As the daughter of “Dr. Brent Anderson, founder and CEO of Polestar Pilates” (though to me he’s just Daddy), I have always been surrounded by the Polestar community, and have had some pretty great opportunities. One of these perks is getting to travel with him to attend many of the conferences around the world. These past two conferences in San Diego have been an amazing experience for me, and I am so blessed to have been involved in them. The lectures and workshops I attended were mind-blowing. What stood out for me above the rest at the Polestar Life conference this year was the Special Olympics event on Friday night.
I’ve worked briefly with Special Olympians before through the track team, helping out at the Special Olympics Track & Field Competition three years in a row. I had been touched by the immense amount of joy and confidence I saw on the faces of those athletes as they crossed the finish line or received their medals. High fives and hugs all around, smiles stretched across their faces as they rejoiced over their accomplishments. The Special Olympics Mat Class and Meditation in San Diego offered the same type of overwhelming emotions for me: sorrow at their disabilities, love for their sweet and caring nature, joy from their colorful personalities, satisfaction at seeing their confidence grow, and pride in being a part of something bigger than myself.
The event started with a beginner’s Pilates mat class, pairing pre-instructed Pilates teachers with Special Olympians. My dad led the class, making it engaging and fun for the athletes (as well as other participants). Several laughs and comments could be heard from them as they were coached through the exercises that focused on body awareness and control. Immediately following the class, Kali Love from The Chopra Center led us through a beautiful meditation about being a champion. She told us to look inside of ourselves and see ourselves as champions, as beautiful, important, successful winners. Concentrating on her imagery, while imagining how the Special Olympics athletes must have been hearing it, was overpowering. The energy of love in the room was intense as we all placed our hands on our hearts and imagined the champion within ourselves. I was overcome with emotion thinking about the impact of this knowledge to the athletes who deserve to feel like champions in a world that can often make them feel the opposite.
It’s hard to explain through words the energy in that room, especially as striking guitar chords began to filter through the room, played by Virgins Family Band, my brother’s group. I cannot describe the feeling that filled me when I saw their faces express their joy and excitement at the experience. We danced, held hands, formed a conga line, and just enjoyed the moment! The meditation could not have ended in a better way, and I think my dad’s vision of the event was fulfilled. To finalize the magnitude of that night, our family’s good friend, Joe Metro, led us in a fun auction benefiting an amazing cause, with the athletes at his feet to remind us of the occasion. My favorite parts of the auction were the interjections made by the athletes – wiping Jo’s head with a towel, one little lady strutting her stuff to show off a necklace, a comment about the Pilates class as “really something different, man.” These moments are the ones I will remember, when their personalities shined and we could see beyond their disabilities seeing them as truly unique, fun, loving champions.