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!

 
 
 

In October We Wear Pink: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

 
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How quickly time flies…

It’s October again and that means we are honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We are so thankful to have worked with several resilient women this year as part of their post rehab process. It's exciting to know that breast cancer mortality rates have decline 39 percent because of fundraising and research, and now is no time to stop. We wanted to take a moment to share with you the stories and information we gathered for last year's October blog because it's still so relevant a year later.

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.”

 
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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.

 
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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. 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 physical 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. 

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.