Calling new mama's...


Calling new mama's...

We've got a lovely and firey post natal specialist giving you some tips in this weeks 'Ask a Teacher.' 

Meet Brittany Coughlan:

Brittany is a certified Pilates instructor, rehab specialist, and founder of Fine Tune Pilates Studio in Roncesvalles in the west end of Toronto. She specializes in working with injuries, and pre/post-natal fitness. Brittany believes that changing the quality of your movement will change the quality of your life. Get moving and feel the difference!

Find her at her west end studio Fine Tune Pilates, Body Harmonics or Misfitstudio.

Q. What considerations are there for post-natal as you try and get your body back into shape? 

Post-natal most women are more than aware that something has drastically changed in their mid-section. Because of this change to the body, a new mom's main goal- aside from taking care of their family-often becomes to strengthen their core. Whether driven by aesthetic reasons, or to do with a feeling of "lack of support" in that area. I see new moms who want to work their core incessantly. The number one thing to remember is that this is not the core you had pre-munchkin, it does not operate the same way. Doing 100 sit-ups a day does not a flat tummy make. In fact sit-ups, or loaded flexion as we call it, can sometimes cause puffing of the abdominals, or increase abdominal separation post-natal. Don't panic. Although many women experience abdominal separation, or diastasis recti, the muscles usually repair on their own, or with the appropriate exercises. 

The core muscles run in many different directions, and there are many layers to form a "corset" of support around your torso. Sit-ups are not the most effective for training all the different layers, and may set you back when trying to create that support again. Moral of the story, don't be afraid to train your core post-natal, but do a variety of different exercises and positions. 

Quadruped exercises are great for rebuilding the core post-natal. Try a knee hover. Stay tall on your arms, tuck your toes under, push into hands and toes on the mat, and float your knees off the floor about two inches. Do them quickly and small range to start trying to pull your low belly tight like a belt. 


Pilates for Yogi's


Pilates for Yogi's

Jackie Odette, Pilates Instructor, and Keri O’Meara, Pilates and Yoga Instructor, have 
created an exciting workshop series that will introduce yoga clients to the benefits of 
pilates for their asana practice.  

WHEN: November, 2, 14 at 1:30 at Moksha Yoga Uptown. Register HERE.  

PRICE: 60$, $45 for teachers. 

(If you are a Pilates or Yoga teacher Call MYU to pre reg and receive a discount when you pay the day of the workshop)

There is a reason Pilates has grown in popularity, with no sign of stopping, in 
the last ten years. Yoga studio’s across the country are starting to add pilates classes 
to their schedules because of demand. Yet these two practices still remain separate. 
The pilates system creates stable strong and happy bodies that are at less risk of 
injury. Pilates is also versatile and makes people feel good just like yoga. The marriage 
of these two practices is not only fresh and contemporary but super beneficial to the 
body. In fact, Joseph Pilates used yoga as part of the inspiration for his contrology 
system of exercise. Pilates exercises focus on smaller more local stabilizing muscles 
that can be overlooked in yoga practice with more of a focus on global stability, flow 
and flexibility. Pilates appeals to the mind body connection in a more cerebral way, 
while the asana practice of yoga tends to be more somatic and expressive. 

Jackie Odette and Keri O’Meara have created a workshop series that introduces pilates to yoga practitioners to get them to think and engage a little differently so that their yoga can have both beauty and brains. When you practice both you are working towards a 
well-rounded body in motion; balancing out the work in the body helping to prevent 
injuries as well as create a deeper expression in movement. It is no wonder clients who 
practice Pilates say how much it has improved their yoga practice! 

The Workshop
The first Pilates for Yoga workshop in this series will focus on the core. We will begin 
with a short yoga practice led by Keri. Following that we will break down the anatomy 
and biomechanics of the abdominal system. Jackie will then help participants apply this 
new knowledge in an abdominal centred pilates practice helping participants safely 
work, stabilize and deeply connect to their core. We will finish the workshop by 
revisiting the yoga practice to show how this deep connection to core can in fact 
change and strengthen a yoga practice, revealing by that engaging ones centre you can 
actually create more balance and strength and therefore a more dynamic yoga practice. The workshop will run for two and a half to three hours and will be very interactive, fun and hands on. Participants will leave feeling worked out, stronger, inspired and rejuvenated, and excited to apply this new kinship with core to their yoga routine. 

Who We Are
Keri O’Meara 
Keri’s passion’s are movement and teaching. Her motto: move your body move your 
mind move your heart. Seven years ago she started practicing pilates and yoga to help 
deal with joint pain that was a result of rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder 
that had restricted her movements since she was four. Keri discovered that by 
connecting to her body she felt strong healthy and pain free and this deeper 
connection allowed her to shift her way of thinking and being in the world as well. 
Trained in mat and reformer at Stott Pilates, Keri is also certified in Therapeutic Pilates from the Pilates Process. Her first 200 hour yoga training was completed at Vikasa 
yoga in Thailand. Her teaching style in both practices is dynamic, creative, fun, informed and compassionately challenging. Keri has led workshops, trained and mentored new pilates teachers and even written and taught a Fusion teacher training program. Her enthusiasm for anatomy and movement is present in all she does, whether its a group yoga or pilates class, a one on one session with a post -rehab client, or leading a workshop. Just as is it did for her, Keri hopes to enrich her clients lives with movement, body awareness and connection. 

Jackie Odette
Jackie O was born and raised in Toronto, ON. After practicing yoga for several years she found herself curious about other movement practices. This curiosity, love for movement and mindfulness brought her to Pilates and she has never looked back. Her classes are fuelled by creativity. They are energetic, challenging and fun! She can always find a little humour in a bit of hard work. Jackie O prides herself on creating safe, challenging and accessible sequencing. After taking her class you will be sure to feel stronger, leaner and more connected to the way your body moves. Jackie is certified in Mat Pilates from Body Harmonics and did her Reformer Pilates training at Misfitstudio. She is constantly learning, taking workshops and classes, to help educate herself and her clients through movement.

We look forward to teaching, learning and moving with you!


Ask a teacher: Reformer vs. Mat


Ask a teacher: Reformer vs. Mat

This week in our Ask A Teacher Series, the lovely and brilliant Danielle Dodham- Wright gives us a thorough look at the differences between the reformer and mat pilates. 

Danielle is Toronto-based Pilates instructor, certified by internationally recognized organizations, Body Harmonics and STOTT Pilates. 

Her passion for anatomy and over 15 years in dance merge in classes that are both laser-focused in their precision and a celebration of movement. With humor and care, she weaves biomechanics into her natural aptitude for imagery to guide her clients towards discovering the potential in their bodies. A lifelong learner, Danielle has taken workshops with industry leaders Thomas Myers and Eric Franklin and is currently working towards her Biomechanics Specialist certification at Body Harmonics. Her clients span over 6 decades; she has experience working with scoliosis, osteoporosis, pre and post natal and young dancers and knee replacements.

You can find Danielle teaching joyfully at Mindful Movement Centre in Yorkville and Core Studio on Queen West.

Question: What’s the difference between the type of workout I get from a pilates mat and a pilates reformer workout?


All pilates classes – whether on the mat or reformer – have the same underlying goal: to create strong, balanced bodies that move freely and efficiently. They just use different tools to get you there. Here are a few things to consider when deciding between the two. 


Weighted springs that you push against are one of the reformer’s calling cards; that kind of load is ideal for building muscle, increasing bone density and elevating your heart rate in a workout. Keep in mind though, that heavier doesn’t always mean harder.  Higher loads can shut down essential local muscles (deep stabilizers) that respond to instability and low weights. And if – as it should be - a goal is to move better, too much weight can fire the wrong muscles in faulty patterns in lieu of good biomechanics. Also some exercises are harder on the mat without springs, than on the machine with. Minus spring support to “split the work”, you have to resist gravity and your body weight solo.


On the mat, there’s not much to tell you where you are in space; in fact, “getting” the nuances of matwork requires great proprioception (body awareness). On the other end of the spectrum, the reformer has specific places for the feet, shoulders, hands and head; it gives you a physical framework for your practice. Not only that, but the “push-pull” of springs can help guide newbies into unfamiliar positions and understand how muscles should be working. For example, concepts like “elastic recoil” in muscles are much easier to feel and understand with springs. 


One of the pillars of pilates is concentration; changing the way our neurons and muscles fire together requires that we pay attention to our bodies.  Add a reformer and your attentions is split. Someone who has already made their connections won’t be fazed by having to manage a machine, but earlier on in the stages of your practice the reformer can draw focus in the wrong way.

Core vs. Limbs

Expect to move your spine and pelvis (the axial skeleton) similarly in both mat and reformer, but know that your arms and legs (the appendicular skeleton) may be worked differently. Matwork tends to emphasize stabilizing the peripheral joints  (think of how your arm works to hold you in a side bridge) vs. reformer work, which more often mobilizes them (think of lifting your arm up against weights). As a general rule, your arms and legs will get a little more attention and work on the reformer.  

Both mat and machines classes exist for a reason(s). Keep in mind that it’s how you practice, not what you practice on. Whichever helps you delve deeper into the universe of your body is fantastic. And once you’ve experimented with the two, why not move on to the cadillac, the barrel, the chair… the possibilities are endless!





Heart Pumping Playlist...


Heart Pumping Playlist...

I made this play list a month ago when I subbed a Flow and Tone class at 889 Yoga.  It's great for dancing through a kickass heart pumping flow. Hope you enjoy! 

Wishing Well- Barbarossa

Automatic- The Pointer Sisters

It's a Shame- The Spinners

Howling- Ry and Frank Wiedmann

Ghostwriter- RJD2

True- Spandau Ballet- Lane 8 Edit

Mi Mujer- Nicolas Jaar

Fleur Blanche- Orsten

Flying- Garth Stevenson

House of Cards- Radiohead

Just Like Heaven- Katie Melua

Shanti (Peace Out)- MC Yogi


Ask a Teacher: How do I get cardio into my pilates?


Ask a Teacher: How do I get cardio into my pilates?

This is a new series I am starting on the MuseMovement blog.  Send me your questions about Pilates and Yoga and I find the best teachers to answer them for you.

This week the beautiful, quirky and talented Roselby Rodriguez dishes the goods.

Roselby is a fun and innovative Pilates Instructor, who lives in Toronto and hails from Caracas, Venezuela.  Trained in classical ballet and traditional Venezuelan dances, Roselby’s dance background together with her studies of the Pilates method has allowed her to combine movement and fluidity within Pilates exercises and provide mind-body awareness to her clients. 

Roselby is trained in Mat Pilates, Reformer and Wunda Chair as well as rehabilitative Pilates and the Pink Ribbon Program for Breast Cancer Survivors. She also holds a Certification in Fascial Stretch Therapy, ™ which applies joint release and unlocking of the fascia that creates tensions around the muscles.

You can check out one of Roselby’s awesome classes at Body Harmonics , Core Studio, or Living Waters Therapies

Tweet Roselby: @mundopilates

This weeks Question:

I Like how yoga seems to raise my heart rate. Are there any pilates exercises or sequences that I can do that will give me that same cardio feeling?


To increase your heart rate in your pilates practice the goal is to create a combination of movements and sometimes faster sequences. If the Jump Board on the Reformer Machine is not an option for you, standing pilates work on the mat is a great way to give your heart a boost.

Once you are warmed up, stand with your feet hip distance apart and do squat repetitions. Focus on sitting towards your heels and spreading your sits bones apart. Do bounces in your squat position 10-20 times and then pause and raise your heels so you are resting on the balls of your feet. Keeping your pelvis still tap and lift your heels really fast until you feel the quadriceps.  Add arm movements -lifting the arms over head or out to the side- to this series to really get the heart rate up.

Drop your heels and lengthen the legs to make your way to standing and then find your way to a plank position. In plank lift one leg at a time using your glutes. Keep your core engaged as you as you alternate legs. Do 4 lifts each side then add three push ups. Make you way back to standing. Pause there for a breath and then repeat plank sequence.

On the floor, lying on your back, activate your glutes to lift your hips into a bridge position. Lift one leg of the floor at a 45 degree angle and then lower and lift the pelvis try to keep it level)  8 times. Switch legs. Once you’ve done both sides, take your hands behind your head and flex your torso so the shoulder blades come off the mat. Bring your legs to table top and then lengthen them up to the ceiling. Start to scissor the legs. working on low belly ‘in,’ switching 8- 10 times. Repeat bridge sequence.

Either the standing series or the supine series will give you a heart booster, or even better, combine both and keep switching from standing to supine for 20 minutes.



Inspiration and Transformation...

I’ve said it before and it never ceases to reign true: My clients inspire me.  

At the beginning of June a lovely woman who I will call Ms. Motivation was referred to me by a fellow yoga teacher. Ms. Motivation was getting married mid august and had heard from my fellow yogi, that Pilates can kick your butt and give you a hot bod among many other things.  So Ms. Motivation started seeing me three, sometimes four times a week as well as continuing her yoga practice 3 days a week. Planning a wedding, working full time and working out 6-7 days a week is no small feat.  It could have been really easy for Ms. M to get lost in the details and the hustle and bustle of it all, but she stuck to it.  Amidst all the busy-ness (did I mention her and fiancee were looking for a house too?) she took at least an hour out of her day, every day to move and to be in her body and take time for HER. The most amazing thing tho is that she did this all without ever complaining. Ms. M always had a warm energy, a smile on her face and a willingness to  to work. What i saw was dedication and determination and a woman connecting to her body and on a deep level and taking a real interest in its mechanics.  Also I saw a complete aesthetic transformation which i’ve displayed below. Girl was hot to begin with but she got tight, taught and toned. She lost inches, her arms got super sculpted, her butt lifted and her posture improved. Ms. M originally signed up for 20 sessions which we completed before her wedding but she continues now to see me three times a week. She has seen, and felt the benefits of pilates and is hooked.  

And something else happened, she completely inspired me.  My practice had really fallen by the way side. I can tell you all the reasons- there are always reasons- but that doesn’t matter. Seeing Ms. M’s dedication I committed to my own practice again and it feels awesome. I am clear, focused and strong-  up for any challenge. 

Thank you Ms. Motivation for bringing light, laughter and movement into my life. 

First Session on right, 6 sessions (2 weeks) on left

First Session on right, 6 sessions (2 weeks) on left

14 Sessions on the right, 20 on the left.

14 Sessions on the right, 20 on the left.






If you’ve been to any of my pilates or yoga classes you know that I believe music is part of the formula for a kick-ass class. A good playlist can really get you into the groove -pun intended- and set the mood and pace of a class.  To be sure there are times when silence is as golden as a great tune, but like silence and like movement, music can be meditative. 

Over the years many of my students have asked about certain songs or compilations and I am always happy to share, and what better place to share then the internet.  So without further ado I present one of my favourites and most asked about- an Oldie (made this one back in 2011) but a Goody.

Hope you enjoy and and get inspired to move body, mind and heart!





DON’T GO- Wretch 32, feat Josh Kumra

GET FREE - Major Lazer, feat Amber Coffman from The Dirty Projectors

SOUL REBEL- Bob Marley and the Wailers (Afrodisiac Sound System Remix)


JIMMY- Of Montreal


SHOULDA- Jaime Woon


LADY- Chromatics

TWO DOVES- The Dirty Projectors

HIGHER LOVE- James VIncent Mc Morrow

ANDVARI- Sigur Ros





It’s early Friday afternoon on a sticky, summer, day. You’ve been working hard for your money all week and going out every night, taking advantage of all that summer has to offer. You want, need, to spend your weekend restoring, recharging and relaxing. Luckily you have signed up for a weekend long Yoga and Pilates retreat with Keri O’Meara aka Musemovement.

A quick hour and a half drive to Quarry Point Road, Ramara, brings you to the sprawling grounds of a beautiful 5 bedroom cottage on Lake Couchiching. You are feeling positive that you made the right decision in taking this weekend for yourself to come on this soulful summer retreat.

You are greeted by Keri with open arms and a freshly blended watermelon and ginger juice. You meet the other gals on the retreat and they are all lovely, dynamic and full of warmth and excitement.

Once settled into your room in the modern and charming cottage, with the perfect soup-con of rustic, you throw on your new bikini and stroll down to the dock. You dive into the clear, crisp lake and straight away the city, your week, and your worries, are cleansed away.

After a glorious swim, you join Keri and the others on the grass lawn in the back of the cottage. On your yoga matt, under a canopy of maple and cedar trees, you are sprinkled in sunlight which dances over you as you move through a fun and stretchy hour of pilates. 

Afterwards, you feel liquidy, open and ready for the joys of the weekend. You take a cold glass of supple, Niagara Chardonnay down to the dock and delve into a novel as the evening sun caresses your skin. You decide to stay on the dock and you have been joined by a couple of the other retreaters. The rest of them partake in a guided meditation on the west facing, lake front porch as the sun sets in brilliant reds and corals.

Following a long, warm shower and a change into comfortable clothes, you join your new friends on the porch. Together you delight in a colourful, healthy meal blessed with a cornucopia of flavours. The wine is plentiful and the conversation animated as you learn about each other share your intentions for the weekend. 

After dinner everyone gathers outside by a crackling and soothing fire at the lake side fire pit.  The sky is generously showered with stars, the lake is quiet and the night is clear and alive with the sounds of laughter and loons.

A moonlight hot tub is the conclusion to the night. Afterwards, you go to bed smiling and you fall into a deep and restful sleep knowing that you get to wake up tomorrow and follow this routine again. 

The next two days are heaven. You begin the days with yoga. You indulge in fresh healthy snacks all day. You sunbathe and swim, and read and journal,, and laugh and cry, and connect to your body and move and dance.  You make lifelong friends. 

On your drive home on Sunday night you are feeling refreshed, strong, grateful and alive.







Move-ing on...

I am excited to announce that I am now taking clients in my private studio for the summer.  

I had a wonderful and magical time teaching at Misfitstudio over the last two and a half years. I am grateful for that experience and all the beautiful people I had the privilege and pleasure of teaching and working with while there. I look forward to running into and connecting to you all in the small big city that we live in. 

Now its time for a change. I'm taking the summer off from a full schedule of studio teaching to focus on private sessions

I continue to teach on Saturdays at 889 Yoga at 1:30 and will be popping up around the city subbing classes. I'll update this website, and all of my social media with my schedule.  

This July I am running a lake-side yoga and pilates retreat, the first of many more to come.  No doubt it will be fun, relaxing and rejuvenating just like the summer itself. There are only seven spots left! Contact me if you want more details or to book a spot.

Have a beautiful summer y'all.

Peace, Love and Movement