Interview With Clare Dunphy Hemani



Gratz is proud to support Pilates Avatar which is a self-training system developed by Clare Dunphy Hemani. The Pilates Avatar empowers the practitioner and encourages their independent study of Pilates. Based on her years of training teachers and working with clients at all skill levels, Clare has distilled the essence of the classical Pilates work with assisted audio and visual cues and allows for the continued growth and development that will benefit the practitioner, instructors, and studio owner. Please read our interview with the creator of Pilates Avatar, Clare Dunphy Hemani.


Gratz: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How long have you been practicing and teaching Pilates?

Clare Dunphy Hemani: I’m a 52 years young and have always loved sport and dance. Early on, I recall making a conscious link between physical activity and how it magically and consistently balanced out my mind and teenage emotions. So in college I chose Physical Education as my major. My freshman year I was teaching aerobics and a new passion emerged. I was able to apply what I was learning academically with my love for movement and sport. By senior year I had my own aerobics studio and personal training business. At graduation I knew my calling was to be a teacher. When I was introduced to Pilates formally in 1995, it changed my life, as I rediscovered the pure joy that movement had always provided me. Walking into Drago’s Gym the first time was like touring a history book with all the crazy looking contraptions and gymnastic-like movements being performed by people of all ages and sizes all with amazing strength and ease. Romana Kryzanowska was the grand master teacher, holding court. Her knowledge of the body coupled with her infectious spark for life and generosity with her knowledge, will forever remind me of the type of teacher I aspire to be like.

Gratz: Do you have a mentor?

CDM: I have had several mentors over the years and actually now, I have a collection of people I consider to be mentors. I call them my “Dream Team”, people who enjoy discussing possibilities, solutions, and offer different perspectives that push me to higher levels. I also practice staying open to what the universe provides through music, books and even chance encounters.

Gratz: Why did you create the Pilates Avatar?

CDM: The idea occurred to me when I was hiking in Leh, India. After several long days I just started to let my mind wander. A couple questions kept coming to my mind, “wouldn’t it be great if I could somehow create a way to make classical Pilates more available and affordable to anyone who wanted to learn, anywhere in the world? Why aren’t more students practicing solo? Have we created an environment of dependence?” I thought about how Joe Pilates ran his studio with students coming in and practicing their workout in a supervised, but solo way. And I came up with an idea to create a progressive audio program that provides motivation and guidance to practice independently, and more frequently. Studios would also benefit by charging students a fee for the use of the apparatus. Joe Pilates wanted people to do their exercises 4x per week to maximize results, and today that isn’t happening. With Pilates Avatar students directly download the audio, exercise list, and they get a short video clip of each exercise for quick reference. Everything loads to their smartphone, tablet, or computer so a wifi connection isn’t necessary. Audio is an untapped media and I think it works great for Pilates. My mission is simple, to get more people doing pilates.



Gratz: What’s the best user experience story you’ve heard this month?

CDM: I have a client that was travelling for business in Argentina. He is a runner and Pilates has helped him shave off a lot of time in his races. He was excited to find out the hotel had a reformer and bingo, he had the workout ready right on his phone. He was so happy to email me to tell me how great it was not to have to miss his workout.

Gratz: Has the Pilates Avatar inspired you to develop other products?

CDM: Yes. I will be adding new workouts on other apparatus, for example chair, spine corrector, and also sport specific workouts. And we will create an app if there is a demand out there.

Gratz: Please describe your last month in a word.

CDM: Wow, This is a tough one! Since we just launched, it’s been crazy. I am very excited mixed with a little shy, and anyone who knows me knows I am not a shy person. Pilates Avatar was such a personal project that took about 5 years to create. To go from a very personal thing to something that is public makes me feel that way. I just want people to like Pilates Avatar, use it, and share it!

Gratz: What reliably makes you feel happy?

CDM: I love moving and I love music. Put it together in dance class and I am in heaven.





Build a toned, flexible physique that empowers your body and mind even if time is scarce. This new interactive approach to classical Pilates makes it more accessible than ever! You might have dabbled with Pilates over the years, but have had trouble fitting classes into your busy schedule. Or, you might have found the costs of making Pilates part of your daily routine prohibitive. Pilates Avatar is the solution for both.

Just download the professional, yet affordable audio workouts with the accompanying video dictionary of exercises and sync with your smartphone or tablet. You'll have instruction from a master Pilates teacher wherever you are: At home, on the road, or at your favorite Pilates studio. Your path to a healthier and happier you starts here!If you're a studio owner, click here to learn more.



Clare Dunphy Hemani | Progressive Bodyworks

About Clare Dunphy Hemani

Romana Certified Teacher. Clare Dunphy Hemani is a world recognized Pilates teacher and educator. Her roots in the industry began at Northeastern University, Boston where she earned a BS in Physical Education in 1985. She holds certifications through The Pilates Guild, PMA, and ACE. In 1995, Clare began her Pilates studies under Romana Kryzanowska and has since studied with several other teachers. Clare lives in Newburyport, MA where her studio Progressive Bodyworks is located, a unique space for teachers around the world to study the art of teaching Pilates. She has spent the past 12 years mentoring teachers and teacher trainers worldwide and created two free video channels on for students and teachers interested in continued learning and keeping the work vibrant in their life. Committed to preserving the authenticity and tradition of Pilates, her approach is refreshing, energetic and supportive. Clare's gift is her willingness to share knowledge generously and her ability to explain concepts in simple, clear ways. (Source)




Progressive Bodyworks
73 High Street, Newburyport, MA 01950

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