I used to live in one of the most superficial cities in the nation, one that was only capable of seeing and celebrating youth. But I was inspired by someone who was neither young nor yet celebrated, and by then, already in her seventies.
Pilates protégé, Romana Kryzanowska, began visiting Los Angeles at a time when Pilates was an unknown conditioning method, and I was fortunate to be one of the teachers who would learn the undiluted Pilates system through her certification program. Romana’s desire was to pass on the traditional Pilates repertoire to those of us with what she considered special requirements — physical strength, endurance, and the intelligence to understand the technique. On one of her West Coast visits, I watched her fearlessly demonstrate various inversions on the Cadillac, as well as an advanced exercise named the Star, on the Reformer, a Romana signature exercise that Joe taught her. She must have excelled in his eyes, because thereafter Joe considered Romana, his star. Joseph Pilates’ statement, “We should be in our prime in our 70’s, and should not be considered old until we are 100,” was clearly echoed by Romana as she showed off her Pilates strength throughout our certification program.
As some of our own youthfulness recedes, we can indeed keep strong by choosing body conditioning programs like the traditional Pilates method, or any of its variations, and by embracing activities that require us to push, pull, press, reach and resist. Like Romana, we too, can echo Joe’s philosophy and celebrate our aging with confidence.