Just like my gardens in the spring, my staff has been growing recently. I’m excited to introduce you to my newest hire, Tammy Wilson. In addition to being a Pilates teacher, Tammy is a certified Y12SR yoga instructor, which aids in healing trauma and addiction. She is also a barre and vinyasa yoga instructor and has studied yin yoga and the anatomy of breathing in yoga. Prior to pursuing a career as a movement professional she was an occupational therapy assistant. Tammy brings the breadth of her career to her Pilates teaching practice and has a deep desire to help all people live a more free and fulfilling life. You can read her full bio here.
Tammy was introduced to Pilates after challenging postpartum issues following the delivery of her second child. Pilates allowed her to continue her physical therapy regimen and healing process with the aid of feedback and resistance from Pilates equipment. Below Tammy discusses this journey in detail and shares her favorite Pilates exercises for postpartum recovery.
You’ll find Tammy in the studio on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
I found Pilates through pelvic rehab in physical therapy. After having baby number two, I was in pain and unable to enjoy my yoga practice, running, or even pushing my new baby in the stroller. I love to move, so this was a heartbreaking development for me. Unwilling to live a sedentary life of pain, I began physical therapy. My PT was also a Pilates instructor and introduced me to my first Reformer exercises. The Reformer gave my postpartum body important feedback, and I was able to find new strength and alignment in my body. After meeting my PT goals, I began practicing Pilates regularly. I found a regular Pilates practice to be the key to support my mind body connection that allowed me to keep me moving in life.
Below are a few exercises I use to keep my spine feeling mobile, pelvis more stable, and hip flexors more open and flexible.
Kneeling Roll Downs Seated on a Ball on the Tower
Start kneeling, facing trap tower, and place a ball about 10 inches in diameter between the ankles and sit on it. Grab the outside of the roll down bar. Begin posteriorly tilting pelvis, engage abdominals, and roll back while keeping the arms straight. At the bottom, tuck the chin to roll back up to start position. Feel free to add arm work at the bottom of each rep. Perform 3-6 reps.
I like to use this exercise towards the beginning of my workout to help find length in my hip flexors and mobility in my spine. Adding the ball allows my pelvis to initiate the roll down with more freedom and ease. Give it a try and see what freedom you find!
Circle Saw on the Tower
Begin on the table facing the push-through bar with your feet against the uprights, right hand on push-through bar, and left hand holding the right upright. Inhale to prepare, and on the exhale, press the push-through bar up to stretch the side of the torso. Inhale and sweep the left hand towards the left foot and keep circling the arm out and around until the torso is leaning back away from bar. The right arm will lower with the push-through bar. Exhale and continue circling around until your left arm has completed a full circle and has met the right hand on the upright bar. Carefully reverse the motion until you’re back at the start position. Repeat two more times on same side, then repeat on the other side. Remember to keep even weight on your sit bones to keep pelvis stable.
Circle saw helps me lengthen my hamstrings and provides me with an intense release in my thoracolumbar fascia. I also absolutely love the combination of the spinal stretch and active spinal rotation that I get during this exercise.
Bridging on Reformer
With the Reformer on three red springs, lay down on your back on the with head on headrest (keep the headrest flat) and place your heels on the footbar, hip width apart. On the exhale, engage abdominals and roll the pelvis up off carriage lifting the spine one vertebrae at a time till you reach the bottom of your shoulder blades. Keep the carriage clicked home. Inhale at the top then exhale to roll spine down one vertebrae at a time. Aim for 4-6 reps.
Since having my last child, bridging has helped me regain strength and balance between my abdominals and my lower back.
Have you used Pilates to recover from birth? If so, I’d love to hear your favorite Pilates exercises for postpartum bodies. I look forward to seeing you in the studio soon!