I am profoundly grateful for my teacher and mentor Rael Isacowitz for giving me a solid foundation in the BASI approach to Pilates which is where I feel most at home. I have a tremendous sense of appreciation for his support and permission to work within a structure without ever having to limit my own curiosity and open-mindedness towards learning and growing within my practice. I am a proud senior faculty member for BASI Pilates® which has given me so many incredible opportunities to share my love of movement with students around the globe. I am also inspired by so many of the amazing teachers whom I have had the pleasure to learn from throughout my Pilates journey.
Benjamin Degenhardt is one of those teachers. When asked if I would be willing to help him break down the classical Mat repertoire, I jumped at the chance knowing that it would be an amazing learning opportunity that would help me deepen my understanding of the classical work. It was so interesting to feel in my own body the relationship between flexion and extension, between the rotational movements and the interconnectedness between each and every movement based on Joseph Pilates’ book Return to life.
It was a journey. Under Benjamin’s excellent tutelage, I was able to experience the link between each movement and the simplifications of the transitions. I have done the classical Mat work many times but never has it been broken down for me in such a clear and cohesive manner. In my own teaching practice, I strive to create flow without a specific order so it was an entirely different experience to flow within the classical order.
I believe that, as teachers, it is our responsibility to create conversation. Be that an internal dialogue in relation to our personal movement or the practice of listening deeply to the experiences of our students to better understand the information they may need to navigate and integrate this work into their bodies and their minds. I am grateful to Benjamin for the conversation that he invited me to participate in.
Another deeply held belief of mine is that it is important to come to a movement practice with an open mind and an open heart so that we may best receive the wisdom of our teachers no matter who they are and regardless of background. In this way, we open ourselves to a more powerful experience and exploration of our own work. Can we give ourselves the gift of freedom of movement and perspective? I like to imagine that we can.