pilates on vacation


by Kerry De Vivo

In September 2013, I was at Drago’s Gym in NYC attending the reception following the funeral of the extraordinary Romana Krzyanowska (this is a good read). Romana was the protégé of Joseph Pilates and my mentor.  While at the reception, my very first Pilates teacher, Steve Giordano, asked me “What do you do Pilates for?”  I completely understood where he was coming from with this question. I responded, “To hike, go on walks, teach Pilates, dance, and for the enjoyment of it.”  You see, Joe Pilates wanted us to do his exercises so we could live our lives with “… spontaneous zest and pleasure” as he would say. Essentially his method was to support the activities we need and want to do in our daily lives or beyond.  This mindset of “why” one does Pilates was well-demonstrated in our client Dina as she was preparing for a great adventure to Antarctica.

February 2023, Dina was part of the Lindblad/National Geographic Tour that was a charter for the New York Yacht Club for a nearly two-week experience to Antarctica. Now, Dina has been on many a great adventure, but this was indeed unique. She was determined to stay consistent with her Pilates sessions in preparation. In fact, getting close to the date of departure, Dina was under the weather. Once well enough to work out, she Zoomed in for online sessions to keep her practice going. A+ for determination Dina!

Dina’s sessions prior to the expedition.

I asked Dina how Pilates helped her prepare for this expedition. She said,

“Core strength and stability are real keys to anything active and this expedition had moments where it was really needed. Climbing into a zodiac at the beach when the water is 34 deg Fahrenheit is one of those moments. You couldn’t walk into the water very far, you just had to sit down on the tube and swing your legs around 180 degrees into the boat. No stepping directly in for us short girls.”

OK, let’s pause and really take this in.
This is Dina doing Teaser on a zodiac in Antarctica!
This is the first Teaser we’ve ever seen with icebergs in the background!!!!
And after hearing from Dina about how challenging it was to just get IN the zodiac,
can you believe she’s actually doing this beautiful Teaser!!???
Talk about strength and balance and confidence!!!

Dina continues, “The ship also was 8 stories high so there was a fair amount of walking up and down steps on a heaving and rolling platform. I never tried the elevator but there was one.”

“The first day off the ship was on an island in the South Shetlands where the footing was rocky and uneven, and some places icy or snow covered. Most people used trekking poles for stability.

We climbed over a 600 ft hill to take in the view and then down again to the other side where we walked along a rocky beach with a bunch of seals.”

As Dina describes this expedition, can you just envision the Pilates exercises that support these activities? 

So, as life is full of surprises, Carolyn (an EPA client who had been in-studio but in more recent years had been Zooming with us) was also on this trip of a lifetime! Look at Carolyn and Dina doing Teaser with the most amazing background!!

Carolyn shares, “Like Dina, I credit Pilates with helping me to stay fit and maintain a strong core. The Antarctica trip put this to the test. Plus it was so fun to go to the end of the Earth and meet up with other Excel Pilates students!”

So, nope, you don’t have to be training to do an expedition to Antarctica to do Pilates. But…. 

if you’re going to do an expedition to Antarctica, you’re smart to train with Pilates!