Inspiring Life from the Core

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An Homage to Helen Melon

1970 Celebration with Helen

written by Carol Crincoli, Pure Pilates Director

The month of May is upon us.  I think about my mother a lot and with Mother’s day approaching, I thought it was the perfect time to share Helen with you and the lessons I’ve learned from her.

My mother, Helen, or “Helen Melon” as my sister Jo Ann and I would call her, passed away many years ago. As adults, we were good friends and she was very fond of my husband, Rico. I have beautiful memories that are vivid and so specific, it’s like she is still here with me. In recent years I came to realize that the relationship my mother and I cultivated has helped me to grow and prosper as a strong woman, business owner and wife.

Before closing my physical studio at the end of 2020, I would occasionally “bring” my mother to work. I still choose to bring her lots of places by wearing her wedding band on my right finger.  I find great value in having tangible reminders to support me. These items can simply bring comfort. Maybe it’s a certain ceramic mug you drink your morning coffee from or the ratty sweater worn throughout Covid quarantine. But the wedding ring is more than that. It is an “anchoring” item. It helps me find my sense of center and keeps me grounded. I’ve been using this technique for so long, that the ring doesn’t need to be physically attached to me anymore. I just touch my thumb to my ring finger, a habit that I have absorbed into my being and it does the job. Anchoring items don’t need to be physical or tangible.  Finding a scent, song or word can be just as powerful and effective.

My mother loved music and enjoyed dancing with my father. My father would play something from his CD collection, maybe Eddy Arnold or Patti Page and a spark would appear.  They might sing to each other, as they sat in what I called the “his and “her” recliners or I would find them dancing in the living room. So in love and so joyful. Being present in the moment.

Singing allows me to be present. The act of taking in breath, exhaling out with sound is meditative for me. I like to stand when I sing because feeling my feet on the floor not only assists my body when creating sound, but physically grounds me. Anchors me.

Pilates can also be meditative and can ground us physically and mentally. I immediately think about Footwork on the Reformer. The feeling of my feet, pressing into the bar and the flow of my breath as the carriage cradles my body. It feels as if I am rocking a baby, as I glide back and forth. Maybe that’s how Helen felt when she was dancing with my dad.

My mom has taught me many things, but I guess the most significant lesson that I’ve learn is:

When I am grounded, I am capable of living in the moment and being present.

So what helps you to stay grounded? Is it a ring, a song, words? Identify it and cultivate it. Find your joy and take it with you wherever you go.  And as a Mother’s Day gift to Helen Melon, I will let her have the last words!

“Enjoy this year and the years to come.  Life is wonderful. See the good around you – Keep that glow in your eyes and the smile on your face.”  – Mommy

(a passage from a note written to me probably in the mid 1990’s.)

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Katie is a passionate mover who was brought to Pilates through dance. After a professional dance career, Katie discovered her love of teaching-connecting the mind and body, and working with students of all ages and levels. Her appreciation and understanding of everyone’s ever changing body and needs only became greater as her own body went through pre and post natal stages, an experience which has helped Katie navigate problem solving, and bring a freshness to each session making them feel personal and specific to each body’s needs. Her sessions are full of flow and aim to challenge clients with a sense of comfort, and often a little humor, all of which she has brought to Pure Pilates since 2016. Katie thinks the gift of movement and self care is one of the best things one can do for overall wellness, and is thrilled to seek and fulfill milestones and goals with each of her clients. When she’s not at the studio, Katie is taking care of her three little humans- another job that also makes her smile, laugh, and challenges her on the daily.
Eighteen years ago I discovered my love for Pilates. After having my two children, I felt the need to move my body again. At the time I was living in North Carolina, and worked through many different exercise and training programs. I discovered Pilates, and instantly knew it was right for me. Forteen years later, and a move to New Jersey, I decided to share my love of Pilates with other people looking for some way to move their bodies. Pilates has also been a way for me to keep me strong and flexible to continue many activities. My family loves to be active, and I often find when we are all together (mostly vacations) our days consist of activity and movement such as hiking, kayaking, or skiing(more on this later). As I have gotten older I find it even more imperative now that I keep my body strong. Recently I was in a skiing accident that left me with many knee injuries and ultimately having to go into surgery. I found being able to do light Pilates a few weeks after surgery kept me sane and ultimately helped with recovery time. Pilates has not only helped me be able to keep up with my children, but has also provided me with a body that is able to function at peak performance. My approach to Pilates can be described in one, simple word: movement. Movement can help you, both physically and mentally. Movement, and Pilates, is ultimately about self care. Having a built in time to focus on your body and movement can help relieve yourself of feeling tired, anxious, and stressed. Movement awakens you. Even after one session you can leave feeling calmer and energized.
Enjoyment of life through movement is a vital part of Kathy’s philosophy. When not in the studio she leads an active lifestyle trail running, cycling, skiing and hiking. She also loves connecting with people while traveling with family and friends. One of her favorite cycling trips was riding along the coast of northern California. Learning new things and sharing knowledge is also important to Kathy. She has a passion for food, likes to cook for her family and experiment with new recipes. She is currently trying to achieve the perfect pizza. She is also an avid reader of historical fiction and biographies. Her latest endeavor is learning to play golf.
Carol M. Crincoli, owner Pure Pilates studio, has been in the fitness industry since 1990, with experience in corporate and commercial fitness, recreational programming and teaching as an adjunct professor. She began practicing Pilates in 2003 and received Pilates training through the PhysicalMind Institute in New York, NY. She holds certifications from the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) and the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as a group exercise instructor, personal trainer and lifestyle and weight management consultant. She was also accepted into the IDEA-PFT Recognition System as an Elite Level Personal Fitness Trainer. She is the only trainer in the NY-metro area for Trent McEntire’s Arcus equipment. Carol graduated from the Boston Conservatory of Music with a BFA in musical theater and a minor in dance. Opening Pure Pilates is the culmination of a lifetime dream, and her mission to "inspire life from the core" is a holistic approach to health and wellness—from exercise and nutrition, to stress management and self-care. Carol is also the inventor of 8th Avenue Rail, an organizing solution for Tower springs.