Fall 2021 Level 1 Pilates

This is the SECRET PAGE for Level 1 students in Fall semester 2021; please don’t share the page or the links with other people. I’ll update it each week, after class has occurred.

How to get to the Zoom class (same info for all classes for the entire semester!)

joe and clara
Joe and Clara sitting on a Devana — this was a cover that went over a reformer to make it more of a chaise lounge in your home. The barrel at the end was functional!

Class videos are available for 2 weeks.

Week 4 – FIX IT week!

This week, we fix anything that’s not really working — we got thru the entire sequence from week 3 EXCEPT for the Front Rowing sequence. We’ll nitpick that one in Week 5.

CLICK HERE for the Week 4 video

Week 3

This week’s additions:

  • 100 with legs in Table Top (we did a 50 with the feet down and a 50 in Tabletop)
  • The Gas Pedal concept — engaging your seat and pushing your feet to turn on more power in the Powerhouse
  • McGill crunch in Gas Pedal position
  • McGill crunch in Diamond position
  • 1/2 rolldown in Diamond position

Rolldown Tip: look for 2 caution markers! If your low back is working, gripping/complaining, you’re going back too far. A full range Rolldown isn’t appropriate for everyone — work outside of pain.

  • Single Leg Circle with leg rotation. Notice: is rotation easier on one side? You just found a right/left asymmetry — AKA Kryptonite zone
  • Ab Series Upper Powerhouse focus

Ab Series Tip: look for 3 caution markers! If your low back is arching, working, gripping/complaining, your is moving too low.  Aim higher to fix.

  • Spine Stretch Forward in Diamond position + arm lever variations
  • Saw
  • Front Rowing 1 AKA: Hug a Tree
  • Front Rowing 2 AKA Shaving
  • Front Rowing 3 AKA From the Chest
  • Front Rowing 4 AKA From the Hip

Seated Upright Tip: if you have the urge to slouch back, it means that your ‘backline’ is tight. Bend your knees and/or raise your hips until you can comfortably sit tall. Every once in awhile. try sitting on something taller even if you don’t “need” it — check in with how that affects your movements.

CLICK HERE for the Week 3 video

Pilates Christmas cards! I love the one where Clara is telling Joe to hinge more and reach those arms up and back.

pilates xmas

pilates xmas 2 pilates xmas 3

joe and clara dressed up
I hear this was taken at a big birthday party for Joe. They clean up nice!


Did Joe come up with the Book Exercises first…or the version that’s done on his fabulous Wunda Chair? Either way, we use this “candy cane” position again and again!

My sleuth-friend, Elaine Ewing found more archival Pilates pics and articles! The focus of her posts today was using Pilates apparatus to increase vocal endurance and projection. While we were talking about it on Facebook, one of our Pilates teacher friends said, “oh yes, when I was 14 and singing in The Sound of Music, Roberta Peters taught me Mr Herman’s breathing techniques AND Mr Pilates’ breathing techniques.” (for the Opera fans in the house, this is SO cool — Roberta Peters is a legend!)

Click here for some fab articles about famous voice coach William Herman with pics of Pilates equipment

Click here for fab articles about actress Mary Martin with pics of Pilates equipment


My newly organized fridge! Game changer items: lazy susans and stackable glass containers from Rubbermaid that all use the same size lid.

elaine malbin side leg
Internationally acclaimed opera singer Elaine Malbec using leg springs at Joe Pilates’ studio in NYC.
elaine malbin backbend
Elaine Malbin working on Spread Eagle on the Cadillac. Where else do we see this position in Pilates?
elaine malbin reformer
Oh, cool — things we don’t often see in Pilates studios these days! See that fab hand-grab bar that Elaine is using while Joe gets her foot position just right? Who wants to make some of these for my studio???