Today we’d like to introduce you to Antonio Aniello.
Antonio, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
It all started as a child playing tennis. My love for the game grew to the point where I only wanted to play Division 1 tennis in college. And the only way for me to be the best I could be is to practice, and practice I did, every day. Sometimes 2 or 3 sessions a day in the summer. By the time I was finishing my 4th year playing at St Josephs University in Philly, my body was destroyed. I needed something to help me bring my body back into balance. I could feel the tension in my body like a thorn in my side. Then one day I saw a flier for yoga and Pilates classes that were being held in the racquetball courts. After class I instantly I knew that if I could even become proficient in these disciplines then I could potentially lead a normal functioning life.
After college, and even with a Masters in International Marketing, I couldn’t find a job that wasn’t sales. At the time I was okay with things being fine, which is basically a way of accepting things into my life that wasn’t ideal. Nonetheless, I ground out almost 5 years of sales. None of the companies had products that actually did what we said it would do, and needless to say, it was very soul-sucking. I wasn’t taking classes, I was drinking more, I was only lifting weights. I really lost my way. There were even days that I would walk to the T and I would get so nauseous that I would throw up onto a way to work. Talk about a sign!
Finally, in 2011 the last company I was working for was on the decline. The writing was on the walls that the doors were going to be closed soon, and they did. And at that point, I was absolutely sick of sales, sick of sitting in a cube, sick of feeling like I”m constantly making compromises. The life I was living was just not fulfilling. At the end of 2011, I took about 6 months off to regroup and get in shape. And at that point, a friend had tagged me on a Facebook post about a local gym holding a mat certification course. I got bright eyed and signed up, got certified, and started auditioning. Since then, I”ve been adding classes, refining my schedule and also began to build a community.
After a few years of teaching, I built up enough of a following to run a yoga and Pilates retreat. I didn’t know it then, but that aspect of the business, retreating, would begin to be the focus. Since 2014, my work partner Kristin Khederian and I have run over 12 retreats in 6 countries. I love the idea of taking my students to an exotic and probably tropical place and experience culture together and expand our horizons.
Now the word ‘fine’ isn’t really in my vocabulary. How could it when every day is the best day of my life…
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The hard part of my journey was listening to myself. I had to do enough wrong in order to figure out I needed to change things and find what is right. But that is hard. Understanding what you are feeling and how to respond to that and set the right course. All the while, there are just so many expectations, society puts out there that I got so caught up doing what everybody else thought I should be doing.
Then there was the physical struggle of being poor during the transition. It wasn’t the same as the emotional struggle, but a little FOMO is sometimes good motivation to take a step in a new direction.
SolSeekers & Antonio Aniello Yoga and Pilates – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Antonio Aniello Yoga and Pilates is really my Boston based offering. I reach mostly Pilates mat classes but also corporate classes, and reformer privates. I’m most proud of the talent level of my regular students. They all have such a strong understanding of the principles of the work and know how to execute the work that it’s like watching a flower blossom in front of my eyes, it’s magical. What sets me apart from others is my training. It’s with the United States Pilates Association, which is the current form of the original Guild that Joseph Pilates gave birth to himself. The work is so clean and pure that once you get an understanding of the system it’s like teaching everyone how to fish.
SolSeekers is my retreat brand. We specialize in taking students around the world. Typically, we choose warm weather destinations that are visually stunning that also offer culture, adventure, and lots of fun! What sets us apart from other retreats is that our focus is on the individual. We always offer 1 or 2 classes (depending on if we have an excursion that day) but they are totally optional. We want to hold a space for our students where they can feel empowered to go into a new country and explore and thrive and really drink it in. If someone really wanted to get in awesome shape, great. We have class and activities to support them. But if someone wants to take 1 or 2 classes and basically chill in a hammock all day, they can do that too!
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Emotional happiness. Sure everyone needs money for food, housing, to life etc. but I’m not about that anymore. My sales days were my money hungry days. Today, I look forward to hearing from a student that some physical pain is now gone because of our work. Or that people feel like their life has found new direction on one of my retreats. Making an impact on my students and my surroundings is the benchmark.
- Website: antonioaniello.com
- Phone: 4132101950
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pilatesprince/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bodytoneyogaandpilates/