Written & Photographed by A Wild Dove
You could say Erika Bloom stumbled upon pilates. She first tried the exercise in the late 90’s when she was training to be a professional dancer and suffering from constant chronic injury. While she enjoyed her private sessions, she didn’t find any real relief until she dropped ballet, but always know there was something special about the workout. Eventually she returned to modern dance, having moved to New York to train with Alvin Ailey and Merce Cunningham, but all the while pilates stayed with her. In 1998 she got her teaching certification and fast forward a few years, Bloom is not only a prominent instructor, but a total 360 degree life coach, specializing in holistic growth through exercise, diet and integrative medicine.
She has her namesake Erika Bloom Pilates studios on the Upper East Side, in East Hampton, Watermill, Turks and Caicos and Greenwich, CT. In LA she offers in-home programs with plans to open a studio there in early 2017. They all feature instructors highly trained in biomechanics and the ability to assess and customize sessions while combining Pilates with other body methods such as yoga, Franklin, and Structural Integration. If that wasn’t enough, she offers body work, acupuncture, and holistic health counseling. The practitioners coordinate care with each other and also with clients doctors. Each studio also houses a boutique filled with a carefully curated selection of organic and natural beauty products, exercise props, and eco-friendly fitness apparel.
If that weren’t enough, Bloom is also busy raising two kids and encouraging them to live presently, actively and happily. We sat down with this inspiring mama and got to the bottom of her day-to-day health philosophies and favorite life rituals:
Can you describe your philosophy towards health and wellness? Did having children change that philosophy?
I believe in eschewing trends and focusing on creating a healthy, balanced life. I combine what is known about health and wellness from evidence based science and logic together with what we each can observe from connecting to ourselves. We must honor and respect where we are each day in terms of hormones, energy, and stress and care for ourselves in a very real-time way. When we choose our foods and our exercise routines we need to listen to our bodies and make nurturing choices. Choose what is right for you, not what someone else says is healthy this week. I’m a huge believer that, whatever food plan this leads you to, we should always eat real, unprocessed food. Real, whole foods are always a better choice, even if the alternative is considered a ‘health food’, and starting with this basic premise will lead to plates full of healthy vegetables, fruits, proteins, and whole grains. When you choose exercise, choose something that doesn’t just make you look good but also that keeps you aligned and healthy and your body functioning in a way that is sustainable as you age, have babies, and move through life.
How do you teach or impart this philosophy towards your children? Is that a challenge and if so, how do you stay true to it amidst all the temptations for kids?
You have to lead by example. If you create a life where you take joy in movement and are excited by the deliciousness of healthy foods, your children will feel the same way. I believe in balance, and not rigidity, in my life and for my children, but living an overall healthy life is a non-negotiable for us.
What's your favorite workout routine?
Pilates! It’s forever been the thing that makes me feel best. It aligns me, stretches me, tones me, keeps me strong and healthy. I never get bored with it as it requires a lot of focus and body knowledge and it’s always changing. There are just an infinite number of variations of exercises to both heal and challenge.
What's a typical day like in terms of food and exercise? Do you have any favorite supplements?
I use the morning to spend time with my children. We make breakfast together and lunches for school and then get ready for the day. I usually eat eggs with kale, a few blueberries, half a piece of millet flax bread, and a matcha. I try to get all my nutrients from food but I take supplements just in case. I alternate between taking Lumity and Aloha and then add in a little more B’s in the morning and Magnesium at night for sleep. After school drop off I go to the studio and see clients. I focus on continuing to drink water to stay hydrated while I teach and sometimes have a SoulGarden juice from Juice Press or an ItoEn organic green tea. When I’m done with my morning clients I have lunch which is usually a salad with salmon or a protein salad from JuicePress. In the afternoon I do my workout, a private session on the Pilates apparatus with one of my teachers. Then it’s meetings with my managers and check in with teachers on client care. My afternoon snack varies but is usually kombucha, raw dark chocolate and either apples and almond butter or organic turkey slices on millet bread. Then in the evening I have dinner with the kids: usually fish or chicken, quinoa or sweet potatoes, and cauliflower or broccoli. Dessert is either a ‘shake’ of ripe bananas with a splash of milk or a handful of blackberries. Before bed I like to do some therapeutic Pilates mat work and stretching. Then I have a tumeric tea and read in bed until I fall asleep. I use organic essential oils, either as a spray or in a diffuser, to aid in relaxation before bed as well. Sleep is a huge priority for me and I like to be asleep by 10:30 at the latest.
Can you share a favorite routine or ritual with your kids?
I love the time we spend in the morning when I’m making their lunches. They sit across from me at the counter and talk about what’s on their minds while I chop fruits and veggies for their lunches. Any unstructured time with no screens is great. We like taking bike rides with our tandem around our neighborhood or taking wandering walks in the city talking and exploring new things.
What is your therapy?
I’m really into the idea of ‘little rituals’. These are small things that involve self-care where you can be very present and appreciate the moment. Examples of these are giving yourself a foot massage with organic coconut oil, doing a face mask, making matcha, or watching the sun rise in silence. The key is to really be aware and enjoy each moment with no multi-tasking or self judgement.
Who’s your dream guest list at your dinner party and where would it be?
My closest friends all talking openly and honestly about our inner selves and supporting each other emotionally. That’s my idea of a good time. And maybe Hilary Clinton can join us. While I have many people from the present and past that I admire, I’m happy to be inspired by them and read their writing but there is nothing more satisfying to me than really connecting with people without fear, pretense, or ego.
Cyndi Lauper or Madonna?
Madonna. While I do have irreplaceable memories of dancing on the coffee table with my brother to ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun,’ Madonna is the ultimate role model of a self-empowered working mother.
If you were stranded on a desert island, which five things would you bring?
Nothing. There is truly no material that I cannot live without. I would take my two kids of course. Being on a deserted island with my two kids with no iPads sounds pretty awesome, actually. I’m in.
SHOP THE STORY
As modern mamas living in the over information age, (where everyone is an expert and parenting opinions are shared as freely and easily as an Instagram post) it can be tough to filter through the white noise to find the facts. Naturally, we’d love to consider ourselves wise in all sorts of ways, but the truth is sometimes we’re scrawling SOS in the sand. Good thing we’ve got the guidance and expertise of our own personal rockstars: the people who inspire us on the daily. Our rockstars (our flock) are enthusiasts, professionals and influencers in the fields of wellness, travel, education, style—the list goes on. Each one brings a profoundly different perspective to the table, one informed by their own experiences and outlooks. And that perspective is priceless.
They say it takes a village…we say it takes a flock.