Reflecting on my trip to New York, I can officially say it was the Pilates experience of a lifetime! Even 4 weeks later, I am still processing the influences and inspiration I gained from the amazing people I met.
The tour began in the most auspicious way when my copy of “Get to Know Joe Pilates” by Cathy Strack arrived the day before I left.
This biography is a must read for every Pilates teacher and Pilates enthusiast. I could not put it down and read it all during the flight to NY. It recounts in fascinating detail the life of Joseph Pilates and his work, completely changing many of my existing preconceptions and deepening my knowledge of Pilates history. It is full of wonderful images and photos. It is very easy to read and so entertaining. What a perfect start to the Pilates tour! (Full book review coming soon to the JPilates Associates)
I had attended several online classes with Cynthia during the pandemic so I knew what an incredible teacher she is. Cynthia was trained by Romana Kryanowska and is a Master Trainer for Romana’s Pilates with over 30 years teaching experience. To meet her in person and be greeted with such warmth was wonderful!
Cynthia showed me around the studio, and everyone was so welcoming and inclusive. I immediately felt part of the Lifespan community.
The class was fantastically intense! Cynthia’s eye for detail is unparalleled and she has an amazing skill of creating stillness and space, allowing you to find a deep intensity in each exercise. Precision is highlighted in every moment of the class without stifling the joy of movement. The hands-on assist from Cynthia to help my Side Kick changed the entire exercise- it was humbling to see how much I cheat! Definite homework to do!
The Game Changer: Keeping external rotation of the hip in Side Kick- noticing when I internally rotate as the leg kicks forwards and lose the length in the waist.
Walking into the studio truly felt like a defining moment in my Pilates career. Being in the actual space where Joe & Clara lived and worked, seeing the high ceilings and iconic windows, moving through Footwork on the Reformer, soaking in the atmosphere and Pilates history of this unique space- what an unforgettable experience!
Rhinebeck is a 90 minute train journey from NYC along the Hudson River. The leaves were just turning to an autumnal array of gold, red & orange- it was so beautiful.
I have learnt so much from Elaine over the past few years about Pilates history and my own personal practise. Through her Instagram pages, @originalpilatesphotos and @rhinebeckpilates, her website and her online classes, Elaine generously shares her knowledge and research findings.
Rhinebeck Pilates studio is a Pilates treasure trove! The walls are filled with photos, charts and posters and there are original pieces of Joseph Pilates equipment, there was so much to absorb and take in.
Elaine was so friendly, welcoming and open to answering all my questions. We began on the Reformer and then moved onto pieces of equipment that I had never used such as the Bench Mat and Guillotine. I also had the amazing opportunity of using actual original equipment of Joe Pilates such as the High Chair and Wunda Chair.
Elaine is an incredible teacher whose hands on teaching, cueing and vast knowledge really helped me to find much greater connection and strength in each exercise. The two-hour session passed by far too quickly and I wish I could have stayed all day!
The Game Changer: Using original Joe Pilates equipment especially the High Chair- what an experience!
My last day began with a second class with Cynthia and I felt like one of the regulars, as I chatted to the other class members who remembered me from Tuesday, discussing the difference between West and East coast Pilates.
The class felt more intense as Cynthia brought the fire early on with the 100 leading into a cheeky Teaser- Good Morning! Also, Adam was assisting and gave some great cues, a favourite was “soften the knees, trust your inner thighs”
I made a promise to myself as I said goodbye to continue with this class online- it is just too good to miss as Cynthia is a master at teaching the blend of online and in person participants.
The Game Changer: Leg position for Teaser- pressing straight out as if the feet were on the footbar, then curling up.
The last stop was Brooklyn and Bridge Pilates. Blossom has had a huge impact on my Pilates career. I have always greatly admired her fun and powerful teaching methods combined with her fantastic interaction and connection with the class. Blossom teaches with a unique blend of her own style and the influence and experience of her many years of working with Kathy Grant as well as training with Romana Kryzanowska. I have loved every class and course I have taken with Blossom and meeting her in person did not disappoint!
The Reformer session was fantastic with so many variations, cues, use of props and hands on assists. I did not want it to end- except maybe Long Spine- that was so tough! This session was a real deep dive into my technique. I loved it!
Then the icing on the cake was Blossom so generously came for lunch, allowing me time to ask more questions and discuss all things Pilates. What an end to a perfect trip!
The Game Changer- Up Stretch- finding the correct articulation through the back line and using the small squishy balls- my new best friend!
The JPilates tour- NYC has made a huge impact on my professional development but even more, the incredible warmth, generosity and welcome I received in each studio from the teachers to the clients has been unforgettable.
I am so grateful to everyone for making this truly a Pilates trip of a lifetime, especially my travel partner @kateabbottpilates. Now I need to start planning my return trip!