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  • Writer's pictureLisa Schoenholt, CMA

Three Simple Exercises to Help Combat the COVID Thanksgiving Blues

As the Autumn turns to Winter, the COVID numbers spike, and we head into the holiday season, it's hard to stay cool, calm, and collected. Take a break with the following simple exercises to help you decrease your stress, relieve back and neck tension, and give your body some gentle movement. These exercises are based on Pilates and Bartenieff Fundamentals, which are low impact forms of exercise focused on alignment, control, and posture. When doing these exercises, remember to connect your breath to the movement!


Pelvic press


Lie on back, knees bent, feet hip-width apart, arms down at sides. Find neutral spine. Inhale. Exhale and begin pelvic tilt. Take a new inhale. Exhale and continue rotating the pelvis until the pelvis starts to lift off the floor. The spine is rolling up toward the ceiling one vertebra at a time. Take as many breaths as needed, pausing on the inhale, rolling up on the exhale. The hips will be the highest point and the rib cage is heavy and soft. Inhale at the top. Exhale, roll down one vertebra at a time.


Arm Circles


Lie on back, knees bent, feet hip-width apart, arms out to sides. Inhale, exhale slowly knit ribs together and release thigh bones over to the right, letting the feet rotate in place. Slowly move left arm, drawing circles around the body while maintaining contact with the floor. Pelvis is stable, only upper body is moving. Follow arm with head and visualize the upper body softening and releasing. Imagine drawing the circles from the left side of the rib cage. Complete three circles in each direction. Return to center. Complete sequence on the other side.


Neck Stretch


Sitting up tall with legs crossed in a comfortable position, reach right arm to the lower diagonal, with fingers spread out (like a jazz hand). Slowly tilt neck over to the left. Hold for 5 breaths, repeat other side.


Lisa Schoenholt, CMA is the owner of Brooklyn Embodied Pilates and founder of the Control D Method for diastasis recti repair. She brings her dance and movement analysis background to her Pilates teaching, and specializes in pre/postnatal, diastasis repair, C-section recovery, and injury prevention.

Learn more about Lisa at


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