This month we are celebrating Monica Armour, one of our star clients who turns 80 on July 8. She and I sat down to chat a few weeks ago about her time at Body Harmonics, where she started and where she’s at. She and I have worked together for close to 14 years and when I think back to when we met, I’m stopped in my tracks. More than anything, her commitment to being the best version of herself is compelling. She continues to amaze me with how she gets younger each year!
A bit about Monica
As a professional (now retired) Diversity and Pluralism Consultant who has spent the past several years as a volunteer establishing, organizing and running several charitable foundations as well as working with chamber music musicians and ensembles in Toronto and abroad, Monica has spent a lot of time “in her head” engaged in intellectual “mind” work that also requires a great deal of emotional involvement and intelligence. She has never been athletic or fond of “organized” physical exercise. Her years of “restorative” and sustained Pilates sessions at Body Harmonics have taught her the pleasures and concretely demonstrated the physical benefits of systematically working the body as well as the mind – which just goes to prove that it is indeed possible to proverbially “teach an aging being new tricks.”
Here’s a transcript of our conversation…
Margot: Tell me about that initial stage when you first starting coming to Body Harmonics.
Monica: About 13 or 14 years ago I was finally recovering from a severe injury resulting in several years of years of multiple knee surgeries including several arthroscopic procedures and two total knee replacements, both of which had to be redone. I was working with a superb physio/athletic therapist who since then has also become an osteopath. She had gotten me walking again without crutches or a cane, but we agreed that I needed long term ongoing targeted and sustained rehabilitation, and a strengthening and flexibility regime that was specially tailored to my specific needs. She referred me to Margot McKinnon at Body Harmonics – and “the rest is history”.
Margot: Do you remember when you actually started coming to Body Harmonics?
Monica: I think it was in the year 2000 or thereabouts. I had been doing traditional resistance training with a trainer, which certainly helped with strengthening at the time, but it was not addressing issues of core strength, balance and flexibility and I was finding it increasingly exhausting, boring, and even tedious.
Margot: What has kept you coming to Body Harmonics and doing Pilates all this time?
Monica: Results, results, results….. a continuously evolving and especially tailored to my needs programme of three sessions per week, one with Margot McKinnon, one with Nancy McKinnon and one with Courtney Wood. I work hard at each session, however I leave after each hour feeling renewed, energized and yet relaxed – states which may sound contradictory but, as a result of my Pilates sessions with these women, are definitely compatible.
Margot: If you were asked “what is the best thing about Pilates”, what would you say?
Monica: There is no one “best” thing. At Body Harmonics, the instructors are extremely well trained and excellent trainers as well as interesting and truly good people. The “culture” and atmosphere in the studio is totally professional, yet warmly personal, positive and motivating. The physical environment of the studio is sparkling clean, aesthetically pleasing, beautifully designed and maintained and the huge variety of equipment extremely interesting and fun to work with. Above all, the ongoing gains of good health and overall well being that I enjoy, in no small part due to my regular sessions at Body Harmonics, altogether constitute the many “best things” about Pilates for me.
Margot: How do you think you would feel if you weren’t doing Pilates regularly?
Monica: Not very well. I find that the nature of the workouts in some ways achieve some of the results of a great workout combined with a good psychic massage, the later of which is also a result of the physical workout of my body. The neurological and psychological effects of a “restorative” Pilates session are profoundly deep and positive as well as producing the rewarding physical effects on the material body.
Margot: If someone asked you why they should consider doing Pilates at Body Harmonics, what would you say?
Monica: I have suggested to many of my friends that they go to Body Harmonics and those who have done so have become loyal adherents to this studio and its practices. The instructors are professional through and through, client service at every level (administrative as well as instructive) is first class. The studio is immaculate and an aesthetically pleasing place to be. This is a place of extremely positive “life-long learning” both for clients as well as the BODY
HARMONICS staff in every capacity.
I want to sign off by saying a huge thank you to you Monica. It is so touching to read your heartfelt words and think back on our odyssey together. You embody what I hope for everyone who comes to Body Harmonics – finding a place where you can come into your best self, on your terms, in your own time. And, enjoy it. I’ve never told you, but I often get a tear in my eye as I watch you walk away each week… no canes, a spring in your step and head held high not watching where your feet are… because you can.
As a leading Pilates & Movement teacher, presenter and international trainer, Margot McKinnon, M.Ed., is known for her passion in teaching movement as well as her desire to share her knowledge with students at every stage of development. Margot is Body Harmonics' Founder and Director of Education. She is also Co-Creator of Body Harmonics Shoptalk.
"I love being witness to the building process of integrated strength, agility and power in physical ways and how this process affects mental and emotional wellbeing. 'Movement heals' is one of my favourite quotes and starting out, I thought the words sounded smart. Today I am awed by their profundity."