My Time With Deborah Lessen

Deborah Lessen has been teaching pilates for a very long time. My experience of her was only as an attendee of the Polestar Pilates Australasian Conference in 2010 but I was lucky enough to volunteer myself a couple of times in her workshops and felt completely at ease. I never forgot the speech she gave regarding the trademark case she was involved with and how inspired I felt by her fight for the broader pilates community. Deborah studied under the guidance of pilates elder Carola Trier and her beautiful studio space on Greene Street Soho has been operating since 1983. I wanted to spend some time with someone I considered to be of a traditional New York Pilates background but mentored by an elder other than Romana Kryzanowska.

It would be interesting for me to spend time with someone who has made pilates teaching their primary focus- both of regular clients and teachers. You see, a lot of the amazing teachers I look up to here in Sydney and more widely are also physiotherapists. I also wanted to spend time with someone happily operating out of a intimate setting rather than the operation of a massive studio requiring the management of many instructors.

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The Confused Pilates Instructor

There was some pretty heavy personal stuff going on in 2012. A troublesome year shall we say. When I would come home exhausted or dread the sound of the alarm in the morning my (wonderful) career took the blame. I began to consider whether I could still do this- could I still give to my clients the way I used to? I started to look elsewhere to keep my finances ticking over…

I looked to lululemon athletica. I looked, to a job in retail.

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It’s finally time to share

As a new blogger, I’m having a little trouble with the whole analysis paralyis thing.

Which website will work better for me, what template should I use, generally “how the hell does this thing work!”.

Then there are the hangups closely related to being a pilates instructor; striving for perfection, I haven’t got time and of course the big one… do I know what I’m talking about before I make this public?

But I’m determined to make a go of this because I truly believe that there is a place for the Spirited Pilates Blog. I really believe that Pilates Instructors do need an online community and that I can facilitate that with some light hearted discussion about the things that interest us. So over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting stuff from my time away in New York. I do realise that it would have been much more fun if I had done this at the time- but I have my excuses listed above. Better late than never!

A Little Bit About Me

I started pilates in November 2000. I was 19 and had given up my regular dance classes at my suburban dance studio, embraced partying with my friends and chilli cheese fries and had gotten a little chubby- I didn’t know how this had happened (although glaringly obvious now!) but I knew it wasn’t quite right for me and that I needed to get moving. In my quest to figure myself out, I started pilates. I had only heard about pilates while reading dance magazines and online but I loved it as soon as I got started.

I thought my instructors were amazing. Their knowledge of the human body astounded me and I trusted them implicitly. I looked up to one of my instructors Robyn in particular. She had a bird like quality about her- delicate looking but strong. She seemed so wise and when she stopped teaching at the studio I was devastated! Thankfully, I soon realised that all of the instructors had something different yet equally valuable to offer (something I wish all clients would discover).

After dropping out of my university course and knowing that my job at a mortgage company was not where I wanted my future to lie, I decided to enrol into my pilates studio’s in house instructors programme. The idea was that this would be a time filler (for some reason, I didn’t think I would be able to have a career as a pilates instructor at that time) until the naturopathy course I was interested in would commence the following year.

I find this scenario completely laughable in hindsight as the prospect of me doing anything other than teach pilates for a living seems ridiculous- I LOVED pilates! I was that annoying person correcting my colleagues seated posture and suggesting that continuously gripping their butt was a bad idea. Completely uninvited commentary from someone who was still just a client! Continue reading