This Pioneer Made Pilates What It Is Today

woman with black sports bra and black leggings doing yoga
Via Pexels
Adé Hennis
May 13, 2024

Kathy Stanford Grant’s ballet skills took her around the world. But while she transformed her body into art with movement, she injured her knee in a way that changed her life.

Grant learned Pilates in Germany after experiencing constant pain. Even after multiple surgeries, the pain was so severe she could barely function. So she tried Pilates as a last resort.

Joseph Pilates invented the flexibility and strength training movements, and Grant was among the first to earn a certification directly from him in the 1960s. But she didn’t just heal, she took the movements to the next level.

Grant tailored Pilates’ movements to each of her student’s needs, helping shape the comprehensive full-body exercise into the fitness movement we know today. But what makes her approach so important to Black history?

Grant practiced Pilates exercises “not with the goal of perfecting it, but to learn from it each time.” Her message was powerful –  we don’t have to be perfect to turn what we know into something special. We can trust ourselves to create what we need to thrive.  This is true for Pilates and our liberation.