Pilates for Men Q&A

by Brandon Gamble

As a follow up to Rael’s Webinar, he has asked me to answer some of the questions that came in on the topic of “Pilates for Men.”  You can also join me for a Pilates for Men workshop I am presenting in Seattle on August 9th.

Q: How can we get more men into Mat Classes?

A: Getting men into a mat class can be difficult. I often offer my male clients a couple of privates before doing a mat class so I may show them some of the modifications they’ll be able to use once they do take the class. As much as we try to offer a noncompetitive setting in our Pilates studio men can still become embarrassed if they’re not keeping up and doing as well as the women. Keep ensuring your male clients that this is a noncompetitive setting and women welcome their presence.

Q: How can Pilates benefit bodybuilders?

A: Pilates has tremendous benefits for bodybuilders. Most bodybuilders, male and female, lack flexibility and stabilization. They tend to be more concerned with primary muscles then secondary (Stabilizers and fixators).  I use this analogy with my bodybuilder clients “You cannot fire a cannon from a canoe,” which simply means you can have the biggest muscles in the world, but if you don’t have adequate stabilization you may injure your joints and tendons. I highly recommend teaching your bodybuilder clients exercises from module nine in the BASI course.

  • Shoulder push
  • Rowing series
  • Shoulder stretch prone
  • Shoulder addiction (single and double arm)

Others:

  • Standing lunge
  • Any hip series
  • And knee stretch group
  • Long stretch
  • Pulling straps 1 & 2

Q:  I feel like there has been a shift in the fitness world to  focus on competition rather than community. I’m wondering if perhaps the lack of tangible overt competition in the practice of Pilates has made Pilates less attractive to men. What are your thoughts on this?

A: I believe the fitness industry is very competitive and unrealistic as far as community support. That being said, I believe the Pilates industry even more so now how stayed very noncompetitive. More and more men are finding the true benefits of Pilates. Walk into a country club bar and tell the men in there you can take three strokes off their golf game by doing Pilates and I guarantee you 90% of them will sign up. Not only are men signing up to do Pilates to enhance their sports activities and hobbies, but they’re finally truly understanding the rehabilitation benefits Pilates has to offer and how Pilates can help them remain injury free.

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Brandon Gamble
Brandon Gamble

Owner of Bodies in Motion, a full-service, 2,500 square-foot Pilates studio in University Place, Washington, Brandon is a member of the BASI faculty and a much-in-demand teacher in the US and abroad. He began his fitness career in Las Vegas, where he introduced innovative techniques to prevent and treat injuries to dancers and acrobats.

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Q&A with Rael Isacowitz

by Rael Isacowitz

Q:  Does it matter what kind of certification my Pilates teacher has?

A:  I would first like to address the term “certification” and in so doing refer you to a wonderful piece written by Ray Infante of the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA). Few are as well versed on this topic as Ray. In essence, the PMA is the only body today within the USA that is eligible to issue a “certification” for Pilates teachers. However, I assume you are referring to a “certificate” or “qualification” issued by different schools of Pilates.

My answer to this is, absolutely! It definitely matters what kind of qualification your Pilates teacher has. Unfortunately the Pilates industry is unregulated, despite mammoth efforts by professionals (myself included) over the years to establish widely accepted standards. The PMA has made enormous strides in the right direction in establishing the closest to what we have in the industry of a widely accepted and supported representative body.

Teacher training programs vary greatly and your teacher may have received a thorough, in-depth, comprehensive education in the Pilates method. He or she may have completed all the requirements and the program itself may have met, or even exceeded, widely accepted standards.

At the same time your teacher may have, unfortunately, received a sub-par, superficial crash course in a diluted form of Pilates with minimal requirements. The course may have even been online, with no actual contact hours! There are many of these courses around, and in my opinion, few things have hurt our industry as much as these types of courses. They have devalued a profession that many of us respect greatly and have devoted our lives to. I am hoping this is not the case, but you should be aware that not all teacher-training programs are created equal.

In addition, even if your teacher did go through a comprehensive and well- respected course, did your teacher fulfill all the requirements such as observation, student teaching and self-practice? These requirements are a vital part of receiving a qualification and laying down a solid foundation for a teacher. Added to that there is the issue of experience. Nothing can replace experience, and studying with a more seasoned teacher will bring with it the knowledge, intuition and confidence gained through experience. Although experience alone does not guarantee the person will be a good teacher. Being a good teacher requires human qualities over and above the knowledge acquired in a course.

The PMA does offer a Registry of Schools  and although not all schools appear on this registry, it is a start and will help in your exploration. (The Registry lists schools that have applied to be listed, that meet the 6 criteria mentioned on the Registry of Schools webpage.)

In addition, as PMA certification requires examination candidates to be comprehensively trained, the credential creates a distinction between those that are comprehensively trained, and those who are trained in one part of the Pilates Method, for example, in mat only, or reformer only. Therefore, if a teacher is PMA certified, you can be assured that this individual has provided evidence that he or she is competent to teach on all of the Pilates apparatus as well as the mat work.

As you can see this is a complex topic, and one I feel passionately about. In summing this up, I will say that it is worthwhile doing thorough research before embarking on what will hopefully become a lifelong commitment.

 

 

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Rael Isacowitz
Rael Isacowitz

Rael is founder and president of BASI Pilates. Widely acknowledged as one of the world's leading Pilates authorities, he has spent well over 30 years studying, teaching and developing the Pilates Method. Rael has authored two books and seven workbooks on Pilates, designed the pioneering Avalon System of equipment and launched an online Pilates resource.

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Q&A with Rael Isacowitz

by Rael Isacowitz

Q.  I’ve been taught different versions of breathing in the Hundred.  Is it legato or percussive breathing?

A.  The breath pattern during the Hundred could really be either way.  The movement is often given as a more percussive breath in the beginning and then graduates into the single inhale and exhale to the count of five, times ten.  The latter option is usually considered a bit more challenging.

 

This story is reprinted from Pilates Style. For more of Rael’s expert tips, check out the latest issue. Want it now? Get instant access to the magazine—dedicated to your Pilates lifestyle—on your tablet or mobile device by purchasing our app edition

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Rael Isacowitz
Rael Isacowitz

Rael is founder and president of BASI Pilates. Widely acknowledged as one of the world's leading Pilates authorities, he has spent well over 30 years studying, teaching and developing the Pilates Method. Rael has authored two books and seven workbooks on Pilates, designed the pioneering Avalon System of equipment and launched an online Pilates resource.

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Audit a course? Yes, please!

by Kristen Stevenson

As a BASI administrator, I often speak to students, potential students and graduates about how they can audit our teacher training courses.

If a student has taken a break from their training and they want to review the BASI work, I suggest that they audit.  If someone is unsure if they are ready to start such an intensive course, they can audit. If a graduate wants to refresh the BASI basics, audit!  I suggest it all the time but I personally did not know what it was like to audit…until last month.

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The Comprehensive Teacher Training Course began on March 1st here at headquarters. As a BASI Graduate, I decided to practice what I preached to so many and I enthusiastically signed up to audit modules 1 and 2. I wanted to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity and because it was literally at my doorstep, I’d be crazy not to.

As I sit on the Cadillac, listening intently to Rael’s lecture, I am in awe and thought to myself, “why didn’t I audit sooner?”  To me, auditing was more than just a review but a deeper clarification of the BASI work. I learned an incredible amount of information during the 2 modules and realized that I was teaching some things incorrectly.  It was like hearing the information for the first time and having many of those “ah ha” moments.

I went through the course 5 years ago and I know that there is an incredible amount of information taught in all 12 modules. How can one person possibly retain that much information?  Auditing really does take away the pressure and stresses of being a student.

Auditing allowed me to refine my teaching and cueing skills, thanks to the proper corrections made due to the watchful eyes of Rael and his assistants.

I rediscovered the foundation of BASI Pilates that weekend and I felt rejuvenated, invigorated and refreshed. It was absolutely an awesome weekend! 

It’s crazy that not more people take advantage of this opportunity. It’s available to everyone, for anyone.

Now, I know firsthand of how incredible auditing truly is and I can encourage all to jump on board.

I’m a believer that you never stop learning as you are always a student…so audit!

-Kristen Stevenson

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Kristen Stevenson
Kristen Stevenson

Q&A with Rael Isacowitz

by Rael Isacowitz

Q: What do YOU do on plane rides to stretch, avoid DVT and stay (physically) sane?

A: I love this question! What better time to answer than while sitting on a plane, where I happen to be right now. After flying around the globe (extensively) for the past 25 years I can say that staying sane (albeit physically) is all but impossible. You can imagine that an active person like me, who finds it hard to sit still at the very best of times, has tried everything on a flight, and I mean everything.

Doing exercise programs (specifically Pilates) on flights is actually promoted by certain airlines. British Airways screens a clip as the plane takes off encouraging some exercises compiled by a friend of mine, Lynne Robinson of Body Control UK as does El Al (Israeli airline company) compiled by Dalia Mantver, another good friend.

All I can recommend is getting up a lot, even if you do not feel like it or it bothers those sitting next to you. I have performed amazing acrobatic feats that make the “Squirrel” look quite tame, to get over people. Stretch your hip flexors with as many lunges as you can handle. Stretch your shoulders and chest, which assumes a hunched-up position that can, take days to recover from. I also recommend pointing and flexing your feet throughout the flight and drink water, water and more water. Safe travels!

 

This story is reprinted from Pilates Style. For more of Rael’s expert tips, check out the latest issue. Want it now? Get instant access to the magazine—dedicated to your Pilates lifestyle—on your tablet or mobile device by purchasing our app edition

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Rael Isacowitz
Rael Isacowitz

Rael is founder and president of BASI Pilates. Widely acknowledged as one of the world's leading Pilates authorities, he has spent well over 30 years studying, teaching and developing the Pilates Method. Rael has authored two books and seven workbooks on Pilates, designed the pioneering Avalon System of equipment and launched an online Pilates resource.

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Q&A with Rael Isacowitz

by Rael Isacowitz

Q.  What is the difference between the Cadillac and the Trap Table? I have heard it referenced both ways and would like to know the difference.

A.  The correct name for this classic Pilates apparatus is Cadillac.  The term “Trap Table” is more of a slang term and really references the Trapezes which is an attachment to the Cadillac itself.  At the end of the day what ever you call it, the full frame Cadillac is a versatile and invaluable piece of equipment and a wonderful addition to any studio.

This story is reprinted from Pilates Style. For more of Rael’s expert tips, check out the latest issue. Want it now? Get instant access to the magazine—dedicated to your Pilates lifestyle—on your tablet or mobile device by purchasing our app edition

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Rael Isacowitz
Rael Isacowitz

Rael is founder and president of BASI Pilates. Widely acknowledged as one of the world's leading Pilates authorities, he has spent well over 30 years studying, teaching and developing the Pilates Method. Rael has authored two books and seven workbooks on Pilates, designed the pioneering Avalon System of equipment and launched an online Pilates resource.

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Q&A with Rael Isacowitz

by Rael Isacowitz

Q.  The breath pattern for exercises is often taught differently from one organization (and one instructor) to the next.  Is it really that important, and which one is right?

A.  The are all correct if they are telling you to “just breathe”.  Breath brings life to movement and is used to enhance the objective of the movement.  In addition, breath can allow you to increase or decrease the challenge or muscle focus of a particular exercise.  Practicing exercises over and over allows you to change the way you utilize it, this in turn allows you to experience the benefits or changes any breath cycle can provide.  Experience is everything – for now, just “breathe” and enjoy the beauty of each one.

 

This story is reprinted from Pilates Style. For more of Rael’s expert tips, check out the latest issue. Want it now? Get instant access to the magazine—dedicated to your Pilates lifestyle—on your tablet or mobile device by purchasing our app edition

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Rael Isacowitz
Rael Isacowitz

Rael is founder and president of BASI Pilates. Widely acknowledged as one of the world's leading Pilates authorities, he has spent well over 30 years studying, teaching and developing the Pilates Method. Rael has authored two books and seven workbooks on Pilates, designed the pioneering Avalon System of equipment and launched an online Pilates resource.

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Finding Freedom through Pilates in the Middle East

by Christina Spring

On December 21, 2012 my family and I landed in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. As I stepped off the plane in my Abaya and hijab I stepped not only into a new country, but also into a world of new beliefs and practices.  Little did I know that this world, with such strict moral codes and laws, would open a new freedom that I did not anticipate would be awaiting me. Teaching Pilates without the bombardment of the perfect body images that plague us in the West would not be the case here, really? Of course, the women I encounter do care about the appearance of their bodies, there is just not the unspoken societal strain to achieve the size zero that we often find in the West.  Being free from this constraint allows women to enter the practice of Pilates with patience and focus on their overall well-being, which is something that has not always been the case when teaching back in the states.

Photo from 19 Feb 2014

I began teaching Pilates in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in September 2013.  This was almost a year after I landed in Saudi. It took the first portion of our time in the Kingdom just to figure out to live.  It was quite challenging to reconfigure the day-to-day life in a country where women are not allowed to drive and the social expectations for women are so vastly different. Only after spending my first portion of time working on the adjustment to life was I ready to start teaching Pilates again.

As I readied myself to teach, I was shocked with the number of women from all over the Middle East and Europe who had never heard of Pilates. At first this news seemed daunting.  Daunting because I would now have the responsibility not only to teach the practice but also to introduce the idea and movements of Pilates for the very first time. However, after my first teaching session the intimidation turned into exhilaration.  It became quickly apparent how open and dedicated my new students would be to the practice of Pilates, not only in the studio, but as it would apply to their daily lives.

Photo from 20 Feb 2014

It did not take long before I began hearing how the function of their daily lives had started to improve.  One client exclaimed she could not believe that she was able to bend down and plant in her garden all day without fatigue or pain! Others have been able to do a variety of activities with more energy and flexibility. There are also those that have started to become more mobile when in the past they had been sedentary.

It is wonderful to see these women finding new strength, flexibility and relief from their pain through Pilates.  This is what they are excited about with regards to their practice.   For me, not having to battle expectations from the client that their practice will result in simply a smaller clothing size is really refreshing. Of course these beautiful women do want to look better; this is a natural desire and not a bad thing.  Working with my students has been and continues to be liberating and fulfilling! All of my clients have very specific and diverse needs, which keeps me challenged as I endeavor to lend a helping hand on their road to better health.

In terms of my training, BASI Pro Bridge has equipped me to lay the foundations of the Pilates practice here in the Kingdom.  Rael’s wonderful study guides and manuals have been at my fingertips as I take this journey.  The tools of Pilates Interactive and Pilates Anytime have also been important to my personal and professional growth.  As a student and teacher of Pilates, I have been able to grow by taking several online workshops such as “Form and Function,” offered on Pilates Anytime.  In this workshop, Rael has so beautifully taught about the ways in which better form will result in better function.  This emphasis has been a natural translation in this culture of women.

Photo from 19 Feb 2014

I never imagined that my personal journey would lead me to Saudi Arabia.  There are obvious challenges in any culture with such strict laws and expectations.  I have discovered the joy of a new freedom that I did not know I would encounter. It is not only a professional freedom but also a deeply personal freedom. The struggle within us all, to fit into a picture of perfection has undoubtedly affected us all at one time or another (both women and men).  Yet, when we are freed from the self- inflicted and societal bonds of the perfect body image, it is a beautiful thing to encounter how much deeper our practice, study and teaching of Pilates can venture.

CHristina Family

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Christina Spring
Christina Spring

Christina Spring was trained at as a scholarship student at University of Maryland and Mount Saint Mary’s College in Theatre and Music. She holds a BA from Mount Saint Mary’s College. At the age of 25 years old, Christina was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and began to practice yoga and Pilates as a means of treatment. After 10 years of teaching Theater Arts and Directing, she decided to become a Pilates instructor to better her own lifestyle and to work with clients with Chronic Pain. Christina did her first Pilates training with Balanced Body and at 38 years old Christina encountered Rael Isacowitz at a Shoulder Girdle Workshop. Upon meeting Rael and taking the workshop, she decided to join the first group of BASI Pro Bridge Training. Later that year, Christina was diagnosed with sero-negative form of migratory RA. She continues to teach and apply Pilates principles to her own treatment and the treatment of others with Chronic Pain. Christina has been thrilled with her both her foundations in Balanced Body and her continued education through BASI Pro Bridge. They have both enriched her life, her teaching and her personal Pilates practice. She presently resides in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia with her husband, Alan, and two beautiful children, Emma and Kieran where she teaches Pilates from her home studio.

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BASI goes beyond the Mat…

by BASI Pilates

If you’ve taken a BASI Advanced Education course you know you are guaranteed to learn a lot more (and new) information about Pilates.  We thought it would also be fun to learn some new information about the presenters who teach these valuable courses!

We went Beyond The Mat and gathered some fun and interesting facts.  We hope you’ll have the chance to meet them in person soon and give them a high five for their achievements and passions!

Karen Clippinger

Karen Clippinger has several upcoming courses both on the east and west coast of the US.  She’ll be teaching on March 8-9 at Body In Motion in Aptos, CA (Earn up to 12 PMA CEC’s) and again on April 4-6 at Balanced Bodies in Herndon, VA (Earn up to 18 PMA CEC’s).  Call BASI HQ for more information and to receive discount with registration. 866-992-2742.

DID YOU KNOW…Karen has a special affection for cats—big and small? As far as small, her record (for a brief time) was 11 kittens and cats. As far as BIG, she has had the pleasure of petting a tiger, cheetah, and lion cubs.

Zoom Cheetah October 30th 07 036 copy-1

Anthony Lett
Anthony Lett is coming to London!  Anthony will be teaching Innovations in Pilates March 22-23 in Wimbledon, UK. The Pilates Clinic will be hosting this course for the first time.  Earn 12 PMA CEC’s. Reserve your space

DID YOU KNOW… Anthony’s first Pilates studio burned down 3 months after he opened?  And even stranger, did you know that Joseph Pilates studio was also destroyed by fire?  You’ve come a long way Anthony!  And in case you are wondering, for fun, Anthony loves to ride his kick-bike (a grown up scooter) with his dog and partner.

Anthony and Dog-1

 

Sheri Long

Sheri Long will be sharing her expertise in teaching the Mature Client population in the Pilates for the Mature Client course on March 22 in Davis, CA.  Balance Point Pilates Studio will be hosting. Earn 6 PMA CEC’s.  Reserve your space

DID YOU KNOW…one of Sheri’s first jobs was at Jack in the Box?  She lasted four hours, after breaking the shake Machine and dropping the secret sauce in the taco grease. The boss very nicely said he didn’t think Fast Food Service was for her and she agreed. One week later she started teaching Dance and has been teaching ever since!  There’s no turning back now!

Sheri definitely has a love for animals too!

Sheri with Dog-1

Rael Isacowitz

Come study with Rael and be introduced to new dimensions of work in The Avalon System on March 29 at BASI Pilates Studio in Costa Mesa. Earn 5 PMA CEC’s. Plus, we just added a BONUS Mat Class!   Reserve your space

DID YOU KNOW… when Rael grows up he would like to work in a windsurfing shop (someday)? “Totally!”  Get a glimpse of Rael on the water in this video clip.

rael windsurfing

Sam Wood

Back by popular demand Samantha Wood will be instructing Pilates for Injuries & Pathologies April 25-27 in Avon, CO.  Synergy will be hosting this course.  Earn 18 PMA CEC’s. Reserve your space

DID YOU KNOW Sam climbed Mount Kilimanjaro a couple years ago?  19,000 feet later, on top of the world, smiling bigger than ever.

Kilimanjaro summit

 

T Maldonado Marchok

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teresa Maldonado Marchok will be teaching BoneSmart: Pilates for Osteoporosis April 26-27 in Livermore, CA.  Mindful Movements Pilates Studio will be hosting this course. Earn 10 PMA CEC’s. Reserve your space

DID YOU KNOW…Teresa enjoys hiking with her family, and last year reached the summit of Half Dome in Yosemite, something she previously thought was beyond her reach? She considers it a sacred honor to share what she knows and has developed in Pilates with her students!

teresa teaching IMG_3845-1

 

“The only thing as important as our primary education is continuing education.  Every skill needs to be sharpened, deepened and refined.  All true professionals continually educate themselves,” Constance Holder, Principal Faculty Member, BASI Director of Education

See you on the Mat!

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BASI Pilates
BASI Pilates

Written by the BASI Pilates staff.

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Winter of Extremes

by Rael Isacowitz

This is certainly the winter of extremes. As California experiences the warmest winter on record, so the east coast breaks all records for experiencing the coldest. We watched the very “warm” winter Olympics while the news was flooded with dramatic pictures of entire freeways coming to a standstill due to snow and ice. Drought in California and floods in other states, it just all seems a little out of sync.

So I left California and went up to Oregon for a few days last week to remind myself that this time of the year is indeed winter, and Oregon delivered!

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Up until a few weeks ago it was one of the driest winters on record. Well that changed once we (Adelle, Elan and I) got there. It rained non-stop and that meant an abundance of glorious white powder on the mountains. I went up to Mt. Hood with two of my “BASI brothers” from the Pacific North West, Brandon Gamble, BASI host and faculty, and Donald Kavanaugh BASI graduate, affiliate and studio owner in Seattle, WA. It was such fun. Yet it was far more than fun, it was sharing the exhilaration of the great outdoors, the joy of fresh tracks through virgin powder, the wonder of movement with two incredible men. It became blatantly clear to me that BASI’s message of lifestyle in all our recent campaigns is a very powerful and real message indeed. I awakened the following day feeling sore but oh so alive! Is that not what Joseph Pilates based his entire system on, total well-being? Pilates transcends the time you spend doing your Pilates sessions, it is a way of life – it is a lifestyle. I then spent two more days up on the mountain, one stormy with knee-deep powder and the other a sunny, “blue-bird” day. The experienced fueled every cell in my body.

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Other exciting news in BASI-land, we have selected our 2014 Kathy Grant Scholarship recipients. Stella, who spearheaded the process, will go into more detail in her segment, however I cannot resist stealing her thunder and at least congratulating these fine people. Each year we receive many applications for these coveted scholarships. In all honesty we always offered assistance to those in need in order to receive an education in Pilates. If people had the will, we provided the way. Yet, I am so proud to have formalized this assistance by way of the Kathy Grant Scholarship. Kathy Grant’s greatest lesson to me was always to seek out knowledge with a vengeance. Never rest on your laurels and never, ever cease from learning. We are always students and should always remember that.

I examined one of our past scholarship recipients, Stephanie Fernandez, recently during the Centralized Testing process. I felt so inspired to witness this young lady’s path from scholarship applicant to completing her testing process. Stephanie has done a fine job keeping us all abreast of this process through regular blog posts. Good luck Stephanie as you launch your professional Pilates career!

Finally, I want to thank many of you for your enthusiastic response to the ProBridge mat work classes, we recently posted on our site. We are all working hard to get the new and greatly improved site up by the time the next BASI Newsletter, “Ahead of the Curve”, hits the World Wide Web. As the trees start to bloom and flowers start springing up, all that remains is to wish you all a wonderful spring.

More Winter Wonderland Photos:

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Rael and Me

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Rael Isacowitz
Rael Isacowitz

Rael is founder and president of BASI Pilates. Widely acknowledged as one of the world's leading Pilates authorities, he has spent well over 30 years studying, teaching and developing the Pilates Method. Rael has authored two books and seven workbooks on Pilates, designed the pioneering Avalon System of equipment and launched an online Pilates resource.

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