THE CALMA STORY
Before moving to France and creating CALMAstudio, I had studied and given Pilates classes in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, for over a decade to both men and women, without thinking too much about words and concepts. My work was a fusion of Pilates exercises and therapeutic body awareness with a hint of dance expression, all being a reflection of my studies. At the same time, there was always joy and pleasure, so inherent in the brazilian culture, mine and that of my students exercising with fun. Trully unique, the tropical culture, lifestyle and corporal attitudes marked my life, my body and my work forever.
Still in Rio, I become a doula and expanded my professional path by creating special pregnancy classes. And when I became a mother, working on myself, I developed birth preparation and postpartum classes. Facing my own new roles and responsabilities and working with my female students, I got very much interested and involved in the complexity of the woman inside me and all women around me. I felt the desire to support myself and others in our searches for being the woman and the mother we wanted to be. I held mothers’ meetings and exchanged wisdom and experience reconnecting with womanhood in general.
The Cyclic Nature
Getting to intimately know my female students and myself, I have become more aware of our cyclic patterns. I noticed that my classes were different depending on my own cycle and energy levels. Working with the same women over the course of many years, I could also perceive the changes in their mood and energy. Some always missed a class during their periods. Others disappeared even before, dealing with an overall low energy and tension, and then showed up fresh to restart again. As if there was an unconscious belief that to do a class and to benefit from it we should always be feeling well and ready. While in fact, we all know, the opposite is often true: there are times we don’t feel that well and ready and that’s when our bodies, and minds, need the caring practice most.
Putting the Puzzles Together
After moving to France and becoming a second time mother, I took the opportunity and time to redefine my work. I found myself in search for a different, woman-centered approach that would embrace and enhance the cyclic nature and support women in every phase of their lives. I decided to narrow down my clientele to women only. And thinking about the needs of a contemporary woman, I asked myself the very question that most women may pose themselves:
How can we keep fit and healthy, feel good and attractive, face diverse professional and family roles with more ease, age with dignity and preserve our feminine nature?
CALMA Concept Creation
In portuguese calma stands for calm down, calmness, tranquility and serenity. I realised this word embodies my search and my ideas – an antidotum to the pressures of the modern lifestyle. We need calma to give a break to our stressful and overcharged lives and we equally need calma to approach our body work respecting our cyclic nature and preserving our femininity.
CALMAstudio was born.
Therefore, CALMA is a multi-level and holistic approach, where every woman can choose to focus on her personal objectives and get invited to go deeper. It calls for dropping automatic repetition and male patterns of competing with ourselves and others. It calls for less rigidity but more flexibility to respect our non-linear feminine nature. It calls for self-love and acceptance to face the society pressures for perfection. And it invites joy, pleasure and laughter to embrace our non-logical, non-rational side and to live with more fun.
CALMA Cycles and Phases
Whether we admit it or not, woman’s life is marked by the presence of a monthly cycle or its absence. Defining classes for every woman, I made a division into MOONS, MAMA and MATURE to respect our cycles and phases. Without losing the principles of the Pilates method, I carefully adapted them to fit the feminine nature. After all, Mr Joseph Pilates was a man and little did he think about changing hormones, menstruation, PMS, pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and menopause.
MOONS reflect my study of the the woman’s cycle and the play of hormones so beautifully reflected by the moon phases. They are an invitation to workout in tune with the cycle: to benefit most from each phase and to exercise best for each phase.
MAMA classes reflect my experience as a mother, doula and pre and post natal Pilates teacher. Pregnancy classes prepare the changing body of the mother for a growing body of the baby. Birth classes open up the possibility of experiencing a natural and empowering birth. Postpartum classes strip off the taboos and give support to body and mind reconnection.
MATURE classes reflect my experience of work with aging women and my own preparation for this inevitable phase. They respect, rather than reject, the change and invite the inner discovery of the Wise Woman.
My search for a woman’s centered approach to workout seemed accomplished : CALMA MOONS, CALMA MAMA and CALMA MATURE embody my key concepts and my perception of a feminine workout.