When I Went More Joe by Lynda Lippin

I was introduced to Pilates as an undergraduate at SUNY Purchase (now known as Purchase College) in 1987. Steve Giordano and I were there at the same time, with me studying Philosophy and him an older “non-traditional” dance major.

I was involved in student government, as the Coordinator of Finance, and in the 80’s the Pilates studio was being funded by student activity fees, as the Dance Department no longer had the budget to run it. Steve was always asking for money to build apparatus and expand programming, and I finally went in for a class to see what he was talking about (what is a high barrel, a reformer, a wall unit???).

Well, from that first class, I was hooked. I immediately signed up for unlimited classes (so cheap for students) and felt myself getting stronger.

My movement background was in classical ballet from the age of 4. Between then and college, I became anorexic and had some strength issues. Pilates helped me find my body. At Purchase I was lucky enough to work with Steve, Nancy Allison, Romana, and Roberta Kirschenbaum while she was an apprentice.

I was accepted into Temple University’s Philosophy Ph.D. program in 1988 with a Teaching Assistantship, and moved to Philadelphia. I continued to do my mat, wall, and standing exercises while going to the gym, but missed a studio. In 1989 I answered an ad – “Exercise instructor wanted, p/t, Pilates background preferred” – and started working in a Sports Medicine doctor’s office alongside Karen Carlson, who had studied with Mary Bowen.

Because of my interest in Philosophy and History, I started taking sessions and classes with every student of Joe Pilates who I could reach, and who was still teaching. I was a founding member of the PhysicalMind Institute (then the Institute for the Pilates Method) in 1991, and when I met Eve Gentry in Santa Fe, I found my groove.

These were also the infamous lawsuit years, and while I don’t really want to go there, I bristle when people I don’t know try to control what I do. At that point, after years of practicing what I know now to be classical Pilates, I went completely in the other direction, even snubbing the work I had done earlier.

I became a PMI certified teacher in 1993, and a certifying teacher in 1998. My studio, balanCenter Pilates, had all Balanced Body and Peak apparatus with MVe chairs and all kinds of fun toys. I was sure that I no longer needed classical Pilates, with it’s heavy springs and non-adjustable straps. A new day had dawned!

Fast forward a few years. I sold my award-winning studio, moved to Turks and Caicos, and realized that, of all the guests I saw at Parrot Cay, the ones who had the most solid practice and were the strongest, all did classical Pilates at home.

When I moved back to NYC in 2011, I came in as a Master Teacher at Real Pilates. Alycea Ungaro was actually the only person who was willing to bring me in at a higher level from the beginning, and who believed me when I said I never wanted to own a studio again (managing people is not my forté). While a return to Gratz was a bit of an adjustment after over a decade of contemporary apparatus, I soon grew to love the simplicity and I watched my clients get stronger, faster. Now, when I teach or practice on other apparatus, I miss the size of the Gratz apparatus, the stronger springs, and the ease of transitions. The ability to flow through a workout, as Joe wanted us to do.

Now I teach primarily what we know as classical Pilates, with a little bit of the more restorative work I learned during my contemporary years. I help mentor our Real Pilates Teacher Training apprentices, and love watching them teach the system. And I teach privates and mentorship groups for Pilates teachers online, so more folks can learn.

And that is why I so love being a Going More Joe facilitator! I understand both sides of the fence, and have a great respect for all of it. I work on contemporary apparatus, speak the contemporary language, and can ease teachers into a more classical environment that still respects whatever work they have already done.

In the end, I just want Pilates teachers to know who Joseph Pilates was, that there is different apparatus that has been changed over the years, that there are actual Pilates exercises, and that clients will get stronger and feel better when they practice actual Pilates.

There’s a reason why former Financial Times travel writer Rahul Jacob says that Lynda Lippin is the best Pilates teacher and personal trainer he has ever worked with–anywhere in the world. So much more than a Master Trainer, Lynda uses exercise, energy, nutrition, and bodywork as a vehicle for health, healing, and wellness.

For 29 years, Lynda Lippin’s clients have trusted her to help them get stronger and function better, with less pain. As a mentor, Lynda helps Pilates teachers of all backgrounds to become more confident in themselves and what they teach, leading to better income and more business!

Lynda began her classical Pilates studies with Steve Giordano at SUNY Purchase, and later was certified by Eve Gentry at the Pilates PhysicalMind Institute. She is PMA certified, has taught both classical and contemporary teacher training, and is comfortable teaching on all brands of Pilates apparatus.

Lynda is also an ACE-certified personal trainer, Kettlebell and TRX instructor, FASTer Way To Fat Loss® coach, and a Usui Reiki Master.

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