Keion Moradi Means talks about embracing the gray.

May 26, 2021

Keion during The Work™️, 2017


Keion Moradi Means: Living in the Gray


Keion is a valued member of the teaching staff from the original Vintage Pilates studio on Sawtelle, and is now co-owner and partner-in-crime with Nicole Briggs of Strong Body Pilates in Studio City, CA. If you have the chance to stop by her studio, you will likely find her hard at work on her own practice between clients. She is a fine example of the “practice-what-you-preach” philosophy of teaching which deeply informs her own work as well as her teaching. She is a journalist, a teacher, a student, a wife and a Mom – not necessarily in that order – but certainly seasoned in the way she works the many shades of gray in every category.

Jay Grimes has often said that Pilates isn’t black and white; it is many shades of gray. But, what does that mean for the interpreter? To that, I say it depends on who you ask. 

Now, some might assert the belief that if Joe Pilates was alive today, he would invariably change his work in line with our trajectory of knowledge about the human body. Or, that life today is drastically different in comparison with when Joe was alive. That our bodies are different. That our needs have changed. Whatever the claim, it seems to me the purpose is to validate modern modifications to Pilates, including the exercises, the equipment and the manner in which it is taught. It should come as no surprise, then, that the potency of the original method gets lost in translation. 

I take issue with those assumptions about Joe. I think the claim that he would’ve changed his work is unfounded. I think that biological mutation takes much longer than 50 years. And I don’t think a 600-hour Pilates teacher certification makes any of us a de facto authority on the topic. 

One of the things we know about Joe is that he spent a lifetime perfecting his method. We’re talking decades. Several of them. That guy was thorough and resolute. He reigned like a king over his body of work. 

We also know that little has actually changed over the years in terms of the stress we put on our bodies and the tendency to auto-pilot bad posture; sitting … no … more accurately, shrinking into ourselves, wandering through life with ever-enervating spines; daily lifestyles underpinning poor movement patterns — all under the weight of gravity. 

Embracing the Gray – Embarking on the Unknown

I won’t lie: embracing this concept of living in the gray can be frustrating, but it’s nebulous by necessity. There are no shortcuts to learning the Pilates method and how to effectively teach it to others. It takes a foundation. And, to recycle some famous words from Joe: it takes patience and persistence … you know … those vital qualities that go hand-in-hand with the successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor ⸮

Jay can be a model for us all, not only in his teaching, but also in his humility. He doesn’t have an ulterior motive or an unbridled ego — he’s just teaching the work the way it was taught to him by Joe Pilates. It takes time to build that level of intuition, but it’s worth the wait. 

About Strong Body Pilates

Keion’s studio, Strong Body Pilates, is a boutique studio specializing in traditional Pilates and equipped with the gold standard in classical Pilates apparatus from Gratz and the Balanced Body Contrology line. 

It is also a studio where Jay teaches weekly and where Keion and Nicole Briggs run teacher training and continuing education workshops for teachers.