Did you know that September is Recovery Month?

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Reader: “There’s now a month dedicated to recovery of an injury?”
 
TCP: “Well, actually no. It’s easy to assume we mean ‘recovery from an injury’ since that’s what we most often talk about. However, we are actually talking about recovery from addiction.”
 
Of course it’s important to take care of our bodies and allow ourselves to heal when we suffer an injury like a broken bone or a torn muscle. What about when the injury is something we can’t see? With wide spread misuse of prescription drugs and the profitability of selling fitness magical quick fixes, there are a lot of traps in which to fall.  We wanted to take a moment to consider how a mindful movement practice, like Pilates, can help someone feel in control of their own healing more….
 
Why are we, a Pilates studio, talking about addiction?
 
According to the Mayo Clinic  joint pain and back pain are the number 2 and 3 reasons people go to the doctor. Eventually, some of those people end up in our studio once they’ve tried a multitude of avenues in search of relief. What if our cultural and medical system encouraged us to focus inward on our own bodies for pain management more regularly and questioned more deeply the current culture of “magical pill/device” quick fixes? What if moving our body was our first line of defense to alleviate pain vs. freezing out of fear of experiencing pain and medicating it instead? Thankfully, the American College of Physicianshas shifted their recommendations away from pharmacological intervention first and towards alternative therapies – among them exercise. While speaking to a friend about this very subject he shared with me that as a journalist who sits in front of a computer all day and never exercised he had loads of back pain. However, he was pleased to discover incorporating a regular workout routine alleviated him of the pain on a steady basis. I was so glad to hear it, but I also know it’s not always that easy. My point in sharing the anecdote is to argue for giving the healing powers of movement more credit sooner, whether you suffer from addiction or not. Forgetting that our bodies were meant to move every day is intertwined in experiencing pain in them and the consequences of how the pain is dealt with.

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A famous Joseph Pilates quote is “change happens through movement and movement heals.” Teaching for thirteen years I have seen this statement come true in so many different ways. Our desire to make that truth accessible to more people led us to our collaboration with Greenhope Services for Women. Since April of 2018 we’ve been teaching volunteer classes twice a month to support the women there in healing by being in their bodies, getting to know their bodies more, and giving them tools to help their bodies feel good. Just last week one participant commented after class, “Oh man, I’m in such a better mood now.” That’s exactly what we are going for!

 
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When speaking to one of the counselors at Greenhope about the focus of Recovery Month with the women and their families she stressed that recovery is a lifelong process of balance. “The hardest thing for family members is that they think their loved one is cured once treatment is done. It’s not. The work they do here and what they have to continue to do is not just focus on putting down drugs or alcohol, but what are the coping mechanisms you pick up in their place?”
 
We all experience pain differently and have learned different coping mechanisms. I’m not saying that the simple and permanent cure to addiction is to put down the substance and start exercising. What I am saying is the body is a cornerstone of healing, has power we can tap into, and moving our body is an integral part of sustaining long lasting change. Giving yourself, or supporting someone in finding, an opportunity to connect to your physical body can facilitate creating pathways for new behaviors that connect the body and the mind in a more holistic way.

If you are looking for accessible ways to meditate, exercise, or connect with your body in any way that speaks to you please reach out to us and we will help connect you with a program that answers your needs.

Summer Of Favorite Things

Holy Hades! It’s soooo hot! It’s all anyone can talk about. If I had a quarter for every time a client comes in and talks about how hot it is outside…. I’d be out of office, at an exclusive pool all month! I don’t think I’m alone when I say that this type of heat has not exactly been a big motivator for me to exercise. Since what we do here at The Co Pilates is help motivate others to move, I figured I’d share a few things that have helped me stay committed to exercise this summer.

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Milk Cooling Stick – This was an impulse buy standing in line at Sephora, and I looooove it! I keep it in the freezer and use it after a hard workout or after the shower. It feels so good under your eyes, eyelids, and temples it makes me want to get really hot just so I can use it.

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Making work out plans with friends – Lately, I’ve been planning things with my friends that involve going to a class or meeting for a run in the park. We do this before we have a nice meal and possibly partake in an adult beverage or two (wink!). Just last week, I went for a 5 mile run with a friend and was so surprised at how well I did. I couldn’t believe it! Whenever I go for a run on my own, I usually call it quits at 3 miles…. 1. Because I get bored and lose motivation and 2. Because I’ve always worried about old hip injuries. I’ve since done several 5 mile runs with my friend as well as other types of training (including Pilates of course) and I feel pretty damn good!

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Rubber Birkenstocks – Nerdy? Maybe. Comfortable? Absolutely! Since I’m on my feet most days and have a life long dancer background my feet have really taken a beating. Lately they’ve been making themselves known and getting in the way of being active. I’ve been using these little rays of slip-on sunshine as a way to show my feet some love. After a lunch seminar with Paul Ochoa of F2PT, Dr. Ethan Ciment, and Dr. Michael Collins of Chelsea Foot and Ankle several months ago, I was a little surprised to learn that as we get older our feet start to spread out and flatten. It was something I had noticed but never “officially” made the connection. It makes sense though. The joints and tissue in our feet experience wear and tear just like the rest of the our body, and can loose their shape over time. After acquiring that nugget of information, I promptly bought these rubber Birkenstocks to help heal (pun intended!) the pain I’ve been experiencing. I’ll credit adding these to my daily routine to drastically reducing the pain – hence the five mile run above!

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Essential Oils – Often the heat can, how shall I say, accentuate unpleasant odor. I’ve started playing around with essential oil pairings in the studio to,  not only keep the space smelling fresh, but also facilitate a calm yet invigorating environment that everyone feels good about moving in. My two favorite pairings so far are Vetiver with Eucalyptus and Lavender with Lemon.

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Parcels – I had the opportunity to experience this Australian band, Parcels, when I was at a music festival iIn ATL earlier this year. I could not help but dance! They really made me laugh and smile as I bopped around because they reminded me so much of the BeeGee’s if they were 20- year- old hipsters. Enjoy!


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Remember that our bodies were meant to move everyday. I’ve been asked more than once “if I can’t exercise every day or every week, is it even worth it to start until my schedule clears up?”. My answer is always “something is better than nothing!” So, even if you only stretch for five minutes in the morning consider this permission to give yourself a gold star for moving today.

If starting a Pilates program has been on your mind for a while and your feeling some early “Back to School” motivation click the link below for a head start on some upcoming instructor promotions!

Book An Appointment


From the heart,

Brittany and The Co

Pilates In Your Pocket

Things We Would Tell Our Clients If We Walked Around With Them All Day.

More than once a client has said “I wish you could just follow me around all day and fix me.” While that’s not something you’ll see us offering anytime soon, we did put together a quick list of our most common and easy reminders to improve your posture, reduce aches and pains, and become more movement efficient.

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1. LOOK UP! – We spend so much time looking at devices that it’s really starting to impact how the majority of people carry themselves. I myself have experienced bouts of “unexplained” dizziness and neck pain from too much time on my computer and looking down while I teach. Challenge yourself to put your phone away while you walk and look around instead (both pleasurable and more safe)! If you are at a desk most of your day take one minute several times a day to put your hands behind your head, gently lean you head and neck back, and look up while opening your chest to reverse your posture. Which brings us to….

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2. BREATHE - Stress and poor posture can quite literally block you from breathing. Tension from stress often make our bodies rigid which can translate to shallow breathing. Poor slouching posture compresses the torso and decreases the amount of space the diaphragm has to expand, thus limiting the amount of air our lungs can pull in. Combine these two and you’re unknowingly depriving yourself of oxygen. No Bueno. When you practice #1 above add in several long full breaths in and out. Just one minute can heighten your body awareness and shift your perspective for the better.

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3. SHOULDER ROLLS - In each direction five times - duck face is optional! Moving often helps us shift our focus to things we don’t know we are doing with our bodies. Namely, tensing our shoulders into our ears or slouching them forward. Just this simple movement will help you bring your shoulders to a better place on your back, uphold the space you just created to breath in #2, and keep your ideal head position from #1.

 
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4. STAND ON BOTH FEET – When we are chatting with a friend, waiting for the train, or brushing our teeth we often sink into favored ways of standing without even realizing. Interrupt your train of thought for a moment to notice where your weight is on your feet and if you have a favorite hip to lean on. If you've drifted to one side simply put your weight back to both feet. The more you do this the more you give your hips and spine a chance to be loaded evenly, and cut down on the chances you’ll have a joint issue later from unbalanced wear and tear.

 
Keeping these four simple things in mind can really make a difference in your body awareness, and thus, how you move and feel in your body. If you master these and you want more, consider giving us a call and booking an introductory session!

May Is Pelvic Pain Awareness Month!

 
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Did you know that pelvic pain is most common in women who have given birth, but can also occur in men? In addition to Brittany's interview in collaboration with the Pelvic Health Summit, below you'll find our interview with chiropractor Dr. Edward Gorecki, or Eddie, on the effects of chakra-related issues in the pelvic floor. 

We've also asked Kristen Sapienza, Physical Therapist and Pelvic Floor Specialist a few questions on a her experience in this field with men and women.  You'll also hear from Melanie, one of our clients who came to us with intense pelvic floor pain, and see how we collaborated with her physical therapist to get her moving again. 

Dr. Edward Gorecki, Chiropractor (Eddie)

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. What does the root chakra deal/connect with in our bodies and life? 

Feeling grounded and present with the self. Having a sense of moving forward with a natural and unrestricted flow. Family relationship /dynamics, financial challenges as well as basic needs for survival(food, water) are dealt in this chakra.

2. What type of energy/emotions can we hold in the pelvis that might cause pelvic pain or dysfunction?

If any of the above mentioned areas are not being worked or allowed space a stress to the physical and emotional body can result.  Fear of not letting go of anything that is no serving our present evolvement can also aid in lower quadrant and pelvic floor issues. The root chakra is the foundation for all of the other chakras so it is so important to care for it for overall well being.

3. Do these issues vary for men/women? If so, how? In other words, are there any trends you see? 

Men and Women both can have issues if they do no work on blockages in this chakra. It can be from lower back pain, digestive issues and genitourinary issues.

4. What other types of issues can cause pelvic dysfunction in men or women? 

In addition to the above, Pelvic Dysfunction can be initiated by a Sacral-iliac Subluxations and pubic bone subluxation and left uncorrected can add to a myriad of issues with the Round Ligament and other pelvic floor connective tissue.

Kristin Sapienza, Physical Therapist and Pelvic Floor Specialist

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1. What are most common causes of pelvic floor pain? Dysfunction? In women? In men?

Pelvic floor dysfunction is the inability to control the muscles of the pelvic floor due to a variety of ailments such as trauma, aging, or nerve damage. The pelvic floor acts as a “bowl” to support your bladder, rectum, uterus and prostate. Hence, a weakened or injured pelvic floor can affect urination, sexual intercourse, and bowel movements in both men and women. 

2. What are some new things you learned from the workshop you were just in to highlight your specialty? This could be tools you are able to use that are unique to your training and/or new research on reasons for pain/dysfunction or new research on healing it.

My recent workshop focused on treating individuals with common bowel dysfunctions. A lot of these issues can greatly affect your quality of life and pelvic floor therapists can give you the tools to help manage them. I also became more efficient in treating the male pelvic floor which also suffers from a majority of these conditions, just like women. 

3. How do you find Pilates to be a good transition back into exercise for someone who has been seeing your for pelvic pain/dysfunction?

Pilates is an effective method for instructing specific muscle re-training and can be helpful to a variety of different populations. Since Pilates focuses on optimal alignment and precision, it can better help a patient develop motor control of the pelvic floor. For example, it can help an individual suffering from urinary incontinence who requires strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor. Pilates is also great for the post-natal client, specifically if they suffered Diastasis Recti from their pregnancy. It is also beneficial for those suffering from osteoporosis at any age. 

4. Any interesting case studies?

To be honest, every patient I see has a unique story. Individuals who live in New York City present with different ailments and all live a unique life style. It can range from a high powered business man who has a very tense job to a Broadway actress who has to jump or dance on stage. I see a lot of new mothers trying to return to exercise or older individuals who walk all over the city or getting ready to take a big trip and don't want to have to worry about their pelvic floor dysfunction. 

Melanie

1. When we starting working together (June 2016) you had been in pain for 6 months. Almost two years later can you recall how your pain manifested and say a little about how it affected you day to day?

The pain was excruciating and impacted every part of my life from sex to exercise to overall mood and energy.

2. I know the intense work that you did with your physical therapist in conjunction with our movement work helped your body to see that it could move purposefully without creating more pain - a key step in moving out of pain. Can you speak more about how you continued to move out of pain and get back to what you love doing?

I had tried everything - acupuncture, chiropractic, Pilates, massage, etc. My physical therapist ended up manipulating my pelvic floor and sacrum with internal (vaginal!) adjustments. She is a brave woman to offer this practice and I was a brave patient to try it. It worked! 

I loved the practice we worked on together, in particular, the Yayuma ball. In retrospect, strengthening my pelvic floor was the exact opposite of what I needed — I needed to relax my muscles more than tighten them up further, which is typically what a Pilates practice offers. You had a compassion and relaxed approach with me which I so needed and appreciated. You were willing to think outside your standard practice for me and I appreciated it so much. 

3. If this isn't already included in the above two answer can you speak to if and how you think stress played a factor in your pain? 

I was under an immense amount of stress and pressure, working in an unhealthy environment. I was being mansplained for the first time in my career and I found it nothing short of... well, the best word is tough to use in this context, but the appropriate way to describe how I felt is — crippling. I had no support and mounting pressure. The worse the situation got, the worse I felt.  

4. Have you had any other pelvic floor issues since?

Nope! 

5. Any other things that really helped you through the process and stay on the other side of it?

After recovery, I took up a regular lacrosse ball / foam rolling practice at my local Pilates studio, which was just what my body needed to re-learn and sustain healthy muscle memory and release all of the old fascia.

These are a few of my favorite things…...

Avocados, Mexico, and Pilates, OH MY!

 

After three, THREE!,  snowstorms in March it’s finally Spring. Maybe it’s a little dramatic but it was definitely feeling like “when the dog bites, when the bee stings”. Let’s face it, I was “feeling sad.”

 

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But now the days are getting longer, the sun is getting warmer, the daffodils are making an entrance, and it’s time for Spring Break! Which leads me to three of my favorite things that kept me afloat during the three snowstorms (are you sensing a theme yet?).
 

Favorite Thing #1

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Here’s why Avocados are amazing:

  1. Eating them can support better joint health, and did you know they have more potassium than a banana?!?!?!

  2. They make an excellent replacement for dairy in some desserts like chocolate mousse so you still get to indulge without the inflammation dairy often causes.

  3. They can reduce wrinkles and take 10 years off your face. So long, Botox.

 

Want in on the skincare secret? Check out the lovely ladies of Moss Wellness andCecelia Wong Skincare on Botox Alternative foods. 

 

Favorite Thing #2:

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Why Mexico is a favorite of mine… this one is short and sweet:

  1. Margaritas

  2. Beaches

  3. Vitamin D au naturel.

 

In the meantime, while you wait for the real thing, check out this Vitamin D supplement that’s been helping me.

 

Favorite Thing #3:

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Why Pilates is ideal this time of year….

  1. No matter your style of bikini Pilates can help you feel great in it. Pilates isn’t only a workout but a practice of gaining better awareness of and connection to your body. When you feel more connected you often feel more control and confidence in your body. Put simply, we believe that feeling great is looking great.

  2. Pilates is a great way to improve the form of or training in your summer sport. Golf, tennis, swimming, rock climbing, biking, or running - Pilates can integrate with them all to up your game and prevent injury.

  3. Speaking of injuries, don’t let a nagging issue or diagnosis keep you from enjoying your vacation and summer plans. Get your workout in with Pilates and learn how to get back to the activities you love.

 

Want to add Pilates to your favorite things list? Don’t experience a minute of Spring Break FOMO! For the month of April, The Co Pilates is offering 15% off intro sessions and $100 off your first 10 session program with featured instructors Adam, Rachel, and Talese.

How Pilates Can Help You Prepare for Your Next Race

With Spring just around the corner people have that obstacle course, running shoes, or bike clips twinkle in their eyes. Marathons, bike races, triathlons, Tough Mudders, and Spartan races all have the same thing in common, lots of repetition. The quickest way to see that twinkle disappear is to discover you have an injury due to overuse. Cross-training is a great way to protect yourself against that possibility. Even better if that cross-training naturally trains you to become more efficient in your movement – enter Pilates!

To get some firsthand insight we interviewed some of our clients who just can’t get enough of the adrenaline that keeps them moving long distance.

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Chris S., VP of Business Development at a technology integration firm and Rachel H., an employment attorney, have both run countless races ranging from a 5k to multiple marathons. They both agree that half marathons are their favorite because “it’s a challenge but also easy enough on my body and accommodating to a training schedule.” A common theme is enjoying the fulfilling feeling of success at beating their own personal records (PR).  

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Of the three clients mentioned below, all have had minor to major injuries and two had operations throughout their racing careers. All of them have found Pilates useful because of its versatility as method of challenging cross-training and rehabilitative exercise.

 Bob R, owner and operator of an accounting firm, has been practicing Pilates for over 6 years as a way to “gain core strength and flexibility”. Because of the versatility in the practice, he used Pilates to help stall a rotator cuff repair while training for an Iron Man. After finishing the race and the repair procedure he came right back to Pilates as a way to continue to heal, regain stability, strengthen his upper body after physical therapy, and stay in shape in the meantime.

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Rachel H had a skiing accident that severely detoured her running goals. Reflecting on her recovery she had this to say: “I find that Pilates emphasis on precision and control sets it apart for both yoga and spinning (and other exercises).  Control is a great tool for building your mental strength in running, because for me running is just as much mental as it is physical. This is particularly true for me now as I am recovering from an injury that took me off the pavement for nearly 2 years.  Feeling a sense of control over my body and muscles as I start to run again has been invaluable for me.”

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For Chris S., who has managed to avoid any major injuries, cross-training with Pilates means that “quite simply, more strength and better stability leads to fewer injuries which allows for more training, increased distance, and faster times.” He has seen the proof by PR’ing 90% of his races in 2017 and running his second NYC Marathon 50 mins faster than his first.

 We would love to hear your stories of redemption or see what your up to as the weather gets warmer and you get back on the road/bike/wave. Consider sharing pictures of your outdoor adventures with us to share with our Community.

What The Co Pilates and Billy Joel Have in Common…..

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We have locations for those uptown girls and downtown boys! We are very excited to share the next step in the growth of The Co Pilates as a collaborator in the health and wellness field by letting you in on a little secret. We are officially announcing a satellite location near Grand Central Station! We have partnered with Integrative Spine and Sports to offer our one-on-one services in another convenient location at 286 Madison (40th and Madison) Suite 1601. No, that’s not a typo. It’s the same suite number as our Union Square location, serendipitous, we know. To start we have availability on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call 917-674-4751 or email move@thecopilates.com for more information.

 

Speaking of New….. New Year, new you as they say. How’s it going so far?

 The new year typically comes with a gust of motivation to “do things differently this year”, “finally get in shape”, “try something new”, or “stop avoiding this nagging back/shoulder/knee pain.” Pair that newfound motivation with the desire to erase holiday parties, sweets, and drinks and we convince ourselves that this year WILL. BE. THE. YEAR! Unfortunately, research shows that in six months only half of us will still be on track ). It seems 2 months of holidays and 1 dry January doesn’t equal a long-term plan for success through the other 9 months of the year.
 

If any of this sounds familiar, never fear. Below is a little checklist we think will help you spark a restart if you’ve already fallen off your intention, or give you a jump start if you still haven’t made up your mind.

 

Let’s first identify a handful of “traps” – things to be aware of which often lack the “time release” necessary to achieve our long-term goals for a whole year:

 

  1. Non-specific goals - These often look like broad statements such as “I want to get back in shape.” or “I’m going to join a gym this year and go all the time.”

  2. Too much too soon - An example of this is the decision to go back to playing a high-intensity sport after a 3-year hiatus, going for a long run when you’ve never run before, and/or taking a new boot camp class after no regular exercise routine in a year. Add a 50 hour/week desk job to the mix and you have an injury waiting to happen.

  3. Lack of a plan or accountability - Going it alone is totally possible, it’s just harder. In addition, saying it to yourself in your head takes less commitment than taking the time to write in your calendar when you will take action.



Once you’ve identified your trap, what’s next?
 

  1. Pick a short-term goal that is easy to achieve and will make you feel good no matter how childish or silly it seems. Let go of numbers as a goal in the beginning as it can make achieving the goal too overwhelming. For example, if you started with the vague goal of “getting in shape”, try just 5 mins of simple stretching each morning before you get ready for your day. Set a timer to get the satisfaction of the ding to signify completion! A little bit of movement every day creates the foundation for more consistent movement over time. Moreover, balance exercise goals with a new self-care behavior, or a little change to your diet (ex: fruit instead of a pastry as your afternoon snack). The goal is ease so you don’t end up feeling forced or deprived. In other words, set yourself up with rewards for the hard work you have done. For more ideas on fun and simple snack alternatives check out my friends at Moss Wellness and Smart Mouthed Health.

  2. Pick one new thing per quarter to try. Mark it on your calendar at the beginning of the year. Use each quarter to give your mind and body time to adapt to that new activity and your schedule time to incorporate it. If it’s something you’ve done in the past, and would like to get back to, consider ways you can warm up to the activity rather than just throwing your body into it and hoping for the best. Again, we are encouraging long-lasting movement here!

  3. Remember that choosing to block out a regular time and day for exercise each week – pick a class, schedule time with a friend, sign up for a spot at The Co Pilates (wink!) -  is something that not only benefits your body but your mind as well. A clear head connected to a body that feels good has a positive ripple effect on many other areas of your life.


The goal is sustainable positive change. If you find that slowly over time you have veered off your track, your body will need the same approach to “get back” to a better place. That is small slow changes over time. It’s easier to move a rock than it is to move a mountain.

3 Tips To Make Your Holiday Season Healthy and Bright!

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3 Tips To Make Your Holiday Season Healthy and Bright!

1. Just breathe. The holidays can be so stressful. And the first thing "out the window" when stress kicks in is mindful deep breaths. Pause periodically for a moment throughout the day to practice your Pilates breath to fuel your body with energizing O2, check in on places you know you hold tension, and feel your core muscles stretch and engage. Inhale..... Exhale..... Repeat.

2. Squeeze your bum! The holidays are amazing at knocking us off our regular routines and putting us in a bind. Literally. We tend to be less active because of holiday parties, finishing end of the year work, and travel - which almost certainly means we are sitting more. Taking just 5 minutes to do some basic body weight squats or laying down to do some bridges can reignite those powerful gluts on your back side. As a bonus, it will get your blood flowing and automatically wake up those deeper core muscles. Squeeze your bum and it will never let you down!

3. Roll the stress away. No matter plane, train, or automobile traveling can be stressful on the mind and body. We got you - use one of our fascial release balls to roll out your feet or work out a knot in your shoulder. A little bit of rolling can help rehydrate muscles (bright and refreshed), increase mobility (quick like a bunny), and decrease mental and physical stress (jolly as a jelly bean). 


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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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It’s October and there’s pink everywhere! Each year it’s amazing the new and creative ways organizations are sparking awareness and inspiring fundraising for breast cancer. At the same time, many women reflect on their own diagnosis and others breathe a tentative sigh of relief while on a path to remission. Additionally, most of us pause to reflect on and honor someone we knew and lost to breast cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in America their lifetime. The treatment process can be a year or more and there are numerous follow-up visits. As early detection and treatment strategies continue to improve of the 12% of women diagnosed 9.3% will survive the diagnosis based on statistics from the American Cancer Society. That means there are 3.1 million women motivated to live life to the fullest after a serious health scare like breast cancer. 

Unfortunately, the specialists (oncologists and surgeons) that are responsible for saving women’s lives can’t do much to mitigate the plethora of residual issues deterring patients from living that full life during and post treatment. After a lumpectomy and the removal of 8 lymph nodes Christine Walsh Egan, published author of 'The Healthy Girls Guide to Breast Cancer', felt like her surgeon’s recommendations fell short of regaining range of motion in her arm. She credits her hot yoga practice with filling in the gaps clinical recommendations left open. According to Dr. Amy Bleyer, a highly regarded internist in New York City, many of these issues, like those Christine experienced, continue to linger long after someone is in remission. In addition, these issues can vary depending on the path of treatment (ex: biopsy, lumpectomy, mastectomy, reconstruction, chemotherapy, radiation). As a primary care physician Dr. Bleyer often plays the the role of advocate for her patients who are juggling overwhelming amounts of information coming from varying specialists as well as treating residual symptoms from procedures and medications such as insomnia, depression, and fatigue. While supporting her patients through the journey, she is the constant in a whirlwind of treatment strategies. In the midst of it all Dr. Bleyer continually encourages her patients to implement and maintain healthier lifestyle choices including exercise. Her practice focuses on well rounded guidance to “make it harder for patients to get sick and easy to stay well.”

 A personal story.....

A personal story.....

Joan B, a client of The Co Pilates, shared her 15 year experience with breast cancer. Joan was on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) which used estrogen to treat early menopause. A routine mammogram revealed that she had precancerous cells and subsequently underwent a lumpectomy to remove the tissue. As a precautionary measure she was taken off of HRT and placed on Tamoxifen, a preventative cancer drug that inhibits estrogen. During that transition in treatment Joan recalls dramatic changes in her body chemistry, like a race car slamming on the brakes and spinning 180 degrees. Noticeable periods of intense exhaustion were especially troubling to Joan because she was already leading a healthy and active lifestyle. One year later a follow-up mammogram unveiled more precancerous cells and Joan underwent a second lumpectomy. For the next five years she remained on Tamoxifen to assist with defending against further cancerous cells. While the extreme shift in medication slowed her down neither lumpectomy inhibited her physically.

Approximately 10 years later in 2015 a sonogram, known to offer better diagnostic capability, uncovered a diagnosis of Stage 1 infiltrating carcinoma. As a result Joan underwent her third lumpectomy, the removal of 4-6 lymph nodes, a series of 34 radiation treatments, and was placed on Letrozole, another preventative cancer drug. Despite periods of fatigue that resigned her to slow down yet again, Joan stayed active with routine walks and daily activity throughout the experience. Due to the residual side effects from Letrozole, including aches and joint stiffness, Dr. Bleyer recommended physical therapy. Joan then advanced to a Pilates program for continued activity and progress.

In reflection, Joan felt that a “more full blown exercise routine would have helped balance the periods of major fatigue.” This is especially true when she considers the benefits of improving cardiovascular capacity and and the calmness she experiences through mindful breathing - a skill she has gained through her Pilates program. With the help of a weekly Pilates regimen Joan has noticed an improved range of motion, increased muscular strength, and very positive evaluations from her breast surgeon.

 The Benefits of Exercise

The Benefits of Exercise

According to the Pink Ribbon Program training "Rehabilitative exercise is an important part of returning to activities of daily living after cancer treatment. Newer research has shown that exercise is not only safe and possible after cancer, but also immediately after diagnosis and during treatments. The more than 80 studies looking at the effects of exercise on patients demonstrate that not only is the exercise safe, it also leads to significant improvements in day-to-day functioning, intensity and tolerance of symptoms, fitness, and overall health-related quality of life." An enthusiastic advocate for what exercise can do to add balance and normalcy to an otherwise seemingly uprooted existence, Christine Walsh Egan encourages the women she coaches “to be present in their activity as a way to be present throughout treatment.” 

According to several Cochrane studies data shows exercise can improve symptoms of breast cancer treatments. Dr. Bleyer’s experience with her patients echoes the studies: “Those patients that incorporate physically activity definitely do better in their outcomes from diagnosis.” During her 33 radiation treatments Christine Walsh Eagan continued to train for a half marathon, practiced hot yoga, regular Pilates sessions, and has since joined Crossfit. We were happy to hear that she credits her weekly Pilates class as the keystone that keeps her productive and safe in Crossfit! When Christine is coaching her breast cancer clients she encourages women to be active in whatever way works for their minds and bodies and says at the very least, “just go outside and walk and be in nature.”

As women we have powerful bodies capable of so much. Breast cancer, no matter your level of diagnosis or complexity of treatment, can severely interrupt our connection to that powerful identity. Movement and staying fit in a mindfully is a natural and timeless way of reclaiming that identity. We at the The Co Pilates always feel privileged when our clients allow us to facilitate in that process. Our bodies are what move us through this life and if we aren’t moving, and truly present in that movement, we aren’t truly living. 

If you have a story of how movement and exercise supported you or a loved one through breast cancer treatment we would love to hear about it. 

The Teacher Becomes The Student

Part of our mission at The Co Pilates is to be your go-to nerd! We live to learn and believe that practice as the student improves our ability as the teacher.  Check out some of our biggest takeaways from our most recent workshops. 

 "When you think something is lost forever and then you see that it's not - that changes your world.” - client with Multiple Sclerosis

"When you think something is lost forever and then you see that it's not - that changes your world.” - client with Multiple Sclerosis

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society Official Certification for Movement Professionals.         

Key Takeaway: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) can present quite differently from client to client. Knowing that a client may fatigue more quickly based on environmental factors such as weather or time of day aids in the efficiency of our programing to achieve rehabilitative goals. Understanding how primary symptoms of the disease, such as muscle weakness or spasticity of the muscles, are intertwined with secondary symptoms such as decreased balance creates a safer and more confident environment in which to work. Boosted confidence leads to increased motivation which ensures the likelihood of longevity in activity - our ultimate goal. 

Goal for Application: When it comes to a disease like MS the mobility of a client is their freedom and connection to wellbeing. It is vital that we comprehend all of the tiny details which make the client's experience of this disease somewhat unpredictable. Our person-centered approach in healing through movement is meant to balance the unpredictability of the disease with the diversity that is the human body.

 “You never really know what you’ll decide to do until its your diagnosis.” - Doreen Puglisi, M.S. 

Pink Ribbon Program - Breast Cancer Exercise Specialist Certification

Key Takeaway: Two clear elements exist in this training. First, the physical exercise protocol with the purpose of addressing varying degrees of injury and immobility related to the procedures and treatment plan. Second, the mental health component must be taken into consideration when working with a woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Learning how to speak to clients in more depth about what they are facing with breast cancer was so valuable to my practice. It has inspired an upcoming October newsletter featuring two breast cancer survivors and one of their general practitioners.

Goal for Application: Create awareness of the options available to breast cancer survivors to continue to heal through organized, targeted, and effective movement. Provide support and advancement of health by strategically progressing training (including efficient biomechanics, strength, and flexibility) based on the specific secondary complications that can arise from procedures like mastectomies and breast reconstruction. Be a collaborative partner in the continuum of care needed long after diagnosis to aid the client in recapturing control over their wellbeing.

“I’m so excited to be in a classroom again!” - A teacher on being the student

Functional Anatomy for Movement and Injuries (FAMI) Workshop

Key Takeaway: The Co Pilates was founded on the idea of collaboration so we felt right at home being immersed in four days of community and team work for the greater good of the people that trust us with their bodies. The overarching goal of this workshop was to facilitate a much needed conversation between healthcare practitioners and wellness/movement professionals regarding the huge gap that exists between these treatment strategies for clients. In addition, it provided the dedicated participants a more detailed understanding of the human body and how it functions. Approximately 60 movement practitioners (Pilates instructors, yoga instructors, massage therapists, and physical therapists) spent four days absorbed in instruction ranging from in-depth reviews of evolutionary anatomy - the days when we had a tail - to the latest developments in orthopedic surgery. We left excited to know that leading doctors in the field of orthopedics and anatomy can work together with movement experts to provide better care and more useful information to their clientele. 

Goal for Application: There are three major goals. First, is the implementation of a new broader language to communicate with clients and their doctors about what we see week-to-week to best inform their doctors. As we tend to see our clients more often than their doctors, a small detail such as noticing a client has lost the hair on their toes can turn into a major clue for a doctor who could more quickly diagnose peripheral artery disease. Second, increased “x-ray” vision for a clearer understanding of a body’s capabilities and setbacks. Thirdly,  detective-like observation and listening allows us to troubleshoot for a solution, and conversely, to identify when to defer to a specialist if necessary for the resolution. 

Pilates is a foundational exercise in practice for over ninety years that continues to be fused with other types of movement. That's a testament to the power of Pilates to achieve results. If you can't tell we love being a resource for your movement and fitness needs - basking in the details is our sweet spot!

From the heart,

Brittany and The Co