Working within the frame of your body when practicing Pilates and its focus on staying in the “box,” is a great metaphor for your life.

When you create boundaries for yourself, you’ve created an unseen frame and also an awareness that’s constantly being tested as both supportive and unsupportive people walk with you on your life path.

Sometimes though, a wolf can arrive in the most beautifully designed sheep’s clothing and before you know what happened, this wolf has taken a bite out of your kindness and generosity. It isn’t the end of the world if someone takes advantage of you, but as your awareness grows, you’ll experience fewer wolf encounters.

As another year comes to a close, it’s a perfect time to reinforce your efforts in cultivating positive and trustworthy people who are also traveling an upward path. I wish you all a very happy New Year and may 2013 open you in new and surprising ways.



I bet if Mr. Pilates knew that his method was affecting lives in ways other than body stretching, strengthening and correcting, he’d be thrilled. A personal experience once again showed me how the other two aspects of his work, the mental and spiritual, could be just as effective in one’s pursuit of total health.

Time after time, I’d come home from the studio and be greeted by my beautiful cat, Annie. The strength of her loud meows never revealed her mature age of seventeen. I always had to quickly set down my Pilates day and give her all, and I mean all of my attention; otherwise the neighbors would think something horrible was going on. Sadly, a month ago, my girl went home to kitty heaven, and I do hope that this panther-looking, independent yet needy feline had a wonderful life with me.

But then my home became so quiet, so still, and gaps in normalcy, left me feeling lost – like hearing her demanding voice in my head, only to return home, and be abruptly reminded she was gone. Or finishing my food shopping with the thought of bringing her home a treat. With loss, however, comes the opportunity to tune in, quiet the mind and so support a heavy heart. My Pilates gratitude couldn’t have been more evident when the “acutely missing her” phase hit me. I intuitively transferred this loss into my own Pilates practice and completely focused on my breath. My workouts became deeper, simpler and the healing quality that I regularly speak about during lessons, began to manifest in myself.

Though the sting of missing my beautiful girl has abated somewhat, the loftiness of Mr. Pilates’ words, “My method is the complete coordination of the body, mind and spirit,” couldn’t be more appropriate, and my own experience leaves me with no doubt as to the true power of Pilates.




Here in Hollywood, where fake boobs, nails and personalities reign, the importance of one’s inner beauty and possession of qualities that go with being “real” seem to be unrecognized and unappreciated.

But many people that I know, including myself, willingly work on our selves to develop qualities that help the amalgamation of body, mind and spirit – even Mr. Pilates spoke about the blending of these three life fundamentals. Though his method isn’t necessarily supposed to turn you into a well-rounded person or solve all of your personal challenges, by increasing your devotion to your Pilates practice, your true self will emerge as you work smarter and shine brighter.



I was working with a client recently, when it dawned on me that I had something literally within my reach that could get across to my client, what I could not.

We were working on Knee Stretch Series and despite my verbal and physical cues, she could not figure out how to stay back on her heels when bringing the carriage back home (all the way in). Whether it was sheer frustration or a sudden technology connection, I ran to my desk and got my iPhone, tapped on the video button, and filmed her. Within minutes she was watching the clip of her efforts and saw at once saw what was needed and made the necessary correction. I could see her eyes light up and a slow, delighted smile spread across her face.

I know that many of us are resisting the swift changes technology brings, often feeling overwhelmed. I, too, felt this way until that moment – when I recognized the potential of a 15-second video clip. I hope I’ve helped you to embrace a different way of thinking for those resisting changes. Exploring outside of our safety zone can help us stay current, aware and open to new experiences.



I’ve worked with many people over the years and the one thing that always becomes evident to me, is that with certain challenging exercises, the fear of losing one’s balance or even looking foolish, can reveal emotional and psychological blocks that hamper the learning process.

There is a connection between our thoughts and our physical responses so when clients are practicing challenging exercises, I encourage them first to focus solely on their breathing. On the inhalation portion of a breath cycle, I ask them to gather up the negative thoughts of that day and then, on the exhalation, to simply let them go. This concept of combining the power of the psyche and directing the breath requires a deeper level of concentration, and though elusive, it can be developed into a powerful connector throughout the Pilates practice.

For example, two of the Long Box exercises practiced on the Reformer, Pulling Straps and T-Pull, help to open the chest and simultaneously strengthen the back. But if the heart/chest area is tight and closed off, it’s very difficult to recruit the correct muscles. By releasing and letting go emotionally, while staying in the Pilates technique, the body experiences a new willingness to work harder. The heart is more than just a muscle performing its daily circulation duties. There is an intelligence attached to this wondrous life-giving organ muscle and when given the opportunity (and permission), Pilates can be the lifeline to an open heart and a strong, supple spine.



Many people ask me how it’s possible to eat ice cream, a passion I’ve had my entire life, only once a year – on my birthday.

Well, this is the story:

I made a decision many moons ago that I wanted to feel and look healthy for as long as I could, so I eat for nutrition as well as for taste and only when hungry. I am also mindful and purposeful when choosing the type of food I want to see in my refrigerator and cupboards.

Even Mr. Pilates in his book, Return to Life Through Contrology, written in 1945, was concerned about more than exercise. He felt that a strong body was only part of a healthy life style — the food we eat and the air we breathe is just as critical. Today, almost seventy years later, we still don’t have much say over the cleanliness of our air, but by using air cleaners and air filters in our homes, cars and at work, we can acquire some control. What we put in our mouths and what we decide to leave out, that’s where we have total control.

As we approach a new year, it’s possible that 2012 will be YOUR year – the year you increase your self-control. You’ve already committed to your Piates practice, right? So now you can kick up that dedication by developing portion control and choosing what foods deserve a place in your kitchen.

Why not give yourself the gift of change and become the boss of your stomach? When you do this, you are following the same principle that we use in practicing Pilates: Mindfulness.

I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t have a little war going on inside.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if the general exercising public understood that by practicing the Pilates method, one’s inner conflicts would diminish? And, wouldn’t it also be something if people made the connection between their own personal turmoil and the conflicts they burdened others with? Idealistic perhaps, but what are our other choices? I guess we could choose to stay restless inside, take our frustrations out on others and then continue the cycle of dis-ease…

Experiencing Pilates is like getting to be part of a special club – a club that asks for hard work and focus, but in return, gives everyone a chance at a whole new physique. Yet, there seems to be a disconnect between wanting to be in great shape and the discipline and patience it takes to become fit and healthy. Whether it’s laziness or constant daily pressures, taking personal time needs to be a priority if goals want to be attained.

When I give “homework” to my clients, it’s not just intended for memorizing the order and learning the technique. I want for them to stay committed to their practice by stilling the mind and listening to their bodies and in essence, breathing in Pilates. I encourage everyone to practice, practice and to practice even more, because astonishing physical and mental changes really are possible. Personal issues that might be slow in resolving can be tempered simply by being mindful and respectful of who you are. And maybe, just maybe if more people focused on mastering their body/mind/spirit connection through Pilates, perhaps peace isn’t just for our imaginations. We can practice it, teach it and live it.

My mom used to say that I was an empty hospital…no patients. If she had also warned me that it might take decades for my talents to be recognized, perhaps it would have been easier for me to accept patience as my friend.

I thought that talent, discipline and my drive for excellence would be everything I needed to propel me toward my dreams, but I was naive. The importance of timing was something I would learn along the way, and usually  the time frame of our goals is seldom in sync with their appearance. Sometimes, we just have to surrender to the silent and mysterious forces that will help us manifest our dreams.

Ever since I was introduced to Pilates, I envisioned a wellness facility that would incorporate Pilates as one of its healing modalities – and this has yet to happen. Another goal is to influence how amateur and pro-athletes are conditioned. I firmly believe that by including classical Pilates to their workout program, injury prevention and playing longevity will result.  This goal, too, is in the future. Though the desire is there, I have no control over the timing – but I am developing patience. As I continue to work towards these goals, I gravitate towards what I can control – my health, diet and fitness. Weaving these disciplines together has helped calm me and has taught me to better understand the art of patience  (I’m sure some of those hospital beds are finally in use).

One way to gain more patience while those forces are taking their sweet time is to stay productive. Also, to practice mindful breathing when you’re stuck in traffic or have been placed on hold or can’t fit into your jeans. And when you get into the studio, work your butt off. No complaining and definitely no gossiping. If you commit fully to your workouts, physically and mentally, your confidence level will rise – and so will your patience.



They say false power shouts but true power whispers. So, are you a shouter or a whisperer?

Up until now, expressing my thoughts has been pretty tame. These last blogs have focused mostly on the spiritual and psychological potential of the Pilates influence. Now it’s time to talk about another aspect of Pilates and a growing concern I have for the potential harm being inflicted on new students.

I believe that most instructors teaching the Pilates method feel honored to be able to pass on this brilliant work. Hopefully, they understand the awesome responsibility that goes along with being in a position of power and authority over the student. However, I’ve observed many Pilates poseurs who pass themselves off as legitimate teachers by saying, “I studied with someone who studied with someone who studied with” and dropping the names of first-generation teachers, such as Romana Kryzanowska or Jay Grimes. Year after year, students come to me for a lesson who have been taught by a “Pilates certified” instructor, and I find myself repeatedly saying, “What is that?” as some exercises are simply unrecognizable as classical Pilates movements. In addition, the technique they’ve been taught is not the Pilates technique which thereby denies the student a unique body conditioning experience.

Students who want to learn about the authentic Pilates method may not know the difference between an expert and a poseur. Just because an instructor uses the code word, “Romana”, doesn’t mean he or she has studied with Mr. Pilates’ principal disciple, as most second-generation teachers have. And when it comes to advertising, I would at least respect these poseurs if in their promotional materials they added the word, “inspired” after Pilates.

If you, the reader, are a sincere instructor and have not been trained in the original work, my message to you is to please continue your education, supplementing what you know with the original, classical teachings. When your powerhouse is engaged, it’s easier for you stay in shape and as your Pilates knowledge deepens, your body and your words will be your best advertisement.

If you, the reader, are wondering whether you are practicing the authentic method, a few questions to ask yourself. Does your teacher speak about your powerhouse? Is there a strong sense of discipline and focus in the lessons? Do you learn a specific order? Do you feel energized after your class? Btw, Mr. Pilates did not use music in his studio. He believed his exercises performed with rhythm and mindful breathing created their own music within his students.








What do you do after you’ve developed a sound Pilates technique? Well, you create art with it, of course.

As with all classical teachings, once a strong foundation is set, revelations begin to emerge. Mr. Pilates gave us a beautiful gift to help us in our lives. The Method has so much more to offer than the obvious result oriented workout. It is also an art form.

If you’ve committed yourself long enough to this practice, you’ve already achieved a more toned abdominal wall, a taller spine and increased ease in every day activities, but do you consider yourself an artist? Art is simply an expression of one’s soul wanting to break free, and the bio-mechanically sound Pilates technique is one of the most scientific expressions of physical conditioning.

With its focus on the efficiency of movement, Pilates has trained you to conserve energy throughout the day, and now, perhaps without your even knowing it, you are developing a deeper awareness of self. When we are present in our bodies we begin to gain a sensitivity to trust what we feel and allow this increased awareness to help guide us. Our inner antenna cannot and will not tell a lie.