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 completing those tasks alone 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 wasn’t. 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 help. 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. I signed up for self-growth 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.

21617823_1568061146583241_3323848457385427937_n

Once the voting had closed I proceeded to teach the worst two and a half hours of Pilates ever. The most distracted 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 definitely up there. I am so happy to say that the experience 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 Santa Barbara 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

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

More Than Skin Deep…

Last September I had the opportunity to visit the Newcastle University Anatomy Laboratory for a cadaver tour. I had the opportunity to attend an anatomy lab many years ago as part of my massage therapy study, but I have always been keen to learn more. The tour was organised by a dear friend and amazing pilates instructor, educator and physiotherapist Lisa Anthony. Lisa is dedicated to development of pilates instructors and to a deeper understanding of the human body. She has created Access Anatomy. As someone who is passionate about the development of recent Pilates graduates and Pilates students, I am so thankful to have been invited to her first tour!

Continue reading

Confessions Of A Virgo Pilates Instructor

I’m sure I’m not the only Virgo that has noticed that look. The one people give you when declare your sun sign is Virgo. The “oh, you’re one of those…” expressions. I’ve never cared. I’ve always been out and proud. You can mock my perfectly rolled towels with the stripes all impeccably aligned or the fact that every coat hanger in my wardrobe faces the same direction. I don’t care that you are living your life in disorder (neither do I understand it). When I discovered Pilates it was like I had arrived home. I had discovered an exercise methodology where moving with precision and accuracy are vital to its successful execution, it is little wonder that I became a Pilates Instructor. Continue reading

Brooklyn with Blossom

My final private session with Blossom at Bridge Pilates in Brooklyn NYC
My final private session with Blossom at Bridge Pilates in Brooklyn NYC

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!

Continue reading

Where Does The Time Go?

The past few weeks have felt manic to me. While I have had two blog posts sitting in my head waiting to be written for weeks, I find myself (not unusually) trying to be everything to everyone- while the posts stay in my head instead of on the blog.

The reason I bring this up is that this is hardly the first time that what I want to get done gets pushed to the side for the needs of others. And I’m sure it won’t be the last. While this might sound like a whine to some, I think that most pilates instructors can also relate to the fact that actually, I don’t mind AT ALL. I like being the helper. Helpers are valuable members of society- there should probably be more of us! It makes me wonder… How common is this personality trait within our industry?

Continue reading

NYC- where to next?

My fascination with Kathleen Stanford Grant began many years ago when Pilates Style magazine did a feature on Kathy Grant’s cats. I thought it was really interesting that she loved and was so inspired by cats that it influenced her teaching style so much. I remember trying to incorporate some of the versions of her cats into my mat classes at the time (but I don’t think I got it quite right).

When I visited New York in 2007 I spent some time with Roberta Kirschenbaum at her studio Rolates Pilates. She told me that I should come along and observe her having her own personal pilates class with Kathy Grant at NYU. I was so excited- I’m sure you can imagine how devastated I was when I couldn’t find the building in time- especially when Kathy passed in 2010 and I realised I had missed my opportunity to meet her.

So the years passed and Blossom Leilani Crawford was invited to the 2013 PAA conference here in Sydney. This was the perfect opportunity to learn more about this pilates elder I was so intrigued by. After attending her workshops at the conference I was a fan of Blossom- independent of her amazing connection with Kathy.

Blossom’s sense of humour while teaching is so great and I loved the feeling of connection to the tiny deep muscles (of the shoulder especially) with some of the very intricate exercises. When it came to deciding on a second person to spend my time with while visiting New York this time around, there really wasn’t any question of it being anyone but Blossom!