Discussion #2011

Methods Overview

5 min - Discussion


Fran Hoyte discusses how Mary Bowen has impacted the Pilates industry. She tells us how Mary merged her two parallel careers to create Pilates Plus Psyche, and how this helps her treat the whole person in front of her. She also mentions how Mary is constantly learning and growing, which makes her a more inspiring and generous teacher each day.
What You'll Need: No props needed

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Jan 18, 2015
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So my name is Fran Hoyt and I've been teaching Pilates and also I'm having a parallel career in clinical research, a former chemist turned clinical researcher, as I got a little bit lonely in the laboratory and moved to clinical research because I guess I'm a little bit of an extrovert by nature. I've been doing Pilates by itself since 2002 and before that teaching other movements, exercise, high impact aerobics, all the way following all the trends to giving all that up and really just focusing on Pilates and got first certified through Power Pilates in 2002. And subsequent to that, the Kane school on 19th street. And following that, starting our own little school with my husband in Westport, Connecticut. Through that I met Mary because I realized that she actually lived quite literally down the street from where my mom lives. And I found that I just absolutely loved working with Mary and followed her ever since. So one of the things that Mary does, and there is a long laundry list of unique methods to Mary, one of them is her more merging of her two parallel careers. So she does Pilates, teaches Pilates, has been doing that for many, many decades. And in parallel to that, she does analysis. And when you go and see Mary, you can either have one of those two sessions or more recently a merging of those two and she treats the whole person in front of you.

So one of the things that we can gleam from that is to treat our own clients fully and wholly. That means learning how through Mary, how to use typing to categorize a person and do it in a very simplistic form. So if you think about Myers Briggs, which is quite complex, if you dilute that to its more simple forms, it's four different types. And through workshops with Mary, you can learn not only how to type yourself, but also how to type your clients and have a better relationship with your clients and have better sessions, have more effective sessions. And that goes into how a session can roll the pace of a session, how they take in information and how they use that information is based on their type. So if you learn that you can become a better teacher for them. Another uniqueness about Mary is her continuing to learn and grow and be a student herself.

And what she's done is taken the body of Pilates work and layered upon her own innovations. And some of those include the releasing work that she does and that can encompass many different tools from using the Cadillac, leveraging gravity to assist with releasing a sort of contracture in the left hip. You know, Mary's always talking about we in this culture are very left hip heights, so how to release fascial structures and connective tissue by leveraging gravity using things like the fuzzies on balls, using things like the Wunda Chair plus the Cadillac with the roll down bar with extension. So many, many other tools that she uses to do her release work. In addition to that, she does workshops on the spine leading the direction. So sort of taking your mind out of it this time and letting the body and letting the spine lead the direction to get the releasing that that we need. She uses the analogy of the cat.

So we always know that Joseph Pilates talks about the baby and the cat. Well, she'll take that cat analogy and really just kind of transform it a little bit for us. How much, you know, how different it is for the cat to be rolled up in a tight ball versus that same cat with full extension. How do they get that full extension and how can we also do that as humans, getting the separation of the vertebral segments more than we think that we know we can. Some key bonuses of taking lessons from Mary, to learn about generosity. Mary is constantly giving, she is serious about the work and the work that she does, but she doesn't take herself seriously. And she's very generous with her time, with her energy. When you work with Mary, she wants to know about you. Which is very humbling. I mean, she's fabulous and she still takes time.

An example of that, she did a workshop for us recently in our little studio and on the ride home she was asking all kinds of questions about the teachers that were in the workshop. And she's always interested in your story. And I think we can gleam something from that when we are working with our clients to think about them as a whole and use caring as one of our values when we're working with our clients. And one of the things when you do workshops with Mary, and people should come to her, so you can go to see Mary in Connecticut and Massachusetts and New York. Go to her to workshops. If you can get a big enough group together, she'll come to you. She travels all over the planet and be prepared because like I said, she takes the work seriously, but she doesn't take herself seriously. And she expects you to poke humor at yourself too.

There'll be a lot of swearing. There'll be misguided, we had a situation just recently where one of our teacher's pants fell down when she was doing the cat exercise with the Wunda Chair and the extension of the roll down bar. And literally half of her bottom came out. And you know, this is just part of the Mary experience and she just makes a joke and that's Mary. Expect humor, expect to be poked at to where Mary sits. And in our world of Pilates she is a first generation teacher. She was taught by Joseph Pilates and by his wife, Clara, and by Hannah. And she worked with them for six and a half years. We've had 10 elders, we've had many elders, and she's considered an elder in our community. And on top of that, she didn't just take that and leave it at that.

She's constantly been learning and continuing her own practice and embodying the work. Still to this day.


Lynn G
1 person likes this.
Very nicely put Fran. I have spent a little bit of time with Mary and love how she juste lives life and is interested in you as a person. Her application of the Jung theory and Pilates is mind blowing and speaking from experience, can change your relation with your clients. Thank you.
1 person likes this.
Memories of Mary Bowen's Jungian philosophy are refreshed in your words. As an instructor of Pilates, her insight to observe our student's personality is priceless and rewarding. The depth of Pilates, certainly goes beyond the 'exercise', to the whole person. She enabled me, since our day in Seattle in 2006, to make this work the center of my life.
1 person likes this.
Fran-- such a lovely tribute to Mary Bowen. You've always spoke with such fondness of Mary, both as an instructor mentor and a friend. I love the idea of really 'seeing' the whole person and approaching each session with that macro vision.
1 person likes this.
I love this and now want to learn all about mary Bowen....my fav college professor talked about Jungian philosophy all the time and how karl Jung shaped occupational therapy....it is necessary to treat any client holistically....and I adore people, esp. Professionals, who do that....as a former OT and prof. I found a holistic approach to be the best approach in therapy
1 person likes this.
Thanks so much! I LOVE Mary and have learned so very much from her. I hope for continued opportunities to do so. Thanks for speaking so eloquently about her numerous gifts:)
I love this video and hearing you talk with such fondness about Mary. I hope to meet her one day! I am lucky to learn from you having learnt from her! X

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