Home » An Interview with Debbie Phillips

An Interview with Debbie Phillips

The Center: You’re in an interesting position because you work here.

Debbie: And I’ve also been with Suzanne since the very beginning.

TC: Right, about seven years?

D: See I’ve known her since they moved here and I knew her pre-Pilates studio… I think 11 years ago she got her Pilates [certification] and I thought, “Great!”. It doesn’t take long to know how smart she is, how dedicated she is, and what a great teacher she is.

TC: So you’ve been practicing from the very beginning?

D: Yes. But I was forty-five-ish, so it’s interesting that that was my beginning

TC: And was that your first experience with yoga and Pilates was with Suzanne?

D: Yep.

TC: Cool!

D: Up until that point, physically things were ok, [but] as with most people you get into your forties and the natural effects of your aging machine start to happen. When she started bringing yoga into it and doing yoga teacher training I was very disappointed, I was like “oh no, oh no!” because I was loving pilates and it was great. [But my] life is full of those experiences where initially I say “Ugh” but if [eventually] I say “Ok” [the surprises are lovely]. What I didn’t realize that I needed and craved was the benefits of yoga aside from the physical.

TC: Could you give a few examples?

D: Well yeah! The ability to calm myself, the tools that I have to handle anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia. You know, those things. I didn’t realize too that these difference aspects of me needed knitting together. The physical, the spiritual, the psychological, and the for lack of a better word, my breath. That part of me. Those things needed knitting together.

TC: And you’ve found that? I mean I can tell (laughs)

D: Well I found it. When one [of those things] is not in sync with the others, feeling how those aspects of me kind of start to come loose and unravel.

TC: Have you practiced at any of the other studios in Harrisonburg?

D: No.

TC: And…. why might that be? (laughs)

D: I’m in here so much because I find exactly what I feel like I need here. I’m not averse to going other places, and I have experienced other instructors outside of this studio and the experiences have been wonderful but I feel that this is my church. This is my congregation, and there always seems to be something either today or on the horizon that suits me.

TC: [The words] I’ve heard most from people [is that they] come here because they don’t need to go anywhere else. There’s just not a need, and it’s not that there’s not other options, people just feel at home here

D: All of the instructors that I are encounter are basically on the same page, which is a “community building” page. There’s humor and there’s intimacy and a welcoming vibe that I don’t think you find everyplace else. And I do thinks it’s something that [the instructors] all have in common. You want to know people and they know you want to know them and that works. Feeling comfortable and trusting.

TC: So what classes do you typically take here? Are you doing a mix of yoga and Pilates?

D: Yes, way more yoga now, very little Pilates. And I had been progressing as far as getting more into some level 3 classes and more difficult poses and then I had a shoulder injury and it took me back to [yoga 1 and gentle yoga], which was a real gift, and that’s f where I’ve been for the past couple months. My hope is to feel powerful enough in my chatarungas soon to incorporate power yoga into my practice.

TC: So you spoke a little bit about what your practice has done for your life, knitting everything together, is there anything else you’d like to add to that?

D: Everything is better. I’ve completely found my groove, Debbie found her groove in The Center…. My relationships, everything that I enjoy is better. Things that I don’t enjoy are more tolerable.

TC: Hey you know, sign me up!

D: To be able to say that at this point in life is a pretty amazing thing. I wish I had stronger or bigger words to convey the importance of being able to say something like that at this point in life. And it’s not that my life has been without the pain and sorrow and all of the things that are part of everybody’s life sooner or later. But I feel so great and I have such great tools for being in my groove, being present in everyway.

TC: So let’s play a game; imagine tomorrow The Center closed down. What would be missing in your life and in this community?

D: Can you imagine how many sad people there would be? I mean I have an idea maybe more than anybody else because I see the every person that comes through here in an electronic way. We’d be losing a church – a place where people come to be a community and heal together and find God together. Absolutely…

TC: About how many people would you say, form the core community of the Center? This is estimation, by the way.

D: Oh, I’m not very good at this kind of thing.

TC: That’s ok, you can just spitball or say a number and we can pretend that it’s true (laughs).

D: I mean, ok, let’s say two or three dozen from the ardent to the truly serious. I’ll give it that, with many more who are…. let’s say 3 or 4-dozen.

TC: There are a lot of people who flow through here, and I think that’s only going to go up. Is there anything else that you’d like to add for posterity?

D: Let’s talk about the great benefits to one’s sex life! Of yoga and Pilates and nia….

*Interview mysteriously ends*