Embracing theCurves Workshop, Marie José Blom-Lawrence


I attended  Mari-José Blom's  workshop exploring Scoliosis and Pilates utilizing her personally developed Smart Spine System.  Embracing the curves was a surreal growing experience.  I was a demonstration model most of the the 2 day workshop. It's fantastic to attend any workshop with a master teacher, but to go through the exercises with MJ was amazing.

The workshop, hosted in the studio of Jennifer Gianni, Fusion Studio in Asheville, NC, feels like going home for me . I have done all my teacher training with Jen Gianni and Casey Herdt there. In April, I finished an in-studio apprenticeship there as well. Marie-Jose mentored both Jen and Casey and seeing MJ's teaching  was fantastic. 

Marie José has a presence that beams with experience and refined knowledge of the body . She combines this with a serious expectation of her clients (or models) and a witty sense of humor. The teaching helped demonstrate the inner workings of Scoliosis and how to work with clients with varying degrees of curvature & help utilize pilates principles to create relief, strength and release.

Something I will remember is MJ telling me  " I'm proud of you" following a demonstration of release work on my spine with the SmartSpine developed by her. These words of encouragement are priceless to anyone, and they were immensely powerful for me to hear. These are words I hope to continually give to my clients and the Pilates community at large.

I was delightfully surprised to be a teaching model for MJ at the workshop. I am including a series of pictures demonstrating a few of the many exercises we learned that weekend.  It was double duty for me to try to feel, conduct the task of the exercise, beware of my curve, and remember the steps of the practitioner (MJ) so I can teach them later.  This was an immense learning experience. As I look at these photos and remember the movements, I can remember thinking of this past year of work I have put into my body and putting to use the connection I have gained through training at Pilates Tonic. My teacher Sydney Craig played huge a role in preparing me for this workshop. I owe her so much. The timing of this workshop for me was momentous. I felt I had the tools to understand and connect to the work in a way I would not have been able to do if I had not met Sydney. Sydney acknowledges her inspiration and mentorship that comes from Marie-José, and to make the link from Sydney's work, back to my work, and then onto MJ's work was ver fulfilling. 

My journey with Pilates and Scoliosis will always be ongoing, but this workshop felt very much like the culmination of a year that was very meant to be. 

A huge thank you to a fellow teacher Michelle Burkus for taking these photos, and to Sydney for working with me this year. 

...and teachers out there.... get to this workshop. It's well worth it.