“Remember to scoop your abdomen and purse your lips when you exhale,” my Pilates coach said, her voice supportive and encouraging. Again, I concentrated as my bare feet pushed the bar forward on the reformer, moving the padded carriage upon which I was lying. Still, I could not visualize my breath enhancing my movements. My mind was split off from my body, my cheeks flushed, my breathing shallow.

It was September 2001, my third lesson in her studio. Balance issues had led me to seek her guidance. Walking across grass or uneven surfaces had become hazardous, and my usual exercises did not help.

“You’re doing very well, Liz,” she said drawing me a cup of water from the cooler. “It takes a while to get the knack of this—Pilates is different from your workouts in physical therapy: gentler, a slower more effective toning of the body. You’ll see.”

She was right. That winter’s wetness did not prevent long walks up and down the hills in my neighborhood as strength coursed through my body.

But over the years more than coaching was offered me. She loaned books on anatomy for my review, recommended supplements, shared spiritual insights, channeled the world around me, even supplied my needs when hospitalized—all with lightness of Spirit hiding out in the next breath.

She still serves, despite chronic illnesses kept at bay with Pilates and research into healing modalities. A wounded healer, she’s touched me deeply and still does.



Her name is Mary.