September 15, 2023 

Join us every 2 weeks for the coming year as we do a semi-deep dive into Pilates and Wellness topics to bring you a little closer to your best self in a way that might be sustainable.  Every 2 weeks we will tackle another letter of the alphabet and 14 topics that begin with that letter.  You can experiment with any or all the topics over the next 14 days and keep the ones that work best for you.  Stick with it as we add the next letter.  Before you know it, you will have a habit stacked your way to wellness one letter at a time.   

In this second installment of our program of Wellness and Pilates thoughts, we will begin with breathing.   You can catch up on any posts you might have missed here.

B is for… Breathing (and more)

“Breathing is the first act of life and the last. Our very life depends on it.” 

Joseph Pilates believed that focusing on breathing was vital. “It is tragically deplorable,” he once said, “to contemplate the millions who have never mastered the art of correct breathing.”  You can read more of his thoughts in his book Your Health. 


We get asked a lot “How should I breathe” in the studio.  My answer is usually “Just breath and don’t think about it”.  There are several exercises in Pilates that have specific breath patterns (breathing and backstroke are a couple) but generally the breath is secondary and happens naturally.  For most, it is to exhale on the exertion.  If you are not holding your breath, we are happy.  When I was going through the RPTT teacher training program, we had to do a paper on one of the principles of Pilates.  I chose breathing because it was my least favorite thing to focus on.  You can read more about it here.  One of the early exercises in Pilates that you will learn is called Breathing on the Cadillac which is a full-body exercise that incorporates the breath as well.  We will do half-breathing without the trapeze on the tower units in classes. 

Backstroke and Breaststroke 

We love our boxes in Pilates.  We have short boxes and long boxes on the reformer, and moon boxes for the tower units.  The right box can transform an exercise.  Two of our favorite box exercises include Backstroke and Breaststroke.  Like two sides of a coin these challenging exercises work the body in opposite directions, the first in deep flexion and the second in big extension.


Believing you can is half the battle in life and in Pilates.  We love it when we describe a new exercise to a client for the first time and they are like “You want me to do what?”  Disbelief is written all over them.  A little coaxing and our belief in their ability is all that is required to take that leap.  We hold ourselves back from so much in life because we don’t believe in ourselves.  Believe you can and you will. 


Pilates is very much about bringing the body back into balance.  Stretching tight sides, strengthening weak sides.  A body in balance can do so much.  Pilates also works your balance in many ways.  This is the dismount from an exercise called Balance Control Off.  We also need balance in our lives.  The phrase “work-life balance” is all the rage these days and especially post-pandemic when people realize how out of whack it may have gotten.  We love this life balance wheel for an occasional check-in.


So many people love summer best out of all the seasons and the beach is a good reason why!  The waves, the sand, the salt air, and the endless sky are excellent reminders to slow down and enjoy the moment.  Even if you are not a sun worshipper, the beach is great for a fall or winter walk.  Jones Beach has a great boardwalk to enjoy the ocean air and get your steps in. 


People say breakfast is the most important meal of the day but that is a bit misleading when we think of the American Breakfast.  Breakfast is simply the meal with which you break your fast.  And then what you put into your body first should be high-quality food comprised of complex carbs, healthy fats, and lean protein.  The better you optimize this meal, the less hungry you will feel throughout the day.   


We call them Barrels of Fun in the studio and with so many to choose from you can be like Goldilocks and find one that is just right!  We have the Ladder Barrel, the Small Barrel, and the Spine Corrector.   


Beginnings are super exciting, but they are also very hard.  We love the ones that happen naturally for us; New Year’s Day, First Day of School, Birthdays.  But what if you could harness that excitement and energy anytime you wanted to simply by starting any of the many things on your list?  We do not need a perfect plan, optimal conditions, or any supplies.  Just begin. 


Try to take some time each day to just be.  Be alone with your thoughts or in a quiet space.  Mediation is hard but powerful for millions of people.  Just letting yourself be for a few minutes in the morning and night are a great way to begin a meditation practice. 


There is a reason why when you watch a period piece people are often taking strolls in gardens and parks.  Aside from the obvious activity, there are such benefits from spending time in nature.  If true wilderness isn’t your thing, we are lucky to have an amazing array of botanical gardens and parks right here on Long Island.  Most are free or very low-cost ways to spend some time. 


There is a new gem of a wellness spot in Roslyn and its name is Boost.  Aptly named as that is exactly what you feel after taking advantage of any of the modalities offered there.  With cryotherapy, compression therapy, infrared sauna, cold plunge, PEMF therapy, red light therapy, and hyperbaric oxygen treatments this place will boost you right back into feeling great.  On a recent visit, I read some of Boundless by NYT bestselling author Ben Greenfield.  I had the pleasure of meeting him in 2018 at the Mind Body Green annual wellness event in AZ.  He is a pioneer and a wealth of information. 


This is one of the reward exercises we like to give in the studio.  We do it with the standing arm springs, but it can also be done on the baby armchair.  It encompasses all aspects of Pilates in the perfect stretch, strength, and control exercise.  Be on the lookout for it around Halloween as we turn Butterfly into Bat just for fun! 


Boxing is another wonderful Pilates exercise that we do with hand weights, standing arm springs, or the baby armchair.  Joe Pilates trained a lot of boxers and wrestlers before the work was taken over by women.  These are full body workouts, and we’d love to teach you all the variations next time you are in the studio. 

This list is less than complete, but a place to begin!  I suggest you take one point that spoke to you and for the next week or so explore it more deeply.  Or explore a different idea each day. 

The road to wellness is about the journey, not the destination.  We often focus on the body, but true wellness is mind, body, and spirit.  I’d like to help as your wellness concierge in addition to your Pilates instructor for the next year.