At the end of a year, business leaders, spiritual gurus, and even therapists highly recommend reflecting and reviewing all that occurred within that year. For an individual it enables them to take a ‘bird-eye’s view’ and look at the whole picture, seeing the details of small accomplishments, overcoming obstacles, learned lessons, and hopefully some joyful moments. Taking time to review can remind us of otherwise forgotten triumphs and prepares us for realistic goal setting of New Year resolutions.
If we think back to a year ago in 2019, not only did many of us review the year, but we went further by reviewing the decade. There was an overall sense of excitement for the upcoming new decade. However, 2020, on a global scale has proven to be a year of great challenge, loss, grief and despair, along with surprising resilience, exponential growth, creativity, and for many, new paths to embark on.
A pandemic caused by COVID-19 has made 2020 not only a year for the history books, but one that has rocked the foundation of business models, ethics, economies, multiple industries, and our way of life. The Pilates industry was no exception. Let’s take a moment to look back in order to look and move forward.
Due to full or partial global lockdowns enforced by the end of March, and in some places continued throughout the year, many brick and mortar Pilates studios have permanently closed. Many studio owners were unable to secure financial assistance due to the forced closure and a large percentage of clientele not returning to classes (for a myriad of reasons; job loss, instability, high risk for infection, fear of contracting the virus, etc). Add the additional costs for health and safety measures plus fewer people in a space due to social distancing and it’s difficult to break even, much less profit. With that said, some have downsized, made home studios, moved cities, or changed priorities. With school closures, many find themselves juggling the roles of full-time caregivers, teachers, and cooks on top of figuring out how to adapt their business, not to mention the additional worry for those with high-risk family members.
On the flip side, there are many Pilates teachers thriving from no longer commuting to various studios, decreased expenses, and in some cases an elimination of shared revenue. Through teaching in the comfort of their homes, some have reached more and new people worldwide and are satisfied working for themselves.
It is apparent that many in the Pilates industry have quickly adapted and fought hard for their businesses (Pilates teachers and studio owners, take a bow). Transitioning to online required new skills, trial and error in marketing, technology efficiency, proper setup, and even improving communication through verbal cues. The creative ideas that Pilates teachers came up with speaks to the industry’s love and deep faith in the method and its benefits.
As the travel industry suffered greatly as a consequence of COVID-19, so have regularly scheduled events, conferences, retreats, and in-person teacher training. Many big events were canceled although some continued online. There are pros and cons to running Pilates events solely online, but looking forward, it may become the norm to have a combination of both in-person and virtual attendance in events.
Teacher training continued in an online format and even though continuing education has become limited, there are still options. When there was in-person training this year, all participants wore masks and adhered to the health and safety guidelines (social distancing, sanitation, isolation periods).
2020 brought representation and inclusivity for all to the forefront with the brutal murder of George Floyd by law enforcement. This event initiated an awareness outside of the Black community that resonated with many and forced a deeper internal look at systemic racism. The Pilates industry was not excluded and as a result, many changes are taking place in the form of discussions, anti-racism education, diversity committees, and more. The second half of 2020 saw another ripple in regards to inclusivity within the Pilates industry. While these underlying issues are not new and have always been there, 2020 brought these issues to the surface. The pandemic, in all of its ramifications, has brought everything under a magnifying glass and it was time for a change.
This year saw the publication of John Howard Steel’s, Caged Lion. It provided new insight into Joseph Pilates and his method as well as a different perspective on the Elders of Pilates and its true legacy.
We cannot review 2020 without taking a moment to acknowledge the loss of Mari Winsor. Mari Winsor of the infamous “Winsor Pilates” franchise was pivotal in Pilates becoming a household name. She was an inspiration to many and will be greatly missed.
2020 marked the 10 year anniversary of Pilates Anytime and a year scheduled with new faces, favorite faces, and some we haven’t seen in a while! Pilates Anytime always strives for quality content and helpful information in response to what’s happening in the world and how it affects the Pilates industry. Even before the lockdown in March occurred and there was a growing concern about the coronavirus, PA started blogging about tips for studio owners and teachers to protect themselves from the virus.
Once the lockdown started, PA had to pivot and quickly adapt to the ‘new normal’ along with the rest of the world. The planned 2020 schedule was canceled, the LA office shut down, and the beautiful studio we’ve come to know and love was closed temporarily. PA’s first priority was and is keeping its employees and teachers safe with a mission to keep people moving with high-quality content. At the beginning of the pandemic, Pilates Anytime began to offer free webinars through The Pilates Report, covering topics affecting the world and the Pilates industry.
In June, when racial unrest was at a peak and the Pilates industry was being held accountable for its complacency, PA’s VP Gia Calhoun hosted a series of Instagram lives and a Webinar with Pilates teachers of the Black community. PA also showed support with blog posts and hosted the Pilates Movement for Change series, a series of classes in support of Campaign Zero.PA has also shown support with articles about inclusivity and change from various voices within the community.
Pilates Anytime kicks off the year with Rise and Recharge, a live streaming virtual event with 4 different but dynamic teachers that runs Monday to Friday for the month of January. We can expect to see new and familiar faces in a mix of live and on-demand content, fun community events like virtual Happy Hours and dance parties. A resurgence of The Pilates Report along with added content to the Pilates Legacy Project and of course more educational and thought-provoking articles!
All in all, it’s been one hell of a year! Whether you’re an avid Pilates fan, studio owner, teacher, or any of the above plus a parent of young children, take a bow! If you’ve struggled and persevered, are still struggling or bowed out to focus on non-Pilates stuff, take a bow! You’re still here, you’re not alone and eventually… this too shall pass. Here’s to a saner and safer 2021 with lots of Pilates, movement, fun, and kindness towards one another!
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