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Interview with Marcia Rosales of Canvas Pilates

I am privileged to know some pretty special people. Let's make that "many" pretty special people! It has elevated the quality of my life to be graced with the presence of these individuals who are each so passionate about what they do and actively engaged with life.

Recently, I decided that I would love to have the opportunity to interview these friends and acquaintances and to share with readers the individual passions, perspectives, ways of being and tools for life that each of these wonderful people possess.

My first interview is with Marcia Rosales of Canvas Pilates. As well as being a Pilates instructor, Marcia is also the mother of a very kind little boy. Here is our interview! I hope that you will find something in it for you.

Marcia Rosales, her young son and I together at my husband's art opening

Chwynyn Vaughan of Slow Botanicals (CV): Marcia, I remember when I first met you. I was at a French language Parent-Toddler group that I had been attending regularly with my then two-year-old daughter. You arrived with your son, just a small baby. You were so alive, absolutely glowing. In comparison, it was as if everyone else in the room was barely alive. I remember this vividly. They were monochromatic and there you were in full, dazzling colour. I don’t think that you were aware of this at all. It was not as if you were playing to a crowd, or placing yourself on stage. You were totally engaged in interaction with your son, you were immersed in the moment. I sat back in my (little person!) chair while my daughter played kitchen, and took immense pleasure in observing you in the motion of being together with your baby. I couldn’t keep myself from watching you. Maybe I was hoping that I could pick up what you had! I caught your attention and said something along the lines of: “this might sound weird to you but…and then I shared with you what I just wrote in this paragraph! I don’t think you were weirded out all! We started to talk and I found out that you had just moved to the same tiny town that I live in, just across the border from where we were. Of course, this spurred us to talk more and to meet up outside of class.

Since then, I have learned a lot more about you. At that time you were on maternity leave and planning to go back to a very good job. You began this job you after choosing to quit your corporate position at Lulemon, who had moved you out to Vancouver from NYC. In NYC you were a merchandise planner for Barney’s New York after holding multiple positions in the buying department at Bloomingdale’s. In my past, I studied fashion design. For anyone out there who is unfamiliar with the fashion industry, Marcia’s position at Barney's New York was an Extremely Coveted Job. Very impressive!

Marcia, you loved your team and co-workers at this position which you were preparing to return to, but I recall that it was obvious that your heart just wasn’t in it. I could see that you wanted nothing other than to pour your energy into your other work of Pilates Instructor. Pilates, your “other work” seemed to me to be your real work. Without taking a class with you, I could tell that you were an AMAZING Pilates instructor. Sometimes, one can just tell. And it turned out to be true. You are the real deal and your clients adore you! Your clients speak highly of you and about how much stronger and capable they are because of the training they do with you!

One of the qualities that I love about you is your ability to leave behind you what you no longer want and to take risks to create what your current self wants. Whether that is moving across the continent or quitting a career that no longer fits.

I wonder about your ability and motivation to take the kinds of risks you have taken. How would you describe the drive you felt to leave your secure corporate job behind in order to teach Pilates full time?

Marcia Rosales of Canvas Pilates (MR): In my 20s, a career in luxury retail was exciting, glamorous, and fun! However, when I turned 30, I knew there was something else I was supposed to do in my life. When I discovered Pilates, due to a recurring pain down my lower back and leg, I knew that Pilates was something that would become a part of my life. I was intrigued by this new form of exercise and felt a passion starting to brew when I started noticing shifts in the way my body felt overall. It opened my world to a new awareness and vitality I hadn’t felt before. The aches and pains that no other treatment was able to alleviate, except for Pilates, made me a believer in the method and planted the seed that Pilates was my purpose in life.

This passion for the method only got stronger as I learned and studied with Brett Howard, a Senior Educator of Classical Pilates. I soon realized that my purpose in life no longer aligned with my corporate career, and knew I eventually had to take the leap of faith to be in alignment with my purpose of helping others thrive in their bodies.

CV: You must have had fears about moving from part time teaching to starting your full-time business, Canvas Pilates. If you don’t mind sharing, what is the biggest fear that “kept you awake at night”? I think that most people are paralyzed by the greatest fear they have when it comes to actually following through on a passion. How did you talk yourself through your biggest fear? What has been your tactic or greatest personal tool for not becoming debilitated or derailed by this fear?

MR: My biggest fear was letting go of the freedom that financial stability allowed me, especially health benefits, etc. This was ironic to me, because even with that financial freedom I felt confined by the long hours of work and lack of freedom to explore other ways of living my life. It was definitely scary and still continues to be scary especially since my transition to full-time Pilates instruction was only two years ago. There were several things that helped alleviate some of my fears. First, I taught Pilates part-time (in the evenings and during the weekends) while keeping my corporate job. This allowed me to gain teaching experience and gave me the space and time to see if this was something I can see myself pursuing full time. This also allowed me to put some security money away in case I needed a buffer before I made the leap. However, the most important tool for me to get over the fear was to work on shifting my mind set from a place of fear and lack to a place of joy and opportunity. I did some deep work which included continuous check-ins to make sure that my work was aligned to my core values. Constant affirmations, gratitude, & celebrating small wins also keep fear at bay. Some questions I revisit are:

1) I have one life to live on this earth. Am I living in alignment with what brings me the most joy and fulfillment?

2) What truly matters to me?

3) How do I want to spend the majority of my time?

4) Am I growing to be my best self in what I do in my day to day?

CV: I love those questions that you ask yourself! Thanks for sharing those!

You and I live in a place with an interesting geography. Without going into much detail, I will explain to readers that our town is roughly five square miles and that we have not been able to come or go freely, but have instead been forced to stay put since March 20, 2020. There were around 1500 residents then and it is estimated that there are now 900 of us, though we are again growing. This has certainly created unique obstacles for you, yet clearly has not stopped you. Can you describe how it is that you are able to overcome these obstacles? Can you speak to how you have continued to intentionally grow your business and teach great virtual classes and provide one on one training during this challenging time?

MR: Since Covid, I’ve had to shift gears a bit and basically become a full time mom, with few hours available to work. Fortunately, I’ve been able to slowly grow my business organically by word of mouth. With the border being closed, there were so many people in the community that were happy to find out that I offered private sessions locally. With my husband working from home, it involves lots of planning, in order to juggle both our careers, work time and childcare, but we both know its temporary and are just super grateful that we can both still work. I continue to offer virtual classes for my students across the US and Canada. It’s been a life saver for me as it gave me the community I needed, especially when everyone was in lockdown.

CV: We have discussed before how fulfilled you feel when you are teaching a class and helping clients grow stronger, more agile and helping them to fulfill their own fitness and Pilates goals. Can you speak more to this? Can you attempt to describe the exhilaration you feel?

MR: I feel a sense of accomplishment when a client is able to move without any pain. However, a deeper fulfillment is felt when a client embodies the skills they’ve acquired from their practice helping them thrive in their body and feel a sense of empowerment to perform their daily activities with ease.

CV: I love seeing photos of you and your young son together on your Instagram feed. You seem to take him to the ocean almost every single day, where you walk together, explore, and swim on warm days. I must tell you that I really admire this routine that you have. I also see your little boy hanging out with you while you do Pilates. Recently, he seems to be exploring your Pilates machines and occasionally using them somewhat as they are meant to be! As someone who loves to stay health and to immerse yourself in physical movement and activity, how does it feel to be passing on to your son this love of activity? Including being on the go in a gorgeous, natural environment that is so different from the city scape you grew up in?

MR: Movement are nature are crucial parts of my life, so from his very early days I started sharing these with him. I had a year of maternity leave, so we’d always go for nature walks or I would just have him watch me as I practiced Pilates or yoga. I’m so amazed how he’s really taken interest in both! Funny first ultrasound when he was only a few weeks in my belly, the ultrasound showed his legs already kicking. The technician was in awe and said “You’re gonna have your hands full with this one.” She was surely right!

CV: If you could pass on one piece of advice or wisdom to another woman, another mother, who has a passion she feels compelled to follow and see come to life, what would that advice be?

MR: One of Marie Forleo’s book titles resonates loud with me... “Everything is figureoutable.”

CV: Thanks, Marcia, for being who you are, for sharing your glow and for the inspiration and gifts you give to everyone around you!

Marcia Rosales of Canvas Pilates

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