Let me make something perfectly clear: I am not a joiner. I have never been a Girl Scout. I never really played a team sport, with the exception of boy’s soccer when I was 10 years old. I’ve never been in a book club, or part of a sorority. I’ve not been tempted to join a specific niche “group” per se, unless it was to protect animal rights and preserve the environment.

For years, I felt that egos ruled the Pilates community, speaking in diametric opposition to what the work was meant to inspire: transformation and elevation of the human spirit. In the late 90’s, after creating the first ever Pilates videos under “The Method” series, largely responsible for catalyzing the explosive wave of Pilates and mind-body fitness to the tune of over 15 million units and counting, rather than being congratulated and commended, I was rejected by my own “home” community at Drago’s, where Romana’s training program was held. Add to this, that like so many peers at the time, I had been sufficiently tormented by the trademark lawsuit, and felt that the last thing I needed was yet another group or community that could disappoint, or add more strife and stress to my life, ironically surrounding the very thing that I felt so passionate about and which had changed my life and through me, the lives of so many others.

So Why Did I Join the PMA?
After feeling burned and deeply hurt by the “communities” I had grown up in, I was understandably reticent. For years I watched and studied the PMA from afar, curious, but simultaneously resolved in my disagreement with certain policies, and disapproving of what I considered to be a standardized test that in no way could appropriately assess a Pilates instructor’s true acumen and ability. After speaking with like-minded people over the past several years, and hearing positive commentaries about the conferences and personally watching the PMA evolve, most especially in the domain of inclusion, making people from every lineage feel welcome, I decided that the time was right. Not only did I want to introduce myself to this new community, I felt especially motivated to participate in revising and improving the testing system, but just as importantly, I wanted to be that Classically trained teacher with a rich heritage, and a uniquely broad world view who could bring the energy of love to a group of people that sorely needed it. I joined the PMA because I saw it as a road to harmony, a path I feel will lead to the kind of open hearted spirit that Pilates is meant to communicate to the world. I believe that our generation today has an obligation to rise above the past and together create a peaceful, productive, transformative present and bright future, and I see the PMA as one of the more formidable conduits through which we can all accomplish this mission.

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Labor Day not only marked the end of summer, but the end of an era and was transformed into poignant tribute to the passing of two great flames in the Pilates community, my formative mentor, 1st Generation luminary, Romana Kryzanowska and the extraordinarily bright and uniquely talented, Julian Littleford.

There is an unintended, yet priceless gift that those who move on leave to us — an immediate and intimate dance with a new “presence,” the sight, the smell, the taste of what is most precious and ephemeral … here are my heartfelt letters, my tribute to two great flames who graced us with their beings, touching thousands, and changing lives, leaving the world a brighter and richer place,  for their having lived.

Romana Kryzanowska, June 30, 1923-August 30, 2013
Beloved mentor and peerless legend whose bright, indomitable spirit lives on in each of us and our teaching~thank you, Romana!

I took an entire week away from Facebook, and all social media, and I have to say it has been the best time away, maybe ever … the only thing that could have pulled me back in was this news about Romana, and in tribute to her, I have to announce to the world that I can’t stop crying this morning from the incredible memories, that special time in my young life when I first received the immeasurable gifts she gave and the vast meaning and impact that continues to unfold through her spirit, her teacher, Pilates himself, and through us, those who are dedicated to passing the torch of their remarkable legacy …

Dearest Romana~ We owe you so much, beautiful, dedicated, amazing Powerhouse! From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for changing my life and the lives of countless others~your spirit will live on in every “dance” we do on the apparatus, and through every heart we touch and every body we change through the original brilliance of Joe himself, a legacy you carried with such grace, power and passion. You were truly the first to introduce me to the idea that I was capable of more than I ever could have imagined … you have influenced the way I look at life so profoundly, and for this and so much more, I will be forever grateful. The only way to repay your immeasurable gift is to pass it on with as much passion and generosity as you brought every day, in every session, every smile, every moment. With deepest gratitude, admiration and love always~


Julian Littleford, August 14, 1960-August 31, 2013

Graceful, and giving, unique maverick spirit whose love of life inspires from beyond~thank you for your joyous dedication!

Julian Littleford was the first colleague to welcome me to San Diego a little over a year ago, and I’ll never forget his warmth, generosity and kindness, nor his great wit and devilish grin when he knew that he was making you feel muscles you maybe hadn’t EVER felt in exactly that way— I’d like to say in the “Julian Way.” And furthermore, I’d like to officially, affectionately dub him “King of the Spring!” Because no one, and I mean no one knew how to make you work a spring the way he did.

Dear Julian, you were taken far too soon, such a bright and beautiful spirit! May you shine in heaven just as brightly, and enjoy the immense freedom that awaits you no more, but receives you in boundless love. Rest peacefully, good soul. I thank you with a full heart, regrettably, not as many memories as I would have liked, and eyes brimming with tears …

May we all embrace our lives with greater appreciation and zest to honor the passing of two great flames this weekend! Romana Kryzanowska and Julian Littleford.