There are certain spaces in this city that exude bright light, even on the dreariest of days; MuseMovement
, located in an old classroom at Artscape Youngplace (180 Shaw Street), is definitely one of those places.
Founder Keri O’Meara believes that the energy, in part, is perhaps the lingering spirit who once taught in the 100-year-old Shaw Street School. “This space used to be a classroom. I think that there must have been a really caring and compassionate teacher that taught in here, who sprinkled the place with kindness,” she says. We believe, however, that is O’Meara who brings the magic to the studio.
With her unguarded and sincere nature, O’Meara sets the tone that makes it easy for everyone who walks through the door to show up exactly how they are (although we like the idea that there is a friendly ghost kicking around too). Perhaps both are responsible—we’ll never truly know—but what is certain is that the room holds magic.
This past weekend, MuseMovement celebrated its 5th anniversary. Any local business owner (in this ridiculously expensive city) will know how significant this milestone is, but beyond the brass tacks of the biz, O’Meara has grown a beautiful community that extends well beyond her studio walls.
Gutsy, and always leading with her heart, we caught up with O’Meara to find out how the Muse story began, and the biggest lessons she’s learned since then.
What made you want to open MUSEMovement? Why focus on pilates?
Honestly it was just something I decided I had to do and when I get an idea in my brain its full throttle ahead. I’m not good at working for other people. I had a vision and I couldn’t turn the other cheek. I’m a Pilates teacher before I’m a business owner, so my business had to be doing something I love, and that I felt passionately could help other people.
What has pilates done for you? What have you witnessed it do for others?
Pilates changed my relationship to my body and that changed how I experience the world! I witness it do this for others all the time. It helps create strength, which in turn helps create confidence in every aspect of ones life. I’ve been running Teacher Trainings for the last 2.5 years and seeing these trainees get really excited about how they can help people move better and be a part of another person’s journey has been a true gift. Maybe it’s sounds precious or cheesy but fuck it—it’s how I feel, and I’ve witnessed it countless times, with my own heart.
For the newbie, who’s a little intimidated, what’s your advice?
Moving one’s body shouldn’t be an intimidating task, but I understand there are a myriad of reasons why it can be. You’ve got to find the teachers and the community that make you feel the most at home! From there— like with everything in life—just please be kind to yourself. You don’t travel to a new country and expect to land knowing how to conjugate every verb perfectly! Pilates is a language that takes time to learn. Just try to sit back and enjoy how good it makes you feel in the meantime, Who gives a shit what it looks like? It’s all for you.
Looking back on the past five years, what would you say are your three greatest lessons learned?
- Surround yourself with good people. It may take a while to get there but make it your priority! Don’t be afraid to part ways with people that aren’t right for your business (its better for everyone).
- Don’t give up doing the things you love outside of work. Outside passions make you a better business owner.
- It”s important to remember why you do what you do, and why you love it. Remind yourself of that shit when you feel overwhelmed.
- Integrity is key. (Oh sorry, that’s 4.)
MuseMovement is a place to strengthen your core, but the connection—between students, staff, as well as the rest of the art-minded organizations that line the hallways—runs much deeper. There is also something that happens when you take in a long eastern view of the city when stretching, it has a calming affect on a busy mind, allowing things to gently shift into perspective.
A visit to Muse is definitely a mind + body experience. For those of you who haven’t been, check out the full offering of classes here, and let us know if you notice the magic feeling in the space too.