Interview with Bhavani Suriyan (formerly Rebecca D’Amour)
How did you get started in this field?
I started out as a dancer. I took my first class at the age of eight, and I was hooked. I was studying dance at California Institute of the Arts when I was injured dancing. The dance program employed Pilates for physical therapy and included Pilates training as part of the curriculum. I used Pilates to recover from an injury, and it opened my eyes to new ways of training the body. It re-balanced my body and proved to be a more precise way of working than any of the dance techniques I had learned. I discovered I had actually been overworking some muscles, while completely overlooking others. Thus was so exciting to me because even as a child in dance class, I could recognize poor alignment in myself and in others. I had no idea that this ability might have any value until I started learning Pilates. When our bodies are out of alignment, we often unconsciously use the wrong muscles by default. As effective as Pilates proved to be, I still felt it did not always adequately address proper alignment, or ensure its correction. I felt there was a gap in the technique – and I wanted to fill it.
What made you develop this product line?
I have always dreamed of helping people beyond the reach of my studio. I knew I wanted to produce a DVD series that would not only model the correct way to perform each movement, but would also demonstrate common mistakes – in alignment and muscle engagement, for example – and how to correct them. I also wanted to provide home equipment, so that folks would have everything they needed to start the program.
In addition, I felt production design was key. I wanted to create a system that would be attractive enough to blend well into the home environment, a system that people would feel comfortable storing in their living rooms, rather than hiding away in their closets – to be forgotten. This line is not only functional but beautiful!
What makes your approach so unique?
With the D’Amour Method, the focus is on you: Getting to know your body, understanding how it works, and then using the exercises to create new efficiencies and correct poor body mechanics.
The D’Amour Method begins with proper breathing, allowing you to connect with your own body’s rhythms rather that externally produces music or sounds. The Method is gentle and non-competitive, designed to allow you to ease into a new way of seeing and using your body at your own pace. Working at your own pace helps give you the confidence to continue toward your goal of creating a stronger, healthier, better-performing body. The D’Amour Method is not a get-fit-quick scheme. We make no promises about losing weight or inches. Instead, it is a progressive, mind-body reconditioning program to promote optimal functioning of the body.
What are you hoping The D’Amour Method will do for your clients?
I hope it gives them a piece of me. I want to share my knowledge and energy to help people feel more connected to their own bodies, which will allow them to better see the beauty in themselves. I’d like them to feel the power of a strong center and enjoy learning to control different muscles and to use them efficiently. I want my clients to experience the joy and freedom that comes from knowing they are taking care of their bodies by working them correctly. Working correctly will lead to improved body mechanics, which in turn will help people enjoy the physical things they love to do.