From his humble beginnings 25 years ago with 3 students to 100 locations in 27 countries, BASI Pilates founder Rael Isacowitz has created an immensely successful Pilates business and community. I had the honor and privilege to speak with Mr. Isacowitz and talk to him about Pilates and his take on the Pilates industry.
Rael’s journey into Pilates began from a strong inquisitiveness and desire to find mind/body conditioning programs to enhance his athletic performance in wind surfacing, swimming and dance. After participating in Yoga, Tai Chi and dance, Rael naturally progressed to Pilates which intrigued Rael because of it’s complete mind/body connectedness and conditioning. Rael’s initial Pilates practice was in a non-traditional form of Pilates but his insatiable desire to learn and grow led him to the traditional Joseph Pilates method. Throughout years of study Rael found himself surrounded by masters of Pilates such as Kathy Grant, who became one of Rael’s very good friend and was one of the original Pilates instructors trained and certified by Joseph Pilates himself.
Years of study and practice helped Rael to hone and perfect his skills, giving him the knowledge, expertise and confidence needed to create BASI Pilates (Body Arts and Science International Pilates). Like other forms of Pilates, BASI is built on the foundation of the original Joseph Pilates method, but embraces evolution, modern science and technologies used to strengthen and condition the mind and body.
The BASI method is very comprehensive and is committed to providing instructors and participants with education at all levels. It is Rael’s belief that “education should be generously shared with any and everyone no matter what walk of life a person is from.” This belief is the force that drives Rael to remain a perpetual student continually sharing his knowledge with his expansive but tightly knit BASI family. Author of two books, a line of DVD’s and training manuals, some that are used as text books in various schools, Rael walks the walk of his belief in continual education.
Our interview then took a turn to talk about the future of Pilates. When asked “What is your take on the future of Pilates,” Rael enthusiastically reflected on how far the industry has come, from 5000 people practicing Pilates in the 1980’s and 90’s to the explosion of 10-12 million people practicing Pilates today. While the large spikes in Pilates practice may have been due to the novelty of Pilates, Rael believes the future of Pilates will continue with steady growth. He cites examples such as insurance companies and medical practitioners examining Pilates as a legitimate form of therapy, the large influx of baby boomers and the elderly beginning or continuing programming to maintain strength, stability due to changes in bodily needs and changes in society and the BASI method offers adaptive movement programs to meet these needs. Finally good teachers who are passionate, believe in what they do , compassionate about those that they serve, diligently practice their craft, and seek knowledge through education will contribute to the thriving growth and continuation of Pilates.
Rael Isacowitz is a strong example of all that he believes and this is evident in 25 years of success that will be celebrated June 8th and 9th at the BASI Learn from the Leaders Conference in Newport Beach, CA. The event promises to be something to remember for years to come. Highlights of the conference includes a 2 day pre-conference idea share forum, 5 top shelf presenters, including Rael himself, music by one of Israel’s top 3 performers (who happens to be Rael’s niece), and a showcase of Avalon Pilates exercise systems, designed by Rael.
The conference is open to all Pilates instructors who have a desire to increase their knowledge base, learn and grow. For more information about the conference and to register go to www.basipilates.com.