Last month I had the opportunity to host a group of five young women at the studio who had moved to Portland as refugees from Nepal and Burma. They were participating in a program that, in part, offers them opportunities to meet with a variety of people, professionals, and businesses. Through these visits, they are building communication skills, learning to use mass transit, and thinking about career opportunities.

It was equal parts fun and fascination trying to convey the philosophy and mechanics of a movement system they had never heard of before. We spent time on the mat and on the equipment learning how to “turn on” muscles and find alignment. There were a few groans about how hard Pilates is but, more importantly, lots of laughter muddling through Knee Folds, Hundreds, Roll Ups and Teasers.

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Their laughter and positive energy has stayed with me over the weeks since they visited the studio. It was pure joy introducing Pilates to these newcomers. It reminded me of the importance of facing new experiences and new places with humor and grace. It also reminded me to not take my own Pilates practice too seriously. Pilates is fun, after all!

Portland Pilates studio

On the cusp of Bloom’s one-year anniversary, their questions about why I opened a Pilates studio helped me reflect on my passion for and belief in this movement system. And my desire to provide a safe and empowering space for people to find a mind-body connection that gives them strength inside and out.

I received a lovely thank you note from them but I should be thanking them. I’m quite certain I gained more from them than they did from me.

 

Visit Portland Meets Portland to learn more about opportunities like this one.