I’m thrilled to welcome Jennifer Reed (lovingly known as Reed) to the studio. She’s a comprehensively trained Pilates Instructor through Balanced Body, and not only is she Spiral Spine Pilates’ newest teacher, but she is also launching our newest class: 12pm on Mondays. With many classes filling up recently, I’m thrilled to bring you this new, lunchtime opportunity.
Reed initially fell in love with Pilates when she saw the impact it had on her core strength. However, after committing herself to a regular, daily practice she realized the immense benefits it had for her emotional health. She’s ready to support others as they move toward both mind and body healing through movement practice.
Below she shares some of her favorite Pilates exercises for mental health and physical well-being. I hope you’ll try her class soon.
Pilates has helped me in so many ways mentally and physically. When I go in for a lesson, I know I’ll have an hour to myself where I can listen to my body and cancel out the noise. I gravitate towards exercises that are layered, both with choreography and cues, because they help ground me and allow me to be present in the moment. These are some of my favorite Pilates exercises for mental health, both to teach and to practice. Get ready to challenge both your mind and your body!
Coordination is one of my all time favorite Pilates exercises because it starts out as one fluid motion, but then breaks down into several precise components. The concentration required to execute the sequence of the components makes Coordination a great way to enhance the mind-body connection. It’s also a fantastic way to strengthen your abdominals and challenge pelvic stability.
To start, lay on your back on the Reformer with your hands in the short straps, your elbows bent and planted down on the carriage, and your legs in tabletop. Exhale as you simultaneously straighten your arms, extend your legs, and lift your upper body into the Hundred position. Separate your legs, and then bring them back together. End the exercise one motion at a time: bend your knees back into tabletop, bend your elbows, and lower your head down to the headrest. It takes some mental focus—and that’s why I love it!
Standing Arms – Facing Away on the Cadillac
This exercise is so much fun and accessible to most everyone. It is a great way to challenge balance and strengthen scapular stability. I love that the wide variety of exercises here keeps me focused on where my arms are in space and how I’m moving them. While some movements are choreographically simple, the more difficult ones require my full attention.
To start, face away from the Cadillac with the handles connected to the yellow springs in your hands. Leaning slightly into the springs, you will fight to maintain torso alignment as you move your arms through the choreography. You’ll feel like you’re flying! You can start with simple arm circles and move on to more advanced choreography like Twist and Butterfly.
Swan on the Chair
Before I became an instructor, I used to hate doing extension work. I was all about forward flexion, and my rounded shoulders really reflected that bias. Now I understand that extension is a very important spinal movement that everyone should be doing more of, especially if you work on a computer. I’ve learned to love Swan on the Chair because it forces me to get out of my head and focus on Pilates, otherwise I lose grip of that pedal!
To perform it, rest your pelvis on the Chair with your hands on the pedal. Inhale as you let the pedal come up. Your shoulder blades will glide down your back as your heart opens in front of you. It’s bliss.
I love helping people find the mind-body connection with Pilates and look forward to helping all of Spiral Spine Pilates’ clients experience the benefits Pilates can have on their mental and physical health. Come see me in the studio soon!