I’m excited to welcome Sarah Case to the teaching staff of Spiral Spine Pilates. Sarah is a Balanced Body comprehensively trained Pilates instructor and nonpartisan political analyst. Sarah originally came to Pilates years ago in hopes of alleviating low back pain. She quickly became enamored with the many benefits of a regular Pilates practice as it combatted the immobility and imbalances acquired from her desk job. Little did she know that Pilates would play a new role in her life, years later, when it helped her recover from two abdominal surgeries for severe endometriosis. As she regained control of her post-surgical body, she rediscovered what Joseph Pilates called “the complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit” from the most fundamental exercises on up. Her passion for Pilates grew through this process of healing, as did her understanding of how the method offers so much for every body, at any stage, and an interest in teaching blossomed. Sarah’s sharp mind and keen eye for alignment roots her teaching style in aiding clients along their Pilates journey.
Sarah will be offering weekday evening group and private classes as well as weekend privates. Welcome to the team, Sarah!
Below, Sarah shares more of her personal Pilates journey and her favorite exercises for keeping her body moving.
I’m thrilled to join the team at Spiral Spine Pilates. For years, I was a happy Pilates client taking evening classes to strengthen and mobilize my body after long days sitting at a desk. Though I loved my practice, I never imagined that I could be a Pilates instructor.
Then I got sick and underwent two abdominal surgeries in 13 months. The aftermath of the illness and treatment — sticky abdominal tissue, tight hips, pelvic imbalances, and persistent pain — left me feeling frustrated and disconnected from my body. I turned to Pilates to safely rehab and rediscover my mind-body connection. As I healed through movement, I became even more passionate about Pilates and the benefits it offers to all bodies, in any phase of life.
My challenges turned into blessings because they led me to teacher training with Erin. Combining my personal Pilates journey with comprehensive training through Balanced Body has shown me how to serve all clients at any stage of their own journeys. My mission is to empower clients and assist them to achieve their unique goals through effective, safe, and fun movement.
These exercises are some of my all-time favorites because they do double duty for my body, energize sleepy muscles after the work day as well as address my post-surgical imbalances. Try them out at home if you have equipment or spend some extra time playing around with them the next time you’re in the studio.
Hip Mobility Series
The Step Barrel is one of my favorite pieces of Pilates equipment, because it provides amazing feedback for a variety of exercises. Lay on the Step Barrel in a gentle spinal inversion where your pelvis is near the top of the barrel. Feel the support your pelvis receives. Hold on to the side of the Step Barrel and try different exercises with your legs here: scissors, bicycles, leg circles, and frog. In scissors and bicycles encourage your bottom leg to drop down allowing a stretch in tight hip flexors and your top leg to come further up to encourage a hamstring stretch. In leg circles allow the legs to go wide to the side to receive an inner thigh stretch. If your pelvis starts to tilt out of neutral alignment, feel it against the firm foam of the arc and realign it.
Pulling Straps Series
When I spend the day sitting at a computer, the back of my body is inactive. The Pulling Straps Series forces my back side to wake up and work! With the Long Box on the Reformer and 1 red spring hooked on, lie on the box and choke up on the straps. Engage your shoulder blade stabilizers, glutes, hamstrings, and spinal extensors to keep your body lifted up as your pull your arms down by your side. It may look like simple arm work, but there’s a lot more happening if you want to keep proper alignment.
The exercise Tower holds a special place in my heart because it was the first advanced exercise I was able to perform after my surgeries. Lie on your back under the push-through bar sprung from below. As you push the bar up with your feet, sleepy glutes and hamstrings must fire in order to come and balance on the shoulder blades. The abdominals are also active here, providing the control needed to slowly roll the trunk back down for a delicious spinal stretch.
Seated Mermaid on the Chair
Mermaid feels wonderful on any piece of equipment, but performing it on the Chair is a great place to find proper seated body alignment, which reminds me to not slump in front of my computer. Sit on the Chair facing sideways with your outside leg anchored on the floor like a kickstand. Push the peddle down to enjoy the delicious side-body stretch. The obliques on the side of the outstretched leg receive a stretch in the side bend, but then re-engage and work to pull up the body back up to a starting position. Enjoy the sneaky oblique work!