Inside the Pilates Studio: Kathryn Ross Nash

Interview with Kathryn Ross Nash

Welcome to the first installation of Inside the Pilates Studio. I am excited to bring to you a small window into the hearts and minds of perhaps some of your favorite – well at least my favorite – Pilates Superstars. Stars! They’re just like us!

For a short interview I will seek out those in the Pilates world whose work, presence and mojo speaks to me and inspires me in my own journey with this amazing exercise system. Even for those individuals that I know rather well, there is still something about them that makes me want to know more. More about their POV on the Pilates Method, their business, their life and how they present themselves, their essence and ultimately their humanity.

James Lipton, host of the fabulous television show Inside the Actors’ Studio and former student of Joe Pilates (I know, right?) has a series of signature questions. Jimmy, If you are reading this, please email me!

According to 

”Fans of Inside the Actor’s Studio are familiar with James Lipton’s list of questions, which he poses to each of his guests at the end of an interview. Lipton always gives credit for this list to French talk show host Bernard Pivot, who hosted Apostrophes from 1975–1990 and Bouillon de Culture from 1990–2001; he often mentions that the list originally came from French novelist Marcel Proust (1871–1922). Proust did not actually create the questionnaire that frequently has his name attached, though he did famously answer two versions of it (once at age 13, and a second time at age 20), and thereby gave the lists a certain notoriety. Their original author is unknown.” 

Each Inside the Pilates Studio interview will include ten questions, in the style of Lipton’s and tweaked towards Pilates. I will also include a short bit about said Superstar and/or what enticed me to seek the interview.

So try to imagine the blue 5×7 index cards if you can…

Inside the Pilates Studio: Kathryn Ross-Nash

I first met Kathryn Ross-Nash in 2007. The workshop was on the Wunda Chair. Initially I became a fan though Romana’s first series of videos. Although I consider myself to be a reasonably flexible person, we all have the experience of the exercises through the filter of our own body. Watching Kathi’s Pilates workout enabled me to expand my horizons, shall we say…and of course the grass is always greener…

”Wow – my arms can end up over there??” and “Oh…that’s what I am trying to do…” 

…Sigh…but back to that wunda chair workshop. 

Kathi was speaking about the use of touch as a teacher, which led us to a discussion about our need to feel touch as humans – it is communicative, empowering, reassuring, necessary. And humanity kinda always moves me – so now I am misty-eyed and trying to do the Mountain Climb, the Pull Up or something equally not suited to weeping…and Kathi’s prancing about in a sassy red outfit…I was so deeply in Like at that moment…

I love teachers that simply teach their own particular subject, yet at the same time speak volumes about the big picture: Life and what it means to be human. 

Well now I’ve said it. There’s no taking it back. Kathi Ross Nash is a human. Sorry to let that one out of the bag.

Romana says it all in a video teaching Kathi and Jerome on the Cadillac. Romana evaluates Kathi, while she does the standing stretches, to the side, one leg up on the canopy of the Cadillac – no fuzzies required, I might add – and her shin nearly in danger of pressing against her ear. “Stretch your leg a little, honey.” 

Okay, enough hype…here we go!

Kathi Ross-Nash: I will try to behave…

1. What is your favorite Pilates exercise and why?

KRN: Gosh! I have to pick. It actually changes as I change. Right now it is the High Bridge. You need an equal balance of control, stretch and strength to achieve the correct position. Post-illness I had lost my ability to do the High Bridge. So it is a shining example of how the method is amazing. By doing my Pilates workout – not modifying or changing the work – I was able to regain all the components needed to find this delicious exercise again.

2. What exercise is your least favorite? Pick only one.

KRN: I do not have one. There are ones I am horrible at, but they make me work harder.

3. What turns you on creatively, mentally or physically about the Pilates method?

KRN: It is a complete method. If we stopped adding and changing it, we would appreciate it for its completeness. Every exercise is interwoven and tied together like a beautiful tapestry of exercise. When I found The Red Thread(tm) of the work, Joe’s genius became so apparent. As instructors we need to trust in the work – his work – and let the exercises do their magic.

4. What is your idea of earthly happiness?

KRN: Wow. For everyone’s today to be better than yesterday and for tomorrow to be better than today. For infinity.

5. What to your mind would be the greatest misfortune?

KRN: To lose hope.

6. What is your favorite Pilates word?

KRN: Lengthen.

7. What is your least favorite Pilates word?

KRN: Core.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

KRN: (laughing) A veterinarian. 

9. If Heaven exists, and by some chance when you arrive at the pearly gates Joseph Pilates is also there, what would you like to hear him say to you?

KRN: “Would you like some Schnapps?” Just kidding. That I knew the work and spread the word.

10. What did you learn today?

KRN: That there is always more to grow. No matter how much you have improved today. Tomorrow there is more

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Andrea Maida

Andrea Maida

A native of Pittsburgh, Andrea began her study of the Pilates method in 2000. She holds two comprehensive certifications from Romana’s Pilates in New York and Excel Movement Studios in Washington, DC.  Andrea continues to study with numerous world-class instructors including Romana Kryzanowska, Jay Grimes, Sari Mejia-Santo, Junghee Kallander, Cynthia Lochard, and Kathryn Ross-Nash whenever possible. Andrea was privileged to be in the inaugural class of The Work at Vintage Pilates under the direction of Jay Grimes, 1st Generation Master Teacher and student of Joseph Pilates.

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