Saturday, October 25, 2014

8 Months Unplugged!

As of this week, I have been off social media (except this blog, if that counts ;) ) for EIGHT MONTHS! I cannot begin to verbalize how wonderful this decision has been for me in terms of my ability to focus and enjoy the life surrounding me. Additionally, I have stopped plugging in my headphones while out in public, so I can be truly observant of everything happening around me. I adore listening to music, but I've found it increasingly beneficial in Pilates and life in general, to rid myself of external distractions and stressors that take away from my ability to experience joy on a daily basis. Since I am unable to see the constant stream of social media updates that happen everyday, I am less exposed to the unnecessary and self deprecating comparisons one makes between themselves and their social media "friends."

I hope you are all able to access a place where you feel free (as much as you can be) from unneeded distraction and negativity.



Thursday, October 23, 2014

Keeping Motivated Through Self Encouragement

Hey All! It's been a while.

Tonight, I wanted to chat with you all about keeping motivated amid missteps and self-doubt. I have a habit of being extremely passionate about something for a short period of time, before fizzling out completely, and not finishing the project I worked so diligently to begin in the first place. With Pilates and with the structure of the apprenticeship program I'm in, I've had the opportunity to pursue an ambition that I have no plans of giving up as a result of the mental and physical gains I've made.

With practicing, observation, teaching, learning anatomy and doing side projects associated with the method, Pilates has become something more than a hobby, or even a career, but a way of life that has encouraged me to seek happiness and health for myself and others, above everything else. There are aspects of my Pilates education that I struggle with, but I take each challenge and eventual overcoming of said challenge as a deep and important accomplishment that propels me to continue to be a better student and teacher. It's hard not to be bogged down by what seem like cataclysmic failure, be it a bad day, a negative comment from a peer, etc. Because of this seemingly ever present anxiety, I've initiated a regimen of consistent self-encouragement, sometimes verbal, often mental, where I reinforce myself by remembering my strengths and talents and accepting my weaknesses and focusing on improvement. It's a sort of mantra I've taken on--part of a ritual that I hope will propel me to achieve my ultimate spiritual and physical objectives.

Whereas I've often looked at my artistic career and education with a competitive nature that is fueled by compliments and hindered by critiques, I refuse to let commentary or criticism keep me from reaching my ultimate short and long term goals in the realm of Pilates. Because of this, my attitude as a writer and artist has been more positive and less self-critical as of late.

At the end of the day, the end of my life, even, I know I will not regret or reflect heavily upon exact career moves I made, but rather on overall experiences I've had and the positive people and events that inspired me to become the person I am. This is the focus I will try to go into each day with. And I encourage you to do so as well.

Tease On, (for as long as you can :))

P.S. It makes me sad when I make a blog post with no pictures or visual stimulation, so here's a picture my friend took of me after I got my hands on some wild grapes. Soon I won't be able to visit my beautiful Central Park in all its green glory. I better enjoy it while it lasts!


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Teaser Thursday (Friday) (Sort of Saturday)

In front of you is the third (belated) edition of Teaser Thursday! Once again, I was practicing by myself, squeezing in a workout between commitments. Therefore, I had to use the mirror to take a picture of myself! It was a trick doing the exercise while positioning the phone camera with one of my hands, trying to maintain good form. After Marcelo's speciality devices workshop, I've been using the Magic Circle to create resistance and even more deeply condition the powerhouse.

The picture came out kinda spooky from all the mirrors next to one another. Early Halloween.

I've been improving my form after advice from my mentor and further practice everyday. Have a good night! Also, here's a belated photo of my shenanigans in Central Park on one of my days off.

Tease On,


Friday, October 17, 2014

Look for the FEEL--Body Image and Athleticism

Most of my friends are artists. In many ways, this creates stimulating, engaging conversation and interactions--where it facilitates issues, however, is in the realm of physical fitness.

An issue I see many people, including myself, struggling with, is body image in the face of exercise routines. It is typical to associate physical fitness and athleticism with the jocks in school that may have bullied you or the professional athletes who receive preferential treatment in the face of western culture and law. Frankly, exercise (to artists) can be looked at as an intellectually inferior activity. Because of this system of thought, it's difficult to convince my friends to help me practice on them, offering them free lessons that would normally cost a decent sum of money.

Such negative views toward exercise absorbed from culture and personal experience, as well as from the fear of not being physically fit or attractive enough to work out, can all but force someone like myself to close my eyes out of disgust as I walk past the gym.

I've always been athletic--I was a competitive cross country runner--but I felt left out of the "fit" club because I had a smaller build than most men. This was especially discouraging to me when I would exceed most of my team in speed and ability, yet didn't posses the right look to be considered cool enough to call myself an athlete openly. My point is--

SCREW anyone who makes you deem yourself not qualified, deserving, or good enough to work out. Pilates, as an example, is a complex and rewarding discipline that constantly engages the mind and body and helps people to arrive at a place where they feel physically fit, with the idea in mind that their practice will assist in the longevity and enjoyment of their lives.

Look for the feel.

Do the practice, be consistent, feel the rewards. I see it as detrimental to go into any workout regimen focused solely on achieving a look that our culture categorizes as conventionally attractive or correct at one moment in time. If you do your best to make your body feel better and work more effectively, the physical results will follow. Media representations of beauty change, feeling good is forever.

Different individuals have different bodies. Different bodies make different changes and in fact, change at different rates. Human bodies are constantly in flux as a result of puberty, pregnancy, working out, eating differently, etc. EMBRACE and LOVE those changes as they are ever present and natural.

Tease On (In The Face Of Adversity)



P.S. TEASER THURSDAY #teaserthursday (<------ can I even do that on this site?) will appear TOMORROW (Friday) as I was in the city all day and did not have a chance to tease!

Monday, October 13, 2014

~Speciality Devices~ Workshop with Marcelo!

This past Saturday, I made the trek into Westchester to my studio to observe a workshop on speciality Pilates devices with second generation instructor extraordinaire, Marcelo. Because of time constraints, the two and a half hour course was focused mainly on the magic circle (MC) and foot corrector (FC).

Many Pilates students and teachers have some knowledge of basic MC exercises, but Marcelo delved deeply into Joseph Pilates and Romana Kryzanowska's teachings in order to present some extremely helpful and extremely challenging workouts!

Some highlights: Marcelo introduced how to incorporate the MC into the Mat in order to challenge the existing intermediate/advanced workout. This includes resistance training on the hundred, roll up, roll over, double leg stretch, open leg rocker, corkscrew, neck pull, jack knife, side kicks, teaser 1-3 and hip circles. Marcelo stressed the importance of integrating the power house with the MC workouts in order to achieve the best results and add to deep conditioning of the Power House and upper and lower extremities.

The workouts alternated between putting the magic circle between the ankles, knees and hands--creating different resistance training in different areas.

Of course when it came time for the apprentices to volunteer, I just haaaad to do the teaser, which proved to be insanely difficult with the MC between my legs. Definitey something to work on!

Next, Marcelo introduced the MC when sitting and standing, using the arms and legs to demonstrate dance and gymnastics based positions to once again engage the powerhouse and strengthen the legs and arms. Even just doing these exercises slowly with the rest of the apprentices proved to be one of the hardest workouts I had done in a while.

On to foot corrector highlights. The focus here is on strength and placement of the feet and ultimately, balance. 

Using the two by four to demonstrate, Marcelo called on one of the apprentices that is a dancer to show the strength and balance required to do traditional wall exercises with no stability and with uneven or elevated surfaces.

All in all the day proved to be very educational and exciting. I can't wait to integrate these exercises later on in my instructor career in order to mix up practice and help to challenge myself and my students.

Also, Simona was a peach and brought in an amazing Italian spread for people taking the workshop.

Time and money well spent. Below is a photo of the food spread :)

Tease On! (Even with the magic circle)


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Mental Health Day/TEASER THURSDAY Round Two!

A little history to start us off--

I originally started practicing Pilates as a response to struggling through circumstances that I worried I'd never be able to improve. It wasn't until I made an active, risky decision to start driving my life in the direction I wanted it to go, that things started getting better. Pilates was and is an integral part of my mental health routine and it acts as a wonderful stress reliever when I feel things have become too much.

Deciding it was long overdue, I took a day trip to Central Park West to blow off steam. In addition to walking more than thirty blocks of the park, I found time to practice Pilates! And since it's Thursday, I made sure to throw in a teaser or two...or like twelve. I didn't have anyone to take pictures of me, so I had to do it all myself on my cheap little phone (I'm not a huge fan of tech, remember?)

I am so excited to share with you all how much doing Pilates outside can be SO rewarding. In addition to adding physical challenges to the routine from the varied terrain, there is something extra meditative and cleansing about being in nature and doing the routine! I'm also a fan of taking off my shoes whenever possible, so I was able to harden my feet a bit on all the rocks, grass and NYC debris.

After practicing, I visited the Shakespeare Garden, napped on a rock by the water and listened to some musicians perform by the water. As usual, dogs were everywhere! New York City just would not be as special without the park. I find people are the most kind and relaxed there. Hopefully I'll be able to upload a video of me practicing there for you all before the winter!

I sincerely wish that you all are able to take what time you have out of your busy lives to realign and maintain mental, physical and spiritual health. IT DOESN'T HAVE TO COST MONEY. This entire wonderful, beauteous day cost a total of $2.50 for a subway ride downtown. 

Tease On and Keep Well,


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Keeping Myself From Being Spread Too Thin

Part of what is so exciting about having several interests and several commitments is the constant stream of events, stimulation and communication I get to have with other people. That being said, it can be challenging to maintain a busy schedule without feeling spread too thin and without putting less effort into each commitment.

As part of the Pilates certification process, it is mandatory that I take an Anatomy and Physiology class to adapt to the Pilates Method. The class is truly educational and helpful, but also difficult and yet another time commitment to keep track of. There are only a few classes for the entire course and tonight, I have to miss one of them because I am acting as the lead role in a play I have had ONLY ONE REHEARSAL FOR. Now, I'm stressed about missing class and having to perform under such constraints of time.

It's wild learning how to balance parts of my life that are so different from one another, without compromising too much to either side, or compromising my health. Alas, I am still young and won't let these stressors get me down! I'm feeling good and that's all I could ask for. Alright, my call for the show is in six minutes, so I better go!

Tease On! (even under stress ;))


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Saturday Night Teaser?

Teaser Anyone?!

Happy Saturday :)

Additional Active Activities: Balinese Dance!

Taking a break from my daily Pilates ritual, I went into Manhattan to take a Balinese dance class I had signed up for the week prior. I've been studying Indonesian and South/Southeast Asian performance and I wanted to put my research to the test! 

We learned a small routine for traditional male and female dances. The instructor is an industry professional whose directions were clear and concise. It helps me to take classes in other disciplines I have no knowledge of, in order to learn how to be a better Pilates instructor for those who have no knowledge of Pilates when they come to take a class from me for the first time.

I was happy that I was able to use my experience with movement to keep on rhythm and learn the positions, but it was still quite difficult to assemble each posture with the appropriate transition and maintain a good form. 

**Something else interesting about the discipline of Balinese dance is that it requires different bodily strength and flexibility than western dance. In Bali, talented dancers can move their limbs, eyes, wrists and arms with incredible precision, however, dancers (my teacher in particular) do not have the flexibility to touch their toes, unlike most ballerinas and other classically trained western dancers, yogis and Pilates students, who can do so with relative ease.

All in all, I'm excited to continue my Balinese dance training and learn more about the culture and the way in which the performance relates to the body and of course, Pilates method!

My shoes and clothes are wet from the pouring rain as I waited for construction workers to assemble ramps for us to get on the train. Feet are tired from running to the studio to get there on time, but who cares--I had a bad ass time :)

Tease on,


Thursday, October 2, 2014


Alright Folks!

So today is installment one of what I hope to be a weekly Teaser Thursday photo/video.

The concept is pretty simple, the a bit more strenuous. For this first installment, I had my friend Taylor take this picture of me in her dorm room as I wore uncomfortable skinny jeans, on a tile floor beneath a thin rug, so, needless to say--it ain't the best teaser ever seen! But, I want to give you all a taste of how you can do Pilates anytime, any place!

Tease on!!!

PS--Eyes are closed because I was laughing as my jeans rode up waaaay too high.