My Pilates Anytime Trip- Last Day!

Unlike all of my other posts, I’m writing this one quite a bit after the fact. I actually don’t mind this as I feel like I’ve had a great opportunity to reflect on the experience that I’ve had- I just hope to capture as much of the good stuff as I can! In some ways it feels like it was all a dream while I then feel like it was just yesterday that I was on the West Coast of the USA.

My final day at the conference was meant to start with a presentation by Diane Diefenderfer- Sharing and Comparing The Work of Two Masters (Romana Kryzanowksa and Ron Fletcher) I had been looking forward to this as soon as I had access to my schedule as these two elders seem the most different of them all. I am intrigued by the commonalities and differences between the elders considering their shared experience of working with Mr Pilates. I was but I had to make a call and miss it. Deciding to stay until the very end of the Pilates Anytime party had consequences…

Unfortunately my LONG haul flight home that night meant that I was not going to have time to pack at any other time. While I felt as though I had completely over packed for this trip I still had lots of room in my suitcase. This was fortunate as I was going home with a few extra items… all of my beautiful Pilates Nerd clothing and accessories (I am one lucky girl), My ‘JOE’ book by IC Rapoport (eek!), an amazing pair of loops by Good Citizen (and the cutest t-shirt), various balls, loops and small props by OPTP and Balanced Body and Ben’s birthday present (still a secret). IMG_6961.JPG

I figured if I could get everything packed I could still observe the final session of the conference which was a mat class by Kathy Corey. To be sure that I didn’t hold up my ride home in any way, I decided just to observe the mat class rather than participate in it.  I was all set just before 10:00am so I had time to check out and make my way to the Mountain View room for the class. Unfortunately a few of the photos that I took over the weekend didn’t seem to save onto my phone (not sure if it was due to lack of reception???). It’s such a shame as this also included the photo I took from this room- the view was so beautiful.

Kathy’s class was great as she really made it feel like it would be an individual experience for everyone in the room. She didn’t rush in to the traditional order but instead gave everyone time to figure out where their asymmetries lay and to try to create as much balance as possible. Starting seated on the floor (not your mat) all the participants were asked to figure out where their body was positioned. The next stage was a series of movements to help create that balance that we all strive for. Kathy calls this the pelvic imprint. You can experience this yourself- I’ve chosen this class on Pilates Anytime for you to try. I loved the simple way this made such a difference not only to the body that is about to begin the Pilates class but to focus the mind. There were some beautiful rotational exercises that I was able to do while seated too.

I was so grateful for the beautiful bunch of flowers that Pilates Anytime presented me with at the party. Luckily we had room in the car and Gia (who had been so supportive throughout the process) was able to take them home- they were too beautiful to throw out!

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The drive home was a great opportunity to be able to speak with John a little more. I got to meet John at the dinner on the first night of the conference but of course it was a busy night for everyone. On the drive home I got to learn more about the business and to get a sense of the value base that he, Kristi and Ted all work from.

By the time we got back to LA I still had about 4 hours to wait before I needed to go to the airport so after storing my luggage at Pilates Anytime HQ I decided to take Gia and John’s advice and head over to Venice Beach. I jumped into an Uber and had a great conversation with Stefanos. We talked about how LA had changed over the years that he had lived there and was changing now, Donald Trump (and his hope for an impeachment) as well as what I should do when I reached my destination.

There had been so much new information to take in over the week away that I was looking forward to a little bit of alone time to absorb it all. Somehow seeing the Ocean up close felt like the right way to send off this trip and it was quite emotional. The great thing about the Venice boardwalk was that you could actually spend a great amount of time on foot and have so much change around you. As I made my way to the boardwalk I stopped by a local market (and found a great card for Ben’s birthday too- score!) as I was hoping for some dog patting opportunities but they didn’t really present themselves. At the beach, I enjoyed a quesadilla while I took in the sights of the stall holders- a guy selling a photo opportunity holding a python (tempting), break dancers (impressive), a group preaching a strange version of redemption (not for me) and many (awful) t- shirts.

On my way back from the beach, I finished my souvenir shopping at a great little store for a few more family members and found the perfect pair of sunglasses for myself- woo hoo! Once I arrived at Abbot Kinney Boulevard I meandered along with an amazing hot chocolate in hand (the heat wave had finally finished) and did some great window shopping. I also had the pleasure of discovering the G2 Gallery which I highly recommend if you’re ever in town. There were two photography exhibitions on view while I was there and the work was exquisite. The Designed Environment was my favourite (probably because of the road trip I had just been on) as the photos of Death Valley were amazing.

I had been in LA long enough to know that allowing extra time for traffic would be a good idea and so before I knew it the time had come to order an Uber and get moving. On the way to the airport after picking up my luggage, we actually had some Australian hip-hop playing on the radio (Horror Show)- clearly it was home time.

After clearing customs I completed my going home from holidays tradition- buying a magnet for the fridge at home (and some duty free whiskey) and made my way to the QANTAS BUSINESS LOUNGE. That’s right- JoJo was finishing this trip in style, an upgrade to business class on the A380! My previous post was actually mostly written while enjoying a Californian red and a little cheese plate that I whipped up for myself.

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As far as flights go, this one was pretty good. I repeated my ‘anti jetlag’ behaviours and tried to read and watch a couple of movies before allowing myself to sleep. Those lay flat beds certainly help… I didn’t sleep as much as I would have liked but I rested and that was something I didn’t do much of while I was away. On the flight over, whenever I would wake up from my sleep I would go through the sequence of my classes to be filmed and (much like counting sheep) that would lull me into the land of nod. That wasn’t necessary anymore. What a realisation, all that anticipation and then boom- it was over and I was home! Landing in Sydney just before 8:00am was perfect as we circled the city before coming in from the south (less views) onto the runway. There is something special about seeing this city from the sky before touching down.

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Once I’d arrived home and had my first coffee (bliss), did my washing and tried to make up with Miffy my cat the final unpacking was due. I have a few items that will join my special stripey note book. My first visit to the West Coast of the USA was not going to be forgotten quickly- joining the Pilates Anytime family, my first ever PMA, meeting respected teachers that I have looked up to from afar… great memories. Until next time xxx

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Exam Preparation Study Groups

Joseph Pilates teaching a group of dancers the teaser in an outdoor mat class
Be Like Joe! Get your teaching skills up to scratch for your exam

Spirited Pilates is running study groups to get you ready for your mat exam! Come along on either NOVEMBER 7 or NOVEMBER 14 to participate in:

Round Robin Teaching Practice
Refine Your Self Mastery
Mat Class Programming and Sequencing
Case Study Review
Question Time

Study Groups will be held at MG Pilates
1:30pm- 4:30pm
128A Erskineville Road, Erskineville
Investment $45

Please make payment via Bank Transfer to:
Joanne Bezzina
BSB: 923100
Acc: 33298361

EFTPOS facilities are NOT available.

Five Simple Pilates Exercises to Transform Your Golf Swing

These five Pilates Exercises Will Transform Your Golf Swing
These five Pilates Exercises Will Transform Your Golf Swing

A powerful golf swing comes from a strong base of support and distributing the force and  movement through as many different segments of your spine as you can. Just like the old adage says “many hands make light work”. These five Pilates exercises will decrease your likelihood of injury and increase the power in your swing, helping to improve your drive.

Pass this article onto your golf loving clients. This is a (pre) Pilates home exercise program they can follow with ease. Continue reading

My Pilates Anytime Trip- “All Access Party”

After two days of inspiration and learning it was time to let our hair down and ‘Party Like a Rock Star” with the awesome Pilates Anytime crew. We were so lucky with the weather as the party was out on the lawn at the resort. With Halloween just around the corner the theme was to dress up as your favourite music star. Not having gone to a fancy dress party for a few years, I was super excited. Put it this way, I had decided on my party outfit before I even knew what I was going to wear for my filming!

I’ve always been pretty inspired by the resilience of Cher to really succeed in her field. Coupled with my hairdresser’s inclination to tease my hair to make me look like Cher from Moonstruck it was an easy choice. Thanks to my lovely client June, I got to rock out in a vintage outfit by renowned Australian designer Carla Zampatti. In combination with my column heel suede platforms (that I actually wear quite often), false eyelashes, a ton of eye shadow and my wig I was all set.IMG_6989.jpg

I got to see the party set up for the first time alongside Kristi and Amy and I was blown away. The hard work that this team had put in was so evident- the place looked amazing. On arrival there was of course a red carpet (very much befitting the music theme) and the famous Pilates Anytime media wall. It was such fun to see all of the different groups posing together. I actually ran into Madonna at the party too (or is that Amy Havens?)23000013_10155184632592602_8580844826639492638_o.jpgThere were inflatables that looked a little like a garden, a huge PILATES sign, a silent disco (that I very much enjoyed alongside Victoria Becka and Lanette Gavran) and glow sticks. You could really feel the excitement in the air. Everyone was so happy to be there.

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As people started to arrive the effort put in to the costumes soon became very apparent. Personal favourites were Rebekah Rotsein as Bjork, Madeline Black as Amy Winehouse and Benjamin Degenhardt as Annie Lennox. As for the group costumes I couldn’t go past Devo and the GoGo’s. Those who know me are aware of my fondness for Pilates elder Mary Bowen. I was lucky enough to meet her at the APMA conference in Melbourne Australia last September. Imagine my delight when she agreed to pose for a photo with me in costume! I love Mary (she even had back up wigs).IMG_6997.JPG

After the announcement of best costume and best air bands it was time for me to be announced as the 2017 Pilates Anytime Winner. John Marston the CEO of Pilates Anytime (and an awesome guy) let me know that it would be up to me as to whether or not I should make a speech. I don’t have a problem with public speaking at all (I actually really loved it as a teenager) but the prospect of saying something relating to such an emotional achievement initially seemed like it would be too much. I didn’t want to get emotional up on the stage so I thought it would be best just to graciously accept my flowers, wave and step off. I was so glad that I changed my mind and got to say a public thank you to the other finalists, the judges, those who voted, Pilates Nerd and of course to Pilates Anytime for holding the competition. It allowed me to really be in the moment and acknowledge the journey that I had been on. When I got off the stage who did I see but the beautiful Carrie Pages- beaming at me before giving me the biggest hug ever. It made me certain that I want to be there to do the same for next year’s winner. That was a special moment. 23004667_10155188019712602_5461678963495429676_o.jpg23120192_10155188019697602_9063370241885064100_o.jpg

The party changed location from the lawn to the resort nightclub- if anyone understands noise restrictions compromises it’s a Sydney sider! I knew that the nightclub was going to look awesome but it was a shame to have to relocate. Ever the introvert I felt I needed a moment in time before the venue change. Tasked with the need to put my beautiful bouquet somewhere safe (and to have another slice of the pizza that I had ordered earlier) I popped up to my room briefly to gather my thoughts. I was determined to stay until the end of the party so I wanted to make sure I still looked the part (no panda eyes please) and could handle staying up until the wee hours.

While I reapplied my eyeshadow I looked in the mirror and saw a person who had grown a lot. Two years ago I was so paralysed by anxiety I couldn’t bring myself to step outside the familiar despite wanting to.  Back then I wouldn’t have known what to do with myself at this party. Now here I was accepting the congratulations with gratitude and looking for more challenges with genuine confidence and excitement. This was the real win!IMG_7007.jpg

My Pilates Anytime Trip- PMA Conference

Day One

After all the excitement of presenting at Pilates Anytime it was time to be the student and soak up as much of the amazing knowledge at this gathering of the PMA conference as I could. I had a later start than I originally realised and was able to relax on the lawn for breakfast before the Opening General Session. This was a great introduction to the conference with a welcome to all delegates and an individual mention of all the countries represented. It was wonderful to hear places from all over the world mentioned- I am pretty sure all continents (other than Antarctica) were mentioned which is so amazing. Fifty years after Mr Pilates anniversary of death his method is practiced in places so far and wide. It’s really something special to have a visual representation of that.

The keynote speaker was Jon Sciambi which might have seemed like a strange choice for those who knew of him- Jon is a baseball sportscaster for ESPN. We learned that Jon attends Pilates classes regularly under the supervision of someone I admire so much- Kim Gibilisco in New York. Jon’s other connection to Pilates (and I dare say the reason he was asked to present) is his philanthropic work for those suffering from the awful disease ALS through his charity Project Main Street. This subject touches a lot of people’s hearts in the Pilates industry since ALS has affected an amazing instructor Mari Winsor. Jon’s message of banding together and helping out those in need was wonderful and he delivered his message with such humility. IMG_4660.JPG

After the welcome, the first of my sessions for the day was an exploration of the Pilates Archival Exercises on the Trapeze Table with Amy Taylor Alpers. This was so great for me as I’m a massive history buff.  Learning about the early exercises is always fascinating. It was also great to spend time in the presence of our educator Amy. I’m very much intrigued by the classical work but I’ve never spent any time with her in her studio in Boulder. This is mainly due to my obsession with New York City- it lures me in to the exclusion of other cities (California has totally made my to visit list in the future though). I loved Amy’s enthusiasm not only for the work but also in encouraging a curiosity of movement. We so often in Pilates look for perfection at the expense of movement (the whole point!) something I will be mindful of in the future. IMG_7031.jpg

Every presenter is a hard act to follow- but the awesome thing about the PMA conference is that everyone has a perspective slightly different as well as their personality to offer. I continued the day with a mat class led by the wonderful Benjamin Degenhardt who awakened a love of the original mat work on social media through his March Matness initiative. Benjamin’s class was based on the traditional order and he presents it with such a freshness and enthusiasm. His energy can be felt through the room but unfortunately for me- reality was setting in. All that excitement in the lead up to the filming made me realise how exhausted I actually was. I tried very hard not to be reeled in by my ego and just to do what I could. It is so tempting to do everything with full effort but this is hard to maintain in a three day event- especially when we keep meeting at the bar in the evenings! I was so grateful for the supporting energy in the room and Benjamin’s encouragement to give only what was available. I finished the class but with extra little breaks.

My final session of the day was with the effervescent John Garey. This guy is so enthusiastic and energetic- you would be hard pressed to find another Pilates instructor with more animation than this man. His depth of knowledge is huge. John’s workshop was based on programming for triathletes. I was devastated to realise that I had reached my capacity during this workshop. I was able to stick around for half of the session before excusing myself. I figure that if I can’t listen to my own advice of doing what feels right for the body and mind on any given day, how could I expect my clients to.  I was so glad that I was able to meet John later and tell him how much I enjoyed what I did see. He even gave me a FUN t-shirt!
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So I did what any girl would do when you need to re-energise. I went shopping!

I came to the PMA conference with one very important item in mind. When I entered that exhibition hall I made a bee line for Mr I.C. Rapoport- or Chuck as he is very affectionately known. This man is the photographer responsible for the beautiful photos we have of Joseph Pilates and his book “Joe” is a collection of them all. I was so happy to finally meet Chuck and his lovely wife Mary- Chuck even signed my book!

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After all my chatting to other instructors that I admire and buying the studio more gifts, I was surprisingly recharged and ready for more party time- this team with team Polestar!

Before we set off to the party we were treated to a beautiful display of movement in the Dancing through Contrology performance. It was a wonderful combination of contemporary ballet intertwined with music that changed to reflect the passage of time that Pilates has been practiced. There was some awesome video content where some of the instructors for Pilates Anytime reflected on their first experience of Pilates. The highlight was a segment of Brett Howard on the wunda chair moving with such exquisite grace that you could hear gasps nearby. The whole presentation was emotional and so well done.

The other Pilates family that I am so lucky to be a part of is the Polestar Pilates family. Brent was very generous and invited us all to the house nearby that everyone from Polestar HQ was staying up. It was great to sit and talk to some of the international members of this special organisation. Here we are posing for Lisa Anthony back home inspired by her imagery relating to the Australian bird the Kookaburra… It might not look like it but Pilates is never far from the conversation- promise.IMG_7032.JPG

Day Two

It’s amazing how productive you can be in a mat class with only five and a half hours sleep…

A mat class on the lawn of the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort was the perfect way to start the day. A Mini- Matapalooza with Valerie Grant, Cara Reeser and Brett Howard was exactly what I needed. I realised that I could sleep on the plane ride home and to just lap up everything I could today- also I didn’t want to do any more shopping! The thing that is always reiterated at conferences for me is that mat classes are a special thing. Movement in unison with others generates an amazing energy. To see over one hundred people all working together towards a common goal is awesome and to be part of it is even better. It was a real reminder of Joseph Pilates intention for his method to be unification of body, mind and spirit. It’s not just about how the exercises feel in your body that makes Pilates special it’s the feeling of being uplifted while also releasing all the swirling thoughts. Special stuff.

After breakfast it was time to spend some time listening to Lolita San Miguel. Lolita started Pilates initially with Carola Trier in 1959! Along with Kathy Grant, Lolita was certified by Joseph Pilates to teach his method (Joseph did not certify any of the other elders). Lolita told us some beautiful stories about her time with Joseph and Clara and the way they complemented one another in the studio. It was also interesting to hear about how many of the elders worked together. In the second hour we did a movement class that was really interesting- I expected it to be very ‘classical’ but it felt very contemporary with a focus on creating smaller movements in the limbs and with a very generous opportunity to warm every body part up. I loved the way Lolita took gentle command of the room. Understandably Lolita was not so keen to have a photo with everyone individually but I’m hoping that the group photo will be shared sometime in the near future- it would be lovely to have that momento.

Those of you who know me may have an understanding regarding my area of irritation- hip mobility especially in flexion. Every time I see a body perform amazing high kicks I look on in equal parts admiration and envy. The thing I have wondered for a long time now though has been “how much am I getting in my own way?” The next workshop was so valuable to me in addressing this very issue. My admiration of Cara Reeser (and her hamstrings) was the main reason I chose to attend her workshop. It was such a wonderful bonus that the content she presented with Jeremy Laverdure really stuck with me. The reminder that our utmost goal is to maximise mobility really hit home. Of course, we are not inviting uncontrolled movement, but we want people to MOVE. So refreshing. I think this workshop had the most profound effect on me as an individual (as opposed to a teacher) than any other. I am so grateful and I am already looking forward to the time to practice my own movement. IMG_2556.JPG

My schedule was finished off with a final mat class with Elizabeth Larkam. Elizabeth took us through the work by involving our minds very strongly. It was wonderful for someone like me who is mostly a visual learner to really have to tune in to my body and connect through the auditory cues. Not only did we change our orientation on the mat multiple times but we were challenged with patterns of internal and external rotation of the limbs during movement, changing head positions and changing rhythms. It was one of the most interesting classes I have done. Elizabeth’s sense of humour of course added further depth to the experience. The class definitely had elements of the exercises as we know them from Return to Life but with so much creativity included as well. We finished with some partner work with the push up- lots of fun!

Such a great day of learning from such a fantastic group of teachers. The day was inspiring and challenging, exactly what you want from a conference… the cherry on top was coming. The Pilates Anytime Party! I can’t wait to tell you all about it in my next post!

 

 

My Pilates Anytime Trip- Road Tripping to the desert. PMA Conference 2017!

After completing my filming for Pilates Anytime the next phase of this adventure was commencing- the 2017 Pilates Method Alliance Conference. I was so lucky to spend some more time with Kristi Cooper and Amy Havens going on a road trip. The Drive from Santa Barbara/ Montecito/ Carpinteria was going to be at least three and a half hours. As you can see on the map, we had to pass through LA to get there and that means traffic. I think we were on the road by 11:30am and arrived around 5:30pm (with a lunch stop at Wholefoods).

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We had some fun conversation in the car, some laughs and some chair dancing all while taking in the changing landscape. It is really interesting getting closer and closer to the desert. One of the really interesting sights to see while on the road were all of the wind farms. I found them so cool to look at:
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As we got closer and closer to the resort, I introduced the ladies to a little bit of Chet Faker (Nick Murphy) while we settled on our “approach soundtrack”  which was a combination of early Janet Jackson and Madonna. I felt like it was quite the start to the weekend.

I was feeling very spoiled when I checked into my room. It has an amazing view over the golf course and beyond that to the southern border of the Joshua Tree National Park. I just wished that I could have some more time to explore this amazing landscape some more. We are definitely going to have to revisit California- it’s so interesting to feel the combination of familiarity of the USA (because of the media exposure) and at the same time feel the newness of it all. Once we settled in to our rooms it was time to hit the Exhibition Hall for the Sip and Shop (a concept I can totally get behind). IMG_9262IMG_2515

The first night at the sip and shop gave me a glimpse of the magnitude of it all. There were at least 1000 delegates at the conference and when you also add to exhibitors to the mix that is a lot of energy in the room- but it is really positive. It was a lovely sense of togetherness which I really loved.

I was so grateful to be included in the Pilates Anytime dinner on this first night and to be able to spend some time with John the CEO of the company. From the moment I walked in to the studio at Padaro Beach I could feel that sense of family and it was reflected here at dinner too. IMG_7027.jpg

The first night finished as the following nights were destined to finish… at the lobby bar. I have had the best three nights hanging out and getting to know fellow finalists from this year’s Pilates Anytime Next Instructor Contest. I was lucky enough to get to spend some time with Victoria Becka, Juan Estrada, Trina Altman and Delia Buckmaster (who is likely to be one of the funniest people at this whole event).

What an introduction to an event I have wanted to attend for year- I have realised that I will be making this a stand out of my calendar for years to come already! Bring on the conference!

My Pilates Anytime Trip- Day Four (FILMING DAY)

The day has finally arrived for me to film my classes for Pilates Anytime and I am pretty excited. At dinner last night Carrie told me she woke up at 4:00am on the day of her filming and could not get back to sleep. I really didn’t want this to happen so I made some preparations… Hydralyte and magnesium to offset the heat from the day and Carrie’s amazing reformer class, heavy curtains drawn and a melatonin tablet to help me sleep. Imagine my delight when at 8:30am I woke to my phone ringing (wrong number). I had been snoozing away!

While I was still in my pj’s I thought it would be a good time to do a little walk through of my class plans in the hotel to make sure I was happy with the exercise choices and the flow. I made a few last minute changes and I felt really calm and happy about what was to come.

I started the day with breakfast at a local little cafe called Jeannine’s (all I could manage was the granola). It was great to sit and relax outside before the heat of the day set in. For those of you following my coffee break, I still haven’t had any coffee- I didn’t think today was the best day to get back into the stimulants.

Something I definitely wanted to do during my visit was to dip my feet into this edge of the Pacific Ocean. I’d never been to the West Coast of the USA before and I figured that if ever there was a perfect opportunity to do this it would be today.  I went on the short walk to the coast line. Check out the beautiful butterfly on my way there (the lantana caught my eye first I admit). IMG_6868.jpg
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As soon as I got back to the hotel I could feel the adrenaline pumping through my body. That calm feeling I awoke with felt like a distant memory. I was so glad that I had time after getting dressed to talk to Ben on the phone as it really grounded me. I was also glad that I had gone through things before getting changed as I was able to let the class plans go and trust that everything would work out as it should. It was all getting very real. It was so great to have Luis’ familiar face come and pick me up to take me to the studio- Pilates Anytime is just the most amazing family (I thought I was done with the tears but I totally welled up writing that).

We got the filming started with a bio. I had been wishing we could start with filming a class. Sitting and talking on camera is not something that I am used to but it went really well and it actually made me more excited to teach. It’s funny as it made me recall a few details of my Pilates history that I hadn’t thought about in years- like the first mat class I ever attended (that class was intense).

The first class we filmed was with Meredith and Anjelika on the reformer. They did such a great job and made me feel so comfortable. I felt like my cues just flowed and by the end of it I was having fun! I think in this class we even had to pause for the famous train.
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My second class was a mat class and I got to teach Meredith, Amy Havens and Jacob Gomez who was visiting from Spain. By this time the nerves had changed to excitement and I had a lot of fun. I’m not sure if any of my lame puns snuck in to my cueing- we’ll have to wait until the classes are online to find out!

The thing I discovered about Pilates Anytime is that no matter what you are doing, the people are amazing and make everything better. From taking photos the day before with Jeff, to Perry and Nicole looking after you while filming and Amy calmly directing when necessary. Kristi is so loving that you can feel her nurturing energy from the moment you meet her. The team create a space that allows you to be yourself and to do what you do everyday. IMG_7148

Before I knew it we were done! I actually felt like I could keep going, after all I was doing what I love. It feels like a blur at this point and I can’t wait to see some photos and footage- just to be sure that I didn’t just dream this whole thing up! Teaching two classes and being handed a glass of wine when you’re done is pretty cool though!

But then it was just a few gals out to dinner! We went to a beautiful restaurant called Tre Luna. If you love Italian food and are ever in the Santa Barbara area you must visit. The food was so reminiscent of Ben and I’s holiday in Italy last year. The walls are covered with photos of old Hollywood stills. I just loved it there. I discovered that these girls are my people- we started the dinner off with a little cheese plate and some wine. Bellessima!

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After dinner I was just on cloud nine. I got to potter around my room and do most of my packing and it was so wonderful to speak to Ben one more time. I finished the night in a very cruisy, low key way. I just sat back and watched some TV while ignoring the delicious cup of chamomile tea that I had made myself (I’m well versed in this). I went to sleep chuckling at the episode of Seinfeld I had just watched and pinching myself on how lucky I felt to be living this dream.

 

 

My Pilates Anytime Trip- Day Three

Now we’re getting to the business end of this adventure! I caught the Airbus from LAX to Santa Barbara- such a great way to travel. Gia gave me a lift from my hotel in West Hollywood and I got a taste of LA traffic. I know I’m used to Sydney traffic but this was a different level. 

Once we got moving the view from the bus was lovely. Ocean on one side and amazing landscape on the other. Of course my photos don’t do it justice. (I’m too slow to get the good shots!)

Luis picked me up and took me to my hotel the Montecito Inn. Such a gorgeous place to stay, Charlie Chaplin was actually part of the group of investors that had it built. 

It was great to be able to get to my room straight away because I only had a little over an hour before going over to Pilates Anytime headquarters for a class with the beautiful Carrie Pages (last year’s Pilates Anytime winner)!


It was so wonderful to have an opportunity to be in a class before my filming- for that class to be with Carrie was even better! I must stay it was pretty emotional to finally be at the studio. Luckily for me it seems that the Pilates Anytime family are also empathetic criers too! 

I got to be part of Carrie’s reformer class along with Jackie from Good Citizen who was so lovely. By the way, Carrie’s class was so great- you have to take it when it comes online!

It has been unseasonably hot here in Santa Barbara- today was about 35 degrees Celsius (about 95 Fahrenheit) but we went out- over those famous train tracks and did a photo shoot right on the water’s edge. It was fun and I think we (Jeff the photographer) got some great shots. After some more photos in the studio while the sun set over the Pacific (so wonderful to see) it was home time. 

I got to end my night with a light dinner and drink with Carrie. My Mediterranean (super S L O W) drinking style got a bit of a laugh too. 

Of course, we didn’t take a photo together! But it happened- I promise 😊

My Pilates Anytime Trip- Day Two

After a great sleep (on a real bed!!!) I was ready for my final day in LA. Since I didn’t have much time the day before to regroup from my flight I decided to take my time in the morning. Between waking up at around 9:00am, doing my stretches, replying to emails for the studio, showering and getting dressed for the day I was finally out the door by 11:00am and starving!

When the Uber arrived I was greeted by Keisa. I had decided to take up my client Fleur’s advice and check out the Farmers Market. It’s quite the institution in LA, set up way back in 1934. Keisa was extremely excited and immediately suggested that I go to Du-Par’s Restaurant and treat myself the short stack of buttermilk hot cakes. Now seeing as though Du-Par’s was established in 1938, I believed Keisa when she told me these hot cakes were something special. I was willing to put aside my reservation of eating a sweet breakfast (I always come off the sugar rush hungry). 


Served with home made boysenberry syrup these things were amazing- and huge. I got through two out of three. I was pretty pleased with my efforts actually. 

Completely stuffed I figured I should get the body moving and proceeded to wander around The Grove, the great little shopping centre (center) right beside the Farmer’s Market. A great time was had by all- including the MasterCard… I left The Grove with a birthday present for Ben and a little number by Diane Von Furstenberg. 

Thanks to my accomplices Sally Anderson and Lanette Gavran for the aiding and abetting (and for letting me come Barbie shopping).


The gorgeous Gia from Pilates Anytime and I had dinner together at Gracias Madre, an amazing plant based Mexican restaurant. It was so wonderful to sit and chat to Gia especially considering that Gia was first point of contact for the competition. One thing that we both had in common is that neither of us are naturals at the whole social media thing- so we forgot to take a photo together. But we both looked amazing (of course).

While I packed my bags for my early start I subjected myself to a disaster of a television show 90 Day Fiancé. Treat yourself to a snippet here… 

More from my trip tomorrow x

My Pilates Anytime Trip- Day One

Well my first full day in LA happened! It was a big one.

The flight landed just before 7:00am. I had managed to get some sleep on the plane so my challenge to myself was to stay awake all day.

Once I dropped my bags off to the hotel and freshened up my first task was to set myself up with an US SIM card. Danny from AT & T sorted me out and before I knew it I was on my way to… somewhere. Now I just had to figure out what I wanted to do next.

A quick phone call to Olive and June the nail salon featured in my Wallpaper* guide and my appointment was made. Based on my wonderful experience I have decided that I will always get a pedicure after a long haul flight. It felt so good (P.S. don’t mind my bunion)!


With a whole afternoon to myself and no plans I decided to wander around Beverly Hills. I quickly realised that I was not dressed quite as well as I would like to be but I just let it go and enjoyed myself. It was lovely to just have the afternoon to explore and I ended up at the Beverly Hills Art Show. I restrained myself but I did see some beautiful ceramics that I was very tempted to bring home.


I was so pleased to be able to get into my room, have a shower and feel like I was set up. Staying only two nights at a time at any of my booked accomodation it was going to be a struggle to create a sense of home that us introverts crave. I’m staying at The Grafton Hotel. It’s a great little hotel with a pool, a really great sized room (at least mine is) and friendly staff. I was keen to get in the pool but since I’ve been struggling with eczema on my face for a little while now I didn’t feel comfortable exposing my skin to chlorine before the filming. I was nervous enough!

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I figured it was surely time for dinner. When I sat down at Pono (I had this great warm salad with a home made quinoa salad) I realised that it was only 5:30pm. While I wasn’t too tired yet I really wasn’t sure what to do with my time in such a sprawling city. I had walked around the city enough to know that I wasn’t going to be able to potter from one small store to another for a few hours- everything was so spread out. Oh dear.

This was going to be tough… what was I going to do to stay awake until my childhood bed time of 8:30pm? After chatting to some friendly retail staff I decided to make my way to Melrose and discovered the Hollywood Improv Comedy Club. Success! A 7:00pm show! I decided that alcohol probably wasn’t the best idea for a jet lagged body so perched up on a bar stool, I ordered myself a house baked choc chip cookie (which was huge and there were two!) and enjoyed the comedians up on stage switch it up between squirming and smashing it up on stage.

This place was great and I only started to doze off on my bar stool during the last 10 minutes- lucky those things are sturdy. Thank goodness for Uber to get me home.

Getting home was such a relief and I slept like a log… 

The Pilates Anytime Adventure Begins

In just over 24 hours I will be on an aeroplane on my way to Los Angeles. In addition to keeping everyone up to date with my adventures overseas I thought I should start at the very beginning… what made me enter this contest in the first place?

This was actually my second time entering the contest, I also entered in 2015. At that time I was going through a period of fairly intense anxiety. Imposter syndrome was at an all time high and I felt quite paralysed in any attempt to create any forward movement in my Pilates career. I started seeing a psychologist and in a move that surprised both her and I, I decided to enter the 2015 Pilates Anytime Contest. As my self-confidence started to grow I felt that really putting myself out there in front of my peers would be a major step forward for me. That year I didn’t make the top ten. As a pretty self-critical person I was surprised to discover that I was actually still quite proud of myself. The process of recording and sharing what I do each do each day was so confronting that simply going through the process was hugely rewarding.

Part of the assessment process for the Australian Polestar Pilates mat and studio course is to record yourself teaching and complete a self critique. When the 2017 Pilates Anytime Contest was announced I reflected on my previous experience and how gratifying it was. I thought that I should go through the process again. I could speak of my experience recording myself to the students that I mentor.

This time it would be different though. After submitting my video in 2015, my very good friend Carrie gave me the following feedback: “It was good, but I was wondering where JoJo was. You didn’t seem like yourself”. When I reflected on this Carrie was absolutely right. I didn’t seem like myself because I wasn’t present. I wasn’t teaching the person, I was teaching the exercises. I was so nervous that there wasn’t any room for my personality. I was too busy comparing myself to others- a reflection on where I was at as a person at the time I guess.

Recording in my own studio seemed to make things more comfortable. With the help of Dani who donated her time to be my body on the mat and my ever supportive husband Ben, I managed to cast the nerves away and record MYSELF. I didn’t watch any other entries, I didn’t over plan, I just tried to do what I do every day. My goal is to make the Pilates movements make sense for the person in front of me, not just their body but their whole person. I had fun!

When I received an email from Gia from Pilates Anytime I was actually at a Polestar course weekend. I opened it thinking that it would be a repeat of the 2015 email but to my surprise and delight…

We are so pleased to inform you that you have been selected to be a potential finalist in the 2017 Next Pilates Anytime Competition.

I am pretty sure I could feel my pupils dilate at that moment. My palms were sweating and the room was a blur. A finalist? What? I had to read it over and over to make sure I wasn’t making anything up! After speaking to Gia, the next step was simple just a bit of self promotion. Not exactly my strong point. I signed up for self-growth and here it was presented to me on a silver platter S E L F  P R O M O T I O N. Looking for ways to get an introvert out of their comfort zone? Try social media!

If I was going to do this I was going all in. Here am I Pilates world, warts and all! Here’s my eclectic taste in music, here are my ridiculous dance moves on the Pilates equipment, here I am teaching, here I am putting myself out there and asking for you to believe in me while I do the same…

And then it happened. On my birthday. Gobsmacked.

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Once the voting had closed I proceeded to teach the worst two and a half hours of Pilates ever. I was the most distracted teacher I had ever been. Thank you to my gorgeous, very understanding clients for not giving me a slap.


The ride so far has been amazing. The support not only from my friends and family but also the other finalists and the Pilates community worldwide has been beautiful.

I have read comments saying that this contest has the potential to be divisive, that we shouldn’t be competing with each other. Of all the things that I am passionate about, creating community within the Pilates industry is paramount. I am so happy to say that the experience so far has been the total opposite of divisive. The sense of community that this contest has made me feel is wonderful. I can’t wait to meet the other finalists at the PMA conference and thank them for being part of this with me. I agree, we shouldn’t be competing with each other but for me this wasn’t about competing with others it was about challenging myself.

So, next time I tap away on this keyboard will be in Los Angeles. I’ll have two days there before making my way to the Santa Barbara area to film my two classes. I’m nervous but in a good way. I’m excited for the next chapter!

 

The hidden benefit of the Pilates matwork…

So first up- OMG! A new blog post! What is going on? Who is this?

I know, it’s been a while. But here I am! Hopefully contributing a little more often from now on.

So moving right along…

I spent this weekend educating at the Polestar Pilates studio course. I had attended this particular module a number of times and the lecture given was all about imagery.

For any of you who know the main educator Dav Cohen, you will know he has the most marvellous way of not only keeping information you’ve heard many times over fresh but also inspiring new thoughts.

During the lecture, Dav posed the question “is it better to cue more or less? What is your ultimate goal?”  We talked about our cues becoming in time less and less invasive until eventually our Pilates clients embody the work so well they don’t need our cues. Eventually we are just holding the space for them to explore this amazing work themselves.

I came to realise the interesting interaction between the traditional apparatus and the Pilates matwork in a studio environment in relation to cueing.  Continue reading