My first impression of Romana was that this was a deeply funny woman. Immediately I sensed from her that this wasn't, Oh, a woman that you said no to. 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.
There was a a buttress of Joe polarities and she comes waltzing through the door, waltz's to the Palladia to the, to Joe's buttress, kisses him on the head and says, hi, Uncle Joe. And continues waltzing through the studio. And I thought, oh my God, who is that lady? It was so funny. I just thought, who is that? Is that a student? Is that a client that turned out that was Romana they all kind of looked at me. They're like, that's Romana.
What is their experience? And that's what makes a great teacher because she never told you what not to do. She hardly ever said no, she just told you what to do. Do this, more of this without all of the negatives. So in her sessions, you felt that you really could do it all. You were invincible and if you weren't, you were going to try to be anybody who studied with Ramana. Got It. Like you got it. You got, you got that.
This thing is amazing. You got them. Yeah. That it's, it's a whole thing. You don't have to change it. There was no reason to doubt the immense power of this thing
They were just trying to make money. She always had a limit as to how many hours you should teach so that you can give the best to each client. She never let you get down on your knees to teach. She wanted the energy always flowing up. So it was, um, it was a hole and you had to study her, not just the book and see if you just studied the book and learn the exercises. That's not, that's one third of [inaudible]. Look at what's going to happen 10 years from now.
You're working now for what you're going to be like 10 years from now. Not Today, you'll feel good today. Um, but five or 10 years from now, you'll thank me. When I walked to her apartment with her on Columbus Avenue and she walked up five flights of stairs and she was in her late seventies carrying bundles and, you know, and that's, if you want to be something that's the way you want to be, we're living longer, right? I mean, medicine's keeping us alive longer. You know, you're going to be into your eighties and nineties, but you want those years to be fruitful. And I saw that back then and I want them to be like her.
Then I remember walking in and thinking this is a crazy place. And also that it wasn't, is because when I, when you first got off the elevator back in the day, uh, there was a whole gymnastics arena at the very front happening in eyesight, direct eye line of the elevator. So people were doing gymnastics, classical gymnastics that the parallel bars, you know, tumbling. Um, and a lot of people, very dedicated, hardworking people. Uh, and the plot is, was sort of in the back, you know, like the dirty little secret of the gym
And um, sometimes you're like, oh my God, I could have one today.
Cassie take the pushup. Ours, you know, do a Bush. You take your legs, he'd split you. It flip your through. Dragos was magic. Dragos was such a fabulous place to be back then, just walking in the door. It just was such an incredible place. You never know. You never knew who was going to be in the studio that day, whether it was just a news reporter, a news team, um, a professional ballet dancer, a comedian, somebody literally coming right out of back surgery, uh, Romana and Drago together, having a bald swinging from the rings. It was just, it was just magic every single day.
And she would quote Joel out in the air out there should always, and that way you had to say it like that. And so now to this day, you can't say it any other way. She said about the reformer, the reformer. They're like braces on your teeth. They're there to reform you, to make you straight and even, and whatever braces, whatever she thought braces were going to do, that was what the reformer was going to do. And he was always, always incredibly clear. It is not a machine. Don't call it a machine that, yeah, it was an apparatus and but what she meant was you moved it. It didn't have an on off switch. You didn't ride it, you didn't get on and have it do stuff to you. You got on and then you moved the,
Keep exhaling. She wouldn't let you just stop. She wanted those lungs to fully expand and to fully
I took checked my notes last night and we don't bring the kerogen. And I was upside down with the legs over my head. And I was like, if you've been teaching it wrong for years, we've all been teaching it wrong for years. But she laughed. And it was such a funny moment because it just showed us she, it's just exercise, you know, we don't all take it so seriously and we make mistakes sometimes and you can fix those mistakes and nobody got hurt in the meantime. So it was interesting to me too, as a reminder. It always go back and check my notes also that, you know, even the people we look up to, our mentors, these great, these great larger than life characters are, are fallible.
There are mistakes that get made and that's, that's okay too.
And so I think we got along fairly well. Clara, you know, chose Romana to carry on the studio and trained her to do that. Trained her to carry on their method cause other people had, you know, studied with Joe or trained but they weren't trained to carry on the work. There's no more one anymore. Nobody has that connection with Joe. And I don't think the others had that same connection as she did the other elders. I don't think they had that same connection.
He helped her in that very early phase of her career and then a little bit later and then he was there when she got married. And then when she moved to Peru, he stayed in touch with her and he sent her for his, his grand babies. You know, like when Romana had children then he wanted to know how were they doing with Peloton. And as soon as she got back to New York after leaving Peru and coming home again, she was right back there with them. So she was with him in so many different eras of her life and kind of growing up the whole time. And once she came back, she just simply stayed and she stayed until he died and she stayed until Clara died. And then she just stayed on, you know, so it was, she was family.
And every time she talked about Joe, you even see a little sparkle in her eye energy in her body and in her voice. You can see that excitement in that love. And that Addison,
And I think most of us had tickets seriously, but the fact that she felt obliged to, to extract that promise speaks to her belief that this method should be carried out this way. She believed it. She felt it was true. I don't think she felt that at this. She was spinning her wheels. She felt truly that this was how the method should be preserved. She was the one who tried to keep the spirit in the philosophy of the work alive. Without Romana, there would be not, there would not be much lineage directly to Joe Palladio's teaching. I think Romana has been very adamant in how Pele's is being taught.
It's being taught. She's very adamant about pellet is being taught a very specific way. When you see something that is so perfect and you, why would you want to change it? It would make you mad. That's what she's doing. So what in her eyes, something that is meant to be a specific way is so perfect. When it's changed, she would get mad.
So I think that's where that was coming from. She
It could be parties based or it could be the gentry work, but it's not politeness,
They wanted to continue to teach what they were teaching, which I understand, but so the, I think that was where, you know, some, you know, that was where some of her ego came in and, but it's also because she was, you know, again, this was, it was supposed to be taught to my Joe taught to not how your interpretation of what Doe Joe taught it and you're adding your information to it as well. And so she understood what I was trying to do and she saw what I was trying to do and what I was trying to do was to make this a professional program and a professional training and do it the way it was. It should have been done, you know, that, that the Joe wanted the way Joe wanted it to be. You know, he wanted it to be out there and he didn't want it to be all over the place. And, and bastardize and all, you know, so I was loyal to that and I was loyal to her because of that as well.
So when we met her, we, ty home owned it and then Steve Giordano came into the picture and I think she had very high hopes for him and he was the one who helped us start our training program with her. And he was the one who brought Shawn into the industry and helped Sean and Romana Stark, the training program as well. So our programs really came from the same seeds of Ramana and Steve. Shawn was over here and we were over here and at some point, you know there started to be some, an animosity between Steve and Shawn and Romana had to pick Andy for whatever reason she picked Sean and I don't think it was ever the same. I think she felt pretty good about it at the beginning cause I think he did take good care of her for quite some time. But he had a mission, which wasn't, I don't think necessarily a bad one, but not necessarily something that fit her personality, which was he began to then start these teacher training programs all over the place and then she would have to fly in and certify people.
Like she would be dropped down in Seattle and she'd have these 25 people she'd never met. And she was supposed to say, okay, I say you're qualified. And that was when you started to see her kind of tighten up and say, well we're not doing that exercise anymore and Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah. And this would change and this would change in, this would change. And, and other things would get really rigid and hardcore and we'd be like, Whoa, really? She says that now. Cause that's not how she used to say it. Um, and, and the, and then as it got closer to trial and then the trial itself, I think that that was almost like a death blow for her. I think she recovered again. But honestly I think it was the beginning of the end
The trademark was even before that I was sending letters and you know, Romana would bring me stuff and say somebody, you know, students brought this in and you know, so we work together all the time on that side. You know, it wasn't just me and you know, somebody wins and somebody loses and whoever loses, you know, they're, they're on the short end of the stick. So I was on the short end of the stack.
Anybody can do it. That type of thing.
I W it was already being done. The trademark was to provide the quality control and make sure that when you walked in the door and somebody said plot is, you knew what you were getting and now you don't. So
Was calling piteous going Yoga Lotta, you know, calling all these other things. Polonius you know, you could say it's based on [inaudible] principles, core work. Um, but where's the spirit? You know, where's the transformational character? Where is that embodied in these new methodologies that are calling themselves [inaudible] I don't see it
Everybody with four or five, 600 teachers in the world, they all knew one way of teaching it basically. Um, and then, you know, it went in a different direction. It went commercial and it was never commercial.
Didn't feel like it are the passion. It looked like a bunch of exercises and then beautifully it's like, let's rock star this stuff. Let's show you how hard it is. Let's make it harder. And I was like, that was never, ever part of the intention. There was not a race to get to the advanced work. There was no showing off. There wasn't anything like that. And pretty soon that's all there was.
It kind of felt like, oh, I see you're just doing the show off stuff now.
There's always going to be a style of Plata is that associated with her. And uh, and for that I'm grateful. I think that there are so many styles to choose from, but this is a really important one and it should be preserved. And so I think our place is fairly secure in the, in the history and then hopefully in the future
She brought the method so that it can be used by the public. Um, I don't think when Joe is teaching based upon what I've seen in, in the films and, um, how he taught, I think people now, um,
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.
She truly gave me something so valuable that goes far beyond the politesse method.