Comparing Several Mindful Movement Exercises to Similar Pilates Moves
Part 1

As a Pilates instructor, I love seeing my clients progress. Anyone teaching the original repertoire will see their clients get stronger, become more flexible, and gain better stamina with consistent practice.

Once people master the basics, it’s been fun to add new variations of familiar exercises.

I’m lucky to work in a Pilates studio that offers a range of mind-body fitness styles as an adjunct to Pilates training. I get to watch how Pilates clients apply their skills to Bodhi Suspension Training, CoreAlign, MOTR and Barre. These mindful movement disciplines build on Pilates in interesting and novel ways.

Here’s my first 3 of 6 exercises I love and how they provide a different movement experience from comparable Pilates exercises. Look for Part 2 in this series soon!

Reformer Side Arm VS MOTR Side Arm
The seated internal and external rotation exercises on the Reformer are great foundational exercises. Who doesn’t need more rotator cuff strength and scapular stability?

But certainly this is a quieter movement series since we’re isolating movement at the shoulder joint and using light weight to target the right muscles.

Once my clients have mastered the side arm movements on the Reformer, I love to take them onto the MOTR. You can sit and kneel on both the Reformer and the MOTR, but you can stand on the MOTR during arm work, which adds a full body balance. And I love how my feet and ankles are stimulated by standing on the round surface.

The variable resistance on the MOTR can be made lighter than a yellow reformer spring, which is wonderful for clients needing a gentler rotator cuff challenge.


Barrel Prone Leg Lifts VS Barre Legs
Both of these exercises focus on hip extension, but the Barre version of this exercise is so much more engaging for the other leg. Since you have to stand on one leg while taking the other leg into extension at the hip, there is an element of balance and hip stability for the standing leg. And heck, you even get a nice stretch at the back of the standing leg.


Reformer Short Box Mermaid Side Sit Up VS Bodhi Side Bend Obliques
The Short Box Mermaid creates a beautiful shape with the spine. The horizontal angle of this exercise makes the abdominals work like crazy as you pull away from the ground. On the other hand, some of my clients feel uncomfortable hanging by one foot.

The Bodhi version of this exercise is kinder since the feet are planted on the ground. This connection to the floor feels safer and allows people drop into whatever degree of side bend they are most comfortable with. With arms loaded overhead, the demand on shoulder stability is huge on this variation of the side bend.


Rebecca Crouse

About Rebecca Crouse

As a Pilates Instructor, Rebecca loves to help people discover that their bodies can look, feel, and move better. She believes that Pilates is relevant and accessible for a variety of people; young and old, athletes, those with chronic pain, and people just looking for an engaging exercise program. Following a sports-related injury in 2005, Rebecca was introduced to Pilates and the body awareness it provided. Pilates helped her stay pain free and also improved her athletic performance, flexibility, and strength. Rebecca found that Pilates was the ideal pregnancy workout in 2013, and helped her bounce back to a healthy lifestyle postpartum. Rebecca enjoys biking, hiking and snow-sports when her nose isn’t in a book. She is frequently featured as a blogger at