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My Fitness Journey: Vanessa Corrigen

“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. Our interpretation of physical fitness is the
attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of
naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing our many varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure” -Joseph Pilates

My fitness journey into the world of Pilates began with the book “The Pilates Method of Physical and Mental Conditioning by Philip Friedman and Gail Eisen published in 1980, 35 years after Joseph Pilates published his own book “Return to Life Through Contrology,” and 20 years before Pilates became widely known.

I ordered the book in 1995 from The Ohio University Library which borrowed it from another
library in Manhattan, NY. It was 1995 and this was the only book available on the subject of
Pilates. I kept the book as long as I could and before returning it, I photocopied the whole thing and practiced its’ pages daily, memorizing the whole mat work sequence. I practiced this way for 4 years. Then, in 1999 U.S. District Court Judge Miriam Cedarbaum ruled that Pilates, like yoga and karate, is a type of exercise, not a trademark. Pilates training and Pilates equipment manufacturing would now be available using the word Pilates without copy-write infringement.

I often say that I caught the Pilates wave as soon as I could paddle out, meaning- I was right
there and ready as soon as it was available to me. I found a Pilates teacher in Cincinnati, Oh.
She was offering the first teacher training through Physicalmind Institute. I already knew the
choreography of every Pilates mat work exercise but I did not know the proper body mechanics.

My teacher, a modern dancer in her 60’s skillfully helped me go deep into the fundamentals of
the Pilates method, helped me find the intricacies within the form, and introduced me to the
apparatus (Reformer, Chair, Cadillac and Barrels).

The apparatus was a fun new chapter in my journey. It felt like these mysterious machines were made for me! Upon becoming a Pilates apprentice in 2001; a year-long process of self practice, observation, supervised student teaching, research and lectures I embarked upon a
new career in the fitness world.

Before this I had used my BFA education as a professional mural artist. I was a loner, and very
independent. My new career as a Pilates instructor demanded many new skills like customer
service, communication, touching people, and being a living example of what the Pilates method can do for you. I began to feel responsible for living in a way that inspired my clients. It became apparent that my clients reflected the energy that I brought to them each session.

In 2003 I moved to Manhattan, NY to learn from and work for Physicalmind Institute at their
headquarters in SoHo. There I took lessons from every NYC studio I could afford. I had the
opportunity to research, write, illustrate and model for teacher training manuals. I learned
business skills from the founder and CEO of Physicalmind, Joan Breibart. This experience was
important in my development as a professional, yet I missed the studio environment and
teaching clients.

In 2005 I moved back to Ohio to help launch a new state of the art Pilates studio. I worked and
developed my skill set there for the passed 8 years which brings me to now. In the 13th year of
this fantastic career I find myself at an amazing place in Southern California called Fitness
Quest 10. Here is a fresh, new opportunity to pursue this fitness journey with many talented,
like-minded professionals and an incredibly inspiring leader, T.D. Lets see where it goes!

“To achieve the highest accomplishments within the scope of our capabilities in all walks of life we must constantly strive to acquire strong, healthy bodies and develop our minds to the limits of our ability.” -Joseph Pilates

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