Discussion #4163

The Pilates Initiative

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On June 17, 2020, we talked to Kevin Bowen about The Pilates Initiative and what its mission is. He shares his background and how he is navigating through the pandemic and then goes into more detail about what teachers can do to make Pilates more accessible. He also explains what he thinks will happen to the Pilates industry in the future.

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- The Pilates Initiative

- Caged Lion

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Jul 02, 2020
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Thank you everyone for joining me, Amy Havens. And I have a wonderful guest, as you all know, that's why you're here. Kevin Bowen, who has you know, a nice rich history in the Pilates industry. And before I let Kevin introduce himself with that, let me just go through real quick the housekeeping. You all saw the slide at the beginning, but again, we'll just ask for, when you have any general chatting comments, that's the perfect place to put it, is in the chat column on this side, or wherever, mine's on my right.

But any question that's really direct question, please put in the Q and A and Kevin and I will get to those answers and questions, the questions and answer them in just a short bit. We have probably a few links for references that we'll make sure to drop in the chats also as we post them or need them or reference them. But without further ado, everyone, I would like to introduce Kevin Bowen. And I'd like for him to give a bit about who he is and where he's at now. (sighs) Never my favorite thing to do, but hi everybody.

I'm Kevin Bowen. I have had a pretty long career in Pilates that started, when I went into teacher training in 1995 and then through many different means and avenues. I got very involved because of the lawsuit. And then in 2000, when the trademark case, determined that Pilates was a generic term for exercise. Myself and Collin Glen started the Pilates Method Alliance.

And I was with the Pilates Method Alliance, Collin was with us for two years, and then I stayed on until 2007, and went back into my own private practice and my own business and working with, Michelle Larson and Core Dynamics Pilates. And then, I took a position with Peak Pilates as their director of education, and I moved from Miami to Boulder and I was with them for a couple of years, and now I'm back on my own. So, hi Christy Cooper. Hi Christy. I am now running Core Dynamics Pilates, and I have a studio here in Santa Fe and I'm involved in many other things.

One of which is the Pilates Initiative, which we'll talk about more later today. And I'm also president of the Human Rights Alliance here in Santa Fe. This man keeps busy as we can hear. (giggles) He's busy and I wanna put the word passionate around how I identify with Kevin. Kevin is extremely passionate about the method that we all hold so true and so dear in our hearts.

And that is part of the initiative and we will get there. I want to just continue a little bit more on, this last three or four months of time. And Kevin, how are you with all of this and how is your studio doing? Did you pivot? Did you turn?

Did you go virtual? yeah, I did that. I went virtual and I used that as a fire under my butt so that I had wanted to do that for awhile and I was never, basically around enough to have time to film. So I've been filming my classes and we're logging them and libraring them specifically for clients, but more specifically for the teacher training program. And, just kind of moved into a new reality, which most of us have graduated into.

Some have had much more difficult times, and I think we still have more continuing trying times to navigate this. It's just a whole new world, and it's kind of where we are at this point. So I'm hoping that we all come out of it on the other side, that much better than we were before. I agree, do you feel for your own personal studio business that the virtual was a positive thing for you to do or has it helped much, or? I honestly, for my studio because I traveled so much, my client's help base was quite small, there was a couple folks who do, a couple of women who run in my studio, but it's gonna be a better avenue for me for the training program and for the continuation of Core Dynamics.

And since Michelle Larson still lives here, two blocks away from where I am right now, yeah, oh wow! She will (giggles) she will also come on from time to time. And so will Suzanne Gutterson. So for me, it hasn't serviced clients more specifically as it's kind of honed my skills with video and creating content for teacher training. It's quite a viable solution for a lot of people and probably will continue to be for those people who don't wanna come back to the studio. I wholeheartedly agree.

And I think, I don't know how it is in New Mexico is if studio's been able to reopen, I know it's starting to trickle out here in California, I'm in Santa Barbara and we're still not officially allowed in. I know a lot of people are starting to kind of tip their toes in, LA County, they can not in Santa Barbara yet. But there's still so much resistance, upon returning and resistance just out of, people are apprehensive about their safety, you know, and I think I would say that, what I keep hearing from many studio owners and teachers is, "We are doing everything we can for protocol, safety, "sanitation, social distancing." All of those measures. But when it comes down to it, it's still about the aerosols and the transmission. And, you know, that is the issue.

And if people are not feeling safe, no matter how much of the protocol we follow, they're not coming back. So to have an alternative solution, virtual classes, is really how we can survive and continue to serve our studio demographic, and then also teacher training. But I have a question about teacher training, because I don't have a program myself, but, How is it for you? (giggles) Let me just ask you, how is it for you to stare at the monitor and Zoom for hours and hours to do a teacher training? Well, the last two weekends were the first time that I've ever done that.

And a couple of my colleagues has been three weekends ago. It's different, you know, we have a big program in Singapore, so that is yet to be seen how we're gonna handle that 'cause there's a 15 hour time difference. So that's really tricky with scheduling. But as far as here, the first group I finished their training and that wasn't, you know, it took a little getting used to. And that wasn't as bad I felt, because the beauty was, I already knew these people, and we had a relationship from being there so many times.

I just did a brand or started a brand new group with, just outside of Minneapolis. And that was tricky because, you know, we love to be in a room with people and feel their energy, and talk to them, and look in their eyes. And it was different to try to establish and throw out this of your personality in addition to, you know, what we're trying to learn in training. And, you know, I have a couple of ideas of how I can make it better, but it was honestly a little exhausting this first fast one. Okay, well, thank you for being honest.

I mean, I'd like anyone that we all speak to about these issues, for all of us to be completely transparent, about the pros and the cons, and the ups and the downs, and the bright and the not so bright around this. It's hard, it's different. We've been kind of just thrown into this thing and, you know, another element that a lot of people keep talking about and bringing into conversation is, how can we teach virtually with quality when so much of what we really wanna do is with our hands? you know, and we have to get better at verbalizing and expressing, and just saying it, I think is also what I, you know, I think we just have to say it, you know? Core Dynamics is still a small program, so that's the beauty of it.

So being able to start a new program, with one of our education partners in Medina, Minnesota works. And all of my education partners, all the people that I have now involved with the program. The only way I think I can do this, is they have to be present the whole time. So it sets up a kind of a different thing because they have to be more of the eyes, and the hands on and, you know, share in the training. I don't think that it will work.

I mean, I think maybe for our program the first weekend, because it's math, and we can kinda work through that. But when we get to the equipment, it's challenging, and setting things up and doing all of those things, You need a partner. That's the way I'm looking at it. You need a partner. Yeah, yeah, yeah, oh.

I know, you know, I have this thing's going through when I was first learning Pilates as a student and, you know, not hearing the queuing or hearing it, but not making anything happening in my body. And it wasn't until the teacher came up and physically helped me, whatever it was. That communication through these two body was the, Oh, Oh no! Oh, and how do we get that through, you know, without those hands there. And I know it's a topic that we just, you know, gotta keep bringing up, but, verbal cuing is going to, I think, accelerate and get better. And we just need to rely on that, and knowing the work deep in our own body, so that we can express it as best we can.

Yeah, and the other little thing that throws me off is because, there's a little time lag of course, right? So if I like to, you know, be light and jovial and tell jokes, and I tell a joke and then I get no response. And then I'm thinking all of a sudden, everyone laughs. So I have to play with that a little bit. That's been a little weird for me but.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. (murmurs) So how do you see the industry going forward? Let's talk about forward. 'Cause we know where we are right now. We know where we were, we know what happened.

We got thrown into it. We know where we are today. How do you see us going forward? I've given that a lot of thought. Thanks Christy.

What we do is really important, and so many people in the world need to have access to Pilates. Moving forward like in a studio setting for example, in Santa Fe, what I'm trying to do is, just set myself apart from everyone else as best I can, calmness and thoroughness and, and anything that will make our clients help base feel more comfortable. Studios are obviously having to downsize, how many classes or clients are coming in. I think, you know, everything's been thrown up in the air, and having a direct line of really what's gonna happen, I don't know. I look around the country, I see what's going on with States reopening at a very accelerated pace.

We're very conservative here in New Mexico for a number of reasons. And we have a very strong governor and she's insisting on that. 'Cause we simply have no capacity to handle anything that gets out of control. And if we did, it would just be horrible. So I think we're gonna wave up, and then we're gonna wave back down.

And I'm fearful that, I'm not fearful. I think I've tried to get rid of my fear. So I don't wanna use that word. It's just, I have to be honest with myself, and clients, and students that we don't know what's gonna happen. We could in eight weeks time here in New Mexico, have craziness because so many people are coming back to their second homes for the summer.

And they're all driving into the state, and they're not self quarantining, and they're coming in and we've been pretty insular. So who knows what will happen with us? I think certainly video and online Zoom classes are the, gonna be the way to go for a lot of people. And it's gonna be a learning mechanism, which so many people I've talked to from all the calls we've been having. You know, it's like a tutorial.

How do you use Zoom? How do you use Cisco Webex to the clients? They just don't know. They don't know. Yeah, right.

They don't know again, you know, and Pilates anytime, we have had some amazing webinars that John Marston has done with various people, that we can link some of those. If some of you haven't seen those, but how to set things up, how to you know, set up your Zoom, how to, you know, maybe we'll pop in a link or two on some of the other webinars. Thank you, Jia. Of you know, yes John Marston Pilates report, thank you. Well, he covers a lot of information.

But I'm here to talk to Kevin Bowen about now the Pilates Initiative. And I really wanna allow a lot of time for this, because I feel that, you've done it for a while. You started it a while ago, but now is the time maybe for it to really be emerging. Why did you start the Pilates initiative Kevin? What is it and why did you start it?

(loud laughs) I started it because, oh I was bored. (loud laughs) Oh God! So I didn't have anything to do. So I think I'll just start another thing. (laughing loudly) I just felt the need that we needed to, I needed to see if we could get together as a community and start to offer an outreach to people who can't afford Pilates. Because we have a lot of issues that have been, involved with Pilates method that have to do with the fact that, it's not cost effective for a lot of people.

Platforms such as Pilates Anytime they provide this service to people. It's a great cost effective tool, but by the same (indistinct) right in communities. And I noticed, and I saw that the Yoga Alliance and the Yoga Group of Folks, they have pretty much almost all yoga studios have community classes every week, for drop in fee 10 bucks, whatever you wanna give or free. I just thought that there was an opportunity for the Pilates community to come together, to do something like that. It's been a little slow going, but you know, life is a work in progress.

There's been some interesting things happening. If it wasn't for COVID-19 here in Santa Fe, I would be working right now on a three month pilot program within the Pain Management Department of CHRISTUS Saint Vincent's hospital here. We were gonna work with a group of people who, a friend of mine is a doctor and runs this department, is trying to get people off of opiates and trying to find out alternative ways (sighs) for people to move and be healthy and feel better. And we were gonna do a three month study with a specific set of exercises for people, and see what happens. Wow! And then would we have to rate results and, CHRISTUS Saint Vincent here is affiliated with the Mayo Clinic as well.

So, you know, that's really the goal, but more importantly, you know, I've offered some community classes in my studio. We need to get this method of exercise out to people who don't have access to it, and-- Let me stop you, can I stop you for one sec? Yeah, because I know I want to hear so much more about that, but give me more, give us more, just a clear, this is the Pilates Initiative and the mission. I know you're saying it now, but if there's a mission statement or. We have a mission statement on the website, we're really here to support the community.

Okay. The community of people who we need to reach out to, have no access. And I also think like, I felt strongly that we needed an advocate for the Pilates community it's self. Okay. The reason being is there's no one really, trying to represent the Pilates community.

And recently we've seen this with COVID-19. Right, right. And we just dropped in the initiative website over here in the chat. So people can read. please go, please go read that.

Yeah, anyway. Right, we want a group of like-minded people to come together. Membership is pretty inexpensive. Everyone involved with the organization is a volunteer right now, but I feel strongly that, we didn't have this, you know, advocates or advocacy for Pilates. Because no one is really doing that honestly.

And prime example with what's going on with COVID-19, we have studios that couldn't open, because gyms and Pilates studios became classified in the same category, and they're truly not. It doesn't fit there. So we needed advocacy there. We need advocacy in case we see things happening within the healthcare sector. And especially with, we don't know what's gonna happen with healthcare, was one of my concerns, and if we go down a road that starts to develop, and they wanna see that people, studio owners, fitness professionals have more organizational skills like that, but that we have more qualifications, because if insurance companies say, "Hey, we're gonna look down this route." And if people will go exercise and do things, then we would like to find places for them to go.

And this is what could start happening maybe. They'll start paying for things. Some companies are already doing that. But we have to have a standard protocol and mission, and so forth for all of that to start to come to fruition. And especially when it does, somebody has gotta go in, and talk about this business.

Because anyone, people who manufacture equipment, manufacturer equipment. People who teach Pilates, are teaching Pilates, but who's gonna talk for us? Right, well that's been a question and a concern and a talking point in our industry for quite a long time. And I think, as most recent things that have been going on, that's gotten a bit heated as we, you know, there are, you know, like where's our voice? Who's helping our voice be heard.

And, you know, yeah advocacy absolutely, absolutely. And I know in the Pilates Initiative I think, I believe there are four levels of membership. Student. Okay. Enthusiastic.

Student, enthusiast. Individual. Individual. (murmurs) Wonderful, yeah. We're not, you know, our goal in case some of you guys who are listening to this, is not to create another national certification exam.

That's not what our goal is. We are not here to compete with any other organization. We are here just to represent the community, and to start to flow through and see what really needs to happen with the community. Because, things are changing, and they're changing rapidly. And one of the things, although it's been a commitment that I didn't realize was gonna be such a commitment, where these weekly conference calls and tele home meetings that we're doing.

But to me, they kind of fulfill me a little bit, because so many people across the world, and especially across the United States at this point, we don't know what's happening and safe space. We do, okay so Kevin, this is global. This is not just a United States of America initiative. This is a global Pilates community. Anyone in the world can join the Pilates Initiative correct?

Yes, it's global. Thank you. So we had a couple of questions or comments, Deborah and Macy. Yes, anyone, anyone at all? This is not just a USA.

Yeah, it's not just the USA. And sometimes, I mean, what's most important that I thought, what we can offer as a small organization with almost no funding is, and I hate to say it like this, but like a shoulder to cry on. Like, let's talk about, what's going on. And I think it's important to hear from our peers and our colleagues that, you know, excuse my language, but shit, it might be okay if we or I have to close my studio. And what would that look like?

And it doesn't mean that you're anything less or any of that. It just means that, that's what happened. Right. And trying to deal with that is really tough for a lot of people. And they need support, and more support I think than just, this is how you do a Zoom class.

You know, right? Oh my gosh, yeah no, no, no. We got to talk about, you know, Turkey as they say. Like, what's going on? Where are the loans?

What's happening? Why aren't the loans happening? What do we do? How do we interface? How do we interact?

Right, so for those people who, I wanna just say, if you maybe you missed it, I'm just gonna reiterate. Every week Kevin holds or the Pilates Initiative holds a Zoom meeting that anyone can log in, you know, hey you have to register for it, just like this, but you can attend that meeting. And it's typically Thursdays at 1:30? 1:30 Mountain Time. Mountain Time, so we'll have to do, you know, your time zone shift.

But it's very compelling. And you get to meet amazing people in the industry, studio owners, teachers, obviously Kevin leads it. Some of the board of directors of the initiative are there with us. We're a community in that. And I've sat in on several.

And it's really just a comfortable place to come in. And if you all you wanna do is listen and learn, you can do that. If you wanna pipe in and talk and add, you can. And it's an exchanging arena. And you know, it's a support group in a way too.

Like you were just starting to say, I mean, meaning. The therapy session. It got me a little. But hey, in the last few months, you know, some of us have really been wondering, where are we? Where are we going?

How will we get through this thick mud of this thing? You know, and some studio owners that come on to the initiative meeting, have large facilities, lot of square footage, expensive leases. I'm gonna put my hand up there, that's me. Who have been greatly impacted. So when you get it to share in a forum like this, and then you get to see each other's faces in the media like, it feels so comfortable.

You feel seen, you feel heard. And I think with all of this uneasiness that we've had and uncertainty in the last few months, many people wanna be seen, 'cause we're not able to see each other except this you know. We certainly need to be heard. And, that gets down to support for our industry. So let's keep talking about how the initiative is going to continue to support hopefully, and help us rise up.

And there are a couple of questions in the Q and A, we might pop in there and just real quick. Okay. Yeah, Christie's asking you particularly Kevin. Can you share any examples of how your format, how's this format works? I believe she's Christie.

Yeah, you wanna talk to that real quick Kevin? Wow okay, so that's (laughs loudly) so, initially, first off I always qualify everything which I've learned in my life that everything is a work in progress. So my big aspirations for the Pilates Initiative I thought, "Oh my God, we're gonna take off with this. "And everyone's gonna really do community classes." Well, that didn't happen. Okay.

So we now are morphing and we still want community classes and we still want that to happen. And you know what, maybe I'm a little bit ahead of the time. But I think even now more than ever, I'm starting community classes back up in my studio. The goal is to, the more we get people doing Pilates, and the more people doing it, even if they're not you know, from the socioeconomic background that can afford to have $80 for a private lesson, it's just energy. And it's kind of really, as I understood it, what John wanted.

Everyone to be able to do it. So why not? Platforms like Pilates Anytime offered that service, but why can't we be more entrenched in our community? And, you know, I like when I teach a community class and people who couldn't afford to come to my studio otherwise, and give me $10 or say, you know, I can only spend $5 today. I don't care.

And you know, in the longterm goal, we'd like to see if we can start to maybe take money if people were in agreement and put it into, getting this out in all the communities. We'd like to have with on our Platform, some classes. And I'm gonna be putting some Zoom classes up on the Pilates Initiative's platform as a free, right. They're there for free. Part of the, do you have something?

I just do that. And I'm kinda rather than cut you off I'll do. (laughs loudly) Wait a minute, okay. So what if somebody is watching, as people are watching right now and we'll listen back later. And they're hopefully going, "I had no idea that I could do this." How would someone get in involved in saying, I would like to be either an individual teacher that offers community classes, maybe in a park or somewhere else, or a studio, how do we get involved?

And you know, when you did approach teachers, what was their response? Or did you approach teachers to join you? Or is it up to us to ask you? I did approach teachers. Anyone can become a member.

And right now my mind goes back to when I started the Pilates Method Alliance, and that was done as a grassroots event. So we talked to anyone, if you have an idea for a class, first we want you to be a member 'cause we do have some protocols that we'd like people to follow. And it's important. Once you get a class going and it's gonna go up on the website, we are doing a simple monthly style newsletter where we list all the members, that are there and if they're doing anything. So anyone can be involved in this.

And if you need some help trying to figure it out, you know, talk to us, we can give you some ideas. I did a few things when COVID-19 happened. I didn't know what to do, right? I'm in Santa Fe. So, the neighborhood that I lived in, someone else that I know we all organize in each of our cul de sac to become anchors to support the cul de sac.

And because we have a lot of elderly (indistinct) can't be out. And that felt good to me. And, I did that more so, not so much for the Pilates Initiative, but for the Human Rights Alliance, which I'm the president of here is to just offer support. Because we don't have a lot of money at the Human Rights Alliance. But then I did some free classes for the City of Santa Fe Parks and Recreation Department, on behalf of the Pilates Initiatives so that they have those classes.

And, you know, it just felt good to me to be able to do something. You have a heart of gold. Feeling sorry it didn't work, I'm sorry. Yeah, no, you have a heart of gold and it's true. Again, you're passionate and you have been, as long as I've known you, which is quite awhile, you know, you just, you really want to help our industry stay rich, meaning with integrity and doing the work, and sharing it.

And doing it in such a way that it's an open platform. You know, can I ask you a question too about your, and actually this came in, it's one of our Q and A questions is from Christie is, how did you choose well, the board of directors? How many do you have on the board? How did you choose them? And what were you hoping to get out from?

We can read her question actually verbatim. How did you choose the board of members of the Pilates Initiative? And what do you think they hope to accomplish? That kind of fell into place. And there's only four of us on the board.

And, the reason is, is just we're not that big at this point. We have very little funding. So initially, Andromeda Stevens contacted me about some issues she was having regarding things that were going on in the industry. And we started speaking and, you know, as I heard more and more, I thought it was time to create the Pilates Initiative and get that set up. So she was one of the first people to be involved.

And then my friend and colleague, who was involved with me way back when at PMA started Pat Guidon out of Boulder, Colorado. Because she had board experience in the PMA and a lot of other life experience that, kind of plays well into this. And then, Pat brought on our attorney, who helps legal advise everyone. And we provide that for free. And her name is Lahela Hekekia and she's from Hawaii.

She's a native Hawaiian. And then, the other board member has just been very supportive of the organization, and she was brought onto the board and her name is Patricia Welter. And she's from Suncoast Pilates. And, (indistinct) in Florida. And many people probably know Patricia as well.

So we're just trying to be a positive influence and change. So that people within our business can have some other folks they can talk to. And find out some information. So the organization will probably expand at some point. We do board meetings simply by doing a Zoom or a conference call because we're not gonna be traveling all over.

We don't have an office (giggles) we don't have-- No overhead good for you. There's not only no overhead, there's no salary, positions. There's none of that stuff at this point. And sometimes we're running around as fast as we can to get things accomplished, but we all just share whatever information we have with each other. And then we put that together and bring it up to the community as it works and as it sees fit.

Right, right, and so, has the Pilates Initiative held any conferences or events? Or will that be something that the initiative does? Are you gonna stay kind of out of that realm? I don't wanna say never, but right now I don't know how anyone's gonna hold a conference unless it's virtually. Well, there's that?

Yeah, I think that we will probably morph and do something a little bit down the road that, I don't know if we want to call it a conference, but maybe it'll be an overview. Like one or two day meeting of a couple of topics that are important to the community. And there are many, and we talked about some of those last week because of some of the burning issues that have happened now within our community regarding the Black Lives Matter Movement and, to us it's important that we are honest with each other. And we admit when, you know, maybe we all have some prejudices and biases. I will be the first person to admit that.

I know that I am a, you know, privileged white man. I happen to be privileged gay white man, but I'm a privileged white man. So my experience is a little bit different than another average, you know, privileged white man. But over this course of time, I've started to see other things and, you know, we have to reflect on, we are as people individually. As people right, right.

And build empathy and understanding and-- Compassion, how's that one? Yeah I mean, and teaching involves compassion. So we're right in that lane, you know. How can we keep helping the Pilates Initiative other than membership. How can we help going forward?

Just get involved. Okay. I mean-- Let's get involved, let's do more. Let's do better. I guess I have no problem asking for money.

I do this with the Human Rights Alliance. And with this, join and become a member. You know, we are what we are. I mean, we have some benefits of membership which are the newsletter. And we also offer people a liability insurance.

But to me, this is more about, joining and getting active. I'm not saying don't be a member if you don't wanna be active, but geez, let's try to embody some of these things that we actually have been teaching for so many years and, get rid of and dispel some of these other things that hang over this community, which you know, recently because of everyone's insanity, the negativity is just rampant. It is in my opinion, disgusting. It is so offensive. Anytime I see anyone go after one of the people that have been involved in this industry and are key important to it's history, and without them, we would all not be here right now.

And then I see them trashed, it's just astounding. Why, why, why? Why do we need to do that? You're not gonna make yourself any better. And from the standpoint of our own professional integrity, it just makes all of us look bad.

Sometimes I wanna run out my door and run down the street and just to be like, I don't wanna do this anymore, but I can't do that. Yeah, well you could Kevin, you could. I could, we all can. I mean, we really could. But do we want to, I think the answer is no.

So where is that in the equation? Where do we individually step in to continue to do better and show up differently? And you know, maybe you listen with bigger ears, more open heart. And I know the (indistinct) last couple of weeks with all these political events they're really, really bringing a lot of things to service. People have heightened emotions.

That's all really normal. But what if we come out at this from a little bit of patience, more listening, asking better questions with a kind compassionate heart. I know I'm kind of sounding airy here, but approaching this with more flexibility in our humanness, you know? And, can we just, yeah let's just stop. I don't know.

Everyone will never be able to see eye to eye. We'll all have differences but, and within our industry, if we're still kinda doing this about certain things, that's really gonna handicap us from moving forward, and we really need, I think and truly feel, much more expansive way to think about, how are we gonna go back into our world after this very fearful, muddy place? If we're still kind of (speaking gibberish) you know? I don't know. The relevance of all of this is, there's this past history that most people have to argue about and denigrate other people about it, did it really affect your life?

I mean, most of us that are probably on this call right now if not everyone, none of us, I was alive when Joe Pilates (mumbles) none of us (indistinct). So everything we're hearing is secondhand news sometimes to a certain extend, it's conjuncture, it's opinions. And sometimes it's not even an honest opinion. We're not even honest with ourselves, i mean within Pilates and everything else. And it kind of all fits in together.

I'm getting bombarded by it on a daily basis being Human Rights Alliance. And the only thing that I can do for them that I've done, I'm hoping for the Pilates industry is just trying to be a little bit of a voice of reason. And, you know, here's something that's really important, there's so much energy right now. Everyone is so focused about, you know, those who are interested in getting open and contacting the state, and then we had all these petitions running around in the United States, at least, certainly not in other countries and people were signing them and no one bothered to read the fact that, you know, "Oh, I live in Colorado, "but I'm signing the New Mexico petition." Well, that doesn't work. It doesn't, yeah.

And we have petitions circulating now, the people are coming after me about, you know, "Don't support the police." And, you know, "If you're gonna run a gay pride parade, "you can't have the police there any more, just go rogue." None of this works to be like that. We have to kind of be thoughtful and, you know, look at what we want down the road and realize that road that we're gonna take is gonna have to change and adjust as we start to travel on it. And if it does not, we're gonna get stuck again, going in a lane that may not deliver us to a better place. It just may deliver us someplace else. Right.

And if we haven't changed our outlook on life after everything that's happened, shame on us. You know shame on us. Yeah, I think I like what Christy said again over here, some of you are seeing Pilates. Of course lots of hearts, because we do approach this with love and for one another and for the industry and our world that we're in, which is difficult for a lot of us, you know, this is unsettling. But let's approach this with the love and yeah align and do what is, and then adapt.

So adaptability, I think is probably a really wonderful thing to focus on and how can we adapt? You know, and I think again, asking questions maybe stepping back and listening when yeah you really wanna go in and actually talk and make whatever, but maybe stepping back and slowing down and reading. You know, I think one of the things that's been kind of nice for me (giggles) I know hey guys I just asked Kevin a question, I think someone's over there (giggles) making lunch for him or something. No, I'm kidding. But, is, you know, the speed and tempo of which we've just been, we're in still, of like suddenly had to shut down, couldn't go and leave your house, all the things.

I kinda of enjoyed to be really honest, just slowing down, slowing down and taking some deep breaths, which is really key and essential, knowing that the answer might be different this morning than this evening. So why am I frantic? Why can't we just give it a little bit more breathing room and, you know, consider the other side always too. You know, there's always two sides and I don't know, adapting to the change, change is evident, we know that. But if nothing changes, nothing changes.

So if we don't change our attitude around certain things and behavior patterns over certain things that we've been doing in the industry, you know, nothing's gonna change, and a lot has changed, so let's keep going that way, you know. A lot has changed, and I think that there are a number of us who have tried to embrace this and move forward with the change. My fear is, we have been living in such a society where everything is so rapid and everyone wants, you know, instant gratification, and we're so freaking entitled in so many ways that are, that we can't even wear a mask in public, is just, I was down on the Plaza last, not this past weekend, two weekends ago. And there was a rally, for Black Lives Matter and I was down there to support them, the mayor was there and it's the counselors that I know. And this man walked up with no mask on.

So they said to him, "Why aren't you wearing a mask?" "Well" (speaking gibberish) And just this negativity, like going at one of the counselors and it's so extraordinarily disrespectful, I almost wanted to punch him out. You know, and he was looking at everyone like we were crazy. And instead of just the attitude that we're here to support everyone else, not to basically, (giggles) just support ourselves 'cause it's all about me. It's me, me, me right? And this was kind of, I was appalled.

It was the same kind of stuff that I see happening within the social media forums about, Pilates folks who are hitting on others for no reason at all. You know, walk in your own shoes, and take care of your own shit, excuse me. And then maybe you can help others, but don't project on to everyone else about something. I mean, we just have to be a little more caring as a whole group. And I don't say this to lecture to any of you folks who are here talking or listening to us right now, I always say these things 'cause I have to hear them myself.

And if I don't, then I have a problem. Keep saying same louder for us you know, I go back to the phrase I just said, and I heard this a long time ago, about I was in my early twenties around something, but a really dear friends said to me, I was having a hard time, about decision making and she's, "Amy, nothing changes, if nothing changes." You're your participant in your change, right? And we know that in our work, in Pilates, it's the same thing. And Joe, the quote that I like to use a lot that he wrote apparently was, "Rome was not built in a day." Things take time, change does take time, but we have to start it and be the change, you know. And represent it and embody it and support those that are also willing to be courageous and trying to do something different.

And whether that something different is going back into their studios right now, whether it's downsizing, whether it's saying, "I don't wanna do this anymore." That all of it is okay. All of it is okay. You know, and being nice, (giggles) just being nice. Just being nice with all of my years of experience, when I opened my studio, my small little space and bringing back my small little clients. I mean, I didn't sleep that whole night before, just because I was so concerned and you know, how are people gonna be?

And I set all these rules and because I wanted them to be safe. I want people to feel comfortable to come to the studio. So all of this insecurity hits all of us, you know, this is something we all feel, and we have to talk about it. I don't think anyone knows the answer. And some of the things that I've seen in the Pilates community I'll bring this up, and I never liked to name names 'cause it's not appropriate.

But you know, when you screw up, just admit you screwed up. But It's across the board. You know, I made a mistake, I've made a lot of mistakes and I just have to take my looks for them and step away and we can do that. Right. But that's a growing thing, right?

Like you have to admit if something's wrong, Right. And you have to admit to yourself, if the path that you're on, no matter what it is, deciding to open your studio or close your studio, or what am I gonna do? If it's not right, then change it. Kevin, let's answer a couple questions that are here in the Q & A. Really.

And I'll start, I think Deborah at the top, the confusion you might be hearing and having about the negativity in the industry, I'm willing to talk to you offline about that. I think the last couple of, we've got about 10 minutes left and Deborah I will. I will be happy to express that. I will happen to do that on my own, okay. But I wanna ask this question from Deborah, I mean from Beth Wales, "When you do expand your board, "would you be considering a person of color?" (soft giggles) Of course.

Yes of course. You know, how long I've been involved in the Pilates industry, and here's a little story, you know when I first started in Pilates and people were talking about first-generation teachers and then all of these stories about them. And then I met Kathy Grant. And I had no idea that Kathy was a black woman and I was kinda like, "Wow, that's kinda cool." Because it was clearly apparent at that time that this industry was not filled with many people of color. And at one point when I was first involved with it, and we weren't filled with hardly anyone of color, let alone a Native American, a black woman or a black man, it was few and far between or Asian folks or anyone.

We just didn't have that diversity, and unfortunately we still don't. So, you know, I recognized this awhile ago and I also, Kathy Grant said to me once, you know 'cause Clara always wore a nurse's uniform, right? And you know, no one kinda understood that 'cause they said she was a nurse, whatever. But Kathy had to wear a nurse's uniform. And Kathy told me that the reason she thought, why Joe made her wear the nurse's uniform was because she was black.

So my mind works in different ways. And you know, there could be a two pronged issue for that. And I'm not making an excuse. I'm just saying, this is how I thought about it. One of them could be is that Joe was cool with it, but he knew the clients wouldn't be.

And the other one could be as that, Joe, wasn't cool with it. So no matter where it was, it was still discriminatory. Exactly. (murmurs) looked at it. Yeah, yeah.

I've heard stories from Lolita San Miguel, talking about being with the opera when she was a principal dancer and they performed in Atlanta in the early 60s and the Leontyne Price was the soprano. And they wanted, the foundation wanted everyone to come to a party, but they told the director definitely Leontyne Price couldn't come because they were in the deep South and the team was black. And the director basically said, "Well, if she doesn't come, none of them are gonna come." So I piece these stories together. We don't know what happened. We just know that we need to be more open with who we are.

And I am thankful that I have been lucky enough to travel to other countries. And I am thankful that I have been in other places where I have been the only white man in the room, because it has given me a different perspective on things. And it certainly is not the perspective that a lot of my colleagues and black friends have ever experienced, but it is certainly a perspective that has taught me, "Oh, this feels uncomfortable!" And then I started to like it, because I got to talk to them and got to know people and they got to see my quirky, crazy shit that I do. (soft giggles) And they embraced me and I embraced them. And then I relaxed enough to really enjoy being in different cultures, in different places and realizing what a fabulous place the world really is.

Beautiful Kevin. Like let it go. Beautiful that's beautiful. Yeah, it is a beautiful, yes. There's so much that we can shine on all of this and just say, "We are blessed" and let's use that energy, use that positive fire that's there and do something with it, you know?

And I think we're on the edge of some, you know, I think we really are on the edge we're, looking maybe over the edge of what showcase should we jump in that? Should we go or just stand on the edge like this? And you've been, we have a few minutes left. You've been in the industry for a long time. You've seen our highs, our lows.

You've seen the mid ground, you know, right now, and going forward, do you think we're strong enough? Do you think we're gonna make it? Do you think we're gonna make it through this change? Yeah, I do. I think we're gonna come out on the other side, perhaps morphed and a little different.

I think there's gonna be a lot of tears shed and. I agree. A lot of you know, trauma. But that is a learning experience and we must use that in order for us to go somewhere else. And even as things have started opening up for example, I find myself just starting to go back into that whole thing right?

(humming softly) And I have to stop myself and I'm learning how to do that. And I just think, you know, I can't go back to the old way because I had a new light shined on to the world and I turned 60 in December, and that was kind of like, wow for me. And I celebrated in a very quiet way, which was good, with my partner. In my other birthdays I always celebrated in bigger ways. And this to me, you know, now I'm starting to really think, well, I don't have that much more time truly left to do anything.

Maybe I need to really make the best of it. And if something doesn't work, let it go and try to make some difference. I mean, and we each can do it. It's the simplest thing. I mean, that's what we were trying to do with the Pilates Initiative.

What you get back from giving is far richer than anything that anybody can pay you with money, and. Yes. You know, it just makes things, at least for me, that much better. And then you just have to, you know, kinda ride on that a little bit and be like, "Wow, that's cool." And it's not that difficult. You just have to kinda step, right?

Step forward and go, "This is what I'm gonna do." And hey, maybe if that, "This is what I'm gonna do," doesn't work, you're gonna go to another direction for, "This is what I'm gonna do." I think we'll survive. I think, the integrity will be different because the industry will shrink in some ways. And the people that I'm seeing (indistinct) are still doing well, at the smaller studios, the ones who are going through difficulty are the larger studios, because that model doesn't work at least now for the next 18 months. Right, yeah. And who knows if that will come back again.

Right. I don't know. We don't know. No, but Palates is not going away. It's not.

So no matter what we look at, look at what it's survived all over all of these years between Joe and his lights and coming to the United States and opening a studio, and, you know, being a driven man who was eccentric and quirky, but he had a vision. And you read John Steele's book, you know, John Steele's book really enlightened to me that, that's really how I thought Joe probably was, and then he kinda clarified that. But going through all of that and the trademark law suit and all of that stuff that the industry went through, and all of the other things that we've had to deal with, and look, we're still here. We're not going anywhere. We are, we are.

And the book that if anyone wants to know what that reference was, it's called "The Caged Lion" "A Caged Lion" "A Caged Lion." By John Steel is the, there we go. We just pop that in the chat, thank you, Jia. We're almost out of time and I always don't, this is the part that I don't like, so I'm gonna have to say goodbye. But I know we'll carry our conversation on. And, I think we'll survive to a clear, it's going to be different.

We're going to come out probably with, if bruises, quite a few bumps, maybe a few little scratch marks here and there, (giggles) but you know, perspective is the thing I talk about a lot and we have to keep looking. We have to keep going, oh wait, "What does it look like from that side?" I had never thought about looking at it from that side. Wow. And just keep it fresh and be nice, right? Let us just be nice and supportive.

And I love what you're saying Be flexible. Because that's, we teach people to be flexible right, I their bodies, and we don't look at anyone's body just from this perspective. That's why it's so difficult for us 'cause we look at it three-dimensionally when you teach movements. So that's kind of a lesson to ourselves, isn't it? I guess.

Love it. Yes, and go at this from a giving heart and giving place. Giving and what you get back from giving is really, quiet amazing in itself. So I am thankful that you asked me to do this. I'm happy that you said yes.

I appreciate it. I thank you and Christy and everyone at Pilates Anytime it's nice to be able to, talk and to hopefully spread a little cheer and good vibes to people and, humility. And I sincerely hope that we have all learned from this and that we can do great things in the future. And those great things will probably look a little bit different than you thought they looked like before. I look forward to that.

Thank you. Thank you, Kevin. Thank you very much. Yeah, I'll talk to you soon. And thanks everyone for joining.

And this'll be up on the site later. So you can always turn back and listen again or share it with others, but we really, really appreciate your involvement and interest in coming into listen to our dialogue and our talk. So have a wonderful week everybody. Thank you. Bye bye. Yeah, bye Kevin.

Bye bye.

The Pilates Report - Playlist 4

Webinar, Business, Pilates Professionals

Jul 02, 2020
Thumbnail image
The Pilates Initiative
Amy H. & Kevin B.
Discussion
60 min
Non Pilates
#4163
Webinar, Business, Pilates Professionals

Jul 09, 2020
Thumbnail image
Next Steps
Amy H. & Tom M.
Discussion
60 min
Non Pilates
#4183
Webinar, Business, Pilates Professionals

Jul 16, 2020
Thumbnail image
Return to Teaching
Kristi C. & Amy H.
Discussion
55 min
Non Pilates
#4196

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