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All in the Family: How a mother and daughter an ocean away stay connected through mindful movement

Claudia and Maya Fink may be separated by an ocean, six time zones and live in countries with very different languages and cultures, but nothing can get in the middle of this mother and daughter’s bond for mindful movement.

Separately they operate their own mindful movement practices— Claudia in Italy and Maya in Canada—but together they share a philosophy centered around helping their clients live better lives and have a more positive outlook on exercise.

A joint passion for mindful movement

Claudia and Maya Fink

In 2007, when Maya was nine, Claudia opened her first studio, Pilates Italia in Milan, becoming a Merrithew® Licensed Training Center and the company’s official distributor in Italy. Claudia soon expanded with studios in Rome and Bologna.

Maya grew up inspired by this culture of entrepreneurship, admiring her mother's leadership in helping grow the mindful movement and Pilates industry in Italy. It motivated her to begin learning the “family trade” after high school.

“While practicing for my STOTT PILATES® exam, I became aware of the more wholesome benefits of mindful movement — my favourite aspect being the amount of cognitive motivation Pilates requires,” Maya says.

“The mindful movement industry empowers people to take charge of their own workout. I like that it highlights quality workouts over quantity.”

After becoming a STOTT PILATES Certified Instructor, Maya went on to qualify in Total Barre® and Halo® Training, gaining valuable experience at her mother’s studio in Milan.

Claudia and Maya Fink

Maya returned to Canada in 2016 to pursue a double major in philosophy and psychology at the University of Toronto Mississauga, while maintaining a full Pilates and group fitness teaching schedule at Equinox, the gym on campus and with some private clients.

Sharing a profession with her mother comes in handy. Maya turns to her for advice and ideas on how to work with different clients, and Claudia enjoys sharing her wisdom, learnings and many interests with her daughter.

“Being mindful in the movement industry for me means being aware, being updated. Delivering knowledge and not trends; changing people’s common beliefs based on truth, not myths. It’s a mission for me,” Claudia says.

Claudia and Maya Fink

Claudia’s instilled those values in her daughter, reinforcing the importance of continuously learning and improving as an instructor, something she thinks all instructors should strive for.

“There’s a lot of free content out there that people can learn from, but it’s not all accurate information. My advice is to make sure that you are trained properly and become certified with a reputable organization. Taking responsibility in this profession is important; we’re working with other people’s bodies and we must have the appropriate knowledge in order to do that.

“I enjoy sharing my thoughts and knowledge, and influencing people towards becoming experts at what they do,” Claudia says.

One day she’d like Maya to return to Italy and become a Merrithew Instructor Trainer, and develop her business there.

“It is very rewarding to do what you love. If teaching is your passion, it’s really easy to succeed,” Claudia says.

Like mother, like daughter.

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