Jay Grimes has been my go-to Pilates education crush for over a decade now. Succinct, no-nonsense and funny (always a plus), a workshop or class with Jay is replete with a Pilates gem or two (or eight).
I was a green instructor when I first met Jay – at that point I knew who Romana was, but that was about it. I worked at a studio that hosted several workshops with Jay and the instructors all took private lessons with him. A few first impressions stand out vividly even now.
1. His calm and warm demeanor.
He had sweet little names for the exercises with which I was clearly killing myself. While sweating bullets doing the Teaser on the Wunda Chair: “It’s just rock-a-bye baby…” he cooed, making a gentle teeter-totter gesture with his hands.
2. An arresting moment. Feeling fabulous in the midst of a long teaching day.
I’d had a lesson with Jay a few hours earlier and my back felt so fricking fabulous it was distracting. My back never felt bad, but this was different. I tried to remember what had gone on in my lesson to achieve such Pilates nirvana…what did he say?
He really didn’t say much. Every once in a while he would insist on 1 or 2 things, and poke, but that was kind of it.
3. Every workshop when Jay tells you not to talk so much.
Jay counsels us to shut up when teaching the Footwork. Oh, he was speaking directly to me, there is no question. He knows.
I need to keep coming to these workshops until I learn how to keep quiet (she says, still attending workshops…).
4. A knitting connection
You may know me as a Pilates nerd extraordinaire, but I should also confess that I am a huge knitting nerd as well. Shocker!
During the lunch break of Jay’s workshop I was wearing a small knitted purse I had made. It was multi-colored and fancy, a project from a knitting class about knitted braids and color patterns…whoa, there I go…
“Did you get your bag in Peru?” Oh how I wish I could have said yes to that one…Jay was clearly envisioning the fantasy version of my life.
“Actually I made it.”
“Oh,” he said, “you knit.”
These words were like Cupid’s arrow through my heart!
He knows it’s knitting. He didn’t call it crochet. Or worse, sewing.
A guy I know is a big deal in the knitting world…I remembered at that moment that he had mentioned Pilates a few years before. Ron told me that Pilates was great stuff and he had a friend that was a big deal in the Pilates world and “maybe I had heard of him?”
Jay Grimes: I don’t know the official name, if it has one, but it is the exercise on the Tower that is sort of like standing semi-circles or the rolling in and out on the Cadillac.
2. What exercise is your least favorite? Pick only one.
JG: I really like them all, and can’t say any particular one is my least favorite.
3. What turns you on creatively, mentally or physically about the Pilates method?
JG: Seeing not only peoples bodies change, but their entire lives. It’s extraordinary how many people live with stress, tension, and actual pain, not realizing that they can change it. The challenge of making them understand, and then helping them to make the changes is definitely a turn-on. Joe was right when he said “return to life”.
4. What is your idea of earthly happiness?
JG: Good health, good friends, good wine and good weather.
5. What to your mind would be the greatest misfortune?
JG: To be physically incapacitated.
6. What is your favorite Pilates word?
7. What is your least favorite Pilates word?
JG: There are so many – can I have more than one? With the certification programs came a whole new language, and I hate most of it: powerhouse, scoop, ugh! But if I have to choose just one word I think it would be “Pilates stance.”
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
JG: I’ve been very lucky to have had a long career as a dancer, which was wonderful, and to now have Pilates as a career. At my age it’s hard to imagine starting a new profession – but I’ve always enjoyed gardening.
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?
JG: You did a good job.
10. What did you learn today?
JG: That I actually can get things done early in the morning! (But it’s not easy.)
Thank you Jay, for your wonderful support and guidance on the endless and fabulous journey that is the Pilates Method.