Kathleen Stanford Grant, First Generation Pilates Instructor

In the spring of 1990 at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, Dance Department, I was dancing my little butt off.  As you all know I have scoliosis.  I was sent to see Ms. Grant.  Her small Pilates studio was on the top floor of our dance building.  The fifth floor was unknown to me. Well I got to know it pretty well for the next semester.  I had no idea what to expect.   After my first session of Pilates, I felt like I had a new body.  I was able to feel exactly where I was in space without effort.  I felt like I had a massage and my entire body had been rearranged into its proper alignment.  I was given exercises for my scoliosis as well as killer core exercises.  I remember Kathy made me sit on top of the barrel and roll down into midair and then roll back up.  Of course I thought she was crazy.  Now of course I don’t think she was crazy and she was spot on.  I have to say I was always very nervous and had butterflies before every session, but I was able to understand the fundamentals and how powerful Pilates can be.  Ms. Grant was my first experience with Pilates and I will never forget it.  I am sad to say that Ms. Grant passed away on May 27, 2010.   She will remain in my memories as well as many others in the Pilates community.   Please click on the link below to read a beautiful remembrance of Ms. Grant, by her friend and First Generation Pilates Instructor, Lolita San Miguel.


Summer Discount On Group Classes!

Get some friends together and experience Pilates this summer! Exercising is always more fun with friends!!  For discount to apply, here is what is needed:

3 People

Commitment of one class a week for 4 weeks

$60 per person, due at time of first class, (regular price is $120 per person)

Offer good-June, July and August 2010!

Come and experience the difference Pilates can make!

Melody’s Spine is Straighter!!!!!!

Checkout these two x-rays!!!  My client, Melody who has scoliosis, has been to see her doctor and her spine is straighter!!!!!!  The x-ray on the right was taken in October 2009.  The x-ray on the left was taken January of 2010, you can see how much her curvature has improved.  It has improved by 14 degrees!!!  So instead of a 40 degree curve she  now has a 26 degree curve.  The doctors couldn’t believe it!  Also her left lung capacity has now increased from 75% to 90%!  All I can say is WOW, WOW, WOW!!!!!!  Her hard work has definitely paid off, way to go Melody!  The doctor adjusted the brace and gave her some new exercises to do.  I am looking forward to our next session together and hearing all about it.

Scoliosis, Curvature of the Spine

I am working with a client who has scoliosis. Melody has a 40 degree curvature of the spine.   Imagine a backwards C  from her neck to her hips, the curve is affecting her right side.  That means that because of the curvature, her ribs are pulled and lifted to the  right, her right shoulder lifts and her left hip lifts( with her left arm resting on her left hip).  Her left ribcage, is collapsed and concave in the back, due to the shifting of the ribcage to the right.  This shift of the ribcage only allows her to have 75 % lung capacity in her left lung.  Melody wore a Milwaukee brace from the age of 12 to 19, for 23 hours a day, everyday.   Once she was no longer wearing the brace her spine returned to a 40 degree curve.  Checkout the first picture above, an x-ray of Melody’s spine in October 2009.

Melody has just started wearing a new and improved brace, not even visible under her clothes, to help straighten her spine.    Doing Pilates will also help her straighten her spine as well as strengthen her left side, which is key to getting her spine straight. The right side is so dominant and strong, the left side is just left in the dust, no pun intended!  Also, I am hoping it will increase her left lung capacity.   She returns to the doctor in January for a checkup and re-adjustment of the brace.  I hope the doctor is surprised and happy with her improvement. 

Checkout the next two photos above.  The second one is before our Pilates session.  If you look carefully, the curvature of her spine matches her x-ray.   In the third photo, taken after our session, you can see a shift to the left in a big way and that her spine is straighter!  Her right shoulder is moving down, her left hip is lower, left arm is not resting on the left hip and her left rear lung is less concave and collapsed.  All Melody’s hard work is paying off! 

During our session we work on organizing the right shoulder to move down and in towards her curve, we stretch her left side, performing mermaid, forcing her right side to move towards the left.  For the entire session we focus on post lateral breathing and making that rib cage bigger and fuller, only on the left side.  We also work on strengthening her left side, by only doing exercises on that side.  We are working towards being able to do a full workout with her spine straighter!  It would not be beneficial for Melody to continue exercising  only using her right-sided strength and letting her spine keep curving  towards the right. 

Melody has felt a huge difference in her pain level.  Doing exercises, recommended by her doctor and Pilates, I think has changed her outlook on how she feels physically now and will the future.  Not to say it doesn’t help mentally and emotionally to not be in pain all the time.  Melody continues her exercises at home, which is a big part of her success.

Just a side note.  I also have scoliosis and wore a brace for 3 years, from age 12 to 15.  Working with Melody also has helped me change the  alignment, of  my spine, our curves are to the same side!

The Cathy Raiman Arm Exercise!

So I did a Pilates workout this evening and did a lot of arm exercises in honor of Cathy.  I decided I wanted to name one of them the “Cathy Raiman.”   I don’t recall the Pilates name, but it is a great one.  It is done on the reformer side facing,  there are 4 different positions and you switch from right arm to left, then repeat facing the other side.  Meanwhile, when you start the second side you are already tired from the first.  A lot of triceps and deltoids, the back of the upper arm and the front of the shoulder.  The triceps, one of Cathy’s favorite muscles to work.  I will always call this exercise the “Cathy” where ever I am teaching.

Cathy Raiman

The Pilates community at Pilates Teck, in Newhall California, where I used to teach, just lost a dear friend and client to breast cancer.  Cathy fought for 9 years, and I mean fought.  Like her husband says ” she was a warrior.” 

I taught her many times and even though she complained most of the time, she still liked to get her butt kicked.  One day she came for a class and wanted to do an hour of arm exercises.  She was going on a cruise and wanted to show her arms.  Well, after about 15 minutes of arms she gave in.  It is hard to do arms for an hour.  She was constantly using her theraband at home to do arm exercises as well.  She was obsessed with her arms.

During my next workout I plan on doing as many arm exercises as possible in honor of  Cathy.  Thank you for all your love and support over the years.  I will miss you Cathy.






Cathy and I at the Circle of  Hope Fundraiser at Pilates Teck,  April 2007

Living Closer To Pilates Studio!

I am so excited, my husband, son and I have moved right around the corner from the Pilates studio, where I teach.  Love being back in Sugarhouse.  My husband and I lived in this neighborhood before we moved to California in 2003.  I will be able to spend more time in the studio and also be able to do my own workouts more.  I am definitely addicted to Pilates and the way it makes me stronger and leaner.  So come and do some Pilates with me.  Summer is almost over and the kids will be back in school!  Hopefully the moms out there will have a few hours to themselves and we will get back to a normal schedule.  Let’s stay fit the whole year, not just for the summer!!