By Jenna Zaffino • Edited by Amanda Altman
I’ll never forget the day when my perfect “Pilates Castle” began to crumble. It was 2013, and I was teaching a 10-hour shift in my custom-designed studio. My last client had miraculously informed me that she had to end early, and my next client was notoriously 15 minutes late. I had a break! I grabbed my Tupperware of cold leftovers and my phone, and ran to the bathroom. I reasoned that I could answer at least two emails, eat and take care of my “needs” before my next client arrived. I shoveled my meal into my mouth and was just about to dive into emails when the door opened and I heard my client shriek: “Can you believe it?! It’s the first time I’ve ever been early.” I began to cry.
It was in this moment that I realized I was lost. I’d done everything I set out to accomplish professionally, yet I was totally burned out. I knew from the depths of my exhausted soul that whatever my future held, this pace was definitely unsustainable. I was also aware that changes would be necessary to shift away from this state. But where to start? …
Sneak peak of the exercises:
MAT: Single-Roller Bridging
WHY THE DUET’S A DO Increases awareness of the right/left hemispheres of the body for enhanced backline proprioception and spinal articulation during Bridge.
START Lie lengthwise along the DUET with your head on the headrest, spine resting in the crevice (between the rollers) and palms on the floor by your sides.
MOVE Tilt your hips toward your waistline to peel your body off the roller into Bridge. Tilt your right hip downward toward the right roller; starting at the tip of your right shoulder blade, roll down along the right roller only, connecting each aspect of your right side with the roller. Reverse the direction to roll up along the right roller, passing through each point of connection. Center your pelvis into Bridge. Do 3 reps on each side, finishing with a Roll-Up and -Down on both rollers to recenter your body.
TIPS Think of rolling down “one rib at a time” to feel the articulation of each section of your side body. Use the weight of your body to press the roller against the floor as you roll up and down for more feedback and weight transfer.
VARIATION After exploring both sides, try a Bridge that rolls up and down both rollers. Picture your spine reaching through the space between the rollers as you roll; enjoy the feedback that the sides of your backline receive.
MODIFICATION Omit the headrest to meet your own personal alignment needs, if applicable.