Vintage Pilates Teachers Clubhouse #1

Teacher’s Clubhouse 1—The Back Connection

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Vintage Pilates holds Teachers Clubhouses every week at their studio in West Los Angeles. The class offers teachers a time to work out and talk with other teachers about exercise orders, spots, techniques, or anything else Pilates-related. The first hour is a workout or warm-up, followed by a discussion, demonstration or practice. This week, after the workout portion of class is finished, Sandy and Karen help teachers find the connection of the back from the low back through the fingers with exercises against the wall and on the reformer. Filmed at Vintage Pilates in Los Angeles, CA.

What Others Are Saying


  1. arlene
    arlene 4 years ago

    I loved this TC, using the wall as a reference for the back connection and pairing that with Rowing 3 & 4. It’s great to use real simple ways to find the center, as Sandy says, throughout your day, it’s not too hard to find a wall to lean against to realign and lengthen the spine. What a great feeling to keep that reference in the body throughout the day and then in the studio getting a better sense of really using the exercises to correct the body- the reach of the arms stays within it’s natural range of motion when we are working from our center. I also loved the comment from Karen, when we are sitting upright for Rowing and don’t have a wall behind us as a reference, to really use the handles, straps and springs to find that ‘wall of support’, that sensation of being connected down into the back as we reach through the arms. That really helped me to reach better, and reaching arms is actually starting to feel really good.

    Same applies to reaching of the legs!! I loved what Sandy said, before we start our Rowing exercise to also find the reach of the lower body out through the legs and feet.

    Oh, it was also really cool to watch all these great teachers working out- this was 4 maybe even 5 years ago, and where they are now- total rockstars! Thank you for the inspiration! xoxo

  2. joelcrosby

    Sandy, This was a great video for learning the back connection. I will practice this and hopefully get a chance to work with you and your staff on this for more refinements on my technique. It really adds another dimension to my practice.Thanks for suggesting it.

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      Joel, I am so glad that you found value in this study of the back connection! It will be fun to see your work deepen as you apply this concept to your work.

  3. cat0607 6 years ago

    Thank you teachers for sharing your workout. Its been over a year that I walked into
    Vintage . It is so wonderful to watch this and see that I understand it more. I loved the wall work taught and then brought to reformer in rowing to understand and the back connection more.

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      Hi cat0607! We love having you as part of our family year after year. One of the most rewarding things I witness as a teacher is continued growth and understanding. thanks for sharing your input.

  4. Gaia Faggiani
    gaia 7 years ago

    Hello! First of all thank you for this so helpful teachers clubhouse! Observing it one year after the first time I watched it, I can understand so much more about back connection! And appreciate the work I did up to now, every work out is a new chance to test improvements and a challenge for the next! Thank you all, Karen Sandy and Jay of course. Ps: I deeply agree with Sandy when says she applies Pilates in day actions s.a. Trekking or whatever you do! So true!! Ciao! See you soon !

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      Hello! You are diligent, inquiring and very body aware. I am sure that your challenges toward improvement will pay off grandly. Isn’t the back connection a topic that needs time and practice? I love it!

  5. Pilatesthebody
    Pilatesthebody 7 years ago

    As a teacher and practitioner of Pilates I am usually doing, directing and correcting. How wonderful to be a quiet observer of working out and teaching where the primary focus is back connection and two way stretch. This video has some great visuals of both in motion.

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      Hi Pilatesthebody, I agree that quiet observation holds powerful potential for learning, understanding, questioning, and more!

  6. nancymchin 8 years ago

    Learning this back connection has changed every exercise for me. I had never heard of this concept in Pilates until I came to Vintage. This discovery changed the work completely. I am now keenly aware now that the back is part of the powerhouse. This has helped me get out of my shoulders and upper traps, and get me to strengthen where I need it!

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      nancymchin, Your work shows beautifully in your posture and in those sweet Summer tops. There is little less attractive than hefty necks and shoulders in a spaghetti strap top, right?

  7. Andrea Maida
    Andrea Maida 8 years ago

    It was so helpful to revisit this Clubhouse again. I think I watched a few moments of this one a while back. I now have some distance from this workout and can notice some changes in the way I am working. I noticed a huge difference in my posture from the workout section to the discussion portion and using the feedback of being against the wall to get connected to the back. I so need to take advantage of working along a surface for support. Arm chair anyone? I loved the discussion of where to find that kind of support in other exercises in the system and plan to focus on that in my workout later today. I think I may adopt Amy’s statement this past Monday as a mantra: feel the movement not the muscles. Thank you !

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      Andrea- always fun to know that these classes are still useful to a teacher who is around these teachings all the time. It is proof that we just can’t hear about the back connection enough!

  8. Sandy Shimoda Author

    You are so welcome!!! Thank you for sharing the parts of clubhouse that stood out for you. We always appreciate such feedback. See you at our next clubhouse!

  9. nigelmack 9 years ago

    I’m hooked too. Absolutely please keep it coming. Some things I loved was the break down of the rowing and the question time and the idea of pilates being all one exercise with different forms not a whole lot of fragmented exercises. I think the whole video was kind of a testament to that when I think of it more. Thank you everyone for being on camera. What a gift you are to all of us out here just by doing your thing, being yourselves, being real. Thank you ! ! !

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      Thank you for your comments. I am with you in feeling grateful for all the teachers who were willing to be on camera for this class!

  10. Sandy Shimoda Author

    Ciao Monica! Thanks for your comment. Karen and I are shooting another Teachers Clubhouse and a few lessons today. Hope to “meet” you there…

  11. monica 9 years ago

    Please keep it coming, thanks.
    Monica italy

  12. Sandy Shimoda Author

    Hi Amy! There is infinite learning in giving yourself to your workout in the moment and looking back at it later. I encourage you to use all the tools you can to continue your always dedicated hard work. Huffing and puffing comes with the territory when you work out the way Jay and Joe ask you to, right?

    • Had a workout yesterday after reviewing this clubhouse – such a valuable resource. Sandy – always hard work when I work the Jay way!

      • Sandy Shimoda Author

        Awesome, Amy! We taped another Teachers Clubhouse which should be posted soon.

        • It is so interesting to return to this workout nearly a year from when it was recorded. I see so many things in my body have changed and in particular have a greater understanding of the back connection. Today when i feel the back connection i realise how i had not felt that before in my workouts and the area of my back that gave me pain was the one area i needed to work on to create strength! Thank you Vintage Pilates for letting me discover and explore!

  13. Great to be able to watch the workout back – sorry for all the huffing!!!

  14. DKimbro 9 years ago

    That, was a wonderful session!!! (not sure what I did on the “star rating” – but, meant to enter 5 stars. Learned a lot and look forward to our next session. Thank you!!!!

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      You are so welcome…literallly…any time…to be apart of our clubhouse via Pilatesology. In Teachers Clubhouse we learn so much in the company of teachers from Los Angeles and around the world and are so pleased to include teachers beyond our doors through our videos. Cheers!

  15. Ynowak 9 years ago

    This was so incredibly valuable, thank you for sharing. The whole format worked very well. I just got sucked in and couldn’t stop watching!

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      Fantastic! I love any opportunity to get sucked in – it’s effortless interest, involvement and learning. Could it get any better? Thank you for your comment!

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