Classical Pilates Convention UK 2014

Classical Pilates Convention UK

Who knew this year's Classical Pilates Convention UK would be even more amazing than last year?


And guess whose bottom still hurts from the Toe Corrector?

I  Mejo.

Thank you so much Everybody Pilates for your uber-cool hand in creating the warmest, smoothest 3-Day Pilates Education experience ever created. I have a big old-fashioned love pang for you Amy and Ed and all your friendly staff.

Classical Pilates Convention UK 2014

What did I learn this weekend?

  • A first-time-to-Pilates client can fall madly in love with Jay Grimes in less time than it takes to do the Hundred.
  • Mejo Wiggin and Karen Frischmann have boundless knowledge, enthusiasm and smiles for all participants at all times.
  • Amy Kellow and Alisa Wyatt ROCK THE HOUSE!! Both deliver brilliant Pilates workshops with the greatest of skill and ease.
  • Oh, and just how many Teasers can you “suggest” participants do in 2.5 hours?



Classical Pilates Convention UK

I also love when Gratz Industries is in attendance. It’s wonderful to connect with David and Russell to express my love and devotion to their wonderful and legendary apparatus. Sadly I was too busy to shop for Pilates toys…although I did spy some fuzzy covers for the metal handles that I may very soon covet purchase.

Classical Pilates Convention UK 2014Pilates Giveaways!

One happy attendee walked away in style after winning some chic swag courtesy of Pilates Nerd.

Drop Karen Ellis (Queen Nerd) a short note to share your love for her sweet T-shirts, jumpers and notebooks.

I quite fancy the sticky notes myself…

Global Pilates Love

Finally, a big warm gooey thank you to the lovely dedicated blog readers who came up to say hi with many a kind word and a giggle.

Oh. So. Truly. Appreciated.

I love to connect with you at these events and I can’t thank you enough for all your encouraging words and positive vibes.

Awesome, I say! You are all AWESOME.

Classical Pilates Convention UK

So cheers to you dear friends from Norway, UK, Quatar, Sweden, Italy, Finland and Australia. Much love to you all.

E adesso, buongiorno a Roma! Ci vediamo dopo…

Classical Pilates Convention UK

Don't worry, I ate the whole thing 🙂

Yay for Pilates!

2 Essential Pilates Moves at 30,000 Feet

2 Essential Pilates Moves at 30,000 FeetThe good news

I flew direct from San Diego to Baltimore.

The bad news

I flew direct from San Diego to Baltimore.

5 hours of sitting BADLY…

When I fly I have a great empathy for both the tall and the ample. At 5'2″ I have barely enough room for myself and an iPhone. The flight to Baltimore was an early one so I slept through nearly all of it. Later that afternoon during my Mat workout I realized just how long I'd been sleeping (read this as ‘slumping').

2 Essential Pilates Moves at 30,000 Feet

Jus' sayin'.

Stay classy, San Diego

My return flight was interminable as I was awake for all of it. Awake and fidgety. A fellow San Diegan, a young woman also in perpetual motion, sat to my right. She spent the flight playing an action game, steering her virtual motorcycle by moving her iPad wildly in the air in front of her. Her travel companion, a terrier sporting pink highlights and a ponytail, rustled inside a bag (also pink) at her feet. I did my best to remain calm despite a mild allergy to dogs and often full-on hypochondria on airplanes. Hold on, I just taught a Pilates workshop this weekend. I'm invincible…Nam myoho renge kyo…

I live in a city where it's just fine to paint your dog pink.

The woman to my left in the aisle seat explained that she took a Xanex and would be asleep throughout the flight. Should we need to use the lavatory we were just to give her a poke to get out into the aisle. Okay…

Slumping and reading Game of Thrones for 5 hours I fantasized about Pilates exercises I would do if I had opportunity. I stood awaiting the dog owner's return from the loo and eyed the darkened aisle.

The Hundred is definitely possible.

Couple things though:

  1. The ‘ick' factor
  2. The ‘freakshow' factor

Let's be reasonable, shall we?

1. In-seat Spine Stretch Forward


“I'm not ill, I'm returning to life!”

You may be able to upgrade this one to an In-seat Roll Up if it's possible to extend your arms straight out in front of you. However, for myself, not so much.

Reaching down toward your carry-on bag is expected activity though so you may not even look weird, although the flight attendant may hand you an air-sickness bag…

  1. Pull your stomach in until you feel your back firmly into the back of the seat. Inhale.
  2. Plant your feet on the floor as wide as the space will allow. Mine got to be about hip-width apart. Push your heels into the floor and squeeze the bottom.
  3. Scoop in and reach toward your carry-on bag and keep your stomach and ribs as far away from your legs as you can. Exhale. Repeat 5x every hour or so.

Reach from way down in the low back as you stretch the back way over the stomach pulling in. You're trying to lengthen that slumpy part, which should feel good. Come back up with a book or some ear buds and no one will be the wiser.

 2. Water Closet Wall

Take a moment of quiet time for yourself in the most spacious place you'll find on the airplane. Seriously, you may be able to extend your arms in front of you, but I dare you to circle them. So for the Wall exercise, I didn't have room for the Circles. I thought about the Roll Down, but I'd already covered that with the Spine Stretch in my seat. Given the confined quarters and the proximity of your head to the plumbing, well I stuck with the most appropriate part of the Wall for the space, Skiing, or Squats.

  1. Use the lavatory door as the Wall. Walk the feet forward and hip-width apart until you can feel your entire back on the Wall.
  2. Reach the arms forward and up as you slide down the Wall. Keep your hips above your knees and pull your stomach deeply in and up as you reach toward  the ceiling with the fingertips.
  3. Push the wall away with your stomach as you slide up the Wall. Imagine you are pressing the air down as the arm press down and return to your sides.

It's really the same lengthening and lifting of your back that you were doing in Spine Stretch: stomach in and back stretching long.

And if it skeeves you out to slide up and down the door of an airplane lavatory you may want to rethink the whole flying thing in general…maybe I shouldn't have spelled it out like that.

At the very least you'll arrive home hungry for the Reformer. Your carriage awaits…

2 Essential Pilates Moves at 30,000 Feet

Serendipitous Bonus (for those of you who do speak yoga)

Share your travel survival tips in a comment below. Anyone manage to do the Teaser in-flight?

What did you Learn Today?

What Did You Learn Today?

Written just before my Holiday vacation, December 2011

So my plan was to finish up my day yesterday pretty early actually…and then get down to the task of my own workout. I know, very risky to put it at the end of the day like that. But I had plenty of time to myself before Joe got home from work and…well…you know how it goes, once the “workday” is finished it is very easy to get distracted finishing up at my desk, laundering towels, relaxing (!), thinking about my impending holiday travel, etc…You see where this is going…

Alas, there was to be no workout that afternoon, only wine.

But hey, I’m on holiday, right?

The Rationalization:

“Well…my flight is in the afternoon so we will not be leaving in the morning until around 10:30 or 11, so there will be plenty of time to have a morning workout and it will be a nice way to wake up and stretch out to feel good before the airport and the potential chaos of the day.”

Okay, this morning plan has barely breezed into my mind and I have my doubts.

The Reformer was staring me down as well.

What Did You Learn Today?


I’m going to wake up at 7 or 7:30am and have breakfast. Okaaaaay…

THEN workout, followed by a shower and the last of my packing? Really. That’s what’s going to happen?

Have you met Andrea? Because that doesn’t sound like her at all…

And then an amazing thing happened. Well, let’s call it Amazing Thing #1. I had a great desire to stretch out that next morning. Great. So far, so good. After breakfast (check!) I laid down on the reformer, not really with any expectations at this point. Truth be told, my first plan was to do three repetitions of every exercise so I could have time to fit in all my reformer exercises. Then I did the footwork and the hundred before I remembered my “plan” so I recalculated and decided I would do as much as I could in the 45 minutes I had. And doncha know that was plenty of time? Imagine that.

And then I was in it.

Moving, feeling good, learning a couple things about the stuff I’m working on, having a good ol’ stretchy time.

Upon finishing my workout I had the most pleasant realization – Amazing Thing #2! Pilates was really what my mind needed today. By focusing fully on my workout I did not have any room in my head for my usual pre-travel thoughts of logistics, airport security anxieties, imminent family visiting, FLYING, you name it and I will worry about it.

Instead I felt calm. I felt centered in my mind. I felt strong and grounded in my body and happy to shower and then finish my travel preparations. And yeah, I am intimately acquainted with this post-workout feeling, but it was all the more lovely juxtaposed against the backdrop of this particular day.

And that is what I learned today.

What did you learn today? Share some holiday cheer in a comment below.

The Bust Redux!

No tiny white shorts necessary…

Just wanted to share a follow-up to my inaugural post NYC For Bust. One of my very first Pilates teachers Kerry DeVivo, owner of Excel Pilates Annapolis was in New York and took her own walk up 8th Avenue to feast her eyes on Joe's famous statue.

I made it her mission to get a photo of Pilates in the buff, shall we say.


The Bust Redux!

DeVivo does not disappoint.

8th Avenue. New York City. The Pilates Studio.

a.k.a. The continuation of my scenic tour of 8th avenue from this summer…slightly further uptown…

Still heady from our encounter with the bust of Joe Pilates, Junghee Won and I make our way further uptown. We pass what was in Joe Pilates’ day the home of Madison Square Garden (its third incarnation) when boxing was its ‘principle claim to fame'. The venue also hosted basketball teams, the Stanley Cup finals and many notable events of the day. Today this address is home to the Worldwide Plaza.

8th Avenue. New York City. The Pilates Studio.

In the early 1990s I lived on 49th Street and 9th avenue. I frequented this nearby plaza for it's amazingly cheap movie theatre. $2.! And then one sad day it climbed to $3. Frankly I was afraid to investigate the current price…especially given this nearby parking structure which we simply had to document.

Soon we arrive at a row of smaller, older buildings on our left, one of which is the home of Joe’s original studio: 939 8th Avenue. My mouth dropped open as I stood in front of the restaurant that occupies the building on the street level.

Guantanamera! I have been to this restaurant before? Not possible. How did I not know the historical significance of this address?! A big thank you to my dear friend Andrew who my husband and I met for dinner at Guantanamera a few years back. You are the sage for the age, Andy. Okay so, note to self, we shall lunch here after our trek up to the 2nd floor to take a peek at the Pilates studio that currently occupies Joe Pilates' original 2nd floor residence: Rolates Pilates. Apologies for the blurry photo…

SO excited…Can't. Steady. iPhone…

Upon entering the studio we met Roberta Kirschenbaum, the owner, and her friendly staff. The studio was relatively quiet that day which allowed us plenty of time to chat with Roberta, whom I recognized from her facebook page. Roberta was informative, friendly and has been working/rehearsing/dancing in this building for most of her adult life. She opened her studio here in February 2005, and has been a part of the Pilates world since 1984, well before the advent of teacher training programs. Roberta began her study of the Pilates Method with Carola Trier who would become her mentor. She also studied with other disciples of Joe including Romana Kryzanowska, Naja Cori and Kathleen Stanford Grant. She asked if we were new teachers, which I suppose given her history with the method, we are relatively new. Junghee however was quick to answer “I certified in 1999.” Then I had to giggle as the question about being new to Pilates surfaced again to which Junghee again had her answer: ”1999.”

Getting my bearings and thinking about one of Chuck Rapoport’s photos of Joe at the Cadillac, I asked about the space. I remembered the windows overlooking 8th Avenue as a focal point in Rappoport’s iconic photo. You can also see the same vantage point in this video of Joe teaching the mat.

Roberta’s studio is located in the rear of the building where Joe and Clara had their residence while the front of the building (Joe’s studio) is occupied by a dance rehearsal space. I draw the line at visiting and geeking out at non-Pilates businesses despite their rich historical value, so here’s a photo of their door.

I did hear a lot of insistent shouts of “5-6-7-8! Turn and HIT!”…and so on from outside the door of this rehearsal studio. Evidently it is still a place where some serious work gets done. Roberta does not hesitate to inform me that the exact location of her studio within the building has been a bit of a sticking point with True Pilates NY. Oh dear. I am trained by TPNY and inadvertently I have stepped right in it, as it were. Whoopsie…Thankfully she had a Carola Trier DVD, Carola Shares, that I had been seeking for some time which I immediately purchased for reparation. Whew! She was also gracious enough to let us look around her studio and soak up the Pilates past.

I stood in the studio feeling the size and space under those high ceilings and wished I could see a CGI back-in-time film sequence to the 1940s. I mean Joe and Clara lived here, right? In my imagination I pictured the living room in this video, which, if the video was indeed filmed in the Pilates' home, was their home from their arrival in the US circa 1925 until around 1972.

Roberta also had quite the fetching collection of foot correctors, one of my favorites of the small apparatuses.

So I must say a grand day was had by all and we soon wandered back down to the street and into Guantanamera for some cool refreshment on this gloriously warm August day in Manhattan.