Welcome to the Pilates Style Newsletter

Six times a year, we bring you Pilates-related news, original feature articles, bonus material from the current issue of Pilates Style magazine and more.
We want to hear from you! If you know of a Pilates event, or have news to share with your community, email us at editor@pilatesstyle.com.
In this issue

5 Ways to Ramp Up Your Energy

Short days and long to-do lists can add up to a serious case of exhaustion. You already know to get enough sleep and eat right. But experts say there are a few small changes that can have a big impact on your fatigue. Ready to solve your personal energy crisis? Try making the following tweaks to your daily routine.

See the light. Dimness signals your brain to release melatonin, a sleep-producing hormone, says Kelly Brown, MD, an assistant professor of neurology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Sunlight sends a message to stop this production, so pull back those blinds first thing in the a.m.—or better yet, step outside in the afternoon for a quick pick-me-up.

Pump some iron. Fatigue might be a sign that you're not getting enough iron in your diet, says Sharon Richter, RD, a dietitian in New York City. In fact, about 12 percent of Caucasian and 20 percent of African-American women have iron-deficiency anemia, which can leave you feeling exhausted. Women ages 19 to 50 need 18 milligrams of iron a day (8 mg if you're older). Aim to get that amount through foods like oysters (3 mg per ounce), white beans
(8 mg per cup) and spinach (3 mg per ½ cup, cooked).

Take an active break. Sneaking in a little exercise throughout the day can have a big payoff: Even 10 minutes can boost your energy levels for two hours, reports a study in the journal Personality and Social Psychology. “Go for a quick walk during your breaks, and climb the stairs in your building at lunch,” says Lona Sandon, RD, a certified fitness instructor and an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas. The exercise revs your circulation while increasing levels of feel-good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, revitalizing your mind and body.

Take deep breaths. Most people take too-shallow breaths throughout the day, which deprives their bodies of energy-boosting oxygen, says Julie Chen, MD, an integrative physician in San Jose, CA. She recommends this exercise: Inhale for a count of four and exhale for a count of eight for a minute or two. “Deep breathing also stimulates the vagal nerve,” adds Chen. This can slow your heart rate and blood pressure, encouraging relaxation.

Snack on hydrating foods. Even 1 percent dehydration—at the point where you begin to get thirsty—can bring on fatigue and headaches, shows a study published in the Journal of Nutrition. Remember to sip up regularly, and eat foods high in water, such as oranges, grapes and cucumbers.

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Dialing in Fitness

Too tired or chilly to make it to the studio? Phone it in. A growing number of Pilates instructors are teaching through video chats, such as Skype and FaceTime. “My clients say that they get the same—or sometimes better—workout as when they're in the studio,” says Krista McCarthy, owner of Krista McCarthy Studios in Del Ray Beach, FL. After a move to Florida, McCarthy decided to try teaching some of her regular clients virtually. “I was nervous, because I wasn't computer literate!” she says. That was four years ago, and now McCarthy teaches both privates and group classes through Zoom.us, a video conferencing software. “I'll have a mat class with two or three people in my home studio, and four or five students calling in,” she says. She watches them closely on her 45-inch television screen. “In a big class, your eyes are everywhere,” she says. “But on the screen, I can focus. My cueing has become crisper, and my students work harder because no one comes around to fix them.”

“Some of my clients think that the distance allows them space to work on themselves rather than performing for the teacher,” says Kara Wily, the head teacher for Real Pilates teacher training at Westwood Pilates. She uses Skype to train Pilates instructors from around the country. “I still feel the teacher's touch is a very important aspect of the work, so the platform isn't perfect. But it does have a lot of benefits.”

Teaching virtually has helped McCarthy improve her teaching style. Some of her clients have their camera on them, but turn away from the screen during a move. “It's almost like teaching someone who's blindfolded,” says McCarthy. “I really have to make sure that my words mean something.” One bonus: McCarthy uses the video software to record her classes, so she can play them back. “It's made me a stronger instructor.”

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Expert Q & A with Rael Isacowitz

Q: Will I get the same caliber of workout if I do Pilates at my gym versus at a studio?

A. I have seen gyms that offer high-caliber Pilates classes. In contrast, I have witnessed Pilates studios that offer subpar sessions. But, speaking in very general terms, gyms by nature are set up for very large numbers. This means that people do not get the level of individual attention that a smaller Pilates studio typically offers. In addition, gyms often employ fitness trainers to teach Pilates. They usually have not completed a comprehensive teacher-training program, but rather a shorter, condensed program geared toward the gym environment. Dedicated Pilates studios usually employ teachers that have completed a recognized program and have a certificate, plus a certification through a body such as the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA).

I do not want to judge, and this is not my intention. Some people will enjoy a gym environment more; others, a smaller studio. It is a personal preference. As long as the person walks out of the session feeling better than when he or she walked in, the session has been extremely valuable. However, I believe in the teachings and work of Joseph and Clara Pilates. Their vision for the method was that it be individualized and focused strongly on the mind/body connection, and be integrated of Pilates into every facet of life. Joseph Pilates wrote time and time again in his books about his method not being “just” exercise. I too believe that it is far more than only the physical exercises that we perform. Certainly there is some benefit to focusing solely on the exercises. But the true potential of the method lies in the underlying principles of Pilates, which necessitate the powerful synergistic relationship of the mind and body. This will be found more often in a dedicated Pilates studio than in a gym.

Rael Isacowitz, MA, has been practicing Pilates for more than 35 years, and is the founder and director of BASI Pilates, a comprehensive Pilates education organization spanning the globe established in 1989. Rael designed the concepts for BASI Systems equipment and was a driving force in founding the company. He also created Pilates Interactive, the one-of-a-kind e-learning software, and has authored two best-selling books, Pilates and Pilates Anatomy (Human Kinetics), the latter co-authored with Karen Clippinger.

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Close-Up: Breast Stroke

by Shari Berkowitz

In the November/December issue of Pilates Style, Shari Berkowitz shares the surprising new rules of spinal extension. Instead of “pulling the ribs in,” she advocates releasing the rib cage to free the connected thoracic spine. It requires a sense of lifting and creating space between the low-back bones.

Prop: Box

Level: advanced

Purpose: challenges the torso and spinal muscles; enhances shoulder girdle strength; develops elasticity of soft tissues

Spring Setting: 1 heavy

Setup: Stand at the back of the Long Box beside the Reformer. Place both handles in your hands with the straps on the Reformer side of your body. Push forward on the handles to move the carriage. Place your hands at the front corners of the Box. With control, lie facedown with your kneecaps just off the back edge. Place your hands wider and lower than you shoulders, so your elbows are no higher than the middle of your rib cage. Bend both knees up.

1. Pull your lower abdominals in and up and rotate your neutral pelvis, leveling off your hip points and pubic bone. (None of these three points should touch the Box.) Simultaneously, push against the handles to straighten your arms alongside your ears, and press the carriage out until your legs are straight.

2. Keeping your arms alongside your ears, extend your thoracic (mid) spine.

3. Staying lifted in extension, circle your arms out to your sides and to your hips as you bend your elbows and knees, articulating your spine back to its natural curves. Do 3 reps.

Extended Details:
• As you extend your thoracic spine, remember it's an articulation from the top of the thoracic spine to the bottom and then in reverse.
• Focus on stabilizing your pelvis, lumbar and cervical spines.
• During extension, keep the base of your ribs on the Box so that you work your mid- to upper-thoracic spine.

Modifications: Ask a teacher to lightly press down on your legs just above the Achilles tendon to add to your stability as you extend your spine and circle your arms. When first starting this exercise, circle your arms in the front line of your body, reaching your hands toward the front of your hips.

Advanced: Reach your arms in the back line of your body while maintaining your shoulder blades on your back.

Tip: Work in stages, taking your time to progress into the full series.

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Say Cheers the Healthier Way

Whether it's the end of a long week or a romantic dinner (hello, Valentine's Day), there's always reason to celebrate. Make the next occasion truly special by whipping up one of the following drinks. Not only are they delicious, but each also contains antioxidant-rich ingredients, such as pomegranate juice and hibiscus tea. We'll raise our glass to that!

Hot Cranberry Sipper
This warm, spiced drink is perfect for snowy days and winter festivities. Simmer the drink in a slow cooker, and it'll be ready after an afternoon of sledding.
(Serves 8)

6 whole cloves
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
½ cup packed brown sugar
6 cups red cranberry cocktail
3 cups orange juice
1 cup dark rum (optional)
¼ cup orange liqueur (optional)

1. In a slow cooker, combine the cloves, cinnamon sticks, brown sugar, cranberry cocktail and orange juice. Cover and cook on low for about 4 hours, until steaming hot.
2. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out and discard the cloves and cinnamon sticks. If desired, stir in rum and orange liqueur. Set the slow cooker to “keep warm,” and serve.

Courtesy of Best of Bridge Slow Cooker Cookbook by Sally Vaughan-Johnston & The Best of Bridge Publishing Ltd. © 2012 www.bestofbridge.com www.robertrose.ca. Reprinted with permission. Available where books are sold. Photo by Colin Erricson.

Pomegranate Margarita
The addition of pomegranate juice transforms the margarita into a sophisticated and subtly sweet cocktail.
(Serves 1)

2 lime wedges
Kosher salt
Cracked ice
1 ounce silver tequila
½ ounce orange-flavored liqueur, such as Triple Sec, Cointreau or Grand Marnier
¾ cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
Club soda

1. Rub rim of glass with a lime wedge. Dust with salt, shaking off the excess.
2. Fill a shaker half full of ice. Add the tequila, liqueur and pomegranate juice.
3. Shake for 30–45 seconds. Strain into a glass. Top with club soda and garnish with the remaining lime wedge.

Recipe courtesy of 300 Best Taco Recipes by Kelley Cleary Coffeen © 2011 www.robertrose.ca. Reprinted with permission. Available where books are sold. Photo by Colin Erricson.

Spiked Hibiscus and Ginger Agua Fresca
High in vitamin C and iron, hibiscus tea has a tart flavor that's balanced by ginger and mint in this refreshing drink.
(Serves 4)

4 cups water
4 bags hibiscus tea
6 fresh mint leaves
½ teaspoon stevia (or preferred sweetener)
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and shredded
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 ounces of tequila
Ice cubes, for serving
4 lemon wedges, for garnish
4 fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

1. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Remove from the heat, and add the hibiscus tea and mint leaves. Let stand 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tea bags, pressing hard on the bags.
2. Transfer to a heatproof pitcher, and stir in the stevia, ginger and lemon juice. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours. Once chilled, add the tequila.
3. Pour into 4 ice-filled glasses, garnish each with a lemon wedge and mint sprig, and serve immediately.

Recipe excerpted from Latin D'Lite: Delicious Latin Recipes with a Healthy Twist by Ingrid Hoffman (Celebra, 2013).

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Calendar of Events

November 2–6
What: Fletcher Pilates® Intensive Licensing Course
Where: Pilates Plus, Munich Germany
Fletcher Pilates

November 9–13
What: Fletcher Pilates® Intensive Licensing Course
Where: The Body Temple Pilates Studio, Indianapolis, IN
Fletcher Pilates

November 12
What: John Garey STOTT Pilates workshops taught by Mary Jo Ketterhagen-Ida, lead instructor trainer
Where: Claremont Sanctuary Pilates, Claremont, CA
John Garey Fitness

November 12
What: PHI Pilates Wunda/Combo Chair Training
Where: Lake Charles, LA
PHI Pilates

November 12–13
What: YUR Back: Fitness Without Fear Licensure Course
Where: Lake Mary, FL
PHI Pilates

November 13
What: PHI Pilates Arcs and Barrel Training
Where: Lake Charles, LA
PHI Pilates

November 13
What: PHI Pilates Mat with Props Training
Where: Pittsburgh, PA
PHI Pilates

November 13
What: STOTT PILATES® Athletic Conditioning on the Stability Chair™
Where: Mindful Movement Pilates & Yoga – Glen Ellyn, IL
Contact: pilatesmom@sbcglobal.net or 630-469-2911

November 19
What: Fletcher Pilates® Spine Corrector Course
Where: Porto Alegre, RS Brazil
Fletcher Pilates

November 20
What: Fletcher Pilates® Experience
Where: Porto Alegre, RS Brazil
Fletcher Pilates

November 20
What: Fletcher Pilates® Spine Corrector Course
Where: The Movement Studios, United Kingdom
Fletcher Pilates

November 20
What: Total Barre™ Amplified
Where: Equilibrium Mind-Body Fitness – Bloomfield Hills, MI
Contact: training@equilibriumstudio.com or 248-723-1300

November 26
What: Connexion Pilates – Rosemere - Presented by Studio Praxis: Halo® Introduction to Integrated Bodyweight Training
Where: Studio Praxis, Montreal, Canada
Contact: jane@studiopraxis.com or 514-486-9949

November 30–December 4
What: Fletcher Pilates® Reformer Course
Where: Pilates Pro, Ontario, Canada
Fletcher Pilates

December 2–3
What: 2016 Leaders in Classical Pilates Winter Conference featuring Mary Bowen, Benjamin Degenhardt, Stephanie West and more
Where: New York City
Leaders in Classical Pilates

December 3–4
What: Winter Conference featuring CORE workshops taught by Master Instructor Trainer Bob Ander
Where: John Garey Fitness and Pilates, Long Beach, CA
John Garey Fitness

December 9–11
What: Pilates in Paradise Classical Conference 2015: Kathryn Ross-Nash, Dana Santi and Blossom Lelani Crawford; Mari Winsor will also be in attendance for private lessons.
Where: Pilates in Paradise, Islamorada, FL

December 10
What: Feet, Fascia, and Spirals
Where: KinectED Pilates Center, New York City
KinectED Pilates Center

December 17–18
What: PHI Pilates Reformer Foundations III Training
Where: Lake Charles, LA
PHI Pilates

What: Buff Bones® Instructor Training
Where: Online
Buff Bones

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In this issue
5 Ways to Ramp Up Your Energy
Dialing in Fitness
Expert Q & A with Rael Isacowitz
Close-Up: Breast Stroke
Say Cheers the Healthier Way
Calendar of Events
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