+ Premium Endurance Sunscreen is designed to stay put
during rigorous, outdoor activities in the water, wind or sun ($13 for 1.5 fluid ounces; 35

Fragrance-free Sun Bum PRO

Add function, fun and fashion cred to your workout wardrobe with cool pieces designed for other sports.
by Amy Schlinger
Though many workout clothes are created specifically for sports such as running, surfing or tennis, there’s no reason they can’t also work for Pilates. “We find there are a lot of functional needs that are the same for multiple sports, such as comfort, staying dry and controlling body temperature,” explains Kristoffer Ulriksen, category manager for watersports technical at Helly Hansen. When someone finds a piece they really like, it’s common to want to wear it frequently, even if it’s not for its intended use. With that in mind, here are some of our favorite sports-inspired pieces that look—and perform—just as well for Pilates.



WILSON GREAT GET POLO has a mesh back

Equally at home on the beach or in the studio, thanks to stretchy polyester-spandex fabric,

and side panels for a lightweight feel; a built-in moisture-management system wicks away sweat ($45; The adjustable waistband on the classic LACOSTE

in sun protection of UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) +50 ($90;

personalize the fit. The longer length makes them street-appropriate— though you’ll need to throw a liner on underneath before Pilates ($85;

feature mesh fabric on the sides for added flexibility and breathability. Their Quikdry technology means a faster dry time, whether on the board or in Pilates class ($49;


july • august 2013


has a front zipper for ventilation and a rear pocket to store your keys and ID—so you don’t need to schlep a bag to class ($60; These 2XU SPIN SHORTS are made with the line’s Neo Kinetic fabric, which offers greater stretch and recovery memory so it retains its shape. It also helps support your muscles as you work them, whether you’re riding a bike or hanging on the Cadillac ($90;

The mesh panel on ASICS ABBY BRA TANK makes it extra breathable, so it will keep you cool on the mat or on the run ($40; The snug fit of UNDER ARMOUR SONIC 2.5” PRINTED SHORTY offers coverage while still letting you show off your form. The HeatGear ® technology wicks away moisture, even during the most intense sessions ($30;

On steamy summer days, show off your Pilates abs in STELLA

Pilates, anyone? It’s Love-All for

adjustable straps allow for full mobility, and the fresh-from-therunway design is a nice change from boring basic workout bras ($70; You don’t have to worry about sweating in this HELLY HANSEN W SKAGERAK BIKINI BOTTOM —it’s made for the water, but is just as comfortable on land. The fold-down waistband lends a stylish, secure fit ($50;

with flat seams to prevent chafing and cool colorblocking to keep you looking totally in style, on the court or in the studio ($35; We road-tested ATHLETA CONTENDER 2 IN 1 SKORT for a Pilates session—and loved it. It was supercomfy, gave us ample coverage (even during Roll-Over) and we adored its flirty, feminine look. The NeverEnd drawstring on the side makes it a cinch to adjust the ruching ($64; 37

july • august 2013

Healthy Food or Health Food Imposter?
Soy has been long touted as a nutritional powerhouse, but The Rogue Nutritionist begs to disagree.
by Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, aka “The Rogue Nutritionist”™


When I wrote my book, The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth (Fair Winds Press), back in 2007, I asked a group of nationally respected health professionals to contribute a list of their top 10 favorite, healthiest foods. These experts included authors of New York Times best-sellers (Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD; Michael Eades, MD, and Mary Dan Eades, MD; Barry Sears, PhD; and JJ Virgin), legends in the field of integrative and nutritional medicine (Alan Gaby, MD) and internationally acclaimed medical educators (Mark Houston, MD; Jeff Volek, PhD; and Stephen Sinatra, MD). Not one of them mentioned soy. Surprised? Don’t be. The controversy around soy has been brewing for years, though you rarely hear about the many scientists, nutritionists and researchers who have grave doubts about this so-called “fact.” While the final judgment has not yet been rendered, it’s looking more and more like soy may not be the health panacea it was once believed to be. Full disclosure: I’m not a big fan of soy, but I’m going to try to give you the fair and balanced picture here.


Soy certainly has some “selling points.” It’s a vegetarian source of protein that’s low in fat and a “staple” food in some of the healthiest countries in the world. It contains all the essential amino acids (though critics point out it’s low in two of them; it has little methionine and contains mostly bio-unavailable forms of cysteine).

So what’s the problem? Soy contains large amounts of naturally occurring toxins or “antinutrients” (compounds that interfere with the absorption of nutrients). One of the most notable antinutrients in soy is a potent enzyme inhibitor that blocks the action of the enzymes needed for protein digestion. (These same protease inhibitors are believed by some to have a cancer-protective effect, hence part of the controversy.) Soybeans also contain haemagglutinin, a clot-promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together (which may increase the risk of blood clots) and goitrogens, substances that suppress thyroid function. And soy has one of the highest phytate levels of any grain or legume studied. (Phytates block the absorption of minerals.) Yes, soy contains phytoestrogens, but that’s not necessarily a good thing, depending on many factors, including your age and sex. “In the past decade, the Israeli Ministry of Health, the French Food Safety Agency and Germany’s Federal Institute of Risk Assessment all issued health advisories that strongly recommended limiting the consumption of soy foods for young children and adults and further recommending that soy formula be avoided

altogether by infants,” Dr. Kaayla Daniel, PhD, CCN, a clinical nutritionist and author of The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food (Newtrends Publishing, Inc., 2005). And a recent article on soy protein infant formula in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition suggested that soy protein formula had no nutritional advantage over cows’ milk protein and that the “high concentrations of phytate, aluminum and phytoestrogens (isoflavones)...might have untoward effects.”


It’s true that soy contains phytoestrogens— plant compounds with estrogenic activity. These include such isoflavones as genistein and daidzein, which some researchers believe may play a role in reducing cancer risk. So far, however, no definite conclusions can be made, according to the American Cancer Society. While large studies that looked at groups of women with high soy intakes showed a lower risk of breast and endometrial cancer, the organization’s website correctly points out that “there are many possible explanations other 39

than the soy.” And the Natural Standard— for many, the most definitive, stringent and scientifically rigorous organization for evaluating natural supplements—gives soy a “C” rating for cancer, meaning “unclear or conflicting scientific evidence.”


Soy contains large amounts of naturally occurring toxins or “antinutrients.”

For many years, the main selling point for soy protein was its demonstrated ability to lower cholesterol. But under scrutiny, that “advantage” is not holding up. First of all, the goal of lowering cholesterol is only meaningful if you believe total cholesterol should be the major target in the fight against heart disease, and that belief is being actively questioned by many. In any case, it’s no longer clear that soy was all that great at lowering cholesterol in the first place. As far back as April 2006, the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee stopped recommending it as a cholesterollowering food. “The studies are inconsistent and contradictory,” explains Dr. Daniel. “Soy sometimes raises, sometimes lowers and sometimes has no effect on cholesterol,” she notes.

the North American Menopause Society told WebMD. “That is not what we have seen in the soy (and hot flash) studies.” The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality concluded in 2005 that the evidence that soy prevented or alleviated menopausal symptoms was inconsistent and contradictory at best. “Although some women report it helps with hot flashes, there are other risks to consider, most notably more than 70 years of studies linking soy to thyroid damage, most often manifesting as hypothyroidism with its symptoms of weight gain, lethargy, malaise and fatigue,” Dr. Daniel told me, adding that soy has also been linked to the proliferation of breast cancer cells. She notes that the French Food Safety Agency, the German Federal Institute of Risk Assessment, the Israeli Ministry of Health and even Cornell University’s Program on Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factors have all urged women who’ve been diagnosed with or have a family history of breast cancer to be “cautious” about their soy intake.



For years, we were told that soy was “good” for menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. But is it really? Two recent headlines on WebMD illustrate the contradictory findings perfectly. In April, 2012, a story appeared with the headline, “Soy Supplements May Cool Hot Flashes: Study”; the second, in November, was “Soy Doesn’t Prevent Hot Flashes, Study Suggests.” No wonder people are confused. The first (positive) study was a metaanalysis of 19 published studies; it found that soy supplements may help with hot flashes, at least over time. But two of the co-authors had ties to the soy industry, although the study itself had no industry funding. The second (negative) finding came from a study at the University of California, Davis, in which women were followed for 10 years beginning when they were in their 40s and early 50s. This study showed no evidence that women who ate more soy foods were any less bothered by hot flashes and night sweats than women who ate almost none. “Typically, if something works, even if all the studies don’t show it, the majority will,” Margery Gass, MD, the executive director of 40
july • august 2013

I recently returned from a lecture tour in China and spent six weeks in Japan, and I can tell you that the soy Asians eat bears little resemblance to the soy we consume here. In Asia, they eat naturally fermented soy foods like tempeh and miso and the old-fashioned (and very healthy) fermented soy sauce—and they eat way less of it than you might imagine. It’s also far from clear that the health benefits they get from their diet are attributable to eating soy versus the fish and sea vegetables they consume on a daily basis. “Wherever you go in Asia, soy is traditionally eaten as a condiment and not as a staple food,” explains Dr. Daniel. This is very different from the way many of us consume it here—as giant servings of soy chips, soy ice cream and other junk food.

As far as I’m concerned you can completely eliminate soy and lose exactly nothing in your diet. There’s also no magic number of how many servings of soy you should eat in a week. But, if you want to include soy in your diet, experts on both sides of the soy controversy seem to agree that a few soy foods are healthier than others, specifically those that are minimally processed and those that are naturally fermented. (Fermenting counters the effects of the mineral-blocking phylates found in unfermented soy.) Here are the ones I recommend—and that even the anti-soy folks tend to approve of.

Edamame is the Japanese word for green vegetable soybeans. In Asia, they’re finger food—the Japanese eat them as a snack with beer, much as Americans eat peanuts. And as snack foods go, they’re great. They’re young, they’re sweet and they’re not “beany” or bitter. They also have lower amounts of the compounds in soybeans that I’m not crazy about—protease inhibitors, trypsin inhibitors and phytates. And they’re not terribly processed. Just eat them as intended—as an occasional snack. Tempeh is actually a traditional Indonesian food made from the controlled fermentation of cooked whole soybeans. It’s usually fermented with a Rhizopus mold (also known as a tempeh starter), which binds the soybeans into a compact white cake. Tempeh fermentation produces natural antibiotic agents that are believed to increase the body’s resistance to infections. Tempeh has a nutty mushroom flavor and can be sliced and sautéed till it’s golden brown. It can also be used in soups, salads and sandwiches. Any recipe that works with mushrooms will work with tempeh as well. Miso is a soybean paste that has been a mainstay of Japanese cooking since the seventh century. It’s made by mixing cooked soybeans with with salt, a grain (like barley or rice) and koji, a fermenting agent. There are many varieties of miso; hatcho miso is made only from soybeans, and natto miso is made from ginger and soybeans. Most of the others are made from soybeans and a grain. (In the U.S., miso is usually purchased as a paste and then mixed with hot water and consumed as a soup.) Worth pointing out: Miso can be very high in sodium, so those watching their sodium intake should check the label and be cautious. Natto is a traditional Japanese food and definitely an acquired taste. It’s made from soybeans fermented by the natto bacillus, which result in a dish that’s sticky and can be rather… well, strong smelling (and I’m being polite). That’s one reason it’s not exactly an American favorite. Nonetheless, natto, also known as


“vegetable cheese,” has been consumed safely for thousands of years due to its health benefits, including an enzyme called nattokinase. Nattokinase is a fibrinolytic enzyme that has been found to help reduce and prevent blood clots. That’s why natto is such a “circulationfriendly” food. PS

Let me be clear: In a world of French fries, fast food, trans fats and highfructose corn syrup, I hardly think a few servings of old-fashioned, traditional soy products are the worst thing in the world. We have bigger battles to fight in the food arena. But I also don’t think soy products are among the healthiest foods on the planet, for all the reasons mentioned above. Currently, my thinking can be summed up this way:
FERMENTED SOY PRODUCTS like miso and tempeh—fermented the old-fashioned way as they are in Asia— are very healthy foods, as are most traditionally fermented foods (e.g., sauerkraut). ONE SERVING Of A HIGH-QUALITY soy protein powder a day is not going to kill you. I think whey is a higher-quality protein; however, those with lactose issues may prefer soy. Since more than 90 percent of the soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically modified, always choose ORGANIC SOY PRODUCTS. Most “soy products,” e.g., soy chips, soy milk, soy ice cream, tofu ice cream, soy burgers, soy cheese, soy lattes, etc., are JUNK fOOD and not one bit healthier than the crap they replace. SMALL AMOUNTS of tofu are okay. I would not feed SOY fORMULA to infants and small children unless there was absolutely no other choice. I would not make soy my only or even MAIN SOURCE Of PROTEIN under any circumstances. (Vegetarians take note.) I do not recommend supplements of SOY ISOfLAVONES. Ever. 41




july • august 2013

Sure, turning 50 can be a wakeup call—but Melissa Bice took it to the extreme, losing 100 pounds, recovering from a broken back and finding a new career as a Pilates instructor.
by Melissa Bice as told to Beth Johnson
Growing up in suburban Denver, I was one of the only girls on the block so I was always out playing with the boys, climbing trees, riding bikes, playing tennis and swimming. My parents and younger brother and I also took advantage of everything Colorado had to offer: We went to the mountains a lot, camping and hiking for a week at a time. And, of course, I skied most of my life, including when I went off to Western State Colorado University. In college, I studied business and art history and had ideas of opening an art gallery/café, but just after college, in 1983, I got married and shortly thereafter had two sons. Eight years later, though, I found myself divorced and waiting tables so that I could have flexible work hours to be with my boys. By 2005, my oldest was in the Marines and my younger son was at college. I was officially an empty nester, living in the Denver neighborhood of Westminster and working in Boulder in community relations for an eldercare company. It seemed time for a change, so I decided to move to Longmont, CO, a small city about an hour north of Denver, where I could keep my current position and be near my parents, who were having some health issues. I bought a little house, moved there with my two dogs and two cats and thought I’d be really happy. But within two months of moving, I lost my job. I went from making a very good salary to having to constantly scramble for work—waiting tables, temping, working in a chiropractor’s office. It was very stressful and financially difficult. Lonely and sad, I fell completely off exercise. I hate to admit it, but comfort food became just that, my comfort. If I wanted bonbons for dinner, I had bonbons for dinner.

100 pounds. When I finally got up the nerve to get on the scale, I saw that my weight had ballooned to 250 pounds. I remember thinking, Oh my god, how did this happen to me! I was completely mortified. Coming from a family with a history of heart disease—three of my grandparents had heart trouble—I knew this was not a good development. Then my younger son sat me down and said, “Mom, if you die young, I’m going to be devastated.” That really struck a chord with me. The very next day, in 2008, I signed up for personal training sessions. Going to the gym was eye opening, to say the least. I had been fit for so many years, but now was so big that I couldn’t even stretch. My body fat was at 50 percent! Needless to say, the thought of losing 100 pounds was daunting, but my trainer, Phoenix Rain (great name, right?) was perfect for me. He pushed me when I needed it, but also understood my initial limitations and the emotions and frustrations that come up when trying to lose a lot of weight. He helped me set reachable weight-loss goals— five pounds, 10 pounds at a time. I worked out at least three times a week with him, and also took spin and yoga classes. Within a year, I had lost 50 pounds. In the meantime, I had found a new, fulltime job working for a website in Boulder; I was also waiting tables a couple of nights a week in Westminster, to get some social activity back into my life while earning some extra cash.

OPPoSITE PAGE: “I feel especiallY powerful and strong when I do Side Splits on the Reformer,” saYs Melissa, pictured here at Pilates For Life in ArVada, CO. Photo bY Dennis Line. BELoW: Melissa, at about the midwaY point of her 100-pound weight loss, celebrates her Younger son Dallas’ graduation from Metro State College in DenVer in December, 2011. At her right is her older son, BrYan-Thomas.

A hard fall
Then in June 2009, I slipped on a lime wedge at the restaurant where I was working and crashed to the floor. Right away I got a huge headache because of the impact. I also broke a molar, which was the immediate focus of my concern. But over the following days, my back hurt more and more, and my workouts were beginning to fail. I had trouble inhaling because it hurt so much and I couldn’t reach for things without feeling shooting pains. For the first time ever, I began to end my sessions with Phoenix early. Finally, I went to my wonderful chiropractor; when I couldn’t even lie down properly on the table, she immediately had me X-rayed. Well, no wonder I was in pain—I had broken my back! I had a compression fracture of my seventh thoracic vertebra, which is in the middle of the back, about where you hook a bra.


How did this happen?
Over the course of the next three years—oh jeez, even now it’s hard to say—I gained 43

After a couple months of doing Pilates, I asked Emily, “I love Pilates so much, how can I do this every single day?” She said, “Get certified to teach!”
Because it was a workplace accident, I had to see the worker’s comp doctor and had to accept the regimen that he stipulated. He approved only eight chiropractic sessions, gave me a prescription for pain meds and told me that in eight to 12 weeks my back would heal itself. When the healing wasn’t happening on schedule, I was sent for an MRI and found out I had osteoporosis, which was another blow. My grandmother had such extreme osteoporosis that she had broken her back just by reaching for a pitcher in the refrigerator! I reacted to all this bad news with overwhelming sadness because I thought that, after all the effort I had put in to getting in better shape, my body would never again be the same—and that I would regain all the weight I had lost! I was so despondent I wanted to give up, but Phoenix and my chiropractor gave me hope and would not let me quit or wallow in depression. So we modified my workouts and created a plan, the three of us as a team.

A sweet sensation
I actually cried in that first session when I realized that Pilates would get me through my back problem. That night, I felt my muscles buzzing like bees! I love that feeling of muscle soreness after a good workout, but this was different. It was so deep in my core and my thighs. I had never felt that sensation before and I realized that I was connecting with my body on an entirely different level than I had before. I was hooked! As my Pilates lessons progressed, I came to really love so many of the routines and exercises, especially Side Crunches and Tree on the Short Box (because Emily said I could do them better than Phoenix!). I also enjoyed Pulling Straps 1 and 2 on the Long Box, Short Spine on the Reformer, Monkey on the Tower and rolling on the foam roller. Emily was very demanding and really got me to scoop deep. Sometimes, I was afraid I’d barf during the abdominal mat series, but I never did—and thus began my love-hate relationship with the Series of Five! I loved how the same movement or body position on a different piece of equipment is related, but can be more challenging or easier to perform depending on whether you’re on the Chair, the Tower or the Reformer. And you know, people sometimes say that you don’t get the cardio burn from Pilates that you do with other forms of exercise. I wasn’t so sure about that, so one day I wore my heart-rate monitor during my Pilates session, and found that I burned the same number of calories as with my cardio sessions with a trainer!

AboVE: “Pilates has giVen me strength and stamina to resume hiking Colorado’s challenging 14,000-foot-high peaks,” she saYs. Here she’s all smiles at RockY Mountain National Park. OPPoSITE PAGE: “MY back loVes this moVe— Shoulder Roll-Down with Kicks on the Tower,” Melissa saYs. Photo bY Dennis Line.

New hope
So within two weeks of being diagnosed with osteoporosis, I returned to my sessions with Phoenix. Of course, we had to make adjustments, especially because of how painful it was for me to inhale. After watching me struggle for a couple of months, Phoenix suggested that I start seeing his then-girlfriend Emily Booth, a Pilates instructor who at the time was the group fitness director at Lifetime Fitness in Westminster. I was very intrigued but also totally terrified to try Pilates. What if it made things worse? What if I couldn’t do it and humiliated myself? I had no idea what to expect; I just knew I hurt and couldn’t breathe well. Since I trusted both of them, I agreed to give it a shot. On the first day, Emily told me she wouldn’t let the pain overwhelm me and would check in with me throughout our sessions to see how I was feeling. In order to break up the fascia (fibrous tissues) surrounding the back break, she initially had me focus on using the Tower, the pull-down bar and the foam roller. I quickly went from fear to excitement when I realized that I would be able to work my body in ways that weren’t possible in other workouts I had done. The springs offered assistance and resistance, which were key for me.

Breaking out of the cubicle
After a couple months of doing Pilates, I asked Emily, “I love Pilates so much, how can I do this every single day?” She said, “Get certified to teach!” Her suggestion immediately resonated with me. Around that time, I had turned 50, which made me realize I didn’t want to sit at a computer until I turned 100. I knew that focusing on health and fitness was the direction I wanted to take and would allow me to stay active into my 80s and 90s. Look at Romana [Kryzanowska]! Look at the other elders! They’ve taught well into their later years. So almost exactly one year from when I slipped on that lime, I decided to become an instructor. Though I was still working 50 hours a week at the website, I moved back to Westminster in Denver, enrolled in the teacher-certification course at Peak Pilates, which was then taught in Boulder, and went to work at being in the best shape I could in order to pass the testing. My certification teacher told me that I was a natural, which really helped my confidence, because I was the one student in the class who had an injury, plus I didn’t have the “perfect”


july • august 2013

body type. Despite my crazy work schedule and the 20 hours a week I was devoting to Pilates, including practice teaching, I was determined! In fact, I lost another 50 pounds and by the summer of 2011, I had my Level One certification. It felt amazing to have accomplished that and to be able to start having some students of my own.

I actually cried in that first session when I realized that Pilates would get me through my back problem. That night, I felt my muscles buzzing like bees!
As a means to an end, I started to wait tables again. I bought a secondhand Reformer and have a few students I teach in my home studio, which is in my second bedroom. My current goal is to teach Pilates full-time in a studio by the end of 2013, and I’m not going to wait until I’m back to my ideal weight. My pride has to step aside. Instead, what I think I can offer my students is that I’m a “real” woman and I can understand other’s limitations. There is no reason to be intimidated by me, that’s for sure! For instance, I teach a woman in her late 30s who gained a lot of weight with her pregnancy. She also knew me before I lost 100 pounds, so she knows that I can relate to her struggles. My own limitation is that my vertebra will never be the same. It's permanently compressed and I have to work extra-hard to have flexion in my spine. I can’t do the Roll-Up and Roll-Down as perfectly as I’d like and when the weather changes, my back aches. I know it’s a permanent issue for me, but doing Pilates always makes it feel better. But my osteoporosis has been reversed to osteopenia and osteomyletis and I’m so happy I’m not living life in a cubicle anymore. It’s time to live my passion. I’m really excited about what my future in Pilates holds, and to share the gift of Pilates with others. PS 45

More obstacles to overcome
But the fall of 2011 presented new challenges. Just as I thought I had my life headed in a great direction, a serious romantic relationship ended abruptly and the hours at my website job became even more intense and unforgiving. I was now working six days a week and often 12 to 14 hours a day and commuting up to two hours a day, so I had little time to take care of myself or to work out. I was exhausted, I was eating late and starting to gain weight again. And then late last year, I got the flu and missed eight days of work. So the company fired me. At various points, I’ve been a single mom, broken my back and gained 100 pounds, but honestly, last year was the most trying year of my life. Money quickly became tight, and I had to sell the Reformer I had bought in late 2010, which broke my heart. The year before, I loved my body; now I had regained 40 pounds. But the silver lining was that I had time again for Pilates. I decided to take the leap of faith that teaching would give me both a career and the mental and physical health that I had craved and needed. When I think about what my purpose is on earth, I believe it is to teach.

Want an edge on bikini season and your Pilates practice? Challenge your body to the Pilates Suspension Training Method, which works the body in new and unexpected ways.
Workout by Rebecca Beckler Edited by Amanda Altman
We’re always looking for ways to advance our practice and now that beach season’s in full swing, we’re willing to bet you’ve stepped up your workouts so you can rock your suit with confidence. Accomplish both goals for the price of one workout with the Pilates Suspension Training Method, created by Pilates pro Rebecca Beckler after she noticed serious payoffs from quickie workouts on the suspension trainer. “After training my clients on the suspension trainer for just a month, with five- to 10-minute intervals interspersed in our regular Pilates routine, I noticed my clients getting much stronger and being able to perform traditional Pilates exercises much more fluidly,” she says. But the results didn’t stop there. When Rebecca’s daughter was diagnosed with leukemia last year, she purchased a unit for her home. “I needed a way to keep up with my Pilates and overall fitness level while taking care of my daughter. This tragedy forced me to find a more creative way to stay on top of my Pilates routine and from that I developed the Pilates Suspension Training Method.” The Method combines traditional Pilates exercises and fitness moves with Pilates twists, all done on the suspension trainer. “I believe the trainer goes hand in hand with Pilates since its focus is on using your core to control your own body weight and on scapular stabilization,” Rebecca explains. This routine, which is suitable for all levels, works the entire body, incorporating flexion, extension, lateral flexion and rotation. Make sure to (always) set your suspension trainer up so that the longest length is 6–12 inches from the ground. Do the moves 2–3 times per week with the suggested repetitions, then repeat the entire series for a noticeable increase in overall muscular strength, flexibility and cardiovascular benefits. PS 46
july • august 2013




Standing Footwork: Toes Apart, Heels Together
shortest strap length warms the entire body; focuses on the quads, hip extensors, adductors, lateral rotators, scapular stabilizers and the entire core to keep the spine and pelvis in neutral position S E T U p : Stand on your tip toes with a neutral spine and pelvis, feet in Pilates stance (heels together, toes apart). Hold the handles with your elbows bent at your sides and hugging your rib cage, palms facing inward. Make sure the ropes are taut.


1. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, extending your arms while maintaining a vertical and neutral spine and pelvis position. 2. Return to the starting position. Do 10–15 reps.
T I p S : Go into as deep of a squat as you can while maintaining proper form and keeping your knees pain free. Imagine that you’re doing the exercise against a wall. M O D I F I c A T I O N : Start with your feet flat on the floor instead of on your toes and/or in parallel instead of laterally rotated. ADVAN cE D :


Hold both handles in one hand to challenge your obliques further, and/or add pulses while squatting to challenge your balance and up the burn factor.

shortest strap length increases balance; strengthens the quads, glutes and hip extensors; challenges the powerhouse; enforces scapular stabilization S E T U p : Stand about an arm’s length away from the trainer, with your feet hip-width apart. Hold onto the handles, with your arms straight, and pendulum forward into an Arabesque position, with your spine slightly extended and your shoulders squared to the floor and stabilized on your back. Your right leg is slightly laterally rotated and your left leg is straight, either in parallel or slightly turned out.

Do this exercise with your working leg in parallel and both hips and your pelvis squared to the ground.


To challenge your balance and calves, perform the move while on the toes of your supporting leg and add pulses at the bottom of the movement.

1. Bend your left knee. 2. Straighten your supporting knee, returning to the starting position. Do 10–15 reps. Repeat on your other side.

Try to keep your leg in space still without lowering it, and only bend your supporting knee as far as your can while maintaining your Arabesque position without tension.

Bend/Stretch and Lower/Lift Combo




Magic Circle longest strap

length strengthens the hamstrings, glutes, adductors and powerhouse S E T U p : Lie on your back under the trainer with your feet in the foot cradles, legs extended in parallel with the Circle placed right above your ankles in between your legs. With your arms at your sides and your palms pressing into the floor, lift your body up, keeping your weight in your shoulder blades and not your neck. Your pelvis and spine are in a neutral position.

toward your body while keeping your pelvis and spine in neutral. 2. Keeping your knees bent and feet still in space, lower your hips to a hover right above the floor. 3. Lift your hips back up. 4. Extend your knees back to the starting position. Do 10 reps.


Keep your hips and pelvis squared and your spine and pelvis in neutral throughout. Omit the Circle if you feel it is too much adductor work and/ or you are having trouble controlling the movement with proper form.

M O D I F I c ATI O N :

1. Bend both of your knees into an approximately 90 degree angle


Lift your arms straight up for an extra balance and core challenge.




Teaser Lower/Lift
Magic Circle longest strap length P U R p O S E : enhances abdominal endurance, spinal articulation, balance, control and coordination; strengthens the abductors S E T U p : Lie on your back under the trainer with your hands in the foot cradles, palms facing down. Extend your legs long—but only as low as you can keep your imprint position—with the Circle placed on the outside of your legs right above your ankles.

3. Lift your legs and reach your arms forward, returning to your Teaser position. 4. Slowly lower your body to the starting position, articulating your spine, tail to head. Do 6 reps.

Start with your head under the anchor point as much a possible.

M O D I F I c ATI O N S :

1. Lift your body into a Teaser position, articulating up from head to tail, ending with your arms and legs parallel, your chest open and your lower back slightly rounded. Always press down on the foot cradles to keep your scapula stabilized. 2. Lower your legs as you reach your arms out to your sides into a T position; only go as low and wide as you can maintain your Teaser position. 48
july • august 2013

Do the exercise without the Magic Circle and/or leg lift/lower movements. You can also do the exercise with your legs bent in tabletop or with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor throughout.


Do 3–4 reps of the leg and arm movements before you return to your starting position to challenge your abdominal endurance and balance. Plus, you can also alternate the leg and arm movement to challenge your coordination.

Flat-Back Knee Stretches
longest strap length; move your body further away from the anchor point P U R p O S E : strengthens the core, quads and hip flexors; increases scapular stabilization S E T U p : Facing away from the trainer, kneel on all fours with your wrists directly underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Place your feet in the foot cradles and lift your knees to hover, 2–3 inches off the floor, while keeping your pelvis and spine in neutral and your shoulders stabilized.


1. Extend your knees, bringing your body into a Plank position. 2. Bend your knees to return to the starting position. Do 8–10 reps.


The farther away you’re from the anchor point, the greater the challenge. Perform the exercise on your forearms if you have weak wrists (but, note, this challenges your scapular stabilization more).

M O D I F I c ATI O N :


Move yourself even farther away from the anchor point and add a Circle in between your ankles to increase the adductor work.

Start Elephant
longest strap length increases core strength and scapular stabilization; challenges balance S E T U p : Lie on your right side with your legs extended long and the sides of your feet in the foot cradles. Place your bottom palm on the floor underneath your bottom shoulder, and lift your body off the floor into a Side Plank, straightening your bottom arm and extending your top arm toward the ceiling. Reach your top leg and foot in front of your bottom leg, feet flexed. Keep your pelvis and spine in neutral and your shoulders stabilized.

1. Pike your hips up to the ceiling while simultaneously flexing and rotating your spine toward the floor, reaching your top arm underneath your body toward your right side. 2. Return to the starting position. Do 3–10 reps. Repeat on your other side.


Only rotate as far as you can control the movement.

M O D I F I c ATI O N S :

Do the exercise on your forearm if you can’t control the starting position or if you have pain in your wrist. Omit the rotation and just hold the Side Plank for 30 seconds.

STEP 1 49

Side Splits: One Leg Pressing
Magic Circle longest strap length P U R p O S E : strengthens the quads, hamstrings and glutes while challenging balance and stretching the adductors; promotes scapular stabilization and shoulder strength S E T U p : Stand with your left side toward the trainer, your right leg in parallel and your left leg in both foot cradles, extended long and in a slight lateral rotation. Palming the outside pads of the Circle, extend your arms overhead while maintaining scapular stabilization.


1. Bend your right knee deeply and hinge forward at your hip joints, keeping your spine in neutral and pressure in the foot cradles, as you simultaneously lower your arms to shoulder height or slightly lower. 2. Straighten your right knee and return to the starting position. Do 10–15 reps. Repeat on your other side.

Focus on using your hamstring and glutes to extend the knee of your supporting leg and bring your pelvis back underneath you while returning to the starting position.

M O D I F I c ATI O N S :

Omit the Circle and put your hands on your hips or reach them out in front of your body to help control the movement. This exercise can also be performed with both legs slightly turned out to change the muscle focus to your lateral rotators.



Add pulses at the end of the movement with your arms and/or legs.

Shell Stretch/Spinal Extension Combo
longest strap length stretches the lower back and chest while strengthening the scapular stabilizers S E T U p : Facing away from the trainer, kneel with your feet together and in the foot cradles, your spine flexed into a C curve, and your heels touching your buttocks. Reach your arms shoulderwidth apart in front of your body, and place your fingertips on the floor.

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Hinge forward at your hips and knees to lift your body into a supported Swan position, extending your legs long, pressing your palms into the floor, lifting your chest and widening your collarbones. Do 3–6 reps.

Make sure to keep your abs and glutes engaged to avoid sinking into your lower back. Do not extend your knees off the floor if you feel too much tension in your wrists or lower back.
july • august 2013

M O D I F I c ATI O N :


Single-Thigh Stretch with Lateral Flexion and Spilt
shortest strap length increases flexibility in the hip flexors and pecs; stretches the lats; stretches the hamstring of the front leg in the split S E T U p : Facing away from the trainer, get into a low lunge position, with your left leg lunging forward and your right leg extended long behind you, knee and top of your foot resting on the floor. Place your right palm in both foot cradles and extend your arm toward the ceiling while keeping your left arm at your side.

1. Laterally flex your spine toward the side of your front leg. Hold for 20–30 seconds. 2. Return your spine to a vertical position and extend both legs into a split position. Rotate your torso to your left side, reaching your right arm forward and your left arm out further. Hold for 20–30 seconds. Repeat on your other side.

Only hinge as far forward as you feel a stretch without pain. Omit the split and rotation. Gently go in and out of the

M O D I F I c ATI O N :

hip hinge.

Extend your back leg into a runner’s lunge position to work your legs more and increase the balance challenge.


STOTT PILATES® instructor trainer Rebecca Beckler is the owner of Be Buff Pilates in Orange County, CA. Rebecca’s athletic approach to Pilates was brought on by her collegiate soccer and track and field experiences. She holds a BA in adult fitness


and is also an instructor trainer for CORE Athletic Conditioning and Performance Training, developed by Merrithew Health and Fitness. Additionally, Rebecca, a PMAand ACE-certified instructor, holds a BA in adult fitness and is also an instructor trainer for CORE Athletic Conditioning and Performance Training and the Total Barre, developed by Merrithew Health & Fitness™.

STEP 2 51

from the Body’s Perspective
Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle's world-renowned 3Core Connections® Perspective teaches you how to decrease tension throughout your body—and improve your Pilates practice—by exploring the core as a relationship with gravity, ourselves, others and our environment.
by Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle
When I came to Pilates in the early ’90s, I was already a longtime yoga teacher and holistic coach. Pilates had just started emerging, but for the most part, was unknown to the general population. While attaining my certification, my husband, Michael, and I established The Pilates Center of Austin, the first Pilates studio in the city. Although I came to see just how profound this work was, at the same time, I began to notice how very “held” I felt in my “core.” I didn’t have the words for that feeling at the time, but it led me to inquire into a seminal question: Rather than a concept of “core,” what is core from the body’s perspective? This exploration took me to study with great somatic teachers and pioneers in the fields of whole mind/body movement, neuroscience and energy medicine. What I began to see is that by reinforcing habits of effort and bracing—with language like “navel to spine” and “pull your shoulders down”—we’re asking ourselves to place too much effort on movement, leading to the over-recruitment and shortening of our muscles, which in turn, adversely affects our neck, back, shoulder and hip health. In contrast, by taking off the “parking brake” of core control and instead, thinking of “core coordination,” we discover the roots of our arms and legs through a multidimensional body, in relationship with gravity and space. As I studied, I began to see that the core from the body’s perspective begins with our sense of balance and our perceived relationship with gravity. After years of searching for a way to articulate these distinctions, I discovered the most wonderful black-and-white anatomical illustrations by the 18th-century anatomist Albinus. The figures are engaged, gesturing, connected—very different from the static depiction of muscles and bones in contemporary, dissective anatomy. These brilliant images proved to be the perfect, living landscape upon which to superimpose the energetic “connections,” which would later become the basis for my 3Core Connections® Perspective. While mapping these connections, through what I now call the “3 Cores” (“Lower,” “Central” and “Upper”) onto my own experiential engagement with the effect of gravity on my body, my awareness of how I moved within my body came alive. My perception of anatomy suddenly became a living anatomy, rather than a collection of parts and pieces.




july • august 2013


When we discover these core connections within, we begin to experience the core as interconnected relationships—with gravity, ourselves, one another and our environment. We then learn how to “yield” into gravity’s support. Our bones are more balanced in functional alignment, and so we feel less tension. We discover effort with ease in our movement, our practice, our daily life. This was the epiphany that came out of my inquiry into why I was feeling so “held” in my Pilates practice. I could now see how much tension I was carrying. Once I saw how much I was trying to do

something with/to my abdominals, I let go. It became clear to me that the body doesn’t care whether we call it Pilates, yoga, Alexander, Feldenkrais, Nia, Continuum—or, for that matter, washing the dishes. What it does care about is if we’re moving with awareness. I have spent the past 20 years bringing to life this conversation with the body that has birthed the 3Core Connections Perspective to build on Joseph Pilates’ vision of “whole-body health.” A special thanks to my mentor, Hubert Godard, for teaching me the “bones” of this practice.

The following Fascial Dog Series, which can be done anywhere, is one of our favorite home practices that we teach at Pilates Center of Austin. As you move through it, you will experience that, by accessing the portals of our hands, feet, two directions of the spine and soft eyes/peripheral vision, we are engaging the body’s “movement brain,” which creates a deeper sense of being at home within ourselves. Our movements become more seamless as we dive deeper within our Pilates practice, re-energizing our bodies from our bio-intelligent wisdom. PS

Phase I


This action “tells” your feet where to be in relationship with your hands, elongating your spine, instead of setting your feet and then placing your hands second, which can limit the natural elongation of your spine from head to tail.

STE P S 1 & 2


chair (If you have wider shoulders, use 2 chairs side by side.)


• wakes up the perineural nervous system (the connective tissue body system responsible for wound healing and injury repair, which controls the central nervous system), allowing the “tensegrity” of the connective tissue to support the muscles and bones in movement • awakens “core coordination” instead of “core control,” where sensory receptors in the hands and feet ignite perceptual awareness • evokes a reciprocal relationship between “stability” and “mobility” • stimulates the mind/body connection by increasing “power” while decreasing “effort” • strengthens vestibular awareness and postural tone from foot to head • awakens orientation to “gravity as a partner”
S E T U p : Stand about an arm’s length away from the chair, feet hip-width apart with bent knees, and place the heels of your hands near the front edge of the chair. Allow the texture, mass, temperature, etc., of what you are touching to be received through your hands and feet. (By opening your mind to sense impression, your body starts to notice its relationship to itself and the environment, orienting your body to flowing movement.)

1. Extend your tail away from your hands, straightening your arms. Roll from the inside to the outside of each of your feet, sensing your weight, then come back to center.

2. Exhale, sensing how heavy your feet are, and gently begin to straighten your legs without locking your knees. Notice that your spine naturally rounds your head toward your hands, and your tail toward your feet, floating your solar plexus (lower sternum) up toward the ceiling. Refresh the sensation in your hands and feet, breathing naturally, to notice a deepening of your shoulder blades gliding (like a waterfall) down toward your internal belly lift. Notice how your abdominals naturally follow your diaphragm on your exhale, creating a “hovering” feeling, or scooping action, along your spine with no effort. L O O K D EE P ER : This action of “Shoulder Blades to Internal Belly” is the body’s natural powerhouse that we can take into any movement. The difference here is that the body’s experience of powerhouse is very liquid, like 2 rivers—1 flowing down your back, from shoulder blades to feet, and the other flowing up your front, from inner ankles to inner ears. So, even though we seem to not be moving in “Shoulder Blades to Internal Belly,” the breath is always moving our body internally and the powerhouse becomes an open highway where the feet, hands, spine and head coordinate their communication for every movement—in any discipline!
Phase I continues on the next page! 53

Phase I continued from the previous page.

3. Float forward onto the balls of your feet, keeping your shoulder blades, tailbone and heels heavy as you float forward, while sensing the “hover” of your spine. (You are awakening your natural “Domes of Uplift”—the connection between your inner ankles, pelvic floor, diaphragm, thoracic inlet and armpits to your palate!) Keep floating your hover forward until you sense your triceps connecting with your “Shoulder Blades to Internal Belly” support, breathing naturally. L O O K D EE P ER : This is an important feeling that will help your transition to Phase II. Refresh your hands and feet, allowing your breath to open your hands and feet to your whole body. 4. Pressing gently into your hands and leading with your tail, float your

“hover” away from your hands. Return to the position in step 1. L O O K D EE P ER : You may notice that your sitz bones can release back further, or you may be able to sit down toward your heels in a partial or full squat with your heels on the floor, since your spine has lengthened and your back has widened, creating more space in your entire body. Do 3 reps of Phase I before moving on to Phase II.

relationship with space/periphery (the ability to see the sides of the room), as you sense the floating of your spine toward the ceiling. Over-compression onto the wrist joint is the major cause of shoulder and neck problems. By “sharing the load” of the body, from foot to spine to head to hand through tensegrity, we open our joints and our body rediscovers its self-healing fluidity.
Ad V A N C E d :

The “Shoulder Blades to Internal Belly” connection with the back of your arms is our 3Core Connections “Upper Core” platform for any inversion, preventing your neck from bearing the weight of your body. If you have wrist tension, notice if you lose your

M O d I F I C ATI O N :

By slowing down and sensing “what effort we can let go of,” we open to the world of biointelligence, where our body begins to teach us and will tell us what it needs to refresh itself on an ongoing basis, especially within structured movements like Pilates. The question is, are we listening or pushing it beyond its limits?

Phase II

STEp 1





• evokes the core through the “Inner Ear and Eyes Leading spine,” instead of through abdominal tightening • strengthens the “Upper Core” • strengthens the relationship of the head, hands and spine to the feet

3. Looking forward, allow your eyes to lead your spine into extension as you bend your knees, bringing your hips toward your hands. Your knees will be floating off the floor. Your heels are releasing back to support your hip extension, which allows your chest to open. Refresh the sensations in your hands and feet. 4. As you build comfort and strength with Phase II, remain in the position and press gently into each hand, while looking in each direction as each heel releases back. Notice a deeper relationship with your natural, postural internal lift through your spine, from your inner ankle to your inner ear, as the multifidus (muscles deep within the spine) and other gravity-based spinal muscles are

stimulated. Keep breathing naturally with soft eyes as you look and rotate your torso from side to side. 5. Return to the position in step 1 by looking down toward your hands, pressing gently into them and floating your chest, spine and hips away from your hands. Release your whole foot to the floor, and allow your tail to send your sitz bones away from your hands and toward your heels. 6. Notice the differences in your spine length, back widening, ease of motion in a squat and possible release of your leg and foot tension as your feet, legs, hips and spine continue to open more deeply. Do 3 reps of Phase II before moving on to Phase III.

Same as in Phase I.

1. Repeat steps 1–2 of Phase I. 2. Repeat step 3 of Phase I. As you float your “hover” forward toward your hands, sensing the back of your arm connection to “Shoulder Blades to Internal Belly” support, notice that you will come to that place where you either have to go forward or return. Pause there and breathe naturally. 54
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When we allow the movement of our eyes up the wall to lead our bodies into extension in Phase II, it deepens our relationship with our “gravity-based internal support,” opening the shoulder and hip joints to create a more flowing understanding of exercises like Swan. If you have difficulty moving into full extension with your hips forward toward your hands/wrists, be aware of sensing the “Waterfall of the Shoulder Blades Down Your Back” as you build the movement toward full extension by placing partial weight on your hands as you begin to look up, and then return to the position in step 1. If you find yourself locking your elbows, notice if you’re preventing the waterfall sensation of your shoulder blades down your back.

M O d I F I C ATI O N :

Ad V A N C E d :

With your hips forward, press gently into each hand, rotating your spine as you look in each direction, while releasing each heel back. Play with ipsilateral and contralateral (when one heel reaches back as the other releases forward slightly, eyes following the movement).

Phase III on the next page! 55

Phase III



• evokes a deeper relationship with the “Two Directions of the Spine,” gravity and space • cultivates the body’s innate, contralateral coordination for natural walking • strengthens and balances the foot-to-head relationship through a buoyant pelvis • cultivates strength, balance, stability and mobility and “effort with ease”
S E T U p : Get into a lunge position, with your right foot forward close to the chair, and your left leg extended fully behind you, with the ball of your foot on the ground and your heel in the air (or against a wall for support). Sense the “Two Directions of the Spine” from the reach forward through your inner ears and the reach behind you through your heel, while maintaining weight and stability through your hands on the chair and your feet on the floor. Soften your gaze to sense the support of the space around your body.


STEp 1

1. Sensing your spine floating forward and your “Inner Ear Leading Head,” spring off your back foot, transferring the weight onto your front foot and hands. Reach your back leg into the air (or onto a wall behind you for more feedback), again, sensing the “Two Directions of the Spine” (forward through your inner ear and backward through your foot in the air or on the wall). 2. Transfer your weight onto the hand of your standing foot, and rotate your head, trunk and extended leg to face toward the same side. 3. Extend your unsupported arm toward the ceiling, sensing the relationships between your hands, feet and head. L O O K D EE P ER : Your body is supported by the many vectors of limbs and your head reaching in many directions into the space and ground. This core support means the body’s natural coordination is being evoked, but with little or no sense of effort. 4. Standing on the same leg, transfer your weight to your opposite hand and counter-rotate your trunk, head and leg to face the opposite direction. L O O K D EE P ER : You are deeply strengthening the spiralic relationships between your shoulder and pelvic girdles that support a buoyant pelvis, strong “Central Core” and the roots of your arms and legs to your spine. 5. Play with repeating each direction 3 times on the same standing leg. L O O K D EE P ER : Notice that the process of challenging the standing leg with changing directions creates more strength, flexibility, tone, coordination and balance throughout your entire body. 56
july • august 2013

STEp 2

STEp 3

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Gear Guide

6. Come back to center, float your right leg toward your left, and begin to stand up by pouring yourself into your feet, releasing the weight of your tail without tucking it. Walk around and see what you notice: What feels more fluid? Does each foot feel more naturally grounded? L O O K D EE P ER : Notice that, without tightening your abdominals, your belly and internal organs fall back toward your widening back as you stand up with a deeper awareness of your relationship with “gravity as a partner”: • “Down the Back”: waterfall of your shoulder blades and sitz bones/tailbone to the tripod of your feet • “Up the Front”: internal lift of the domes of your inner arches, inner thighs, pelvic floor and front of your spine to your inner ears • “Shoulder Blades to Internal Belly” support: a new awareness for the powerhouse, without excess gripping 7. Repeat the exercise on your other side. Give yourself time to discover the benefits of this foundational practice and how it will contribute deeply to a more flowing Pilates practice.
M O d I F I C ATI O N :

STEp 4

If supporting yourself on 1 leg and arm and rotating your torso is very difficult, begin with no turnout of the leg in the air, placing it on a wall for support, keeping your pelvis level. Inhale and lift onto the ball of your standing foot, then exhale, releasing your heel down and connecting your shoulder blades to your internal belly. This will strengthen and lubricate your hip sockets, connecting your body from foot to head and hands.

Ad V A N C E d :

Once you feel more fluid in your transitions rotating from side to side on 1 leg, play with your head movement by looking toward your down hand and up hand as you rotate, without losing the ease of reaching through your head, hands and feet. Also, rising onto the ball of your standing foot will further open your foot to your hipto-spine connection as you rotate.

Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle has a 40-year background and lifelong studies and collaborations with distinguished pioneers in Pilates, yoga, Structural Integration bodywork, somatic arts and sciences and holistic health. Her studies have revolved around the pursuit of illuminating and unifying the universal core principles that underlie Pilates, yoga and all great mind/body practices. This vision honors the way the body senses itself in relationship with the gravitational field, by having us discover that we are deeply intelligent human beings who are self-regulating, self-healing and self-actualizing, just as Joseph Pilates envisioned in Return to Life. Wendy teaches nationally and internationally, was a founding member of the Pilates Method Alliance, is a second-generation PMA®CPT and a mentor in Balanced Body’s Passing the Torch Mentoring Program. Contact her at or via email at [email protected]. To experience more of Wendy's work, visit 57

STEp 6

Whether you’re stuck in a long line at the coffee shop, in front of a laptop for hours, or constantly on the go, we’ve got the moves to help your body feel better, grow stronger and get more flexible.
by Deanndria Seavers
Pilates is so much more than a great exercise routine—it’s really a lifestyle! The exercises we practice help prepare our bodies for day-today movement, while the concentration we’re forced to develop readies us for handling obstacles. As Pilates enthusiasts, we take the breath, concentration, body awareness and flow of movement with us into daily life and become more adaptable, focused, healthy individuals. The following exercises are designed to help increase strength, flexibility and awareness in reallife situations that most of us experience on a daily basis. The moves are broken into four mini routines: On the Go (running errands or rushing from one appointment to the next); Screen Time (spending hours in front of the TV or computer); Hangin’ Around (standing for long periods of time); and Mobile Marathon (gluing our eyes to mobile devices). The moves are designed less as a flowing workout, but more as examples of how to better handle your body or stretch when on the spot, and then work more to strengthen and stretch during your home practice. Some of the movements include using a few inexpensive, household items: a small towel, broomstick or tennis balls. If Pilates is for every body, everyone should have access to its benefits! Try sprinkling in these exercises throughout your day to maintain a more balanced body. PS


On the Go
When on the run, whether we’re toting a heavy purse on the weekends or a gym bag during the week, we tend to favor a side while carrying our baggage. All of this weight placed on one side of the body can lead to misalignment in the torso. These exercises address problems like shoulder and upper-back pain from weak, upperback muscles and uneven distribution of weight over the hips.

ON THE SpoT: Lemon Squeezes
none brings awareness to the shoulder girdle; strengthens the rhomboids; opens the chest S E T U p : Sit (or stand tall) with your shoulders over your ribs and your ribs over your hips. Engage your abdominals and maintain a stacked spine. Lift your arms to a “goal post” position at your sides, bending your elbows at a 90 degree angle at shoulder height.

1. While maintaining spinal alignment, draw your shoulder blades together as if you were juicing a lemon between them. 2. Hold this position for 5 counts, then release the squeeze, separating your shoulder blades. Do 10 reps.

Having trouble getting the feel for a stacked spine? Try this movement seated in a straight-backed chair, keeping the back of your ribs connected to the chair throughout. This gives the body great feedback!


HoMEWoRK: Balancing Reverse Chest Expansion
broomstick or dowel promotes proper postural alignment over the hips while challenging the upper torso S E T U p : Stand tall with your feet hip-distance apart, holding a broomstick or dowel shoulderwidth apart behind your buttocks, palms facing your hips.

1. Rise up onto the balls of your feet, and draw the bar further in toward your hips. 2. Bend your elbows, “sliding” the bar up your back as high as you can while keeping your shoulders stable. 3. Extend your arms out straight behind you, reaching backward. Do 5 reps of the movements in a flowing fashion. 4. Reverse the direction of the movements for an additional 5 reps.
T I p S : To maintain your balance, make sure to engage your midline by drawing your hips, thigh bones and ankles in toward each other and your abdominals in and up. The movement of your arms is meant to challenge shoulder girdle stability. M O D I F I C ATI O N :

If balance is a challenge, complete the exercise with your feet flat on the floor.

HoMEWoRK: Swan with Towel
small towel strengthens the upper and lower back muscles; stretches the chest S E T U p : Lie facedown on the floor with your legs long and together. Extend your arms overhead, and hold the ends of the towel shoulder-width apart. Your head is slightly lifted off the floor to maintain the alignment of your neck and spine.

1. Holding the towel firmly, pull the ends apart to activate your shoulder girdle. 2. Keeping your arms straight and your legs anchored into the ground, inhale to lift your head and chest into extension, holding for 2 counts. 3. Release the towel pull and exhale as you lower your body to return to the starting position. Do 6 reps.
T I p S : Draw your abdominals in and up to support and lengthen your lower back while lifting into extension. Avoid “dumping” into your lower back when lifted. M O D I F I C ATI O N :

To help with neck/spinal alignment, place a folded towel (about 2–6 inches high) under your forehead. 59

Screen Time
Staying seated at a desk in front of a computer from 9 to 5, followed by sitting in a car during the commute home and a session on the couch to unwind is a typical day for many working people. All of this repetitive sitting, especially if not done while seated over your sitz bones, can throw off the entire spine and lead to lowback pain, tight hip flexors (mainly the psoas) and weak gluteal muscles.

ON THE SpoT: Standing Hip Extension with Side-Bend
none stretches the hip flexors and waistline S E T U p : Stand tall with your legs hip-distance apart, arms relaxed at your sides. While keeping your hips squared, step your right foot back, landing on the ball of your foot. Bend your back knee about 45 degrees, and slightly bend your front knee to maintain even hips.

2. Bend your torso to your left side, stretching through your waistline and the front of your right thigh and hip. Hold for 10 counts. Repeat on your other side.

1. Extend your right arm overhead, palm facing inward, while simultaneously lifting your spine.

Depending on the tightness of your hips, you may need to bend your knees deeper and take a slight tuck of your pelvis in order to find a deeper stretch.


HoMEWoRK: Side-Lying Leg Lifts
none strengthens the glutes while maintaining proper alignment S E T U p : Lie on your left side, with your shoulders, hips and ankles stacked in 1 line from head to feet. Rest your head in your left hand, elbow bent. Lift the left side of your waist slightly off the floor to activate your core and discourage a slouched-torso position. Lift your top leg to hip height.

Step 1

1. Bend your top knee at a 90 degree angle and flex your foot, maintaining a stable torso. 2. Extend, or kick, your top leg out straight, reaching it slightly back behind your body. 3. Bend your knee again, return your leg to the stacked position, then lower it. Do 10 reps. Repeat on your other side.

Step 2

T I p S : The more stable your torso and bottom leg are, the more you will isolate the leg and gluteal muscles of your top leg. Try to keep your hips steady. M O D I F I C ATI O N :

Bend your bottom knee to increase


Do the exercise with both hands behind your head for an additional balance challenge.


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HoMEWoRK: Runaway Bridge
2 tennis balls strengthens the hamstring and glutes; stabilizes the pelvis; challenges the abdominals S E T U p : Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and place a tennis ball under each heel. Extend your arms alongside your body, palms pressing firmly into the floor.

2. While stabilizing your hips, inhale and slowly slide your heels/balls away a few inches from your hips to activate your hamstrings and glutes. 3. Exhale to draw your heels back underneath your knees. Do 10 reps, keeping your hips lifted throughout.
T I p S : This exercise can be challenging, especially with 2 unstable surfaces. The tennis balls can easily be replaced with a foam roller or other safe rolling objects that fit well under your heels. M O D I F I C ATI O N :

1. Keeping your feet stable, lift your hips into a Bridge position, allowing the balls to move to the center of your feet.

Start with your heels on the balls and just perform Step 1. Lifting up on the 2 balls still provides a good challenge for the core!

Hangin’ Around
Standing for a while—waiting in line, washing the dishes, or holding a toddler on your hip—causes many of us to shift our weight to one side, stand unevenly with one foot forward, or even push our hips into an anterior or posterior tilt. This can lead to improper weight distribution over our legs and feet, misalignment of our spinal column and lack of use of our powerhouse.

ON THE SpoT: Single- and Double-Leg Balances
none challenges and engages the core muscles with proper spinal and hip alignment S E T U p : Stand tall with your feet sitz bone-distance apart, aligning your shoulders over your ribs and drawing your abdominals in and up. Place your hands on your hips.

1. Slowly rise up onto the balls of your feet, “zipping up” through the centerline of your body. Hold the balance for 3 breaths, then slowly roll down through your feet. Do 5 reps. 2. Repeat step 1, but instead, lift your right leg, bending your right knee before rising to balance on the ball of your foot. Do 5 reps and then repeat on your other side.


Step 1

Step 2

T I p S : This is a great exercise to try when standing in 1 place for an extended period of time. Pretend like you’re squeezing a soft ball between your legs to help engage your midline muscles, further assisting with balance. M O D I F I C ATI O N :

Try the Single-Leg Balance with your feet flat on the floor and hold for 10 counts on each leg. 61

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

HoMEWoRK: Knee Stretches
small towel challenges the abdominals and other core muscles while maintaining pelvic stability and even weight distribution S E T U p : Get on all fours, with your knees bent under your hips and your straight arms under your shoulders. Place a towel under your flexed feet.

3. Exhale and bring your knees in toward your chest, as if you were sliding on ice. 4. Repeat, going back and forth for 30 seconds.
T I p S : This exercise works best on a slippery surface. If done on carpet, opt for a less textured gliding object, like a paper plate. Imagine that you have a glass of wine resting on your back, which you don’t want to spill! M O D I F I C ATI O N :

1. Draw your abdominals in and lift your knees a few inches off the floor, keeping your feet flexed. 2. While maintaining a steady torso, inhale and slowly slide your legs backward, only as far as you can while keeping your torso stable, maybe eventually to a Plank.

Work on lifting your knees off the floor and simply hold the position for a few breaths until you develop enough strength to include the sliding part.


Kick it up a notch by picking up your speed, or try the exercise with a leg lifted to your chest while the other is gliding!

Mobile Marathon
Most of us use a mobile device, such as a cell phone, iPad or Kindle, and usually for extended periods of time. Although convenient, these smaller devices often cause us to lean forward or drop our heads in order to view the screens. This can lead to forward head (or “turtle neck)” from weak neck muscles as well as poor awareness of our shoulder alignment.

ON THE SpoT: Alignment Check
chair checks for a proper sitting position that encourages good posture S E T U p : Sit at the edge of a chair on top of your sitz bones, knees bent at 90 degrees with your feet flat on the floor. Rest your hands on your thighs.

1. While drawing your shoulder blades back and your abdominals in, slowly turn your head to the right, stretching your neck. Hold for a few breaths. 2. Repeat on the other side, slowly turning your head.

If you can’t maintain a 90 degree bend at the hip in a seated position, place a phonebook, small stool or similar object under your feet. This will keep you from tilting your pelvis forward and pulling at your lower back.
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Step 1

Step 3

Step 4

HoMEWoRK: Side Splits & Speed Skater
small towel enhances pelvic stability through lateral movement S E T U p : With a towel under your right foot, stand with your feet hipdistance apart. Place your hands on your hips.

3. Do the Speed Skater: After finishing the final Side Split, sit back into a squat position, with your knees bent over your ankles. 4. While maintaining a stable torso and hips, inhale and slowly slide your right foot out to the side, straightening your leg; exhale, bringing your leg back to the starting position. Do 10 reps. 5. Repeat both the Side Split and Speed Skater movements on your other side, with the towel under your left foot.
T I p S : Visualize having magnets on both inner thighs, and pull your legs back together with each repetition. Make sure to perform the exercise on a slippery-enough surface, appropriate for the towel use.

1. Do Side Splits: Inhale to slide your right leg away from your left, drawing your abdominals in and up. 2. Exhale to slowly slide your inner thighs back to the starting position, keeping your legs straight throughout. Do 10 reps.

HoMEWoRK: Hammock Curls
small towel encourages proper neck alignment while challenging the abdominals S E T U p : Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Hold both ends of a towel between your hands and place the towel under your head. Your elbows are bent at 90 degrees and your shoulder blades are down.


Step 1

1. Inhale to prepare, and exhale to lift your head and bend your upper torso off the floor, resting your head into the taut towel and allowing your abdominals to flex and your spine to lift. 2. Inhale to return to the starting position. Do 10 reps. Maintain stable hips when flexing your spine to recruit your abdominals. Note that by allowing your arms and the towel to absorb the weight of your head, your neck stays long and in alignment with your spine, decreasing neck tension.

Deanndria Seavers has been working in the health and fitness industry for more than a decade. She began teaching Pilates in college, and has since worked at community centers, a residential treatment center with obesityrelated matters, clinical and research-based programs and also with college campus programming. Deanndria, owner of the new studio, Conscious Movement Pilates ( ) in Coral Gables, FL, received her original Pilates equipment and mat training through Power Pilates and furthered her studies by completing the Masters Program through The Pilates Center of Boulder, Colorado. Additionally, Deanndria holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Masters of Public Health in Health Behavior and Health Education, both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Perform the exercise with 1 leg lifted to tabletop position as you lift your torso. Repeat with your other leg. 63

Want more? Check out our upcoming e-newsletter for a bonus move from Deanndria! Sign up for free at



Pilates master Jennifer Kries offers up priceless tips that will help you tackle the Teaser, no matter your level.
by Jennifer Kries

Those of us who have practiced Pilates for many years know that to execute a beautifully controlled, elevated Teaser, is quite an achievement. Years ago, when I was a young apprentice and professional ballet dancer at Drago’s Gym in NYC, I used to watch the more seasoned apprentices attempting the exercise in Romana Kryzanowska’s mat classes. Of course, it comes at the end, after your powerhouse is already on fire, so it requires remarkable focus, breath and control. I noticed that those who were the most successful at peeling their bodies off the mat so seamlessly were the very same who made it look easy. They weren’t stressed when they were doing it. They clearly connected to their breath, and made the decision to apply their strength, but in a metered way, the way Joe wanted movements to be performed (with “economy,” one of his mantras). The other thing I realized, especially when it was my turn to attempt it, was that without oppositional force—literally being able


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to reach energetically in opposite directions, one did not have a hope in hell of achieving this feat gracefully on the journey up to the summit. I discovered that there was a magic and beauty to this perfect synthesis of opposites, the invisible laws of physics at work, and a resultant symmetry. I had to dance with tension and learn to harness it instead of being at its mercy! The Teaser is the quintessential Pilates exercise. Not only does it help you to create unmatched core strength, long, lean legs and a beautifully sculpted upper body, but perhaps more than with any other exercise in the syllabus, we get to experience the most essential and dynamic concepts that I always teach in my trainings: the “principle of opposition” and “effortless effort.” In order to achieve true strength and real integrity in movement, you need to know how to literally “light up” your body in equal and diametrically opposed directions with intention, breath and energy. And when you engage your muscles with the intention to reach beyond your limits while connecting consciously with your breath, you come to realize that you can accomplish so much more with less effort. With conscious focus and laser-beam engagement, your limbs become lighter as your core becomes stronger and you literally “float up” to your toes rather than grunting or groaning to get there. In this workout, I’ve highlighted several variations of the Teaser on different apparatus for everyone, from the rank beginner to the most seasoned professional. My hope is that they’ll inspire and motivate you by demonstrating how the Teaser not only strengthens the body, but your inner resolve, will and determination, resulting in a newfound feeling of empowerment. You can choose 2–3 exercises to weave into your sessions, or if you’re feeling especially ambitious, try them all in one session—just promise me that you’ll balance it all with some serious abdominal stretches afterward. Here’s to climbing that mountain and to triumphantly tackling the Teaser by “floating up to the top!” PS

Single Bent-Leg Teaser
This lays the foundation for the rest of the “Teaser family” by introducing the principle of opposition in all of its glory—learning to reach the limbs away from one another to create total-body, tensile strength that helps you to float off the floor, rather than overwork to achieve the movement. It also teaches the concept of “effortless effort.” STE P S 1 & 3

strengthens the back, quads, hamstrings, calves and feet; tones the arms S E T U p : Lie on your back with your legs bent, feet flat on the floor and your knees squeezing together. Extend your arms long overhead, 6 inches off the floor. Make sure that your arms are at a height where you can draw your ribs together and keep your spine anchored to the floor.

sequentially through your spine, returning to the starting position. 5. Do 3 reps, then repeat with your other leg extended. On the final repetition, for a greater challenge, lift your arms to your ears and roll back down 1 vertebra at a time.
T I p S : Reaching in opposition energetically through your arms and fingertips, as you anchor your supporting foot to the floor, is integral to your success. Lengthen your arms as far away from your torso as possible as you prepare for the movement and again as you curl up off the floor and as you roll back down. Deepen your navelto-spine connection as much as you can away from the fingertips that are reaching, once again in opposition. M O D I F I C ATI O N :

1. Keeping your left knee bent, extend your right leg out in external rotation to match the height of your left bent knee. Inhale as you extend long through your fingers behind you and squeeze your inner thighs together. 2. Exhale and lift your fingertips toward the ceiling and then toward your knees, allowing the movement of your arms to naturally initiate the movement of your head curling up off the floor. 3. Peel your body off the floor as high as you can without moving your extended or supporting legs, ultimately reaching your fingertips all the way toward the toes of your extended leg. 4. Inhale at the height of the movement, then exhale as you roll back down

If you are experiencing difficulty in curling up all the way off the floor, you can use your arms as an assist. Once you get your body up to your highest point and feel stuck, place your hands behind your knees and use the strength of your arms and upper body in cooperation with your abdominals to lift your torso up the rest of the way. Engage your lats and draw your shoulders away from your ears so that you strengthen your back body, too. 65

Classic Teaser
The Classic Teaser creates unmatched abdominal strength, just as all of the Teaser variations do. Most importantly, it reinforces will and determination and teaches patience.

strengthens the legs and back; tones the arms and shoulders; improves coordination and balance S E T U p : Lying on your back, hug your knees into your chest and lengthen your spine against the floor, connecting to your breath. Extend your legs long toward the ceiling with your heels together and toes apart. Squeeze your inner thighs together and find opposition in your legs and feet by literally trying to touch the ceiling with your toes, as your back deepens into the floor away from the reach in your legs and feet.

3. Inhale to prepare, and reach your arms strongly overhead and your feet as far away from your body as possible. 4. Exhale as you reach your fingertips toward your toes, peeling your upper body off of the mat, maintaining a strong, energetic reach through your legs while keeping them in place. 5. With great control, continue to curl your body up, reaching through your fingertips toward your toes, coming up as high as possible while doing your best not to lower your legs. 6. Inhale at the height of the movement, then exhale as you roll

1. Extend your arms overhead about 3–6 inches off the floor behind you, finding the perfect angle for your arms that allows you to draw your ribs together and find your spine connecting fully with the floor. 2. Lower and lengthen your legs to your “point of control,” where your back remains anchored fully and your abdominals are engaged, drawing your navel as deeply as you can toward your spine.

back down to the mat sequentially through your spine, maintaining the height and position of your legs as well as the oppositional energy in your arms and fingertips. 7. As soon as you return to your starting position, fire up your arms and legs, strongly deepen your abdominals and gear up to go again! Do 2 sets of 3 reps.

Reach your fingertips and toes longer and stronger away from each other than you ever have. Same as for Single Bent-Leg Teaser.


Teaser Arms-to-Ears Variation
Like the Classic Teaser, the Arms-to-Ears Variation creates unmatched abdominal strength, but kicks it up a notch. In the second part of the exercise, the rolling back down to the mat, because the weight of the arms moves back with the upper body as it rolls down, it forces more of the upper rectus abdominus to engage, creating a greater strength and balance challenge for the abdominals and the body overall.

strengthens the leg and back; tones the arms and shoulders; improves total-body coordination and control S E T U p : Same as above.

1. Repeat steps 1–6 of Classic Teaser. 2. Inhale at the height of the movement and lift your arms up to the ceiling and back so that they are exactly in line with your ears. 66
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3. As you exhale, keeping your arms where they are, roll back down to the mat sequentially through your spine, maintaining the height of your outstretched legs as well as the oppositional energy in your arms and fingertips. 4. As soon as you return to your starting position, fire up your abdominals and strongly deepen them. Do 2 sets of 3 reps.

T I p S : It is vital to apply the principle of opposition even more here because you have the added weight of your arms to contend with as you roll back down to your starting position. Make your breath work for you as you reach longer through your fingertips and toes as you curl off the mat and then roll back down from the apex of the movement to manifest the greatest control. M O D I F I C ATI O N :

If you are having trouble keeping your arms in line with your ears as you roll back, try holding them in position as long as you can, and then return to the “arms-front” position from the Classic Teaser; work up to holding the true “arms-toears” position.

Above and beyond anything else, this exercise is empowering! It challenges your fear and makes you go beyond what you thought you were capable of as it strengthens and lengthens your entire body.

starting position, fire up your arms and legs and strongly deepen your abdominals. Do 1–2 sets of 3 reps.
T I p S : Even though this exercise tends to “wow” others, it’s actually easier to perform than the Classic Teaser. The trick here, again, is opposition! In order to lift your body up in one piece, you still have to articulate through your spine with control and use your breath as fuel to help you lift up. Then, once you’re up, you have to lift your upper back even higher to counterpoise the added weight of your arms-to-ears position as you roll down to the mat and then reach like never before through your fingers and toes to ensure a soft, smooth, beautiful landing!

enhances coordination and balance; promotes proportionate musculature and optimal posture S E T U p : Same as in Classic Teaser.

as you extend and lower your legs down to the mat, maintaining the powerful oppositional energy in your arms and fingertips. 6. As you roll down with your spine, deepening your abdominals all the while, your head, legs and feet should touch down to the mat at the same time in one smooth movement, as your arms simultaneously find their starting position. As soon as you return to your

1. Repeat step 1 of Classic Teaser. 2. Draw your navel to your spine as deeply as you can as you continue to squeeze your heels together. 3. Inhale, and as you exhale, using opposition with your arms reaching strongly overhead and your feet reaching as far away from your body as possible, peel off and lift your body up in one fell swoop into a high Classic Teaser V position, with your arms reaching forward and in line with your legs at a 65 degree angle. 4. Inhale at the top of the movement, as you reach your fingertips toward your toes, and maintaining a strong energetic reach through your legs and keeping them exactly where they are, lift your arms up and back to your ears. 5. With great control, keeping your arms in place, roll back down to the mat sequentially through your spine

LeARn MoRe!
Jennifer launches her “Teaching to Inspire” Mentorship Program this fall in San Diego, CA. For more information, email [email protected]. 67

Classic Teaser on Long Box
This is meant to serve as a complementary exercise to the Classic Teaser on the mat. Each makes the execution of the exercise more precise and powerful in both locations. Here, on the Long Box, balance is key, and many people start to feel more courageous and empowered once they develop a comfort level with being perched high atop the machine. SETU P


Balanced Body Studio Reformer (classic footbar) with Standard Sitting Box ($3,370;

1 spring Long Box P U R p O S E : helps cultivate strength, balance and control S E T U p : Before you mount the Long Box, measure a hand’s width away (with your hand parallel to the front) from the front edge. Then, standing alongside the Reformer with your hands in the straps, separate them behind you so that your path to mount is clear, and using your powerhouse, lift yourself smoothly up into a sitting position at the front of your Box. With the same grace and control, roll down 1 vertebra at a time into a supine position, with your legs outstretched in front of you over the footbar (which is in the down position), heels together, toes apart. Your arms are extended out to the sides of your body slightly lower than shoulder level, with slight tension on the straps. Your head is lengthening back, relaxed and dropping into a backbend stretch; it’s the continuation of your upper back, which is also slightly backbending over the back of the Box.
Sp R I N G S E T T I N G : PROp:



maintaining tension on the straps, and bring your hands in line with your hips while keeping your legs in place. 4. Exhale as you lift your arms back up, reaching powerfully through your fingertips, trying to come as high as you can, while reaching strongly through your legs and keeping your inner thighs fully engaged and your toes long and energized. 5. Repeat the lower/lift of your arms 3 times, keeping your arms softly curved and your legs steady. 6. Pause at the height of the third lift of your arms and inhale. Exhale, rolling back down, bone by bone onto your back, deepening your abs into the Box as you simultaneously lengthen your legs down to the starting position, with your arms opening to your sides like the wings of a bird. Do 2–3 sets of 3 reps.
T I p S : Once again turn to the principle of opposition. It is in this way that you

will find you have the strength to make the movement more effortless than you ever thought possible. Also, tell yourself that you are going to “float” up into the position, and it will keep you from overworking to get there!

1. Inhale to begin. Exhale, reaching energetically through your fingertips and toes, pulling on the straps, and engage your deepest abdominals and start to roll your torso up toward your legs, which are lifting effortlessly into a Teaser position. 2. As you lift your upper body to meet your legs, try to time the movement so that your upper body arrives at the same time, so that you are in a beautiful balance with your arms outstretched in line with your legs, reaching up toward your toes, as you scoop your navel to your spine in opposition. 3. With great control, inhale, drawing your arms down and back, 68
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If you have trouble coming up all the way with straight legs, a wonderful alternative that proves to make you work just as hard but in a different way is the “bent-knee” variation, which ironically, can be much more challenging for some bodies, as the legs no longer serve as a leveraging tool. Start with your knees bent into your chest and rise up the same way as you would with straight legs, but keep your legs bent even once you arrive at the top of the movement. Then, lift and lower your arms 3 times, keeping your knees tucked into your chest, but with your lower legs parallel to the ground in more of a tabletop position, and then with control, roll down 1 bone at a time, drawing your knees back into the chest with control.

Teaser with Circles on Long Box
As with the other Teaser variations, this exercise makes you feel like you can take on even greater challenges.



1 spring Long Box P U R p O S E : promotes balance and core stability; strengthens the powerhouse, both the abdominals and the back; strengthens the arms and shoulders S E T U p : Same as in Classic Teaser on Long Box, but skip the mounting portion.
Sp R I N G S E T T I N G : PROp:

STE P 2 . 1

1. Repeat steps 1–2 of Classic Teaser on Long Box. 2. With great control, inhale and lift your arms slightly higher. Exhale, keeping your back lifted, as you circle your arms around and down and then right up to the lifted position for 3 reps, maintaining tension on the straps and the height of your legs. 3. On the final circle, inhale as you lift your arms up, reaching through your fingertips, trying to come as high as you can while reaching strongly through your legs and keeping your inner thighs engaged and your toes long and energized. 4. Exhale and roll back down, bone by bone onto your back, deepening your abs into the Box as you simultaneously lengthen your legs down to the starting position, arms opening to your sides like the wings of a bird. 5. Rise up and repeat the circles in an outward pattern, and/or reverse the circles. Do 2–3 sets of 3 circles.
T I p S : Because of the added challenge with your arms, it is crucial to reach up through the crown of your head and even more strongly through your toes as your arms move around and down; a natural “recalibration” needs to take place each time your arms move so that you maintain the controlled placement of your body in space. Emphasize your breath as it will facilitate the movement and your control. Tell yourself it’s easy—it definitely won’t be easy, but perhaps easier than you think!

STE P 2 . 2

STE P 2 . 3


Make the circles smaller.

Increase the range of motion in your arms, making the circles larger/ wider while still keeping your back and your legs in the uplifted V position. 69

Shaving Teaser on Long Box
This exercise is by far one of the most challenging Teaser variations on the Reformer. It’s meant to push your limits and test your inner Pilates warrior!


Reverse Swan
One of the most challenging exercises on the Chair, the Reverse Swan, or Reverse Teaser, asks you to confront and vanquish your own fear of heights and ability to balance while executing daring movement. Once you triumph, many other previously “daunting” exercises become accessible because most of your fear, as you will discover, is in your mind, not your body.
Sp R I N G S E T T I N G :

1 spring Long Box P U R p O S E : improves spatial balance; increases core strength and stability; strengthens the upper body; challenges the powerhouse S E T U p : Same as in Teaser with Circles on Long Box.
Sp R I N G S E T T I N G : PROp:


1. Repeat steps 1–2 of Classic Teaser on Long Box. 2. With great control, inhale as you bend your elbows and bring your hands to form a diamond shape at your sternum. 3. While keeping your back uplifted, exhale and straighten your arms in front of you, and then bend them again for a total of 3 times, maintaining tension on the straps and the height of your legs. 4. On the final extension of your arms, inhale as you turn your palms to face the ceiling, reaching powerfully through your fingertips. 5. Open your arms out to the sides of the body while reaching strongly through your legs to roll all the way down onto your back to the starting position. Do 2–3 sets of 3 “shaves” (bending and straightening of your arms).
T I p S : As with the Circles variation, it is especially important here to reach up through the crown of your head and even more strongly through your toes as your arms bend and straighten—the same “recalibration” needs to take place each time your arms move so you maintain the controlled placement of your body in space. Rely on your breath when the going gets tough. M O D I F I C ATI O N :


1 middle spring takes your powerhouse strength to another level entirely; tones the entire body; presents a serious balance challenge S E T U p : Sit on the top of the Chair toward the back end of the pedal side, with your hands pressing down on the pedal, fingertips pointing in toward the well of the Chair. Your legs are extended long, with your heels together and toes apart in line with your seat.

STE P 3 . 1

1. Inhale and lift your body slightly, curling your upper body to engage your abdominals. Exhale and lengthen back down to the starting position, for a great shoulder stretch as you press the pedal down to the floor. Do 3 reps. 2. With great focus and concentration, fire up your abdominals, lengthen through your legs and feet, and lift the pedal all the way up so it no longer has any tension, and simultaneously lift your legs all the way up to a full, Classic Teaser position, moving your arms smoothly from the pedal to an outstretched position over your legs. You’ve already won!

Make the shaving action shorter, rather than fully extending through your arms each time.

STE P 3 . 2


Instead of keeping your hands in front of your body, you can “shave the back of your head” by bringing your hands behind your head, with your elbows extended to the sides of your head. Bend and straighten your arms from this position. 70
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3. From the height of your Teaser, balancing on the top of the Chair, with the utmost control, draw your arms down and into a softly curved shape at the sides of your waist while continuing to reach powerfully through your legs and feet, squeezing your inner thighs together and lengthening in opposition from your powerhouse.

4. Find the pedal behind you and place your hands back in their original position, with your fingertips facing into the well of the Chair, keeping your legs from moving even an inch. 5. Press the pedal down toward the floor and with control, back up slightly again, and repeat this up-and-down action 3 times, curling your upper back up to deeply engage your navel to your spine, while keeping your legs aloft in the full Teaser position (only your upper body moves).

6. Try to go lower with your upper body each time, and on the last press down, use your abs to rise and, with tremendous focus and control, lift your upper body back up to meet your legs into a full Teaser. 7. Repeat drawing your arms back into a soft curve at the sides of your waist, finding the pedal with your hands and simultaneously lowering and lengthening your legs as if you were doing the Teaser on the Long Box. Return to the starting position—triumphant! Do 2 reps of the entire series.

STEp 1

STEp 3

S T E p 4 & 5 .1

Pilates Designs By Basil Low Chair ($1,275;

STEp 5. 2

STEp 6

STEp 7


Integrated fitness and wellness expert, yoga devotee, author and Pilates master teacher, Jennifer Kries, is an internationally renowned mind-body-spirit innovator. The first to bring Pilates and The Method, the groundbreaking synthesis of Pilates, yoga and dance to a mass audience, her award-winning videos, The Method Series and Jennifer Kries DVDs, have sold more than 15 million units worldwide. Along with her featured appearances on Fit TV’s The Method Show, her work has revolutionized the fitness community, starting the explosive wave of enthusiasm for Pilates and mind-body exercise.

Jennifer is the creator and producer of several original DVD series, including Hot Body Cool Mind: Life Force Power Workout, Waking Energy, New Body! Pilates and The Pilates Method Master Trainer Series, the definitive resource for Pilates professionals, teachers in training and Pilates devotees. She has inspired countless readers, practitioners, graduates of her programs and viewers alike to embrace her all-encompassing philosophy of movement, art, health, life and energy. Her attention to detail, superb teaching style, artistry and knowledge of Eastern healing techniques, makes her one of the most highly sought-after mind/ body teachers in the world today. Her “Teaching to Inspire” Pilates Mentorship Program launches this fall. For more information, visit 71

From breaking the soda addiction to starting a meditation practice, these health practices will pay off big dividends.
by Stacy Baker Masand

Health Habits Worth the Effort
Unfortunately, we can’t pop a magic pill that will ward off disease, keep us happy or help us lose weight. In fact, the most worthwhile heath benefits result from time, effort and a little extra legwork. We’ve found nine healthy habits that aren’t as easy as taking a vitamin, but with a little dedication, they come with big rewards to your mind and body.


Meditation has been around for centuries, and it’s no wonder: This ancient practice delivers a bounty of health benefits. Studies show that meditating as few as 10 minutes a day can improve your mood, lower your heart rate and strengthen your cognitive abilities. Bobette (Bobbee) Kellner, a marriage and family therapist based in Santa Barbara, CA, uses it in her psychotherapy sessions to help patients change how they deal with problems, and in turn, lower stress, improve relationships and feel happier. “Increased awareness is the greatest benefit of meditation,” Kellner explains. “Sometimes we get caught up in thinking about the past or the future. Being in the moment [during


a meditation session] allows you to let go of those thoughts and feelings quickly and go back to focusing on your breath.” Kellner meditates every morning when she wakes

from 15 minutes to an hour, plus leads meditation groups. During each session, she lets thoughts move into her mind and then float away. She uses that same strategy in the

real world, which allows her to let go of negative situations; instead, she simply goes back to focusing on breathing. “I don’t waste my time dwelling on issues or people that bother me—I flow more in every area of my life,” she explains. “It’s the same mindfulness and awareness I take to Pilates. I’m in the moment, centered with my breath and aware of the movements as I’m doing them.” She recommends starting slowly, making the practice a habit and not getting locked into how it looks. Though music or an audio download of a guided meditation may help (or check out Kellner’s meditation videos on Pilates Anytime), the only things you really need to do are to stay seated and focus on your breath. It’s that easy.


One of the best tools for weight loss may also be the least expensive and the easiest: keeping a food journal. Tracking everything from calories to ingredients to portion sizes keeps your goals in focus throughout the day, resulting in less cheating and better results. In fact, a new study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that women who tracked their daily food intake lost an average of six or more pounds in a year than those who didn’t. Food journals don’t have be expensive or fancy; a no-tech option like an old-school notebook can work as well as the latest high-tech tracking app. Researchers say the secret is to list everything you eat (the fries you steal off a friend’s plate count), include meal-prep details (baked versus fried, for example) and keep up the habit every day (weekends and holidays, too). If you need extra motivation to stay consistent, opt for a smartphone app such as LoseIt or MyFitnessPal. Most include access to tools that will make self-monitoring easier, including a community of other dieters, barcode scanners, food and calorie databases and progress trackers with virtual gold stars for a job well done.


Look for sunscreen that shields your skin from both UVA and UVB rays!


You’ve no doubt heard the admonitions to apply “broad-spectrum” sunscreen (those that shield both UVA and UVB rays; check the label) with an SPF of 30 to 50 year-round before going outdoors. Don’t forget to reapply at lunch or after work. But early detection is key to treating skin cancer, so in addition to


an annual appointment with a dermatologist, the Skin Cancer Foundation also recommends doing a 10-minute head-to-toe examination every month to look for changes in spots, moles or freckles. Keep track of them on a body map, which you can download at A quick self-check will help you identify anything that looks suspicious early on so you can see a doctor as soon as you find a warning sign. 73


Research shows that friendships improve nearly all areas of mind and body fitness, from increasing happiness and boosting confidence to increasing the chances that you exercise regularly, follow your diet plan and kick unhealthy habits like smoking. Strong social connections also reduce stress, help you heal faster and boost immunity. A Stanford study found that breast cancer patients who were involved in support groups reported less pain and outlived those who didn’t participate. Other studies have shown that people with close relationships live longer than those with less social contact. But staying connected won’t just happen without concerted effort. Make a point of talking to someone you love at least once a day; for instance, safely call a friend while you commute to and from work or on your lunch hour. You don’t have to have marathon gab sessions in order to reap the benefits; if you’re limited on time, say so at the beginning of the conversation to help set boundaries. And good news for busy bees: Newer methods of communication are just as valuable. Text during commercials or while you’re waiting to board your next flight. E-mail while your pedicure is drying. Even engaging via social media for several minutes a day can keep you in the loop. Meeting new friends also enhances your life and health. Chat up fellow Pilates students at the studio, volunteer in the community or participate in local activities you love, like art festivals, music events or walking groups. 74
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A typical 20-ounce soda packs up to 18 teaspoons of sugar.


By now you’ve heard countless warnings about the evils of soda, but how bad can a soft drink or two a day—or even a week really be? Turns out, a lot. A typical 20-ounce soda packs more than 240 calories and up to 18 teaspoons of sugar. Soda’s high sugar content—along with the chemicals and colorings—has been linked to everything from obesity to diabetes to cancer and is responsible for 25,000 deaths in the U.S., according to researchers who evaluated World Health Organization data. Substituting with diet soda isn’t any better. A new National Institutes of Health study shows that people who drink four or more cans of soda (it doesn’t matter if it’s regular or diet) every day are about 30 percent more likely to be diagnosed with depression than non-soda drinkers. If you have a serious soft drink habit, it’s best to go cold turkey by stopping all soda for two weeks, advises Melissa Li, RD, LDN, a dietitian, fitness trainer and director of PhysioLife Studios in Chicago. This helps break the addiction to sweets, even if you’re drinking artificial sweeteners. A good trade-off is sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon or lime, which satisfies the need for effervescence without sacrificing flavor. Or, when you want something sweet, eat an apple with almond butter or another combination of fruit with protein to get you through the craving. If you still need a midday pick-me-up, unsweetened black coffee or green tea is a healthier choice. Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health found that people who drank four or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day are 20 percent less likely than non-java drinkers to be diagnosed with depression, and green tea is packed with antioxidants.



If you’re a carnivore, substituting such plant foods as fruits, vegetables and beans for one serving of red meat a day cuts your saturated fat intake by 15 percent and reduces your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Eating a single three-ounce serving of meat daily was linked with a 16 percent greater risk of death


from cardiovascular disease and 10 percent from cancer, according to an Archives of Internal Medicine study. The risks for lovers of bacon are even higher: A new study from University of Zurich found that eating hot dogs, sausages, cold cuts and other processed meats increases your risk of prematurely dying by 44 percent. Going veg for one or more meals a week can reverse the risks. An easy

way to get started is with Meatless Monday, a publichealth initiative created in association with Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health inspired by studies that show that people are more likely to stick to healthy resolutions on a Monday. Skipping meat doesn’t have to be a sacrifice: asparagus risotto, black bean chili or vegetable lasagna are all delicious ways to go vegetarian.




It may seem easier to tell someone you’re late because you got stuck in traffic than to say you wanted to see the end of a TV show, but a recent study from University of Notre Dame shows that honesty is far better for your health. People who told fewer minor lies over a 10-week period reported fewer mental and physical issues, like headaches, irritability, anxiety and sore throats. Even small fibs can add significant stress to your life, researchers found. Think your pants aren’t on fire? In fact, we’re not even truthful about how much we lie. Research from the Science Museum of London found men stretch the truth roughly three times a day, while women average at least twice daily. Another study from the Journal of Basic and Applied Psychology showed that SNEAk A when meeting strangers, CAT NAP. participants lied an average Powering down of three times within 10 for as few as minutes. (To jog your 10 minutes memory about your own a day does more than factual accuracy, refer to any perk you up; it also recent conversation you may boosts productivity, have had with an overbearing heightens creativity and relative or demanding boss.) improves brain and body performance. A Harvard study showed that just a few minutes of afternoon zzz’s enhanced memory and learning processes. Other studies have linked napping to reduced heart disease, stress, weight gain and stroke. If a short snooze isn’t enough, try this one-two punch, based on a study from Loughborough University, called the “caffeine nap”: a cup of coffee followed by 15 minutes of sleep. The idea is that it takes the java about 15 minutes to kick in. While you wait, close your and movement. A study eyes and crash. When you in the British journal BMJ wake, you’ll be refreshed— Open found that reducing and refueled. periods of sitting, like using the computer at work or watching TV in your downtime, to less than three S TAY ACTIvE. hours a day can add two Talk to any medical years to your life expectancy. researcher and Even if you think it she’ll tell you that can’t be done at your one of the secrets workplace, breaking up to staying youthful and sedentary periods on the healthy is to keep moving. job is easier than you think, But what if you’re one of the plus movement increases four out of five Americans productivity, says Melissa whose job involves littleLi. She checks e-mails to-no activity? Then it’s while squatting against her time to get creative about office wall and does sets sneaking in calorie burning


Men stretch the truth roughly three times a day, while women average at least twice daily.

In a study, when meeting strangers, participants lied an average of three times within 10 minutes. Even if you have a desk job, find ways to get up and move or get creative with a quick workout session.

of 30-second Planks as she reviews articles. If you don’t have that kind of privacy, make sure you get out of your chair and find creative ways to move around. Stand and stretch every hour on the hour, walk to a colleague’s desk to discuss an idea rather than send an e-mail, and take the long way to the water cooler to refill your bottle. Height-adjustable desks and walking workstations also allow you to keep moving (or at least avoid sitting) and don’t have to break the bank. Of course, one of the best ways to get moving and

improve your health is with regular Pilates sessions—or even by sneaking in a few standing Pilates moves (Wall Roll-Downs, Standing Rolling Like a Ball, Single-Leg Stretch) throughout the day. PS
Stacy Baker is a health and fitness writer whose worked has appeared in such magazines as In Style, Self, Shape, Fitness, DuJour and Women's Health. She collaborated with fitness expert Tosca Reno on the New York Times bestseller, Your Best Body Now (Harlequin, 2010); her latest book, The Rockstar Remedy (HarperCollins, 2014), will be available next spring. 75

There’s nothing like entertaining on a balmy summer’s eve, and thanks to the founder of the popular food blog RecipeGirl, you can do it healthfully— and in a snap! Guess you can get in that workout after all.
Recipes by Lori Lange • Photography by Matt Armendariz


Nibbling cob after cob of sweet fresh corn in the summertime is a given. So why not make a salad out of it? Giving corn a few char marks by tossing it briefly on the grill will give your salad a delicious smoky flavor, and by soaking the corn for a half hour before grilling, you’ll be giving it enough moisture to prevent it from drying out on the grill. (Makes 8 servings) For the vinaigrette:

3 3 1

For the salad:

tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil tablespoons apple cider vinegar tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice teaspoon kosher salt

5 11⁄ 2 ⁄2 1 ⁄4

ears corn, shucked and rinsed cups halved cherry or pear tomatoes cup fresh basil, cut into thin strips cup diced red onion to taste


Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Salt and freshly ground black pepper,

1. Prepare the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients. 2. Soak the corn in a large bowl of water for 30 minutes. Preheat the grill to
medium. Drain the corn and place on the hot grill grates, grilling for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or just until char marks begin to appear. Remove the ears of corn from the grill and let them cool. Cut the corn kernels off the cobs (see Tips). 3. In a large bowl, mix the corn kernels, tomatoes, basil and red onion. 4. Add the vinaigrette to the salad and toss. Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


• To cut the corn kernels off the cob, cut a small slice off of the end of each corn cob to create a flat surface. Set the flat end of the corn upright inside of a bowl, holding it at the top. Cut down the sides of the corn with a sharp knife and the corn kernels will collect inside of the bowl. • Using multicolored cherry tomatoes gives this salad a colorful bonus. • This salad may be prepared up to 4 hours before serving. 76
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I think it was my sister who first introduced me to the beauty of salmon. Of course, she lives in the Northwest, where they truly have the best salmon I’ve ever had, and that probably prompted me to declare my love for it right then and there. To this day, salmon is my favorite go-to quick dinner. I enjoy it lightly seasoned with a little added sweetness and broiled, and it’s terrific when paired with a simple, sweet slaw. (Makes 4 servings) For the slaw:

5 11⁄ 2

cups finely shredded cabbage (about 1⁄2 small head) cups finely chopped canned pineapple (reserve 2 tablespoons juice for dressing) into very thin strips

1 medium red bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed and cut 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded 1 ⁄ 2 medium red onion, very thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
For the dressing:


tablespoons pineapple juice (from canned pineapples for slaw) tablespoon canola or vegetable oil teaspoons honey teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice teaspoon hot sauce teaspoon salt teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

⁄2 2 1 1 ⁄4 1 ⁄8 1 ⁄8 4

Sometimes, it’s the simple things in life that fill your tummy and make you smile. This super-simple fruit salsa is one of those things. It’s best for making in the middle of extra-juicy and sweet strawberry season, and all you need is a few chips for scooping. (Makes 21⁄2 cups salsa)

For the salmon:
(6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets, rinsed and patted dry cup honey tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice teaspoon chili powder teaspoon cayenne pepper teaspoon salt

⁄4 1 1 1 ⁄8 1 ⁄8

1. Prepare the slaw: In a large bowl, toss together the slaw ingredients. 2. Prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss. Set the slaw aside while you prepare the salmon. 3. Prepare the salmon: Preheat the oven to broil. Spray a small roasting pan or Pyrex dish with nonstick spray. Place the salmon in the pan. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, lime juice, chili powder, cayenne and salt. Spoon the sauce over the salmon. Broil the salmon for 5 minutes and then spoon the sauce over the salmon again. Broil for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork and is cooked through to the center. 4. To serve: Toss the slaw one more time to reincorporate the dressing. Divide the slaw among 4 bowls. Top the slaw with the broiled salmon and serve immediately.
assembled by doing all of your chopping and shredding in advance (up to 1 day). The dressing may also be prepared the day before serving.

1 1 1 ⁄2 2 2

cup finely diced fresh strawberries cup finely diced avocado (1 medium) cup finely chopped sweet onion teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice teaspoons finely chopped jalapeños, seeds and ribs removed

Baked tortilla chips, for dipping

Combine all of the ingredients (except tortilla chips) in a medium bowl. Serve immediately with the tortilla chips.

TIP: This isn’t a recipe that you want to make well in

advance of serving. When avocado is exposed to air, it begins the process of oxidation, which turns the avocado brown. The addition of lime juice slows the oxidation process but it does not prevent it entirely. Plan to prep the salsa and serve it right away.

Reprinted with permission from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, from The Recipe Girl Cookbook by Lori Lange. Photography by Matt Armendariz. Copyright 2013.

MAKE-AHEAD TIP: This recipe can be quickly



july • august 2013


Practicing yoga in a heated room can ramp up the benefits, say practitioners. Discover how this form of exercise can turn up the heat on your Pilates practice.
by Sharon Liao

When Susan Stencil turned 50, she decided to take her first hot yoga class. “It changed everything,” she says. “I felt so peaceful and invigorated. I knew that, from that minute on, I had to make it part of my life.” Over the next six years, Stencil quit her job, became a hot yoga teacher and opened her own studio, Clarkston Hot Yoga in Clarkston, MI. Stencil isn’t the only one to become a fan of hot yoga; in fact, it’s one of the fastest growing fitness trends in the country. At Crunch gyms, a nationwide chain, the practice has become so popular that the number of hot yoga classes has increased by 33 percent over the past two years. Although there are many different styles of hot yoga, they all have one thing in common: The moves are done in a room that’s heated anywhere from 90 to 108 degrees in order to help loosen the muscles and flush out toxins through sweat. And proponents say that these benefits extend to the method, too. YoGA’s WARm-Up The origin of hot yoga starts with Bikram Choudhury, a charismatic and sometimes controversial yoga guru. In the 1970s, Choudhury left India to teach yoga in Japan, where he wasn’t acclimated to the chilly weather. To make his studio more comfortable, he brought in space heaters—and quickly noticed that his students could get into their poses with more ease. Choudhury introduced the concept to the United States when he opened his first studio, Bikram’s Yoga College of India, in San Francisco, in 1972. What started as a small, one-room practice has since grown into a worldwide phenomenon: Today, there are an estimated 5,000 certified Bikram teachers across the world. In Bikram, the studios are kept at a sweatinducing 100 to 108 degrees and roughly 50 percent humidity. “The practice consists of a set of 26 postures,” explains Donna Rubin, coowner of Bikram Yoga NYC. During a 90-minute class, students do the series of 26 moves twice (each pose is held for 10 to 20 seconds), with two breathing exercises in between. “The series is designed to stretch and strengthen every part of the body, as well as improve the function of your internal organs,” says Rubin. Scientific research backs up some of these health-boosting claims: According to a study published in the Journal of Strength &

Conditioning Research, practicing Bikram for two months can significantly boost flexibility and strength. Meanwhile, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital showed that people slept more soundly on the days they went to a class than when they didn’t. “The practice can really transform lives,” says Rubin. As Bikram grew in popularity over the years, more instructors began putting their own spins on the practice and creating their own offshoots. “The term ‘hot yoga’ describes any practice done in a heated environment that isn’t the Bikram series,” explains Marko Galjasevic, a yoga instructor at The Yoga Room in Long Island City, NY. Some classes are gentle and restorative, while others feature fastpaced flowing sequences. The temperature of the room can also be slightly lower, set at 90 instead of the 100-plus degrees of Bikram, and classes generally range from 45 to 90 minutes. BeneFIts oF Hot YoGA No matter the specific style, both Bikram and hot yoga devotees agree that the heat encourages more flexibility and better results. “It warms up the muscles, so you can go much deeper into poses,” says Galjasevic. “And the sequence, along with the sweat, is meant to detoxify the body.” (Although many experts believe there’s no science behind this claim, Bikram proponents say that the practice helps rid their bodies of unwanted toxins, such as mercury and lead.) This makes hot yoga an ideal complement for a Pilates practice. “When I see one of my students who needs work on their core or lower back, I’ll send them to a Pilates class,” says Galjasevic. Alternatively, his studio’s Pilates instructors refer those who want to increase their flexibility or add an aerobic element to their fitness regimen to hot

ABOVE aND oPPoSITe PaGe: At BiKram Yoga NYC, studEnts swEat through a 90-minutE class in a room hEatEd to at lEast 100 dEgrEEs.


Want to try out hot yoga? The first step is finding the right class for you. Speak to the studio manager or instructor to learn what style of yoga is offered, such as restorative, less-demanding hatha or faster-paced power yoga. You can also find a Bikram class near you on www.bikramyoga. com. (On average, a single class costs around $15 to $30.) But before you unroll your mat, make sure to consult your healthcare provider about any potential health concerns. “If you have any issue that can make you sensitive to heat, such as a heart condition or high blood pressure, speak with your doctor first,” says Elkes. (People with the skin condition rosacea also may need to avoid hot yoga.) In the two to three hours leading up to your session, drink plenty of water and avoid heavy meals, suggests Rubin. There’s no special gear for hot yoga, but what you wear can depend on what type of class you’re taking. Bikram practitioners tend to wear as little clothing as possible—shorts and a sports bra or tank top—while those taking a flow class may want to wear either a light, long-sleeved top or capris. “I like to cover either my arms or my legs, so I’ll have some grip for balancing moves, like the Crow,” says Elkes. You should also bring your yoga mat, a towel and a bottle of water. And don’t forget an open mind, adds Rubin. “It’s an experience that may take some getting used to,” she says. “That’s why I recommend that everyone go to three or four classes, even if they didn’t enjoy it on their first try.” 80
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Following on the heels of hot yoga, a growing number of studios are also offering hot Pilates classes. Stencil’s studio, Clarkston Hot Yoga in Clarkston, MI, is one of them. Like yoga, the benefit of practicing Pilates in a heated room is for the added flexibility. “In a cool room, your neck and shoulders automatically tense up,” says Stencil. “Practicing in a hot room helps to relax and elongate those muscles, so you can focus on working your core,” which adds up to bigger benefits. “It’s especially noticeable with the Plank; instead of scrunching up your body, your shoulders are farther away from the ears and your entire body is stretched out,” she says. In her hot Pilates classes, Elkes says that the biggest difference she notices is in her students’ lower backs. “Even my students with a big lumbar curve are able to keep their backs flat on the floor,” she says. This extra flexibility can keep backs from arching during the Hundred and Double Straight-Leg Stretch, she adds. “I’ve found that heat can help with almost any obstacle a student is having in their practice.” “When I approached Pilates instructors [about teaching hot Pilates], many of them were apprehensive of teaching in a hot studio,” says Stencil. “But they were surprised to learn that they really enjoyed the heat.” As it turned out, so did her clients. “My hot Pilates class became more popular than yoga! I couldn’t believe it,” she laughs. Today, Stencil offers six hot Pilates classes a week. “There’s a lot of crossover between the two practices,” she says. “Many of my students—both those who do primarily yoga and those who are Pilates practitioners—attend both classes throughout the week.”

yoga classes. “In my flow class, you can really get your heart pumping,” he says. Along with these physical aspects, hot yoga can also enhance mental balance. “In yoga, we focus on the pranayama breath, or rhythmic slow inhalations and exhalations,” says Stencil. “This helps to empty the mind and bring on relaxation.” So, while Pilates encourages concentration, yoga can help you let go of thoughts and reach a meditative-like state. That’s why she recommends incorporating both into your routine—ideally, three yoga classes and two Pilates classes a week (or two yoga classes and three Pilates, depending on your preference). Hot PuRsuIt Of course, Pilates fans have a leg up when it comes to hot yoga. Having a strong core is crucial for yoga’s key postures, such as the Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff pose) and Downward Dog. “Pilates practitioners are also able to really tune into their bodies,” says Nancy Elkes, a Pilates and yoga instructor at Crunch in New York City. “That can be really advantageous when you’re starting out.” Because of the heat, she explains, some students can zone out during class. “But I’ve found that those with a Pilates background can stay in the moment and keep their minds from wandering.” GettInG HeAteD With this in mind, I head to my first class with Elkes at Crunch, who teaches both hot yoga and hot Pilates (see “The Method Heats Up,“ above). Walking into the studio, I notice two large heaters on the wall. But I’m not smacked with the stifling wave of heat I expected. Instead, the studio reminds me of a balmy, summer day. Elkes explains that, at Crunch, they keep their studios on the (relatively) cool side at 85 to 90 degrees.


Elkes cues us through a Sun Salutation, and what seemed like a comfortable temperature a few moments ago is making me perspire. My face is flushed red as we flow through a sequence of postures. Throughout the class, I notice that my stretches are deeper, helping me to maintain proper form. In my usual practice, tight hips often cause me to favor one side during the Pigeon pose. But, in the heated studio, both of my hips are able to open—and I remain centered. For most of the class, I don’t mind sweating; it almost feels cathartic. At certain points, though, I’m reminded of one of those humid August days where the only thing I want to do is take refuge in an airconditioned room. “Move into Triangle pose,” calls Elkes, and I follow her cue. She pauses behind me and adjusts my back leg. “You want to feel that stretch in the muscle, not the joint,” she says. Later, Elkes explains that very flexible people can over-extend, so it’s important to pay attention to stretches. By the end of class, my top is drenched in sweat, but I feel invigorated instead of exhausted. It’s as if all the tension has evaporated from my body! And when I step out of the studio into the refreshing cool air, my entire body feels loose and light. I immediately make a mental note to schedule a class at a hot yoga studio in my neighborhood—it’s no wonder the practice has such a large following! PS
Sharon Liao is a freelance writer and editor in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has appeared in Shape, Real Simple and Spa magazines.

OPPoSITe PaGe: PilatEs and yoga tEachEr, Nancy ElKEs, lEads studEnts in thE TrEE posE at Crunch in NYC.

Of course, Pilates fans have a leg up when it comes to hot yoga. Having a strong core is crucial for yoga’s key postures. 81

july • august 2013


From the outset, please know: I am not Pilates trained; I am a bodyworker and anatomist with an interest in seeing Pilates succeed. Everything in this article is offered in the spirit of exploration and play, not as a critique. If after reading it, you are moved to change your ideas or cues to your clients, great. If you take in these ideas and prefer to stay your course, also great, no worries. The following is just grist for your mental mill, to be checked against your experience— in your life and in the studio. “When you can’t breathe, nothing else matters” is a tagline of the American Lung Association. Pilates, yoga, meditation and many other practices by Thomas Myers expand this idea beyond this dry but fundamental truth to something like, “If you cannot breathe well, you will gradually lose your health.” We want people to breathe well automatically, or as we say, “naturally.” And if people are not breathing well naturally, we must bring their breathing pattern to their conscious attention in hopes of getting them to breathe better in the studio and in between their visits. Since Pilates is full of breathing cues, this article is a bodyworker’s meditation on how to use them effectively for a “natural” ease, rather than a forced result.

An anatomy expert offers insight into the physiology of human respiration and guidance for Pilates pros looking for ways to help their students improve their breathing.

First off, there are as many definitions of “proper breathing” as there are schools to promote them. Different types of yoga, pranayama, meditation, martial arts, personal development and athletic training all offer particular breathing cues or protocols that are said to promote health. Since none of their students die from lack of oxygen, we can assume that most breathing methods do an adequate job of moving air across the working surface of the lungs. Beyond the simple but essential exchange of oxygen for carbon dioxide, breathing helps the body with circulation, hydration, neural regeneration, organ massage, mood management and blood pressure regulation. Each of these could merit an article of their own, and they all come into consideration when we talk about any “best” way to breathe. Which way of breathing utilizes more of the lungs? Involves complete rib cage movement? Creates the most core support? Best massages the organs? Or promotes neural calm and alertness?

No other primate, except for some crabeating macaques, is able to control its breath voluntarily. Breathing is entirely involuntary for almost all monkeys and apes. Even though they are capable of linguistic thought and can be taught to express themselves in sign language—famously putting together the symbols for “water,” “candy” and “fruit” when first introduced to watermelon—it is ever so difficult to teach a primate to speak. It takes voluntary breath control to spill a precise column of air over the vocal cords, tongue, teeth and lips to produce all the sounds in human speech. Most primates simply do not possess such voluntary control over the movements of the diaphragm, any more than most of us have direct control over our heart rate or peristalsis. On the other side, dolphins and whales seemingly have no ability to let go and breathe involuntarily. Given that they are living in an environment where they are not able to breathe, this makes a good deal of sense. When a dolphin wants to sleep, it must keep half of its brain awake to remind itself to return to the surface to breathe. By alternating which half of the brain is

Central to any discussion of “best” needs to include what an interesting situation humans are in, relative to breathing. Looking at the animals with brains and cognition that parallel our own—apes and pithecine (group of monkeys) on one side, cetaceans (whales and dolphins) on the other—we find ourselves in the middle in terms of breath control.

is IT better to breathe voluntarily or involuntarily as we approach the mat, Reformer and other apparatus? 83


The cues already in Pilates— how you position your clients and how you instruct them to move—compel a different, fuller breath. I don’t want my clients “thinking” about their breathing, not for long anyway.
sleeping at any given time, it manages to get rest for the entire nervous system while never giving up voluntary control over the breath. But this is an arrangement that would seem tiresome to us.

voluntary control over the breath. So what happens when you give such cues? Any of a number of cascading events. Let’s examine them anatomically. One concept will help us with all the scenarios: First, the movement of breathing happens primarily in the ventral cavity (the belly and chest, for our purposes here), though in my experience, the pulse of the breath can be felt all over the body from the arches to the cranium. In everyday terms, the motion is primarily from the diaphragmatic pump inside the piston of the chest and belly.

The upper, thoracic part of that cavity is capable of much more shape change than the term “rib cage” would suggest. I like the term “rib basket” instead, as the muscles around the ribs are capable of shifting both the volume and the shape of the thoracic cavity considerably, like an old basket. Our rib basket is bent in around our lungs and heart in such a way that, no matter how deep a breath you take, there is always a negative pressure within your chest—that’s what pulls the diaphragm back up into a dome when you relax into an exhale. South of the diaphragm, we have the abdominopelvic part of the ventral cavity; this is like a water balloon surrounded by a muscular “skin.” This cavity is always pressured positively, and is capable of greater shape change than the thorax—the only bones are the lumbar behind and the pelvis below—but it is incapable of much volume change. It can be useful to think of the thorax as an air balloon and the abdomen as a water balloon; you can squeeze a water balloon and change its shape, but to change its volume is very difficult. You can squeeze an air balloon and change both its shape and volume. The diaphragm is poised cleverly in between, where the pressure is close to neutral, and hence its ease of movement in the normal resting tidal breath. The incompressible nature of the abdomen coupled with the sponge-like elasticity of the lung make our normal “tidal breath” of about one-half liter the most energy efficient way of cycling gases. Any larger, longer, deeper or sharper breaths, and even sneezes and Mary Bowen’s yawns, may be wonderfully satisfying, necessary to our exercise or carry many benefits, but left to themselves when sleeping or not paying conscious attention, most animals, including humans, will revert to the efficient and easy minimal tidal breath.

Homo sapiens—that’s you and me—lie poised between these two extremes. We can voluntarily control our breath like a whale while speaking, exercising or meditating, but when we fall asleep, the involuntary, primate-like breath takes over and keeps us cycling through inhales and exhales without any conscious intervention. This easy and uniquely human balance saves you from the blackmailing five-year old: “If you don’t buy me (insert current desire here: Xbox, American Girl doll, Cocoa Puffs), I’ll hold my breath till I die!” If you and she really have a test of wills, she will voluntarily—indeed, willfully—hold her breath until she passes out (that’s a very determined child, good luck to you). At that point, an involuntary breath driven from deep in the primitive brainstem takes over and she will reflexively breathe her way to consciousness again. At that point, you have to decide whether the scare is worth the no-sugar policy, the hyper-cost of today’s dolls or your desire to have your kid playing outside rather than slouched in front of the computer exercising her thumbs. But fear not, children cannot hold their breath until they die. (And be patient—most kids return from these flights of selfish fancy to become impossible teenagers and then responsible adults, just as you did.) So given that we dance along the cusp, we are left with the question of whether it is better to breathe voluntarily or involuntarily as we approach the mat, Reformer and other apparatus. If the latter, how do we get out of the way and let it happen “naturally?” And if the former, what is the best way to breathe?

Make no mistake, when you give your clients the navel-to-spine (or any other) breath cue, you are directing their upper brain to take 84
july • august 2013

The problem with humans is that both our emotions and ideas can interfere with the

naturalness we see in the wild. Patterns of unresolved and suppressed fear, anger and grief (not to mention pain, injury or adhesions) shape our body, and shape the breath along with it. Other people’s “good ideas,” like your mother saying, “pull your shoulders back!” or your meditation teacher’s instruction to “breathe into your belly” can also become impositions on letting “the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” You see where I am going here, that all therapists, all teachers of movement, including Pilates teachers, are stuck in a conundrum; the naturalness of our clients’ movement and breathing have been altered by emotion or previous teaching, and we have to interfere artificially in an attempt to restore an “unconscious naturalness.” It is a frustrating position that requires thought, patience and a lifetime of practice to perfect. What cues can we give the conscious mind that will induce the unconscious nature to restore itself?

In many ways, the cues already in Pilates—how you position your clients and how you instruct them to move—compel a different, fuller breath. But we are all sometimes confounded with our clients’ abilities to maintain a restricted breathing pattern in spite of our best efforts; in these cases, a well-applied touch to the immobile part of the trunk can work wonders. I value verbal and hands-on cues in my own bodywork practice as tools to engender awareness, but their usefulness is time-limited. When the session is over, I urge clients to let go of these “idea-based” breaths, and let the automatic take over again. I don’t want my clients “thinking” about their breathing, not for long anyway. The deeper regions of the organism manage our autonomic balance between alertness to threat, restoration and renewal. “Idea-based” breathing, while useful during the session to bring the client to something new, can be detrimental if it overrides this deep, physiological wisdom. We humans, as previously noted, hover uniquely on the fulcrum between voluntary breathers and automatic breathers. There are advantages to each side of the seesaw, but since breath is doing so much more than gaseous exchange, it seems a good idea to let it exit the realm of the conscious and go into the realm of the intelligent body, which knows so much more than our poor little minds about what it wants and needs. Perturb the system with our cues, our interventions and our exercises, but do not imagine that we “know” enough to outsmart the body’s native intelligence. Once you have finished giving a client your cues, it is good to watch what the body does when it is not paying attention, as this is a better measure of what it is likely to do the other 160-odd hours of the week when they are not in your presence. PS
Thomas Myers is the author of Anatomy Trains (Elsevier 2001, 2009, 2013), co-author of Fascial Release for Structural Balance (North Atlantic 2010) and numerous articles for journals and magazines. Tom has practiced integrative bodywork for nearly 40 years in a variety of cultures and circumstances, having studied directly with bodywork and movement pioneers Moshe Feldenkrais and Ida Rolf. Tom lives on the coast of Maine with his partner Quan and a number of animals.

As an anatomist and observer of human movement, I would have to say that any cue is primarily useful as a tool for awareness, to induce certain movements, not as a lifetime strategy. We use these cues to create certain awarenesses, but then we have to get out of the way and see what comes “naturally” to the client. There are many cues and images we can use for breathing, such as “Breathe into your upper two ribs" (useful for those who belly-breathe to excess), or “Breathe in your floating ribs“ (useful for those whose lower ribs project forward). “Breathe into your armpits”; “Let your shoulders move slightly out and up on the inhale”; “Slide your sternum up your spine”: There are many such cues that have been time-tested from the modern source in Elsa Gindler’s Gymnastik up through Mabel Todd, Bess M. Mensendieck, Irene Dowd and Eric Franklin’s brilliant use of imagery. All three dimensions—height, width and depth—are important in breathing. When I see a missing dimension in my client’s breath, I look for the verbal image or handson cue that will induce movement in the still or stuck place. The ribs can also be divided into four sections: the lower three “pelvic” ribs (10 through 12), the abdominal ribs (6 through 9), the sternal ribs around the heart (3 through 5) and the “neck” ribs (1 and 2). Placing your hands on these areas and providing a slight compression for the client to inhale against is often very effective in giving the necessary kinesthetic feedback to create a new breath pattern. 85





As Merrithew Health & Fitness celebrates the 25th anniversary of its STOTT PILATES® brand, its founders, husband-and-wife team Moira and Lindsay Merrithew, recount how they went from a Reformer in their studio apartment to an international fitness company.
by Anne Marie O’Connor

86 july • august 2013

Pilates Style: TELL US ABOUT YOUR CHILDHOOD. Moira Merrithew: I was born in England but my parents moved to Bermuda when I was very young, so I spent my childhood there. Bermuda was a great place to grow up! I got into ballet when I was five, which was the thing they did with little girls back then. When I was 15, I was accepted into the Rambert School of Ballet in London, but would go back to Bermuda in the summer. The Bermuda Civic Ballet would bring in professional choreographers to do amateur productions in the summer. That’s how I met Marijan Bayer, who owned the City Ballet of Toronto. I finished school, and then moved to Toronto to join his company. I danced professionally for almost eight years, eventually working my way up to principal dancer. Lindsay Merrithew: I grew up primarily on the east coast of Canada. My father was in the construction business and we moved around a lot, so I ended up going to boarding school when I was 16. I then attended Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, where I studied commerce. My last year there, I got involved with a summer stock production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and fell in love with the theater. I was encouraged to audition for drama schools and got accepted at The Juilliard School of Performing Arts in New York, which was a very rewarding and enriching experience. PS: HOW DID YOU TWO MEET? Moira: I was teaching at a ballet summer school in Halifax, and Lindsay was on summer vacation from Juilliard. PS: HOW DID YOU DISCOVER PILATES? Lindsay: I first heard about it through a teacher of mine at Juilliard. Little did I know back then it would become such a meaningful part of my life. Moira: I had broken my foot as a teenager and throughout my dance career, I had struggled with chronic foot injuries. I was forced to stop dancing when I was around 24 and so I was looking for another career. At that time, the Dancer Transition Resource Centre had just opened in Toronto. Its founder, Joysanne Sidimus, advised me to go to New York and explore Pilates. This was a very attractive idea as I had just met Lindsay and he was living there. I studied with Romana Kryzanowska at her studio on West 56th Street. Romana was quite a lady— full of charisma! I was given some assistance from the Dancer Transition Resource Centre on the condition that once I trained, I’d return to Canada to teach and share what I’d learned. PS: LINDSAY, WHAT DID YOU DO AfTER JUILLIARD? Lindsay: I spent a couple of seasons in New York, auditioning and working in TV. I then spent a

couple of seasons at the Shaw Festival in Niagaraon-the-Lake, a well-known theater festival in Ontario. After that, I did the gypsy thing, moving back and forth from New York, Los Angeles and Toronto, working mostly in film and television. PS: AT SOME POINT YOU

Moira: Yes, in 1987, Lindsay and I moved back to Toronto. We wanted to open a studio, but we didn’t have access to any equipment, and back then equipment was really hard to find. Lindsay: At this point, I was still acting, but as an actor, you’re never really quite as busy as you would like, so the idea of embarking on an entrepreneurial endeavour had great appeal. Getting access to Pilates equipment was difficult, so we decided to make our own. After many long hours and numerous prototypes, we came up with a Reformer that had adjustability so that whether you were 5'4" like Moira or 6'2" like me, you could comfortably perform the entire repertoire of exercises. Equally important was that the equipment was both ergonomically and aesthetically appealing. PS: SO WHEN DID THE BUSINESS REALLY START TO

FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: Moira rehearsiNG her role as JUliet iN MarijaN BaYer’s proDUctioN of ROMEO & JULIET at the CitY Ballet of ToroNto. LiNDsaY plaYiNG ViscoUNt BarKiNG iN a ShaW Festival proDUctioN of GeorGe BerNarD ShaW’s ON THE ROCKS; Photo bY DaviD Cooper.


Moira: We received a big boost when Karen Kain, a principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, started to take classes at our humble studio apartment. We saw this as an opportunity to build interest in Pilates and our studio, and Karen graciously offered to help. Lindsay called all these papers and magazines to get them to write something on Karen Kain and Pilates; he convinced a local publication, Toronto Life Fashion, and Canada’s national paper, The Globe and Mail, to photograph her doing Pilates in our apartment. Lindsay: At that time, Pilates was relatively new and the fact that a Canadian national icon was practicing it made it a very attractive story. It seemed like overnight, our business quadrupled. Moira: The education side of our business started out of necessity, as we needed to find 87

One of the core strengths of the company has always been education. In fact, we often say it is the heartbeat of the company.
people to work at the studio. But very early on it became clear instructors would invariably want to move on to open their own studios. We saw this as an opportunity to train instructors and assist them in building careers. Lindsay: The largest barrier to growth of the Pilates method of exercise had always been the shortage of well-trained instructors. At that time, getting a Pilates education was tough: There were few teaching guides and everything was passed down by sitting at the foot of the master. It was our view that we could establish a more consistent, accessible and economical approach to training instructors by documenting and demystifying the work via videotape and educational teaching manuals. Moira: I had a neck injury and my physiotherapist [physical therapist] identified that I was over-flexing my neck. Upon closer evaluation, Pilates at that time included a lot of spinal flexion without the balance of extension. That prompted us to look at whether we needed to modify the moves in order to deal with some of those issues, which opened the door to rebalancing the exercise content. The field of physiotherapy was evolving and around this time, research came out from Australia about the importance of establishing neutral alignment of the spine in order to recruit the deep stabilizing muscles of the spine. We began focusing more on balancing flexion, extension and rotation of the spine and working to stabilize a neutral lumbo-pelvic alignment versus tucking under the pelvis. Once you establish a neutral pelvis, this has a profound effect on the entire body, and this was the basis for how each exercise in STOTT PILATES® would evolve. Lindsay, who had experience in TV and film, had the idea that we should document all these changes, so we hired a small film crew and shot a video, which sold a lot of copies. Suddenly, people were saying, I like what you’re doing, can you teach me that? Lindsay: Video production was another key catalyst to our business’ growth. We did one, and it was so successful we did four or five more, one after another. We then started producing videos for instructors as an economical way to complement the study guides and face-to-face training. To date, we have 172 DVDs, including professional and home-use titles. 88 july • august 2013

Moira: As a result of the DVDs, we started to receive calls from people from all over who wanted to train in Pilates. Eventually, studios and clubs began hosting our training courses and workshops, buying our equipment and seeking our advice on building their businesses. We worked with our best instructors to develop them into instructor trainers. To accommodate the growing interest in Pilates around the world, we worked with people to establish training in their own facilities. This was the beginning of the Licensed Training Center model and to date we have trained almost 38,000 people. PS: AND IN THE MEANTIME, YOU WERE ALSO

Moira: Yes. Around this time we rented our first commercial space and we also embarked on building our own line of equipment. Lindsay is the type of person who always thinks outside the box. That’s why the first metal equipment was developed, as it was easier to build in adaptability with metal. Lindsay: We started building equipment in the early ’90s and developed a professionalquality prototype we thought was pretty darn good! We packaged it in a “knockeddown” form and shipped it to Los Angeles via UPS, the most economical way of getting it there—need is the mother of invention! I had a list of about 150 people whom I invited to Le Montrose Suite Hotel in West Hollywood. Unbelievably, 75 to 80 of them showed up. People were hungry for equipment, as there were so few manufacturers at that time. That was the genesis of the equipment side of our business. It was pretty clear there was a great demand for what we were doing! That trip was galvanizing, to say the least. We quickly started hiring welders, carpenters, upholsterers, assembly people and a shippingand receiving staff to build our line of equipment. Despite our lack of formal business experience at the time, we persevered, and I believe our creative backgrounds and resourcefulness were essential ingredients to our success. PS: WHAT ARE YOUR ROLES WITH THE COMPANY NOW? Moira: Lindsay’s the CEO and idea guy. Without him, I’d still just have a mat on my living room floor! I head up the Programming and Education team. We wanted a team of strong, confident educators so we can always be developing new and fresh ideas. Lindsay: The fact is we have very complementary skill sets. We worked hard, had the good fortune of attracting a lot of great people to work with us and are humbled when we realize how many individuals have trusted in our leadership to benefit their own well-being.


Lindsay: One of the core strengths of the company has always been education. In fact, we often say it is the heartbeat of the company; a natural extension of this has been to develop other forms of mindful exercise. The additional branded programs we offer provide a platform for instructors to acquire additional knowledge to enhance their careers and their businesses. Moira: Under the Merrithew umbrella, we’ve branched out into other mind/body realms. ZEN•GA™ is a combination of Zen and yoga. It has its own basic principles involving breath, support, yield and flow but is also based on the most current research about fascia. It’s a very functional, mind/body approach to movement that enables people to be more present within their bodies. With Core™, we wanted to create more of an athletic conditioning program so that our instructors could take their students into the athletic performance side of things. It makes our instructors much more marketable. Our team also worked hard to come up with a really strong barre program that we call Total Barre™. It has our 25 years of experience behind it, ensuring that it’s safe, effective and fun. PS: THIS YEAR IS THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY Of YOUR

has attended LAMDA, the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and will be attending the Ryerson Theater School in Toronto in the fall. I guess the fruit does not fall far from the tree! Moira: Olivia and Michael have shared this company with us. They deserve a medal! PS: WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE? Lindsay: We would be remiss if we were not to pay our debt of gratitude to Joseph Pilates, a man truly ahead of his time and an individual who inspired a method of exercise and a following that has revolutionized the fitness field. The industry has drastically changed from when there were mostly part-time jobs to one where tremendous opportunity exists. We encourage professionals to take advantage of those opportunities, be passionate about their work, innovate, create their own success stories and make a positive contribution to the world we live in today. Moira: Lindsay and I look forward to working with others to help shape the world of mind/ body exercise through educating and guiding others to be conscious of their bodies and to make healthy choices about their well-being. PS

Moira: We’re doing what we’re calling the Mindful Movement Tour, going to 10 different countries to say “thank you” to the people who’ve supported us all these years. It’s also an opportunity for fitness professionals who have never tried or trained in mind/body exercise to see what it’s about. In the fall, we’re heading to Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Melbourne, Madrid and London before wrapping things up in Toronto. It’s exhausting but exhilarating at the same time! PS: WHAT ARE YOUR WEEKLY WORKOUTS LIKE? Moira: I go through phases, but Pilates is always my mainstay, doing the Reformer, mat and weights to keep everything strong. When we were developing Total Barre, I was doing three to four barre classes a week. And I love to play golf. Lindsay: For me exercise and good nutrition are the keys to a life well lived. When I do Pilates, I do feel energized and motivated but I also am a firm believer in the adage that you are what you eat. I play golf, a bit of tennis and love to sail. PS: TELL US ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN. Lindsay: Our daughter, Olivia, is 22 and just graduated from Dalhousie University, my alma mater. She’s living in Halifax, where she’s working at the Bank of Nova Scotia. Our son, Michael, is 20 and is an aspiring thespian. He

Pilates is always my mainstay, doing the Reformer, mat and weights to keep everything strong.


No Excuses:
LEVEL intermediate EQUIPMENT mat WHO Leah Sarago, a 15-year Pilates

LEVEL all EQUIPMENT none WHO Edited by Peter Fiasca, PhD,

LEVEL all EQUIPMENT Toning Circle (included)

practitioner with formal dance training, is an NCSA-certified strength and conditioning specialist and teaches workshops on her Ballet Body program throughout the country. WHAT Unique ballet-inspired variations on exercises that engage the powerhouse, such as Single- and Double-Leg Stretch, Roll-Down, Teaser, Shoulder Bridge and Leg Lifts. Emphasis is placed on fluid, yet controlled movements to lengthen and strengthen muscles. TARGETS The oft-neglected core muscles (transverse abdominis, internal and external obliques) as well as the glutes and quadriceps. INTENSITY Moderate to vigorous. BUY THIS BECAUSE It’s an intense balance challenge that will put your Pilates training to the test. SPECIAL FEATURES Rather than huffing and puffing out instructions, Sarago’s clear, uncompromised voiceover delivers easy-to-follow directions. 45 minutes, $16.99 Leah Sarago Fitness

Amy Baria Bergesen, PhD, and Suzanne Michele Diffine, MA. Both Fiasca and Bergesen are certified by The Pilates Studio of New York under Romana Kryzanowska; Diffine has multiple Pilates certifications. WHAT Collected essays by 28 Second-Generation Classical Pilates teachers, including Kathryn RossNash, Brett Howard, Brooke Siler, Alycea Ungaro and Mari Winsor. TARGETS Education, history and inspiration for all practitioners in six chapters: Defining and Preserving Pilates, On (Our) Teachers, Methodology, Athletic Applications for Pilates, Pilates and Academia and History and Apparatus. INTENSITY These well-written essays clearly reveal the immense respect the esteemed pros have for the discipline. They will make you laugh, cry and strive to perfect your practice. BUY THIS BECAUSE It is important to familiarize yourself with the ideologies, philosophies and experiences of top-notch instructors over the years. SPECIAL FEATURES The essays also include information on technique, body awareness, teaching, Gratz Industries, even springs. 354 pages, $24.95 Classical Pilates

and mat WHO PMA Gold–Certified Pilates instructor Lara Hudson is the star and choreographer of several 10-Minute Solution fitness DVDs and founder of The Mercury Method, a total-body muscle-conditioning system combining Pilates, yoga and strength training. WHAT Two 30-minute customized workouts, including an upper-core combo that serves as a great primer for the Circle and engages the arms, shoulders and upper back, along with a lower-body core combo that provides a formidable challenge. TARGETS The addition of the toning circle makes this a total-body strengthening workout. INTENSITY Low to vigorous: You can breeze through by barely squeezing the Circle, or power through it by using the Circle to fully engage your muscles for a sweat fest. BUY THIS BECAUSE The Toning Circle acts as an ever-vigilant general, challenging your balance, forcing you to engage your powerhouse and tipping you off when your form needs correction. SPECIAL FEATURES A bonus, 10-minute abdominal workout will test the mettle even for the fittest of viewers; also included is a 10-week exercise tracker. 80 minutes, $24.98 Anchor Bay Entertainment


july • august 2013

Whether you’re looking to get beach ready, or for that perfect Pilates beach read, we’ve got the thing for you. by Heidi Dvorak

LEVEL all EQUIPMENT none WHO Joseph Pilates, along with

LEVEL intermediate EQUIPMENT mat WHO STOTT PILATES–certified

LEVEL all EQUIPMENT mat, set of 3- to 5-pound

Physicalmind Institute–certified Judd Robbins and Lin Van Heuit-Robbins. WHAT This three-part book encompasses the history of the original work up to the present: First is Joseph Pilates’ Your Health (1934), second is Return to Life Through Contrology (1945) and the third is 10 chapters written by Robbins and Van HeuitRobbins devoted to updates on props, techniques, fusion classes and more. TARGETS All 34 of Pilates’ original poses are here with the copyrighted and republished photographs from his book and his step-by-step instructions. INTENSITY High emotional impact because it becomes startlingly apparent that the powerful, enduring quality of the practice over a period of 79 years is nothing short of miraculous. BUY THIS BECAUSE For those who don’t know the history of Pilates, this is a must read. For classicists, this book makes a strong case for modernizing the discipline in a way that would honor the master’s work. SPECIAL FEATURES The authors make solid recommendations on new approaches that build on the original work by citing developments from such heavyweights as Joan Breibart, Elizabeth Larkam and Ron Fletcher. 256 pages, $19.95 Presentation Dynamics

Laura Tarbell owns Tarbell Pilates in Hogansburg, NY, and is the creator of Plyo-Pilates. WHAT Classic matwork designed with the runner’s needs in mind: building endurance and increasing lower-body strength with core-enhancing exercises like the Hundred, Roll-Up, Plank and lunges galore. TARGETS Spine, torso, diaphragm, glutes, quads and and—most important—body alignment. These exercises seem to be specifically chosen to enable runners to detect their muscular imbalances so they can self-correct. INTENSITY Moderate. BUY THIS BECAUSE Runners don’t need more joint-jarring exercise: This workout plays up the importance of overall conditioning, flexibility, balance and stretch, which all contribute to an injury-free jaunt. SPECIAL FEATURES Two standing segments focus on arm positioning. 56 minutes, $14.99 208 Entertainment, Inc.

hand weights WHO Master BASI Pilates–certified instructor Tracey Mallett is the coowner of ATP Specific Training and Physical Therapy in Pasadena, CA. WHAT Two workouts: a 30-minute, low-impact dance segment divided into four circuits that “fuses” elements from salsa, jazz, funk and ballet with emphasis on the Pilates principles of core strength and balance; a second 30-minute sculpting segment combined with adrenalinpumping dance moves maximizes multifunctional movement. TARGETS This is a total-bodystrengthening workout with a welltimed, momentum-building cardio component. INTENSITY Moderate. BUY THIS BECAUSE As always, Mallett’s philosophy of moving with “attitude” reminds us why we should exercise: to feel good, look good, and—especially—have f-u-n. SPECIAL FEATURES Check out Mallett’s students: Pilates Style’s May 2012 “Success Story” gal Emilee Garfield is among them, strutting her stuff in style. 60 minutes, $19.99 ATP Fitness Productions 91


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“I think you have had an elegant sufficiency, you may be excused.”


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