Less is More

Christley Brinkley.jpg

I’ve always associated “Less is more” with ageless super-model, Christie Brinkley. It was many (many) years ago, in a Vogue magazine layout featuring this timeless beauty, where I was first introduced to the motto: my 12-year -old self had found something to live by! And, with the exception of French Macarons, cheese, and (pre-crazy) Tom Cruise movies, I have been pretty good at living up to it.

I love the simple life. I like things basic, pure, and uncomplicated. It’s why ten years ago I gave up the easy life and moved from the big city to the country. It’s why I don’t wear make-up, or buy tons of clothes. It’s why I eat clean food and don’t go too crazy with mixing ingredients. It’s why I don’t take a political platform, have an agenda, or express my opinions on how people should live… except today. Today, I’m feeling the need to chime in, pass on a little wisdom.

The world is spinning fast: no faster than it always has, but lately we seem to be in a frenzy trying to keep up with it. We are spinning out of control. With more conveniences, we have less connection. We need to slow down. Pause. Reset. We need to start looking at each other instead of through one another. We need to remember that having it all doesn’t lead to happiness.

So if I may, I’d like to bring you back to a fresh-faced Christie Brinkley and remind you how to live in a world where less is more.

Take a breath. Take fifteen deep ones. Look up: the sky is magnificent! Smile and say “Hello.” Call your friends and family; hearing your voice is important to them. Send handwritten notes. Read books – real ones. The weight of a book and the feel of the paper is good for your soul. Get a dog. Eat at home. If you see a rose, stop and smell it. Watch funny movies. Stretch. Write in cursive. Appreciate trees. Make your bed. Find quiet time for yourself. Walk barefoot in the grass. Be patient and polite. Listen to music on a record player. Stop using a microwave. Burn scented candles. Grow something. Sing in the car. Dance (anywhere!) Be a good hugger. Travel light. Do your own home repairs. Practice good penmanship. Have integrity. Drink lots of water. Go camping. Laugh. Say “I love you.” Stand up tall. And if you ever get the opportunity to ride a horse, do it!

It doesn’t take a lot to live a happy life, but it takes a happy life to live life to its fullest.        More or less.

Xo – Patti Jo


A few months ago I was at a coffee shop when I overheard two young men having a conversation. One was lamenting to the other about his 50-year-old mother. I didn’t catch the whole thing, just this little nugget of wisdom, “As people get older their ideas tend to stagnate and calcify. Their brains fossilize.”

Now I’m sure there was more to the story, maybe even something that would have explained the young mans lack of trust in aging, but if I was hearing more of the conversation, I can’t recall. It’s quite possible that the words just couldn’t penetrate my 53-year-old mummy-like brain. I paid for my coffee and shuffled past the two Gerontologists.

Slightly offended and definitely sympathizing with the mother, I took some time to think about what the young man said, and sadly, I realized….. I kind of agree with him. Not that as we age our brain stagnates (and certainly not that fifty is old!) but that as we age we tend to seize up a bit. Not mentally but physically. We get stiffer and less fluid. We lose our freedom of movement. It’s as if we are stuck, blocked, or for lack of a better word, fossilized.

I see this quite frequently with my older dance and Pilates students. I’ve even experienced it myself. Somewhere along the road we lose the spring in our step, the grease in our wheels. Gravity takes hold and pins us down. We feel tired, sluggish, weak, and bound up. Our joints are spent. We are on a slippery slope to fossilization.

But guess what? Good news! You can Tin-Man up and oil-can the heck out of your joints. How? Motion! Motion is lotion. The motion I prefer is Pilates, but really any movement will do.  Every moveable joint in our body is lined with a thin membrane called the Synovium. When friction is applied this membrane produces synovial fluid and that fluid helps lubricate and nourish surrounding cartilage. In essence, you have to move your joints to move your joints. I know......science!

Movement remedies more than just stiff joints and fatigue. It also facilitates a boost in confidence and self-esteem. It’s a perpetual circle where one activity feeds the other. Movement creates self-confidence which in turn creates more movement.

So get moving! Figure out what it is you like to do and do it. Walk, run, swim, hike, golf, practice yoga, Pilates, or Hula dancing. It doesn’t really matter. Our bodies are meant to move; we are built for it, and when we’re doing what nature intended we feel so much better. Movement is your ticket to a long, healthy, happy, supple life.

And remember, no matter what anyone says, you are too young to be a fossil!

xo Patti Jo

Ready to get moving? Click on the button below.

Well.. that wasn't so bad!

Patti Jo at Ten Pilates Studio Walla Walla 2017

And so it begins... another year. 2017 rolls in with some pretty high expectations from many people. I think many of you are very happy to close (and lock) the door on 2016 but as for me, I can't say it was that bad. Yes some terrible things happened: mom's memory deteriorated so much that we had to put her into assisted living, Chuck didn't land some of the jobs we were hoping for, politics ruffled way too many feathers for my liking, and some pretty amazing people left us way too early including Alan Rickman who died before I could tell him how much I loved him.

But aside from the bad there was plenty of good! Mom may not remember one minute from the next but she is healthier and happier than she has been in a long time. Super handsome husband has been home and safe from the craziness of the world which allows him plenty of time to dote on me and work on projects around the farm. My boys are all healthy, happy, amazing men who continue to make me proud and make me laugh… in that order. I opened my Pilates studio (the first of its kind in Walla Walla) and with that I have gained some amazing, beautiful, and talented friends. I taught a few ballet classes at the local college and was reminded of how much dance lifts and feeds the soul. Summer was filled with teaching dressage which always makes me the happiest! I love the horses, my students, going to horse shows, and just plain ol' being outside. But the best thing is… I didn’t fall off a horse once last year! In my book that makes it a stellar year.

So as the New Year unfolds and the anticipation of good things to come presents itself I’d like to remind you that there will always be ups and downs, good and bad, joy and heartbreak. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. That is our gauge. Life is ever changing, constantly moving forward. Find the grace, strength, and balance to move with it.

And do Pilates.

Happy 2017!

Love Patti Jo

Pilates for Chickens

Chickens! They are fun, friendly, and productive members of any farm. But are your chickens fit? Are they strong and balanced? Are they flexible? Are they breathing correctly and using their core? Probably not. They're chickens!

If you'd like to try and teach your chickens Pilates go right ahead. That would be awesome! If I could teach my chickens anything I would teach them to not only lay the eggs but also prepare them into a delicious plate of Eggs Benedict. Yum!!

However, this article isn’t about teaching chickens Pilates, it’s about teaching you how to conquer your fear of Pilates, i.e. being a chicken.

Now being a chicken is not a bad thing, often times it’s a good thing. Fear of sharks, snakes, spiders, clowns, are all reasonable fears. All of those things could kill you. But many fears we tend to manifest are not always legitimate and I believe that Pilates is among them.

Throughout my years of practicing and teaching Pilates I have heard many different reasons from people as to why they haven’t tried it.

1.    “It’s too hard”

2.    “I’m not in good enough shape”

3.    “I hate working out in front of people”

4.    “Those machines look scary”

5.    “It’s too expensive”

While I do understand that these are all legitimate reasons they should not prevent you from experiencing what could be a life changing event; you’re first Pilates session.

Allow me to put your mind at ease.

1.    Difficulty:  Yes, it’s hard, but that’s good! Challenging ourselves is an important part of growth and development, not only physically but mentally. However, it is up to your trainer to monitor your progress. If you are finding yourself straining through the exercises then it is too much and you need to back it up a step. Pilates is not about “muscling through.” Pilates is a system based on precision. Ideally each movement should be mastered before moving on to the next.

2.    Physical Condition:  You do not need to be in any kind of “shape” to do Pilates. The beauty of Pilates is that it is for everyone. Fat or skinny, young or old, weak or strong, anyone can do Pilates. Even Para and Quadriplegics do Pilates!

3.    Social Fear:  For those of you who don’t like crowds, many Pilates sessions are given in the form of private lessons. One-on-one with a skilled and knowledgeable instructor. That means just you and me. Conquering the world!

4.    Intimidating Apparatus:  The machines are not as scary as they look. As a matter of fact, they are really quite fun. Did you know you can jump horizontally on the Reformer? Hang upside down on the Cadillac? And break into a full sweat just by working on the Chair? The machines offer such a diverse variety of exercises, you will NEVER get bored!

5.    Expense:  Yes, it’s expensive. There is no getting around that. Good instructors are highly trained and continue to educate themselves throughout their careers. This often means traveling to seminars and classes which can be very costly. Quality equipment and insurance is expensive. Did you get that? Quality equipment and insurance is expensive! These costs are reflected in studio pricing….. BUT when you consider your Pilates practice as a means of preventative health the cost is minimal to what you might be facing in medical bills obtained from a sedentary lifestyle. Your health is priceless. Priceless!


So put aside your fears and come see me. Pilates will help you feel the best you’ve ever felt! I guarantee it. Give it a try.

And please feel free to bring your chickens.

Hope to see you soon!


Patti Jo