Growing up in Italy between Mar Tirreno and Mountain of Sila

I grew up in the wild nature of Calabria in South of Italy at the University Campus of Arcavacata, Cosenza where my dad had his first job as a young professor. The campus was between the mountains of Sila and the beautiful Tirreno Sea. There was not much around besides nature, but the sky, the colors--everything was stunning! I remember not wearing shoes for several months out of the year and us kids of the University professors melded in beautiful friendship with the local kids--we learned so much from them about enjoying the moment, being fully present and respecting the nature all around us. I still remember the flavor of our afternoon snack of bread, oil and salt as just pure and simple joy and something to absorb completely. The sensation of my bare feet touching nature was so strong and kept me present to all of that beauty. When we moved to the city, that wildness and desire to integrate with nature was forever inside of me.

When I was 8 years old I found myself in a dance class and the sky opened up for me. I could not see the walls around me, and I found the connection with the ground and nature, my body and music. From that first day I knew I wanted to dance all my life. The music was my new wind, my hips and feet were moving on new territory, emotions, stories and adventures were all speaking to me about freedom and being fully alive and connected.

I was very sensitive, growing up in nature and trusting its wisdom I could not believe that I was supposed to become stronger and more athletic from the pain and suffering caused by pushing my body. I thought it was not sustainable and I was going to hurt myself or stop enjoying movement altogether. When I started dancing I felt something ancestral, natural and powerful in my ability to move my hips freely and to allow my soul to dance to the beauty of the music and the silent rhythm of my breath. I was sure there were another way to have the best from my body without feeling pain and shutting down my sensations in order to get strong.

I was sure that growing up in the wild nature of southern Italy, my very roots between forest and uncontaminated sea, that nature does not want us to close the communications with our senses or with the sense of pain and pleasure. Survival in the woods depends on these sensations to connect us from inside to the outside.

I was 12 when my search started: books, teachers, anthropology, dancing, experimenting and studying many body modalities, looking weird--I used everything I could as a way to get closer to the answer, but after 20 years, and with a great sense of accomplishment and joy, I know now that I can dance for many more years by respecting and nourishing my body while I move. While living in that moment where the walls disappeared around me and the music became the wind, I got to the answer. I learned that it was not through pain or struggle, but through honoring the body’s natural intelligence and sense of pleasure in movement that we develop beauty and strength. Nature wants us to be strong, dynamic and efficient and rewards us with pleasure when we move in a way that is nourishing. It creates good posture and strong, efficient muscle.

When we honor the natural structure of the body instead of pushing and straining, we move in a way that our senses recognize as pleasurable and we are actually creating real strength and a dynamic body. Efficiency in movement is connected with the sensation of pleasure, so what feels pleasurable in movement is actually efficiency and efficiency creates long, lean, strong and flexible muscles.

My technique for Be Bella Pilates was born from my deep respect for nature and 20 years of studying body and movement. It is accessible for every woman, feels amazing and gives real results on strength, mobility and natural beauty.

My technique creates long, lean muscle, dynamic posture and graceful movement.

It empowering because it gives us the sense of how the body has enormous wisdom and wants us to be strong and sensual for both survival and the enjoyment of life.

It is sustainable because it’s pleasurable and you’ll see real results. You will feel more connected to your body and it’s real potential and see what happens when we listen to nature more than just fitness--we create a powerful connection with our self that fosters intuition, our sense of presence, our sense of internal space and breath.

Plus is fun to feel and look beautiful, toned, sexy and so wonderful and it is empowering to become one with nature (and its incredible wisdom).

Pleasure versus struggle

What we receive as pleasure while we move is our body’s signal of efficient movement.

Efficient movement strengthens our body while creating the muscles we need for action and allowing muscles that are not needed to release. This creates a dynamic, fit, beautiful body that moves with grace in everyday life.

Pleasure allows us to stay in contact with our body while we exercise. This fosters sensation and intimacy with ourselves and the present moment. The sense of pleasure while we move is also the way that our body communicate to us that we are moving in a efficient and beneficial way for our system.

Every time we feel and sense we allow more movement to happen, and places of the body that usually are tight start to participate.

I also feel as a woman that we need to train our senses about sensation of pleasure.

Pleasure that comes from indulging in things that are deeply beneficial and nurturing.

My favorite indulgences are a shower with my natural vanilla scrub, a delicious Jasmine Pearl tea in my favorite cup, a walk on the beach barefoot early in the morning while the sun is rising against the magical rhythm of waves. Another indulgence and form of self-care for me is a Be Bella Pilates workout in my cozy clothes with rose essential oil on my wrists and ankles and two Be Bella Pilates Balls under my pelvis to release my lower back and body. I breathe allowing my body to expand and surrender. Feeling my breath like waves through my body, II start to move. I begin with small movement and work my way up to a more challenging movement to connect with and strengthen my body.

Pleasure and a healthy relationship with the floor can make a workout really efficient, strengthening and something so good that we begin to crave it as your body becomes strong, lean and beautiful. Feeling good in our body is a way to honor our life and natural beauty.