A pain in the neck can be an annoying problem. I taught 2 techniques to “free up your neck in my FB Live in our Private Aging Strong Pilates Facebook community.      Watch it here!    (If you haven’t joined our group, you will need to join the group in order to watch.     (Don’t worry — no spam)    

In the meantime, try these tips for a healthy neck

1. Chin Tuck

When you drive, use the headrest to stretch the back of your neck out as pictured. Think of pressing the base of your head into the headrest, and that will drop your chin and stretch the muscles at the back of your neck.  When pushing the base of your head back, you’ll experience a stretch behind your neck. This is a great exercise for correcting forward head syndrome, which is rampant in our society.

2. Know which way is up

Grasp a good-sized clump of hair at the crown of your head and gently pull back and up, allowing your chin to angle downward in a relaxed way. When pulling the tuft of hair from the crown of your head, your head will align, the chin will drop slightly, and you’ll feel a stretch behind your neck. People often make the mistake of thinking that standing tall involves lifting the chin. Know which way is up!

3. Keep the spine aligned

a) When sleeping on your side at night, use a pillow that supports correct alignment with the rest of your spine. You don’t want your head tilted up or flopped down off your spine.
(b) When bending, such as to pick something up, do not lead with your chin, as this encourages a forward head position.
Keep your head in alignment with your spine, as seen below.
The feedback of the dowel promotes ideal positioning.

4. Check your foundation

The root of many neck problems is in the pelvis, the foundation for your entire spine.
(a) Sit with your Sitz bones pointed straight down, not tucked under.
(b) Stand with your soup in the imaginary pelvic bowl, neither spilling behind you (a tucked position) nor spilling in front (a swayback). Your ribs are relaxed, not collapsed. 


5. Roll your shoulders back and down

Periodically throughout the day, and as preparation for driving and keyboarding, roll your shoulders and let them settle back and down into a healthy position. Having your shoulders back and down helps your trapezius muscle keep a healthy length, which helps your neck.


6. Use your muscles and spare your joints

(a) When walking, engage your buttock (gluteal) muscles to soften your landing. You don’t want your neck (or any of your weight-bearing structures) to experience an earthquake with every step you take. Bonus: making every step a rep will give you a well-toned behind and will make your walk more graceful.

(b) If you are jogging or riding in a bumpy bus, imagine you are carrying a significant weight on your head and push up against it with the crown of your head. You will be engaging your longus colli muscle and sparing your neck discs and nerves from unnecessary wear and tear.


I teach you two techniques with a towel to liberate your neck in this video here!    You’ll need to join the Aging Strong Pilates private community to view.

  • How do I view your offerings and register?
    • 2 ways to get there. Go directly to www.BoneSmartPilates.as.me or go to my website BoneSmartPilates.com and navigate to Group Virtual Classes from the “Classes” pull-down tab. That will redirect you to BoneSmartPilates.as.me which is my landing page for registering.
    • From there you can see all the different categories of classes and register for what you want.
  • What classes do you offer?
    • Currently, I offer a 1 hr Standing Strong Pilates class that includes both weight-bearing and mat work. In addition, I teach the following 30 min classes: Foam Roller Release, HIIT (high-intensity interval training), Bootie Barre, Superpowers (strength training with hand weights), and Restorative Pilates
  • Who is the target audience of your classes?
    • Typically those of you 50 and above that want to age strong, be challenged, and be safe.  All classes are designed by a licensed PT with bone safety and bone-building in mind.
  • What if I can’t make a class that I registered for?  
    • Just email me (teresa@bonesmartpilates.com) and I’ll send you the recording preferably before the class occurs so I make sure I record it.
  • Can I just register and receive the recording?
    • If you take the class live, the recording is an additional cost (1/2 the price of class) If you’re not taking the class live, you’re entitled to the recording with no additional charge
  • Can I get a consultation on what classes are appropriate for me?
  • What’s my best value in signing up for classes?
    • There are 2 options: The following option at $180 saves you $20 over purchasing single classes and you can mix and match 30-minute and 60-minute classes The 10-20 class group pass
    • This option at $95 saves you $5 over purchasing single classes and you can also mix and match 30-minute and 60-minute classes. The 5-10 class group pass
  • If I purchase a Discount Bundle of Virtual Classes am I limited to one type of class?
    • No, you are free to mix and match any 30-minute or 60-minute class until your credit is used up.
  • Might my Discount Bundle of Virtual Classes expire on me before I can use them?
    • I build in a 6-month expiration for all bundles which is typically ample to take your classes. If you run out of time I’ll always extend your pass. My goal is to help you experience the physical and mental benefits of a consistent movement practice.

  • Do I have to be seen on video when I take class?
    • No,  you can keep your camera off. If I can see you, I do make a point of offering both general and specific cues and corrections in a safe environment with no judgment.
  • Do the recordings show all the participants?
    • No, the recordings I send to those who request only have presenter view so you’ll just see me demonstrating.
  • Must I have prior Pilates experience?
    • The classes are mixed level-beginners are always welcome.
  • What classes can you just sign up for 1 class at a time and not a whole series?
    • My Sunday Standing Strong Pilates and all my 30-minute class offerings can be purchased one at a time.  In the fall and spring, I offer a Tuesday morning hybrid (in-person and virtual) series that requires a purchase commitment for the whole series. The class builds incrementally each week on the previous class. Everyone automatically receives a recording with the hybrid class so if you miss it, you can take the class at your convenience, and if you took it live you can repeat it.
  • Any hints for navigating the online registration process?
    • Definitely, create an account with a password and always “log-in” when you register for classes.  That makes it easy to see your upcoming classes and view how much you have left in your account.
    • View the following video tutorials if you need a little extra help

Do you find your butt slowly disappearing or migrating south? Are your jeans sliding off your butt?

Age-related muscle loss, known as sarcopenia, is a real thing. The good news is you can do targeted workouts to minimize the loss that people experience from increasing age and all the excessive sitting that’s been happening recently.

It’s not too late to literally perk things up.

Round perky butts play a role in aesthetics but there’s even more that’s important!

Having strong gluteal muscles gives you the power to stand up, sit down, squat, and perform all your life activities with power and grace.

Strong glutes are important for proper pelvic alignment, propulsion during walking and running, and single-leg balance support.  They also help to support the lower back during lifting motions.


6 Benefits of taking the Active Aging Bootie Barre class

Strong glutes help your posture and lessen back and neck pain.

Increased sitting can result in slumped posture and “dead butt syndrome”. This is when your butt muscles become inhibited and literally forget how to fire.

How does this happen?  It’s actually a common problem today.  People are spending inordinate amounts of time sitting behind their computers, zooming, etc.  Picture it, your butt is tucked under, your back is in a C curve (I call it cashew posture) and your head is shifted forward in front of your shoulders. Feeling the back and neck pain yet? With all this faulty sitting, the muscles in the front of your hip joints become short and tight and the opposite muscles, the butt muscles, become neurologically inhibited, overstretched, weak, and inactive.  Strengthening the butt muscles, back muscles and stretching the muscles in front of the hip, exercises that are included in the active aging bootie barre class, address these common issues.


Strong Glutes help Prevent Injuries.

Building strong gluteal muscles (the focus of “bootie barre”) can help you avoid injury as well as recover from injury to your low back, hips, knees, and ankles by creating better alignment and stability.  As an example, when squatting sometimes people will cave one knee in towards midline instead of tracking the knee over the foot. That’s often a result of weak gluteal muscles on that side. This is a common dysfunctional pattern known as “dynamic valgus” and it can be prevented with strong gluteal and hip muscles. Proper hip, knee, foot alignment is cued regularly during our bootie barre class.

Strong Glutes Improve Balance

Who remembers those old commercials “Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”  Though people joked about it, those commercials depicted a real and serious situation.  Maybe it’s not an issue for you currently but having strong glutes now means you’ll have a strong foundation to propel yourself when walking, have the stability in your pelvis to balance on one leg, get in and out of your vehicle, or shower with ease and if you fall, “you Will be able to get up”!  This all translates to better long-term quality of life.


Strong Glutes Enhance Bone Density in the Hips and Pelvis

Strength training is the best way to improve localized bone density. This happens when muscle tissue tugs on your bones during strength training. By building up the muscles around your pelvis (your glutes) as we do in class, you are improving your muscle and bone strength as well as the stability of your entire pelvis and hips.



Strong Gluts are Aesthetically Appealing

Though not the most important reason, this is often the primary reason people start working on their glutes. It’s a valid goal to have to keep our pants from sliding down and if chasing a perky butt is your goal, I say go for it!

This class is targeted for you, in the last and best third of your life, to get strong safely and efficiently.

As a physical therapist, I ensure that you’re not using your low back to lift your leg behind you (a common error).  I design exercises that work all ranges of motion of the hip and stimulate both slow-twitch and fast-twitch fibers found in your glutes.  And, we get it all done in just 30 time-efficient minutes!  Allow me to be your guide to lift your tush and safely challenge your limits.

Sign up for the Active Aging Bootie Barre Class every Wednesday at 11:30 PM PST. Can’t make that time? Not a problem. You can purchase the class and I can send you a recording to do at your convenience!

Click here for a preview of some Active Aging Bootie Barre Moves!




Written by Teresa Maldonado Marchok, MPT

Physical Therapist,  Pilates Teacher, Aging Strong Activist, Educator, and lifelong learner.   www.BoneSmartPilates.com




BoneSmart Pilates Youtube channel Gluteal Amnesia aka Dead Butt Syndrome  https://youtu.be/YevqgbmS4K8

Buckthorpe M, Stride M, Villa FD. ASSESSING AND TREATING GLUTEUS MAXIMUS WEAKNESS — A CLINICAL COMMENTARYInt J Sports Phys Ther. 2019;14(4):655–669.

Dunsky A. The Effect of Balance and Coordination Exercises on Quality of Life in Older Adults: A Mini-Review. Front Aging Neurosci. 2019;11:318. Published 2019 Nov 15. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2019.00318

In response to requests for streaming of my DVD’s, I am so excited to share that we have just launched our streaming offering of all 3 BoneSmart Pilates DVD’s!


I’ve recently had an interesting observation. The notion, by typically younger people, that Aging Strong Pilates® is for the elderly, an unchallenging gentle workout.

Yesterday I substitute taught a Pilates class for a fellow teacher at Stanford and after class, one of the participants, in his 30’s, asked if I teach other classes there because he really liked the class. When I mentioned that I teach “Aging Strong Pilates” at Stanford, his reaction was a mix of  “is that a senior class and “is that an easy class”?  I clarified that it’s exactly what he just experienced and enjoyed in the class I just taught.

Here’s what 2 reviewers have said about of my Aging Strong DVD’s:

I am in my 40s and I love these exercises. They are gentle but they can really be killers! ”

“The teacher is very thorough in her explanations however, some of the exercises are much more difficult than I expected. Since it is called Aging Strong, I erroneously assumed it was for older people at more of a beginner level.”

I want to paint a clear picture of exactly WHO Aging Strong Pilates is for (both in my group classes and on my DVD’s) and how it’s unique.

Let’s start with “Who is aging?”
Is it people over 40?,   over 60?,  over 80?

It’s none of those answers…we are ALL aging. Aging is integral to human development yet society fears it, even dreads it. There comes a point in our development where we lose that false sense of omnipotence. Perhaps we’re the victim of repetitive stress injuries, back pain, joint stiffness, chronic illness…you name it.  At that point when you realize you’re not invincible, that you need to “train” to get older, that’s the time to try Aging Strong Pilates®.  That actual age will be different for everyone as we are all genetically and biomechanically unique.  That’s why people in my classes range from their 30’s through 80’s and they all get a challenging yet safe movement experience.

How is Aging Strong Pilates different from other Pilates DVDs?
Aging Strong Pilates targets the areas of our body susceptible to decline as we age including but not limited to, the hips and legs, the spine and balance. I’ve designed the program in a way that is modified for those with bone density issues and other conditions commonly associated with aging, to keep you safe yet challenged.

Pilates classes have an abundance of flexion based (rounded spine) exercises that are ill advised for those with low bone mass and many other diagnoses. These workouts keep you in a safe range of motion that will still have you trembling but keep you out of pain. There’s also a focus on standing weight-bearing functional training. The workouts are by no means easy but you’re guided with clear demonstrations and verbal cues.

As I reflect on my own aging, perched at the threshold of entering my 6th decade next month,  I notice the changes in my body, I’ve got more grays in my hair (that I still color), more wrinkles on my face and my neck is starting to look like a Shar Pei…but you know what…I don’t FEEL old and really, isn’t that what matters?  I actually feel strong and flexible with abundant energy, a passion for teaching and a purpose in life. I’m grateful for my health, family, friends and you!

Studies show that the second half of life brings more happiness, fulfillment and satisfaction then the days of youth.  I’m passionate about helping you meet those years head on with strength, vigor and health!

There is nothing like the stretch-eze® to give you feedback while you do your Pilates work to build bone and reverse #osteoporosis.

This individual nylon lycra stretch band developed by dance/movement therapist Kimberly Dye, is used for resistance and stretch exercises. Wrap it around your shoulders and put in your feet. Feel snug, supported, and able to press into the resistance to create a cleaner access to the intrinsic core muscles with no build up of tension.

The benefits realized from using the Stretch-eze ® resistance band are:

  • supported and pain free exercise
  • increased ligament strength at the joints
  • increased overall body coordination

This video explores the opposite arm leg reach with the stretch-eze® to enhance connection in your body and provide sensory feedback.    You can purchase a stretch-eze® on my website!


Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

No matter your stage in life, keeping fit is essential to doing the things you love with ease, power and grace. In this class, you’ll increase body awareness and learn healthy functional movement strategies grounded in science. Expect improved posture, injury prevention, coordination, core strength, flexibility and balance with crossover benefits to your daily sports and activities. This class is appropriate for beginner to advanced intermediate levels. If you have low bone density, weight bearing exercises are incorporated and safe mat variations will be offered. 

View Video Preview of class Here

Please bring your own mat.  Various small props are used to enhance your movement experience. Also bring a resistance band and 9 inch inflatable ball if you have them. Balls are offered free of charge to new participants. Low allergy/low latex 5 ft resistance bands are available for purchase in class for $10. Free video links will be made available for participants to encourage consistency of practice. The instructor, Teresa Maldonado Marchok, is a licensed physical therapist, certified Pilates instructor, former professional dancer and ambassador for American Bone Health. She believes exercise should be challenging yet fun so bring a flexible mind, open heart and be prepared to laugh!  For more information email  teresa@bonesmartpilates.com.

To foster a safe, cohesive and consistent environment, drop in sessions are not permitted, however a trial class at no initial cost  
for newcomers is allowed if the class is not full already.

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6.  When walking, look down with your eyes only. Don’t tilt your head down as it will alter your balance and increase your chances of falling.  Look down with your head and you may go splat.


5.  Wear sensible shoes with good traction. That doesn’t have to mean ugly, luckily shoe stores like Footwear Etc. carry sensible shoes that are stylish too!


4. Take your time, be mindful and don’t rush, especially if you’re dealing with winter snow and ice.


3. Keep exercise a consistent part of your life. Strong muscles in your legs and core can help you regain your balance if you lose it momentarily and strong arms can help you decelerate and cushion a fall should you take a tumble. Self foot massage with a half tennis ball, is safer than a full ball and improves circulation, proprioception and because of increased spacial awareness, improves balance.


2. Remember that it is far easier and more fun to prevent a fall than it is to recover from a broken bone. Practicing BoneSmart Pilates®  for 15 minutes three times per week can help you prevent an accident that could take you years to recover from, and could reduce your quality of life permanently.


1. Top tip: Always use handrails!  This year I ruptured my rotator cuff for not doing so on icy steps in NY. My daughter broke a bone this summer falling downs stairs in our home because our handrail was missing due to renovations.




This is a common question I hear. With so much focus on sitting and electronics, kids’ posture and their bodies, are paying a heavy toll.  I call it “iposture” and it’s ubiquitous. The good news is the majority of Pilates matwork is beneficial for and adaptable to kids.

My daughter Katelyn recently presented a school research project about the benefits of Pilates.  See her demonstrating the mat exercise “Rolling Like a Ball” which targets core strength, spine flexibility, control, precision, breath and flow.

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Watch Katelyn demonstrate “Rolling like a ball”

The chart below is a nice way to explain Pilates to kids. (courtesy of the PMA)



Falling can happen to anyone.    I fell on some icy steps in 2015, and shared this video, so you could see how I worked out 1 week after surgery, with one arm that basically didn’t move!

            Click here or on the photo to see what Teresa can and can’t do 1 week post surgery.

Teresa fell HARD on icy steps in NY. Though her bones are healthy and remained intact, she sustained a full rupture of a rotator cuff tendon, one of the key players that stabilizes the arm bone in its socket.

So you know that she “walks her talk”, this video clip gives you a sneak peek into what she can and can’t do 1 wk after rotator cuff surgical repair.   Even with her shoulder out of commission, the versatility of Pilates allows her to stay strong and agile providing healing circulation and feel good endorphin release to all parts of her body.   She’ll also let you in on the little she can do with her arm out of her sling.

Can you guess her secret to maintaining sanity in the middle of her sleepless nights?  Watch the end to find out!

See what Teresa can and can’t do one week after surgery