How did Mary discover Joe Pilates?

young photo of Mary Bowen

Mary performing as Cleo in “The Most Happy Fella” shortly before meeting Joe and Clara.

Mary: “In 1959 I saw an article in a newspaper. There was this man standing with his bare barrel of a chest, bare legs, swimming trunks and a white mane of hair. Joe was an intriguing sight – a human lion! Who was this man?

In the short article he said “I base my method on the baby and the cat!” I had never had a baby or a cat, but the sentence struck me. I did have a bad back. I took it upon myself to find Joseph Pilates! I was 29. Joe was 76. That was the beginning of a life “root.”

My back improved after only two lessons with Joe. Since walking into Joe and Clara’s studio fifty-eight years ago, I have taken one to two lessons every week for 56 years beginning with six and a half years, twice a week with Joe and Clara. After Joe’s death seven years consecutively with Bob Seed, Romana Krysanowska. Kathy Grant, Bruce King, Jean Claude West (who learned Pilates in MA at my studio in Northampton) and then from 1995 for twenty years until she relocated in Toronto in 2015 with Christine Wright. The teacher is always the student. That ensures freshness. I am still coming into my body at 87.

Mary Bowen meeting Joe Pilates

(Video 6:04) Mary discusses how she first met Joe Pilates and Clara in New York City in 1959.

Mary spoke at memorial ceremony for Joe Pilates at Ferncliff Mausoleum in Hartsdale, New York

Historic Video

This video, outstanding in letting us know Joe and Clara, is made up of films taken of Joe and Clara themselves and clients between the years 1932-1945. Reels and reels of these vintage films were given to Mary Bowen at the opening of her larger studio YOUR OWN GYM in 1981 in Northampton, MA. Ten years later Mary studied all the reels of footage choosing out the best examples for compiling this Historical Pilates DVD on Joe, Clara, clients and friends, 1932-45. During this time period Joe was in his prime, 49-62. This video remains a Pilates historical treasure.

historic video
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Joe Pilates and Clara

Joe Pilates and Clara

Learn about the ultimate mind body connection - “Pilates Plus Psyche"

“Mary is the most senior Pilates Elder and Master Teacher who knew and studied with Joseph Pilates and Clara”