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If you’re like just about everyone I know right now, all this time at home has you wondering how you’ll keep up with your workout while your favorite gyms, yoga studios, and other exercise emporiums are temporarily closed. And if you take a step back, turn inwards, you might just realize that this might be the perfect time to consider a new type of workout—an exercise that you were always too intimidated to try. Maybe one that tests your abs, puts your core to work, gets your body into a posture you've never even considered, and teaches you how to inhale and exhale through anything...
For me, Pilates is that workout. At a skinny 6’4”, I’d given up hope that I’ll ever touch my toes, “muscle” isn’t really a word people use when describing me, and double-leg stretches sound more like something I'd do before getting out of bed instead of part of a home workout—so learning about Pilates exercises gives me a newfound sense that those goals are actually achievable.
Beginners like me often pronounce it wrong (typically, a variation of “pirates”), and at first glance, the exercise equipment looks like medieval torture devices more apt to draw and quarter me than whip me into shape. (Editor's note: I will confirm this as that is how it appears to me as well.)
The Pilates method doesn’t date back to the Middle Ages, but it is an older methodology, practiced for more than 100 years since its founding by Joseph (you guessed it) Pilates. He called it “Contrology” to denote controlled movements that, when performed properly, can do wonders for your flexibility, tone and build muscle, strengthen inhale and exhale practices, improve core strength, balance, and endurance, and assist with proper posture. It’s now taught and practiced across the globe, with instructors devoting over 500 hours to their certification.
The family of Pilates styles features two main methodologies:
Classical preserves the original method invented by Joseph Pilates—the traditional repertoire, sequencing, and equipment progression. For the purists out there, this is THE way that Pilates was meant to be taught.
Contemporary blends Classical with other disciplines like yoga and fitness training, incorporating modern Pilates equipment as well as props such as foam rollers and balls. This system operates from a thorough understanding of the traditional repertoire of the classical system, supplemented with a modern-day understanding of kinesiology and often more creative, less regimented, forms of movement. As a veteran instructor I know put it, “Think jazz improv rooted in classical music understanding.”
Both Classical and Contemporary Pilates incorporate specialized equipment such as the Reformer, Tower, Cadillac, Arc Barrel, and Wunda Chair. But don’t call them machines! Seasoned Pilates aficionados refer to them as “apparatus,” the term Pilates himself used to describe the unique equipment Pilates requires.
Which style you choose is up to you, but the overall goal is the same: core and abs strength, spinal flexibility, balance, and generally improved health for your entire body and mind.
You don’t need a Pilates Reformer to build abdominal muscles and improve your breathing techniques from your living room, but if you’re new to the discipline, having some expert instruction can go a long way toward making sure you’re doing it right and avoiding injury while getting the core-strengthening exercise you want. Creative businesses are providing a slew of ways for their clients to keep up their fitness routines at home, and many offer video-on-demand and live-streaming classes. You can find them through the Mindbody app or on Mindbody.io—search for terms like “virtual,” “on-demand,” and “live stream.”
Seek out a studio and instructors that are BASI, STOTT, PMA, or otherwise certified, with a comprehensive 500 hour+ certification. They can introduce you to the repertoire in an informed and educated way, one where you can keep your body safe and supported as you come to learn the expansive nature of the system—some call it the “Pilates secret.” There are also lots of Pilates fusion classes out there, which may be a great place to start if you have a yoga background—these classes focus on simpler movements. For those, you'd look for instructors with an AFAA or NASM certification and a Pilates specialization.
You’ll probably need a few key props to start practicing these core exercises at home, such as a mat (usually thicker and larger than a yoga mat), a few light weights, and some resistance bands. As you grow into your practice, you may graduate to more specialized pieces like the magic circle (an exercise ring made of flexible metal or rubber). Also important for Pilates exercises is an open mind, a deep inhale, a fluid exhale, and of course, your glutes.
Grab your props and pull up a video from one of the Pilates studios on the app, or sign up for a live streaming class—and before you can say “dorsiflexion” you’ll be performing single leg stretches, teasers, and pelvic curls in the comfort of your own home. With well-educated instructors that are skilled in teaching mat work (the most advanced form of Pilates), you can start to break down the basic principles of the Pilates system.
Before you can say “dorsiflexion” you’ll be performing single leg stretches, teasers, and pelvic curls in the comfort of your own home.
Trying a new workout at home can be ideal because it builds your confidence and gives you a chance to get the hang of it before showing up to an in-person class. Because, let’s face it—not all of us want to be the fresh face in class, mistaking a Reformer for a rowing machine.
Tipping. While it can be a taboo topic that no one really wants to talk about publicly, the fact is, it’s a very important one that shouldn’t (and can’t) be avoided. This is all too true, especially now, when it comes to beauty services. Even before, “all of this” happened, there appeared to be some ambiguity about exactly how much to tip, when, what’s a respectable amount, and why. Now that we’ve tried our best at #homebeauty, it’s time to head back to the salons, spas, and other boutique beauty businesses (if you haven’t already). We’re here to guide you through gratuity in the new normal and why tipping a little extra to show your stylists and service providers you care during this tough time is the right thing to do.
To make sure we get you all the right answers, we asked around about it (so you don’t have to). Turns out, our Instagram followers had a lot to say about how to tip your stylists and show them some extra love right now.
Here’s what you think:
79% of you said you’ve been tipping more for beauty services recently. We’re all so grateful for our stylists—with split ends, grown-out roots, out-of-control brows, and terrible home-cut bangs to prove it. And now that many of us can return to our salons and spas, we’re appreciating the ones who help us feel beautiful even more right now.
We got a range of responses to this question. Some said they tip 5% more than they previously did, and many said 25%-35% total! Not only are these stylists actual artists, but they’re providing services we just can’t do ourselves. On top of that, many had to close their doors for several months, many were displaced as their salons shut down for good, and all of them are trying their best to get back to a sense of normalcy and do what they do best—help us look and feel beautiful. So, take this as a guide. Tip what you can but remember how much these wonderful people do for us.
When it comes to trying new services, 69% of you gave it a big fat NO, while 31% remain intrigued. It makes sense that many would stick to their go-tos right now, as salons are just starting to reopen in some areas or may not be open yet at all.
Depending on where you live and your overall health, you might be sticking with the bare minimum for now. But if your city has put in place safe reopening guidelines and measures, and you feel ready to head back out there, you can do so safely at a Mindbody salon. And you may be interested in trying out some new services right now as a way to show your local salons some extra support. If that’s you, browse beauty on the Mindbody app—and filter your categories to find out what’s out there.
Another way you can support your stylists right now? Shopping. It’s the safest way to show them some love without actually going in for a treatment. Many salons offer pre-payment on the Mindbody app and curbside pickup or a plethora of shipping methods, so you can keep contact to a minimum as much as possible. Plus, they have some pretty great stuff. If you need to invest in a good shampoo—especially because you haven’t gotten your hair done in months—so why not buy it from your stylist? According to our poll, it’s a pretty even split. 55% of you haven’t bought any products yet, while the other 45% have been shopping away. If you’re part of that 55, consider checking out your salon’s product offerings (you might see something you like).
Finally, we asked you all open-endedly how else you’re supporting your stylists right now. We got a lot of great answers. There was a lot of overlap, but we thought you might like to see some of the ones that stood out. So, if we didn’t cover it all so far, we’re about to—because you all are awesome and you did it for us. Here are some of the great ideas you had:
• “Paying in advance!”
• “Being more diligent about scheduling appointments versus letting my hair grow out”
• “Referring friends!”
• “Being flexible” (this is a good one—check out the 5 things your stylist wants you to know before you book)
• “Scheduling my next cut before I leave!”
• “Sharing their photos on Instagram and telling friends!”
So, if you’re a stylist reading this, thank you. We all want to continue showing you support during this time and beyond. And if you’re a regular person like me who really needs her highlights done, just schedule the damn appointment already (if you feel comfortable) or buy some purple shampoo from your favorite salon.