About Katherine Howe
Hello from Lexington, Kentucky! I have spent the last 35 years living and working with the Pilates Method and it has become a way of life for me. Through the genius of Joseph Pilates approach to movement, I have learned to strengthen and maintain flexibility while simultaneously learning to use the breath to promote what I like to call “ease of” or “economic” movement.
In 1983, while strolling around Northampton, MA, I literally poked my head into the first ever fully outfitted Pilates gym; Your Own Gym, owned and run by Mary Bowen. Mary is the last living Pilates Elder — the last living person to have trained with Joseph Pilates and Clara (his wife) in his original studio in New York City. Mary immediately ushered me into her beautiful space and starting showing me around the gym; explaining the original pieces of equipment (all beautifully handcrafted by her husband Alec using original blueprints from Joe) and how the Pilates Method could and would change my life.
Having just abruptly curtailed a career in classical ballet due to injury, I was more than happy to embrace movement that would heal and restore. The Pilates Method holistic approach to exercise was certainly innovative when introduced to America in the 1920’s; it literally turned my world upside down. After years of training in classical ballet, which focused on repetition and detail, I was now relearning movement by using the breath, letting go of tension, and building strength from the “inside out.” Now, 35 years later I continue to personally practice Pilates, and have been teaching restorative movement based in the Pilates principles for over 30 years.
One of Mary Bowen’s guiding principles was that as long as you were true to the Pilates principles, you could “do whatever you want.” The Method was never created as a form to follow, as in certain sequences, etc. The genius lies in the “way” one approaches movement and its earliest origins were of a restorative nature.
I remember as a young teacher in training at Your Own Gym we were all so excited to show people a new way to move that was gentle but challenging; by focusing on the core (the deep abdominals) we showed people how to move more economically and stay injury free. It was a process though, and I remember realizing very early in my training:
Changing the way a person moves in their body takes time; changing habits of movement requires a physical and mental attitude that requires an open, but focused mind. Pilates wasn’t just exercise, it was a way of life.
I can honestly say that working with this approach to rehabilitative movement continues to inspire and inform me on a daily basis. I am constantly challenged and learning from my clients and I am so grateful! The body learns and re-learns as our minds become more open to what we need and want. Aging becomes more graceful and informative.
Mary Bowen now 88, is the owner of Lifelong Pilates, still teaching and mentoring in the Pilates Method as well as in the psyche; she is a Jungian psychoanalyst that discovered Pilates at the age of 29 and practices in NYC, Connecticut, and Northampton, MA. She is the living epitome of the Pilates Method; active, learning, breathing, and pursuing creativity in the mind and body.
In addition to Mary’s training and becoming a certified Pilates teacher, I attained a Masters degree in Physical Therapy in 2003 at the University of Kentucky. I felt a strong desire to combine the work I learned in the Pilates Method with a field that I knew could contribute to my knowledge base, but also a field that mandates new and innovative approaches. With over 15 years of work in the acute care setting, I feel confident with a variety of medical issues and aim to increase your quality of life through mindful movement.
The Pilates Method consists of low impact strength and flexibility exercises. Focus is on proper breathing techniques, deep core awareness, and overall muscle balance. Joseph Pilates developed this technique in the early 1920’s.
Pilates is an accessible way to build strength in your core muscles (deep lower abdominals and mid-back muscles) for improved posture, endurance, and flexibility.
Pilates is for all people who desire to keep moving with ease; whether it is to help you “age with grace”, improve your ability to perform daily tasks, or increase your endurance and strength with an athletic activity. It is also particularly effective with dancers and musicians.
“I absolutely love the body and soul connection from Pilates. I leave a session with a feeling of mental and physical release, relaxation, and rejuvenation. It’s a feeling I have not experienced with any other exercise or practice. It’s the individual attention to detail that makes it so powerful and effective.”
“I began my journey with Katherine after my pelvic rotated out of position due to severe back spasms triggered by stress. Her ability to strengthen my core while helping to align my body and address my posture has been life changing! In my opinion, she is a miracle worker and a lifesaver!”
Jaynae Laine, principal, Carter Woodsen Academy