As administrator of Pilates Intel, I am notified each time we get a new subscriber, with information of their name and email address. Out of interest, and if time permits, I Google the new subscriber to see if I can’t learn more about who they are, and what they do. This is exactly what I did when the notification for new subscriber, Tracy Maurstad, arrived. My curiosity was brought to a slightly higher level when my search brought up the phrase “Pilates Mistress”, and several times. But my eyes became the size of saucers when I clicked forward to see some pretty racy pictures, in the way that I’m guessing yours are now?
Well, behind this sexy profile is a serious student of Pilates, and life, who in my view has pulled off something unique and wonderful. So it is my pleasure to present Tracy to the Pilates Intel crowd. And if she leaves you wanting more, then no worries, because we will be hearing more from Tracy in the near future. Tracy, it’s all you, take it away…
I found Pilates by accident. I took a pole dancing class which happened to be held in a Pilates studio. The pole dancing turned out not to be for me (it was fun, but bruises? no, I don’t think so), but I was intrigued by the weird looking equipment. Exercise had been a part of my life for 16 years but I’d never experienced anything like Pilates. First of all I thought all those hours in the gym had made me strong, but getting my feet in those straps proved otherwise! Plus, who knew exercise could be fun?! I ditched my gym rat workouts and took up Pilates 2-3 days a week. In six months my butt was higher, my abs firmer, my triceps more defined and I was half an inch taller. I was hooked. I just had to learn more, so I went through teacher training for my own certification and the experience of student teaching changed my life. One of my first students was a friend who’d suffered chronic pain for three years from two herniated discs. After two months of working with me, twice a week, she walked in and said, “I realized the other day that my back doesn’t hurt anymore.” Wow! I did that? I mean, she did all the work, but…wow! At the time I didn’t know I was looking for something, but I ended up finding my passion in teaching Pilates.
First I completed the BASI comprehensive teacher training course. It was a great experience but I wanted to know more about the origins of the Method, so I subsequently completed training in Classical Pilates with 2nd generation teacher Elena Domínguez-Bartley. That’s when the light bulbs really started to go on. Having a teacher of Elena’s caliber to study with regularly is such a gift.
I’ve been teaching for six years and I feel like I’m only just now beginning to understand what Pilates is. I love that there’s no end to it. No matter how much I learn there’s always more, so much more, to know. I’m a perpetual student of Pilates, but I don’t limit my study to Pilates. Studying anatomy, particularly the fascial system, the bone rhythms and imagery I’ve learned from the Franklin Method, have helped me to deepen my Pilates practice and have made me a better movement teacher. I regularly go to conferences but I most enjoy longer, more in-depth workshops. I’ve hosted several in Las Vegas and while it can be a lot of work to pull them together, the rewards of spending a whole day learning from a first-class teacher makes it more than worth it.
So why call myself the “Pilates Mistress”? My first career was in IT, I specialized in database design but I’d also done a few websites. When I started teaching Pilates, it was a foregone conclusion that I’d have a website. I wanted something with a little bit of an edge- something fun, something sexy. My favorite tank top said “I’m a slave to Pilates” with a dominatrix image (available on cafepress.com). I couldn’t believe that the web address PilatesMistress.com was available! And with that, my alter-ego was born.
I have fun with the dominatrix image but I’m not a taskmaster as the name might suggest. I finally learned after almost 20 years of working out that being fit doesn’t require punishment, and my definition of ‘fitness’ has evolved. I want to help my students discover joy and ease in moving their bodies.
In my opinion, Pilates is the perfect exercise regimen because it’s about how your body works, not how it looks – looking good is a nice additional benefit, don’t get me wrong, it’s just not the point. Joseph Pilates said it best when he said “…a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.”
Naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure. Yes. That’s what I want, for myself and my students, and with maybe just a little spanking now and then.