Body Image and Pilates

Body Image and Pilates


body image

It’s hard being a woman these days. Maybe it has always been hard, but it seems to me that things are getting a lot more difficult. Despite many of the advances made by the feminist movement and by a better educated collective group of women, the pressure to look a certain way is stronger than ever. Thanks to photo shop, cosmetic surgery, injections and weight loss diets, women feel an even greater need to look –well- – perfect. Having a destructive body image with an ever growing desire to look better and thinner is a side effect of this pressure. Some women have the confidence to ignore the images while others become victims of it. Which one are you?

Everyone knows that sex sells and using beautiful women to sell a product or service has been around forever. That may never change. Yet how do we deal with the negative feelings that occur because of this high bar and because so many women cannot possibly look that good? Recently I posted the following on Facebook “You will never look like the girl in the magazine. The girl in the magazine doesn’t even look like the girl in the magazine”!! Is it possible to keep this in mind?

A friend of mine who is also a Pilates teacher once told me that she suffered for many years with a body image problem. “Everyone told me I was ugly and that if I didn’t do something about it I’d never have a boyfriend or get married” she confided in me. “Yet when I discovered Pilates and then became a teacher,” she continued, “I felt so good about my body that I completely forgot about what people used to say. “I found her words to be very informative on many levels. First of all, how did Pilates help her come to terms with these issues and how can I help others to overcome similar issues?

Women have to ask themselves questions regarding the pressure to look a certain way. Should they buy into all the hype of using the right skin cream or shampoo? Should they spend several month’s income on plastic surgery? Or, should they look to Pilates as one way to improve on their body image?  My vote is for Pilates.

Pilates is so much more than a series of exercises that gives one a bikini ready body or flat abs. It can do that too, but the benefits of Pilates go much deeper than 6-pack abs. Pilates is what we call ‘intelligent’ exercise in that it is not fast moving, sloppy out of control movement. Yes, it can be fast moving but always with control. I always tell my clients ‘you’ are in control of the exercise the exercise is not in control of you. Pilates is helping you to create a conscious awareness of your body. Body & mind unite. This is empowerment!

It takes a little while to understand the method, but once you do it changes everything. What you learn in your Pilates class you take with you to your day to day life. Not only does one feel more energized after a Pilates class, but with a consistent practice posture improves, gait is more graceful, nagging back pain disappears and the body just feels so good that it’s impossible to not like yourself. Pilates changes everything for the better.

The ads, the pressure, the endless beauty products may never go away. Yet if women can learn to embrace their beauty by learning to move better and to feel better, we can finally say we’ve made progress in this constant battle. Now that’s truly beautiful.

We have a choice:  Let the endless media pressure to look a certain way affect us or, find a method like Pilates to not only make us look better, but to also give us the confidence to ignore all the noise.  What would you choose?


This article was a joint effort between Devra Swiger of Ab~Solutely Pilates  and myself as we both feel passionately about this topic.

Workplace Exercise Program

Workplace exercise program the Pilates way!

Work is tough.  Sitting all day, working at the computer, reading emails is very hard on the body.  A day at the desk can translate into low energy, fatigue and often minor to severe back pain.  The sad thing is that even with 8 or more hours a day at work, all that sitting makes employees less productive.  People need to move!   Movement is what keeps employees not only more productive, but happier and more energetic. A workplace exercise program if handled correctly can mean a huge boost to employee productivity.

There are many benefits to offering a workplace exercise program. Here are a few:

1) Employees who don’t have time to workout are now able to do so.

2) Produces a healthier and fitter workplace

3) Fewer sick days for employees (because of number 2)

4) Increased productivity

5) A competitive benefit to offer to new hires and to keep current employees engaged.

Pilates mat work lends itself well to an in office fitness program.  First of all, to teach a group mat class all one needs is a large enough space and a mat.  That’s it.  Another great benefit of teaching a Pilates mat class is that even though it is a thorough and intense work-out, employees can go right back to work.  Some work-outs are so intense and so sweaty that employees need to shower and clean up making it difficult to squeeze the session in on a lunch break.

The mat class can be done in less than 50 minutes giving the employees enough time to get back to their desks. It can be offered at lunch time or, with time and commutes permitting, at the end of the work day.

A colleague of mine teaches two mat Pilates classes at a medium size company. The classes are held in a conference room and each student is responsible for bringing his or her own mat.   Management discovered even after a short time that the students came back from class refreshed, eager to get back to work and in a better mood.   She offers her classes around the lunch hour so that employees get a nice break from work and don’t have to come in early or leave late.  She tells me that management loves the way everyone comes back feeling so much more energized.  Even the management pops in from time to time and they too feel great.

There are two monetary ways to offer Pilates classes to employees:  One is to let the employees pay for the class and the second way is to have the company cover the cost of the class. Different session packages are available as well.

A Pilates mat class is the perfect program for employees.  It works the entire body and makes everyone feel like they just had their internal batteries recharged.  It’s a great way to keep everyone fit, healthy and happy.

For further information on how you can bring Pilates to your workplace please contact Susan Sommers at 646-382-7911.

Pilates Body NYC is the Upper West Side Pilates studio that come to you. We make Pilates convenient!

What Makes Pilates Different?

What Makes Pilates Different?

What makes Pilates Different?

Exercise is all the rage these days and there are more types of fitness fads than cable TV programs how does one know which one to choose?  Which program works best for me?  My personal pick is Pilates and the five reasons highlighted below explain why:


Upper West Side NYC Mat Pilates

Pilates Mat Class


1) Body Awareness:  Having body awareness is crucial in any fitness program.  So many fitness classes have people jumping around with poor form and the mind is completely tuned out.  Pilates is different because when you have to focus on any given movement the form improves immensely.  Without this key component, it is virtually impossible to improve your fitness level.


2) Control:  Before Pilates was called Pilates it was called Contrology or the science of control.  For example, when doing a typical crunch the abdominal muscles need to contract.  The student needs to learn how to control this movement and not just overwork the neck or hip flexors.  Pilates is all about learning control so that what needs to move moves and what needs to remain stable remains stable.  This allows for great results in both strength and flexibility training.


3) Safety:  Pilates when done the right way is a very safe exercise.  By working with a well trained instructor who knows what to do and what not to do the student can progress to higher levels without getting injured.  Too many vigorous exercise programs lack control and safety. Students often get injured and then lose several weeks if not more of training. How many times do you hear how someone hurt their shoulder or knee or lower back in a big group class?  When an injury occurs the student is set back a long time.  Pilates prevents this from happening because it is such a focused and controlled exercise method.


4) Balance:  Pilates is a wonderful exercise program to maintain balance.  When a body is out of balance, it is far more prone to injury.  For example, many times people complain that one leg is longer than another and that is why they have trouble doing certain exercises.  Most of the time, one leg really isn’t longer, but one hip is tighter and hiked up giving the appearance of a leg length discrepancy.  Over time, this can become a serious problem.  Pilates allows the body to return to a balanced state.  As the student becomes more aware of his or her body, he or she can correct certain movement patterns that lead to this imbalance.


5) Fountain of Youth:  Nothing changes the body like Pilates.  Nothing. Not only does it make the body look longer and leaner but it also allows for a more youthful gait.  When someone can stand up tall and move with grace and control, it takes years off their appearance.  Pilates can be a real fountain of youth.


Pilates is a fantastic base for all forms of movement in addition to being a perfect standalone exercise program.  Once you understand how to move and how to remain in control not only do you look and feel better, but all forms of exercise and movement become easier.


Pilates Body NYC is the Upper West Side Pilates studio that comes to you. We make Pilates convenient!

A Good Feeling Body

How would you like a good-feeling body? Of course you would!

The idea of “success,” for most people, revolves around money or the acquisition of property or other possessions, but we consider a state of joy as the greatest achievement of success. And while the attainment of money and wonderful possessions certainly can enhance your state of joy, the achievement of a good-feeling physical body is by far the greatest factor for maintaining a continuing state of joy and Well-Being. And so, there are few things of greater value than the achievement of a good-feeling body.


For me and for many that I teach Pilates to, it is more than an exercise method – it is a way of life. We take the ‘body awareness’ we learn in our practice and apply it to our daily lives.  We become more aware of some of the simplest of daily activities.  How we bend down, reach up, how we sit, and stand. Our good feeling body matters and we want to keep it that way.

Do you feel you’re too old to try Pilates? Don’t let your age stop you. No matter who you are, your age or what shape you are in Pilates can make a difference, it will help you achieve a good-feeling body.

Pilates Body NYC is the Upper West Side Pilates studio that comes to you. We make Pilates convenient. Give us a call today and start your journey. I would love to share my passion of Pilates with you.

Roll Out Your Pilates Mat

OK I know I have a prejudice for Pilates mat work after all it’s what I teach, but I can list very sound reasons for you to at least give it a try! So let’s roll out your Pilates mat and get started.


  1. New to Pilates or are you a beginner? Pilates fundamentals can be learned more easily on the mat. All the basics can be found in the mat work.
  2. You learn to use your own inner springs. It’s your body and the mat.
  3. Mat skills will be very helpful to you if you decide you want to work out on the equipment.
  4.  Looking for a challenge. Pilates on the mat is just that!
  5. It is easy to apply the Pilates principals to your mat work. Centering, concentration, control, breadth, precision and flow.
  6. Mat classes are more affordable than equipment classes and you will still get all the wonderful benefits that Pilates has to offer.
  7. Pilates mat work goes where you go. No excuses. No matter where you go in the world your Pilates mat practice goes with you.
  8. Pilates on the mat is more than exercise it’s a practice of self-awareness that you take with you from the mat to your everyday life.


Ready to give Pilates on the mat a try? Pilates Body NYC makes it simple and convenient. We are the NYC Upper West Side Pilates studio that comes to you. In-Home Pilates on the Pilates mat, Personal, Private, Focused & Effective. Let’s roll out your Pilates mat and get started! I look forward to sharing my passion of Pilates with you.

Workplace Posture

Many of us spend much of our day in an office which in turn makes our ‘Workplace Posture’ extra important. How you sit all day will have a direct effect on your body. If you sit incorrectly hour after hour how can you expect to stand correctly at the end of the day?! So lets take a look at how your workstation measures up.

Here is a checklist you can use as a guide

♦ Your Chair

Should support your lower back

Your feet should rest firmly on the ground (or footrest) slightly in front of you

♦ Your Monitor

Should be directly in front of you, at an arm’s length distance with your eyes at the same level as the tool bar

♦ Your Mouse

Should be positioned close to you near the edge of the desk

♦ Your Keyboard

Should be centered in front of you and near the edge of the desk

How do you know if you are sitting correctly?

Posture checklist

  • Is your back straight, maintaining all 3 natural curves of your spine
  • Is your weight distributed evenly on both hips
  • Is your head and neck aligned over your shoulders
  • Are you sitting back in your chair; being supported by the seat bac
  • Avoid sitting for long periods of time; get up from your chair often. Take a walk, and stretch.

Have you ever considered an exercise break for lunch?

Pilates which teaches you body awareness and how to move more efficiently can be your perfect answer.  Learn to use your deep core muscles – the abdominals, back, and pelvic floor – which support your posture this will allow your shoulders to relax, your neck and head to move more freely, and will relieve stress on the hips, legs, and feet.


Pilates Body NYC offers Pilates in your Workplace throughout New York City. Bring wellness and balance to your workplace with a Pilates break.

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