One instructor tells the tale of her first virtual class.
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If you’re like just about everyone I know right now, all this time at home has you wondering how you’ll keep up with your exercise regimen while your favorite gym and yoga studio are temporarily closed. And if you take a step back, turn inwards, you might just realize that this might be the perfect time to consider a new type of workout—maybe even one that you were always too intimidated to try.
For me, Pilates is that workout. At a skinny 6’4”, I’d given up hope that I’ll ever touch my toes, and “muscle” isn’t really a word people use when describing me—so learning about Pilates gives me a newfound sense that those goals are actually achievable.
Newbies like me often pronounce it wrong (typically, a variation of “pirates”), and at first glance, the equipment look like medieval torture devices more apt to draw and quarter me than whip me into shape. (Editor's note: I will confirm this as that is how it appears to me as well.)
Pilates doesn’t date back to the Middle Ages, but it is an older methodology, practiced for more than 100 years since its founding by Joseph (you guessed it) Pilates. He called it “Contrology” to denote controlled movements that, when performed properly, can do wonders for your flexibility, tone and build muscle, and improve balance and endurance. It’s now taught and practiced across the globe, with instructors devoting over 500 hours to their certification.
The family of Pilates styles features two main methodologies:
Classical preserves the original method invented by Joseph Pilates—the traditional repertoire, sequencing, and equipment progression. For the purists out there, this is THE way that Pilates was meant to be taught.
Contemporary blends Classical with other disciplines like yoga and fitness training, incorporating modern Pilates equipment as well as props such as foam rollers and balls. This system operates from a thorough understanding of the traditional repertoire of the classical system, supplemented with a modern-day understanding of kinesiology and often more creative, less regimented, forms of movement. As a veteran instructor I know put it, “Think jazz improv rooted in classical music understanding.”
Both Classical and Contemporary Pilates incorporate specialized equipment such as the Reformer, Tower, Cadillac, Arc Barrel, and Wunda Chair. But don’t call them machines! Seasoned Pilates aficionados refer to them as “apparatus,” the term Pilates himself used to describe the unique equipment Pilates requires.
Which style you choose is up to you, but the overall goal is the same: core strength, spinal flexibility, balance, and generally improved health.
You don’t need a Reformer to try Pilates from your living room, but if you’re new to the discipline, having some expert instruction can go a long way toward making sure you’re doing it right and avoiding injury. Creative businesses are providing a slew of ways for their clients to keep up their fitness routines at home, and many offer video-on-demand and live streaming classes. You can find them through the Mindbody app or on Mindbody.io—search for terms like “virtual,” “on demand,” and “livestream.”
Seek out a studio and instructors that are BASI, STOTT, PMA, or otherwise certified, with a comprehensive 500 hour+ certification. They can introduce you to the repertoire in an informed and educated way, one where you can keep your body safe and supported as you come to learn the expansive nature of the system—some call it the “Pilates secret.” There are also lots of Pilates fusion classes out there, which may be a great place to start if you have a yoga background—these classes focus on simpler movements. For those, you'd look for instructors with an AFAA or NASM certification and a Pilates specialization.
You’ll probably need a few key props to start practicing Pilates at home, such as a mat (usually thicker and larger than a yoga mat), a few light weights, and some resistance bands. As you grow into your practice, you may graduate to more specialized pieces like the magic circle (an exercise ring made of flexible metal or rubber).
Grab your props and pull up a video from one of the Pilates studios on the app, or sign up for a live streaming class—and before you can say “dorsiflexion” you’ll be performing single leg stretches, teasers, and pelvic curls in the comfort of your own home. With well-educated instructors that are skilled in teaching mat work (the most advanced form of Pilates), you can start to break down the basic principles of the Pilates system.
Before you can say “dorsiflexion” you’ll be performing single leg stretches, teasers, and pelvic curls in the comfort of your own home.
Trying a new workout at home can be ideal because it builds your confidence and gives you a chance to get the hang of it before showing up to an in-person class. Because, let’s face it—not all of us want to be the fresh face in class, mistaking a Reformer for a rowing machine.
If you’re one of the millions under mandated work from home you may have already noticed that means cooking every meal, taking out the trash more often and, if you’re like us, remodeling your space into a home office/gym every day. With all of this change, it could be pretty challenging to maintain your wellness routine. Here at Mindbody, we’re thinking about well-being beyond the limitations of mental and physical health, including the environmental dimension of wellness. Spending more time at home means more time to make mindful choices of what you invite into your space.
Small changes to your at-home routine can have a major impact on the health of oceans, farms, and life on earth. Sustainable choices look a little different to each of us, so we rounded up a few of our favorite ways to make a positive impact on our planet from the comfort of your own home.
Aromatherapy can change the entire vibe of a space but burning through candles can happen quickly and recycling them can be a process. Just a few drops of your favorite essential oils go a long way in a diffuser meaning they’ll last you a really long time and customize your scents. Plus, diffusers oftentimes dupe as a humidifier helping to heal dry skin and even prevent airborne viruses!
You know that yoga teacher 3 towns over that melts every ounce of stress away, but it takes an hour in traffic and a half a tank of gas to get to? Virtual fitness is stepping in to bring your favorite instructors to your living room without having to burn the gas to get there. Community is a core part of fitness and our social wellness relies on staying connected right now. Invite your workout buddy to tune in, roll out your mat, turn on your essential oil diffuser and press play to recreate the essence of your favorite studios right in your living room.
Houseplants can purify the air in your home, improve your productivity levels by 15% and can even evoke a sense of calm into your space. Sure, the countless benefits don’t suppress the fear of failing to keep your plant baby alive (don’t worry, we’ve all had a failed attempt). To be sure to commit to caring for plants that enjoy being in your home as much as you enjoy having them there, choose wisely. If you live in a seasonal regional, maybe don’t invite that cactus under your watch and welcome in a fiddle leaf fig instead.
Start with one of these indoor-friendly ferns: philodendron, snake plant, zz plant, spider plant, rubber tree.
Create a dedicated “office” oasis.: Now that commuting is a thing of the past, mama earth is saying thanks for reducing pollution. Woohoo! Working from home comes with some hurdles, though. It can have us toeing the line between answering emails and binging your new Netflix obsession. But the couch just won’t cut it as a productivity throne. Dedicate a sacred space for work to keep that work-life balance in check.
Go around the house and collect all the plastic you have in a box, this includes your hand soap, shampoo, that extra set of take-out utensils, toothpaste, zip lock bags, the list goes on. Each time one of those items runs out, replace it with an eco-friendly alternative like a shampoo bar, silicone zip bags, and bamboo travel utensils.
Pro-Tip: Hang onto glass jars from finished kitchen items, like peanut butter, jam and mayo. When you’re shopping, go for the products that come in glass so you can compile a collection without dishing out more $$$ on glass containers.
From mason jars to hemp produce bags, there are so many options for swapping your plastic containers for sustainable storing.
Hint: Keep your reusable bags by your door so you don’t forget them when you go to the grocery store or if you’re packing to bring items out to a gathering.
Many studies showcase the positive environmental impact that a plant-based diet poses. If you’re not ready to go full vegan yet, start with small swaps of the plant versions of your household staples. Here are a few of our favorite substitutes that could easily pass for the “real thing.”
Oat milk – the creamiest of all the non-dairy milk goes to oats, making it a perfect swap in your coffee and nut-allergy friendly.
Butter – Margarine has been a plant-based secret for years. We also love Miyokos butter, which truly skates by as the real thing when slathered on a slice of toast.
Mayo – Eggless mayonnaise works wonders and can bring dairy-free creaminess to spreads and salad dressings. Plus, many brands come in glass jars!
Plant Protein Powder – With plenty of options on the market, you’re sure to find a flavor that will add some power to your smoothies without empowering greenhouse gas emissions.
Eggs – When baking, you can substitute eggs for flax ‘eggs'! 1 tbsp flaxseed meal + 2.5 tbsp water = 1 egg.
Did you know that you can request your Amazon orders to be plastic-free with minimal packaging? Just follow these simple steps:
Collectively, devices plugged in on sleep mode can rack up $19 billion in electricity costs worldwide. Things like your toaster oven, blender, and cell phone charger can save some serious electricity if you unplug them when they’re idle. Put those pennies back in your pocket and save the planet while doing so.
This is a two in one. Giving your curtains a break is not only an easy way to minimize electricity usage, but it can also be great for your overall wellness. Natural light can be an awesome mood improver, productivity booster, and sleep aid.
Keep up the momentum of greener living by trying more virtual classes on Mindbody. Even swapping out one car trip to your favorite studio for a virtual class can have a lasting impact on this planet. Share more ways you're going green right now on Instagram and tag @mindbody! We'll share the love.