FROM: Maria Earle, owner of the Pilates Loft in Barcelona
HOW SHE GOT TO BARCELONA: When I was 35, I was facing the pressure to adult-up, which at the time meant buying an apartment and expanding the Pilates studio I co-owed in New York City. But my heart was telling me I would thrive elsewhere, so 10 years ago, I made the transatlantic leap to Spain—the country where I was born. Ten years ago I traded my urban life in Manhattan for a provincial one on the outskirts of Barcelona, bringing my life story full circle.
HOW SHE WAS INTRODUCED TO PILATES: I first heard about it in college in the early 90s —I was told that it was a conditioning system for dancers. As an aspiring dancer, I put it on my list as something I wanted to pursue.
HER PILATES TRAINING: At The Pilates Center of Boulder in Colorado in 1995. Years later, I realized how unique the program was! My teachers—Amy Taylor Alpers, Rachel Taylor Segel, Debora Kolwey and Cara Reeser—had studied directly under Romana Kryzanowska, Eve Gentry and Kathy Grant. After completing the program I moved to NYC and began an oldschool- style apprenticeship with Kathy Grant until her death in 2010. I am the teacher I am today because of those incredible women.
CHALLENGES OF TEACHING IN SPAIN: The biggest one has been my inexperience with teaching in Spanish. I tend to use a fair amount of imagery in my teaching and still find it challenging to convey my ideas accurately, quickly and effectively. The upside is that I have learned to say more with less and to embrace silence in my sessions.
PAYING IT FORWARD: I travel internationally teaching workshops and also use live-stream technology to teach and mentor Pilates professionals around the world. In Barcelona I offer weekend intensives for teachers a few times a year.
THE NEXT STEP: For years I had been dreaming of sharing the laid-back Mediterranean lifestyle that lured me away from NYC. Last year, I co-led my first Pilates retreat north of Barcelona. This October you can join us on the magical Greek island of Corfu for a luxurious six-day retreat that invites you to slow down and focus on what matters most—your well-being. (For more information, go to www.pilates-retreats.net)
—Anne Marie O’Connor
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