Honoring Our Motto + Mission

We are so excited to be included in another Pilates Style issue! Catch us in the September/October issue where we share our motivation to work with those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

It also talks about our first-ever Breast Cancer Workshop, which is free for anyone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer no matter where they are in their path to recovery. Click here for more information or to sign up.

 
pilates style magazine october 2019 breast cancer
 
 
pilates style magazine breast cancer
 

We are really looking forward to hosting this workshop as it will be the first of many in our revamped space! Beyond that, it will be the beginning of satisfying a pull we’ve been feeling for a while now: to serve as a place to gather, share, laugh, learn, and heal.

Please excuse the cheesiness, but upon reflection of our motto and mission it just makes sense – movement is the best medicine.

So our intention with this workshop is to provide some more support and information for those who are looking to learn more about their bodies after breast cancer and provide an opportunity to connect with others who can relate to the process of recovery.


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Fall is really happening! The most beautiful part is on its way and it happens quick... FALL FOLIAGE! Even in the city, there are opportunities to take a moment, put your phone away, walk a little slower, and take in the beautiful colors coming out. It’s simple and I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, but slowing down, taking in some nature, and taking a few deep breaths really can change your headspace and how you feel in your body. It’s the easiest gift you can grant yourself.

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Client Spotlight

This month we want to celebrate our client, Joan, who came to us after treatment and physical therapy related to a breast cancer diagnosis. We have shared that story in detail in our past October newsletters. Since then, she has valiantly moved through another bout with cancer – this time lymphoma. Throughout another scary process and taxing treatment, she stayed positive, focused, and factored in her Pilates practice as much as she could. Just this week she let out a big sigh and said, “It’s so great to be back to this on a weekly basis. It’s so important to stay moving!”

We are honored to witness her process of healing and be a part of it. Thank you Joan!

From Summer Days to Harvest Moon

There’s still summer-like weather in September, but the days are getting shorter and fall is approaching. I personally cling to the idea of summer with each warm day that lingers, mildly in denial that fall and winter are coming.

 
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Regardless, it’s back to reality for most of us. Summer vacations are over, meetings are filling our work schedules, kids are back at school, and the “to do” list is accumulating. It’s hard not to be overwhelmed, but I was reminded recently how good it feels to not take myself too seriously - to let loose and dance, like I did at a recent bachelorette party (we danced to 80s music all night!).

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Since my knee surgery, I still haven’t gotten back to two things I love to do: running and dancing. Those things have always helped me when I’m feeling overwhelmed, so I’m having to get a little creative as I continue to move my way through physical therapy. In the meantime, I hope this newsletter serves as your reminder to dance (figuratively or literally) through stressful times and transitions.


#lookup!

We spend so much time with our heads down, barreling through crowded streets and making sure we don’t step in anything suspicious. Beyond that, technology has us zoomed in and down more so than ever before. I find myself so often reminding clients to look up and out. Even as I write this, I’m reminding myself to take a minute to lift my chin out of my chest and make sure I’m not slouching so much that I compress all the room I have to breath out of my torso. With that thought in mind, we bring you a new addition to our blog and newsletter: #lookup!

This month’s motivation to bring your head back on top of your shoulders is the beautiful Harvest Full Moon coming up on Friday the 13th and 14th. Any time I catch a glimpse of the moon in the city, I am in awe. It feels like such a special treat to see it glowing in the sky despite all the city lights. This month’s full moon is also a reminder to recognize all the hard work you’ve been doing and “seeds planted” that are now ready to harvest and enjoy. We are enjoying the harvest in the studio by having monthly instructor “hangouts” and our first networking event! Using the space in new, more full, and creative ways is feeling good!

Client Spotlight

We have so many light bulb moments in the studio - when something clicks for clients or they come up with a clever way of describing how they feel after their session - that we just have to start sharing them more regularly. We also want to celebrate their successes as they come along! Our client quote for this month comes from a newer client getting back to a routine after having her first baby.

"I'm not good at traditional meditation, but this feels like I'm getting the benefits of meditation and a workout. And my spine feels more airy now!"
- Amy

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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