About / Biography

Emily Sabo, originally an attorney and philosophy professor in New York City by trade, is the current owner and sole manager of EKS Beachside Bodywork, LLC—a limited liability company devoted to the development of the EKS Pilates, Yoga, Aerial Arts, Bodywork and Pain Management methods (the “EKS Methods”).  As mentioned on the home page of this website, the EKS methods are integrated approaches to teaching various body types and mental / physical strength profiles—as well as people with varying backgrounds and training—to move with the fluidity, alignment and the core strength and muscle control required for graceful and pain-free movement through life’s most basic daily activities or through advanced yoga, Pilates, aerial arts, gymnastics, dance or professional athletic movement and competition.  

Emily Sabo, founder of the EKS methods, has been practicing and teaching Pilates and Yoga therapy for over a decade and has spent the majority of her life studying various traditional and non-traditional modes of bodywork such as yoga, mixed martial arts, plyometrics and agility/flexibility training, traditional strength training and various forms of massage and pain management methods, including trigger point, release work and deep tissue massage.  

The EKS methods were developed drawing on a scientific and anatomical approach to bodywork.  However, this anatomical approach was also informed to a very large degree by, and is complimented by, an integrated “clinical” approach developed from Emily’s experience not only in her own body—applying bodywork principals to advancing her own yoga and Pilates practice—but, also, and equally importantly, by her experience  analyzing and treating clients with such life altering pain and/or mind/body trauma as strokes, paralysis, hip replacement surgeries, nerve damage and other complications from disc misalignment (herniated or otherwise), neurological diseases interfering with proper mind/body communication,1 severe scoliosis interfering with lung function and development and other similar case studies.  

A lifelong student, always devoted to open-minded and continual unbiased learning and exposure to various bodywork methods, Emily has sought out and drawn on as many differing methodologies and experiences of bodywork as possible to find intelligent concepts within varying methodologies and to discover, to the greatest extent possible, objective bodywork “truths” so to speak,  which cut across all or most traditions and methodologies, and which have also been effective both for her body and progressing her own practice, but also, and more importantly, for the pain relief and proper and permanent realignment of the majority of case studies and bodies with whom she has worked over the course of her career.   The aforementioned objective bodywork “truths” and principals are the core of the EKS methods and remain largely constant.  These principles are invaluable as they can be applied to gain clear conceptual understanding of how various postures, positions and equipment can help to unlock or release the body and how to safely and efficiently strengthen the body and the mind’s ability to communicate with it and manipulate it precisely and efficiently.  

The EKS methods utilize Pilates equipment, and yoga props, hammocks and, more recently, aerial silks, and likewise utilize some Pilates and Yoga postures and aerial arts skills, but the EKS methods also have original or unique postures or positions as part of the EKS Pilates and Yoga Practice and/or the EKS Bodywork and Pain Management approach.  The unique EKS postures may build upon existing postures (especially in the yogic tradition, which has been around for so long and influenced by so many that there are very few undiscovered positions) or they may be entirely unique (especially in the field of Pilates or where Pilates equipment is utilized since Pilates is a younger tradition2).  In all cases, the use of postures, equipment and body positions in the EKS methodologies is aimed at opening up the body in certain ways to allow for precise movement while maintaining appropriate body alignment through a solid mind/muscle connection, with a special focus on spinal, and overall, alignment.  In cases where misalignment of the spine and body are chronic, realignment is the ultimate goal, with the postures and equipment and all movements in between, being mere means to an end.  

Anyone can teach a sequence of choreographed movements – and any instructor can memorize varying “assists” and hand positions on, or manipulations of, a client’s limbs or other body parts to help get the client into a particular posture or body position.  But, this really misses the point, which should never be getting into a position or posture at all cost, and hoping that over time it will not hurt and will become more natural, as many practitioners do.  This is a great way to injure yourself or others.  Instead, instructors and practitioners of the EKS methods must understand that true alignment comes from within the practitioner’s body.  Only the practitioner can release a muscle that is contracting which should not be, and, while a posture or piece of equipment may help a client practitioner to become aware of a particular gripping muscle that is over-contracting (or, contracting without the conscious intention of the client), only the client can “find” the mental process which is causing that muscle to grip / over-contract and release it.  In fact, if the instructor pushes the client’s body into a place the body is not ready to go, the gripping muscle will often contract harder (as the body is usually gripping that muscle because the mind believes it is protecting the body, perhaps by immobilizing a body part), and this, in turn, will almost invariably result in pain and will often result in injury.  Body postures and position should be used to help the client find lost muscles and feel proper alignment.  Once a body is well aligned and a practitioner has control of the internal muscles to a sufficient degree, EKS methods can be used as a means of working the body as strenuously as the practitioner is ready for – which is dictated by the strength the practitioner has with which to hold his or her body in alignment under the stress of whatever posture the practitioner may be attempting to achieve.  

While the EKS Methodologies do not allow for pushing practitioners into postures for which they are not ready, with much stress placed on the idea that the pose is not the end or goal of the practice, Emily Sabo herself is an advanced practitioner of both yoga and Pilates and is quite familiar with, and possibly “addicted” (in a manner of speaking) to, the positive mental and physical yield from an advanced practice including the fire, empowerment and energy produced during the graceful (and hopefully effortless) accomplishment of well aligned arm balances, inversions, handstands, standing balancing postures and the like.  As such, EKS methodologies incorporate advancement through more complex and/or gymnastic postures and transitions for clients seeking this type of practice and its positive yields, while maintaining, at their core that the most important component of any practice, whether for pain management or refining an advanced practice, is alignment and a strong and conscious mind/body connection to support this alignment.  

  “There are no boring postures.  If a posture seems boring, the mind is idle and fails to explore the actions of the body in the posture.  Making new mind/muscle links in postures constitutes the very essence of learning, which in itself is exciting and releases endorphins.”  

—Emily Sabo

FOOTNOTES;

1 An interesting example was presented by a client who suffered from a neurological disorder causing her brain to send constant messages to the muscles in one side of her neck, resulting in the contraction of those muscles without rest, which, in turn, caused significant spinal alignment problems and pain, both of which subsided to an appreciable degree as the client’s proficiency with the EKS methods advanced and her mind / body connection and awareness was strengthened.  The client reported the pain relief was more stable with consistent and continued practice, and, while her ability to locate the muscles and interrupt the subconscious firing of the muscles from the brain stimulus remained intact when she did not practice consistently, the failure to practice consistently and resulting “rustiness” at the EKS methods and technique allowed the pain to creep back into her daily life.  This motivated a highly routine home practice for the client, which allowed stabilization of the alignment to a significant degree and significant pain reduction and relief so long as the practice continued.  Ultimately, the client was able to eliminate dependence upon daily pain medications which had some negative side effects, and, instead, used pain medication only as needed when stressors increased and/or when her practice was not as consistent for one reason or another, etc.  

2  It  is important to note that not all of Joseph H. Pilates applications and uses of his equipment were necessarily documented, so he may well have used the equipment in ways we happen to duplicate in the EKS method, which would be a happy and lucky coincidence.

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