Great Posture — Instead of having to force your way into “standing up straight”, Pilates will strengthen your whole body, improve breathing, and by default you’ll have better posture without even thinking about it! I’ve had clients “complain” that they had to have their clothes tailored due to standing up taller.
Pilates was invented around 100 years ago, and it is becoming an increasingly popular form of exercise. What exactly is Pilates? How is it different from other modalities like Yoga or Tai Chi? What are the benefits of Pilates? Who can most benefit from it? In this interview series, we are talking to Pilates professionals & practitioners who can talk about how Pilates can improve your health and wellbeing. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Lynda Lippin.
For over 33 years, Lynda Lippin’s clients (including Donna Karan, Laurie Anderson, and Joe Walsh) have trusted her to help them get stronger and function better, with less pain. Lynda is the Founder & CEO of Lynda Lippin Pilates, LLC, where she helps women over 50 with osteoporosis increase their bone density, and eliminate chronic pain through her online Strong Bones Pilates Studio, and serves Pilates Teachers through the Pilates Teacher Mastermind®, her premier business accelerator and continuing education program. Lynda is also the host of The Pilates Goddess Podcast.
Thank you so much for joining us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?
Istarted doing Pilates as an undergraduate at Purchase College. I was a Philosophy major and the VP of Finance for Student Government, which was funding the Pilates Studio. I first went in to see how they were spending their money. As someone who spent her afternoons from age 4 at ballet class, I loved Pilates!
When I moved to Philadelphia in 1988 to start as a Teaching Assistant in the PhD Philosophy program at Temple, I saw a want ad for “P/T exercise instructors, Pilates background preferred”. I started teaching Pilates part time, and then it became my full time gig in 1995, when I opened my first Pilates Studio.
I currently live in NYC with my husband of 30 years and our rescue dog, Juniper Peanut. I love to knit and crochet, read cozy mysteries, and enjoy my downtown neighborhood.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
In 2005 I had an opportunity to teach a Pilates mat teacher training workshop in Turks and Caicos. My husband at that time was a chef, and while we were on the main island of Providenciales, we both received job offers. We had a lot going on in the US — business, house, cars, cats, family — but I thought, “If we don’t take this leap, we will regret it for the rest of our lives.”
We sold everything and moved to the Caribbean with our 3 cats within 5 weeks. After two years on the main island, we had the opportunity to work on the A-list private island of Parrot Cay by COMO. We spent 4 years there, serving very high-level guests, and I won the 2011 SpaFinder Magazine Reader’s Choice Award for Best Pilates!
Since we made that leap, even moving back to NYC, I have been so much more open to opportunity. This served me very well during the start of the pandemic, when I was able to see the way forward to pivoting my entire business online and expanding my offerings. I also maintain client contacts and luxury hospitality contacts from that time that still serve me well.
You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Stubbornness — I have always been stubborn, and that generally has served me well. When I want something, I will work as hard as possible to achieve my goal. I don’t take “No” for an answer, and am willing to ask questions and negotiate. I have always been a high earner, and that’s because I’m able to negotiate great contracts for myself.
Discernment — To be stubborn indiscriminately doesn’t work, because then we waste energy on goals that aren’t worth the effort. Discernment allows me to focus on the goals that will serve me now and moving forward, while avoiding time wasters. This allowed me to make the smart, while scary, move to Turks and Caicos.
Critical Reasoning — One of the most practical aspects of studying Philosophy on a post-graduate level is developing and teaching great critical reasoning skills. I loved teaching informal logic, and loved watching my students get out of their comfort zones. I feel like critical reasoning is becoming a lost art, and that is very scary to me. I see it now in Pilates groups on social media, where teachers crowd source everything, including how to teach people with pain and injuries.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that might help people?
I am always working on new projects! I launched The Pilates Goddess Podcast in July, and it has been very fun and very well-received. I do a mix of solo episodes and interviews, and am connecting with so many old friends and new people. Since working with with me privately is costly, I’m working on ways of providing free and inexpensive quality content.
In addition to the podcast, I have partnered with The Wellness Universe to offer a 6 month free, donation-based online course on Exercise for Bone Health, Strength, & Mobility. I offer 30 minute $5 Strong Bones classes on Revel, a community of women over 40. And I have new monthly memberships starting soon for Pilates Teacher Mastermind®.
Finally, look for my Pilates for Back Pain eCourse to be published online and in print in early 2023.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview about Pilates. To begin, can you tell our readers a bit about why you are an authority on the topic of Pilates?
I’ve been doing Pilates for 34 years and teaching Pilates for 33. In that time I owned award-winning studios, trained thousands of Pilates Teachers, and have taken deep dives into illness, pain, and injury. I teach both Classical and Contemporary Pilates, and have worked on all brands of apparatus.
I was a founding member of the PhysicalMind Institute, and did teacher training for them for over a decade. After my years at Parrot Cay, I was a Master Teacher and Lead Trainer at Real Pilates in Tribeca.
Let’s start with a basic definition so that we are all on the same page. What exactly is Pilates?
Pilates is an exercise system developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. He actually called it Contrology. The hallmark of Pilates is the focus on an ordered sequence of full body exercises, the importance of the Powerhouse or core, and the use of springs for resistance.
How is Pilates different from other movement modalities that you have practiced?
Pilates has a unique and always effective way of introducing movement and strength into sedentary bodies. The system as whole is vast, and there are many ways to modify the exercises. It’s also easy to use the principles of Pilates when doing any other form of movement to keep things safe and controlled. Basically, Pilates is cross-training for whatever life throws at you!
On a personal level, what are the biggest benefits that you have gained from regular Pilates practice?
I’m 56, and have been doing Pilates for more than half my life. It has helped me stay strong and functional through a total abdominal hysterectomy, several car accidents and boat accidents. Pilates has helped me avoid neck surgery on a severe cervical vertebra deterioration, keeps my sciatica from chronic shingles in check, and gives me movement I can do no matter how I feel going in. I always feel better after Pilates. Always!
Who do you think can most benefit from Pilates?
Everyone! While my current niche is women over 50 with chronic pain and/or osteoporosis, I have seen great success with Pilates with all kinds of humans. I’ve taught people from age 12–93. I’ve taught professional athletes, performers, dancers, and models. I’ve also taught clients with MS, joint replacements, spine surgeries, hernias, and all kinds of chronic issues.
Pilates can sometimes be expensive. Can you share with our readers your perspectives on why Pilates is worth its costs?
Any good instruction, whether it’s Pilates, yoga, or any fitness training, is worth the money. I only teach online now, and my clients are amazed at how different they feel when I correct them. Remember that you’re not paying just for access to apparatus, or to watch someone work out and tru to mimic. You are paying for professional eyes on your body and your form. A good Pilates teacher will watch you, will correct you, and will make sure that you are doing exercises that are safe and effective, and should be able to tell you why.
Based on your research or experience, can you please share your “5 Ways That Pilates Can Improve Your Health and Wellbeing”?
Video — https://youtu.be/LjowDD254TY
In my own Pilates practice, I stress the importance of precision in Pilates. Based on your experiences and research, what are your thoughts about why precision is important in Pilates?
I’m a fan of precision everywhere! Without precise movement, we can be imbalanced and possibly injured. Part of the point of doing Pilates is to learn how to move well and efficiently, and precision is an obvious part of that!
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
With osteoporosis becoming a growing health crisis, and the fact that we build most of our bone before age 25, I would start a movement to encourage healthy body image for young women ages 12 to 25, encouraging healthy exercise, healthy foods, and no judgment.
What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?
My website and blog — https://lyndalippin.com
Facebook — https://facebook.com/lyndalippinpilates
Linked In — https://linkedin.com/in/lyndalippin
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.
Thank you for the amazing opportunity!
About The Interviewer: Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl. As a disruptor, Maria is on a mission to change the face of the wellness industry by shifting the self-care mindset for consumers and providers alike. As a mind-body coach, Maria’s superpower is alignment which helps clients create a strong body and a calm mind so they can live a life of freedom, happiness and fulfillment. Prior to founding Rebellious Intl, Maria was a Finance Director and a professional with 17+ years of progressive corporate experience in the Telecommunications, Finance, and Insurance industries. Born in Bulgaria, Maria moved to the United States in 1992. She graduated summa cum laude from both Georgia State University (MBA, Finance) and the University of Georgia (BBA, Finance). Maria’s favorite job is being a mom. Maria enjoys learning, coaching, creating authentic connections, working out, Latin dancing, traveling, and spending time with her tribe. To contact Maria, email her at [email protected]. To schedule a free consultation, click here.