This year I made the decision to join the BASI Pilates expansion project and rename my studio BASI Pilates Academy – NYC. This has been an opportunity to join forces and deepen the connection to my colleagues around the globe proving that we are truly better together. After 17 years, in operation, I have surprisingly found this transition to be a smooth one, aside from our new name appearing incorrectly on Google maps. There were no dramatic changes that I needed to make, but a list of refreshing the studios with new equipment, rebranding, new social pages, and so on. Adopting the company values: passion, compassion & excellence were never on the to do list, they were the reason I started this transition in the first place to become BPA – NYC!
When BASI announced the company values, they resonated immediately. I personally feel these three words are at the core of my existence and thus my life’s work. I couldn’t have conjured up more perfect descriptive words and proudly allow their meaning to run through the veins of my studio communities. I hope by personally defining the meaning of these words and their applications to my work; you will be inspired to embark on your own journey with more empowerment and intent in your athletic endeavors, and hopefully incorporating the study of Pilates:)
There is a quote, “how you do something is how you do everything.” I believe this to be mostly true (with some exceptions.) Let’s think of how we manage our time, home life, self care, work, and exercise. We may wish we were equally fabulous at everything, but the correlations are there. Personally, I can’t go to bed without organizing my work files, my closet, and my kitchen. My to-do list is prepped for the next day, and myself and my daughters bag is ready to go for the morning. I often think that if I spent as much time completing tasks as I do prepping for them, I might be further along:)
The key word here for me is “to-do-list.” I love to be as prepared for the weather on any given day, as much as for a specific exercise in the studio. I love adventure but not the unknown, I find more joy in the warm up, conditioning, and drills for a trick than I find in achieving the trick itself. I also find joy in observing the correlations to and from my studio & my real life to be just that, with no absolutes, and for yours as well. Any habit can be broken, and you are in charge of your own path.
My fellow teachers will also tell you that one of the best effects of studying Pilates methodology and repertoire, is that the positive domino effect in the life’s of our students is invaluable. Develop a passion, lead with compassion and strive for excellence.
“In a world with far, far too much suffering, BASI is a beacon of light. BASI is a safe haven for all, no matter who you are, where you are from. BASI is warmth. BASI is compassion. BASI is love . . . BASI is for everyone, every religion, every culture, wherever you’re from, that is what BASI is.”
— Rael Isacowitz
Passion Celebrate Life
Movement brings joy. Let this carry over into spending time with family and friends and seeing the world. As the student, let’s be passionate about the endless work we can learn to put into movement to maintain and achieve feeling our best. Apply the work of Pilates to a sport or movement art for a deeper understanding of what personally drives us. Is it the feeling of awareness, balance, breath, control, precision, center, flow, efficiency or harmony? The passion may be Pilates itself or the awakening of your athletic self and sense of play.
As a teacher we carry this understanding of being a student with us as we influence others. In the BASI Pilates Teacher Training Program we discuss this frequently. Muditā (Pāli and Sanskrit: मुदिता) is a dharmic concept of joy, particularly an especially sympathetic or vicarious joy—the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people’s well-being. (1) This is the heart of why I teach and why I wanted a studio of my own. We infuse our passion into our students in order for them to tap into theirs, thus spreading more joy. We often can wake up their inner athlete and allow them to operate from an entirely different baseline. For example, if you feel focused, strong, and capable in your body, then maybe you can address other areas of your life from those same feelings.
Compassion Empower Humanity
As forever students we need to be patient with ourselves. Knowing our capabilities so we can respectfully push our limits is important. Working hard while honoring our body and respecting the process isn’t easy since so much of our progress is mind over matter. The goal is to feel our personal best at a given task and this will always vary. Know that you are never done and you are in a lifelong journey to hone the instrument that is your body.
As a teacher, we can pass along the insights gained in our own personal pursuits, we remember how challenging each Pilates exercise was when we learned it, how hard we still have to work to go deeper, and how each day is different. I started teaching dance at the age of 15 and found myself relaying my own steps to break through challenges. The compassion I gave to my students who were frustrated allowed me to develop my own young mind and body with the same patience. Compassion doesn’t mean coddling. In relation to teaching and coaching movement, it means you are encouraging and reasonably pushing individuals to their fullest potential. In the BASI Pilates Comprehensive Teacher Training Program we often discuss how it is the hardest to treat ourselves with the same compassion we give to others. As a student and a teacher, one of my greatest gifts is the ability to take whatever positive or negative energies are charging in my life then channelling these into even more positively directed energy in the body. The outcome is always great. We simply always feel better after we move. Guiding others to this realization is the amazing exchange.
Excellence Reach for Greatness
As the student we should strive for our most excellent work. Often we try to strive for someone else’s excellent work which can leave us stunted and frustrated. I have always danced and done Pilates with other students and teachers who are better than me. In my early 20s, I recall watching a dancer in a technique class who was decades older than I was and she was captivating. I remember she had had a hip surgery and was dancing with a major limitation, her movements weren’t as big and grand as many others in class, but I realized she was energetically grander than anyone in the room. Moving forward from this experience, I coined this term with my students I teach, “it’s not the shape, it’s the line.” Especially in Pilates we can get caught up in the shapes we see in stagnant pictures or posts on social media. But Pilates is motion and movement patterns with dynamic stability. The goal is efficiency for longevity, precision in execution, coordination of breath and balance to create centered flow and harmony in the body, and most of all awareness of the present.
As a teacher and as a Pilates teacher trainer it is important to guide our students with structure backed by passion and compassion. The excellence factor is simply the act of trying. It was said to me in one of my first Pilates lessons ever, as I was pressing through footwork, something like this: In Pilates, everything in the body is always doing something, and all the principles are activated at all times. At first I thought she was a little extreme, but I’ve come to realize that this simply meant full awareness, strength, and dynamic stability over tension in the body. This really is the pursuit of personal excellence.
Pelvic Curl Modification – Hip Hinge, Keeping Pelvis Neutral and Avoiding Spinal Articulation
Spine Twist Supine Modification -Keeping Feet in Contact with Mat
Chest Lift Modified
Chest Lift with Rotation
Leg Changes Supine with Hands Behind Head
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