Discussion #1759

Kathryn on Romana

20 min - Discussion


Kathryn Ross-Nash was sent to Romana Kryzanowska because of her hypermobility. She tells us how she fell into teaching and how Romana gave her the freedom to give her family priority over her job. Kathryn remembers how Romana lived a full life and how she was always there to take care of others.

You can see some of the methods Romana taught Kathryn in this tutorial about flow.
What You'll Need: No props needed

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Aug 18, 2014
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I'm Kathy Ross Nash and I live in Allendale, New Jersey where I have my studio, American Body Tech. I've been doing PyLadies for 30 something years. I started when I was in the womb and it continued from there. My first hundred was coming out. Um, no, I've been doing plays for over 30 years. I started when I was 18 and it is been my entire life.

I came to PyLadies via my director, Tina Ramirez from Valley Hispanico. If you ever see any photos or footage of my daughter, she is hyper mobile. She bends all over. Well, I was the same way. So bendy that uh, bill whitener gave me 17 backbends in one ballet just because I could go whack, whack, whack. And Tina was afraid that I was going to hurt myself. So she took me, sent me down to Ramana and made me take PyLadies.

It wasn't by choice. I went kicking and screaming. I absolutely, positively hated police when I started it because everything that I was good at doing, being out of my joints and throwing my body around and not having control was the opposite of what Ramana made me do. So, you know, when I was a naughty little kid, so I wanted to do what I wanted to do and she made me do it. She wanted me to do. And my first impression of Romana was, uh, there was this little woman that was coming out from the hallway, there was a hallway in the back and she was coming out and I've kind of looked over and it was like more of a silhouette at the time. And I saw this hair with this little woman and she had so much energy that I was like, Oh, you know, I didn't expect it from the silhouette coming. So it was just that there was a lot of energy with her and she was very, she was in command, you know, you'd go into the studio and she was directing, she was in command. You take her over here, she does this, you take her over there. She does this and you know, you had to know your workout, you had to know everything and she made sure and if you didn't, you know you were in trouble the first day that you went, she gave you these, I'm going to really age myself. Ditto sheets. And on the ditto sheets she chose circle and check and write five times, eight times. And it was the return to life photos.

And that was literally what you had to do as your homework. I was in and out a lot because I was with the company. So sometimes I'd be gone for months and all I would have was those sheets to, to work and then she'd add stuff and I still have my notes. You know when I did a, when she was adding stuff on the map for the sidekicks, you know the devil pay and the thigh stretch, I put down like z because you know, she, a lot of times she didn't get names. It was like hinge back, come up, pinch back.

So you'd make up your own names probably. Why? There's 20 million names for every exercise. I actually never decided to become a platas teacher. It was something that kind of organically developed, um, which is probably why I get confused when people take one lesson. They're like, I want to be a teacher. I didn't have that experience.

I was doing plots for myself. I had, um, left the Bell Valet Company to have my son and I taught a math class here and there. And, um, I had a ballet student who, uh, herniated her discs and she was 15 years old and the doctors told her that she wasn't going to dance anymore and that she would be uncomfortable walking. And I'm like, no way we'd come to my house. So I brought her to my house and I had my reformer and I had, you know, a wall unit at the time and my mat and my electric chair, those were my, my, my, I had a combo chair and, um, I just taught her what I knew and went by my gut. You know, I didn't have any rules. I didn't have any where I just went by my gut in years of doing it for myself.

One thing that I think is so important is that you have to have the work in your body for you before you can teach it to somebody else. And all the older, older teachers have that experience. We came to it for our bodies. And so I just taught her what I knew and used my common sense to leave certain things out, what to add, what to and built her. And within a couple months she was back dancing and she actually, years later went through the training program and got certified through Galcher and now I think she's like an assistant da in Brooklyn. But you know, she went through the whole program. Like he got smart, Huh?

But she's, you know, she was, and then it was word of mouth. Somebody said, oh, Kathy did this with, you know, Jen. And then somebody else would call me and somebody else who call me. And then I was like, I really was enjoying it because I was seeing how it could help people and the real benefits of it and the fact that people who went from being in pain, moving to moving again with joy. And that's to me, what Ramana gave to us is that we were able to move with joy and pain without pain. My life with Ramana, my time with Romana was so much more than the Palati studio, the Pilati studio in the studio. The one thing that she gave me is in my whole life I was very, very hard on myself. I was never good enough. I was never thin enough. I was never a good enough dancer. I was never pretty enough. I was never, I was never good enough. When I was in that studio with Ramana, I felt good at something. I felt good. I could do this work.

I felt this work in my soul and she shared that with me and to me that allowed me to truly find myself. It was so much more, Romana was so much more than PyLadies, you know? I mean, really, she lived what she believed PyLadies was there to enhance her life, not her whole life. And it was the spirit that she carried everywhere that I think influenced me the most. And she also gave me such freedom and joy because I had two young kids at the time, very, very young when I came to get certified and I was with all these young kids or people that didn't have the same constraints that I had. And she related to that because when she'd come to New York City, she was working, she was raising her kids.

She was trying to keep a balance in life. And that was something else that we shared. And she encouraged me and kept me focused. I mean, there were times where I would be asked to go someplace with her to demonstrate or to teach and I couldn't and it wasn't held against me. Whereas in the dance world that was held against me in with Romana, it was not held against me. It was actually respected that I would be that way and that I would prioritize with my family and then my job. So she gave me that freedom, which is something that I never had before. Prior to that, it was, oh, well you want to have a child, but he can do with your dance career.

And you know, I actually was, when I got pregnant with my son, I was dancing and I got condolences and I was devastated. And here, here was a whole woman, she was a whole woman. She loved food, she loved good wine, she loved to dance, she loved to have a great time. And she allowed me to find that in myself. She also shared my love for dogs. So I would walk in and the first question would be, how are the dogs?

And she would tell me about what, how she trained her, her little poodle to do swan lake and you know, that she would have her there and she would do it. And you know, so, so Ramana's biggest gift is that she wanted, she lived a full life and she wanted us to live full lives. Dragos was fun. Dragos was so much fun. That's where my family was. I mean, I would go in for, you know, when, after the training program I would go in from my, my weekly workouts and you know, all my family would be there and we would have fun and we would laugh and we would drink champagne. And you know, it was great. It was absolutely great. And you know, it's funny cause one thing Romana always taught was punctuality and which as a dancer, fortunately I had, you know, ingrained in me, but you were there in the mornings. You were there if she was there going to be there at seven.

And it didn't matter whether she'd been out the night before late or you'd been out the night before late, you were going to be there before her at seven waiting at the doors at Dragos if you wanted to make her happy. And we all wanted to make her happy. So you'd be there early in the morning, even when I was just going in from my lesson and by one o'clock you're drinking champagne and life began and that's the way dry Dragos was. Fun. People flip it on the, the uh, o rings, these big men with these potbellies doing polities stretching and rolling. I mean, you'd see them do the red cheeks huffing and puffing and doing their fives and you know, it was just great. It was so much fun drag coming and Cassie take the pushup, ours, you know, do a Bush up, you take your legs, he'd split you, it flip your through, he throw you through some trench gymnastic thing. It was fun.

It was a big party. You know, if you do what I call constipated Polonius and you're not moving at all in your, you know, so cautious. There's no freedom and you actually come out more uptight than going in. But if you push yourself to the edge and you get yourself to that point where you, everything just releases and you've challenged yourself and done something that maybe you didn't think you could do or maybe not done something that you tried to do and that was okay, you, it there, it was never a performance. It was about the movement in the experience of it and not whether you did it pretty at all. Second, Zoe or my two children that grew up, pull out his babies and they would sometimes come to the studio with me because you know, I didn't have money for a babysitter or my babysitter, you know, didn't show up. And they were always welcome. And I will tell you, Shari was the absolute best with the kids. Absolute best with the kids.

Every time they came in she was like another mother to them. She was, she is absolutely the most wonderful woman with children, bar none. And you know, I would be working out and they would be splits and around do whatever playing. But they grew up, you know, with pilates. And Zach is a very lucky boy because not only did he do plays with Ramana, he's also done plays with Jay. And I said, you know, one day, Zach, you're 21 now, you're going to be older. Your people are going to be reading about these people and you're going to be like, really? Ramana j Da, you know, he spent Easter with Romana, you know, I went to parties with Romana. It's, you can be like, it's going to be, I said, it's going to be very interesting for you later on.

Ramana's role in the history of [inaudible] will be that she was the one who tried to keep the spirit and the philosophy of the work alive. That's the essence. The, uh, the, the athleticism alive. There's so much [inaudible] out there and there's so much good Palase of all different forms in Sharas, but for her, I think that she's going to be the one who's remembered to caring for forward the movement and the energy and the, the vigorous work. Ramana was an extremely generous person. If you went out with her, she would insist on paying and if she thought that you were going to pay, she would slip the weight or the credit card way before you got the chance.

Any event at her home was always a huge party. She was always inviting people to live with her. If they couldn't afford, she was always inviting people to put them on scholarship if they couldn't afford. She was always, always taken care, which is probably one reason why she was such a brilliant teacher because she was a natural nurturer, natural caregiver. It was always so much fun, like Easter time, and we still do this. She would have in there were like no little kids, but everybody did it. You Dye Easter eggs on a white sheet and you know, her parents were artists and you'd roll the eggs on the sheet and then you'd sign your name and the year. And they kept all these, these years of these beautiful, you know, rolls, colors, spiraling colors, and it's something that's to this day that we do and it's just shows, I don't know her, her creativity, her life, her, she was like one of those scrolls with all the different beautiful pastel colors, just exploding all over the place, but giving, I mean, you never, you never worried. She would just, she would give you the shirt off her back. Ramana had so many catchphrases.

It's so hard to like think of just one Arima [inaudible] yeah, it was just, I don't know, it's like really hard for me to like think of that because it's, it was just so part of, I think when we teach, we do it, you know, I'll be teaching and to go back, push into the strap, you know, I'll come out with my lousy German accent, but that's from Hermana, you know, and she'd be like little mushroom long string beans, little mushroom lunch, like things that would come out, push, put, you know, push you. It's just when you're teaching it comes out and it's because it's so ingrained. But it's so funny to sit here and try to think about it. Yeah. Like, you know, I can't do every day Bush into this trap. I can't do a Ramana's voice. You're funny. That's fresh. Listen, I could do a long guy with Jewish house white. That's pretty much it. Okay. One time. This is really funny.

My brothers were big martial artists and you know people when, when they would see the, you know, I get a little frustrated sometimes because people will be like, oh, Romana changed the work to ballet and she didn't. Ramana taught the body that was in front of her always. So if she had a dancer, you're going to teach it then like a dancer, you know, you're not going to teach them like a football player. You're going to communicate with them that way. You're going to use the word Porter Bra. You're getting, because that's how you communicate. Same thing I do, if I'm working with a Golfer, if I'm working with a football player, if I'm working with a wrestler, if I'm working with an equestrian, I, it's my job as the teacher to communicate.

So I'm going to communicate in their language. And that's what Ramana did. So one night we're at a barbecue at my house, smoking cigars, sitting out back, and my brothers were there and they're these big martial artists. And my one brother comes in and he's, he, you know how Romana was, is with men. I mean, she just loves men. So she had these two hunky guys, you know, there to play with. I don't know who takes after her with that either. And so she says, you know, she's like, Oh, let me see your pushups.

She goes, Cathy, get down with them. So we do our pushups. And she goes very good, very good. And she's like, and you know, she's like, it's military and quite sure that that aren't Dah, Dah, Dah. And he's like, you know, military, she's getting him going, we get done. And she leans over, whispers in my ear, she goes, I would love it so hard because he got up thinking. He was just like Mr and Donna. She had him thinking that he was just the cat's meow, how fabulous his pushups were. And she leans over, which to me was the best. I mean, there's so many. It's it, it was always a party with her. You know, whether it was a, a party at her apartment where there was always dancing and always music and always food too, whether it was, you know, a holiday or something where there was always food. And ovaries dancing, you know, always partying, you know?

So it's hard to pinpoint one because pretty much every time you were with her, it was an experience. If Romana was sitting next to me right now, our conversation would be about everything. [inaudible] she would probably be about the dogs and the kids and what I was cooking and about her kids and her grandkids and her dogs. You know, it would be about life.


Mary L
2 people like this.
HI KATHI It was so fun seeing your excitement as you spoke of Ramona. She was a great lady and so are you!! I love all your videos, keep them coming. xxoo Mary Lyon
3 people like this.
i loved this. thank you kathryn, for sharing your story. i only met romana twice, but her big heart was what i remember the most. you are full, overflowing with the fruits of that experience.
I just re-watched this discussion. Kathi you are serving Romana very well with your open hearted sharing. Thank you!
YEAH! Brett and Kristi Thank you! This is something I will always cherish!
1 person likes this.
So happy you like it too Kathi!!
2 people like this.
Kathryn, this was so much fun to watch and listen to the excitement as you spoke of romanana. I truely truely wish that i could have met and worked with her. I feel, from your discription of Romana, that i would have loved and enjoyed her company as much as you did. I do hope that someday you and i will meet. And Kristi, my hat off to you. I have enjoyed all these stories that people have shared with thier experience and work with 1st generation teachers. Maybe you will make a movie about the life of Mr.Pilates and his first Generation teachers. Something to think about. Thank you all. I truely am blessed to have found the Pilates Method.
1 person likes this.
It's beautiful story.
Thank you~~~^^
1 person likes this.
very inspiring ~ Thank You :)
2 people like this.
Kathi this is amazing gift that you give to me today! Listen to you about Romana, and your honest heart and beauty from inside. Is true we learning from own experience after my own traumatic experience in my cervical spine and Pilates bring me back and still healing and back to teach full time. Thanks and more thanks you have all my respect just one more things I love cats! Thanks for share kisses luz
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