You’re Only As Old As Your Spine


If you’re squeamish about growing old, listen up. Joe (Mr. Pilates to you), lived and died by his method. He was convinced that the further we got away from our primitive selves (squatting, hunting, gathering, and well, moving), the further we moved from our health. He used his exercises like medicine and prescribed “common sense remedies for common sense ills”.  It’s no shock that Pilates was ahead of his time both in thinking and innovation so it’s a wonder everyone isn’t doing Pilates. Simply put, Pilates keeps you young. Strength and flexibility, coordination (both muscularly and mentally), improved posture, balance and core strength, improved bone density, and joint health – not to mention it’ll make you look damn good. Joseph said it best, “ You are only as old as your spine. If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old; if it is completely flexible at 60, you are young!!!” How young are you?


Ok, so now we’re gonna get a little technical here (try not to snooze on me). This is important stuff, the place where you see the light because when you know better you do better. Right? Think about your spine for a moment. It’s the thing that’s holding you up, yo. You have 24 articulating vertebrae and 9 fused that make up your sacrum (the triangle area above your bootie crack) and your tailbone. In between the ones that move, are intervertebral disks, yes the ones that can slip or herniate. This whole show houses your spinal cord which routes all the nerves of your body from your brain and brain stem. If you don’t keep your spine aligned, free moving, and roomy you can experience pain and/or organ disfunction, since your spinal cord sends signals from your mother board of a brain. Simply put, this shit is important so if you neglect your backbone you’ll be sorry. So, what’s a gal to do?

By now you may be thinking, “This is bad news,” or “I’m screwed,” or maybe even “making space in my spine is impossible.” I assure you my friend, it isn’t. We’ll start at the bottom, of your spine and of this process. Pilates, there’s that guy again, said “It’s the mind that builds the body”. With a little faith and lots of conviction envision your spine like a column of french macaroons (deee-licious). The muscles of your abs, back, and sides form a corset around this pillar. You’ll want to wrap those muscles firmly around your macaroons (mine are salted caramel flavored) and lift. That’s right, physically and mentally elevate those cookies so as not to create crumbs and waste those expensive patisseries. While you may not see or feel tangible results immediately, with patience and persistence I promise you’ll see results. Even Joe says so, “Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.”


So, let’s begin. Pick your favorite Pilates exercise, such as the neck-pull on the mat, Teaser on the Reformer, or Rolling Back on the Cadillac. Anywhere you do Pilates (and even the places where you don’t, like standing on the subway platform) lift those Macaroons like your life depended on it, because like my mentor Shari Berkowitz says, “it does.” If you don’t know any Pilates moves or have no idea where to begin we are here to help. If you’re in NYC come and visit our lovely little studio and we’ll show you how it’s done. If you’re in some far away land, check out our YouTube channel for free video workouts, and if you want help finding an instructor near you we’re happy to help with that too. Pilates is not just body changing but also life changing. Now let’s live life like we have the spine of a 20 year old!

Interested in keeping your spine healthy and young with Pilates? Live in NYC? Visit our USQ studio and see how one of our amazing instructors can get you moving free and fine! Don’t live in the city? We have videos and audio workouts you can do out home. Check them out here.

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Airplane Pilates

Long flights can make your body tight and your sour your disposition. Do these simple exercises anywhere, even in coach.

TV Stretches

Begin seated, feet flat on the floor, knees tracking right over your toes.
Tilt your head to the right bringing your right ear towards your right shoulder. Switch sides twice. Hold the last time each side and give yourself a gentle stretch with your hand. Now, turn your head to the Right then to the Left. Repeat twice. Hold the last time, curling your chin into your ampit and possibly using your had on the back of your head to increase the stretch.

Finally, interlace your fingers behind your head. Curl your chin to your chest and gently stretch.

The Hundred Breathing

Seated tall, inhale for a count of 5 then exhale for a count of 5. Do ten sets of this breathing concentrating on keeping the powerhouse pulled in and up and breathing into your lower back and sides.

Cat and Cow

As you inhale, arch your back opening your collar bone and tilting your tailbone towards the back of your head.
Exhale round your spine trying to bring the crown of your head towards your tailbone. Keep the connection to the powerhouse throughout

Knee Stirs

Sitting tall pull your right knee into your chest.
Without moving anything but your arms circle the knee in the hip joint three times in each direction.
Think of using your powerhouse to move your knee not just your hands.

Knee Holds

After the last knee stir hold each knee into your chest with your powerhouse for the count of five.

Side Bend

Sit tall and cross your arms across your chest.
Pull your powerhouse in and up and bend right then left just moving your upper body not your hips.


Stay in the same position and now twist the upper body to the right then the left, avoiding moving your hips.

Roll Down

Inhale sit up tall. As you exhale curl your chin to your chest rounding your spine forwards your knees. Keep your tailbone and sits bones pointing straight down towards the floor and avoid “tucking” the pelvis under.

Then roll up sequentially through your spine until you are sitting up tall once again.
Repeat this three times. On the last rep reach down and grab onto your ankles to get a deeper stretch.

Hamstring Stretch

While standing, open your feet hip width apart. Place your hands on something hip height and bend your knees a lot. Arch your back and try to keep your tailbone sloped upwards as you attempt to extend your legs slowly.


After your stretch stand in a small Pilates stance (heels together feet no wider than a fists width apart) Place one had on a seat back or wall.
Bend your knees keeping your heels on the floor. Lift just your heels glued together. Then extend your legs, finally lower your heels to the floor.

Repeat by starting with straight legs, lifting your heels, bending your knees, lowering your heels, straightening your legs. Keeping the powerhouse engaged and your heels superglued together the whole time.

Take this workout on the road and let us know if it makes you feel like a million bucks! Share it with other road warriors and leave your comments below. If you want more info on how to take Pilates with us and stay out of travel pain click here.

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