Teacher Focus Feature ~ Monika Harczuk

Tall and stunning, Monika Harczuk will get your attention just standing on the floor at FORM Pilates. Serious with a smile, Monika came to me as an instructor looking for a home to see her clients, but she has since become so much more. A good friend and coaching client, Monika sees wellness as a true mind, body, and spirit job. She is always quick to offer advice about healing food, tea, or meditation techniques. Her dreams include eventually traveling back to her home in Europe and spreading Joe Pilates’ work with her company Harmonized-me. Here’s her story:
SKPJ9O_vhb0HhOj5lsjltk08IRR7ZzpYGUWv6jsOAEo
Monika never exercised as a teenager and was very weak and tight, but always loved ab exercises. The year was 2002 and she was living in Amsterdam and in an effort to get the most out of her gym membership she wandered into a class called “Ground Work”. It was 45 minutes of killer ab work: Monika’s favorite. After class she found out this was not your Mom’s ab workout — It was a method called Pilates. From that point on, she began her research. Back in Berlin, she could only find two Pilates studios but that didn’t stop her from traveling for her weekly private lessons and mat classes. After a year of working hard, practicing a lot, she saw what Pilates was doing for her body. Monika decided to move back to Holland and begin her teacher training program in Den Haag.
For Monika, Pilates changed everything. She never felt very connected to her physical body and the method opened up her eyes wide. Today, she loves to pass on the gift of Pilates to her own clients. She is focused, deep, and detailed in her sessions to make sure that the basics are understood and that clients develop a deep foundation. She often works with imbalances like Scoliosis and through her careful command of the Pilates technique change and growth are inevitable.
When she’s not teaching, Monika balances her schedule with doing well,…nothing. She loves having no plans and taking the day by surprise.

 

Monika wants us to remember that our body is the vehicle that carries us through life and it is important to care for it and give it our undivided attention. Having a body that is strong and healthy is the key to living your most joyful life.
Here are a couple interesting facts about Ms. Harczuk:
  • She loves listening to Eckhart Tolle
  • She is nearly vegan
  • When she has the first sip of sparkling water, she gets a hiccup
  • She speaks 3.5 languages

Like what you see? Sign up for updates… It’s FREE!

For The Pilates Virgins

 

virgin-mary

I’m always the first to say, and have been known to shout it out loud in a mat class or two, Pilates instructors LOVE Pilates Virgins. I mean, I can understand from the perspective of a newbie not wanting to show their rookie status, favoring hiding in the back, and meekly or not at all raising their hand when asked if they’ve done this before. I get it. We want to always be the expert in the situation. No one wants to look the fool, but as the other side of this equation, as the instructor, let me tell you: we <3 the beginners. I know — you virgins may not yet be convinced.

Well, here’s three reasons why no experience is needed to be our favorite population to work with:

  • You’re like clay

That’s right! Like a malleable piece of clay, we can use Pilates to mold your body into exactly what it’s meant to be. Since everything is new we can just observe how the work looks on physique without a bad movement habit throwing you off. You’re soft (no pun intended) so we can shape and work to create a strong foundation in the Pilates method that will serve you for years to come.

  • You are usually eager

Since you’ve had absolutely no previous Pilates experience, good or bad, you are less likely to be resistant to our corrections, suggestions, and instruction. Beginners are usually the most eager to please, the hardest workers, and the most present in their workouts. You don’t have a previous Pilates “movie” going on in your head which means that you are in the moment listening to our every word. Besides the fact that it boost our teacher egos, it also helps you get the most out of your session so you “finish” feeling completely worked and rejuvenated.

  • You see the most change

I often say, there’s in-shape and then there’s Pilates-shape. This work guarantees to be different than ANYTHING you’ve ever done, because simply there’s nothing like it. Our bodies usually respond best to varied movement and challenge so your first 10-30 sessions will be your most memorable. You’ll always remember when you mastered that seemly impossible exercise, saw your pants getting a little baggier, and notice a muscle growing where you didn’t even know you had one. This new-ness only comes once in a Pilates lifetime and we love to be a part of it.

DSC_4569

So, own your naiveté and know that your instructor is stoked to have a novice in their midst. When it’s time to declare that it’s your first time in class, raise your hand high. Remember you only have your first time once…

The team at FORM Pilates wants to take you through your first time…email us studio [at] formpilates [dot] com today to speak to our Pilates concierge

 

Like what you see? Sign up for updates… It’s FREE!

Juno was Hell- My Tale Of Survival

IMG_5358

Whole Foods Snowmegdeon

 

Only in New York City can a blizzard be such a social event. Like a juicy piece of gossip, my fellow Manhattanites are milking this snow shit for all it’s worth. “Did you know this could be really bad,” they say. “Worst storm since 1947, 60 inches.” Cue dramatic death music. If you drink the Kool-aid and watch the news, you may have a mini heart attack at the gravity of the sitch…which is precisely why I steer clear of that nonsense. And hey — there’s a chance it could be really that bad but we like to make a drama out of the most banal headlines — we’re New Yorkers! Here are the real reasons that Blizzards in the city are hell…

  • There’s NO kale left!

That’s right!!!! No kale for your salads, soups, or smoothies. What ever will we do? Screw water, batteries, and canned food. We need our super food yo! And can we talk about the line at Whole Foods? Really?!? How can they expect me to wait 30 minutes to pay for the contents of my artisanal charcuterie and cheese plate?!? This must be what third world countries are like…

  • I’ll have to make a cup of my own coffee?!?

Starbucks is closing?!? The fancy coffee place around the corner is unmanned as well??? Who will make my Flat White? Oh the horror.

  • Everyone is getting wine/beer/whiskey/insert favorite spirit here

I mean, why do we all have to all have the same alcoholic tendencies? While the lines for vino were nothing like those for the Kale, I still had to wait to pay for my booze longer than usual, AND carry the heavy bottles back to my snow den ALL BY MYSELF since they nixed delivery early. Thank God I made it back with enough alcohol for 10 blizzards. Whew.

  • Snow facials hurt

If I knew there was a storm of this magnitude I would have forwent my weekly microdermabrasion treatment. I really hope that my skin can take this level of exfoliation. That bitch Mother Nature really has it out for me.

  • Instagraming and Netflix is all there is to do

Now that work and school is closed, I’m forced to binge watch episodes of Black Mirror and movies such as Charlie’s Angel’s: Full Throttle all day long while posting pictures of snow on the Insta. Life is cruel.

So now you know why Juno was hell for me why was Juno it for you? Leave your woes below!

JAY_SULLIVAN_PHOTOGRAPHER-3613Lindsay Lopez is a dynamic force of nature. Years in tutus and tights paid off with wild success as a dancer and actress. Years in the “biz” taught her that dreams can come true, with plenty of planning and TONS of action to back them up. With a vision of helping her fellow instructors make what they deserve and live a life they love, Lindsay created FORM Pilates Union Square to focus on trainers rather than the clientele. The result was a workspace for teachers who love to teach and clients love to learn. Although Lindsay teachers less and less, she is breathing new life into a stale industry. Her wish is to provide her peers with the business training they so desperately need. As a positive coach and gutsy mentor, Lindsay Lopez is changing the Pilates business for the better.

 

Like what you see? Sign up for updates… It’s FREE!

Teacher Feature: Co-Op Life!

Greetings from all of us here at FORM Pilates USQ! Having just completed the implementation of our new cooperative structure, we wanted to take a moment and feature a little bit from a few of our teachers who shared a few words about their experience so far. We’ve been plugging away at the new quarter, and hope that you are all spurred into action and productivity by the cool winds of fall! So here it is, straight from the source–What is it like to be apart of a Pilates Co-Operative?

Carrie Campbell

DJG_1837“I enjoy being part of the cooperative because it enables me to have the freedom of running my own business without a lot of overhead. I also enjoy being part of a team of self-motivated, like-minded Pilates teachers.”

Jamie Graham

DSC_0017

“It’s sort of like the best of both worlds in that you have the independence and freedom of working for yourself, but the environment and inspiration of being in a studio and teaching next to other great teachers. You feel less alone!”

Audrey Carney

front copy_color

“The co-op provides a home and supportive base but even better, tools and connections to propel my career forward. It’s a fun, helpful and passionate group to be a part of!”

Julia Starobin

photo“The FORM Co-Operative feels like home. It’s a great space filled with energy and positivity. It’s amazing to feel like you’re part of a studio while running your personal business. I feel like FORM offers me the best of both worlds.”

Alissa Alter

“I love the freedom and flexibility I get being a part of the alissaFORM Team. I am also thankful for the wonderful people I have met.”

Liza Ard

image1

“I love having the freedom to arrange my own schedule and the perk of working in a nice space that’s graciously maintained. It’s fun to work alongside teachers that are in charge of themselves, it creates a very positive work space.”

So are you interested in joining our family?! Check out more info about our membership options by clicking here. What are you waiting for? Fill out an application today!

Not quite ready to rent at FORM yet? Let’s Stay In Touch…

Blues Schmooze

blue-monday

Happy New Year!!! What are your 2015 resolutions? To workout more? To eat better? To get a new job, a new boyfriend, a new life? Oh the pressure. Of a resolution. All this, New Year, New You bullshit stresses us to pull new habits out of our ass like a rabbit out of a hat. Look — don’t get me wrong: I’m all for improvement and betterment of self. Hell, it’s what I do all day between teaching people Pilates and motivating others to create the businesses and lives of their dreams. My issue lies not with the good intention but instead with the peer pressure from society. Such constant nagging to make giant grandiose plans of improvement only lead us down the path of good intentions with no result which only makes you bury your head in shame for giving up just weeks later.

There’s an actual phenomenon, coined by a British doctor for travel firm in hopes of selling vacation packages to Bora Bora and other sunny locales, called Blue Monday. Since its inception in 2005 the concept has been debunked, even by the good doctor himself, but Blue Monday, or the last Monday in January, is supposed to be THE most depressing day of the year. Despite being bogus, it still resonates. This time of year the weather is crap-tacular, the lack of sunshine and vitamin D starts to take it’s toll, you’ve been eating like a bear preparing to hibernate, and you just got your credit card bills from the holiday. Basically, January is one big Christmas hangover.

So, while all of those facts may be true, so many of us still try to make resolutions each year with renewed hope that somehow this year they’ll stick. Years ago I swore off resolutions myself in favor or creating words that set a tone for how I want to feel all year. I find it helpful to keep looking back at them when I feel lost or frustrated by the way my life is muddling along, and use them as redirection back to where I want to be. And while my strategy is good for not setting oneself up for failure with dreaded resolutions or empty goals, it’s not really a roadmap on how to get from New Year hope to real results.
blue-monday-610x250

One of my favorite business strategists, Derek Halpern, just released a series of blogs titled, Be The Exception. Derek’s mother was on welfare, married to a drug addict, and had never been to college. Derek’s grandmother gave his mom a second chance by sending her back to school. Despite the odds his mom turned things around — going to school, working full time, and raising two kids, bringing them up to a comfy middle class existence without drugs and poverty, but she is the exception. How many times have you heard sad stories of people who have had terrible things happen to them, or maybe those terrible things have happened to you, but they just can’t pull themselves up to the challenge. What is it that separates those who rise above and those who just sink lower?

 

Well, desire for change is first and foremost. Hitting bottom with your situation or finally getting fed up enough to do something about it is key. Do you want change bad enough? Change is never the easy road so you have to want it. The first part originates within, second part is the external pressure. How many times have you had a great idea or even a deep dark dream that you choose excitedly to share only to be poo poo-ed by some well meaning friend or family member with a pat on the hand and a little, “When are you going to get a real job?” Same goes for big lifestyle changes like curbing your drinking or choosing kale over Kobe beef. Your peers who want change too but aren’t really willing to work for it. Your change threatens their lack of motivation. They will try to coerce you to stay back down at their level and “Just have just one,” or “come on! you only live once!” Misery loves company.

The thing is that the real hurdle to your dreams and realized resolutions is not the advertising industry, society, circumstances, or even your friends and family, but you. YOU are the biggest obstacle to your dreams. So stop the excuses and get your butt in gear. Want to workout more, just do it. Don’t lament about last week when you ate a whole box of Ho Ho’s with your butt glued to your couch. Today is a new day and a new chance to be the exception to the rule. Get up get moving and walk confidently in the direction of your dreams. The road to being a bad ass is not a straight one without any hills. Climb that shit and remember that anything worth having is worth working for.

 

JAY_SULLIVAN_PHOTOGRAPHER-3613Lindsay Lopez is a dynamic force of nature. Years in tutus and tights paid off with wild success as a dancer and actress. Years in the “biz” taught her that dreams can come true, with plenty of planning and TONS of action to back them up. With a vision of helping her fellow instructors make what they deserve and live a life they love, Lindsay created FORM Pilates Union Square to focus on trainers rather than the clientele. The result was a workspace for teachers who love to teach and clients love to learn. Although Lindsay teachers less and less, she is breathing new life into a stale industry. Her wish is to provide her peers with the business training they so desperately need. As a positive coach and gutsy mentor, Lindsay Lopez is changing the Pilates business for the better.

 

 

Like what you see? Sign up for updates… It’s FREE!

 

Teacher Focus Feature ~ Vanessa West

One of FORM’s newest teaching additions is Vanessa West. I first met Vanessa in my studio at one of my business seminars. I found her incredibly smart and insightful so when she told me she wanted to be part of the FORM brood I was thrilled! I am pleased to have this opportunity to get to know her better and share my findings with you! Here’s the scoop on Vanessa: ChairpullUpb&w

With a childhood speckled with ballet and dance, Vanessa knows the importance of moving well. As a “corporate animal” she was looking for something that could alleviate thediscomfort of sitting in boardrooms and airplanes all day, and she got it with her first taste of Pilates on a mat in a dusty old room. The Tribeca space was in need of renovation, a converted dance studio, but that didn’t phase Vanessa- the class was amazing and it was love at first workout. She was especially drawn to the key principles of Pilates – control and centering, which helped her manage a demanding travel schedule during her career in media sales and marketing. Eventually she decided that a stiff back and the 9 to 5 schedule was not her style and decided to leave the office to become a fully certified Pilates instructor and teach full time.

Besides the way the method made her feel, Vanessa was attracted to how Pilates challenges every body, regardless of age or fitness level. The initial draw of the work in her body was fused with seeing how her client’s mind-body connections improved and finally helping them achieve the results they always wanted with the magic of Pilates.vw102.hr

So, it’s no surprise that Vanessa loves to work with clients who have spent their professional lives in corporate environments. She can relate to how the pace and pressure of corporate life can create a disconnect between our minds and bodies.  Helping people incorporate the method into their daily lives – sitting up at their desks, controlling their breathing while giving a presentation, scooping their abs when reaching up for that bag in the overhead bin. She loves helping people build & improve that bridge, making them more confident in their body’s abilities

Vanessa seems to always be teaching these days, but when she isn’t she’s been getting back into cooking. Tackling the “Balthazaar” cookbook, who’s most recent dish was their coq au vin.  Art & travel is also on the agenda, and she’s ready to get more stamps on her passport.  Ireland and Greece are at the top of her list.

Here’s 5 secret nuggets you may not know about Vanessa:

  • She’s afraid of birds, heights and clowns. At times that’s a challenge in NYC!
  • She loves a good martini, slightly dirty.
  • She believes that life is too short to take ourselves too seriously.
  • She likes tall men who can make me laugh.
  • And she believes that it IS true that sometimes you’ve just gotta dance.

 

Like what you see? Sign up for updates… It’s FREE!

Guest Post: I AM a Pilates Nerd. (The one who created the brand)

If you would have told me two years ago that I would create a ‘brand’ that would be distributed and wholesaled internationally, get picked up by a major Pilates retailer, and make people smile with knowing enthusiasm, I never would have believed you.

In fact, I would have been really scared to try.

 

image2

 

It all started with a logo, a blog idea, and one t-shirt. But even before that, it began with a declaration I read in a blog:

“Once you understand that there are problems just waiting to be solved, once you realize that you have all the tools and all the permission you need, then opportunities to contribute abound. No one is going to pick you. Pick yourself”.     – Seth Godin

Pick yourself.  What?

I’d have to say this idea of picking myself – of creating my own path, changed my thinking and how I see myself in the Pilates world.  Beyond teaching my own students, I hadn’t allowed myself to think I could offer more to the Pilates community.  But if you’ve ever sat down with a copy of Return to Life, you know that Joe Pilates’ discipline was all about pushing yourself.

I’ve been teaching Pilates for 16 years. Some of those years in the trenches were admittedly not my best work. I spent too much time comparing my teaching skills with others and defending my philosophies.

Now I think I wasted so much time not allowing other facets of my creativity come to light.

It turns out it was the shirt, especially the logo, that made an impact on people. What’s surprising is I wasn’t expecting to build a small apparel brand, but that’s what happened. Ultimately, connecting people who feel as passionate about Pilates I do, is the most satisfying part of Pilates Nerd.

While I write this I am knee deep in online orders, preparing another wholesale order, and getting ready for my first big Pilates conference as an exhibitor.  It’s overwhelming not just because of the crazy workload in addition to my teaching, but because there is so much about the apparel business I am still learning!

Believe it or not, I have yet to assert myself and make it widely known that I am, in fact the face behind the brand.

It’s daunting to admit that I created every shirt, every post, and every item.  Mainly because it’s scary to fail, scary to be judged, and scary not to have control. (Insert Contrology joke).

I think we were born to create, to move people and to connect with people. The challenge is finding our niche and following through. Part of the bigger picture is this: we get on the mat and apparatus week after week and you never know what you can do until you try…that’s half the fun of it. So, be patient and move through the fear.

“…Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.”

Thanks Mr. Pilates, that’s a quote to live by – body, mind and spirit – for sure!

image1Raised in upstate NY and now a Southern California local, Karen Ellis is the owner and director of Prana Pilates in Costa Mesa. She began her journey of movement in ballet, earned a BS from Indiana University and received an MFA from the University of California Irvine. After a professional ballet career in Boston concluded with injuries, a passion for healing the body and new career in Pilates was born.

In 2013 Karen created Pilates Nerd®, a company designed to celebrate Pilates through apparel, accessories and shared sentiments.  The simple goal of her idea is to generate enthusiasm for the benefits of Pilates and help connect people.

 

Learn how to build the business of your dreams! Sign up for FREE tips and tricks below…

Three Reasons People Are Afraid To Try Pilates — And Why You Shouldn’t Be

I’m not gonna lie. Pilates is hard. I was a professional dancer before I came to Pilates and I still thought it damn hard when I started. Sure, I had the coordination thing down already but I still had to re-learn how to move the Pilates way and that, my friend, was not easy. From a teaching stand-point, I try to convey this struggle to my clients. They will merely roll their eyes in disbelief and say, “Sure, your teaser looks like you have been doing it since you came out of the womb.” Not the case. When I started taking lessons I couldn’t do a roll-up to save my life because my lower back was locked solid from years of butt-clenching at the ballet barre. I find it particularly irritating to dispel all of the Pilates rumors and try to convince men that there really was a man who created the work and it was not a flouncy ballerina in a tutu. So, if you’ve been interested in trying that thing called Pilates this article is for you. Pilates is a challenge, but anything worth having is always worth working for isn’t it?

IMG_4825

  • Reason #1 – Pilates is just for dancers and women

This is one of the biggest misconceptions about the method. To dispel the rumors correctly let me give you a quick history lesson. Joe Pilates was an actual person who was very much a manly man. He was a boxer and a gymnast who smoked cigars and drank beer. There was nothing girly about this German powerhouse. The first studio in the US was opened in NYC, and just happened to be in the same building as two of the biggest dance companies. When dancers heard that Uncle Joe on the 5th floor was helping heal injuries and strengthen weak muscles, they jumped right on that. Dancers became some of his biggest devotees not because the work was dance-like, but instead because they danced better and healed themselves with the work. When your body is your source of income, it is indispensable. In the modern Pilates studio, men may feel intimidated by all the ladies in the house. They shouldn’t. In that very first Pilates studio, business men were sweating it out right next to the dancers under Joe’s watchful eye. Remember, this was the 1920s and most women were home with the babies and didn’t seem concerned with working out. Men dominated the studio and Joe knew just how to work with them since he created the method for himself and well, he is the man.

IMG_4057

  • Reason #2 – I’ll look stupid/awkward/feel embarrassed/or won’t be good at it

Ok, let’s just say that anytime you try to learn a new skill there’s going to be a learning curve. No one jumps on a bike for the first time and pedals away. Sure, some of us pick up certain things faster than others but we’ve all fallen, stumbled, or tripped along the way so you’re not alone. Learning Pilates is no different. It’s something you have NEVER done and it’s NOT like anything else so duh, it’s going to be a challenge. The thing is, it’s not about getting somewhere or reaching some illusive Pilates level. No way, Jose! It’s about the movement, and in that moment, being present with each muscle and sensation. Learning to coordinate those movements together to work your body (the only one you’ll have in this lifetime btw), to its most efficient, healthiest self. Plus, Pilates instructors don’t see all of those so-called missteps. We’re trained to be so focused on what YOU need as the individual and how to give you that. We aren’t really paying attention to nervousness. We just want you to work hard no matter how it looks. So, feel a little awkward. Maybe even be a little embarrassed. But don’t give up because Pilates is one of the BEST things you can do for your self.

IMG_4622

  • Reason #3 – I don’t have the right body type or I’m too old

Joe’s biggest dream was that there would be a Pilates studio on every corner, in every city, all over the world. What he didn’t envision, was that only skinny, anorexic-looking women would be doing his method. Nuh uh. He had fantasies of kids doing Pilates in school, elderly men standing tall for the first time in years, and sedentary office workers getting color in their cheeks from finally getting their blood pumping. Pilates is for everyone and every body. It is safe enough for the 80 year old or the injured; it is challenging enough for those pro-dancers and athletes. In archival documents and interviews Joe Pilates never talks about muscles or bones but rather breath and blood. He wasn’t promising flat abs or a perky ass, but optimal health and space for your organs to do their thing without obstacles. Feeling good was waaaay more important than looking it. So, whether you’re a super model or a just the average Joe — Pilates IS right for you!

In short there is really no good reasons not to be doing Pilates, so get over yourself and get into the studio. I promise you’ll thank me. If you’re in New York, schedule your New Client Special here at FORM Pilates USQ here!

Like what you see? Sign up for updates… It’s FREE!

Teacher Focus Feature ~ Jamie Graham

Last night, Jamie and I sat sharing a cocktail and trying to determine how long we’ve actually known each other. Although we couldn’t decide on the exact number, we agreed that we’ve shared most of our time here in the Big Apple together, working in the Pilates industry. Jamie was once my boss, and now she’s working out of my space. Jamie is the perfect mix of ball-buster and cheerleader as a Pilates instructor. If only I could be so lucky as to spend the next 6, 7, or infinite years teaching next to this amazing woman! Here’s Jamie’s story…

DSC_0017

Jamie first encountered Pilates when she was trying to get ahead in ballet school at Virginia School of the Arts. She remembers sweating it out on the reformer, under the eagle-eye of Gayla Zukovich, with her long finger nails poking her in the stomach demanding her abs pull in and up! Pilates was the perfect supplement to her dance training. It helped her better understand how her body worked and build strength and flexibility. When Jamie was doing a year of post-graduate study at CODARTS/Rotterdamse Dansacedmie she had the honor to study with master instructor, Marjorie Oron, and it was then that she decided to get certified and complete the certification program with Romana’s Pilates.

As a dedicated devotee, Jamie practices Pilates weekly and also studies Alexander technique with Jean McClelland and Klein technique with Barbara Mahler. Her favorite thing about the Pilates method is being able to help her clients experience the joy and benefits of movement within the safety of the Pilates work. She is especially good at getting her clients to work deeply while continuing to move and experience the flow of one exercise leading into the next.

DSC_0112

When Jamie isn’t in the Pilates studio, you can find her in the dance studio. She’s part of a dance/comedy improv duo called The Raving Jaynes. The Jaynes, Amy Larimer and Ms. Graham, create shows based on audience suggestion using improvised dance and theater. For more info on where you can catch their show click here. Jamie also works with Jenny Rocha & her painted ladies, a dance company that fuses dance, theater, physical comedy, and burlesque. They shimmy and shake every Saturday at the Galapagos Art Space’s Floating Kabarette. Shameless plugs aside, Jamie can usually be found catching a show, tossing a frisbee at Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn, or sneaking off to the Hudson Valley for a little R&R.

Here’s four fun facts you may not know about Jamie:

  1. She grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, so she has a soft spot for anything country.
  2. She loves catching NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!
  3. She shares a birthday with her grandfather who just turned 100!
  4. National Parks are her favorite thing about the United States, but if a bee or spider approaches, she turns into a flailing yelping six year old!

For more info about Jamie click here and to schedule a session in our NYC with Ms. Graham email us studio [at] formpilates [dot] com

Like what you see? Sign up for updates… It’s FREE!

My Dirty Little Secret

body collage

My 20 something self. My 30 something self.

 The dirtiest little secret a professional Pilates instructor can have is well, they aren’t doing Pilates themselves. I am supremely guilty of this. It has been months since my last workout, and  I’ve been playing what feels like a charade with my clients acting as if I’ve been putting myself through the same paces I put them through. I watch idly by as the other teachers in my studio (yes, I own my own studio) get in their required 55 minutes. Sweating, stretching, strengthening immersed in their own practice like it was more than a habit, it was a necessity. I wasn’t always like this. As a young instructor I took lessons with more experienced teachers like my life depended on it. I was hungry for knowledge and wanted to “feel” the work in my body before I could relay it to someone else. So what the heck happened then?

 It’s easy to simply say I got lazy, bored, or busy, and then force myself back into practice, but that plan never lasts. I get resentful and bitter, and no one likes a Pilates instructor who sits at the back of the studio on a stool smoking a cigarette, drinking a martini, and lamenting about how back in the day we did this and that. In midst of my uncertainty I took spinning in lieu of my Pilates sessions, touting the “Doubt means don’t” adage. Doubt as I may, I do know for sure there is no replacement for Pilates. It’s either Pilates or no Pilates.

 Last week after a session, I confessed to a particularly wise client. Her reaction was more concern than critique, which is when her words hit me. “You’re avoiding it aren’t you?” I was avoiding it, but why? A little introspection yielded unexpected results. I am heavier than I’d ever been, by 20 pounds and (duh) it’s no surprise that I’m reluctant to watch myself stuffed into my Lululemon in the studio mirrors. I was out of Pilates shape and nothing felt like it used to. My body had changed but I hadn’t changed my Pilates practice. I was dodging what used to feel easy and fluid in my tiny dancer body since  it now felt awkward and uncompromising. Why should I do something that makes me feel like a stiff plump sloth? I felt more at home hiding under my regular clothes and in the dimness of the spin studio.

IMG_4728

So, while it’s easy to blame the Pilates: “I’ve done it all”, “It’s boring”, “it’s expensive”, “I’m too busy when I’m in the studio to get a workout in”, and the all time fav, “I just don’t feel like it”. It’s much more effective to take the responsibility on myself. I had changed and hadn’t allowed myself to reshape the work to look good on me. Here are three things I did to get my shapely body back into the studio:

Look Good to Feel Good.

There is no rocket science here. When you feel good in what you’re clad in you just feel better. My drawers were filled with size 4 workout pants and tops that didn’t support my bountiful bosoms. Everyone always says “Don’t buy larger sizes, work to get back into the small ones”, but I call bullshit on that. My size 4 body wasn’t normal on my 5’8” frame. Yeah, I could stand to loose a few lb.’s but it’s a little cray cray to try and get back to my 23 year old self. I went out and got a couple new pieces that made me feel like a million bucks. Now I was not only motivated to sweat but I alleviated the fear of bursting into tears when I glanced in the studio mirrors.

Distract Thy Self

Now, now Pilates fanatics don’t freak. I’m all about Joe’s principle of mind building body, but sometimes too much focus (especially on what you don’t want) isn’t such a good thing. Part of motivating myself to get back in the studio and do some damn Pilates was to distract myself from the fact that I’m doing it. I would pull another teacher in for an impromptu duet. I would put on some kickin’ beats so I couldn’t hear my negative thoughts. I took a session from my peers to prevent being left to my own lax devices. You may have been taught that Joe would roll over in his urn at something less than the traditional ways of working out, but if it’s broke y’all got to fix it!

Make It Fun

As a young teacher Pilates reminded me a lot of dance class. Not because the moves were similar but because I was poked, prodded, and put down for not being good enough. I desperately wanted to be better, stronger, and get the praise of my instructor just like back in my ballet days. This slowly tainted the work for me and it’s not surprising that over time I got a sour taste in my mouth. Katherine Hepburn said, “If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.” I finally decided to practice what I preach and make my time on the apparatus or mat fun time. If I wasn’t having fun it wasn’t worth it.

Want to help distracting yourself from a tough workout? We know just how to motivate you and get you closer to your fitness goals. Email us studio [at] formpilates [dot] com to schedule a quick consult with our expert concierge to help you find your Pilates match.

Like what you see? Sign up for updates… It’s FREE!