Welcome everybody. My guest today is Patricia metros from of Rome. As we've seen in the media, what's been happening in Italy is Italy forefront of dealing with a Corona virus. So what we're going to explore is what she's experienced and what she thinks is going to happen, what appears to be happening in her country, and hopefully share some wisdom and some experience with everybody else on the call so that we can be ready for when all these things changes. I got to do a little introduction about you, Patricia. You trained with Ramana, so it makes you a second generation teacher. You are from originally I believe Chicago. Is that right? I remember that right.
You did your training there and then you came to Italy. I went back and came back to Italy again. You run a teacher training school. Uh, you have a mentorship program and it's great that many of your people are on the, on the webinar. Um, most of your clients in Europe, but you also have people in the U S that sound about right. Completely. So how long have you been in your apartment? How long has it locked down? Bingo.
Well, it happened sort of gradually, but our, the entire country was locked down as of March 8th or 10th not exactly sure, let's say March 8th. And the, the stipulations in Italy are a lot more stringent than they are in other places in the world. For example, for example, since March 8th, we cannot leave our residences except for to go to work to grocery shop to go to the pharmacy or the bank or if there's some sort of emergency. So we don't have the free hour to do, to walk or to JAG or just to go outside. We can walk the dog. We have to stay close to our residents. So that means that we've basically been not only locked down but locked in almost for two months. Oh my goodness. Of people being pretty disciplined about staying inside.
Very much so. Even though the stipulations are very stringent, the Italians have been very observant. They have in very compliant, although I have heard about fines being issued, but people on the street jogging and um, no, everybody is quite compliant. But since I haven't been out physically in about two weeks, I haven't seen what's happening on the street. But yes, generally the mood is, but it's abide by the law, the rules, and hopefully we'll get out this sooner
But what happened is the information was delivered to the civil protection service from the regions on a very chaotic basis. So even the civil protection who could have given the whole country information didn't have all the facts.
It's an umbrella organization that, I almost want to say, it's like FEMA, I think it's an umbrella organization that takes care of emergencies. Okay. Disasters.
And Italy is about the size of California. It's three quarters of the size of California, but it 25 million more inhabitants. So it's quite a dense population. Things are small. Everything's on a much smaller scale. Houses are smaller. Um, still, um, the streets are smaller, cars are smaller, everything is smaller. So a flat, you could have, Oh, I don't know, a hundred square meter flat, which I don't know what that is in square feet,
So if they're elderly parents that the elderly grandparents are living in the same flat is the younger parents and the parents are going out to work and live and they get affected, infected, and they're asymptomatic and they bring the virus back home. The elderly parents get sick. Mm. And the virus spreads. Yeah. So that's, that's one of the hypotheses.
But after I check in with NPR and the BBC, I turn the news off. I don't want, I don't want that bombardment. I know what's happening. I'm living it. I don't want to hear about the number of cases and I get that little snippet of news that keep me up to date without bringing me down.
I've got a job to do here. Um, but just kind of like as you've gone through this thing, what are the, yeah. Have you felt you've had this social isolation and how have you kind of let looked after your mental health in this?
They're scattered around the world. So I was very used to teaching online for years. Since 2015 I've been teaching online. So that hasn't changed. Um, 10% of my clients chose not to go online. That's 10%. That's nothing.
I didn't try to convince them or anything. I respect their wishes, their desires. I totally understand. It's personal, personal preferences and yeah, for everyone else it's been, life is normal. So looking after my mental health, health has been relatively easy. Um, the only thing I do miss my daily walks, I do miss getting out and I miss my family, miss my family desperately. I have my son lives here with his beautiful wife and they have to, well I'm the grandparent, but they have two magnificent, beautiful kids and I miss them desperately. Really because they're walking distance from me. Yeah. We can't connect. So that is really hard.
And then I have a couple of dear friends in Rome and I miss seeing them. So that's, that's how I've adjusted. It hasn't been much of a transition, luckily. But like I said, I, I have this very fortunate, unusual set up.
So based on these facts and based on the risk factor, the prime minister on juicy, Epic Conti content on Sunday this past Sunday held a press conference and said he laid out the roadmap for how Italy was going to coexist with the virus. And as of Monday, May 4th, we can go out. I know, it's amazing. We can go out. This is cause for fireworks and we can, it is, and we can go, um, we can move around freely with masks keeping social distancing and we can even go see our relatives. So, right.
So there's, there's a bunch of other stuff that's happening on May 4th so this will give you a picture of how the country is moving into phase two. So phase one was the lockdown from March 10th to May 4th and now phase two, we enter on May 4th and this will be the transition into coexisting with the virus. So up into all the stores, everything locked down on March 10th. So as of May 4th not only can we move around, Mmm, we can go to the park again. The entrances will be staggered and there will be police or some other, um, some, some other force making sure that that things don't get out of hand. We can go
Now that's this. This is new and big. I have to say that in Italy, the fact of going to mass or going to church was a big deal and all the churches are closed. And it was a huge bone of contention in the government when, if, if mass would be allowed and it's not, so funerals are allowed 15 people, no more masses, Nat, we can now get takeaway. We couldn't get takeaway before I take away is not a big thing in Italy like it is in the United States, but still now it exists and I'm manufacturing, construction, real estate, wholesale trade. This will resume as of Monday. Yeah.
So on the things like manufacturing and construction, which yeah, in Los Angeles or continuing a continued the whole thing. So they stopped during the hello? In Italy? Yeah. Yeah. Everything stopped. Everything. What, what could you do? Could you buy food in a supermarket? So grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, newspaper stands, tobacco shops. Uh, the motorcycle repair shop was open.
So the things of, um, of first necessity for as survival, survival items, those we could get, but everything else other than that with completely shattered. Wow. So does that mean the nature kind of reclaim the city? All the people gone? Not really. Not really. I can only, I know, I can only see out my window, but no, there are more birds. What will nature like Rome is in very green. We have some beautiful parks, huge like central park but bigger and more lush and beautiful. But I'm not close to them. But in the city itself it's not very green.
But what did change? Is there a stars now? At night? Oh and I hadn't seen stairs for three years and it's quiet and Rome is chaotic and bustling and noisy. And it's so I'm enjoying the peace and the quiet. We all are. Yeah. As much the same here in LA, the air quality is better because people aren't driving. The birds are so much, I don't know if I have any louder, but I can hear them.
No, cause I can hear that. I kinda like it. I think I'm going to miss it. But yeah, the pollution and everything in LA is significant. So that's exciting. And, and a little aside, we have to get our, our, um, our beauty where we can with the hair salons, clothes and the nail salons close and everything's close. But this has been great for the skin. This clean air has been really good for the skin, I have to say.
So that's a plus. Cool. Everybody's locked down is a little bit different. I think it's a lot stricter than what's going on here in Los Angeles. I think Italy's was the most severe. I don't know about France, I don't know about other European countries, but Italy is, was so stringent and comprehensive, but it worked. It's working. So on March 22nd there was a peak, uh, cases and deaths.
And as of March 22nd from March 2nd to now, so today is April 28. That's a month. Things have been going down, down, down, down, down, down, down until finally the number of cases of cure cases and lack of deaths. What I said before gave us the permission to move into phase two. And in that regard, I'm very proud of Italy because it's proven that if you do do sheltering in place and social distancing, it works. Now, I don't know what's going to happen after May 4th if people are going to B take too many liberties with our new freedom, our new found freedom. I hope not. Yeah. Then it'll go back up again and then. Mmm. Yeah. So what's that? Stop it and then it goes the other way too much and he come back [inaudible] it's the famous pendulum. We're always trying to find the happy medium, the happy middle. But I don't think the coronavirus is, well, when we get the CA the vaccine, then we can talk about annihilating it.
But it's here to stay and we have to learn how to coexist and prevent any huge flare ups. Yeah. That's got to be tricky. Talk a little bit about phase two. What else can you do and what can't you do during phase two can you open your Pilates studio in phase two? No. [inaudible] so it depends how the plot is. It depends on how your bloody studio is taxed. Classified.
So some are in the tax classification of here, salons and estheticians and those open on June
There will be a 50% reduction in the number of tables. So half are going to move out too. Um, respect the space and then looking further ahead. We hope the schools will open in September. Nothing has been established for grammar, middle and elementary schools. And, um, December they're thinking about opening the movie houses in the theaters and by next March, which will be a year from the virus outbreak, this goes in football stadiums, soccer stadiums.
So, but that just, I think it's a, we'll have to see, but it's very planned out and it's drip by drip step-by-step. But if it works, we could produce the model for other countries to follow restorative the Guinea pig.
Yeah. And so maybe a phase two works and we do prove that that it's the right path to take, then other nations will pay more
The, the health structures weren't really able to handle it and it was chaos. They don't want, they've been doing a magnificent job, but it could have been more organized. Yeah. And um, that's it. Those are, those are the hypotheses that people have agreed as to why explain why the dance. So would this change on the 4th of May? Yeah. If I wanted to be a tourist and fly into Italy, is that possible? It's not going to happen. That's not going to happen. I don't know when the borders are going to open.
There are some Scandinavian countries where the borders never closed. I think Sweden and Denmark doesn't have open borders. I'm not sure. But Italy [inaudible] completely shut down. Yeah. So if you wanted to catch a train between the North and the South, that's not running yet either. Yeah, we can. So that's the thing. If you have, we can move around on May 4th, we can move around within our region. Well, we can't go region to region or state to state unless it's an emergency.
Right. So if I have to get somewhere, the trains are still running. Yes, of course. There's protocols. So many people for per car. How did you, we can't, we have to maintain the social distancing, but they're running. Yeah. Somebody just put it in the chat or there's one direct flight from the U S thank you Lillian. That's, yes. Yes, there is. Um, there is one flight daily. Alitalia has a flight from America to Rome.
I don't know, maybe New York, I'm not really sure where. Wow, that's a very different experience here. You can read in the newspapers in Los Angeles, one of the counties is orange County and they've left their beaches open. Well, we just had a weekend of incredible heat here for April and so the beaches were packed. It was like a summer day. Oh. There was no way that that was social distancing, you know, it was just the beaches was full of it.
Fingers crossed. Yeah. Things like that. Contrive a lot of 'em a lot of infection from person to person.
You mentioned that you've been doing it for awhile.
I've got to do what I can to help to help whomever I can. So lockdown started on March 10th by March 14th I had, I'm free Saturday zoom Gladys classes for everybody on my list, friends, clients, apprentices, anybody. So for one hour and Saturday I give this free class and it's going great and people love it and they not only love moving of course, and they not only love laddies, but they love moving with likeminded souls. It gives a sense of community and connection and social bonding and belonging. And I think that's what we're all missing.
We're missing the human connection.
So I'll teach my privates on zoom. And many of those are students or people who have their own equipment. And if my clients don't have their own equipment, furniture becomes Pilates equipment and you can adapt pretty much anything from Ottomans are great Ottomans chairs, benches, chests, coffee tables, stacks of books, bolsters anything.
Or just the mat reform or on the mat is one of the hardest workout that exists, right? So you just adapt the reformer exercises and the cat. Anything that you can, you try to adapt with what you have used. The wall, the wall is fantastic, but there's many ways that you can get creative.
So we have a civil code and in the civil code,
I've never demonstrated in all these years. I don't demonstrate when I'm teaching, unless it's really drastic and there's no other way. Alright. Bye. Bye. Uh, so I don't demonstrate when I teach online either I do and I have to concentrate on who I'm teaching on the screen to really make sure I can see and correct and adjust and align. And that gives the value of the lesson. That's how we touch online, bye. Our intent, our attention, our full focused attention so we can see what the client is doing and make sure that we can guide them. Yeah. And a couple other things of how I think we touch online.
It's not just with our attention, but it's also with our heart. So we call out their names. If there's a group class, giving everybody personal, um, positive reinforcement and calling people out by name to make a correction. And then we can also with our voice, you can make your voice when I need to buckle up and do it, you can make your voice. Okay. More, um, drill Sergeant and when they need encouragement, encouragement, you can just make it more Zen master.
So if all goes well, I foresee early June the beaches are open. Yeah, the beaches are open and the mountains are open. You can go for a walk in the mountains or swim in the beach. I don't know how they're going to manage that in the summer. I don't think it's going to be just open beach. The beaches aren't open here anyway. They're all privatized.
They're all, they all have what we call stably mentee. It was very hard for me to get used to this when I moved here because I'm used to the California beaches actually and the wide open spaces and the miles of white sand and to see there would be a restaurant and then associated with the restaurant, chaise lounges on the beach in beautiful lines, all perfectly curated and umbrellas [inaudible] every square inch of the beautiful beaches in Italy or just set up like that. So I think that they'll, they'll have, they'll have a handle on it because of that too. But we can go to the beach to get close to nature. We can't go, if we have a second home in a resort town, we can't go to our second home.
How many people?
So you'd go back and forth with the screens. So that's that. That's takes a lot of, that's a lot of work.
So at the beginning of March, no, around March 15th when, after we started lockdown, I just, I spoke to everybody, I called a meeting and I said, look, if we can't, if you can't come to Rome, we'll just do it online. So we did the course online, the exams online, the course online, it went great. In fact, some people in the group want me to do this again online. And what I did was I reduced the price, but I reduce the price for the course and the exams. Not really because of the virus, but because I knew and now because it was online now, but because of the virus, because I knew that these are apprentices. They were going to close their studios soon and a couple of weeks after I did. And I thought, Oh no, what are they going to do? I can't add to their burden.
They lost the flight to come to Rome. They lost the hotel. So I, I reduced the price of the course and the lessons Mmm. By 30% temporarily just to get over the, the, the heat wave of it all. So that's, that was the only time I've ever have reduced my prices, but it was because it was only for apprentices, not for clients, because the apprentices, we're put in a very, and I'm in a leaky ship on a rough sea overnight.
So if you had plans in opening the studio, absolutely. But what I would do is I would make sure that you have at least half your revenue coming in from a different stream, whether that's online courses, online teaching, Mmm. A membership, a membership site, they can't all just be brick and mortar, not anymore. I think that's the lesson that we learned from this brick and mortar is great, but it's not enough. And having said that, maybe online is great, but maybe that's not enough either. Really. In an ideal world you have both. And then wait until virtual reality comes our way. Huh.
And artificial intelligence and then we'll have that too to add to the right.
Could I have a, the physical studio like Patricia's in her apartment, but I can also do online classes and then my investments not quite so big. You can spend a little bit of money and find out how it's easier cause it's easier to get bigger. It's hard to get out of that five year lease for that big space. So those are my kind of thoughts. We don't really know what the new new, new world is going to be. I think one of the things Patricia mentioned there is I do think there's going to be a bigger acceptance of taking parties virtually with your teacher.
So rather than, yeah, that client disappearing that was used to come in every week and then goes on vacation for two weeks in the summer. Maybe you get to keep that customer through the summer because she will do Pilates with you from, I don't know, Italy or wherever she's gone.
So we eat, sleep and do Pilates every day and people will want to keep up with that rhythm. I hope. I think that's been my experience. But if you can open in your home, I highly advise it because again, you do keep down the expenses. That's what Joe did. Joe and his eighth Avenue apartment. He had a studio there. And what from what I've heard, the little curtain and there was his living quarters.
My setup was a little different. There's a lot more privacy and distance between the two entities, but I you can start very small. I started with one piece of each one piece of each apparatus. That's it.
See you next Tuesday and exit stage left. So if they do want to chat, they kind of know they don't have that in with me. What I do do is chat a little bit in the beginning, like first thing I say is how are you doing? Like take a look at them and see how they are doing. But then I ask them and they'll always tell me, they'll say, my neck is killing me or you know, I feel great. Let's go. Or my niece, I just don't know what's going on with my knees. So that takes a couple seconds.
I check in and then if they do start to chat, like they don't really have the opportunity to chat with me, but if, but if they do and um, uh, they start talking about some sort of personal thing, I usually say, you know what, I'd really like to know about that, but can we save it for after the lesson? And then the lesson goes on and by the, by the end of the lesson we forgot about whatever that is. And then having said that, I do have some clients who are really good friends and that's a completely different, completely different,
Because they see to how much we care and we are very empathetic and we want them to be in their maximum health. So of course they're going to want to chocolate. You can schedule time for that though. If it's important scheduled time or now with the pandemic when we go back, we're not going to be able to have, I'm not going to be able to have clients back to back. I'm going to have to schedule time for one clan to leave, clean the studio, get it all set up and the other client to come in and maybe I'll schedule a little bit more time to chat. We'll see.
Have you over the years have resistance from your clients wanting to be taught online?
Maybe done a 30 minute free session of just helping them understand how to use zoom for instance. Um, for many grandparents, FaceTime has been the tool that they've talked to their children or their grandchildren for a long time. So trying to find a technology that they're comfortable with or familiar and giving away that 30 minute class, well it's really a consultation kind of tech support kind of consultation just to get them to the point where, Oh, actually I can do this because I think most of the resistance is a fear from them internally that they couldn't do that. And I think experiencing the product, good old product testing here, um, product marketing, you know, that kind of thing is really helpful. I like that transition. That's a good question, Kim. Thank you. Hi, this question is from Lena.
Do you watch each participant provide personalized cues?
So with zoom there is, there really is no chatting afterward. You know, that the hour is over and it's much more Mmm. Cut and dried. It's much more black and white, you know, the hours done and you just hit the little button and it's over and you can give a very good lesson online, which we've all discovered in these weeks in the studio. It's a completely different vibe. It's a completely different everything and it's, it's, it's a beautiful sharing and bonding experience when you're teaching in the studio. And it's not just the hands on work, it's not just the ability to do hands on. I think the value of the studio, it's a little bit more than just the hands on or the feedback and the proprioceptive feedback from the equipment and the resistance of the Springs.
It's more than that. I think when you enter somebody's studio, you get a sense of the culture of palladium, of the philosophy of ladies, of the lifestyle. For ladies that may be missing online. That's one thing that may be missing. And you need that experience of walking in the door, taking off your shoes, the ritual that tells you you're entering a sacred space, and it's your time to honor your body. And everybody in that space is there for that reason. So it's, it sets you into the mindset immediately. And that ritual breeds familiarity and routine and predictability.
And that can be very reassuring, especially in a time like this.
And that again helps the mind. No, they were going to do something different and it prepares you and then you have the presence of the teacher so that the client can see the benefits of in the movements of the teacher and in the example that the teacher sets. And then the teacher can be the teachers, much more active. So yes. This is Martha's question. Martha is from Greece. Um, how would you suggest the polarities instructors promote online classes? So people that are used to coming to the studio, reach out, reach out, reach out, reach out. So if you were sending a monthly newsletter, send a weekly newsletter, send three weekly, send three emails, text them, use WhatsApp. In Europe, WhatsApp is very popular.
So I would just, I would not be afraid of pestering really. I would reach out and say, Hey, I'm here for you. Let's work something out. And don't be afraid to reach out. Stay in communication, stay close to your people. And it's, there's a difference between pushing and offering. So just make your offer, don't be pushy, but make your office say, look, I'm here. Whatever, however you want to set it up. I'm here for you. We were talking last week with James crater and he was talking about Uplevel your communication.
So if in the class we communicated with somebody maybe with texts, yeah, call them up. You used to call them up and live a personal Hamlet and lesser to communicate even more effectively in this time. No, Arthur, I've just, I already hear these things anecdotally, but getting on the phone with the clients that aren't responding. So a lot of Pilates teachers around the world has been really successful. So I encourage you to go, no real old school. You know, they get on the phone. Um, what happens, you know, the worst kind of happen is, you know, you can just have a deeper relationship and they say it's just not really the right time for me.
So I'm encouraging you to do that. So I think that the hard part is inside us. We're not, you know, we didn't choose to get into the Pilates world because we wanted to be salespeople. Yeah. We would have done something else. So, um, yeah, whatever you do to kind of G yourself up. But yeah, I think he should. I think he should reach out more emails, phone texts, however you're going to do it. Do you have anything to add to that, Patricia?
So I give them and then I send out booster emails during the week too to say Saturday's class, you need a chair or wall, something to sit on. So I prepare them as best I can, but also when class time comes, be prepared to do a lot of juggling with your clients because you're going to have to help them set up and get the right chair and put it in fiddle with the camera and make sure the view that's once. But once that's over, then the hard part is done.
Patricia, it was wonderful talking to you. Thank you so much.