For any of us, there are hopefully not too many individuals we can credit with saving our lives. It is no exaggeration that I can credit Jeannie Carpentier of Mind Your Body Pilates Studio with saving mine.
I came to Jeannie’s studio for her Stott Pilates training in the Spring of 2010 in a crisis of physical pain and dysfunction resulting from a multiplicity of cervical spine issues which left me, at my worst, unable to open a door, put a shirt on, hold a coffee cup – things we tend to take for granted. As someone who had been, up until that time, a professional rider and actor, my reliance on my physical integrity, capability and athleticism was paramount not only to my professional life and livelihood, but to my core identity and sense of self-worth. The several orthopedic and neurosurgeons that I had seen left me with a litany of things I could no longer do, including riding, for fear of worsening symptoms and the likelihood of a catastrophic neck injury. They offered no plan for improvement or rehabilitation. For the first time in my life, not only was I physically unable to do the simplest of daily tasks, I was afraid of getting hurt or worse. Luckily, Jeannie was there to put the pieces back together.
Not every teacher would have been up to the task or would have had the breadth of knowledge and understanding to deal with my particular situation. Jeannie is not just a Pilates instructor, she is a Master at her craft. With her in-depth knowledge of anatomy, injury and rehabilitation, she devised a program for me that, in just a few months, not only returned me to complete functionality but resulted in my being fitter, leaner, and truly stronger than I had ever been. I thought I had a pretty evolved sense of self- awareness, but Jeannie knew my body and its particular needs, intricacies and pit-falls far better than I; her innate ability to truly see a person, to somehow see into a person, and to modify and adjust on a highly individualized basis is a rare capability and a true gift – the hallmark of the most exceptional of teachers. I experienced it first hand and observed it with each of her students. This speaks not only to her superior training but to her intuitive intelligence, her constant curiosity, her commitment to excellence and her dedication to each and every one of us lucky enough to fall within her grasp. In my case, Jeannie restored my health and well-being, by association my identity and self-worth, and armed me with the tools and principles and a methodology to maintain my well-being and remain on a road, not only of recovery, but of bigger and brighter challenges, capabilities and adventures. In that way, it is again with the deepest of conviction that I can say and know that Jeannie saved me.
If there are moments of divine intervention in a person’s life, for me, the moment I walked into Jeannie’s studio was one of them. We never know where our guardian angels come from, but we must strive to recognize them when they do appear. Jeannie, this is my testament to you. I am and always will be grateful, beyond the words I have, for the change you effectuated in my life, for being an extraordinary teacher, mentor and truest friend, and for providing for me an example of the class and grace and integrity and poise that I hope to aim for myself.
For you readers, this testimonial may sound hyperbolic and precious even, but when a person has experienced greatness, the natural desire is to share it with others. If you have the opportunity to train with Jeannie, to do this work, you must do it. You will achieve great things, and it will enhance and enrich your life in a powerful multitude of ways.