The Pilates Style Project Take 1

In the Nov/Dec 2015 issue, we filled you in on the Pilates Style Project, our mission to help support causes supported through Pilates. We’re proud to introduce our first installment, Pilates Has Heart.

What It Is: A cause started by Washington Ave Pilates in Houston, TX, to raise awareness and money for women’s issues “with heart.” This past Valentine’s Day, the studio held a special mat class and breakfast at Silver Street Studios. WAP plans to make this an annual fund-raiser.

WHY It’s A Bıg Deal: “On July 1, 2014, we lost Terri Dome,” recalls the studio’s owner and director Hilary Opheim. “She came to Washington Ave Pilates in March 2009, just after her heart transplant that February. She was a tiny little blonde with a true zest for life, a wonderfully quick wit and very quirky sense of humor. She soon won everyone’s heart at the studio, not only instructors, but clients as well. Terri would plan her schedule around her Pilates sessions, and after her session, she would sit in the lounge area chatting with other clients, visiting with instructors and just hanging out.

The Pilates Style Project Take 1

“I knew I wanted to do something to honor her memory and continue her zest for life, her compassion for others, and her work with heart issues and cancer. She would go to the hospital, and sit and talk with young kids dealing with cancer, as she had been in their place as a child. She was the 2011 poster patient for Texas Heart Institute and did anything she could to help others going through what she had.”

Event HIGHlIGHTS: The attendance of Terri’s husband Steve Terri had tried convincing him to do Pilates for years!—made the event all the more special. “He gave a beautiful speech giving insight on Terri and who she was. He talked about how Terri found her footing after so many years of health struggles at Washington Ave Pilates, and it was instrumental in helping her regain her confidence and ability to move forward after her heart transplant. He decided for Terri that he would participate in the mat class,” says Opheim. “We knew this would have made Terri smile and laugh. We had many that had never done Pilates before, but came to support the cause, and others who had known Terri and wanted to be there for her.”

The Pilates Style Project Take 1

For more InformatIon or to donate:



The first Saturday every May is Pilates Day, a celebration of the method, meant to increase awareness and appreciation for the exercises that have touched the lives of so many.

Lolita San Miguel will be taking a group to a memorial service at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, NY, which houses the urns of Joseph and Clara Pilates. The group will be celebrating the life of Joe all weekend at various events around NYC, including a wine-and-cheese party and luncheon.

The Pilates Style Project Take 1

How will you be honoring Joe? For a chance to be featured in our upcoming issue, send your event photos to!


Two new studies abroad are proving that the method can work wonders when it comes to women’s issues.


Seventy-three women suffering from incontinence participated in a three-year pilot study funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Led by Samantha Head, a physiotherapist at a U.K.¬based hospital, all of the participants did pelvic floor exercises but half also attended modified Pilates classes—emphasizing controlled movements—for a six-week period. Those with moderate issues in the Pilates group experienced the most benefits, but the overall findings were so promising that a larger clinical trial is underway.

For Postpartum FatIgue

Eighty Iranian women were divided into two groups: one did 30 minutes of Pilates five times per week for eight weeks at home, starting 72 hours after delivery; the other group was the control. After the eight weeks, reports the study in the Singapore Medical Journal, the moms who practiced Pilates experienced a significant decrease in both physical and mental fatigue. 


Q. I sit at a desk all day, and as a result, carry a lot of tension in my shoulders. How can I be more mindful of the problem while I work? Are there any exercises I should focus on in my practice that might help counter the tightness?

Sitting at a desk all day takes a toll on your body, especially when it comes to your posture. At some point, gravity will take over and cause us to slouch the upper body, protrude the belly and jut the head forward or tilt it to one side while looking at the computer, or down at a smartphone or tablet. The stress at work alone can cause the shoulders to elevate toward the ears, and add tightness to the area.

Check your posture at least two to three times throughout the day to keep the tension and pain out of your shoulders and neck. A great way to do this is what I call “stacking the spine”: Make sure the ears are stacked over the shoulders, the shoulders over the ribs and the ribs over the hips. Stand up and check that the hips are over the knees and the knees are over the ankles. Stacking works with gravity to take the pressure and stress off the body.

For your Pilates practice, the Abdominal Series on the mat with your head on a pillow is a great way to align your posture and get in some great core work to help support your spine while sitting. Practice supine exercises (lying on your back) on the Reformer to work the stacking principle, since gravity works with you and takes the load off the spine and tension off the shoulders. Some examples are Leg and Footwork, Supine Arm Work or Feet in Straps. So start stacking— and get cracking on less tension in your shoulders.

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