Our Featured Author for August is Gary Calderone.
The Pilates Path to Health: Body, Mind, and Spirit
(Pub date: October 2010)
Before I knew anything about Pilates, I wanted to ‘do’ Pilates. I’ve been doing some form of exercise my whole life: walking, swimming, horseback riding, hiking, boating, dance, Callanetics, etc. I have to admit; I do much less, since working 6-7 days a week at my desk/computer. But for more than a decade, I’ve held an open space within me to find out just what Pilates was and to make it a relevant practice for myself. Completely ignorant of any concrete information about Pilates: What did the term mean? How long had it been a practice of exercise? Why name it Pilates? Would I have to go to a class? Hire a teacher? I blissfully ignored my ignorance. My courting of the practice of Pilates was on some intangible level. Pilates literally grabbed hold of me before I knew how to define it. Oh, I heard people talking about it, but I didn’t pay any attention to the details. I really didn’t want to know Pilates from them. I wanted to know Pilates from me. I was a purest about my ignorance.
About four years ago, I bought a DVD for Pilates for Beginners. I thought, okay, my time has come! Sadly, no, it’s still wrapped in its original cellophane. But from time to time, I would pull it out and dream about doing Pilates. Three years ago I joined a health club that offered Pilates classes. I stopped by and observed one of the classes in session. After several minutes I knew I would never take a class like this. This wasn’t for me.
Then, I got a referral from a writer I’d worked with on developing her ‘voice.’ Gary Calderone showed up in person to talk with me about his Pilates book. I smiled. I was getting warmer.
Gary was a second generation teacher (whatever that meant) who wanted to tell his story about how Pilates saved him. His story about illness, financial loss, relationships breaking up, studying Pilates, clinics that offered him only pharmaceuticals and a wheelchair . . . Well, his passion to tell his story was there (he’s Italian). It kept spilling out until he dropped the ‘golden thread.’
“I want to bring my experiences of healing, and human potential, and the body, mind, and spirit of Joseph Pilates' Contrology into a 21st Century perspective.” Okay, now I was listening and getting a little warmer.
Gary wanted to bridge the developing material from seminal teachers from the body/mind connection in a manner that revealed the demonstrating Joseph Pilates’ concept of a “return to life through Contrology.”
I peeked into his book’s possibilities. No other books on Pilates talked about this body/mind/spirit connection. And this is the core to our own list of books. Every human category--work, relationships, recreation, and devotional practice—is vying to find reasonable balance on this planet within the human drama of evolution.
I signed up and put the book under contract. I was downright hot!
Here was my opportunity to step into Pilates as a novice, with no expectations, but ‘the doing.’ As I learned about Pilates through my own body, I was better able to fortify the author’s manuscript pages with seeing Pilates from a void of history, studios, equipment, or expectation. Gary’s Pilates instruction brought me a core of understanding. I was back in Self-realization 101.
I was learning to walk, talk, breathe, feel connected to my body-mind again from my very core concepts of who I thought I was in my body, and who I discovered I was waiting to become: still, strong, ease of swimming through gravity, taller, thinner, standing on a solid foundation, carried by my center, long body, lengthening muscles, clearing mind, focus, felt sense of no physical pain, and always, always, always the breath, full and serving me. My love affair with Pilates had finally started!
“At the time of this writing, more than eight million people in the United States, and millions more in other countries are flocking to Pilates' classes at health clubs, YMCAs, gyms, and Pilates studios. The numbers are growing by double digit percentages every year.
So, who’s carried the torch of Joe’s message?—the teachers, the students, the dancers, and all the individuals who practiced the process and shared their vision, passion, and work with others.” –Gary Calderone
Along the journey of this book, I’ve also been privileged to meet, talk with, love, and hear the words from what the Pilates community so elegantly refers to as The Elders. For me, Mary Bowen is the epitome of what I want to be like when I grow up. She is body, mind & spirit, in its fullest expression of a human living within her wisdom. Mary Bowen has given freely and with great passion to the building of the bridge of ideas and concepts, facts and stories within the passages of this book. She tried, not so successfully, to help prune the author’s over-abundance and teeming cauldron of spirit and ideas. I believe, in her own spirit of fairness and support, Mary would have wanted the author to prune much more had she not been so busy in her own life that she had to put the book manuscript down. Thank you, Mary. And a second generation Pilates teacher, truly a sister, I’ve yet to meet, but already know in my heart, Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle, the Foreword Author of the book, who ignites the spark, endearing the reader to its pages. Thank you, Wendy.
It is with great gratitude and what seems like a lifetime of waiting to know it: The Pilates Path to Health: Body, Mind, and Spirit by Gary Calderone. Please join me in welcoming our Featured Author for August and my personal Pilates teacher, Gary Calderone. Thank you, Gary, for your great work with George and me.
You may contact Gary Calderone by email at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at: http://www.pilateswithcalderone.com.
Toni Dianne Holm - Publisher
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Author's additional Commentary. >
Gary Calderone , author
"The Pilates Path to Health: Body, Mind, and Spirit"
Featured Authors - 2009
January/February - Colin D. Mallard
May - Karen Wright
August - Gary Calderone