Pictures of the lovely Gaynor Brown (age = young at heart!)
“We retire too early and we die too young, our prime of life should be in the 70's and old age should not come until we are almost 100.”
There are lots of people in my life who are beyond the predetermined retirement age and are still loving their working life. Our milkman who always has a Friday morning life story to share!! He is a great character and has no intention of retiring!! My uncle has retired at least twice but just keeps going back to work. Gaynor pictured above who has no intention of hanging up her Pilates hat as she attends classes twice a week. And of course my mentor and inspiration Lolita San Miguel who is 84 and retirement doesn’t even feature in her vocabulary. She has far too much still to share and lives life with the vigour and zest that Joseph Pilates talks so passionately about gaining through his method.
When I first met Lolita she was 74 and she travelled to Leeds with her husband Hiram. I booked a lovely hotel in Leeds and at her request made sure that there was enough room for her to roll out her mat to do the 34 original Mat exercises every morning during her stay. At the time I was amazed by this!! Lolita explained that she had done so since meeting her teacher Joseph Pilates decades before.
(More about Mat in an up coming blog watch this space!)
During our summer holiday I read the book Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles. It explained how those who lived longest exercised daily, spent a great deal of time outdoors, valued the importance of the breath, a healthy diet and did not retire. All parallels with Joseph Pilates beliefs, principles and his method. He wrote what I would describe as a manifesto for his method in his books Your Health and Return to Life Through Contrology (aka Pilates). He talks about the importance of the breath, being outdoors, healthy eating, balance of work rest and play, all ages doing his exercises and so much more. He saw his method as a way of life and something that everyone should do and keep doing for a long and healthy life.
Lolita carries on Joseph Pilates’ beliefs and method, inspiring the next generation of Pilates teachers and most definitely leads by example! I was and continue to be inspired by what he wrote and created and by Lolita sharing his and her legacy. I see potential and possibilities versus limits and restrictions so to me it is possible to start Pilates at any age and there is no age to stop. This was exactly as Joseph Pilates saw things on the Isle of Man and his studio in New York he simply saw potential for movement not limitations of age, disease, injury or expertise.
My children have done Pilates since they were tiny. They see me on my mat or my Reformer and they join in. It is just part of everyday life. At the studio I have worked with young people from age 8 and supported them through their teens and then our oldest client who in fact started Pilates at the age of 91.
Whoever I teach I aim to make it positive, accessible and relevant to them whether in a group or one to one. There is always potential to move and to progress forward.
There is no Pilates retirement age!
Books to read:
Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life
by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles
Return To Life Through Contrology
Your Health: A Corrective System of Exercises that Revolutionizes the entire field of Physical Education
by Joseph Pilates