Tina has a small (big, compared to how she started) workout room (I suppose you’d call it) on the second floor of Shō. In this room she instructs Pilates. I am not sure if she does other things, but I assume that if she does, Pilates is the main attraction as that is what she chose to talk to me about. I am not knowledgeable in fitness by any stretch of the imagination, but from the way she explains it to me Pilates is a form of fitness training which involves developing strong and lean muscle rather than “bulking” – she told me to think of MMA fighters. It is also used, generally in conjunction with other forms of treatment such as visiting a chiropractor, to heal many injuries having to do with the bones and muscles. This is what Tina is focused on. She told me she has many clients with chronic injuries, and I think it is great that she is helping these people. It is, of course, a business, but that does not change the fact that she is helping people. Many others at Shō also go to her for Pilates instruction, and as far as I gather that is mostly for the fitness and movement side of it, not for the injury healing part of it. She did give me a chance to try out one of the machines. It was quite fun (she had a lot to say about my form…), although I don’t necessarily know what I was exercising and what benefits it had. Tina certainly knows, though. She was quite knowledgeable.
So that’s essentially what she does now. I am interested in how she came to teach Pilates, though, as fitness was not what she originally what she did. Originally, she was a chemist. One thing led to the next in life, and she stopped practicing for several years (mostly kids, she told me).She determined that she would either have to go back to school, as she had been out of the field for far longer than she expected, or she would have to find something new. She was taking fitness classes and was introduced to Pilates. She really liked this new thing and got some equipment for her home. Eventually it grew into a business, and after some time she ended up at Shō through one way or another. What is interesting about this story to me is that Tina kind of just stumbled upon this thing that she liked and went with it. When I asked her what she did before her Pilates classes, I expected that she would say instructing Pilates wasn’t necessarily what she envisioned doing, but I didn’t expect her to tell me she did something so radically different as chemistry. Although it doesn’t always happen, sometimes life just gives us something unexpected. If you go with it, you might be surprised. This seems to be a common thing thus far among the people at Shō that I’ve interviewed. I think this is good, as it challenges the idea that we must be one thing. This seems obvious when you say it aloud, but I think we too often forget we are complex creatures who can draw on one skill to improve another. I think I have said something similar in a previous reflection on one of my interviews, but from what I’ve seen this meshing of different skills and learning from one another is a fundamental part of Shō and what I think it can become.
Enough philosophy, though. As a person, Tina is kind, talkative, and interesting. As is the case for everyone at Shō, I don’t have one bad thing to say about her. I suppose I should say as well that if you have an injury which you think Pilates might help with or are just looking for some fitness classes, then maybe try Tina.