Heather Andersen’s commitment to physical strength and embodied wellness is inspiring women in downtown NYC and far beyond. The founder and program director of New York Pilates is a former dancer, so movement is an important part of her self-care routine—as much for the mind as for the rig.
Speaking to Self Service host Jerico Mandybur on the show this week, Andersen explained it like this: “A method like pilates is very much mind-body … You’re spending the entire hour inside of your body, feeling your muscles fire, feeling where your pelvis is in space. That’s a lot of time to spend thinking about part of your body that you would normally ignore during the day.”
Hear Heather Andersen’s full interview, plus some tips for navigating the week ahead—with all it’s Saturn transits—from astrologer Jessica Lanyadoo. And if all of this is making you want to start doing pilates, read on.
For anyone who’s not able to attend her 55-minute classes IRL, don’t worry; Andersen’s shared her five favorite pilates moves with Girlboss—performed and explained by the NYP boss herself—to energize your body when it needs a bit of pep. Clogs optional.
“Start on you side with your elbow under your shoulder and top leg long. Gaze forward and lift and lower your extended leg by using your side glute muscles. Be sure to keep your pelvis still as you lift and lower. Pro tip: Activate your lats and obliques to stabilize your shoulder blade.”
Reps: Three sets of 20 (or until you feel some fatigue) then switch sides.
“Start in forearm elbow plank, with hands flat on the ground and arms bent at 90 degree angles. Then bend the knee towards the chest while keeping a flat back. It’s super important to keep the pelvis as still as possible while moving! Hold the knee for a quick second, and then bring the toes back to plank. Pro tip: Keep your neck comfortable by looking slightly forward.”
Reps: Three sets of 20 or until you get tired.
“Start on you back with knees extended. Engage abs, inhale and pulse arms up and down. Inhale for five seconds then exhale for five. Be sure to keep the tension out of your neck. Pro tip: To keep tension out of your neck, curl as high as you can.”
Reps: Three sets of 100, or until you’re like “enough.”
“Get into a right side plank, with your elbow below the shoulder and feet stacked. Extend your left arm straight toward the ceiling, then rotate your rib cage toward the floor, threading your left hand under your waist, keeping your hips still. Pro tip: Keep shoulder blade totally stable on your back as you rotate by feeling your rotator cuff and back of armpit muscles working.”
Reps: Two sets of 10, then switcheroo.
“Start laying on back with knees bent and feet flat on floor, hip-width distance apart. Lift pelvis up to bridge position, then lift one leg out and straight up to the ceiling. From here, lower the pelvis down, the ribs go with the pelvis so that they do not flair open and back does not arch. Then your lift pelvis right back up. The whole action should be driven by those glute (butt) muscles. Pro tip: Keep your knees to shoulders in one long line and use your low abs to prevent discomfort in your low back.”
Reps: Three sets of 10 for each leg or until you feel fatigued.
Words: Jerico MandyburPhotos: Courtesy