About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fun Monday - Gentle Teacher

Sharing the Love" is this week's Fun Monday topic. Our host is Jill over at Life is Not Bubble Wrapped . Her assignment: describe something nice someone had done for you, an act of kindness you witnessed someone perform, something that touched your heart. Well Jill, last Friday I got these lovely valentines from little Lily and Ryan when they spent a snow day at my weekly pilates class with their mother Julie, my gentle teacher. That makes a share the love twofer!

For over three years my friend Sally and I have been taking a pilates duo class with Julie at the Core Pilates Studio. We were total novices and well on the way to joining the senior citizen ranks when we started the class. Sally and I have always been fitness partners and, at this stage in our lives, we wanted to do everything we could to stay strong and healthy in our 60s and beyond.

This is Julie demonstrating a barrel pilates flexibility and core strengthening exercise. For the record, I have worked on this contraption, but never achieved Julie's example of form! And that's alright with Julie. She constantly reminds us to not measure ourselves against others.

Julie was a registered nurse before earning her certification as a pilates instructor. So she is really tuned into a first do no harm philosophy of exercise. She watches Sally and me like a hawk as we work because each of us has some physical issues that limit what we can do. My spine has a limited range of motion and my head threatens to explode (from high BP, probably) if it isn't elevated when I lie on my back. We have this running joke that if the exercises get too strenuous, I'll just look pained or whimper and Julie will cut us some slack! As I said, she's our gentle teacher. If we injure ourselves outside of class she customizes our practice, as in the time I tried to play tree trimming Paul Bunyan and fell off a ladder injuring my shoulder and elbow.

Julie is tuned into us physically but, more importantly, she is very intuitive about our mental and emotional state. She understands that we may have performance, body image or stress issues that we bring to class. I, for example, hate working in front of the wall mirrors because I feel like a beached whale. Julie stresses that each of us is beautiful in our way and that we should be proud of making the effort to be healthy. Often we bring stress from our lives to class and she helps us calm down and deal with the issues that cause us problems. Julie is also very spiritual and is on her own path of discovery. We have many interesting discussions. And, did I fail to mention--the three of us love each others' company and we laugh a lot?

I often think that, in these shaky economic times when the personal budget may need to be cut, pilates would be the last thing I'd give up. There are just too many positives to keeping with the weekly program. And having Julie as a teacher is the main reason. No danger of her ever being replaced by a Pilates for Dummies video!

I'll for sure be around to check out the other Fun Monday "share the love" stories today or tomorrow.

(Photo Credit for Julie: Core Pilates Studio)


Lil Mouse said...

How nice to get a valentine and have a special person in your life that lifts your spirits! Thanks for playing!

Ari_1965 said...

Sounds wonderful.

By the way, was it you who was interested in my friend Janet's cabbage lasagna recipe? I've posted it.

I am busy keeping calm and carrying on.

Lane said...

You've gone from one end of the exercise spectrum (with boot camp) to the other Faye! Julie sounds like a very special teacher - definitely a keeper.

Seems like she's passed her caring nature onto her children too. The card is lovely:-)

Michelle said...

Good teachers are a blessing at any age. Glad you've found one.

Jan n Jer said...

Julie sounds like a kind caring person. She is a good role model not only for her kids but her pilates students. I think its great Faye..that you and your friend excercise together, its a good way to stay motivated. Thanks for sharing the love!

Sayre said...

How sweet! You sound like you have a real treasure in Julie - I wouldn't want to give her up either! It sounds like she is a DAILY kind person!

The Church Lady said...

Having a gentle teacher like Julie makes your pilates class all the more special! It sounds like she gives you the motivation and incentive to want to keep going!

I have never tried pilates, but sounds like something I would like.

The valentine from Julie's children was a sweet gesture!

Gattina said...

She must be a wonderful person !
I do Yoga (not the spiritua one) the soft gymnastic and that keeps me flexible and in form. I do exercises each morning in my bed !
It's just a shame what happened to these poor veterans who were "heros" to safe the country and no they are forgotten and live on the street. Terrible. I hope it will not happen to the Irak war "heros" ! Governments are so ungrateful !

joangee said...

I loved Pilates when I tried it, but never used anything like that barrel.

What a great teacher, truly inspirational and so caring.

Thanks for sharing.

Debs said...

I love your Valentine card, how beautiful it looks.

I love that photo, although I'm sure I'd damage myself if I tried that.

Faye said...

lil mouse-love children's artwork. They were so proud carrying in their valentines.

ari-thanks for the recipe heads up--I have it down. Yes, I too remind myself every day to "Keep Calm and Carry On."

lane-Sally and I have been lucky in our fitness teachers. First Sergeant Rouse for boot camp and then Julie for pilates. Both inspiring young women.

michelle-we always remember the good teachers and how they helped us, right?

janis-an exercise buddy is a great motivator. You don't want to wimp out on your friend.

sayre-wish I could afford to take Julie's class more than once a week. However, no excuses for me not doing more pilates at home--I have all the props if not the equipment.

church lady-don't know what you do for the exercise part of your wellness program,but you'd enjoy pilates for its mind-body benefits.

gattina-I'm glad to have found pilates. That core strengthening and flexibility training is invaluable for we seniors.

joangee-great thing about pilates is that you don't need anything but a mat and maybe a few simple props. The equipment is just a bonus.

debs-I'm sure you've gotten many lovely valentines from your children. My child :-)gives away a lot of love, but he's not an art prodigy--even with four "hands"! As for the equipment, I worry about my teeth getting knocked out--not hurting myself.

Celeste said...

How very wonderful! (Referring to both Julie and her class).

I think few people realize how important strengthening becomes when we get older. I'm so glad that you have someone to help you in that endeavor (and a partner to keep you going).

Anonymous said...

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julie said...

Faye, you paid me the warmest complement I have ever received! Your kind words made my day! I get just as much out of teaching you and Sally...if not more! I adore you gals and look forward to every session.

Jill said...

sorry your comments went unanswered last week, I had 3 in my spam folder. ack! You've gone through okay before, so not sure what the deal was...

KittyHawk said...

So glad we don't have that fancy equipment in my exercise classes!

Faye said...

celeste--the older you get the more horror stories about loss of strength--pilates combats this for sure.

Chinese postcarder?--wish I could read your message. Must find out if Blogger has translating capabilities.

julie--the Three Musketeers all the way! Glad the girls enjoyed their brief moment of internet fame.

kittyhawk--sometimes the machines give you an excuse to coast.

mike said...

i am especially fond of laynie browne’s take in her 2007 book daily sonnets…lovely gentle surprising fun familial. she takes after bernadette mayer…
have you done a sonnet prompt for read/write/poem yet?
level from home

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