Some of the PE team standing outside the studio.
Twelve years ago, I started teaching an evening Pilates class at Healthtrax in Newington. After two years of teaching at the gym and completing my STOTT certification program, I left my job as Assistant Director of Education at the Mark Twain House & Museum to start my own Pilates company.
This was not an easy decision. Working at the Twain House was mostly great. The staff was fun and supportive. I had the opportunity to meet some interesting people like Henry Rollins, Spike Lee, Hal Holbrook, and Ken Burns to name a few. I still kick myself for not meeting Kurt Vonnegut when I had the chance. And, perhaps best of all, I had a key to enter Mark Twain’s house pretty much any time I wanted. I got to help decorate for Christmas. I got paid to read. I got to meet tourists and teachers from all over the world. I gave all that up to teach Pilates and start my own business. It was risky and scary.
When I left the Twain House I had one Pilates class. Now my schedule is packed. While I typically still only teach Pilates, our team at Personal Euphoria now offers a variety of fitness classes like yoga, barre and strength. Less than a year after leaping all in, the recession hit. I pulled my business through a recession, which meant no opportunities for loans. One day my bank cancelled my company credit card because banks were doing things like that. It’s hard to run a business in the 21st century without credit. To my ultimate benefit, the financial crisis forced me to run my company without ever taking on debt.
Technically Personal Euphoria is turning ten this month. That’s when I officially registered the business. While I loved the Twain House and sometimes miss it, I have never regretted my decision to leave. That’s because I’ve been lucky to work with a great team of people and have clients that I look forward to seeing every day.
If you have had Jeannine as one of your instructors she deserves a lot of the credit for our success. We had worked together at the Twain House, and when I was considering expanding and adding instructors besides myself, I approached her. If she hadn’t said, “yes” and taken a gamble on me, I’m not sure I would have ever trusted anyone else enough to attempt bringing other people onto our team. But she’s Jeannine, so she did a fantastic job. And her successes made me realize I could continue expanding Personal Euphoria. She gave me confidence.
Then there is the incredible Cate Vallone of Evolution Pilates in South Windsor. When I got certified I felt lucky that there was a certification center 20-minutes away from me. I wasn’t going to have to drive to New York or Boston. Cate’s by far the best. Hands down, no question. If you think I’m a good instructor, Cate gets some of the credit.
But I’m not sure I’d still be teaching if it weren’t for all our clients. By showing up to class each week, you literally keep me employed. Every time you attend one of our classes, you are supporting a local, small business, in case you haven’t thought of it that way. You are getting healthier and shopping local at the same time.
Helping guide you through movement is truly a privilege, and while I don’t take any of the credit for the gains you make, I do relish in seeing the benefits to your health and body. I can’t take the credit because I can’t do my job if you don’t show up. You do all the hard work. And there are lots of people who choose not to show up to move. When you show up, I get to see that a back surgery is being pushed back potentially forever, that pain in reduced, that you improved at a goal, or that you found tools to combat scoliosis. When I get excited because you did a good back bend or really initiated movement from your pelvis, I’m sincerely excited. I understand how hard that is. When I see quality movement I’m still thrilled. When I see someone figure something out that they have been trying to get I’m truly happy.
Learning about the body and watching your body move is endlessly fascinating to me. Your questions help me learn to do my job better. Your struggles help me become a better teacher. Your successes encourage me. Your conversation and stories fill me. When I show up to group classes and you are all chit chatting, it makes me happy to see you are bonded in some way through movement. When my car is not in the parking lot and you walk in surprised and happy to see me, you make me smile. When you laugh at my plank stories instead of revolting against plank I’m grateful. When the hip flexor stretch comes at the end of your private class and you express that you are sad the hour is over, I feel good that you enjoyed your time moving with me so much. When you let me prattle on about fascia I’m pleasantly surprised.
I believe that encouraging people to move is important. That enables me to believe my job, my livelihood, is important. But without you none of it matters.
I get the luxury of enjoying my job because of our solid, incredible team of our instructors and because of each individual that walks into one of our classes. So thank you for ten years of making movement with Personal Euphoria matter. You bring me joy, and I am lucky.