Pilates and Yoga with Dianne Bondy

Episode 26

Joining us for yet another tough, but much-needed and inspiring conversation, is Dianne Bondy, E-RYT 500, YACEP. Dianne is a social justice activist, author, accessible yoga and Pilates instructor, and the driving force behind the Yoga for All Movement.

Her groundbreaking approach to yoga transcends traditional boundaries, empowering individuals of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and abilities to embrace the practice. Dianne is at the forefront of revolutionizing yoga education, equipping instructors worldwide with the tools to create inclusive and welcoming class environments.

In addition to her advocacy work, Dianne is a sought-after public speaker and the acclaimed author of international bestsellers, including Yoga for Everyone: 50 Poses for Every Type of Body, and co-author of Yoga Where You Are. She is a prolific contributor to various global publications, sharing her insights and expertise on yoga and social justice issues.

She is the real deal! Join Hannah as she delves into what it is like for Dianne to lead the way in inclusivity and accessibility in the fitness world. They discuss Dianne’s company tagline, her decision to start her studio with a blank canvas, and important topics like gatekeeping, feminism, and evolving movement practices.

Tune in to learn about cueing from a positive perspective, the power of the online space, and why continuous, multifaceted evolution is essential for movement coaches!


Key Points From This Episode:


  • Her thoughts on leading the way in inclusivity and accessibility in the Pilates and fitness world.
  • Dianne unpacks the reason behind the tagline for her business Dianne Bondy Yoga Inc.
  • Her philosophy with starting her studio as a blank canvas.
  • She expresses her surprise at the division of Pilates into contemporary and classical practice.
  • We dive into a discussion about gatekeeping, competition, feminism, and the evolution of things.
  • The expertise Dianne brings that flavours her movement and helps her students.
  • Leaving behind the practice of condemning other teachers because they don’t believe the same thing you believe. 
  • Dianna shares two stories with Hannah and the listeners.
  • She emphasises the importance of cueing from a positive place. 
  • Why she doesn’t offer hands-on assist.
  • The equaliser of the online space and the accessibility it offers.
  • Her thoughts on the unnecessary division in the world of movement (Pilates, yoga, etc.).
  • How changing, adjusting, and evolving is a key element of our job as movement teachers/coaches.
  • Why we want evidence-based practice!



DB: Today’s playlist is Prince because it is Black History Month, and I do love a Prince playlist. When you post it on Instagram, ‘Music and Pilates, yes or no?’ Everybody tells me how much they love my playlists, and I post them on Spotify so everybody can enjoy my playlists. If it keeps people engaged, it makes people come to class, if it helps people to enjoy movement in their body, where’s the harm? Then somebody in your comments was like, ‘Well, it can be distracting to some.'”




[0:00:37] HT: Welcome. Stick around if you want to learn about the art and philosophy of beautiful movement mixed with evidence-based exercise science. We’ll be having tough and inspiring conversations with other coaches, experts, artists, and athletes. Our goal is to challenge myths, explore concepts, and engage in healthy debate, as we dive deep with intrigue and curiosity. 


I’m your host, Hannah Teutscher. I’ve been teaching dance, Pilates, and yoga for over two decades. What I’ve learned is that movement can be the joy that integrates us all together. When we can trust and express ourselves through our bodies, we are unlimited in our ability to change ourselves and our communities for the better. We, as movement teachers and coaches have the power to help people experience this for themselves. Okay, everyone, let’s dive in. Exchanging ideas and changing people’s lives one session at a time. This is The Pilates Exchange. 




[0:01:36] HT: I am thrilled to introduce Dianne Bondy to The Pilates Exchange podcast. Dianne and I have been chatting in the DMS for a couple of years now. I am just overwhelmed by her, her generosity, the light that she brings in the yoga and the Pilates space. It’s a joy to speak with her. Let me just tell you a little bit about her just in case you are living under a rock. Dianne Bondy is a social justice activist. She’s an author, she’s an accessible yoga teacher, she’s a Pilates teacher, and she’s the leader of the Yoga for All Movement. Her inclusive approach to yoga empowers anyone to practice, regardless of their shape, size, ethnicity, or level of ability. Dianne is revolutionising yoga by educating yoga instructors around the world on how to make their classes welcoming of all kinds of practitioners.


She is a public speaker, she is the author of international best-selling books, Yoga for Everyone, and the coauthor of Yoga Where You Are. She is a frequent contributor to all sorts of different publications around the world. She also, of course, has online platform, she has teacher trainings and retreats all over the place. Ya’ll she is the real deal. I hope that you enjoy this conversation that we have. 


Welcome to Pilates Exchange. I’m thrilled to have you. I’m a big fan girl, like awkwardly obsessive with you.


[0:03:16] DB: Love that from you.


[0:03:17] HT: We’ve been chatting back and forth for, I want to say, it’s almost a couple years now, just in the DM sense.


[0:03:23] DB: Yes. I was going to say, at least two years, yes. I want to say two years.


[0:03:26] HT: Because you’re a person that I really just respect what you’re doing for the communities that you’re in. It’s not just about these communities. It’s about what we’re doing to change the landscape of the yoga, and the Pilates world, and the fitness world about being inclusive and accessible, like all the things. These are things that we just need to be doing more often, but you are leading the way. That’s why I’m thrilled to have you talk today with me. Let’s just bat around some ideas. 


[0:03:59] DB: Yes. Let’s just chat.


[0:04:01] HT: What do you think of – first, how does that feel to have to lead in this way right now?


[0:04:09] DB: It’s a good thing that I don’t mind being the centre of attention. I’m an Aries. I kind of feel that that’s how our sun sign organises itself. I’m always –my parents were busy when I was growing up. I’m a Gen Xer, and we’re the generation that kind of raised itself. I spent a lot of time just kind of by myself, and not having a huge friend group, not having a lot of interactions that were positive when I was growing up. As I got older, as I went to university, as I started to think about how I wanted to show up in the world, I always thought to myself. Just because I’m the only Black person in this room doesn’t necessarily mean I have to cower, or I don’t know what I know, or that I don’t have value in this space, or that my lived experience isn’t valuable to everybody. Not just to Black people, but to humankind in general.


I have always had a strong sense of justice because, of course, growing up Black, and watching how my parents got treated in the world, watching how the school system treated my family in the world. I’m currently going through some BS with that with my kids right now. Just watching how the world unfolds and figuring out how I can contribute to making it better, which is how I was raised. Is it exhausting? Yes. Is it frustrating? Yes. Do I sometimes think I’m losing the battle and I just want to check out? Yes.


But then, something happens, like a person DMs me, or somebody comes to my yoga or Pilates class and will say something like, “Meeting you and taking a class with you has changed my life.” I always say to them, “I love that for you, but it wasn’t me.” It was you embracing the practice, or you embracing movement, or you taking time to take care of you. It always happens on a day, when I’m just having a crap shit day. Like it’s just like, “I’m done. I’m done with Instagram. I’ve done trying to talk sense into people. I’m done with the Pilates, police. I’m just, I’m done. I’m just done.” Then, somebody will come up to me and say, “You know what, I never liked Pilates, and then I took your class, and I really enjoy Pilates. I’ve taken classes with other people, and I really enjoy the variety that you bring, blah, blah, blah.”


Then I think, “Okay, I’ll stay. I’ll stay a little while longer until I get pissed off again.” But it has been quite the challenge to initially step into the yoga space. For reference for your listeners, which you’ll probably hear in my bio. I have been on my yoga mat for 50 years. Soon to be 51 years, because I’m turning 54 this year, like in a couple of months. My mother introduced me to Yoga with a book called Stay Young with Yoga that I have on my shelf somewhere over here when I was three, and she couldn’t leave the house to work out.

Initially, for her, it was just a form of movement. Three kids under the age of four, a new immigrant to a new country, with a new culture, a husband who left and went off to work, a person who did not drive, like a lot of stress was put on my mom. Initially, because my dad was at work all the time, she was pretty much a single parent. She used her yoga practice. Now that I think about it, stuff that she incorporated from Pilates, to help like manage her stress, to get some exercise. The seventies was the time when everybody was into the physical fitness craze. That was the rise of gyms and health benefits. This is where we see yoga really start to come into the mainstream. This is where we see Pilates really start to come into the mainstream. My mom was part of that trend, and she introduced it to all of us. 


Having been in this space for a long time, and having been a personal trainer, a yoga teacher, having played sports as a kid, having been active most of my life. Stepping into the yoga space felt comfortable, because I had that background with my mom for so many years. But what I wasn’t prepared for was the lack of diversity, and the idea that a certain body is a yoga body. That perpetuation of these idealised beauty types or beauty archetypes that closely aligned with this yoga practice, when we’re using fitness models to sell or to create imagery. 


I was really excited to see social media kind of erupt in the space because it gave people who did not look like these fitness models, and did not belong to a big brand, an opportunity to create a platform. It actually democratise your teaching or you’re celebrity or whatever, because you didn’t have to wait to be discovered by somebody. You could put your content out there and say, “Hey, I’m a plus-size body. Hey, I’m a Black person. Hey, I’m a person with a disability. Hey, I’m part of the LGBTQIA 2 Plus 2 Spirit community, and I also practice yoga, or I also do Pilates. This is what it looks like in my body. As opposed to seeing these perfectly curated pictures in glossy magazines that really was “asspirational.” I use that in quotes because I spell aspirational with two S’s, ass. That’s an asinine thing that we’re doing.


Instead of just showing people with everyday bodies in the world, just everyday humanity moving their body for joy. And really sucking the joy out of movement by creating these really rigid ideas about what movement should look like. Then, I was really quite taken aback by how colonises the yoga space was, how I didn’t see actually people from India in mainstream yoga publications on the cover of mainstream yoga publications talking about their culture. I hesitate to use the word South Asian because South Asia is a group of countries. It’s not just India. We’ve got Sri Lanka, we’ve got Laos, we’ve got – we’ve got a lot of things happening in South Asia. But yoga is specifically from India, not South Asia, not South Asian, but particularly from India. I want to respect that route.


Whenever I would teach yoga, I was thinking, it’s really fun to roll around on the mat, do all these fun poses. But yoga isn’t that or isn’t only that, I should say. This 5,000-year-old practice that people constantly say is 5,000 years old is about the philosophy. It’s about showing up in the world to do the right thing. The very first tenant is Ahimsa, to create no harm. To me, that means to spread love. That’s how I interpret ahimsa. If I can show my body out there doing postures, however it does postures on any given day, whether that requires a chair, or a wall, or blocks, or no props on some days. Then, I want people to see that’s the reality of moving your everyday body and being able to do a one-handed handstand, while reciting verses from the Gita is not required. 


[0:04:09] HT: Right, totally. that idea of ahimsa, and love, and do no harm, it has to be coming from us first.


[0:11:27] DB: Absolutely.


[0:11:27] HT: We have to be finding that respect for the body that we’re in. Then, the practice unfolds, whether it’s yoga or Pilates. I mean, I think that they are intertwined in some ways. But yes, that makes total sense. Total sense to me.


[0:11:45] DB: I just was tired of not seeing people who look like me practicing yoga, and I’m thinking to myself, there must be people who look like me who do this practice. Or my community, my culture, the people I love could still benefit from this practice. And I thought to myself, how do I bring it to everybody? How do I get everyone engaged? When I initially started teaching as my full-time job when I started Dianne Bondy Yoga Inc., my tagline was like, demystifying some of the practices of yoga. 


I said to them, “Okay. We come to the mat, because our doctor has said to us, we have a sore back, maybe yoga would be good for you. Or you’re really stressed out, maybe yoga could be for good for you. Maybe you have high blood pressure, maybe yoga can be good for you.” So you come to it primarily as an exercise modality. Then you get here, and you drop down into the breath, you relax the shoulders, you start to slowly move the body, and a bigger connection to your soul happens. 


Then, it becomes something else entirely. That’s what I wanted for people. You don’t have to be afraid to come into the space. I also did not want to appropriate the culture, so I was very careful not to put iconography in my yoga studio that I didn’t understand, or that I couldn’t explain if somebody asked me about it. To also realise these were not my stories to tell because they are not my culture, and to invite people from that culture to share those stories, and to hire people from that culture to represent the yoga that we were practicing. 


That was really important to me, when I opened my own studio. Initially, it was just – the studio space was a blank canvas because I didn’t want people to feel intimidated to step into a space because maybe Nataraj is on the wall, and you don’t understand the story behind that or a dismembered Buddha head on the desk, or whatever we’re doing these days. I didn’t want to live that because I don’t want people to be confused. If I don’t understand that connection to the practice, then perhaps I shouldn’t be putting that iconography up.


I wanted to really blank space at first for people to come in, feel their body, feel their breath. Then, once they got a deeper understanding of the practice, then we could dive into all this other stuff. Then, through theming of my classes, I would introduce yoga philosophy. Even now, that I only teach yoga at a gym, because that’s how my schedule allows me to share yoga, I still leave the philosophy, and I still say, as much as this is a lovely way to power, and flow through yoga, here’s where this comes from. Here’s why this is important. Here’s what we need to learn here. Here’s how we honour the practice. Here’s how we honour all the teachers who have come before us. Here’s how we show up to be a part of this practice that is not ours to have, but it is ours to share in the bigger part of humanity.


[0:14:38] HT: That is beautifully said. I think that you touched on something there with, it’s not ours to have, it’s ours to share. 


[0:14:46] DB: Share. We don’t own it.


[0:14:48] HT: We’re lucky to be part of this lineage. However we started our different journeys, but that sharing is why we’re teachers. Yes, that’s the good stuff. That’s how we’re changing lives. We’re meeting people wherever they’re at, on their journey.


[0:15:02] DB: That big part.


[0:15:03] HT: It could be someone that’s coming from a fitness side, or injury side, or wherever that is. We meet them and we go on with them because we’re – point of it is, is to really see the person that’s there and not try to fit them into a little box and say, “Okay. Well, let’s try to get you into this shape.”


[0:15:23] DB: Yes. No. I remember when I was in yoga teacher training, they’d be like, “We’re going to do triangle.” Pretend you’re slotted between two pieces of glass. I’m like, “Really? Because that’s not really going to work for me, because I got a booty, and I got boobs, and they’re not really going to fit well in the two. You know what I mean?” Those kinds of, like you said, really putting people in categories was really not for me. What I really love about yoga, which is very different from Pilates. Is if I am practicing the philosophy of yoga, whether I’m on my mat or not, I am practicing yoga. If I’m abiding by those eight lamps, and I’m showing up in the world, it doesn’t matter if I don’t do Asana, it doesn’t matter.


Asana is just like, I think like the icing on a cake if you like to move your body, but that is not the practice. It’s not. It’s part of the practice, but that’s not the practice. Where I found it diverge in the Pilates space, which has me fraught, to be honest, is this classical versus contemporary. I just thought to myself, I was in a yoga cult for a while, it was called Anusara Yoga, and we follow the guru, and we worshipped this guru, and we quoted this guru. This guru turned out to be a human being, with the tendencies that human beings have. 


Let me be really specific with some of the tendencies that male human beings have, or men have in positions of power in organisations that are primarily female-driven or women-driven. With all of that, I am hard-pressed after being part of that cult and spending a lot of money to be a part of that cult. I am hard-pressed to be worshipping any particular individual or ideology, when I know there are a lot of perspectives, and there’s a lot of ways to share the movement practice that works for everyone. I was really surprised about the division within this modality.

[0:17:23] HT: Yes. What’s funny is like, I thought it would tone down over the last years, and it I feel like it’s worse. I don’t know why it is like that. I don’t know why people feel like they have something to lose, like what are we trying to do? Why are we trying to defend this or that, or my teaching is the right way. I learned, there’s enough space for all of us to connect with the students that we need. I think that our goals as movement teachers, it’s always just to make our clients feel better in the way that we know how to, whatever modality is there. I’m going to take some yoga over here, I’ll take some Pilates, I’ll take some dance stuff, I know. Got a fancy stretch, got it. If you need it, I will give you anything of my person in my expertise to make you feel better, because that’s my job. I don’t care if it’s classical or Pilates, or I don’t know. 


I find it very funny. It’s self-limiting, that’s for sure, at best. Gatekeeping at worst. The gatekeeping part of it is like really detrimental for everyone on accessibility. It’s limiting, it’s dangerous, it could be limiting people’s financial possibilities when they’re attacking each other on social media. Or that it is so scary sometimes for some people that don’t – maybe are newer in the space that they’re so afraid to post, they’re actually limiting their reach on social media. Like you were saying before, it’s like, social media is this great equaliser in some ways, because you can put your stuff out there and find your students if they’re identifying with your message, or your body, or not in an aspirational way. But like, “Oh, that’s me.”


[0:19:03] DB: A human way.


[0:19:04] HT: In a human way, like, I get that.


[0:19:05] DB: Asking myself, represented. She looks like me, she has a body like mine, and look what she’s doing. Oh my God, I didn’t think I could do that.


[0:19:14] HT: As soon as we start gatekeeping each other in the – like classical, versus contemporary, versus whatever that is. Then, we are hurting each other’s ability to help people but also make a living from this. It’s not just hurting that one person, but their families, because they can’t live off that. Since we’re primarily women in this business, and it’s definitely not a feminist thing too.


[0:19:42] DB: It isn’t, but I kind of also find there are different tiers and different interpretations of feminism. You are fully aware that there’s like a white feminism, which is very [inaudible 0:19:51] of whiteness. Then, there’s everybody in the feminist space. I find that when things are primarily run by women, depending on how you were raised, and what ethnic group you identify with, there is a competition that happens. Hear me out. As a Black woman showing up in spaces, generally speaking, not all the time. When we come together, we support each other. We’re not here to tear each other down. We are usually, not always, in community with each other. There’s not this kind of sense of competition. When I meet other Black women and other Black women who do the same thing that I do. 


I had women come up to me and say, “Oh, my goodness, I got into yoga, because I saw a picture of you on Instagram doing yoga. And I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God. She looks like me.'” Even Jessamyn Stanley in her first book mentioned me, which I had no idea until I was on a podcast. And somebody said to me, “Did you know that Jessamyn Stanley gives you props in her first book.” I’m like, “No, we’ve never met.” At that point, we hadn’t met, but we talked. She’s been on my podcast, so we’ve talked, and all that kind of stuff. 


That was really interesting that I find black women and women of racialised identities we’re less likely to be in competition with each other. Because we have to lift each other up, because we often don’t get that from womanhood in general. Then, I find in circles of women who are not racialised, there’s this weird idea that you don’t get your power from within, that you get your power from pulling it from others, or your proximity to white men in the patriarchy. There’s a different understanding of womanhood based on your ethnicity, your race, and how you were raised. I find more of that jealousy, backbiting, poking, and fighting at each other within those spaces, and less of it in other spaces, because I struggled with those two spaces.


My husband is white, I have mixed-race children, I grew up in primarily white spaces. I navigate white spaces quite easily, because that’s the spaces I’ve been raised in. I know how to find my way through those spaces in most ways, but I have been in my forties and fifties observing people, and how they interact with each other. I wish we could learn that we are not in competition with each other. We are not here – like the world already hates us as women as it is. Just look at any white dude with a podcast talking about what is it high value man or whatever bullshit they’re talking about out there. Because clearly, they can’t read or they don’t have emotional intelligent. Just listen to them. There’s already that hatred for us, and there’s already the rolling back of rights that we see in the United States, which ends up filtering out into the whole world. Because that is the reference that a lot of people look at.


So can’t we just like get together and support each other? Because, honestly, the world hates us already. We can’t be hating each other for no good reason, because we’re jealous, because we think, “Oh, she didn’t point her toe. Oh. Well, she didn’t tell them to draw their tailbone down toward their, whatever. Oh, well, she didn’t use this.” Well, those aren’t the poses that Joseph Pilates prescribed. How the fuck do you know? He’s been dead for how many years now. 


Like everything in the world, everything in the world evolves. Cars from 20 years ago are not the same as cars today. Computers from 20 years ago are not the same. I have a friggin iPhone. Did you think 20 years ago, you could look up your – when I was in high school, and my teacher said to me, you need to learn your time stables because you’re not going to carry a complete computer in your pocket.


[0:23:37] HT: Look at me now.


[0:23:37] DB: You’re wrong. You’re wrong. I can ask this thing anything, and there are computers all around me. Things evolve and change, including bodies. The bodies that we were living in in 1970 are not the bodies we’re living in in 2024. The demands on our bodies are different. I appreciate that Joseph Pilates created an incredible physical fitness system. I would assume if he had had children, or family that would continue this lineage, that it would evolve along. But he did it, he had his group of teachers, he died, and then we’re stuck to this particular repertoire of exercises. Whether humanity has changed or not. Whether your body is different or not.


To be honest, a lot of the people who took up the cause of Pilates in the beginning were dancers. We are seeing a lot of evolution of Pilates around that dance body, around that dance rehabilitation. That isn’t everybody. That’s a very small portion of the population who have adapted certain things right. Did we have to springboard? Yes, did we have the springboard when Joseph Pilates was around? Not as we see it today. Have you looked at a traditional reformer? It looks very different from a contemporary reformer. Is it going to be something that people can use in their everyday life at home at $5,000? Let’s be realistic. Let’s be honest.


[0:25:02] HT: Yes. I’m going to be on a podcast pretty soon, with Raph Bender talking about how I think that the dancer, how dance has infiltrated the Pilates world. There’s some good things, but there’s some real dangerous things because of the way that we’ve been brought up. The ballet world is very –


[0:25:27] DB: Rigid.


[0:25:28] HT: – very rigid. There’s hierarchies, the way that we look at bodies, the way it’s aesthetically driven, the way that as women, we are supposed to be kept as a prepubescent girl. There’s very rigid ideas of how we’re allowed to look, how we’re not allowed to use our voices, how they’re scarcity all the time. I think some of that is also what is coming into the Pilates world. I think that’s why there’s that in there. It doesn’t account for all of it, but I do think that you could see from the lineage going down of, who were the people that are hanging out with Mr. Pilates at that point, and how did they interpret the movement? Because remember, it’s that evolution. It’s like, how did they interpret that movement? Then, yes, it just goes right down the line. I’m with you, 100%.


[0:26:16] DB: I didn’t expect this. I work for a huge franchise called Club Pilates, which people like to look down their nose at. I mean, it has, in a sense, democratise Pilates. Meaning, it’s bringing it to the mainstream. You’re in a class with 12 people. Is that a lot of people to be in a class with? Sure. But is that an opportunity for someone to practice who wouldn’t ordinarily get an opportunity to practice? Absolutely. Is it super affordable? It’s more affordable than signing up for a one-on-one instruction with someone.


It also builds community. We have this really lovely community of people who wouldn’t ordinarily know each other, who are now going for coffee and lunch, who are now building relationships that may not have occurred before. You may not have met this person before. Fitness classes are great for making friends, because you’re doing something with a shared interest. This idea that we look down our noses at, Pilates teachers who’ve been trained within a contemporary style of Pilates, through Club Pilates, or whatever modality. And somehow, if you have a STOTT certification, there’s that hierarchy that you’re somehow better. Or if you’re on a STOTT machine, versus a Balance Body machine, versus a lying machine. It seems really ridiculous to me when I look at it. Being a retired cult member from a yoga called Anusara, I’m not interested in any of this, because it really is quite baffling to me.


[0:27:50] HT: Yes, the dogma just doesn’t belong there. I’m guru allergic.


[0:27:56] DB: I agree. I’m not about that. Like me either. No, thanks. I can respect the teacher, but I won’t worship them. That’s for sure.


[0:28:03] HT: Yes. There’s a big difference in that. You could respect the work that you’re doing, or where it’s come from, or the lineage, or the history, all of that. And still, have room for evolution, for science, for what are we learning about our own bodies. What’s the expertise that you bring, as opposed to what I bring, and how does that flavour the movement? How can that help our people?


[0:28:28] DB: Yes, a hundred percent. At the end of the day, I want for people – and this is going to just piss off the Pilates police. I’m teaching Pilates after this class. I’m teaching a mat class at the gym, and I call it Party Pilates. Okay, my class is full. There’s a waitlist for my class every single week. I have a woman in my class who has had two screws removed from her spine because it was fused because of an accident since her exercise journey started with Pilates. She has gotten so strong in her body, that the surgeon has taken out two screws out of her spine, and she wears it on a chain around her neck. If anybody asks about it, she shares her story. Her name is Christine, and she’s pretty amazing. She said, “I never thought at this age, that joining Pilates was going to change my life in this way. To the fact that I’m so much stronger as a woman in my late sixties, being able to do this after coming off of a catastrophic injury.”


Today’s playlist is Prince because it is Black History Month, and I do love a Prince playlist. When you post it on Instagram, “‘Music and Pilates, yes or no?'” Everybody tells me how much they love my playlist, and I post them on Spotify so everybody can enjoy my playlist. If it keeps people engaged, it makes people come to class, if it helps people to enjoy movement in their body, where’s the harm? Then somebody in your comments was like, “‘Well, it can be distracting to some.” I have ADHD. I’m constantly distracted by all kinds of things. Life is distracting. Okay, sorry.


[0:30:09] HT: Life is distracting, yes.


[0:30:09] DB: Life is distracting.


[0:30:11] HT: No. I think that’s totally right. What you do for your Pilates party, people know it, and they’re going in, and they’re expecting a good time from you. That is so authentically you, what you’re bringing. When you’re resonating that, then the people – you take those people right into that. If there’s a person that is like, “I need silence.” Great. They’re not going to that class, and that’s so cool.


[0:30:37] DB: Perfect. That’s why there’s more than one Pilates teacher. That’s why there was more than one yoga class. That’s why there’s more than one fitness modality. I am not everybody’s cup of tea, and I don’t want to be. Because if I’m everybody’s cup of tea, that I’m a people pleaser, and I’m selling my soul. If I’m trying to please everybody, so that everybody likes me. Then, there’s a problem. If you don’t like that I’m loud, if you don’t like that I play Prince, if you don’t like that I call it Party Pilates. Like there’s – I think I’m one of 15 Pilates teachers where I teach at the gym. At Club Pilates, I think I’m one of seven Pilates teachers. I teach three times a week, there’s like 175 classes, Pilates classes in the area I live. You’ll find your person. 


You’ll find your classical person, you’ll find your contemporary person, and you’ll find a person who’s doing something really interesting that’s fusing a bunch of different things together. If that’s what works for your body, and if that’s what’s going to get you moving, because a lot of us live sedentary lifestyles. If that’s what’s going to get you moving, if that’s what’s going to create longevity, if that’s what’s going to build community for you, this is all I’m interested in. I could give a shit about the classical ways that we put this stuff together. That’s great. If that’s your thing, I want that for you. Share it with your audience, do it, but don’t condemn the rest of us because we don’t believe the same things that you believe.


[0:32:00] HT: Or we could stop the podcast right there.

[0:32:04] DB: Right? 


[0:32:04] HT: Yes. Yes, all of that. We leave each other space to do the things that we know how to do. It is going back to picking up people where they are. I want to be able to teach the classes that I know how to teach in the way that honours my expertise, my lived experience, my stuff. That is the respectful way of going through it. Like you’re saying, I can’t be everything for everyone. I’m not going to pretend that I’m a classical teacher. That’s not what I resonate with.


[0:32:36] DB: No. I’m grateful for classical teachers. Hold your line.


[0:32:39] HT: Hundred percent.


[0:32:40] DB: Absolutely hold the line. Absolutely live up to that philosophy. But stop condemning the rest of us for not having the same belief system that you do. It’s okay. I love that for you. Do you share it? Do you want to see it? The funny thing is at the gym, we have a classical mat Pilates teacher. There are seven people in her class. She’s got a very specific following. Perfect. 


[0:33:07] HT: Right. Those seven people are getting exactly what they need from the teacher, and that is fantastic. 


[0:33:11] DB: Perfect. Right? But yes, you do you, but let’s not tear everybody else down in the process. You can agree to disagree. You can quote controlology book all you want, the same way people can quote the Bible, to Muslim people, to Jewish people. Because it almost becomes like a dogmatic religion when you’re waving this book around and telling me that what I’m teaching is not what would have been condoned by Mr. Pilates. I don’t really care. Sorry if that hurts people’s feelings. I don’t. Because I don’t think my students are that invested. 


If this is your full-time career of teaching Pilates, and you are honed into this skill set, fantastic. But most of the people that I work with, this is not their whole life. This is part of an enhancement of their life. They could care less if Joseph Pilates loved this particular exercise done this particular way at this particular time. They’re not here for that. They’ve got 50 minutes to move their bodies and to relieve some back pain, and that’s what I’m here for. End of story.

[0:34:20] HT: Yes. Yes. Because it’s about making people feel good in their bodies. Any way that I can help people reach those goals, I will use it.




[0:34:30] HT: When I started teaching, I felt underprepared and overwhelmed. I needed to learn how to plan my training so that it made sense, but I wasn’t sure what was working and what wasn’t. So many teacher training programmes leave out the actual art and business of teaching. This is why we created Train the Trainers. 


Train the Trainers is designed to give you the tools you need to create a powerful learning environment for your students. Gain access to the vault of our collected knowledge where you can learn everything we have to teach you. Whether you are a freelance teacher or a studio owner, get constructive feedback on your teaching with actionable tools you can apply immediately. We can’t wait to be part of your teaching journey and to help you grow in your business. Welcome to Train the Trainers. 




[0:35:18] DB: You know what, Hannah, I’m at the point in my career where I don’t need to be called the Pilates teacher. If the Pilates police feel like what I am doing is not congruent to what is Pilates, blah, blah, whatever. I’m okay to be called a fitness coach, a fitness instructor, a yoga teacher, a personal trainer. I’m good to be called any of those titles. I am not grasping for that title, because it’s going to make me better than anybody else. I don’t care. I’m in my fifties, I’ve stopped caring about this stuff. Seriously, I have bigger fish to fry.


[0:35:52] HT: I know. People ask me, “What do you do?” Well, I teach movement. 


[0:35:58] DB: Yes, perfect. I say that all the time. I’m a movement coach. What is that? Teach a little yoga, teach stuff that’s Pilates adjacent according to who you talk to, whatever, whatever. I make you feel good in your body, and I help you build longevity without quoting a lot of dogma. I got to share two stories with you. One is when you posted on your Instagram stories about music, yes or no? I said, yes, music is part of liberation. Then, I heard Terrence Howard talking. I think he’s got a degree in physics, or maybe like a big-time physics like guru, explaining the helix, okay, and explaining how each of these molecules have a vibration and the sound. 


He would say something like, and I’m just paraphrasing here, so you can – if you’re on the interwebs, you can go on YouTube and look up, Terrence Howard talking about physics and music. He’s doing the promo for his movie Hustle and Flow from 20, 30 years ago. He’s talking about, have you ever been somewhere and you’ve heard that sound, and that your whole body gets into it, and your energy is elevated, and everybody’s happy in that moment. Because that sound is vibrating with your helix.


Those sounds are those molecules in your body have a vibration and a sound. When it lines up with the music, it brings joy, euphoria, and liberation. As a person of African descent, a lot of my feel-good moments are wrapped up in music. When I play certain music in my class, like that’s the big thing people always say to me, in my yoga class, and in Pilates class, “Your playlist is fire,” because it touches people’s soul. Sometimes I use a contemporary playlist, sometimes they use a traditional playlist in yoga classes that are traditional Indian artists singing traditional Hindu songs or whatever. It really depends on the moment. It really depends on the flavour. Sometimes I mix all those things together. It feeds people’s soul.


Again, if you don’t want to do yoga to music, that’s cool. You’ll find that teacher for yourself. If you don’t want to do Pilates to music, that’s cool. You’ll find that Pilates teacher for yourself. But let’s stop demonising each other. There’s enough division in the world, that classical Pilates teachers and contemporary Pilates teachers don’t need to be fighting over this stuff. You do you, I’ll do me. Nobody’s wrong here. You they’re wrong, but that’s your opinion. What’s that opinion based on? To me, an obsession over a system that was created a really long time ago. What? 1920? Many years ago.


[0:38:32] HT: Yes. I always think of like, what do they have to lose? That’s kind of what I’m thinking about when I get it. We have people critiquing what we’re doing. 


[0:38:43] DB: Of course. Of course. Of course. I’m sure.


[0:38:46] HT: Yes, and I’m with. I’m fine with that as well. But I think, I’m always up for a respectful discussion, debate. Cool.


[0:38:53] DB: A hundred percent, I agree.


[0:38:55] HT: So that’s definitely not what we’re talking about. But it’s pooh poohing on someone because they have a different way of going about it, a different approach, or a different methodology, perhaps. But I think about the person that is doing their critique. What do they have to lose here? Why is it so important in this way? Why is there an attack that’s different?


[0:39:19] DB: That’s my thing too. Sometimes, I’ll be following these people and they’ll be on a rant for the 700th time about whatever. I’ll be like, “Okay. This is not new. I don’t know why you’re in your feelings about this. Can you just like –?” When I see things that I don’t like, don’t respect, or don’t resonate with me online or anywhere, and I don’t feel that my critique is going to be helpful in general. I just scroll on by, boop, boop, boop, boop, boop, boop. Scroll on by. I’m like, |Oh, that’s interesting, but it’s not for me.” Scroll.


[0:39:56] HT: Scroll. 


[0:39:58] DB: It’ll be for somebody else. If I have to hear somebody say for the 100th time, “We don’t teach, perform, or flow, blah, blah, blah. We just teach Pilates.” I’m like, “Great. That’s fine. Yes, that’s great.” Here’s the second thing. I took a Pilates class in Toronto on Saturday, and I wish I had gone to yoga instead, because this person hovered over me, like I had never seen a reformer before. It felt particularly uncomfortable because I was the only Black person in the room. She was just like on top of me. I was holding the strap this way, and she would come – I was showing my husband. Okay, put your hand out here, have a thing. Okay. Needs to be like this. No, it needs to be like this. No, it needs to be like this.” These tiny micro-movements that in the grand scheme of anatomy are going to make zero fucking difference, honestly. 


Then she goes, “Well, if you hold the strap on your reformer that way, you’re going to hurt your neck.” You know what I said to her? I had to laugh, because that’s the biggest pile of bullshit I’ve ever heard. I said – you know what I said? While she was teaching in a class with 10 people, I said, “Are you sure?” Because I was just annoyed that she was hovering, and she was constantly touching me without my permission.


[0:41:11] HT: Oh, I hate that.


[0:41:11] DB: And she keeps coming over, and touching me, and touching me, and touching me. I couldn’t just enjoy the movement practice, because my heels weren’t exactly this way, and my leg – and I lifted my head because we were doing a hundred, and that’s my favourite exercise. I was feeling myself in the hundred, because I’ve been working on the hundred for a solid 20 years. She came over and was like, “Have you done this before? Are you okay to lift your head?” I’m like, I said to her, “Many, many, many times.” I kept saying to her, “I’m okay. You can really focus on the nine other students. If I have a question, I will call you.” But she just hovered.


Then, she did this weird breathing thing. She’d come over to me and go – she was really – I’d be like, “Are you okay? Are you okay?” Like she was doing that the whole time. I was like, “I could have gone to yoga.” It was a tossup between yoga and Pilates. I said, you know what, I don’t get to get a reformer class very often, because there’s only a few reformer studios in my town, and the classes are always booked. I can’t get into Club Pilates, because it’s new to my town, so everybody’s at it. I thought, “Great, I could go to a Pilates reformer class.” In like 20 minutes in, I’m like, “Shit, I should have just gone yoga.” Because I could have rolled out my mat in the corner, and I could have just enjoyed the movement without this person touching me literally every 20 seconds.” “Your toe has to be at a 45-degree angle, or you’re going to throw out your back.” I kept saying, “Can you give me some evidence based on that?” Because this is nonsense. 


And the fear-based cueing, “Don’t do that, because you don’t want to hurt your back. Don’t do that, because you don’t want to hurt your back. Don’t do that, because you don’t want to hurt your back.” In yoga, when I train yoga teachers – listen to me, I’m so activated. When I train yoga teachers, I say to them, “Let’s cue from a positive place.” Let’s not plant the idea in people’s heads that they’re going to get injured here. Because to be quite honest, and I say this in every fitness class I teach. If you are an active individual, moving your body through the world, you’re going to get injured.

I’ll give you an example. I missed the step somewhere, and I fell flat on my face, I did. I wiped out spectacularly. But you know what? I practice yoga, I practice fitness, I practice Pilates. I got to get back up with no injuries. I’m just saying, right? My back didn’t break, my shoulder didn’t throw out, I didn’t hurt my wrist. All of those things could have also happened because I’m a human being in a carbon-based life form moving through the world. I’m going to get injured. It’s going to happen. It’s not necessarily going to happen in this moment. Because my wrist instead of being here was here, or my wrist was like this instead of like that. I don’t know how that’s going to hurt my neck. How many times do I pick up groceries like this with a bend in my wrist, and I’ve managed not to throw out my neck? I’m just saying. I’m just saying, is this practical?


[0:44:01] HT: Ugh. I mean, I have been trying to stifle my laughter because I don’t want to be laughing over your story. 


[0:44:07] DB: Laugh over my story because it was so ridiculous. I was so mad when I left. I was so mad. I was just like, I wasted $50. I could have gone to yoga.


[0:44:17] HT: Yes. I feel you. I’ve been there. It’s happened to me in a Pilates. It wasn’t that long ago, maybe –


[0:44:23] DB: Oh. So, yes. Do they not know who you are? Have they not seen your Instagram? How can they not just leave you alone? Anyway, sorry, continue with your story, I’m just very activated!


[0:44:30] HT: It was a very similar thing, but I was still dancing at that point. Like I’d go again and I did have some body control there, and it was like, “Have you moved your body? You’re not –” It was all those micro little things of don’t hurt yourself. People throw me from one side of the stage to the other, I promise you like –


[0:44:51] DB: I’m okay, yes.


[0:44:52] HT: This body is not getting hurt from like this – my pinkie being out of alignment.


[0:44:58] DB: And alignment based on what and based on who.

[0:45:00] HT: Exactly, about their alignment. But like, this for me is expression.


[0:45:05] DB: Like I was driving my husband, like absolutely bonkers. because I try to get him on the reformer as much as I can, because I really love playing on a piece of machinery. I’m like, “Do this.” This was my Pilates class, and I just stood over him breathing in this really weird way that she was breathing, and I kept going, “Oh, your pinkie toe was out of alignment, you’re going to throw your back out.” I felt like a shitty person, because every time she said something ridiculous, I literally started to laugh, because I’m like, people believe her. This is nonsense.


[0:45:40] HT: Yes. I think that’s the hard thing. We want to leave enough room for everyone in there. But there’s also – it’s got to be evidence-based. We’ve got to be working at a higher level of knowing that, how we talk about these pseudo corrections that we’re doing can really instill fear in people and then they will get injured because they’re scared of moving. Or they think that they do not have enough self-reliance to know what feels good in their body or not.


[0:46:12] DB: Wow. That’s fine.


[0:46:14] HT: Then in the same way, keep your hands to yourself, because if you move a person from point A to point B, not tell them you’re going to do that with the assumption that you know their body better than they do. That’s too much for me.


[0:46:29] DB: That is too much for me. That, in my 200-hour teacher training for yoga, and my 300-hour teacher training for yoga. I do not offer hands on assist. When I was a yoga teacher, I used to occasionally study or practice Jivamukti, which there is a lot of handsy, handsy, unnecessary – I’m putting this in quotations because I know it’s a podcast, “feel good adjustments.” Okay, you know what? I’m sure there’s people out there who love that, and you can step onto their mat and say, “Are you okay for an adjustment?” It’s not even an adjustment, it’s an assist. 


Otherwise, I would prefer – and we’ve had COVID now, so people are less likely to like be in your space. Just leave me alone. If I have a problem, I will put out my hand, I will look around, I will figure it out. But you hovering and touching me, touching me, touching me, like in that Jivamukti practice, and that woman that was teaching me on Saturday. I can’t tell you how upset I was because the classes started at the same time. They were within a kilometre of each other, and I just thought, I’m going to just drive and see where it takes me. Then I thought, “No, I’m going to reformer class. I never get to take a reformer class by a teacher in a room where I can zone out and just listen to instructions. And it’s not me online, or whatever it is.”


The whole time I was so mad. I just could not relax. I just couldn’t enjoy it, because she was every little minuscule thing. She had to micromanage. I get it. I’m fat, I’m Black, I’m new to the space, maybe I don’t know how to move by body. God knows. I’ve only lived in it for 53 years. What would I know about it? It was just so frustrating. 


[0:48:09] HT: It is frustrating.


[0:48:09] DB: And I just came back home, because I wanted to feel the moment. Usually, my movement practices, I feel joyful after.


[0:48:16] HT: Right. I think what I’m hearing, which is an awful story, like we’re laughing about it, but it’s – if this was not you, and it was someone new to that space, that would probably be the last time that they go in. Because I think, I can’t speak for this person, but it sounds like there was a lot of assumptions made about you, about the body that you’re in. So I need to do this, and you – whatever was going on to that person’s head. But that’s what it seems like, and that is an awful place to be in as the receiver of that type of –


[0:48:48] DB: Attention.


[0:48:49] HT: – of attention. Yes.


[0:48:51] DB: It was too much. I listened to a couple of personal trainers, I can’t think of their names off the top of my head. One of them said that they don’t go to a yoga class because they don’t like a lot of the extra attention they get from the teacher. That they prefer to do yoga online, so they can practice with their partner, they can practice on their own time, and they can choose a time or a length of practice that works for them. They’re not going into a studio space and you have a 75-minute, or a 90-minute practice, or an hour practice. That they only want to practice for half an hour. That stuck with me. 

When I was in that Pilates space, I was like, I see why people would be turned off. I’m sure she thought she was being helpful. But the couple of times I said, “I’m really okay. Thank you, but I’m really good. It’s okay for you to serve your other clients.” Then, she could tell I was getting pissed and she would come over and go, “Can I help you?” I’d be like, “Okay. What am I doing wrong now? Because clearly, I can’t do anything right in this class.” 


[0:49:49] HT: Yes. I think you touched on something about the equaliser of the online space. I don’t think it solved all the problems by any means.


[0:49:59] DB: Oh, no. 


[0:50:00] HT: Having more than before, and it’s still not 100% accessible, but having more accessibility to the types of practices now than there were before. I mean, we’re all online now. we’re all offering our stuff. I think that’s a beautiful thing.


[0:50:14] DB: I love that.


[0:50:14] HT: I still think there’s room for more. I don’t think it’s –


[0:50:18] DB: Always. Always. 


[0:50:20] HT: Just wanted to put that out there.


[0:50:21] DB: Yes. I’ve been on the online yoga space since 2012. I opened my online studio in 2012. To a lot of pushbacks from my community in that. “This isn’t real yoga. Putting it online, just create the practice.” I’m like, the practice is not the asana only. The practice is how you show up in the world. We now live in an online space, whether you like it or not. So you can continue to work in your little studio, and reach your community in that way, and that’s fantastic. But if you want to change the landscape, you’re going to have to get online so that people can see there’s more to one way to doing things.


When the pandemic happened, and everything’s shut down, and we’re all online, all of these naysayers are now in my DMs asking me, how to get online? What lights did I buy? Where do I get a mic? How do I film stuff? Where do I edit it? I’m like, “Hmm. Same people who were saying all kinds of nonsense to me when I took it online.” Because a lot of people in my studio were new moms, and couldn’t come to yoga, but they could stream a class when their child was sleeping, or they work shift work. The times that they’re available to take classes, there are no – how do I turn that off, I’m so sorry. I know that times that they are not available to take classes, they can take a class on demand. To be quite honest, I do 90% of my reformer classes, and any practices that I do online. I may or may not have a small crush on John Gary.


[0:51:54] HT: He’s lovely.


[0:51:56] DB: I may belong to his – that’s all I think, sorry. I really appreciate his perspective on a lot of things. I do yours. I’m signed up to your platform. I want to have different kinds of experiences with all kinds of people. 


[0:52:10] HT: Yes. I think that’s so great that there’s so much room for it. I teach Pilates for multiple sclerosis. Once we went online, that community was thankful to not have to come down into the town. Like for us, it’s navigating cobblestones, coming up the stairs, even if there’s an elevator, like the elevators broken. So they’re wasting energy, when they could be – even getting changed sometimes is a very fatiguing thing. So being able to have access to online, that’s brilliant for that community. That’s one subgroup of the people that we’re talking about. But it can be a great equaliser.


[0:52:51] DB: I love it.


[0:52:52] HT: There’s still issues. There’s still issues with it becoming accessible, but it’s a step, it’s a step.


[0:52:58] DB: It is a step. I feel like it’s a step in the right direction in that way, that there’s a lot of opportunity for people to experience it that wouldn’t ordinarily have access to it. When you’re on these online platforms, you’re paying some anywhere from what like 20 bucks a month, to maybe $50 a month, it really depends. That’s the cost of like one drop-in class, and you’ll have access to a library of hundreds of classes. If it’s not financially accessible to you, there’s these other opportunities to get access to this exercise online. I just found it hilarious. All the people looking at down their nose at me for putting stuff online in 2012 are now online, all online now.


[0:53:42] HT: Yes. It’s been a big, big change in that space.


[0:53:45] DB: For sure. I just appreciate the opportunity for us to be open minded, and not to become dogmatic about so many things. I’ve offended the classical Pilates community. It’s not out of offense. I just think we don’t need to have this division. I just think it’s unnecessary. I just really do, and I’m okay not to be called a Pilates teacher, if that makes people happy. I don’t care. I’m okay. I’ve got other modalities. I’m my own entity. I don’t really need that title.


[0:54:15] HT: Yes, I feel you. I mean, I feel the same about my work. The same thing, if people want to identify it this way. Pilates, you don’t think it’s Pilates, then that’s fine. That’s okay. I don’t really mind so much. What I am sure about is that I could connect with my student, I could create a space for them, I can help them move. And yes, I think that’s the good stuff.


[0:54:39] DB: That is the good stuff. I think everything evolves. I think there’s room for all of us. I don’t think we need to have this division. I don’t think we need to constantly be calling this out and calling that out. I would love it if we would call out bigger problems in the world like inequity and oppression, maybe a ceasefire in Gaza. I don’t know, just other stuff, other than picking on people for the way they teach or don’t teach, according to what you believe Joseph Pilates believes. Because nobody knows what he truly believes, he’s dead. We can only go by his book, which was written at a very specific time when he was at a very specific time in his life. Expressing where he was at in that moment. Who’s to say where he would be now?


Now that we know more about human anatomy, now that we know about how our bodies move, and now that we know how bodies are moving in the 21st century. Because he’s a teacher from the 20th century. So things evolve. We don’t know for sure. I don’t buy into the idea that this is universal, and it works for everyone, if we do it exactly this way. Because that was the exact dogma that I heard from John Friend in the Anusara space. These are the universal principles of alignment, they fit every single body, and we must teach to these universal principles of alignment.


Guess what? It was a load of BS, because it didn’t work for everybody’s body. It didn’t. I was – he’d be like, “Inner spiral, outer spiral lowered through the tailbone, blah, blah, blah.” All of that instruction, that after a while, people just tune out and get frustrated with.


[0:56:16] HT: Yes, because it’s not accessible. 


[0:56:18] DB: It isn’t accessible. What about teaching to people who are neurodivergent, who can’t take 600 cues on how to move your pinkie finger? Like, honestly. Or where your tailbone is in space. I think there was just a new study out talking about core stabilisers. I have like a feed of all these exercise physiology journals, that it’s such a general term and such a vague term. We don’t actually know what we’re stabilising.


[0:56:44] HT: Well then, we got some issues in our industry.


[0:56:49] DB: I’m going to post the article on my Instagram today. It is a peer-reviewed article from an exercise physiologist published in a journal.


[0:56:58] HT: Uh-oh. Well, I’m looking forward to read that one.


[0:57:01] DB: I will post it on my Instagram. I just thought that was funny. I read it and went, “Oh, okay.” I sent it to my boss, I put it in the Club Pilates chat group. Just so you know, here’s the newest research.”


[0:57:14] HT: Oops. 


[0:57:14] DB: Take it or leave it. See if it applies or it doesn’t. Like, honestly, I just think – I couldn’t believe it when I stepped into the space. That’s why I’m really about that evidence-based physiology and just that repeating things that we have heard because somebody said them.


[0:57:30] HT: Right. Being able to adapt to what’s out there, and to be able to say, “Hey.” For example, I’ve taught yoga, Ashtanga yoga for many, many years. 


[0:57:40] DB: I love Ashtanga. 


[0:57:40] HT: That’s a particular entity of yoga.


[0:57:43] DB: Very much so.


[0:57:43] HT: Very hands on, very, very – what that is. I’ve changed my mind about many things about that practice, and that is okay. So the way that I used to teach and used to handle bodies is very different from what I do now. That change is because of the decision-making process. Like we got to gather this information, not be afraid of the new information, whatever it is, and say, “Uh-huh. Okay.”


[0:58:07] DB: Yes. Let me adjust.


[0:58:09] HT: Let me adjust. And that does it mean anything other than we’re adjusting. We are changing, we’re evolving, and that is also part of our job. 


[0:58:18] DB: Yes. Humanity is going to continue to evolve. I always would say to my teachers, because I teach accessible, adaptable yoga. Hence, my books; Yoga Where You Are, Yoga for Everyone. I teach to people who have disabilities and have physical limitations, who have different size bodies. I teach to a plethora of people. If I stuck fully to the philosophy of Anusara, or Ashtanga, or Sivananda, or Jivamukti, or whatever that particular lineage is in the Asana practice. So let me be clear, around the postures, around the physicality. There’s a whole group of people who aren’t going to be able to practice.


For example, and you probably know this as a person who teaches yoga. The Sivananda series is like – I believe the second pose in the series is headstand. They don’t want you to use a wall because somebody somewhere apparently, I can’t seem to find them anywhere on the Internet, hurt themselves using the wall for a headstand, which I find suspect. I don’t know. I keep looking for that person, or that paper, that research, and I can’t find it anywhere. So anyway, my beginners can’t do a headstand as their second pose. The feeling in that practice from the teachers that I practice with is, if you need to use props to do these poses, you’re not ready.


[0:59:44] HT: You’re less than, you’re not ready. You’re rather than like a prop or something gives you more access to it. It’s a different way of feeling it and that is why we’re doing it. Use the prop.


[0:59:57] DB: Exactly. If we go look at the grandfathers of modern-day yoga practices, modern-day Asana. Mr. Iyengar in particular. He is the one who created the brick, the strap, the blanket, and the chair. These are props that he understood that not everybody’s body is built the same. I’m going to have to create some implement so that everybody can come to this practice. I think it’s interesting, because at the foot of Krishnamacharya sat Mr. Iyengar, sat Pattabhi Jois, sat Indra Devi. Sat all these teachers that went off, and interpreted the information that Krishnamacharya and Desikachar taught to them, and created a whole lineage of yoga based on how it felt in their body, based on the students they were seeing. And that was okay, because at the end of the day, they were following the eight limbs of yoga.


You and I both know that Pilates has those six principles: control, breath, flow, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. If I’m applying those six principles to the exercise modality I am teaching within the Pilates space, am I not teaching Pilates? Just a question. Because in the yoga space, if I’m applying those eight principles to the way in which I teach, those eight limbs in the way in which I teach yoga, then I’m teaching yoga. Regardless if it’s Asana on the mat or not. I get that these are two different modalities. But at the end of the day, they do have a structure. They do have a set of rules, if you will, around how we take in the information and disperse the information. It’s not because my thumb is on a 45-degree angle as opposed to a 90-degree angle. I’m just saying. I’m not saying. I’m just saying.


[1:01:39] HT: You said it brilliantly.


[1:01:42] DB: Thank you. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. This why I follow you, this is why I follow the people I follow. I want this evidence-based. I love the flows that you and Christian put together. I love the fun and the whimsy of the dogs in your posts. I love the questions that you’ve post to the community. I love how you make this about community, and not about being right, and about being perfect. And about following the drills, and about being exactly right. I just don’t understand why we got to do this, and why people who teach in this classical set are so threatened. We’re not watering it down, which is what I think they believe, because that will always be there. There will always be classical teachers. We’re not getting rid of you.


[1:02:22] HT: Yes. Maybe that’s what the fear is, that it’s going to go away. I don’t think it’s going to go away. I think it’s like, if we look at any of the yoga lineages, people will be drawn to things that they need to be drawn to. It’s not like each one of them – I guess, they’re probably sometimes, “I’m an Ashtangi. Oh, I do this one. Oh, I do.” But it’s, at least, maybe I’m not in this space to hear the yoga teachers talking down to each other. I think everyone’s just like, “No, I just stay in my field. This is what I love. This is what I like. I’m an Ashtangi.”


[1:02:54] DB: Yes, and I’m good with that. If you feel good, I love it for you. Because from Ashtanga comes Vinyasa, which I would think is the most popular practice yoga today. When we think of yoga in the West, I would think that’s what we picture. We picture that Ashtanga, or that Vinyasa, the wild child. I like to call it the wild child, the newest incantation, the newest branch on the yoga tree. That’s cool, right? If that speaks to you, that’s great. 


Are you moving your body? Are you breathing? Are you in community with others? Does this make you a happier person? Does this send you out in the world to do good? Then, we’re doing our practice. The rest of it can fall away, because I think the rest of it is a distraction.


[1:03:39] HT: Yes. On that, that is the perfect place to end this.


[1:03:43] DB: You and I could talk for hours, and hours, and hours, and hours, and hours, and hours, and hours, and hours.


[1:03:48] HT: No, really, I actually think, if you had time, maybe not today, but we could do this again. 


[1:03:55] DB: We should, part two. I feel a part two is necessary. So I appreciate you so much. You have no idea. This has been very cathartic.


[1:04:03] HT: Well, thank you. Thank you. Me too. 




[1:04:08] HT: Thank you so much for joining us today. I hope you enjoyed the conversation. A great cost-free way of supporting us and the podcast would be to give us a five-star rating. You could also look down into the show notes and grab any one of the free resources for teachers. I hope to see you next week on The Pilates Exchange. Happy teaching, everyone.



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