How did Mary discover Joe Pilates?

young photo of Mary Bowen

Mary performing as Cleo in “The Most Happy Fella” shortly before meeting Joe and Clara.

Mary: “In 1959 I saw an article in a newspaper. There was this man standing with his bare barrel of a chest, bare legs, swimming trunks and a white mane of hair. Joe was an intriguing sight – a human lion! Who was this man?

In the short article he said “I base my method on the baby and the cat!” I had never had a baby or a cat, but the sentence struck me. I did have a bad back. I took it upon myself to find Joseph Pilates! I was 29. Joe was 76. That was the beginning of a life “root.”

My back improved after only two lessons with Joe. Since walking into Joe and Clara’s studio fifty-eight years ago, I have taken one to two lessons every week for 56 years beginning with six and a half years, twice a week with Joe and Clara. After Joe’s death seven years consecutively with Bob Seed, Romana Krysanowska. Kathy Grant, Bruce King, Jean Claude West (who learned Pilates in MA at my studio in Northampton) and then from 1995 for twenty years until she relocated in Toronto in 2015 with Christine Wright. The teacher is always the student. That ensures freshness. I am still coming into my body at 87.

Mary Bowen meeting Joe Pilates

(Video 6:04) Mary discusses how she first met Joe Pilates and Clara in New York City in 1959.

Mary spoke at memorial ceremony for Joe Pilates at Ferncliff Mausoleum in Hartsdale, New York

Historic Video

"This is a special treasure, compiled from personal films of Joe and his wife Clara made between 1932 and 1945. They were entrusted to me in 1981 when I opened my “Your Own Gym Studio”, in Northampton, Ma.”

historic video
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Joe Pilates and Clara

Joe Pilates and Clara

Learn about the ultimate mind body connection - “Pilates Plus Psyche"

“Mary is the most senior Pilates Elder and Master Teacher who knew and studied with Joseph Pilates and Clara”