I have said this many times and I will say it again. I do believe as a Pilates teacher I am always learning just as much from my clients as they are learning for me. This couldn’t be more true of Serena. Serena is turning 80 this year and I really wanted to get her something for her birthday because she holds a very special place in my heart. Serena has been coming to see me for Pilates for almost 8 years and is so dedicated to her Pilates practice. But what do you get the woman who pretty much has anything that she wants and really doesn’t need a whole lot?
One of the things I know about Serena is that instead of getting birthday presents, one of her favorite things is to give someone else a gift in honor of her birthday. So I thought my gift this year to Serena would be sharing with you some of the many things I’ve learned from her over the years!
Here are just a few of my favorite things I’ve learned from Serena:
- Go with the flow Can you imagine walking in to take a private Pilates session for your first time at a new studio, with a new instructor and having some stranger say to you, “Do you mind if I watch this session and take some pictures for the local newspaper?” The first session makes people pretty nervous usually and as a studio owner and teacher I know this and would never let this happen to any client on their first day at the studio! But that is exactly what happened the very first time I met Serena. I had just relocated to a new space and she came in for her complimentary first session.
As we were getting started, a newspaper reporter who was doing an article on the studio moving locations popped in and asked me (in front of her) if he could take pictures during the session. She immediately said sure I don’t mind! She was so sweet about the whole situation and even though she had just met me was more than happy to help me and my business out by being in the pictures.
It didn’t take me long to realize that Serena was definitely one of those people who would have a lot of impact on my life. She is so good at just going with the flow and making the best of things. It’s definitely made an impression on me to encourage me to do the same.
- Keep Moving. Like most people as they age, Serena has had a variety of things she’s had to deal with when it comes to her health. Yet never since I’ve met her has she questioned if she was going to continue with her Pilates practice.
If she has an ache or pain, an illness or even something like getting her hip replaced…her attitude has always been one of resting if she needed to and doing what she could when she had a chance. So many people quit moving altogether when they experience a health distraction and are nervous to get back exercise. I really believe that continuing to practice Pilates and her dedication to keep moving has kept her so active and healthy over the years.
- Adding little bits of dedicated movement into your life will make a big difference. I don’t ever worry too much about Serena losing strength and mobility if she hasn’t been to the studio due to travel or life. I know how great she is about adding small bits of exercise and movement time into her life.
Serena makes a habit of doing a variety of stretches and movements in her bed each morning before she gets up! She also does things like practice balancing on one leg when she puts something into the microwave! Her dedication to keep moving not just at the Pilates studio but also in her daily life is such a great example of how to age strong and gracefully that we all should follow!
- Mindset is everything. Most recently, I remember one day when I was asking about how her day had been. Serena mentioned how she got a lot of great walking in when she was walking the halls of the hospital as she helped her husband to various doctors appointments! She does such a great job of taking situations many of us would complain about and finding a positive in them.
- Give people genuine compliments. Whether it’s to me, one of our Rivercity Pilates staff or a client she meets in the lobby…Serena is so great about giving genuine compliments that leave the receiver feeling fabulous. It is always a reminder for me of how much a simple compliment can change someone’s mood so simply!
- Giving is better than receiving. Serena is always making a point to give others thoughtful things that are truly treasured by the receiver. It always reminds me of that tried and trued saying, “it’s the thought that counts” and reminds me that giving to others no matter what it is a such a great way to brighten someones day and show them you care.
- Self Care is not selfish. Since I’ve met her Serena has made a point to always make time for her Pilates sessions and regular massages. She really appreciates how these 2 things help to keep her healthy and happy and she knows that taking care of herself is needed so that she can be of service to others. She’s always great about asking me when I last had a massage or took time for myself, and it’s a great reminder of how important it is to take time for some self care.
- Men sweat, Women glisten. This one always makes me laugh and the conversation we had about it was so long ago that I don’t even remember exactly how it went…but I love the idea and will always remember Serena telling me this!