For more than a decade, I’ve had twice-weekly Pilates sessions with Juan Williams of Uncle Joe’s Pilates Studio (UncleJoesPilates.com). During tough times in my life – and my pregnancy – Juan was a lifeline. He knows what my body needs and helps me move it correctly into the movements and positions that will most help – and not harm – my body.
In times like these, he and partner Larry Gibas encourage everyone to move their bodies, preferably outside or near a window, in their most favorite ways. Whether that means dancing, walking, having a tickle fest with a little one or pet, just get your body moving. While you’re at it, incorporate some squats, or, if you’re like me and prefer to harken back to your ballet days, pliés, while brushing your teeth, cooking, etc. Also, try every day to make time to stretch your body. We’re sitting and moving in ways we’re not used to – possibly much more sitting, laying and slouching than usual. So, make sure to stretch so you don’t shrink! He cautions to make sure to pull in your core when bending, lifting and stretching – now isn’t the time to injure yourself.
Juan and I are keeping our twice-weekly schedule virtually, doing classes through Zoom! I never thought I’d be the person to get excited about working out, but not only is it nice to move my body in a way it remembers, it’s even better to push myself a bit knowing that Juan is making sure I won’t hurt myself. It’s also really nice to see his smiling face!
One Pilates basic move is perfect for days spent working from home: the wall stretch.
Note: This exercise is very deceptive. You should move very slowly, feeling each and every vertebra, and your abs should be shaking by the time you’re done.
- Stand tall against a wall.
- Walk your feet out about 6-10 inches from the wall.
- Pull in your core. Pull down your shoulders.
- Let your arms hang freely at your sides.
- As you exhale, roll your chin to your chest and slowly – very slowly – peel your spine off the wall, vertebra by vertebra.
- Feel as if you’re lengthening your spine as you roll down. Pull in your core even more. Relax your neck and shoulders (the hardest part for me!).
- Only roll down as far as feels comfortable – don’t push it. If you feel like your legs are too tight, you can even bend your knees a little.
- When you get to your lower back, pay close attention. You want to stop before your back tries to arch off the wall, and don’t let your hips move or leave the wall.
- As you inhale, start slowly rolling back up.
- Pull in your core even more as you go.
- Start with your pelvis and feel every inch of your spine gluing itself to the wall.
- Make sure to keep your shoulders down and relaxed!
Repeat four times and enjoy!