So, let's do it. Name it - what's your excuse?
And no, I don't just mean working out. What's your excuse from holding you back from what you want?
We all have some kind of goal we want: a better pre-bedtime routine, waking up in time for breakfast before work, more steps in the day, one hour for yourself in the week, finally booking that doctor's check up or acupuncture session, tackling that part of your to-do list that seems to continually get ignored, achieving a run goal, a weight goal ... the list goes on and on.
Sometimes, naming the goal out loud is the hardest part because our goals seem too basic or subtle that it's not worth naming them. But take it from me who has truly a whole new take on the little things in life - name it. I can't tell you how good it feels to finally make my own breakfast again, to return to my lunch walks with Zoey, to have a yoga mat again. But I had to name for myself that these were important goals that I needed to have back in my routine to feel good again and to feel home again. These small acts can be so empowering.
So, get to it. Name your goal. Name your excuse. And then, go get it done.
20% of this month's proceeds will go to the Association for Size Diversity and Health.
The Association for Size Diversity and Health affirms a holistic definition of health, which cannot be characterized as the absence of physical or mental illness, limitation or disease. Rather, health exists on a continuum that varies with time and circumstance for each individual. Health should be conceived as a resource or capacity available to all regardless of health condition or ability level, and not as an outcome or objective of living. Pursuing health is neither a moral imperative nor an individual obligation, and health status should never be used to judge, oppress or determine the value of an individual.
Centering this definition of health, The Health at Every Size (HAES) Principles and framework are a continuously evolving alternative to the weight-centered approach to treating clients and patients of all sizes. The Principles promote health equity, support ending weight discrimination, and improve access to quality healthcare regardless of size.
The Principles are: 1) Weight Inclusivity, 2) Health Enhancement, 3) Eating for Well-Being, 4) Respectful Care, and 5) Life-Enhancing Movement.
As a non-profit organization with an international membership committed to the practice of Health at Every Size, ASDAH envisions a world that celebrate bodies of all shapes and sizes, in which body weight is no longer a source of discrimination and where oppressed communities have equal access to the resources and practices that support health and well being.
They provide education on weight-centered bias, advocate for change at an international level, and connect like-minded people around the globe to create a world in which weight is no longer a source of discrimination.
To learn more about what they do and join, visit their website: https://asdah.org/
I cannot believe it is February already!
First and foremost, I will update you that Adam, Zoey and I are doing well, all things considered. We have a new home, and we are slowly, very slowly, picking up the pieces and moving forward each day. And it really is thanks to the amazing supportive community around us, so thank you tremendously for all you have done for us.
I have certainly learned a lot about grief and what it does to your body on many levels. And while "self-care" always feels like a bit of a privileged word to me, there really is something to be said for what it means to truly take care of yourself: cooking a meal, washing your face, brushing your teeth, taking a long shower, feeling "put together" or the effort of getting ready for the day, quality sleep, moving your body - I took a lot of these for granted prior to this experience.
JVN on the latest season of Queer Eye says that the act of taking care of yourself is beauty. And they are right. It's not about the result of it - how your hair looks, how your make up looks, how your body looks in an outfit. But the act of showing up for yourself and taking care of you, inside and out, is an act of love that is so important and really can change how you show up for others.
So this month, I hope you will focus one area of "self-care" where you can improve. And approach it from that idea that if you take care of you, you will then be ready to take care of others around you.
As always, sending all my love and good health to you and yours.
This month, 20% of our proceeds will go to the Michael J. Fox Parkinson Foundation.
In memory of my cousin Jon Schwengel who passed away last week, I would like to share the work of the Michael J. Fox Parkinson Foundation.
They are dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson's disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson's today.
They identify and fund projects most vital to patients, spearhead solutions around seemingly intractable field-wide challenges, coordinate and streamline efforts of multiple, often disparate, teams, and do whatever it takes to drive faster knowledge turns for the benefit of every life touched by PD.
Their core values are optimism, tenacity, collaboration, boldness, adaptability and curiosity in problem-solving to work on behalf of the 6 million people worldwide living with Parkinson's.
"We aspire to go out of business. We deliberately hold no endowment or excessive financial reserves. We act with urgency, typically deploying funds raised within a few months for the fastest possible impact."
Some of their achievements so far:
- 20 early-stage therapeutic programs, which have attracted follow-on funding from venture capital, pharmaceutical or government funders for continuing development
- sponsored scores of clinical trials in partnership with academic and industry teams; currently, more than 15 disease-modifying interventions are in clinical trials
- Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative has built the most robust dataset and biosample library in the history of Parkinson's research using brain scans (MRI, DaTscan), biosample analysis (spinal fluid protein levels) and intensive "omics" investigations (whole genome and RNA sequencing) from 1500 volunteers and researched over 1.7 million times since the launch in 2010
- Fox Insight, an online clinical study, has galvanized people with Parkinson's and their families to take an active role in research by sharing their lived experience; since 2017, more than 48,000 people have raised their hand to become citizen scientists to power PD research
To learn more about their current work and needs, please visit their website: https://www.michaeljfox.org/
I had every intention of writing a HAPPY NEW YEAR newsletter to be sent out January 1st, but I unfortunately need to share a personal update instead.
On Wednesday, December 20th, our apartment building caught fire. It began on our floor, and I was thankfully home, so I was able to get myself and Zoey out safely. And the best news is all residents were able to evacuate safely, so no casualties. Due to the winds and nature of the fire, it became a 5 alarm fire with 198 firefighters fighting for almost 5 hours to get it out. They believe the fire began due to illegal use of a blowtorch during construction of an empty apartment on our floor.
Our building has been full vacate order ever since the fire. We still have not been let back into the building as it is deemed unsafe for the top floor where we live. Thanks to our doggy webcam and what we could see on it, we believe we were spared from the flames, but the firemen used our apartment to fight the fire, so the water damage will be quite extensive. We will be lucky if we can retrieve anything from the apartment.
We have mourned and grieved significantly since the fire as this was our first home together and our home for 8.5 years. We've lived in two apartments in the building and cherish our community in the building as well as all their pets. Zoey is extremely beloved in our building and so well taken care of with pets, treats and playdates. To see our home and sense of comfort and safety taken away is a new level of hurt I have not experienced and wouldn't wish on anyone.
So many of you have reached out and want to help. We already have received such immense help - many selfless friends have offered us temporary shelter, home cooked meals, clothing and toiletries and financial assistance for future needs. We know that many in our building are not near as privileged as we are. Our goal throughout this process has been to make sure the needs of our neighbors are taken care of as much as ours.
With that in mind, I am going to share several GoFundMe links below. One is for the whole building as well as for individual families who we are close with, one being our neighbor directly on our floor in our old apartment who truly have nothing left as the flames destroyed everything they own. I will share ours as well, but please consider contributing to the funds of families in our building. They need help more than we do.
I will be sure to donate 20% of proceeds from January's Pilates On Demand to those families directly.
If you haven't already, you also can sign up for my platform and take my On Demand classes. I will do my best to update with new classes as I can. But know there are 150 classes there, so you will be well taken care of in my absence.
Thank you all again for your support. I hope you know that I am so ready to support you should you ever need. We have no idea how we will ever repay all of you, but we certainly will do our best to pay it forward and continue to advocate for all those in need.
All our love and wishing you the healthiest, happiest and safest new year,
- Sarah, Adam and Zoey
December is always the time of year for reflection and gratitude. Looking back on this year, I am so proud of some big milestones that I achieved in my career this year. I am endlessly thankful for the health and love of my inner circle. And I am continuously awed by the support of our community around us - most importantly you. I am so grateful for your support - whether reading my emails, checking in on us via text, following us on social media, taking sessions with me or subscribing to Pilates On Demand - you are part of our "ensemble" and we are wishing you and yours the healthiest and happiest holiday season yet.
This month, 20% of our proceeds goes to GrowNYC.
Currently, City Council of New York will cut funding for composting on January 1st. DSNY has opted to slash all $7 million in funding to community composting services including LES Ecology Center, Big Reuse and more. That also includes GrowNYC, which means no more food scrap drop off at farmers markets.
Of the three bin options that are currently available, the Orange Bins are rarely if ever turned into finished compost. They are turned into "engineered bioslurry," releasing harmful methane. The Brown Bins that are curbside for residents are also not being turned into compost. They are combined with sewage and burned into forms of energy that power local homes, and if not used there, they go to the landfill. The Green Bins are the best option - used by GrowNYC, Big Reuse, Nurture BK and LES Ecology Center. These are your community compost options and are your best bet to ensure your waste actually turns into true compost, used for street trees, parks and public lands with no greenhouse gases released.
STEPS YOU CAN DO TO MAKE CHANGE:
1) Sign the GrowNYC petition.
2) Reach out to your council member.
3) Join the rally on November 30th.
*Thank you to SustainableSABS for the above information.
GrowNYC was originally created in 1970 as the Council on the Environment of New York City (CENYC). Born out of the spirit of the first Earth Day, CENYC was initially a policy-based organization, writing comprehensive reports about quality of life issues like air quality, traffic, and noise. Our city has changed a lot since then and so have we.
Today, GrowNYC is a leading 501(3)(c) environmental nonprofit in NYC - helping more than 3 million New Yorkers by providing essential sustainability services and taking action to make NYC a truly livable city. One where every New Yorker can enjoy a healthier, more sustainable life. Their mission is to empower all New Yorkers with equitable access to fresh, locally grown food, neighborhood green spaces, opportunities to reduce waste, and care for the environment.
They envision a New York City where fresh, nutritious food is ensured as a basic human right. Where our foodshed is protected and local farmers prosper. Where all have access to places to gather and grow. Where they handle our waste responsibly. And where all New Yorkers, especially those with frontline identities*, are empowered to enact their vision of a thriving community.
*“Frontline identities” includes but is not limited to BIPOC, queer, those with disabilities, and new immigrants
Some of their programs include:
Food Access and Agriculture - their network of Greenmarket farmers markets, Farmstands, along with their Food Hub ensures that all New Yorkers have access to the freshest, healthiest local food.
Zero Waste - They blanket the five boroughs with resources like textile and food scrap collection, Stop 'N' Swaps, and free training to make waste reduction easy for all.
Green Space - They build and support community and school gardens, providing construction expertise, technical assistance, green infrastructure support, school garden grants, and more.
Education - They foster future environmental stewards by providing 70,000 children and adults each year with programs that provide meaningful interactions with the natural environment.
To learn more about their outstanding work and contribute more to their work, visit their website: https://www.grownyc.org/
There is no question that there is a lot weighing on our shoulders these days. The heartache, the grief, the extreme turmoil and distress, the anger, the frustration, the helplessness. It all weighs on our nervous system and on our bodies.
Rather than sitting in the despair and helplessness, I challenge you to move your bodies and give thanks for all your body is capable of. Even if you feel like you are at your worst physical fitness, or you don't have enough time, or you simply ache and have no idea how to get up, I challenge you to get up and move, even for 5 minutes, and give thanks. Because moving your body gives you energy and settles your nervous system so that you can move forward in your day and bring peace to you and those around you.
Wishing you and your families peace and good health this season.
This month, 20% of our proceeds goes to Save the Children.
"The first casualty of war is innocence."
Save the Children was the first global movement for children, boldly declaring that children have rights. They have championed the rights of 2.3 billion children around the world. Founded in 1919, they work in over 100 countries, doing whatever it takes - every day and in times of crisis - to give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. They have the capability of putting world-class health professionals in areas of crisis anywhere in the world within 72 hours. And they don't go into communities, carry out a project, and then move on. They consult with children, their families, community leaders and local councils to understand all issues and barriers, then they develop programs that address these. They safeguard children and build trust so that their programs are successful and bring about real change.
In 2022 alone, Save the Children programs and partners helped 118 million children in 116 countries become healthier, safer and better educated. 250,000 children in 23 US states received over 5 million meals. 9 million children accessed quality education - including more than 4.5 million girls. 4.6 million mothers and 16 million children improved their nutrition. They helped 3.8 million children live a life free from violence. And they responded to 107 emergencies in more than 70 countries.
They believe that every child deserves a future. And because of that, they are working with both Israeli and Palestinian children by immediately dispersing $1 million from their Children's Emergency Fund to urgently respond to children's needs.
To learn more about their life saving work, please visit their website: https://www.savethechildren.org/
I've been reflecting a lot this month on self accountability. My schedule has had a pretty significant shift recently with all the different hats that I wear, and I keep thinking that I'll eventually get the swing of it and be able to work back in my good habits of cooking more, moving daily, getting that solid bedtime routine down. But I've not been holding myself accountable to the fact that I am actively choosing to not make time for me and for the habits I need to practice while also adjusting to the new schedule. That's not to say things won't shift and time will appear, but it's important to accept the choices you are making and priorities and habits you have built and make an active effort to build the habits you want to incorporate into your busy life.
And what better way to work on that than the start of a new month! I challenge you to pick one habit you want to build that would help take care of yourself and hold yourself accountable to it. I highly recommend letting your habit be adding some of my Pilates classes into your week. You have almost 150 videos to choose from. So let's get to it!
This month, 20% of our proceeds goes to the Environmental Defense Fund.
Guided by science and economics, and committed to climate justice, EDF works in the places, on the projects and with the people that can make the biggest difference.
Their goals: 1) stabilize the climate, 2) strengthen people and nature's ability to thrive and c) support people's health.
They're tackling the biggest issues and striving for maximum impact to ensure a clean energy transition, healthy communities and the ability of people and nature to thrive. Some of their initiatives include energy transition, natural solutions, sustainable fishing, hydrogen, clean air, methane, agriculture and safe chemicals.
They bring together people from all sides and draw from deep expertise to tackle environmental issues from every angle such as scientific evidence and applying that evidence to identify the most effective solutions, economic sustainability and using economic forces to protect our environment, powerful partnerships and creating alliances across a wide range of allies, climate justice and building a more equitable home on this planet that we share, strong advocacy and shaping public policy and taking legal action, and finally a commitment to diversity and making transformative change for diversity, equity and inclusion.
To learn more about their incredible work, visit their website: https://www.edf.org/
Happy Anniversary, Pilates On Demand!
I want to say a heartfelt thank you to all of you who have been with me - whether that was Pilates for a Cause classes deep in the pandemic or now with the On Demand library, I am so thankful to be part of your movement journey.
Moving forward, I will be uploading classes as I make them rather than dropping them at the first of the month. I'll still send out my newsletter on the first letting you know where we are contributing 20% of our proceeds. But otherwise, look out for new videos throughout the month!
And if you haven't joined yet, you have 140+ classes at your finger tips with a monthly subscription. What are you waiting for?!
This month, 20% of our proceeds goes to Realize Your Beauty.
Realize Your Beauty promotes positive body image to youth through theatre arts! We bring plays, workshops & camps to youth to promote self-esteem, body positivity, and eating disorder awareness.
Their mission: to promote positive body image to children & adolescents by way of theatre arts.
To meet their mission, they travel to schools, festivals and local theatres to present educational plays, presentations and workshops.
Through their workshops, students discover a new way of thinking about themselves, their bodies and about beauty.
Their workshops focus on fostering inner beauty- taking the focus away from societal standards and the pressure to be 'pretty'. They encourage students to put their energy into kindness, integrity and respect towards themselves & others, and focus on developing their own unique inner qualities.
They strive to educate our older students about the dangers of dieting and disordered eating. They encourage students to love themselves exactly as they are and to learn the warning signs of an eating disorder.
RYB is a not for profit corporation based in NYC, with program offerings in New York and Colorado. Realize Your Beauty proudly works in connection with the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, Girls Inc.,
and NEDA (the National Eating Disorders Association).
To learn more about their incredible work, visit their website: https://realizeyourbeauty.org/home
If you've been with me awhile, you know that I am not here for diet culture or any language centered around "skinny," "weight loss," or image-focused results. With that, I understand we all have different goals and you have every right to achieve the goal you want to achieve. Here are some of the goals I hear often:
- lose weight
- get healthier
- get fit and toned
- feel stronger
- work on my posture
- ease my pain
- achieve "x" movement or exercise
- achieve "x" daily functional movement
I am going to say something rather controversial - Pilates alone is not a weight loss tool. Its goal is to balance your body so that you are as strong as you are flexible, mobile as you are stable. That means Pilates in addition to a variety of other movement modalities has the opportunity to allow you to achieve your goals. And with that variety, consistency is the key. If you want real results, you must consistently move. Find a routine you can stick with and stick to it, friends. And then, you will begin to see results over time. If you aren't consistent with your movement, your sleep, your eating, your hydration, your mental and spiritual health, then you won't see the progress you want to see or unlock all the potential inside you.
So, the word of the month is consistency. Consistency = progress.
Keep at it, friends - you can do anything you set your mind to!
This month, 20% of our proceeds goes to Sisters of the Sky.
Sisters of the Sky are an organization of professional Black female pilots who are committed to supporting future Black aviators through mentorship, professional development, outreach and scholarship.
Their organization provides mentorship, fellowship, and camaraderie to women of color who have had little or no exposure to professional pilot careers. The goal of this mentorship program is to promote the progression and development of women of color seeking careers flying in the aviation industry.
Girls Rock Wings (GRoW) is their annual one-day aviation/STEM outreach program where they expose girls of color between the ages of 10-18 years of age to the field of aviation. They will have a discovery flight with a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) who is a woman of color; tour an air traffic control tower; develop a flight plan and fly that flight plan in a simulator; and tour a static display. In 2018 and 2019, their GRoW event was held in Houston, TX at the Lone Star Flight Museum. To date, they have exposed over 100 girls to the field of aviation through our GRoW outreach.
To learn more about their incredible work, please visit their website: https://sistersoftheskies.org/
I hope you have been enjoying summer!
I lately have been focusing on what my values are versus what my priorities are (thanks to a wonderful presentation led by Nagela Dales through the Harriet Tubman Effect Institute - check them out here!). And I noticed that while self care and health are a large value of mine, I don't always prioritize them - I don't set a strong enough boundary around the sacred time that is taking care of me.
Are you mapping out time in your week to prioritize your health? That can be a number of different things - moving, mental health breaks, screen breaks, doctor's appointments, taking fitness classes, seeing a physical therapist, social time with family and friends, nourishing meals, laughter, sunshine. I want to encourage each of you to continue prioritizing one of the biggest values which is YOU and your health - you deserve to give yourself that time to replenish and refresh!
And you can always do that through my On Demand classes. It's the first of the month, so check out my latest classes that dropped today!
This month, 20% of our proceeds will be contributed to R.Evolución Latina.
R.Evolución Latina is an organization that activates individual and collective human growth through artistic experiences for transformation and social change. A Revolution of Evolution, Making a difference through the Arts.
To grow as a strong organization that empowers and unites the Latino community with full capacity to manage and expand our programs that inspire lives through the arts.
CREED OF INCLUSIVITY:
In order for there to be INCLUSIVENESS we must be JUST and FAIR in ALL PROCESSES. We must LISTEN, SPEAK OUT, and ACT. LISTEN. It may be uncomfortable along the way, but as we listen we GROW and EVOLVE. And as we grow, we must SPEAK OUT. WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE when we MOBILIZE. We encourage you to use your PASSION to ACT. As we continue to fight to dismantle the systems of injustice, we know it will not happen overnight. During this heavy time, SILENCE is not the answer. LOVE IN ACTION is what is needed most RIGHT NOW. Whether it be the senseless violence against a person or community of color or marginalized individuals, we, R.Evolución Latina, say their names and continue to FIGHT FOR JUSTICE alongside our brothers and sisters. LOVE is the only constant through all of this chaos & destruction.
In order for there to be a REVOLUTION, we must first EVOLVE, and in our EVOLUTION we condemn any and all hate, racism or violence toward any group of people. We stand by our Asian American/Pacific Islander community as we do with the black community and anyone subjected to discrimination of any kind.
Dare Go Beyond by pushing my limits, taking risks and accepting challenges,
Commit myself to achieving my own goals by challenging no one but myself.
Respect The Learning Process by arriving early, listening and being aware of others time and space.
Believe that ”I Can” and to understand that mistakes happen and are necessary to help us learn.
Support myself as well as other activists by working together with my group and learning from around me.
R.Evolución Latina is an affiliate of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations.
To learn more about their work, visit their website: https://revolucionlatina.org/
Summer is one of my favorite seasons. We may not have summer break like we did when we were kids, but everything still slows down. There is so much extra daylight, which means so much extra time to catch as much vitamin D as you can. Have you heard the saying there is nothing a walk can't cure? That's how I feel about vitamin D - time in the sunshine is so healing, so energizing, so soothing. And what could be better than doing Pilates in the sunshine?! I hope you take time this month to take your practice outdoors to double the benefits!
This month, 20% of our proceeds goes to Brooklyn Public Library's Books Unbanned Campaign.
Brooklyn Public Library joins those fighting for the rights of teens nationwide to read what they like, discover themselves, and form their own opinions. Inspired by the American Library Association's Freedom to Read Statement, BPL's Books Unbanned initiative is a response to an increasingly coordinated and effective effort to remove books tackling a wide range of topics from library shelves.
The American Library Association documented 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources in 2022, the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago. The tally is nearly double that of the 729 book challenges reported in 2021. Most targeted books were for a teen audience and were by or about Black or LGBTQIA+ persons.
Across the country, teens continue to face rising attempts at book bans, censorship, and political challenges in their local school and public libraries. Check out the campaign to see just some of the ways young adults can get support from BPL: https://www.bklynlibrary.org/books-unbanned
Subscribe to my monthly Pilates on Demand class library!