The following are quotes PILATES STYLE MAGAZINE requested for their Sept/Oct 2009 issue. The article is entitled “The Ultimate Mind-body Connection” and it is about the Pilates Plus Psyche program (make this a live link) offered by Lifelong Pilates with Mary Bowen. Mary’s clients and friends responded generously.
“We recently had the great pleasure and privilege to host Mary Bowen’s Lifelong Pilates Program at our studio (May, 2009). Mary’s infectious personality enlivened both our teachers and our clients. She reminded us each of the sheer bliss one can attain by moving purely from the spine, with breath and ease, allowing the animal to move from its true nature. Our entire studio agrees that her presence here was a validating and enriching experience, allowing us the freedom of experimentation to meet our clients’ needs with humor, insight and authenticity.”
“Your gift is in your presence with people. I hope you know what a facilitator you are in waking people up through your infectious joy and deep wisdom – a combination that invites people to soften. What we both knew about you immediately is that your strength and gift is in your presence, not that your words are not powerful, too. (I’ve read your response to the Yoga/Pilates article. It was excellent!). You have immense energy around your being. People need to be in the presence of individuals like yourself so that they can know what’s possible.”
“Over the years, Mary Bowen has led me through the body into the psyche. And then led me through the psyche into the body. At first body and psyche felt like two opposing poles, but through a deep creative process I have come to trust, she has taught me and I have experienced those two opposites uniting to make me.”
Connie Wolff, former dancer and Pilates teacher at White Cloud Studio in Cleveland, Ohio (Attended a 9 hour intensive (make this link) in Northampton, MA October 2008.)
“I am sitting at dinner musing about our session today--our time together – The words that come to my mind are: intense, grounding – I feel so calm, serene, happy--full of BREATH. I feel clear and more able to follow my destiny—more able to know myself—to know who I am.
What happened today between us seemed, to me, to be perfect. Everything flowed like a beautiful dance. I am very grateful for your caring and unselfish guidance.
I hope I can internalize the work intelligently. I wish to give it to my clients with compassion as you have given it to me.”
“What a great workshop you presented this weekend! I was fully charged up with your energy and I am looking forward to applying all the ideas, especially the Jungian typology you presented. All of your ideas will help me to grow as a teacher of Pilates and as a student of life. Also, I wanted to let you know that I have already used one of your breathing exercises with my oldest client (she’s 87) today. Thank you again for your gifts.”
“I want to thank you for a wonderful learning and sharing weekend. Your presentation and information were so valuable. I will cherish the time with you. Thanks for giving your time and history of yourself and Mr. Pilates. There were some really great stories. The workout with you was just what I needed. I would love to come see you at your studio.”
“I was at your talk in San Francisco last Friday night. I was completely enlivened by your presence and your words! I feel that you spoke directly to me in some very important ways….I feel as though I am only scratching the surface…..I would really like to explore more of the psyche with you….to deepen my own experience. I need something more – something new. If one like myself is ready for this, when might we find time for me to come and be with you intensively? I would be coming to experience the combination of Pilates with the underlying psyche – open to discovering whatever there is to uncover!”
“It is not often that one meets a person who, like a beautiful animal, just is, and who gives of herself unconditionally of what she has to offer.”
“Mary is one of the most important people in my life. She has been my mentor, teacher and guide for several years. Our relationship has been all encompassing; every aspect of my life has gone through tremendous growth through our work together. Under her guidance, my own work has flowered in ways I could not have expected. With Mary, I have experienced true unconditional Love. She has been a life-line for me through times of total chaos. She has accepted everything about me and in doing so, enabled me to accept myself. My difficulties and needs have been held by her embrace and my tight spots loosened up by her joyous and infectious sense of humor. Working with Mary is an experience that truly heals. She herself is the embodiment of what is possible when you work with the whole person. We don’t have many examples of what that looks like; because of that she is a bit of a hidden treasure. What she has to offer is so original and unique for each person and it just keeps unfolding. All of us who have been touched by her are most fortunate. She has what we all search for, and she’ll generously point you toward it if you are willing to take the journey.”
“Mary teaches beyond the physical self, into the added dimensions of the psyche. Her aim is to engage, unite and develop the whole person, to encourage each one’s originality, taking in all aspects of our humanity. She teaches with humor, style and grace. Mary is knowledge and generosity personified.”
“Mary Bowen teaches what we, in our Western culture, have forgotten: the body and the mind are interconnected, cannot be separated, that the healing of one helps the healing of the other. Using both the Pilates Method and Jungian psychoanalysis, Mary Bowen reminds us that the learning experience can be joyous; the body as well as other parts of the psyche cannot be forced into change, but need to be invited, challenged and encouraged into well being.”
“A mere fragment of who Mary Bowen is to me.
As an artist, life for me is about the work of discovery, or perhaps “un-covery,” and the shards unearthed in the process are sometimes called art, often just stuff, but always important to me as part of the unfolding story of the self.
We each have a personal story which we live out with varying degrees of consciousness. The more we can come to know about the roots and the trajectory of this story, the deeper and more meaningful life becomes. Often having a guide whose “experience” and “fearlessness” one can trust is incredibly valuable, and at times, should the path lead into the darkness beyond what we can “know,” it is quite possibly essential.
Mary is a fearless and experienced guide, who understands through her own creative “work” the necessity of developing all the tools of the body and whole psyche in order to realize the full potential of who we are and who we can become.”
Sibylle Baier, Writer, Musician, Garden Extraordinaire, wife, mother, grandmother
“The Good Queen dies, and the King must marry again. The new Queen bans her beautiful, fabled stepchildren to serve in the scullery and the stables from now on, for fear that her own, glorious ones, might be overshadowed. The King consents, because the new union promises greater lands, maybe even peace for a while. And in time biographies and seasons achieve their affairs: more land is gained, the kingdom and the new children prosper; the old ones slowly are forgotten. Peace though, doesn’t hold.
It didn’t hold in my life. It didn’t hold in our country. It probably didn’t in most of my ancestors’ or contemporaries:’ to send the unwanted to the dark, only creates more darkness. But here we are.
Mary Bowen came into my life (as Obama came to be President of this country) to lead these children out of the darkness. Not as a Fairy who clothes you to lead you to the prince, or to provide you with the magical sword to slay the dragon – in other words not to perform the accustomed task, but to lead you into the wide open brilliance of where we don’t know. All we know is that ALL parts are part of the whole.
To me, it is a sacred, authentic path, which unfolds and unfolds like leaves do. In this way, Mary midwifes the abandoned stepchildren out of the scullery, the dark stables, not necessarily into the light instantly. Sometimes, even darker woods need to be crossed, but the fact, that they are moving at all, is an attest to the universal law of constant movement, creation – unknown to us, maybe, but left to their own authentic grace, always benevolent. And in Mary’s universal, utterly compassionate way, which knows the humor of the human condition as well as its delights and grief and desperation, she guides these dark parts to suddenly see the light of day – and so be released back into their Royal heritage of being full human beings.
Mary’s work then is not so much “work,” in my eyes, as a de-construction, the courageous witnessing and therefore release of perceived, habitual, conditioned obstacles and fears. She is a blessed and blessing midwife to the natural unfolding of the universal law of creation. This is what her skill, her love, her genius keeps opening in my life, and I can only hope that her insight and light will ease the labor of many, many more souls.
I owe her and most gladly give my deepest appreciation and gratitude.”
CHRISTINE WRIGHT (Mary’s present teacher. Leading Dancer with the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, 1975-1986, teacher of Professional level ballet class in NYC, in addition to working with private clients.)
Christine’s primary teachers have been Kathy Grant for many years and Jean Claude West with whom she studied 8 years and into the present. She has also taken courses from Irene Dowd, Andry Vleeming, Robert Donatelli, Louis Schultz and courses at Westside Dance Physical Therapy.
“Mary has been my client since 1995. She does one hour privates with me, but no dancing, although I wouldn’t put it past her to take my professional level ballet class as well. Mary is in more than remarkable shape for 79 or any other age for that matter. I’ve known her for many years now and in all this passage of time she has defied the aging process.
But it isn’t just the physical that impresses me. Mary’s mind is as vibrant and engaged as ever. There is never a dull moment. She is always investigating, willing to try new things, new approaches. And it’s never a straight line with her. It’s never one dimensional. For her it’s the body, mind, intuition and emotion all intertwined. She can be frequently funny and whacky, but it’s always grounded in something quite serious and profound. It’s hard to say who is learning from whom since I’m always challenged when I work with her, constantly learning myself. It’s been my privilege to work with her. Mary’s heart is full of joy, warmth, wisdom and wackiness. What more could you want?”
Lee Edwards, Dean of College of Humanities and Fine Arts, 1991-2006, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA (Chair of Woman’s Studies Program ‘87-’90.)
“Highly trained and immensely experienced as both a Jungian analyst and a Pilates practitioner and teacher, Mary Bowen works with the whole person. Whether you are with her in an analytic session or a Pilates class, you find that her approach consistently engages mind and body, brain and psyche, intellect and intuition. She is patient – and persistent – in helping you identify the root cause of any dilemmas that you bring to her or that arise in the course of your experiences together. She enables you to work immensely hard because she inspires you to believe that you truly can be better. She takes you seriously, and yet she makes you laugh.”
Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle and Michael Arbuckle, Owners and Creators of the Pilates Center of Austin, Texas.
“Being with Mary is a gift of gifts. We have had the privilege of hosting Mary at the Pilates Center of Austin annually for about 6 years. Along with becoming dear friends, each visit and workshop has been richer than the last. Mary embodies an incomparable vitality, along with the ability to see people for who they are and who they are becoming. Through her historical understanding of Joseph Pilates’ vision, uniquely coupled with her extensive background in Jungian psychology, she has passionately dedicated her life to enabling the integration of the whole person – body, mind and soul. Mary is a life dancer who inspires others to discover their dreams, and we are happily and totally caught in her web.”