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November 2020 Member of the Month

It is our pleasure to introduce to you Maui Pilates Studio's November 2020 Member of the Month…. Pono Garcia!

Who is Pono? Pono is just your average friendly vegan ​guy who happened to find Pilates. ​He has been a Maui Pilates Studio Ohana Member since the end of December ​in 2019​. Besides attending Pilates Mat Lessons three times a week, Pono also likes to surf and lift weights during his free time. Com​ing from a tight knit Filipino family​, Pono was raised in California, the Philippines, and Whidbey Island in Washington State. He owns two businesses. One of them, Pacific Solar Solutions, happens to be located downstairs from Maui Pilates Studio. His other business is called Pono Sweepers​, which provides parking lot sweeping and maintenance ​services to large businesses in Kahului. Pono has seven grandchildren​, with an eighth one on the way!!

When we asked Pono what motivated him to start Pilates​, he said, “My girlfriend Brandis thought we should try it. Because I'm an awesome boyfriend and partner, I did!”.

Pono share​s ​with us how Pilates ​has impacted in his life: “​As my balance, coordination​, and body awareness improves with my Pilates practice, my surfing improves. I'm more aware of my body and have made other positive changes to my diet and self-care​, which I feel was inspired by my Pilates practice”.

Pono also share​s with us a smal​l but significant victory​, “My favorite exercise would either be ​The Roll-Over​, or Open Leg Rocker, both of which were nearly impossible for me in ​to do in the beginning. I felt like I couldn't breathe, and it took so much effort to move my body th​e way ​you're supposed to. As I have deepened my understanding of Pilates I feel proud that I can do these exercises so much better and without discomfort or strain. Learning and having control in my Pilates practice along with changes to my diet has resulted in a leaner body.

Pono humbly didn’t mind sharing an obstacle, “My toughest obstacle would be online scheduling. Luckily​, I have my secretary (I mean girlfriend) ​to do it for me​, and she does't mess it up too often.”

​Pono recently told us a story of a huge transformation that took place in his life long before Pilates. We’ve asked if he wouldn’t mind sharing his story because we find it so inspirational: “Years in an unhappy relationship and doing construction had caught up to me. I was overeating and pushing myself physically too hard. My body felt wrecked and I was in a lot of pain. Hip and back surgery were to be ​in my future but decided instead to try a more holistic approach and see how much I could improve my health without surgery. I watched the movie "Game Changers"​, and it inspired me to try ​a plant-based diet. I listened to Dr. Gregor's​, How not to Die audiobook and learned that so many of my chronic health issues could be solved through lifestyle ​changes. I have learned to love ​drinking water, and the taste of garden-fresh vegetables ​and tofu. I do Pilates and am grateful to have a teacher who understands my individual physical challenges and helps me to improve, like a body coach!”

Pona also didn’t mind sharing ​his favorite recipe with us, Tofu Long Rice.


2 packages Shirataki Noodles Yam noodles (40 calories)

1 block Tofu (282 calories)

1/2 package of frozen peas (optional)

1/2 cup green onions​, chopped

2 tablespoon garlic

2 teaspoons shoyu

1 teaspoon Spike seasoning

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

-Chiu Chow style chili oil

Prepare tofu

-drain and press water from tofu block​, cut into cubes

-add garlic, shoyu, spike seasoning, nutritional yeast in bowl and add tofu to coat 

-bake or air fry for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees until crispy

Prepare meal

-drain and rinse noodles

-heat teaspoon of oil and tablespoon of garlic in pan

-add green onions

-add noodles, season with salt and pepper and fry for 5 minutes

-add tofu and peas 

-serve with Chiu chow style chili oil as needed for a kick.

This entire dish is less than 500 calories and will serve 2-3 people.

We asked Pono about what inspires and motivate​s him: “I am very inspired by Dwayne, The Rock, Johnson. His commitment to fitness, family values, and the fact that he is also a pacific islander remind me to be my best and get to the gym even when I want to be a couch potato!”

And lastly​, we asked​, what is something not many people know about Pono: ”Not many people know that I was a high school wrestler, I am a veteran, and I was body puppet (giant character) at an amusement park in Northern California.”

Check Pono in action during ​a recent Mat lesson in our studio:

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