Workshop Review – Blossom Leilani Crawford

I have taken a workshop with Blossom Leilani Crawford from Bridge Pilates before and was really excited to hear that Pilates Nation were hosting her for a further series. For those of you who may not know Blossom was Pilates Elder Kathy Grant’s teaching assistant at NYU for ten years and continued to assist her at various conventions after graduating NYU in 1997 until Kathy’s passing in 2010. Blossom was also certified by Romana Kryzanowska and so has a diverse range of influences on her work.

The workshop I attended was all about the Wunda Chair, in Joseph Pilates’s words: “Purposefully designed to pleasantly “correct” your present deplorable physical condition.” Those were different times!

Before the workshop kicked off Blossom shared with us some inspiring pictures of Kathy Grant beautifully performing Mr Pilates’s work probably in her late sixties to early seventies. There were also a very clear set of photos of Mr Pilates performing the Wunda Chair repertoire. Thus the scene was set with clear nods to the origin of the exercises we were about to explore.

We started off with some alignment work to prepare us for Pumping or Footwork on the chair. Kathy Grant was well known for her love of this piece of apparatus and the use of balls as props to aid proper alignment. With the addition of balls under our heels and a keen eye from Blossom tweaking my heel alignment a couple of millimetres chains of muscles suddenly switched on, began demanding my attention and we hadn’t even moved the damn pedal yet! It was very obvious which muscles have not been contributing to these full body exercises for me.

This was a theme we kept returning to in the workshop and the balls kept making a re-appearance, often shifting the focus of the exercise to bring attention to an arm or hand that was not reaching it’s full potential.

Some rules were playfully bent which allowed the exercises to get deeper into our bodies and establish more connections. The workshop was a great reminder of just how challenging Pilates can be when we give it our full attention in the hands of a skilled teacher. Sometimes there were squeaks being emitted that were not coming from the chair’s hinges! No matter how gruelling the work got the atmosphere was one of fun with smiles all round.

I always think the test of a workshop is what my clients think of their subsequent lessons. The feedback has been great with many lightbulb moments we have been able to take to other exercises and apparatus, widening of the eye and comments such as, “Oh my God, that was head to toe!”I’m also taking the lessons learned into every day life and movement. I can hear Blossom’s voice in my head adjusting my alignment and can feel my inner thighs no longer shirking their contribution as I walk and take the stairs.I’m looking forward to her next visit already.

Post Author: Jon Hawkins

Jon Hawkins is a registered osteopath and owner of Free Range Pilates a private North London studio near Hampstead, Belsize Park and Swiss Cottage. Jon certified through Polestar Pilates and as a self confessed "workshop junkie" has concentrated his further education with many second generation teachers to better understand Joseph Pilates's system through the various lineages. Jon has graduated from the Kathy Grant Heritage Training® with Cara Reeser and looks forward to exploring Kathy's work further with her lineage holders.