Monday, April 22, 2013

Emphasizing the Good during a Tough Week

I’m sitting at my mom’s dining room table, thinking about how many blogposts I have written from this seat far away from The Pilates Studio.  I’ve actually reread them, and the wind in Wyoming has been a theme so far.  I wrote about the time that I nearly lost my arm and a car door to a gust of wind, and I even posted a video of a “breezy” day in Wyoming, and for those of you that might be interested in the Wyoming weather well this is what I woke up to this morning!

Yet below you'll see what the sky was like yesterday…

And well, that’s spring in Wyoming…

But this post is supposed to be about Pilates, it’s on The Pilates Studio’s blog afterall…Okay you’ve caught me, I’m at a loss for words.  The Pilates Studio is located in Western Massachusetts, and last week was a tough week for Massachusetts.  Yet it was a week that showed just how strong we are.  If the community at The Pilates Studio is any small microcosm of the people of Massachusetts, then we know how to offer support and pull together. 

I don’t know how many times clients asked each other,  “Is your family in Boston safe?” The greeting became, “Did you know anyone in the race?” or “What about your friends in Watertown?” There were so many hugs passed between friends this week at the studio and around the state as people kept a vigilant eye on the events that finally came to a head on Friday night.

Yet, the mood was not dour, at the studio, or in Massachusetts.  There was fear but resilience, caution but strength, seriousness but humor. I even read a blog post entitled, “The Problem with One Night Stands in Locked Down Boston,” and it was funny.  There were people pulling together to support each other in any way they could.  The Yankees even played, “Sweet Caroline” at their game, I’m sorry but that is the kind of thing that brings tears to my eyes and the stuff that great sports movies are made of! Last week was a tough week for Massachusetts, but last week the people of Massachusetts showed just how amazing they are…

So as I pause to look out my parent’s back door into their back yard where it is still snowing.  

I smile at the irony that I am vacationing in Wyoming in April where it is snowing.  And then I take a moment to send my thoughts to the lives lost and the lives forever changed, and finally I become grateful to the people of Massachusetts for showing me the good during a tough week.

Katrina Hawley C.M.A, PMA ®-CPT
Director of Instruction at The Pilates Studio

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Jamie Schoen comes to The Pilates Studio

Twelve years ago, I taught a contemporary dance technique class at Amherst Ballet. The class had maybe 8 or 9 teenagers in it, and I think back to that class and one student really stood out to me.  She was very present and engaged, quick with her wit, and wise beyond her years.  Her smile was warm and her laugh infectious.  After the semester ended, I didn’t see her for awhile.

Our next encounter was on the first floor of the studio building, which at the time was the home of Northstar: Self Directed Learning for Teens.  She had decided to leave high school and with the help of Northstar was creating her own education.  She even did an internship at the studio.  Once again in our conversations, I was amazed at the grounded, wise persona of this individual.  She talked with me about things that were going on in her life and even as a teenager
she showed an intuitive nature that had compassion and empathy for everyone.

After this, my contact with this now beautiful young adult was very minimal.  Basically, once in awhile I saw her at Esselon (because I am there a lot), and we would catch up.  She went to Argentina to teach English for six months, she trained to be a Pilates Instructor, She started going to Gcc, then she was at Umass.  I honestly don’t have any idea what the chronological order of these events turned out to be, these are just my memories of passing conversations.
Then about six weeks ago, she came to The Pilates Studio, and I said, “Hey Jamie what’s up?”  And the rest is history.  Jamie needed a place to teach pilates, and Laurie and I jumped at the chance to add such a wonderful energy to our space! So welcome to Jamie Schoen, we’re so excited to have you!
The lovely Winnie

Jamie is currently at Umass working her way through the prerequisites to PT school.  She is taking Physics this semester, and in between clients you might see her studiously working on her laptop.  You might see her walking her dog on the bike path, and you might just be lucky enough to see one of her infectious smiles.  She is teaching a Pilates Plus mat class on Tuesdays at 1, and she has two reformer classes on Sunday.  Read the rest of her biography here, and be sure to say hi to Jamie at The Pilates Studio.

Katrina Hawley C.M.A, PMA® - CPT
Director of Instruction at The Pilates Studio    

Saturday, April 6, 2013

#PCWM and the Business of Pilates

What is PCWM you ask?  Well that my friends is an acronym for Podcamp Western Massachusetts, which then translates into group of people gathering to learn more about this thing we call social media…Okay from the outside that might be what Podcamp looks like.   From the inside Podcamp is a day where energy builds on energy, where friendships are made instantaneously, where you learn about social media as a marketing tool, and where you brainstorm with like minds about how to make things better!  Most importantly, Podcamp is a day that permanently debunks the myth that social media is causing the world to be increasingly disconnected.

The spontaneity of the day was something special.  The schedule was comprised of sticky notes on a wall that were shifted as needs were met.  When I first saw the giant sticky notes I knew I was surrounded by creative genius.   Why?  Because everyone knows that all of the best ideas are at first written on sticky notes, of course.

My first seminar by Thom Fox was entitled, “Transforming Online Connections into Offline Relationships” There were so many nuggets in this very short 45 minutes…For instance Thom listed some best practices like:

Promoting other people is the most important part of social media!  With that in mind I’d like to give a shout out to my new and old friends from Podcamp.  Check out the links to learn about many amazing people.

Doug Merrill of

Every person at this event made as many if not more connections, and I am positive that these connections will make the world a better place.

Thom ended his presentation with this quote, “They say it takes a village to raise a child, I say it takes a village to sustain an economy.”  And to that I say, “Well said Thom Fox!”

I left this session high as a kite…Okay not literally, Let’s say I left this session really caffeinated and ready to roll.  I ran (or waded through the sea of excited people) to the sticky note schedule, and the number of presentations had multiplied.  There were so many more to choose from.  I found that the presentation I had planned to take had been moved to a different location (The Sticky note was unstuck and restuck underneath a different room’s column). 

I decided to take “Are Introverts or Extraverts better at social media networking.” presented by Val Nelson.  I have known Val for a couple of years, and in fact it was her suggestion that got me to podcamp in the first place.  I was certainly curious about this topic.  I am an introvert, which does not mean that I am shy, or that I don’t like people (Wow would I be in the wrong business).  It means that at the end of the day, I need a little time with my thoughts to recharge.  But does being an introvert mean that I am better at social media networking than those that recharge by spending time with people?? That was the curiosity that sent me to Val Nelson’s session.

Before the session started, I was still riding the caffeine-underscored energy of being around all sorts of like-minded people.  I was chatting with Jeff Rock of Swiftriver Coaching.  I had just learned about QR codes and texted Laurie Johnson that QR codes could be a way to market our business, and as always she texted back to me that she was just talking to her brother in law about QR codes (It is amazing how often this kind of thing happens with us).  I then took the time to send her this video, which made Jeff Rock literally laugh out loud! 

Then I took a breath, looked at the time, and realized that it was nine minutes until the next session.  Clearly I needed every minute of that time to get to the next space for Val’s session, so I entered the elevator and it closed upon the chaotic fabulous scene of the third floor of podcamp.  I rode the elevator two floors and the doors opened upon my destination, where about thirty people were sitting almost completely silent waiting for Val’s session.  Now that is juxtaposition!  .

 The illustration between the different energy sources at both ends of my elevator ride was illustrated by Val Nelson’s session.  Are introverts or extraverts better networkers?  The conclusion we came to was that introverts and extraverts network differently, and dabbling in both kinds of energies is beneficial.  We also discussed the possibility that while there may be a slight extrovert bias in in-person networking situations, social media may just be leveling the playing field.  I also learned that I must go and buy the book Quiet by Susan Cain.  Thank you Val!
Jeff Rock was equally jazzed by this event

Next, I entered a session entitled, “BodyTalk,” in which Paul Bogush explored non-verbal communication with us.   His energy exuded real expertise and excitement about the subject.  I knew I was in the presence of another movement geek!!!! Oh what a great day this was! There were two stand out things about Paul’s session.  First, he gave us all a tic tac, told us to place it on our tongue and then asked us to count from 1 -10.  In my mind, I started counting and felt the distorted words change to louder, clearer numbers. I felt my shoulders widen and my neck lengthen, and my spine grow.  Of course the neurons in my head started popping and synthesizing like mad.  This simple exercise illustrated Polestar Pilates Axial Elongation and Core Control, and then my mind almost exploded when I remembered that Tom Myers Deep Front Line ended at the tongue!  Who knew that a tic tac could be so powerful?  Just wait until I give you a tic tac at The Pilates Studio.

The second take away from Paul’s session:  Paul is a middle school social studies teacher, and my heart is so happy knowing that hundreds maybe thousands of kids will be touched by such an empowering, caring teacher.  I sigh with relief every time I think of it!

I ended the day in a session with Jennifer Williams who has done extensive research on the Psychological Profiles of the different social media platforms.  Jennifer’s brilliance is her ability to research so many ideas and then present them in a succinct and tangible way!  She did all of the research so that we as business owners who are working too hard already don’t need to.  For this I am grateful!

With that I give you Jennifer’s most powerful slide,

Facebook – Who am I
Twitter – Who am I right now
Pinterest – Who do I want to be
Instagram -  How do I express myself
Google + - What do I think

With this in mind, we are already deciding how to strategize what we post to different platforms.

Finally I shall share the most important thing podcamp changed,  I no longer run around saying that Twitter is destroying the English language.  I get it now! Feel free to follow me @katrinahawley

Director of Instruction at The Pilates Studio