pilates moves to move more gracefully

Perfect Your Posture with These 6 Pilates Moves

When Pilates guru Erika Bloom says “side bend,” we side bend.

By: Jodi Taylor
Photography: Alec Kugler

One private Pilates session with Erika Bloom at her Upper East Side studio, and you’ll be hooked. Hooked on the sensation of feeling stretched, strengthened, and generally uplifted. You’ll walk down the street like you’re floating. Seriously.

Bloom has been studying Pilates for over 20 years (before that she was a professional dancer) and currently has studios in New York, Montauk, East Hampton, Los Angeles, Greenwich, and Turks and Caicos (casual), where she teaches her one-on-one Erika Bloom Method. The personal approach is catered to each clients specific needs, ensuring that they get the most out of their practice. If youre after that walking-on-a-cloud, floating feeling, practice the below six moves.

 


MOVE #1

MERMAID/ROCK STAR

WHAT: “This is a combo move on the floor with the side-bend stretch of the mermaid and the extension of the rock star move. It opens up the front and side body while engaging the back body and core for beautiful posture and graceful movement.”

HOW: “Begin in a mermaid position by sitting on your right hip with your legs to your left. Reach your spine up and your arms wide to tilt right. Press in to your right hand and both feet to lift your hips up into a curved side plank with your left body open. Press into your left foot to lift your hips even higher as you reach from your right foot to your left hand. Lengthen your sternum, and open your chest to find a long extension through your spine. Unwind back to seated mermaid, and take a counter side bend to the left. Breathe into your right ribs. Repeat for up to eight reps, but only as many times as you can keep your ease, length, and breath. Switch sides.”

 


MOVE #2

SIDE-LYING ARABESQUE WITH THERABAND

WHAT: “This is a leg, arm, torso combo movement that uses the resistance of the theraband tied around the legs. It opens up the body and strengthens the muscles that support the hip extension, which is key for walking gracefully.”

HOW: “Begin lying on your right side with both knees bent. Put a looped resistance band around your right knee with the sole of your left foot pressed into the band. Lengthen your left leg back as you reach your left arm forward. Inhale and stretch from fingers to toes. Bend the knee, and draw the arm back in to return to start. Repeat 15 times, then switch sides to perform on the opposite side.”

 


MOVE #3

DRAW A SWORD WITH LEG EXTENSION

WHAT: “This is a standing theraband arm move combined with balance work that hits the hard-to-reach muscles of the back and shoulders that are key to beautiful posture.”

HOW: “Begin standing with one end of a theraband under your right foot and the other end in your right hand. Reach the right arm forward, out, and up on a diagonal, keeping your arm straight. Simultaneously extend your left leg out and back to the left in opposition to the arm. Return to starting position, coming back the same way. Repeat 12 times, then switch sides to do 12 on the opposite side.”

 


MOVE #4

COMBRE

WHAT: “This is a torso mobilizer, shoulder opener, and psoas stretch in one.”

HOW: “Begin in a ballet lunge with your left knee bent and your right leg extended behind you. Ground your feet to lengthen your torso up and over to the side to begin a full circle of your upper body. Allow your arms to follow the circle, going from a side bend to a curl forward, to an opposite side bend, to extension. When you come into extension, feel the length all the way from your right foot up through the front of your hip and torso to your upper sternum. Do five to eight circles in one direction, repeat the other direction, then switch legs to repeat the entire sequence on the other side.”

 


MOVE #5

PICK A FLOWER

WHAT: “This is a full-body standing move for pelvic stability, torso mobility, and core strength. It will keep your base strong so your spine and arms can move with ease and openness.”

HOW: “Begin standing tall. Step right to come into a side lunge. Bend your right knee deeply as you hinge forward at the hips to a flat back, and reach your arms out long at shoulder height. Stabilize your pelvis as you rotate your ribs to the right to touch the floor with your left fingertips, and reach to the sky with your right. Now press into your right foot, and lengthen your head to the sky to come all the way back up to standing on your left leg. Repeat 10-15 times, then switch to the other side.”

 


MOVE #6

TEASER WITH LEG BEATS

WHAT: “This is a core-targeted exercise with added inner-thigh connection. The inner thighs support the deep inner line of the body so that you can move from your center and keep your superficial body open and flowing.”

HOW: “Begin lying on your back with your legs extended. Exhale to engage your abdominals as you simultaneously roll up through your spine and lift your legs. Stay in this ‘check mark’ position with a long spine and lengthened legs. Beat the legs by opening and closing them, crossing one on top of the other alternately. Each time you cross the legs, draw your inner thighs tightly together. Keep your legs lengthening, your pelvis stable, your upper body easeful, and your breath continuous as your legs beat 20-30 times.”

 

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