A beautiful image of the power of surrender, by Ron Hamad

Friday, December 25, 2009

Be ignited, or be gone.


Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world? Because, proper-
ly attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is sug-
gestion. Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause? I don't think so.

All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.
Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of
light is the crossroads of--indolence, or action.

Be ignited, or be gone.

Mary Oliver

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


If you are already a Pilates fan or have been thinking about it, now is the time to get busy at Pendleton.

ALL PACKAGES ARE 10% OFF DURING DECEMBER. And you can split package payments into two payments, one month apart, if that helps. Contact us at or at 513-478-3232 for more info!

So if you've been overindulging of late and are ready to find your best body and your best self again, we hope to see you soon.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Every step you take.

Now if you know me at all, you know I am a fan of step work.

But only recently, thanks to my enlightening injury to the hip, have I really started to take stock of my feet and how I literally take steps in my day-to-day life.

If you do Pilates, especially if you have studied with any of the elders of the method like Lolita San Miguel or Ron Fletcher, you understand that footwork is critical to alignment. Lolita, in fact, takes 15 minutes or more of her Mat class to work on the feet. Anyone who has had a Reflexology session understands how the world of the body lives in the feet. And when foot flexibility and strength are lost, generally so is balance, which throws the whole frame of the body out of whack.

I understood this and practiced it well in my Pilates. I can maintain pretty darn good foot posture in all of the positions demanded of me, so long as I am in a controlled environment and concentrating really hard.

So then I went and messed up my hip. So I was thinking a lot about alignment and taking more Pilates classes. In class, I asked the instructors to keep an eye on my alignment pitfalls. After one class, John Goettle mentioned my feet - how I seemed to be gripping in the front and not moving through the whole foot.

At first, of course, I thought he was crazy. Because I thought "I am GREAT at footwork." But then I started examining my walking gait, off the Reformer. And by God, John was dead-on right. I wasn't rolling through the entire foot at all. And when I did it correctly, concentrating on connecting the heel first and then moving to the ball of the foot and articulating through the toes, voila, it was magic. My nagging heel pain on the right foot went away and any lingering tightness in the left hip was also gone.

So today, one step at a time, I am going to bring Pilates off the Reformer and into my day.

And thanks to all the Pendleton staff for keeping an eye on me and helping get back on the right foot.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Eight minutes of your life to save someone else's.

A friend of mine has leukemia and she needs a bone marrow transplant.

At this time, she does not have a donor match.

PLEASE consider registering to become a bone marrow donor at www.BeTheMatch.Org.

Seriously, it could not be easier. You go to their website and sign up. This will take about 5 minutes. Then a few days later, you get a kit in the mail and you swab the inside of your cheeks a few times, stick some labels on things and put the envelope back in the mail. You don't even pay postage.

Many people have been on the registry for years and have never been called. If you are lucky enough to be a match for someone, you will either have a non-surgical procedure or an outpatient surgical procedure to extract marrow. The latter, the outpatient surgical procedure, will leave the donor with a sore back for a few days. But while you are recovering, someone else is getting the marrow they need to save their life.

So. Check it out. If you are 18 to 60 and in reasonable health, you should be good to go.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wait, my body is trying to tell me something.

And today, two days after my hip went I GIVE UP GOD DAMN IT YOU AREN'T LISTENING TO ME, I am truly listening.

Here is what happened.

I dance. A lot. Which I love in the same way I love George Clooney. Which is a lot. And while it is not a professional situation, my dance class, I take it very seriously and act as though I may be called to dance, say, in New York at any minute.

Believe it or not, this is not the problem. My problem is not my love or my dedication to my avocation. The problem is that I knew my body was getting more and more out of alignment and that would ultimately lead to injury if I didn't re-educate my neuro-muscular system. I need not remind you that I OWN Pilates studios, right? And that I can do Pilates at any second and/or every second, right?

For the last month, my body was telling me during every step I took what was wrong with my alignment. My foot told me and my hips told me and my back told me. The fact that I kept "falling" off my lowest sandals told me. But I kept on jumping and wiggling and twisting and kicking. And Monday night, my hip said "that's it, knuckle head, I'm out." Literally. My left hip slipped around in the socket, stretching and pinching and messing with all the tissue in that joint area. It did so because I was over working my "turn out" muscles, plus working with my pelvis out of line so that a good old hip jut to the left created an unstable sheer and voila - I was on the floor and unable to weight bear.

Here is the EXCELLENT news about all of this.

1. I am listening now.

2. I learned even more about alignment pitfalls and can now share an even keener eye with clients and students at Pendleton Pilates.

3. I learned some awesome things about what to do if you are injured. First of all, I had the lucky fortune to have someone who knew a bit about pressure point releases relative to my hip area. So she (aka Julie Sunderland) did some poking at my ribs and my knee and my foot and that kept the rest of the muscles from freaking out more than was needed post-injury.

I also learned that Jodie Linver and her team at the Alliance Institute for Integrative Medicine are even more brilliant than I thought! I went out on Tuesday, still having a hard time bearing weight on the hip. Jodie and another doc, a chiropractor, checked me out and figured out that I had stressed out the tissues, tendons, ligaments that stabilize the joint. So they got Cindy to come and hook me up to this device that sends electromagnetic current directly to the tissue that needs healing.

After a half hour of this, I rested, put ice on it, drank about 6 gallons of water, and went to bed.

When I got up (less that 36 hours after injury), I could walk on it without a limp. MIRACLE!

So. I need to move slow then rehab a couple weeks at Pilates and keep it up as I move back into dance and other more rigorous activities.

Mainly, I need to listen carefully to my smart and talkative body.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Divide and Conquer

If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk. ~Raymond Inmon

My 22 year-old son is leaving this week for a grand adventure.

At the end of the month, he and a friend will begin to hike the Continental Divide, a United States National Scenic Trail running 3,100 miles (5,000 km) between Mexico and Canada. It follows the Continental Divide along the Rocky Mountains and traverses five U.S. states - Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. In Montana it crosses Triple Divide Peak which separates the Hudson Bay, Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean drainages.

Those are the facts. There are other facts. Like they will carry 40+ pounds on their back, including 3-5 days of food and water plus all their camping gear, each day for the roughly six month journey. Other things to note: camping gear is made by NASA-like people these days - super light and ergonomically designed for warmth or comfort or both. Only a few dozen people a year do the trail. There are bears in the north and dehydration can be a problem in the south.

I am not a practiced nature person. I trust in its power because I believe the poets, not because I have had the epiphanies myself. In fact, I can't really comprehend what Nick and Alex are about to do. I know it will be hard. I know it will be long. I know it will be life changing.

And I know that it is a trip to remind me that I can never walk in another's shoes, only cheer them along on the path they have taken - offering up food and/or shelter and/or light when they need it, even if that means sending freeze dried beef stroganoff to a P.O. Box in Idaho.

Bon voyage, Nick and Alex!!

Divide and conquer.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Come out and see us for our last performance! We've gotten great reviews from critics and audiences - and Friday is our last show.

Visit and purchase tix in advance. We are SRO for our shows so make sure you get a ticket in advance.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Balancing Act

Charles Darwin would have turned 200 this year. And in many of the articles that have been written about this Darwinian event, there has been focus on the phrase “survival of the fittest.”

For Darwin, this did not mean brute strength. Nor did it really have anything to do with competition in the dog-eat-dog sense. What Darwin meant by “fittest” is those who are best able to adapt to their current, local environment. That means that in order to survive, we need to be flexible, agile, strong and intuitive. It means that we need to be able to assess where we are in space and time and make the smartest moves from that current position. And that means that those of us who do Pilates have a distinct advantage.

Here’s why. Pilates helps to balance out our musculature. That doesn’t just mean that our biceps and our triceps are equally strong. It means that our superficial muscles are in balance with our deepest “core” muscles. And when our deep musculature is activated, we have an increased capacity for proprioception. Proprioception is our bodies’ own sense of where it is in space and time.

When I first started taking Pilates, I was nearly incapable of staying in the moment. My brain was engaged in an exercise of pitting my regrets (past action) against my fears (future concerns). This was a problem exacerbated by my addiction and anxiety issues. My thoughts in the “now” were limited to my cravings. “Can I smoke? Can I drink? Can I take an anxiety pill?” When these things were unavailable to me, the emotion I responded with was anger. I created numerous justifications for this anger. None of them were ever productive. Not once.

But as I began to live one day at a time in sobriety, I was also using Pilates to retrain my body to understand “now” on a visceral level.

In this economy, in these changing times, I am so grateful to have my balanced and hopeful body. Pilates reminds me that if I honor my breath and am particular about my movements, if I focus on being my best self every single day, only good can come of it.

Even with a Pilates-fed mind, body and spirit, these are truly tough times. Kate, Sonya, all of your wonderful Pendleton teachers, and I are deeply appreciative of all of you who continue to help our Pilates community thrive. If we can be of help to you to keep you active in Pilates with us, please let us know.

Monday, March 23, 2009

What Does 50 Years of Pilates Look Like?

It looks like our teacher and friend, Sheila Cohen.

Sheila was one of the Pilates method’s earliest students when she worked with Pilates protégé Carola Trier in New York starting in the 1950s. She has been a dancer with the Lucas Hoving Dance Co., Princeton Ballet Co., and the Meredith Monk Dance Co. Sheila was also a student of Martha Graham, Alexandra Danilova (of the Ballet Russes), Henry Danton (of the Royal Ballet), the Joffrey Ballet School and more. She is currently on the faculty of the Princeton Ballet School, guest teacher for the school of the Cincinnati Ballet, and former head of dance department at SCPA for 22 years. She is also master teacher for national ballet conventions and choreographer for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.

We are lucky to have her as our “Master Teacher” in residence! And this Sunday, March 29th, from 3-6 pm, Sheila will teach a special workshop for Pendleton teachers, clients and friends. From 3-6 at the Downtown Studio. Visit

Where In The Heck Have I Been?

You know, it is hard in life (and in blog) to know if your voice is missed when you fall silent.

So if you have missed me, here is my excuse.

I have been over-expressing myself in long form (novel, play, True Body productions) and short form (Facebook Status Updates, ad nauseum). So when it came time to write something captivating for this blog, I felt like "what more can anyone possibly want to hear from me?"

But then I remembered that there are countless important things to communicate about our movement community. Things like awesome dance workshops and upcoming Pilates workshops and True Body and Teacher Training at Pendleton and so much more. So I'm back. I promise to at least update this blog weekly with e-MOTIONal tidbits and ideas and the occassional rant.

Thanks for reading. Now get moving.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Yes!! 2009!!

A friend of mine pointed out last week that 2008 must have been particularly unkind to many because never had they heard so many comments regarding excessive thankfulness that the calendar was turning to a new year.

While I am curious if Facebook, Twitter and other social media (I include "real" media in this category now) haven't made us all privy to collective consciousness in ways we weren't before, I do suspect 2008 kicked a few butts more than usual.

For me, 2008 was a training year for my 2009 Olympian effort to MAKE IT ALL PAY OFF. What that meant was I needed to trim the fat and go on a diet. My diet wasn't food related. I am luckily okay in that camp. But I had to learn to cut way back and work harder financially unless I was prepared to sink like the Titanic in 2009. Which would have made it hard to make 2009 the year I MAKE IT ALL PAY OFF.

I also had to get my head and my energy re-organized. I worked with fantastic Jeanne Kabenji and my other wonderful energy healers in massage, dance and all good things. I was blessed to re-acquaint myself with the fundamentals of 12-Step work thanks to Kristine and Kay and all the brave ladies at the Brighton Center. I went on the best sanity diet ever and have nearly completely cut out all the extraneous and unhelpful chatter in my busy-body brain. One of my Brighton Center friends said it best: "I know I shouldn't spend so much time in my head but I am so popular there!"

So I stand ready to bring my whole energy and hopefulness to each and every experience this year. I stand ready to see how my voice floats in the bigger world. And I stand ready to see what the universe has in store for me.

Are you ready too? Let's go.