Transition Comes to The Co

Transitions. Holy shit. They’re always a part of life, but it seems like they’ve been in the air a lot recently. For me personally, for the studio, for clients, and for instructors.

There are lots of people traveling and having new life experiences that are changing the way they look at the world:

An instructor starting a new graduate program and shifting her work schedule to make room for this new way of life and all the new information she’s attaining. Clients recovering from surgery and trying to find a grounded place on a bumpy road. Others preparing for surgery and having to be ok getting interrupted in new routines they were working on. Some deciding to move to new apartments, and new houses out of the city, which changes their day to day but also their identity a little - you don’t realize you identify with your neighborhood sometimes until you leave.

In all of this, there’s a lot of unknown. It can feel like everything is turned upside down.

 
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Transition is asking me to step up to the plate with new shifts in the studio, too.

One shift is that as of August 1, The Co Pilates is fully operating the space. After lots of deliberation, this also meant truly focusing on making this the best space it could possibly be, which means ending our collaboration with our midtown space - another significant shift. It was a beautiful lesson in taking chances and collaborating, and we are so grateful to Integrative Sports and Spine for housing our satellite location and exploring the possibilities of collaborating to support each other’s businesses and the clients we serve.

Transition can be overwhelming for sure. In times like these, taking care of ourselves is often the first thing that drops off. I’ve been working on practicing what I preach in this sense and celebrating just moving. Any movement is better than nothing. I keep learning this lesson over and over again... I always feel better when I move. And when I feel better, I handle unknowns from a better place.

 
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In celebration of both movement and these new phases at The Co Pilates, we are excited to be hosting new events and workshops in the studio!

Coming up in September is our first ever Community Event Open House as well as a joint industry networking event co-hosted with F Squared Physical Therapy. In October, look out for our first ever Breast Cancer Workshop – a free event for anyone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. We are really pumped to use our cozy space with majestic views not only as a place where lots of “work” gets done, but a place to connect with all the lovely people doing all the lovely work.

Summer Promo

Remember, this summer, first-time clients enjoy 20% off their intro session and 10-session package. Plus, all current clients get a free bonus session when you refer a new client and they sign up. Click here to book an introductory call.

Coming Back to Home Base

“I went on a hike and I was totally fine! I feel like I used all my muscles like we’ve been practicing and they feel like the right kind of sore. I didn’t have a flare up at all!”

“I feel like I’m learning about my body in a whole new way.”

“I was sore in places I never knew I could be sore. Like, I’ve never used that muscle before!”

“I felt some pain but I was able to use what I’ve learned here to stabilize and get the pain to go away.”

"Even when I'm having an off day I always remember I wasn't able to do this exercise when I started Pilates."

This year will be 10 years I’ve been living and working in New York City. I’ve been reflecting a lot on this recently – how much life has changed, what I’ve learned, and how my life and business have grown. And it dawned on me that I’ve been working in or near our studio in some form or fashion for 8.5 of those 10 years. That feels crazy to me. Even crazier to think that essentially Union Square and the walls that house The Co Pilates have been my home, the most consistent thing in my life, for the majority of my time in the city. My relationship to the space and to Union Square (and actually New York, for that matter) has its own special ebb and flow ranging from deep gratitude to profound frustration. It occurred to me that this concept parallels to our bodies and our relationships with them.

Our bodies are the only true and consistent home we will have for our entire lives, and most of us experience waves of deep gratitude and profound frustration with them and life inside them.

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This led me to reflect on all the lovely things we’ve been able to witness in the work that we do in the studio, hence the client quotes above. Pilates is more than just a workout or a fitness fad that’s fused with other methods. It’s a practice of coming back to and strengthening your home base – the foundation your home is built on. To build deep awareness from the inside out and increase our ability to help ourselves in times of frustration (due to injury, stress, or illness) from a place of knowing our bodies like we know a close family member, friend, or partner.

There is so much power that comes from knowing ourselves by way of knowing how our bodies work.

Summer Promo

This summer, first-time clients enjoy 20% off their intro session and 10-session package. Plus, all current clients get a free bonus session when you refer a new client and they sign up. Click here to book an introductory call.

Here Comes the Sun

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Summer Solstice is coming and so we are fast approaching the longest day of the year. The day with the most light possible. Gardens and parks are in full bloom, lush, and overflowing with life that’s been emerging since the beginning of spring. It’s been a theme in the work we’re doing at the studio.

Many people come to Pilates because they realize they need to think about their body in a different way – whether that be needing a new way to work out or starting an exercise program for the first time. Often that realization comes from a self-reflecting moment where a person sees that they don’t feel well in their body. Something isn’t right. That realization could be sparked by an injury (from an accident or misuse over time), weight gain, random aches and pains, sluggishness, or diagnosis of disease or disorder. Any of these things can quite literally make us feel off balance or ungrounded.

I was reminded recently at a workshop with Amy Alpers that the whole purpose of the work we do through Pilates is to help our clients uncover their sense of groundedness and align with the center of their bodies again. We work with them to see what’s gotten in the way of efficient movement, and much like moving rocks out of the way so seedlings have room to emerge from the ground, we identify how we can allow more naturally free movement to occur.

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When you feel more free in your body, you are more likely to feel good in your body. When you feel good in your body, this has a ripple effect into how you operate in the other areas of your life. More energy and calm clarity leads to more motivation, more productivity, more fun, less sickness, and less pain. A more fully lived life!

When we achieve better functional alignment in the body, we allow improved function of the body to be restored, from circulation and lung capacity to digestion and clarity of thought.

For example, if we have poor posture while sitting at work, there is decreased physical space for the lungs to inflate and bring in oxygen. This slows the amount of energy that can be delivered to all areas of the body and the process of eliminating waste. So we can’t get in the things we need and we can’t get rid of the things we don’t need – we’re stuck.

In every way you could physiologically imagine, lack of breath compromises optimal function of the body. You could argue slouching equals sluggishness. When good posture is practiced, you have space in your torso to breathe, bring in oxygen, fuel the circulatory, nervous, and digestive systems, and allow all these pathways the space to flow at their optimum speed. Think of Pilates as the plumber cleaning out your body’s clogged pipes!

When we do these things in a conscious way we are “returning to life,” as Joseph Pilates said. The more we connect to our body in a conscious way, check in on alignment, and our ability to be centered in our structure, the more light we shine on ourselves to grow. Light is a key element in any plant growing and thriving. In our bodies, the movement is the light!

If you're ready to bring more "light" into your body this summer by exploring a Pilates practice, get in touch. We're so happy to support you.

Finding Stability in Instability (and Your Pelvic Floor)

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Something that's been coming up a lot for me lately is the idea of stability and solid foundations. For starters, I just completed a 4-day course on Injuries and Special Populations, and a big theme was how to create a stable anatomical foundation. Surprisingly, it’s a little bit of a paradox: In order to tap in to the deep stabilizers of the spine, for example, the very muscles that help to keep each tiny little joint between each vertebra in their best integrity, you must introduce instability.

What an interesting concept, right? To achieve a greater amount of stability or regain stability after an injury, you must work with its exact opposite.

Another way to look at it... in order to overcome the instability, you must lean into it.

I’ve also been thinking about stability because this month is Pelvic Health Awareness month. (Check out the Pelvic Health Summit for lots of great resources and support.) While working with a client recently, we agreed that there’s still a long way to go in making it ok to seek help for pelvic floor pain and dysfunction. So many women (and men for that matter) accept pain as their norm and feel embarrassed or ashamed that they have an issue, which leads to hesitation in seeking a solution.

Even in the recent course I mentioned, the instructor highlighted that many clients and instructors alike can avoid disclosing or discussing pelvic floor issues because it feels taboo to speak about. She made the point, “Sex is an important part of life. We can’t avoid talking about it when there is pain involved.”

I couldn’t agree more.

When it comes to pain or dysfunction in the pelvic floor, I feel there is a need to talk about it more so that people know they have options to be pain free. It’s a sensitive subject, that’s for sure, but when we think about the body through the lens of the fundamental Pilates philosophies – that movement starts at the very center of the body and travels out the peripheries: if we are unstable or in pain at our center, which includes the pelvic floor, that instability and pain has a ripple effect throughout the rest of our bodies.

Although the pelvic area is a private and personal area, it’s an area that’s essential for the basic functions of everyday life, and that’s something every human has in common. If it’s not working optimally, our day to day is suboptimal as well. It’s that realization that motivates me to continue to talk about this as much as I can and offer up solutions or resources at the studio and beyond.

Pilates is a great asset when it comes to learning about your deep pelvic floor muscles and creating more awareness about using them to heal pelvic floor pain and dysfunction. However, it’s not always the right first step because Pilates work can make tight muscles tighter when the answer is more about release. For that, we defer to some of our most trusted pelvic floor experts that we’ve been collaborating with for years, like Kristin Sapienza of Femfirst Health, Nidhi Sharma of FuncPhysio PT, and Jill Hoefs of Body Align PT.

If any of this rings true to you and you’re ready to see what options you have, please reach out for a consultation call as your first step towards finding a solution that works best for you.

Spring Has Sprung: Releasing Control to Heal and Grow

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Even in the city, you can’t stop nature. The days are getting longer and warmer. If you look closely, you can see spring flowers poking their way out and up. This reminds me of a quote someone shared with me recently: “If it’s supposed to happen, you cannot stop it. If it’s not supposed to happen, you cannot force it.” No matter how much we plan or think we have control over something, there must always be room for letting go, improving, and growing.

I’ve seen this in practice as many clients and friends around me have been experiencing the depths of joy in welcoming new life to their families, and conversely, deep sadness in saying goodbye to loved ones that have passed. Both of those experiences are life in their truest form – the cycle of nature. And both challenge the body and mind in life-changing ways. In short, it’s painful.

In the almost 15 years of teaching and in my own personal experience of healing from a fairly notable injury, I’m realizing there is no “going back to how I was before.” Pain makes you different. For the better, in my opinion.

But you get to the "better" by mindfully and compassionately pushing through some of the pain (with educated guidance and support, of course).

Lots of studies show that when we experience pain, we freeze. Our body’s reaction to pain is to eliminate any movement that may exacerbate the feeling. Sometimes this is necessary. Sometimes, it isn’t. At some point, the more we freeze the more we slow the process of healing. The more we slow the process of healing, the more we stagnate our growth.

If it’s an injury, the growth I’m talking about is regaining strength, mobility, and/or stability in the area of the body that’s been injured. Plenty of metaphors and comparisons can be made when we are talking about a less tangible physical injury – ego, heart, confidence – and the inevitable pain and freezing/stagnation in growth that follows.

My point here is that we can tap into the strength of our physical body to help heal both physical and non-physical wounds, thaw the frozen ground around them, and grow new strength because of them.

We may not have control over the incident that led us to pain, but in the practice of Pilates, we have an opportunity to connect with our bodies and gain back some control over the process. Be part of the process rather than separate – a thing the process is happening to.

Pilates was originally called “Contrology”: the study of control. I often say to new clients, “The beauty of this work is that it continues to evolve with your body as your body changes throughout life. It’s a practice you can always come back to."

Connecting with our body in a mindful way often gives us the sense of control in moments when we feel we have absolutely none. It’s also a great way to realize how our deep desire to control things manifests physically. By noticing tension and practicing letting it go, we teach ourselves how to let go on a physical level, and I believe it’s a good place to start in practicing letting go on a mental and spiritual level as well.


I’m grateful that our studio offers you an opportunity to connect with your body, and we’re excited to extend that to a connection with community in the months to come!

We love that we can provide a quiet private space for our clients to look inward and focus on themselves, however, we are recognizing more than ever that there’s magic in getting an opportunity to connect with people you cross paths with every week.

Look ahead for chances to get to know some new people, deepen connections with people you’ve known for a while, network, and collaborate! We’ve been concocting some new ideas to feature this fall, including community events and intimate workshops. Keep an eye out for updates on the evolution!

The Bee's Knees: Moving (Slowly) Through Recovery

In the last couple of weeks post-surgery, I’ve interacted with my body, my life, and the city in completely new ways.

After rupturing my ACL, I chose to have my ACL ligament reconstructed with my own tissue taken from my patellar tendon. From the small slice they took, my entire quadriceps muscle group shut down.

 
Source: https://coreem.net/core/patella-tendon-rupture/

Source: https://coreem.net/core/patella-tendon-rupture/

 

Though I knew what would happen and what the recovery would be like, you’d still have to color me somewhat flabbergasted to experience such hard work at just squeezing my thigh so my knee will straighten. At my last physical therapy session, I spent the better portion of my hour re-training myself to walk properly, which included telling my leg muscles to turn on at a specific spot in my stride and then having to wait for their response.

It’s slooooowwww.

What an experience to see how many things you can’t do with your body that used to be autopilot. To see how many simple tasks or movements you take for granted. It’s been a great lesson in finding accomplishment and joy in the smallest of things, like being able to sit down on the couch almost normally, getting in and out of the shower (thank god I have good balance), getting in and out of a car, putting on my shoes, even putting on my underwear for goodness sake!

For the first time in almost 10 years of living in NYC, the subway has been terrifying. Stairs that I wouldn’t typically think twice about have now become a deciding factor as to whether or not I choose to go into a building. I already knew how small most cafés and restaurants are in NYC (since I’m forever carrying 2 bags), and now they seem even smaller.

But the most notable change in perception is time. I’ve had to allow for so much more time to accomplish anything. Daily tasks have slowed down into more intentional and focused activities. Travel takes so long. Multitasking is still a luxury.

It’s humbling to watch the city fly by you – to see how fast it moves while you are moving so slowly.

The more important thing was spending time being in my body and taking care of myself. Some of that meant opening up to being helped.

Many of us find it hard to accept help in one way or another. I happen to come from a long line of capable women that are more comfortable being the helper than the “helpee,” so this felt like a lesson for the generations. In accepting the help of friends and family, it made my process so much smoother, connected me more to those people, and helped me to begin my healing process from a place of feeling abundantly cared for rather than struggling from a place of scarcity (cheesy… but true).

Of course, I have to give extra special thanks to Paul Ochoa and F2PT. Without them, I’d have a noodle for a leg!

 
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P.S. - I may be moving slowly, but at least I'm still dancing.

Show Yourself Some Love (and Invest in the Gift of Pilates)!

 
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We are extending our instructor special through Valentine’s Day:
$150 Introductory Session and $300 off 10 sessions ($1100), PLUS a free tote!

 
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In the fitness community, we talk a lot about self-love and self-care, which is rightfully important. Sometimes it puts us in the mindset that there is more to “do” to be a better version of ourselves, and when we aren’t able to “do” that thing, it can leave us feeling like we fell short. That’s why self-compassion is an important part of self-care.

I am realizing for myself more and more in the work of teaching and training others that I am no good to anyone if I do not take care of myself first. I must check in with myself first and show myself as much care, concern, and compassion as I work to show others.

It’s good to keep this in mind as we move into the second month of the year. This is a great time to check in with the goals or intentions you set for the year – a moment of refocus and rededication. Or, if the beginning of the year threw you for a loop and you didn’t really get a chance to reflect on specific goals or intentions, the New Moon on February 4th and Chinese New Year on February 5th give you a second shot at it!

If feeling better in your body is one of your goals this year – whether that be losing weight, getting stronger, cutting time off your marathon PR, recovering from an injury, finally addressing nagging pain, reconnecting with your body after giving birth – your first step could be as simple as rolling your feet out in the morning.

You can also show yourself some love and invest in the gift of Pilates by taking advantage of our extended special! You’ll have the opportunity to work one-on-one with an instructor to identify goals and create a plan to achieve them. Here’s your chance to get the Pilates ball rolling with a streamlined, efficient workout that you can use to take your fitness to the next level and feel better in your body.

 
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In other exciting loooove-related news, we are honored to be featured in the January/February 2019 issue of Pilates Style Magazine for the work we are doing with Greenhope Services for Women. It is our hope that, in time, we will be able to offer more of these classes to other organizations as well. We truly believe that when more people have the opportunity to mindfully learn how to use and be in their bodies, we are all better off.

Follow us on Instagram @thecopilates to see more of the article.

Raise The Bar This Year and Invest in Yourself!

 
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Instructor Special: $150 Introductory Session and $300 off 10 sessions ($1100) plus free tote!

 
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Take advantage of this deal to jump start your year. You’ll have the opportunity to work one on one with an instructor to create goals and a plan to achieve them. Here’s your chance to get the Pilates *ball rolling* on a streamlined efficient work out that you can use to rehab a nagging injury that just won’t let you get fully back to your regular activities, or take your fitness to the next level.

Other Tips For the New Year: Staying Balanced

A new year often brings about thoughts of  how to find or improve balance. Balanced diet, balanced exercise, balanced routine, work/life balance, and a balanced mind in the midst of stress. We’ve included some of our favorite practitioners that we think are experts on all those subjects in case you are curious to hear more, but we’d like to take a moment to talk to you about literal balance. It can be a slippery time of year out on those sidewalks, so consider practicing some of these exercises at home to check in and improve your own balance to avoid any looming “slip and falls”.

  1. Spatial Awareness: Standing with eyes closed. Find a safe place at home to stand tall and practice your best posture. Feel your feet rooted into the floor with your leg and abdominal muscles gently engaged. Then.... close your eyes! Notice how the weight placement in your feet changes and the wobble or sway that may develop after the first 5-10 seconds. The more you practice awareness of focused muscle engagement and even weight distribution in your feet the more stable you’ll become.

  2. Standing on one leg: Because we don’t live in a symmetrical world and nature doesn’t produce symmetrical beings, one leg is always going to operate a little differently than the other. Spend a little time just standing on one leg in your best standing posture with leg, bum, and abdominal muscles gently engaged. See if you can feel how one leg may operate differently than the other. If you’re feeling really adventurous, try closing your eyes!

  3. Slow exaggerated walks: Walking is one of those things we don’t really think about unless something goes wrong. Spend a little time really slowing down your gait - almost as if you are marching. When we really slow down movement patterns, that may once have been hiding, become more apparent. By focusing on only the task of walking (rather than our to do list or the text we just received) we have a chance to improve our balance in walking and feel more sure footed on potentially icy sidewalks.

2019 Balance Resource Kit 

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Professional Organizing 
Jeni Aaron of Clutter CowGirl 

 
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The Body as a Work of Art

Source: http://www.davincilife.com

Source: http://www.davincilife.com

If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a little obsessed with vintage anatomy diagrams. It was even my first tattoo inspiration. The images are so simple and delicate in their detail. These two dimensional images of the body are a beautiful work of art. Expand that observation to the working moving body and it’s a downright masterpiece. Every great artist, no matter their medium, uses their body to create their art and it got me thinking…. So many of us, myself included, don’t treat our bodies like the valuable works of art they are – despite our deep dependency that they work, and work well, in order for us to be successful and thrive. As we look toward this New Year  we wanted to plant some seeds of inspiration, introspection, and opportunity for gratitude toward your body and what it allows you to do.

Inspiration: Fun Facts!

 
Source: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Holcroft?ref=l2-shopheader-name


Source: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Holcroft?ref=l2-shopheader-name

 

1. If you made a print of your external ear it would be completely unique to you – much like a finger print.

 
Source: www.cram.com

Source: www.cram.com

2. Evolutionarily speaking, our knees (with the floating knee cap) developed into a type of pulley system to allow us to stand up fully straight on two legs.

 
Source: https://goo.gl/images/5JMT7e

Source: https://goo.gl/images/5JMT7e

 

3. Your diaphragm and pelvic floor work together during proper breathing to expand and contract the space in your torso. That expansion and contraction movement creates a gentle massage for the organs that promotes blood flow, and thus proper function of the organs.

 

Introspection: Three Considerations for Treating Yourself More Like a Work of Art

 
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A piece of precious artwork is taken very seriously, considered of high value,  handled with extreme care is taken to preserve its best integrity, and placed in an optimal environment to be admired and cherished.

  1. Learn and new skill with your body: A sport, Pilates (wink wink!), a Feldenkrais class, a Melt class, or a dance class. Anything that’s going to make you really think about how you are physically completing a task. This suggestion is meant to inspire an opportunity to learn something new about your body, build a deeper relationship with why you do what you do and move the way you move. Much like you would read a biography about your favorite artist to learn how they worked to create.

  2. Consider the food you eat. Is it balanced high quality fuel eaten with enjoyment? Do you give yourself time to taste and to digest? What if a painting or a sculpture was made with inadequate materials and not given the proper time to dry/set?

  3. What is your approach to pain, injury, or illness? Are you preventive when it comes to keeping cold and flu season at bay by getting enough sleep, taking recommended vitamins, keeping up with your exercise routine? If you do get sick or suspect an injury of some sort do you address it immediately or let it linger? If you invested in a valuable piece of art then realized the temperature or lighting environment was slowly deteriorating it, wouldn’t you immediately investigate how to improve conditions in order to prevent anymore destruction or reverse the damage?

 

Gratitude: 3 Simple things to show your body your appreciation.

 
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  1. Breathe: I know I recommend this a lot….. but it’s just so easy and accomplishes so much in such a short period of time! Taking 30 to 60 seconds to actively focus on taking large expansive breaths calms your body and mind, creates space in your torso, relieves your spine and organs of compression, allows more oxygen in the blood which means more energy. More energy means more awareness of your body and more opportunity to interrupt physical stress responses.

  2. Move: A client once asked “Is it even worth it to start a practice if I can’t be fully consistent until a later date?” My answer will always be “YES!”. Our bodies are made to be way more active than the majority of us typically are. Any movement – five minutes of stretching, ten minutes of yoga, twenty minutes on a bike – is better than nothing. The benefits of doing something outweigh the consequences of doing nothing.

  3. Something Fancy: Soak your feet with Epsom salt, steam your face with some essential oils, dry brush your body before a shower and take time to appreciate how far you’ve come no matter your goal. It’s hard to find a way to say that without it sounding cliché, but it’s true. The perfection monster is a fickle trickster that never really lets us feel good about what we have accomplished. Since this is a time of gratitude here’s a little permission to note and celebrate what you have achieved.

From the heart,

Brittany and The Co

Joy To The Core

 
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Upon reflecting on 2018 we can’t help but feel appreciation for getting to play a role in the process of preparation and recovery for many milestones. We collaborated to help clients feel strong in the face of uncertainty, overcome fear about movement after injury, and accomplish so much! We are so proud and honored to have been a part of:

■ 2  babies being born

■ An ACL reconstruction rehab

 A partial knee reconstruction pre and post rehab

 A breast cancer post-opp rehab

■ A Lymphoma cancer diagnosis

■ 2 broken wrists post-opp rehab

■ Delaying 2 rotator cuff repair surgeries

■ Maintaining 5 cases of herniated discs

Pilates is so much more than a fitness fad. It is a movement practice that integrates our minds into our bodies. It teaches us how we move throughout our lives to allow for a deeper understanding and awareness. I applaud and congratulate everyone on all they accomplished this year, and invite you to do the same for yourself (I say that to ‘you’ as I am also saying it to myself)!

Thank you so much for choosing to work with us this year to achieve your fitness and wellness goals.

A referral or testimonial is the greatest gift you can give!