Standing Out in Pilates

By January 3, 2012Career News

I didn’t even know Pilates was a person…

Two people, actually, Joseph and Clara Pilates who, in the early 20th century, developed a physical fitness system they called Controlology. I had heard of Pilates and had a vague notion of what it was, but no more than that.

That was my starting point when I went to visit Katrina Hawley, a self-proclaimed anatomy geek, at The Pilates Studio in Hadley, Massachusetts. Katrina and her business partner, Laurie Johnson are co-owners. Katrina is a member of the BNI chapter I recently joined, so I wanted to see her studio and learn more about Pilates.

I had heard Katrina talking about Core Strength on a couple of occasions, and that’s what caught my attention. This is what I learned about the definition of the Core: There isn’t one, as in just one. So far, Katrina has four definitions of the Core and it is still evolving. But here are a couple of examples.

For addressing back pain, the Core is: the Transverse Abdominals, Pelvic Floor, Multifidus, and the Diaphragm. The client’s goal, although I doubt the client would phrase it this way, is “pelvic stability”.

For running, kicking, or skiing better, the Core is: Hamstrings, Gluteus Medius, the Pelvic Floor, Low Abdominals, Psoas, and Diaphragm.

One of the things I like about Katrina’s approach is that there is no one right answer for everyone. As she puts it, “The body is such a mystery, and when we try to define this mystery in just one way, then we leave out so many possibilities.” Much like Personal Branding, it is diversity at the level of the individual.

The Reach working definition of a brand is “your unique promise of value”. It consists, in part, of your Rational Brand Attributes, those required competencies for your role, and Emotional Brand Attributes, ways that people feel connected to you that engender loyalty.

Katrina has Rational Brand Attributes in abundance. She has studied Somatic Movement approaches under the top names in her field. She was on the Board of Directors for the International Somatic Movement Education & Therapy Association (ISMETA) and continues to be an ISMETA Registered Somatic Movement Educator (RSME).   Katrina was the co-director of HawleyMartin Dance and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Temple University.

But Katrina’s Emotional Brand Attributes started to jump out at me during one of those Core Strength conversations. This is what she said. “I remember walking the streets of New York thinking about the Psoas and the way it swings the leg in the gait and supports the upright posture of the spine.”

Listening to her speak, I realized that Katrina has a relentless passion for what she does.

She sees learning as a process and not an event, and understands that every person is unique, that she always needs to listen and will always need to teach. In a sense, we do very similar things. I work with my clients on their Core: Core Values, Core Skills, Core Strengths, Core Energy. Katrina works with the physical manifestation of the Core and I work with the internal manifestation – at least during the foundational phase.

I barely remember walking to my car in the parking lot as my mind processed all I had just learned. I was shocked when I looked at my Droid and saw how much time had elapsed. But that’s how time goes when you are in a place of healing and strengthening, talking with a person who absolutely loves her work.

Jeff Rock

Author Jeff Rock

Jeff works with project management professionals in business. He provides career and personal development coaching to help you get your career moving forward while bringing your life back into balance. As a result, you feel rejuvenated and back in control. You get your life back.

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Join the discussion One Comment

  • I can’t believe I didn’t know that Pilates was invented by people named Pilates! I figured it was a made up word for the exercise. That’s wild. I’ll have to tell my friends about that next time we’re doing Pilates.

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