Body Harmonics has been a leader in Pilates, movement and health since it was founded by Margot McKinnon 20 years ago. On Friday, November 16, 2018, staff, clients and new friends came together to celebrate this amazing milestone at our Flagship location in Toronto. Whether you want to relive the event or get some creative ideas for an anniversary event of your own, please read on…

The path to wellbeing starts here

From the moment you stepped off the elevator, there were colourful balloons (in Body Harmonics colours, of course) to guide you down the hall. “We wanted everyone to feel welcome and uplifted as they entered our studio for our special event. Every day we help people commit to their health and wellbeing, and the balloons were a fun way to represent that path to wellbeing,” said Tiffany Babiak, Social Media Coordinator.

Along this path, a large mural was displayed in the hall. It was a project that staff had made the prior year and represented how they felt about Body Harmonics.

Hip, Hip Hooray! A give-away like no other

An enthusiastic team of Body Harmonics greeters welcomed you as you walked into the studio. Not only did they greet you with a smile, but also with a little gift—an enamel pelvis pin! The pins were designed and created by Erin Monaghan, Associate Director of the Body Harmonics Boutique. “I wanted everyone to walk away with a fitting memento of Body Harmonics’ 20th anniversary—something that was ‘hip’ to wear and would spur conversations about movement among friends.”

Ballot draw to generate excitement

Next you could enter a draw to win a $200 gift certificate towards any product or service at Body Harmonics. Janet Irvine was the lucky winner of this prize. Big congratulations to you, Janet!

Food & wine to keep everyone happy

Being a Friday afternoon and evening, you could indulge in a glass of wine and healthy, delicious hors d’oeuvres provided by Hearty Catering.

Interactive exhibits to inform and inspire

Perhaps where it got most interesting was with the nine interactive exhibits arranged throughout the studio. Our staff worked some real magic converting our group and private rooms into an exhibition-like atmosphere. In the words of Body Harmonics client, Barbara: “It was incredible. I was there in the morning and the studio had been completely transformed by the time I returned for the event.”

At each exhibit was a team of teachers and clinicians who shared the best of what they do. All of the exercises we do at Body Harmonics are steeped in science, so the anatomy, biomechanics, manual therapy and movement aspects for each exhibit really came alive.

Here’s what you were invited to learn at each exhibit:

About Body Harmonics: Learn about the history of Body Harmonics. Get an overview of the products and services we offer and share some amazing moments captured over the years through photos.

Explore your core: Core is a buzz word thrown around the fitness industry, but what does it really mean? At this exhibit, you can learn about the inner and outer muscles that build your core, try some exercises and see them come alive with a skeleton model.

Free your hips: Experience therapeutic Fascial Stretch techniques and targeted exercises designed to help you free your hips from excessive sitting. And if you really want to learn more about the hips, walk away with an anatomical colouring activity!

Improve your balance: Balance not only comes from a well-aligned body but also your nervous system. Our studio teachers and Bowen and Muscle Activation Techniques specialists will show you how the power of your brain and body can improve your balance quickly and easily.

Release your neck and shoulders: Whether you spend too much time on your cell phone or carry a heavy purse, you’ve probably experienced discomfort in your neck and shoulders. At this exhibit, you can learn a few exercises that can be done anywhere, even at your desk. Our Reiki specialist will also demonstrate how the power of calmness and energetic healing can make a huge impact in this area of the body.

Strengthen your feet: If you’ve been around Body Harmonics long enough, you know how much we love working with feet. You’re on them all day and even one foot exercise can have an impact on the entire body, right up to the neck and shoulders. While they are small compared to the rest of the body, they have a large concentration of bones and muscles. Muscles Activation Techniques will be used to demonstrate just how to strengthen each little muscle in the foot, and studio teachers will share how many of the Body Harmonics warm-up exercises really work.

Support your low back and SI joints: According to the National Neurological Disorders and Stroke Institute, “About 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetimes. It is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work days.” While it can take time to develop a healthy back, in most cases, the strategies are quite straight forward. Our team of teachers and studio Osteopath will share the best of how to support the low back and SI joints.

Try Pilates equipment: If you’d never been on it, this is your chance to give Pilates equipment a try. Each piece of equipment is unique and powerful. The spring resistance adds challenge and support that helps transform the body. Uses of equipment range from therapeutic to extremely athletic and everything in between. The possibilities really are endless.

Experience tongue analysis: Hosted by our Naturopathic Doctor, learn how this powerful Chinese medicine technique can be used to diagnose which area of the body to focus on in order to have the greatest positive impact on your health.

Body Harmonics Founder, Margot McKinnon, shared her memories and gratitude

Margot captured the attention of all attendees as she shared stories from the earliest days of Body Harmonics—from driving through a snow storm to find the best mats (before mats were readily available) to the respect and goodwill shown by clients who shared coat hangers during class change-over during the winter months.

Margot noted that there were two goals she had in mind when starting Body Harmonics:

“ … to feel comfortable and open to the curiosity factor that creates good movement—to feel good when you leave the studio and good in your every day, because movement shouldn’t feel like you’ve been hit by a truck!”

and

“… to feel like you’re growing. This means incorporating effective anatomy and biomechanics so that movement is structured and meaningful and accessible in every modality and at every level. This makes movement exciting and allows you to get beyond simply counting down and going through the motions of exercise.”

When she first found the amazing space in the historic Faema building (the old Ford building) on Dupont Street in Toronto, Margot was sold at the front door. She’d recently started offering classes to neurological clients and this was an accessible building that Wheel Trans could drive up to and allow people with walkers, wheel chairs and scooters to enter with ease. The Neurological programming is still running strong and the community is tight-knit. They come for classes regularly, multiple times per week, then go to the Faema Café on the main level to socialize after class. This really speaks volumes to the idea of creating comfort.

To end her speech, both Margot’s mother and father said a few kind words about how proud they were of their daughter’s accomplishment in building this amazing business. Both Margot’s mother and father do attend classes at Body Harmonics and really understand what a special place it really is.

If you’d like to hear Margot’s speech, check out the video on the Body Harmonics Facebook page.

Memories & fun to last a lifetime

Photo and video has an incredible way of capturing moments in time you want to remember. To add a little spice, we created a photo wall where you could take a photo of yourself in front of a Body Harmonics banner. Just like on the red carpet!

Attendees also shared our memories on social platforms with the tag: #20YearsStrong.

One of our long-term clients Dodi said “Pilates is the best medicine and Body Harmonics is THE only place to go … All the teachers are fantastic and they all care!”

Nothing says “fun” like Smarties

After participating and indulging in the festivities, you received one more treat on your way out the door. A beautiful box of Smarties—in Body Harmonics colours!

Wrapping up and moving forward

After the event, our entire staff and a few friends stayed to help tidy up. The studio was reassembled within an hour. And many stayed socializing late into the evening.

Judging from the spirited mood of the evening and all the wonderful feedback we received and continue to receive, 20 Years Strong was wonderful way to bring our community of clients and our team of talented staff together to say “thank you,” to learn, to mingle and to create a buzz for the next 20 years. Celebrating our 20 year milestone by sharing the best of what we do at Body Harmonics was indeed a resounding success.

It’s all about you

At Body Harmonics, we take the responsibility of helping the people who walk through our door get to a stronger, very, very seriously. Our clients trust us with their wellbeing and it’s such a privilege to serve them in a meaningful way each and every day.

If you were able to join in 20 Years Strong, thank you for attending and sharing in our celebration. And if you’ve never been to Body Harmonics, I invite you to attend one of our studios, clinics or teacher training. We’re happy to share our gifts with you and continue to serve you in the future.