What Is A Cooperative?

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Three years ago I took over a little Pilates studio in Union Square, called Union Square Pilates. I painted the walls, changed the name, and hung some art, and voila- FORM Pilates Union Square was born. I had absolutely no idea how things would evolve, butI wasn’t worried. I knew what I didn’t want- a factory like studio pumping out clients and controlling  what other teachers taught. I was clear on what I DID want- a studio to bring my clients to that was clean, happy, had a wonderful vibe, as well as a place where the Pilates community could come together instead of pushing each other apart.  So like one of my favorite quotes, “I dream because there is no other way I can see it happen” I dreamed big and boom- I saw it happen.

 

I first heard of the concept of a cooperative in the context of the grocery store, the Park Slope Coop. Members agree to work once every month in exchange for discounts on healthy fare. Very cool I thought and that planted a seed. Then through a woman’s networking group I heard about a shared workspace in the city called In Good Company. It was a place female entrepreneurs come to work, meet, and learn. Cut to two years into my owning FORM USQ and it kind of sounded like what I was inadvertently doing- renting out my space so other instructors could build and incubate their businesses under mine. I wanted a place we could be a community, so like they say, “your dream job does not exist you must create it”, and I did.

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The true definition of a cooperative is an autonomous group of persons who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual social, economic, and cultural benefit. People have been cooperating since the beginning of time. Tribes were organized as cooperative structures, allocating jobs and resources among each other. Bottom line is that cooperatives are a good thing, but why weren’t there any for Pilates instructors? Why were we being left out?

 

The daunting costs of NYC commercial rent, equipment prices, and the shear need for space to house a proper studio keeps wannabe Pilates soloprenuers from branching out on their own. In a sprawling metropolis like New York my colleagues needed a place to bring their clients and work out of. Notoriously divided, Pilates people can be snotty and pretentious. They can be afraid of sharing and living in a world of lack instead of embracing abundance. I refused to believe that’s all there is. What if you could come as you are, with the type of clients that “get” your style, and build a thriving business without going into a mountain of debt. No reason why not so, after months of building our new structure with my team, the FORM Pilates Cooperative was born.

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At FORM you can join our cooperative at one of two levels. As a Drop-In member who sees less than 10 clients a week but is looking to build, or as a Subscriber who already has a full practice, 15+ clients a week, but wants to maximize their time, profit, and diversify their revenue streams. As their fearless leader, I offer office hours, group coaching, and one-on-one consultations to help supplement the practical training we received in our certifications with business savvy. As a fully functioning Pilates studio, we also receive inquiries from potential clients and match them with their ideal Pilates instructor. The client can continue to shop around and work with several cooperative members or if it’s a match made in heaven, the teacher can take on the client as their own. This approach makes for both happy clients AND teachers.

 

We are excited to be the first Pilates Cooperative in NYC!

Want more info on how our cooperative works or an application to join our team? Email us studio [at] formpilates [dot] com today!

 

Precision

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This holiday I stayed home in NYC (originally from LA, it took 3 years, but NYC now finally feels like home to me!) I did nothing. Absolutely NOTHING. I ate, drank and did nary a Pilates hundred. Which surprisingly, made some of my clients happy that I’m human, “if you cut me do I not bleed?” Despite my lack of actual workouts, Pilates seemed to be present everywhere around me. It’s the Pilates principle of precision that made me a student at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

My family was in town and we were doing “touristy” things. Normally being anywhere in the city with hundreds of clueless travelers makes me nauseous, but this was something I could get in-to. I had seen the show once before in LA but this was my first time seeing the actual Radio City Rockettes at the actual Radio City Music Hall. Let me tell you, they were AMAZING! Precision dance has never been my cup of tea. Sure, I was on high school dance team and we did our share, wearing sequins and kick ball changing on the football field to House of the Rising Sun, but I’d never entertained the thought of auditioning to be a Rockette. Too much rehearsal, too much pressure, too much precision! Sitting there in the mezzanine I finally got it. There is an art to precision.

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In Pilates, there are 6 principles of movement: Centering, Concentration, Control, Precision, Breath, and Flow. While each is equally important, I find it helpful to concentrate on one for a few workouts to really embody it. Precision is controlling the movement by initiating it from your powerhouse and lengthening one movement into the next. For me, precision is the delicate balance between hitting each position with strength and intention while releasing any tension in the movement. Mr. Pilates was insistent, “The benefits of Contrology (Pilates) depend solely upon your performing the exercises exactly according to instructions- and not otherwise.” There is a right way to do an exercise for a reason and if you focus on performing them that way you get results, plain and simple. What would happen if Rockette # 6 decided she would go her own way and stand out from the group? Chaos would ensue followed by mutiny in the Rockette ranks! Precision is what it means to be a Rockette, and they display a sort of freedom and comfort in it. Precision is what it means to do Pilates. I invite you to find both the challenge and freedom in it.

Want to learn more about the principles of Pilates? We can show you how at FORM. Book the first of your 3 Private sessions in our New Client Special today here. You’ll be flowing with precision, breath, centering, and control all with the concentration of an expert.

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