Joseph Pilates said that performing his exercises
was like giving the body an internal shower.
DOUBLE LEG PULL: Add the
bonus especially if all aerobic
activities are off the table due
to inclement weather.
;;From lying flat, hug the knees into the chest and raise the head to the
knees making the most compact ball with your body. At the same time,
stretch the arms up over your head behind the ears with the shoulders still
held down your back. Stretch the legs out straight at an angle where you
can keep the spine on the mat simultaneously. Pinch the bottom and
stretch as far and long as you can.
;;Circle the arms down to shoulder level, keep reaching them down to hug
the legs back into the chest, and pull yourself back into the small little ball.
;;Repeat five to eight times, feeling the opposition of your biggest, longest
stretch and the smallest, tightest ball. Finish hugging the knees to the
chest, give yourself an extra squeeze to empty the last bit of air from the
lungs. Rest the head back on the mat.
;;Bonus: Keep time by making the arm of a clock with your body. If you stretch
out to 12 o’clock the first time, hug yourself in, twist to the right and stretch
the feet to 1 o’clock the next time. Continue to 6 o’clock and reverse back
to 12 o’clock. Rest.
SIDE KICKS: Continuously
move the large muscles of the
body to raise the heart rate.
;;Lying flat on your side, align the ear, shoulder, and hip with the head in the
hand as shown (or you can lie down on the extended arm). Bending at the
hips, angle the feet two feet in front of the ear/shoulder/hip line. Kick the
top leg forward, pause, and kick it a second time farther than the first kick.
The supporting arm is placed to allow the leg to move.
;;Kick the leg back in line with the hip, pause, and kick it farther back a
second time. When you can keep a steady rhythm, pick up the pace. Repeat
SPINE STRETCH: Roll down the spine to come
back to your center and stretch to finish.
;;Sit tall with the hands in front of the shoulders. Inhale to stretch tall, pulling
the abdomen to the spine. Exhale to roll down the spine one vertebrae at
a time, drawing the abdomen even deeper. The fingertips and heels reach
forward into the roll and the abdomen pulls back in opposition. Keep the
legs pressing into the mat and the bottom tight.
;Inhale to roll up, stacking the vertebrae of the spine
one on top of the other. Repeat five times.
Kara Wily has practiced Pilates for twenty years. Her Larchmont Village studio is the only studio in Los Angeles that offers independent use of the Pilates
equipment to those who wish to pursue self-study of the Pilates technique. She is the creator of Tesseractive Beginner Pilates Flashcards for Pilates mat work,
available online at the studio’s store and as an iPhone and iPad app. The photos in this piece come from the flashcard series. Karawilypilates.com