E20 / Pilates for Men with Sean Vigue
Health and fitness in our fifties, being yourself, flow, fitness for kids, getting outside, joy through movement, and... those ducks are real, people!
This conversation is part of a series of interviews with various brothers and teachers, including many fellow writers, all of which are part of the body of work surrounding my book-length memoir An Ordinary Disaster—one man's proof that we can all learn to listen to ourselves, and to act upon the inner voice of our self, our sanity and our soul.
Like most people who’ve lived in San Francisco for many years, I’ve been doing yoga on and off since my twenties. I didn’t discover pilates until much later—but I sure wish it had been the other way around! I blew a disc in my back at the age of thirty and had surgery at that time, and now that I know how transformational—and how simple—pilates can be, I’m sure that I never would have injured myself in the first place if I’d been doing it back then.
When I did start doing pilates, I thought it was all about expensive equipment with springs and straps—and mostly taught by and for women. At a certain point I began to seek out more male teachers for all sorts of things, and when I went looking for a man teaching pilates, for men, Sean Vigue came up as the guy who was doing exactly that. I loved his honest, straightforward, kinda goofy vibe from the start, and his approach to pilates—outdoors with just a mat and no equipment—felt much more me.
I got to know Sean to some extent from using his workouts as part of my own fitness routine, and I could tell that he’s a really unique person with his own deep wisdom about the body, a strong positive presence, and a philosophy about living that comes through in his teaching, and so I was curious to meet him face to face, which is what led me to invite him for an interview on BROTHERS AND TEACHERS.
Sean Vigue is leading online fitness instructor and a true pioneer in bringing simple, effective, mat-based pilates to millions of people through his fitness videos. Before he became an athlete and fitness instructor he was an actor, dancer, and singer, and all of that comes through when you see him teach. He puts his experience as a performer to work as an instructor, and he’s also just really good at being himself. Sean’s been an inspiration both in terms of physical fitness, and for his powerful presence.
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As you listen, you might scan the questions at the bottom of the show notes, or just consider this one: What is your relationship with your own body and your physicality—and how does your body, your strength and your physical wellness relate to your identity as a person, and to your mental health?
You can listen using the built-in audio player above or watch the video below, although the audio is cleaned up a bit, while the video is just the raw footage.
Sean and I cover a lot in the interview, including Sean’s history as a performer — From theater to fitness — dance and Pilates — pilates for back injuries — Good posture — Health and fitness in our fifties — Fitness and mental health — Massage — Discipline and serving others — Being himself — Singing — old habits — Losing his father — Are those ducks real? — Getting outside — Flow — Entrepreneurship — Never call when you can talk in person — Getting out of your own way — Fitness for kids — how Pilates is transformational — The ‘core’ message — Do it now — Get off your phone — and, perhaps most important of all: Joy through movement.
Some questions for you
What is your relationship with your own body and your physicality—and how does your body, your strength and your physical wellness relate to your identity as a person, and to your mental health?
Have you ever tried Pilates — and did you know that you can do Pilates anywhere, any time, with only a mat (just like yoga)?
What is the relationship for you between fitness and creativity?
Do you have a favorite online fitness instructor or channel?
Please the conversation in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
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