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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.
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In this issue

Spring Clean the Smart Way

Want to kick off the season with a sparkling home or studio? You don’t have to spend hours cleaning and organizing. Try these smart shortcuts—and easy everyday moves—from guru Meg Roberts, president of Molly Maid (www.mollymaid.com), a national cleaning company.

Clear the clutter. “Carry a laundry basket around to collect shoes, toys, sports equipment, books, mail—and whatever else has been left lying around,” says Roberts. Then sort them into the proper places. To make things even easier, do this quick task at the end of every day, and set up storage systems in needed places, like a basket for shoes in the hallway or one for toys in the den.

Treat stubborn spots. For clothes, mix equal parts of household ammonia (sold in grocery stores) and water with a few tablespoons of dish soap. Soak items in the liquid overnight before washing as usual. Spill something stain-worthy on the floor? Add a little soda water as soon as possible to loosen the particles, and let it dry. Then use a dampened, clean white cotton cloth to blot out the stain. For toilet stains, add a denture tablet right in the bowl, and allow it to fizz for 15 minutes. Then gently scrub with a toilet brush and flush to rinse.

Fend off clogs. Pour boiling water down your drains once a week. This can help to dissolve some of the organic matter that contributes to drain-stopping blocks.

Maximize your time. Minimize scrubbing by giving your cleaning products time to work their magic. Turn on the bathroom fan, apply the solutions and allow them to penetrate for 10 minutes before wiping or rinsing. While you wait, vacuum the hall and nearby bedrooms.

Clean in the right order. Always work from top to bottom. When dusting, some of it will settle back on the floor—so save your vacuuming until last. Also start from the farthest corner to the door while vacuuming. That way, you won’t have any footprints when you’re finished.

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Meditate on This

In today’s busy world, slowing down can seem impossible. But taking the time to meditate can change your mind-set while boosting your health. Case in point: A growing stack of research finds that meditating regularly can help you think more clearly, come up with more creative ideas and sleep more soundly. The practice has also been shown to slow your heart rate, reduce your risk of heart disease—and even protect against the harmful effects of aging.

So what are you waiting for? “Even meditating for a short amount of time has a profound effect,” explains Trista Thorp, lead meditation expert at Sonima Wellness Center in Encinitas, CA (
www.sonimawellnesscenter.com). The key is consistency, she says. Make meditation a part of your daily routine by doing it around the same time every day.

To get started, find a comfortable seat. Sit in an upright position, with your feet beneath your hips, whether that’s on a chair or couch. Make sure that your feet touch the ground; if they don’t, rest them on a box, pillow or rolled-up blanket. Then follow Thorp’s simple meditation:

First round
Follow your inhale and think “just.”
Follow your exhale and think “one.”
Follow your inhale and think “just.”
Follow your exhale and think “two.”
Repeat until you reach 10.

Second round:
Follow your inhale and think “this.”
Follow your exhale and think “one.”
Follow your inhale and think “this.”
Follow your exhale and think “two."
Repeat until you reach 10.

Third round:
Follow your inhale and think “just.”
Follow your exhale and think “this.”
Repeat until you reach 10, or set a timer for a designated amount of time.

Tip! Can’t stop thinking about your to-do list or getting distracted by nearby noises? That’s only natural. “Meditation isn’t about stopping your thoughts,” says Thorp. “It’s about finding the stillness and silence between them.” If your attention drifts away, that’s okay, she says. “Let it go without judgment or expectations, and return to the mantra and breath.”

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Expert Q & A with Rael Isacowitz

Q. I’ve been dealing with a lot of stress lately! Do you recommend any Pilates moves to calm down?

A. Stress is a silent enemy. In fact, I would say that it’s public enemy number 1! Endless research shows the detrimental effects it has on our bodies and well-being. Yet we allow it into our lives at an ever-increasing rate. Stress grows gradually, so we rarely recognize how deeply embedded it has become until we’re in an advanced state.

One of the best ways of dealing is with Pilates. We all find our own paths to release tension and, as I often say, “Pilates is for anyone, but not for everyone.” Some may prefer a run, bike ride, swim or hike. After all, any type of physical activity can reduce stress. But I personally gain the most from Pilates: The method has the potential to have far-reaching effects if the mind is integrated into the work.

The movement principles, as discussed in my book Pilates (Human Kinetics) and as taught in the BASI approach, address the mind and body. They give the workout a meditative quality. The flow equates to the flow of energy within the body, while the focus on the breath oxygenates the body and promotes relaxation. The economy of movement allows us to move efficiently while conserving energy.

This all said, there are certain moves that seem to be more conducive to releasing stress. Here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order: Pelvic Curl (Mat), Roll-Up (Mat), Twist (Mat), Double-Leg Kick (Mat), Tower (Cadillac), Hanging Back (Cadillac), Push Through Sitting Forward and Sitting Back (Cadillac), Semi-Circle (Reformer), Down Stretch (Reformer), Mermaid (Reformer), Pulling Straps (Reformer), Side Stretch (Wunda Chair), Swan on Floor (Wunda Chair) and Reach (Spine Corrector).

Finally, if I sit at a desk for hours, there is a strong likelihood that I will feel high levels of stress at the end of the day. But when I’m moving all day, I may feel fatigue—but not stress. So, even if it’s only for 15 minutes, be sure to move. For one crazy moment, let’s imagine that everyone on this planet did a 15-minute Pilates mat session every day. Would this not be a better world?


Rael Isacowitz, MA, has been practicing Pilates for more than 35 years and is recognized internationally as an expert in the field. In 1989, Rael founded BASI Pilates®, a comprehensive Pilates education organization represented throughout the world. Rael has authored two books, Pilates and Pilates Anatomy (co-authored with Karen Clippinger) and well as a series of training manuals. He has been featured in a DVD series, created the groundbreaking software, Pilates Interactive, and designed a line of Pilates equipment, the AVALON System. For more information, visit www.basipilates.com.

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Close-Up: Swan on the Reformer Long Box

By Julie Driver; Photos by Rod Foster

In the March/April issue of Pilates Style, London-based Pilates teacher Julie Driver shared the routine that allowed her to recover from a skiing accident. Left with shattered bones in her leg, Driver used a variety of exercises to regain lower-body and spinal strength. The following two bonus moves deliver even more benefits.

Prop: Long Box
Setting: light-medium
Purpose: promotes scapular stability, spinal articulation and hip mobility
Setup: Lie facedown on the Long Box with your head toward the footbar. Keeping your legs hip-width apart, lift your upper body, leaving your lower ribs on the Box. Place both hands on the footbar shoulder-width apart, elbows bent.

1. Inhale, straightening your arms so that the carriage moves out.
2. Exhale, extending your spine and keeping your arms straight. The carriage will move back toward the footbar.
3. Inhale, pushing the carriage out as you return your spine to neutral on the Long Box.
4. Exhale, bending your arms to return the carriage. Do 6–8 reps.

Modification: Keep the spinal extension smaller so that your lower ribs stay in contact with the Box.

Advanced: Lower the footbar and progress to full Swan.


Long Box
Setting: light
Purpose: enhances spinal mobility and stability as well as scapular stability
Setup: Same as in previous.

1. Inhale, straightening your arms so that the carriage moves out.
2. Exhale, taking your right off of the bar and circling it around to your side.
3. Inhale, bending your left arm.
4. Exhale, straightening your left arm.
5. Repeat the bending and straightening move for 5 reps.
6. Inhale, keeping your left arm straight and circling your right arm back onto the bar.
7. Exhale, bending both arms and returning the carriage.
8. Do steps 1–7 on your other side, with your right arm on the bar and left arm by your side. Do 6 reps.

Tips: Focus on making sure your spine stays still as your arm bends and straightens. There should be no spinal flexion, rotation or lateral flexion.

Modification: Don’t circle your arm to the side. Instead, place your hand in a “salute” position alongside your forehead.

In 2001, Julie completed her training with Body Central in London, England. She went on to earn both Studio and Matwork Master certifications and is now a senior member of the Body Control Pilates Education Tutor Team. Julie enjoys working with clients of all ages and fitness levels, ranging from sports professionals and performing artists to desk-bound professionals and clients looking to improve their general fitness. Julie is based in London at her own studio in Highgate, North London, and at the Body Control Pilates HQ in Bloomsburg, Central London. Julie is also the mother of three-year-old twins. For more information, visit www.juliedriverpilates.com.

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Rise and Shine!

Yes, we all know that breakfast is important: Research shows that it can give you more energy and might even fend off weight gain. But the reality is that mornings are hectic, and it’s all too easy to rush out of the house without eating a bite. In fact, about 10 percent of Americans don’t eat a morning meal.

The solution: Spend a little time doing prep work on your day off, and you can feast on freshly baked granola, muffins and even a homemade fruit crisp throughout the week. These easy, healthy and delicious recipes are guaranteed to make your mornings a whole lot brighter.

Roasted Hazelnut Granola
This homemade granola is healthier, cheaper and tastier than store-bought. Store it in an airtight container for up to three weeks, and then serve it with yogurt and fresh fruit during the week.
(Serves 4–5)

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, plus more for greasing
2/3 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
1½ cups rolled oats
¼ cup coconut flour
¼ cup almond meal
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ cup agave nectar
1/3 cup dried cherries

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a baking sheet with oil. Spread the hazelnuts on the baking sheet and bake until toasted and golden, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, coconut flour, almond meal and nutmeg. Stir in the agave and 2 tablespoons oil. Spread the mixture evenly on the same baking sheet.
3. Bake until golden and dry, about 30 minutes. Stir in the cherries and hazelnuts and let cool completely.

Excerpted from Pure Food Cookbook by Veronica Bosgroff, copyright © 2015. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.

Rhubarb Breakfast Crisp
Bake up this showstopping dish for a Sunday brunch, then divvy up the leftovers for a beginning-of-the-week treat.
(Serves 4–6)

Grapeseed oil for greasing
½ cup plus 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce, divided
2/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1½ tablespoons tapioca starch
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 rhubarb stalks, sliced ¼ inch thick
2 Fuji or Rome apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 cup organic granola, homemade or store-bought

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch pie dish with oil and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine ½ cup of the applesauce, the maple syrup, lemon juice, tapioca starch and cinnamon. Add the rhubarb and apples, and toss well. Transfer to the prepared pie dish, cover loosely with foil, and put the pie dish on a baking sheet.
3. Bake until bubbly, 30–35 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, combine the granola and remaining 1/3 cup applesauce in a small bowl. Remove the foil from the pie dish and sprinkle the granola mixture over the top of the rhubarb. Return to the oven and cook, uncovered, until the topping is lightly golden, about 12 minutes.
5. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Excerpted from Pure Food Cookbook by Veronica Bosgroff, copyright © 2015. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.


Baked Millet, Apple and Raisin “Cupcakes”
These “cupcakes” make the perfect grab-and-go breakfast. Filled with whole grains, fruit and nuts, they’ll keep you full all morning long. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days, or in the freezer for up to three months; just let them thaw for one to two hours before serving.
(Makes 12 cupcakes)

1½ cups unsweetened apple juice
2 large tart-sweet apples (such as Gala, Braeburn or Golden Delicious), peeled and shredded
1 cup millet (or amaranth or quinoa)
¾ cup raisins or other chopped dried fruit
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons warmed virgin coconut oil (or olive oil)
½ cup chopped toasted nuts or seeds, optional

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the apple juice to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and stir in the apples, millet, raisins, salt and coconut oil; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Uncover and stir in the nuts, if using.
2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Divide the millet mixture equally among the prepared muffin cups.
3. Bake for 25–30 minutes, until the tops are pale golden and slightly puffed. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then transfer to the rack to cool completely.

Courtesy of Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook by Camilla V Saulsbury, 2015 © www.robertrose.ca. Reprinted with publisher permission.


Moist Zucchini Quick Bread
Start your day with a serving of veggies plus protein with this quinoa-packed loaf. Store in an airtight container in the fridge, or double the recipe and stash the extra slices in the freezer.
(Makes 1 loaf)

1 cup quinoa flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons butter or coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and grease a loaf pan. In a large bowl, mix together the quinoa flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a food processor, combine the quinoa, sugar, eggs, butter or coconut oil and vanilla until smooth.
2. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir until mixed. Fold in the zucchini, and then pour the batter into greased loaf pan.
3. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out relatively clean.

Excerpted with permission from Quintessential Quinoa Desserts by Abigail R. Gehring. Copyright 2015, Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

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In this issue
Spring Clean the Smart Way
Meditate on This
Expert Q & A with Rael Isacowitz
Close-Up: Swan on the Reformer Long Box
Rise and Shine!
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