After experiencing Blossom’s teaching at the PAA conference in Sydney last year I was a big fan. So when it was time to have my private sessions with her at her studio Bridge Pilates in Brooklyn I was very excited. We were staying at an AirBnB apartment in Brooklyn Heights and I got to walk to the studio and pretend I was a local- very fun! Blossom had some time before her client was due to arrive and greeted me as though she had known me for years. The wonderful thing about her is that it is soon obvious that she offers this beautiful energy to all who come her way.
Bridge Pilates is a beautiful light filled space in the DUMBO neighbourhood of Brooklyn. The studio has two reformers (Gratz- modified to have an additional spring), a trapeze table, ladder barrel and an original Joseph Pilates wunda chair and spine corrector inherited from the days that Kathy Grant worked from the space in the Henri Bendel department store. While we could all spend thousands of dollars on gadgets that release this and things that do that, Blossom has collected an array of little balls and other bits and pieces from hardware store visits that are just the right size to make you REALLY FEEL what she has in store for you. Observing Blossom teaching was great. She incorporates a lot of hands on work with her clients and it is obvious that they completely trust her. I loved the way the traditional work was done with slight variations like using the straps on the trapeze table to create an uneven base of support and using the edge of the trapeze table to do work reminiscent of the short box series.
I’m a massive history nut. I love people’s story and I think the way that someone makes you feel is definitely what you remember about your experience with them. Blossom has some beautiful photos of Joseph Pilates in motion that you could easily stare at for hours. But it was the way that Blossom spoke about Kathy that was really beautiful. Imagine that, your first introduction to the work of Joseph Pilates through a pilates elder! I loved the way that Blossom’s eyes glistened as she said… “I miss that woman”. I have always felt that the respect for the legacy of the elders is just as important as respect for Mr Pilates himself but that also innovation is crucial. People’s bodies are different in 2014 than they were in the 1950’s and the way the general public uses their body is completely different. I feel like Blossom’s approach is the perfect balance of honouring the work of those who entrusted it and working with the body in front of you, your skill set and your own creativity and flair.
After we talked a little- Blossom made my booty burn like never before!
I have quite a long trunk and I can fake spinal articulation pretty well, I thought I WAS scooping (I was even fooling myself!)- but not in a private with Blossom. We used those beautiful cats of Kathy’s to get me moving. I was amazed to feel my deep abdominals as I moved my spine without gripping my obliques and squashing my poor diaphragm as I am known to do. When Blossom showed me the warm up in straps to get the lumbar spine articulating before short spine I distinctly remember cheekily asking
“oh! you want me to work?”
Pilates instructors around the world all know what happened next… Blossom made sure I worked!
As we went through the traditional reformer repertoire, I remember feeling that the apparatus and I were working together as a team. During rowing it wasn’t just that I was pulling on the straps but almost a pas de deux. It was the first time I really understood this interaction in my body rather than in my head. I felt more graceful than I ever had and it was a wonderful reminder that you always have a little more to give- so Blossom asked for more and I gave it (I hope!) Blossom’s enthusiasm is infectious, not only do you feel that you can do what she was asking but also that I owed it to both of us to do it.
If Blossom is confident then I am confident, I thought to myself. And I will have fun while she makes me work it!
I had so much fun that I completely lost it during the knee stretch. I don’t know about you, but the knee stretch isn’t exactly an exercise that you would associate with laughing your head off but it happened. FYI here is a list of things I have a history of lost competence at while laughing:
- riding a bike
- taking a selfie
- making party snack we know as ‘fairy bread’ here in Australia
- knee stretch on the reformer. I think this was the first time Blossom had encountered this strange behaviour…
Thank you Blossom for so many memories from those three amazing privates- I have never done the forward lunge on the chair with the ease that you helped me achieve. I think about my feet in my practice more than I ever have before. And I continue to practice my swan on the reformer in my endless quest of good hip extensor bio mechanics (and a pert booty)!