Inside the Pilates Studio: Amy Kellow

Inside the Pilates Studio: Amy Kellow

Amy Kellow

There are so many reasons to love Amy, it's hard to know where to begin. I met Amy in October 2011 during my first section of The Work at Vintage Pilates. Many a friendship is forged in the midst of the Mat exercises, especially as you sweat it out mentally and physically in the High Scissors and High Bicycle. There is often much gnashing of teeth while working to perfect just these 2 mat exercises. Then of course you've got all the other exercises… Oh. Shall we soothe ourselves over Shabu Shabu then? Affirmative.

Amy's passion and dedication to her Pilates education is impressive. According to Brendon Burchard, a frequent speaker on motivation, high performance and leadership, “Experts are always students first.” Score 1 for Amy.

Inside the Pilates Studio: Amy Kellow

Classical Pilates Convention UK

I plan to join Amy Kellow along with Vintage Pilates trifecta: Jay Grimes, Karen Frischmann, Sandy Shimoda and Mejo Wiggin at the Classical Pilates Conference on 27-29 September 2013.

Register online.

Stop by and say hello on Facebook.

For more information email Amy.

Conference planning is just one of the skills in Amy's wheelhouse. I don't think she sleeps.

And now I must profess my lifelong love affair with Amy's home: England. Great B. UK's-ville.

Sorry Sweden, but you never forget your first…

“This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England…”

-William Shakespeare's Richard II

I think I'll spare you the geeky Brit stories from my adolescence. Let's just say I had a mean Brummie accent, not to mention at one point I could recite the entire canon of…Monty Python.

Cheers!

1. What is your favorite Pilates exercise and why?

Amy Kellow: This is a really tough question. At the moment I love Pull Ups on the Wunda Chair. I choose to do this at the beginning of my workouts so I can feel the challenge of finding the right connections in the body. I love the 1 legged versions as this really helps me connect to my weaker side so if I am feeling a little off balance I will do this. I can use the exercise to connect to my body, challenge myself to deepen my work and to find my weak spots!

2. What exercise is your least favorite? Pick only one.

AK: I have always found Going Up Side on the Wunda Chair so challenging. I can picture all my teachers nodding in agreement now! I remember thinking in my initial training how impossible the exercise was for me, a few months later I didn't think it so bad. But then every time I think I have the exercise cracked and I feel confident about it it rears up at me and becomes impossible again!

3. What turns you on creatively, mentally or physically about the Pilates method?

AK: I'm a thinker – I always have been. Pilates challenges me to think about the body and whether I have the ability to feel what I see and see what I hear and the strength to express this in my teaching. Pilates has always made sense to me and I hope that I can get others to feel the same.

4.What is your idea of earthly happiness?

AK: Apart from being able to travel the world and hang out with my favorite pilates people!

Earthly happiness is the comfort of home with good friends and loved ones, laughter, hugs and afternoon naps curled up on the sofa and of course a good glass of red wine.

5. What to your mind would be the greatest misfortune?

AK: Not to follow your dreams and aspirations. You only have yourself to account to so take the small steps that you know you can achieve and the rest will fall into place.

6. What is your favorite Pilates word?

AK: Grow – in my knowledge, in my body, in my ability to teach.

7. What is your least favorite Pilates word?

AK: Today it is ‘Imprinting'. I have come across so many teachers that do not understand this concept. I think it is overused but often not understood.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

AK: I'd like to run a cozy country pub.

9. If Heaven exists, and by some chance when you arrive at the pearly gates Joseph Pilates is also there, what would you like to hear him say to you?

AK: “Good work Amy … now go do your mat!”

10. What did you learn today?

AK: To enjoy the company of the people around me, be proud of their achievements and continue to support them in any way I can.

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Inside the Pilates Studio: Jennifer Kries

Inside the Pilates Studio: Jennifer Kries

Jennifer Kries. Simply the best Pilates news to hit San Diego since Junghee Won. I first encountered Jennifer via her prolific video workout library. We may be even talking VHS here, folks. Back in the day when my husband and I were egocentric 20-somethings we decided we'd give Pilates a go and promptly rented – if memory serves me – some Jennifer Kries. Thus was our first introduction to the Pilates method. We decided to dip our toes into the water with an Intermediate Mat. Quite confident of our general fitness, and with no tangible expectations we began. Jennifer was amazing. We sadly, were dusted by the Roll Up. By the Neck Pull we did not have a lot of love for Ms. Kries and her seemingly endless poise and control. And by the Teaser we had fully descended into the murky depths of hurling nasty epithets and F-bombs at the screen. We received a healthy dose of humble courtesy of the Pilates Method and the now-glistening-but-barely Madame Kries.

Now I feel like my Pilates world has come full circle. I introduced myself to Jennifer via Facebook and shared my vivid memory of her workout when I got to meet her in person at a workshop at Vintage Pilates in Los Angeles. I was immediately struck – or should I say enveloped – by her warmth and humanity. She could not have been lovelier or more gracious as I told her of our first “encounter” and why it had been so memorable for me.

Southern California, get ready to catch one of Jennifer's Workshops. They are not to be missed!

1. What is your favorite Pilates exercise and why?

Jennifer Kries: Not a fair question, because I really don’t have one favorite. The entire syllabus is amazing and a world of continuous challenge and discovery, but for today, I’ll say the Tower. 

I love it because it is an exercise that requires a level of true mastery and control in order to rise up gracefully and effortlessly on the shoulders, while carefully controlling the legs. It yields all of the benefits of a yoga inversion, where the internal organs get relief from the effects of gravity as well as a new influx of fresh, oxygenated blood; it provides a full body massage, and the opportunity to release and open the body in a way you that you never thought possible- an exercise that when I first performed it at Drago’s with Romana literally on top of me, sinking her knees into my hamstrings, I recall thinking to myself that this was what heaven must feel like …

2. What exercise is your least favorite? Pick only one.

JK: That’s easy: Hip Circles. The exercise has always made my dancer’s hip flexors scream, and leaves me feeling quite grumpy and looking for the nearest reformer so that I can follow them up with front thigh splits to get some relief.

3. What turns you on creatively, mentally or physically about the Pilates method?

JK: Everything about it turns me on creatively, mentally and physically. I can’t separate the three, as they are all so completely interconnected and positively enhanced by the work. When I work out, because I am utterly and completely engaged and focused, in tandem with the abundant, conscious breathing, my body’s systems are refreshed and reinvigorated– I always feel new when I have finished a session.  The work itself sets off a catalytic chain of marvelous events that lead to powerful mental acuity, feelings of empowerment, inspiration and possibility on all planes of existence. It has always been this way, and I know in my heart that it always will. 

4. What is your idea of earthly happiness?

Jennifer Kries teaching on the Reformer

JK: Feeling healthy, easy and empowered in my body, calm and focused in my mind, peaceful and grateful in spirit, yet set aflame by the simplest things– a shared smile, a beautiful turn of phrase, feeling deeply connected to and understood by kindred spirits, getting lost in the transcendent flow of creating, a rose, the sky, a bird taking flight.

5. What to your mind would be the greatest misfortune?

JK: Not honoring the body you were gifted with to fully embrace yourself, go beyond yourself by serving others, and make the most of this life by celebrating it and all that it is capable of–loving, giving, learning, growing …  

6. What is your favorite Pilates word?

JK: Contrology. It says it all. It’s how it all began. It IS the man and the philosophy. It IS the Method: “Complete coordination of body, mind and spirit.” 

Jennifer is launching her Pilates Mentorship Program in Spring, 2013, “Teaching to Inspire.”
For more information on how to study with Jennifer, please contact Charles@jenniferkries.com
Master Trainer Fan jpeg

7. What is your least favorite Pilates word?

JK: Scoop. 

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t dislike it. Used once or twice is fine. However, there are so many other words that can replace the word, and I always like to encourage the people I teach to look deeper and use their minds to produce equally effective, clear, concise, perhaps even better metaphorical language when trying to inspire the “navel-to-spine connection” and related movement in their students. The word “scoop” is like a default that is overused. 

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

JK: Oh there are a few, but today, I’ll say Astronomer. I have always been fascinated by deep space, and the idea of actually peering into it with the most refined scopes that science has produced to discover new realms, in order to really understand dark matter, black holes and life beyond what we know here on earth, pretty much thrills me.

9. If Heaven exists, and by some chance when you arrive at the pearly gates Joseph Pilates is also there, what would you like to hear him say to you?

JK: That he wants to return to earth to teach again and show ‘em all how it’s really done, and as luck would have it, I’ve won the Pilates Lottery and I’m first in line for a lesson.

10. What did you learn today?

JK: That our new congress, the 113th now includes a record number of women- 101 in all, and perfectly timed with 2013, our New Year, heralding the true Return of the Divine Feminine on Planet Earth! Hallelujah!

Jennifer is featured in the cover story of American Fitness magazine, January 2013.

Jennifer Kries American Fitness

Read the full article “Tap into your Waking Energy.”

Inside the Pilates Studio: Fredrik Prag

Fredrik and Elisabet Prag are the owners of Pilates Scandinavia, Stockholm.

Inside the Pilates Studio: Fredrik Prag

Okay this installation of the Inside the Pilates Studio is quite exciting…By now you have grasped the great love I have for the Pilates Method and all its trappings. So let's talk about Sweden.

I love films in general but if it is foreign film, oh boy, if I can read subtitles and watch a movie I can barely contain my enthusiasm. Make it a foreign documentary and I nearly have to peel myself off the ceiling. My love affair with Sweden began in perhaps a cliché sort of way: the Steig Larrson trilogy. Movies first, and by accident really. I had no idea what the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was about, but *you guessed it* it did have subtitles. A couple hours later I staggered out of the theatre. Mind. Blown. I would go on to watch all three Swedish films so many times I was convinced I could understand the dialogue without even reading. These proved to be a gateway drug to Larrson's novels, countless cups of coffee and also the works of Henning Mankell. Mostly the Wallander series but also some one-offs, most notably The Man from Beijing and The Depths. In my mind I traveled all over southern Sweden with Kurt Wallander, Mankell's famous Everyman inspector, and ferried across to Copenhagen. Mankell wrote the first book in the Wallander series in 1991. Evidently now one can train/drive to Copenhagen since the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000. All this I learned while I contemplated purchasing a Volvo, mostly for the overseas delivery option and complimentary trip to Göteborg.

Okay, wait, where was I. Oh yes, the lovely man in the photo with the champagne, right! Sweden, Pilates and a bottle of champagne. Romana would be so happy 🙂 For the next studio party you must bring the champagne and Elisabet.

Just watch this short video. Warning: you are about to see some fantastic Pilates, Scandinavian-style. Make some coffee first.

Fredrik, Standing Arm Springs and the Guillotine

1. What is your favorite Pilates exercise and why?

Fredrik Prag: It varies. Right now it´s The Roll Over. It is such a great dynamic in this exercise. For me it gives power to the arms and with a stiff lower back and short hamstrings it is a release.

2. What exercise is your least favorite? Pick only one.

FP: It used to be the Roll Over:-)!

3. What turns you on creatively, mentally or physically about the Pilates method?

FP: The never ending challenge and gradually changing focus from the outer challenge into a more mental challenge that stays in the body and does not go to the head. Be out of your mind and in your body:-)!

4. What is your idea of earthly happiness?

FP: Truth, Love & a good Pilates mat session!

5. What to your mind would be the greatest misfortune?

FP: A bad Pilates mat session with 2 words “loose glutes” and “neutral spine.”

6. What is your favorite Pilates word?

FP: Squeeze your butt!

7. What is your least favorite Pilates word?

FP: Neutral Spine (makes me sick)

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

FP: I have had plenty in the past, I’m ok now!

9. If Heaven exists, and by some chance when you arrive at the pearly gates Joseph Pilates is also there, what would you like to hear him say to you?

FP: Do Mat!! Do Reformer!!

10. What did you learn today?

FP: Be easy!

 

Inside the Pilates Studio: Mari Winsor

Inside the Pilates Studio: Mari Winsor

Mari Winsor is perhaps the most widely recognized name in Pilates. Even those that have never set foot in a Pilates studio know her name. I purchased her Pilates Workout Journal well before I met her at the Romana's Pilates Conference in New Orleans in 2008.

Mari humbly credits Joe Pilates' brilliant system of exercise and remains extremely devoted to Romana Kryzanowska. I find her to be warm and she perpetually greets me with a hug, which I love. It's a little extra treat when she sweats it out in Jay’s classes with all of us, always ready to help or offer a kind word of praise or encouragement. Mari works out very thoroughly and finds a way to have fun too. I always appreciate having a good laugh about how hard some of the exercises are to do.

Thanks for being a part of this blog series, Mari. I had to smile at your speedy response to my proposal and I had your interview answers later that same day. But of course. Girl can get things done!

1. What is your favorite Pilates exercise and why?

Mari Winsor: To me Pilates isn’t broken up by exercises, it's one long workout from beginning to end. And I love the whole process. It gets my heart rate up, makes me feel stronger and relieves my stress.

2. What exercise is your least favorite? Pick only one.

MW: My least favorite exercise is NOT Pilates.

3. What turns you on creatively, mentally or physically about the Pilates method?

MW: The fact that if I set my mind to it I can go deeper every time into my work there is no perfection and I’m always striving towards that. The Pilates work gives you the room to be able to practice that concept.

4. What is your idea of earthly happiness?

MW: To be in love, and to love my work.

5. What to your mind would be the greatest misfortune?

MW: To lose a loved one.

6. What is your favorite Pilates word?

MW: Powerhouse

7. What is your least favorite Pilates word?

MW: Neutral-spine which isn’t even considered a term in the classical Pilates method.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

MW: Acting.

9. If Heaven exists, and by some chance when you arrive at the pearly gates Joseph Pilates is also there, what would you like to hear him say to you?

MW: Welcome

10. What did you learn today?

MW: I don’t need to be sick to take care of myself.

 

Ok, this is a bonus photo, but I simply must mention that when Mari does this exercise – Control Push Up Back – she bats it out of the park, I tell ya.

How very World Series of me…

She does a mean Tendon Stretch as well…don't get me started.

 

I Heart Technology

I [Heart] Technology

This summer my travel went from zero to sixty. I think I never go anywhere, and now I have been out of town for at least a week every month since June. Whew!

Although I am perfectly capable maintaining my Pilates workout all by my lonesome, it can be much more festive to get a little help from my friends, both the real and the virtual (I shall discuss my imaginary friends in a later post).

In Vancouver, BC I worked out with Michael Johnson, Kathi Ross-Nash and Jay Grimes via Pilatesology.com. Not too shabby.

Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia

In San Francisco I actually did the Jay Grimes workout again…how he manages to say “new things” despite the fact that I have watched this same particular video numerous times just makes me smile…

Patience, grasshopper…when the student is ready the teacher will appear…

San Francisco, California

In New Jersey I got to workout with real Pilates friends, new and old, at Kathi’s Pillow, a Workshop/Pilates Party/Retreat hosted by the oh-so-firm-of-buttocks Kathi Ross Nash. Just when you think you really like your own butt…:)

Bikini Mat Class at Kathi's Pillow @ American Body Tech in Allendale, NJ

My family Beach vacation in Emerald Isle, NC – uh-huh, the OTHER coast – gave me an excuse to use a gorgeous new iPhone/iPad app from my colleague in Los Angeles, Darien Gold.

Pine Knoll Shores, North Carolina

Darien does beautiful, fantastic Pilates and is a fierce instructor. The app is an Advanced Mat workout and is beautifully designed with regard to its focus and simplicity. I really love the aerial shots showing off some pretty spectacular alignment, particularly in twisting exercises (My Nemesis!). Take a look!

To be honest, this is the workout I chose two days into the vacation. It is efficient, briskly paced and Darien pretty much dusted me in my now well wined and dined state. However she always managed to slip in a fun advanced variation just at the right moment to make me smile and have a good time. Thanks Darien – you helped me stay in tip top shape and still enjoy a good happy hour on vacation.

Just to be clear, the Pilates for me, must always precede The Cocktail Hour.

Jus’ sayin’.

Mighty Fine Swan Dive…

A little more about Darien…

Inside the Pilates Studio: Darien Gold

1. What is your favorite Pilates exercise and why?

Darien Gold: Push through series. This combination of exercises completely prepares the body for everything Pilates.

2. What exercise is your least favorite? Pick only one.

DG: Horseback on the Reformer. What is it about this exercise that makes my inner thighs, bottom and low belly not communicate with each other? Just when I think I'm really strong, this exercise reminds me that I can always get stronger!

3. What turns you on creatively, mentally or physically about the Pilates method?

DG: Pilates for me has always been like directing a living autopsy – peeling back the layers, and witnessing a body changing and growing before my eyes. I'm reminded time after time how brilliant this method is, the deeper we get inside each and every exercise.

4. What is your idea of earthly happiness?

DG: Happiness for me is attaining Peace in body, mind and spirit through a disciplined approach to inside-outside health.

5. What to your mind would be the greatest misfortune?

DG: The greatest misfortune is if someone doesn't discover and utilize the mind's power and is unable to recognize that the mind is the body's most valuable and versatile tool!

6. What is your favorite Pilates word?

DG: Resist!

7. What is your least favorite Pilates word?

DG: Powerhouse (Sorry, Mr. Pilates ) Sometimes this is too elusive a word for clients who do not understand how to use their center to generate their power. While Mr. Pilates' coined word defines his entire method, it seems to get lost in translation. Instead, to help clients visualize exactly where they need to engage in the Powerhouse, I utilize my anatomy apps.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

DG: Jazz Musician – Besides technique, it's all about listening and communicating. Just like life!

9. If Heaven exists, and by some chance when you arrive at the pearly gates Joseph Pilates is also there, what would you like to hear him say to you?

DG: I'd like to hear Mr. Pilates say to me, “Darien, you've asked me many questions over the decades, I'm glad that you heard me say to trust your intuition and use all the training you've learned along the way. I'm proud of your diligence and hard work in using the gift I left the world, in a positive and healthy manner.”

10. What did you learn today?

DG: Romana would tell me how musical my Pilates was, and I hope that if she were with me and asked what I had learned that day (and everyday, quite frankly) I'd say, “I learn each time I work with a client, I have the opportunity to teach how to move from a strong center and develop the musicality in every movement that Pilates inspires!”