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Oh, Squishy Ball, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways….  The Squishy Ball exercises we do at Effortless Movement are based on Joe’s arc barrel and spine corrector exercises. They are awesome for working your entire abdominal wall, lengthening the legs, and getting control over your ribcage. (I just taught a private session the other day where we addressed the relationship between your ribcage and the rest of your posture — it’s all connected, folks!)


This series is for my ongoing Group Equipment class peeps — homework for Thanksgiving week!  Feel free to ask me for pointers in class, as this post isn’t meant to be a complete online tutorial.


  • Frog – remember to create the “power leg” sensation from class.
  • Circles – small range of motion on this one!
  • Double Leg Lift – 6-12″ range of motion is plenty.
  • Bridge – bonus points: do all 3 foot/leg positions: neutral, turn out, and turn in
  • Kick your Big Brother – for single leg movements you can likely aim lower…
  • Helicopter – lol – your brain is getting bigger!
  • Bicycle – try to touch your mat with your foot
  • Super Psoas – add in the magic booster that I taught you in class.


  • Golden Rule: If your legs are moving, your torso stays still. No rocking from side to side!
  • Use your corset muscles to lock that back ribcage down. If it’s moving, you’re aiming your leg(s) too low or your range of motion is too large.
  • Yes, your low-back will be off the mat when your hips are on the ball. Your “anchor point” is your back ribcage. (yep, I talk a lot about Anchor Points in my best selling book, Ageless Pilates)


Of course I think my squishy ball is the best, but really, use what you have!  Got another brand of 9″ squsihy ball? Use it! No ball available? Roll up a large towel to create a 9″ lift for your hips — or just grab a thick pillow off your couch. I would avoid using anything too hard though, so please no hard rollers, basketballs, weighted gym balls.


This one is for my Group Pilates Equipment Classes. Please do these 4 moves everyday — they should take you 5 minutes, 4 seconds in total.pilates-essentials-homework-1-1

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Too much forward tilt can cause a cranky low-back

75% of my clients experience occasional low-back tension

General low-back tension is quite common in our chair-loving culture.

What’s the connection between low-back tension and sitting in a chair? View full article »


What: Rossister System®, an assisted stretch technique. Informational event + Rossiter Demos! Experience it in your own body.

When: Thur January 18th 6:45pm

Where: Effortless Movement Pilates studio, 1300 NW Northrup St., Suite 300, Portland Oregon (the Pearl District — ample street parking or you can take the streetcar to Northrup & 12th)

Join Master Practitioner and Senior Instructor Ruth Nottage, for a free introduction to the Rossiter System’s approach to relieving stress, immobility, and pain-head to toe. Anyone is welcome to attend.

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Winter Term 2018

Winter Term 2018 View full article »

Pilates Training Goals

christine banner

People come to Pilates with all different kinds of things in mind.

  • Maybe you’re looking for a whole-body workout that’s more fun than a big-box gym.  That’s a great reason to take up Pilates. This workout requires focus and it’s fun. It’s also a great stress-reliever — it requires you to work on your breath and to forget about your previous day.
  • Maybe you’ve heard that super-models and super-athletes do Pilates and you’d like to be more like them. Wouldn’t we all! The models do Pilates because they can choose the body-type they’re building. The athletes do Pilates to injury-proof their bodies while creating the right balance of stretch & strength for their sport.
  • Maybe you’re not as flexible as you used to be, and it’s becoming a problem. Yes, Pilates can help. Note from Christine: I’m not naturally flexible, so I get it!
  • Maybe you’ve lost some muscle mass, and you’d like to get it back without bulking or lifting heavy weights. Let me introduce you to Pilates spring tension, your new best friend. It’s plenty of resistance and I’ll show you photos of Joe Pilates at 57, 65, 72 and into his 80’s…with plenty of muscle on him.
  • Maybe you’ve got nagging joints or a leg, foot or arm that just doesn’t seem to work the way it used to. Pilates can help you create a balance of musculature across your body parts. That’s the best way to nix pain patterns and injury-proof your body for daily life.

Although I love it when people come in with an open mind, it also makes sense to come in with some Specific Goals. Take a peek here for some ideas on what you might like to work on:



  • Build a body that functions better for my particular sport
  • Improve my walking/running gait
  • Improve my golf swing – distance and/or accuracy
  • Prevent shin splints
  • Prevent planter fasciitis
  • Prevent ankle sprains
  • Prevent runners knee
  • Prevent IT band issues
  • Pain free knees when walking up/down stairs
  • Avoid common injuries in my sport
  • Create faster legs & feet


  • Create stability for my hyper mobile joints. Hypermobility is when your elbows knees or other joints can “pop backward”
  • See some muscle on my arms, abs, legs
  • Tone and lean-down my legs
  • Tone and lean down my mid-section
  • Put some muscle on my body to help me increase my metabolism
  • Create a toned physique without muscle bulk
  • Build strength in my legs or hips


  • Be able to touch my toes
  • Re-gain full range of motion in my shoulders
  • Be able to turn to see my blind spot in my car
  • Be able to get out of a chair without my back hurting
  • Re-gain the ability to reach behind me


  • Improve my body mechanics during my day
  • Stand a half inch taller
  • Feel like my abs are holding my stomach in
  • Build bone density
  • Tone my pelvic floor
  • Improve my balance skills (stand on one leg, eyes open or closed)
  • Reduce my stress level

pain patterns


Is there an activity that you’ve given up because it caused pain? Let’s get you back in business!

  • Put an end to recurring low back issues
  • Put an end to recurring mid back issues
  • Put an end to recurring neck shoulder issues
  • Put an end to recurring ankle or foot issues
  • Prevent wear and tear on a cranky knee joint
  • Prevent wear and tear on a cranky shoulder joint
  • Prevent wear and tear on a cranky wrist or elbow
  • Relax my shoulders
  • Be able to pick up or carry my kids without hurting my back
  • Pain free knees when walking up/down stairs
  • Sleep without pain in back hips or knees
  • Get out of bed without pain in back hips or knees
  • Prevent/address carpal tunnel syndrome

posture faults


  • Correct my ‘forward head’ posture
  • Improve my hunched back
  • Correct my rounded shoulders
  • Gain the strength to sit and stand up tall & straight all day
  • Stand taller; it seems like I’ve shrunk
  • Fix my pronated feet
  • Correct my tilted pelvis (aka ‘forward hips’)
  • Create a powerful super-hero stance


Whole 30 Week 1

#PilatesWhole30 Week 1

I’ve been promising my friends a down and dirty look at how I’m doing Whole 30, so here’s a peek at Week 1.

This is my first time doing W30, and I gave myself 10 days prior to get my head around: no sugar or sugar substitutes, no alcohol, no dairy (I gave this up about a year ago,) no legumes and no grains. I HIGHLY recommend giving yourself planning and shopping time BEFORE you start. Go get the Whole 30 book so you don’t have to stare endlessly at your computer. Their website is great, and has tons of free info too. I’ve included a few recipe links in my spreadsheet.

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner
Day 1 Hamburger, mixed greens, olive oil, lemon Chicken salad with homemade mayo. Carrots & green beans. Headache at 3pm. Had a hard boiled egg & a handful of carrots. steak, mixed greens, cucumber, tomato, homemade chimichurri
Day 2 Breakfast casserole: eggs, sausage, mushrooms, spinach Chicken salad with homemade mayo. Carrots & green beans. small coffee 2 hamburgers, 2 carrot “buns”, chimichurri, salad with homemade ranch
Day 3 Breakfast casserole Chicken salad with homemade mayo. Carrots & green beans. steak, mixed greens, cucumber, tomato, chimichurri
Day 4 homemade pork sausage + salad Lunch out: burger on salad. Not. Enough. Food. 2nd Lunch:  Breakfast casserole almond chicken, roasted broccoli
Day 5 homemade turkey sausage patty, cauliflower egg casserole, carrot pancakes/buns 4pm I’m dragging.  carrots & guac burger, bacon, salad, ranch, avo
Day 6 burger, bacon, guac, carrots, string beans greens, 1 can tuna, 2 eggs, cherry tomato, string beans, olive oil, lemon, salt. Hungry at 4:30  1/4 cup pecans spiralized sweet potatoes, turkey sausage + apple, bacon, over easy eggs, sautéed spinach
Day 7 2-3 eggs scrambled, 4 bacon, asparagus Chicken salad with homemade mayo. Carrots & green beans. filet mignon, large baked white potato, ghee, salad, ranch, marinated mushrooms


  • My afternoon headaches and super-low energy used to have me drinking coffee at 3pm. If I eat enough at lunch, I don’t need that coffee — no more slump. Food energy, instead of coffee energy. I’m a little nervous that this won’t lead to changing my body fat percentage.
  • Sleep improved already! I’m still hoping for the elusive “I slept thru the night” by the end of W30.  This has been an issue for me for so long that I really want to understand WHY W30 improves sleep. Knowledge is power and I’m committed to improving my sleep patterns.
  • I broke a rule: weighed myself. I’m feeling much peppier and got excited about that. Haven’t lost a single pound. Still committed to the entire 30 days, but I think I should stay off the scale. Will have to put it away!


  • Anytime you cook something make extra! Seriously, you do not want to fabricate 21 W30 meals every week from scratch. Recycle, re-mix or just have the same dang meal again.
  • My chicken salad: buy the huge pack of pre-shredded chicken at Costco and mix it with mayo, pecans and apples. I could eat this every day for lunch. Let’s see how many times I do….
  • Buy an immersion blender. It makes mayo, ranch, etc super easy. I am NEVER buying mayo or ranch again — homemade is better!

homework 2

New homework for my Summer Term students. We’re working on the Classical Order for Mat exercises. Here’s the list: View full article »

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