Ready to Really Discover the Benefits of Pilates? Hamptons Mainstay Erika Bloom Launches ‘The Membership’

by Freya Drohan

In music to the ears of classical Pilates aficionados everywhere, movement master Erika Bloom is taking her method to the digital space. While Bloom, whose clients include Kerry Washington, Uma Thurman, and Emmy Rossum—plus more Hamptonites than we can count—didn’t ever intend on making her sought-after classes available en masse, she’s thrilled to know she’s reaching people in far-flung corners of the globe… including a group of impassioned fans in Ecuador! She tells The Daily about what to expect from “The Membership”—and why it’s not like every other streaming option out there. {Ed note: this Pilates obsessive tried it and rediscovered muscles that haven’t been felt in recent memory!]

Why was the time right to start streaming your classes?
We’ve been a private model for 20 years, and I never would have ventured away from it. I love crafting full lifestyle programs and making them really personalized. I always had people all over the world were reaching out, asking “How do I get healthier” or “How do I fix this?” but it was not on my to-do list! With COVID, I started to do virtual sessions, particularly with postpartum women—it was amazing to be able to get to people where they don’t have this access. It made me understand how I could do this, but still have it as a holistic, personalized wellness platform; instead of one size fits all. 

What makes The Membership different?
I never felt that any of the other digital platforms provided what I think movements and wellness should be, and part of the problem is that people don’t have traditional Pilates training. They are teaching without a background in biomechanics and anatomy—its a problem in the digital space and people are getting injured. My classes are designed in a certain way with a lot of reason behind them; they’re about creating dynamic alignment and balance in the fascial system. I’ve been teaching for 20 years and I have dozens of certifications, I do really believe in all of these methods—Alexander Technique, Klein Technique—they were all masters of movement, they have their own beautiful methods—I felt an obligation as someone who’s well trained in evidence-based movement to bring something forward that upholds these beautiful methods.

Erika Bloom (courtesy)

Where are people tuning in from?
I have members in Australia and European cities like London. There’s even a group of women in Ecuador! They’ve been doing The Membership and private sessions. Then there’s people from the middle of the country where they don’t have access to quality Pilates instructors. Women in New York and LA believe that they deserve the best and they really take care of themselves, but that hasn’t fully spread around the rest of America yet. Wellness is all about empowerment!

What has teaching virtually been like?
I taught a live class today! I’m lucky to have a Pilates studio at my house in Connecticut. I can see the clients, I could do a Q+A, talk about their form, and get interaction and feedback. I can talk about autoimmune, nutrition, and all those different things that I have training in.

Why do people need pilates now more than ever?
Most of our modern life is done with these ergonomics of being very linear and only doing small movements—driving, looking at screens. We’re designed to move as humans in all different directions with a lot of length, but we don’t do that. We sit, we’re rounded, we’re all forward facing. We have to think about that when we’re designing movement for people. We live with a lot of low grade stress, and we’re holding our fight of flight muscles all the time. Going into a workout that’s aggressive, loud, and traumatizing on the body isn’t going to bring someone back into their body. This is a method to restore basic functionality: let’s breath, find space, and move in directions we’re supposed to move. That’s how you change your body and look and feel better.

What are some of the best Pilates moves people can incorporate to relieve the effects of sitting all day?
I am really obsessed with back support! I teach it in almost all classes, it’s like a reverse plank. It opens up the front of the body and the back body. It uses engagement and creates connection in our back body, which is almost more effective than stretching. So I love that! I also love extension exercises; variations of chest opening and swan. So many training methods are afraid of engaging our backs, but we should be engaging it. Crunching our abs is not how we fix our posture. Pilates does that like no other.

Do you have any motivational tips for working out from home?
Well I’m in the same boat, stuck inside too! What I do is put it on my schedule. I plan my schedule out a month in advance, so I know I’m working out on, say, Wednesday at 7am. That way, it’s like a meeting and I’m not going to miss it. I think that’s really key. Even if I’m doing a digital class, I’ll FaceTime a friend, so we’ll make it a workout date. Then it feels like being in a group class! Also, waking up and putting on a cute workout outfit helps.

What are your favorite workout brands right now?
I’m obsessed with Beyond Yoga. I’m wearing a high-waisted pant right now, and then I have a cropped chunky sweater, and Grecian sandals, so it looks like i’m wearing a cute outfit. I love that ‘studio to street’ thing they do. I also like Live the Process; their stuff goes really well from fashion to studio too. 

I read that you always wake up at dawn, do you have any tips to make us better at rising early?
It has a lot to do with going to bed at the same time every night. Sleep is more important for maintaining healthy weight than anything else: it gets our metabolism all set. Just like making the appointment with yourself to work out, having a really good routine  will help you naturally start to wake up early. Your body finds its own natural rhythm. 

Apart from movement, what other content can users expect from The Membership? 
We have a nutritional philosophy, and we’re going to post new videos with more detail. It’ll be regularly updates with videos about sleep and what your sleep routine should be like. We’ll focus on the anatomy of breathing—when we’re looking at what restores health, it’s proper respiration. We will also be sharing content around what it means to engage your pelvic floor, improve your posture, back pain. There’ll be cooking videos going up. And meditation. 

Erika Bloom (courtesy)

It sounds like a one-stop-shop!
Yes, that’s why I wanted to start this. The meditation is something I’m passionate about putting out there. I’ve been doing yoga since I was a baby. My parents are hippies! There’s all these apps you’re listening to and they’re hypnotizing you. True meditation does not support that and it doesn’t provide the same benefits. People are afraid of it when you’re just sitting in silence. But if you’re ready to take that next step and do the work, here’s something that has a bit more integrity. 

What are your hopes for the platform?
We’ll also have a lot about restorative movement—foam rolling for your fascial system and movement-based release. That’s been shown to be so much more effective than deep stretching. It addresses the nervous system to find space, as opposed to stretching muscle. It’s pretty unique.  I hope that people who are members will really use it every single day. That’s partially why I love the private session model: I was seeing lives completely change. I really want to keep a relationship with people with this platform. So far, so good. We’ve been able to do a lot of interaction, taking requests, emailing. That’s where it’s exciting for me: being able to support people with their wellness and get them to understand how integral movement is to wellness. It should all be part of taking care of ourselves!

The Membership launches on 9/23 and costs $90 per month.

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