What is a barre class anyway?

I’m guessing that some of you think that a barre class is only for people that have taken dance lessons in the past!   That is absolutely not the case.    The Barre classes at Rivercity Pilates combine attributes of Pilates, dance, and functional fitness training. This class incorporates small isolated movement to fatigue the muscles, large range of motion to elevate the heart rate, and sequencing that incorporates upper and lower body to make every minute count.  This results in a total body workout that leaves you mentally strong and feeling accomplished.

Here are some frequently asked questions we hear about barre class.

Do I need to have ballet experience or know the ballet terminology?
No, our instructors will explain and demonstrate each movement.

Is it ok to hang on to the barre?
Absolutely.    The barre is there to assist you in keeping your balance.

Will this hurt my knees?

The small controlled movements and the attention to form make this a great class even for those who have chronic knee pain or even a knee replacement. There is not any impact or jumping in the class!  By doing controlled movements that strengthen around the knee joint, we find the clients who have had knee issues in the past discover Barre class helps them to keep their legs strong and avoid future injuries!

Do I need to be able to stand on my tip toes (like a ballerina)?
No. If rising to the balls of your feet does not feel good in your feet our instructors will give you options to keep your whole foot grounded!

Is the entire class done standing?   
No, usually around half of the class is done standing at the barre. The other half of class will be a combination of Pilates and functional body strengthening exercises that are done on a cushioned mat.

Is it ok to take a break if my legs get tired?
Of course — we never want you to overwork!  You’ll see lots of different levels of fitness in our classes and our instructors are fabulous at reminding you how to work at your own level!

Do I need to wear a leotard and tutu?
No, just wear exercise clothes that you are comfortable in!  But of course if you want to put on your favorite tutu…we don’t mind!

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in Barre, Motivation and Inspiration

Inspiration of the Month – Sarah

Sarah Sobocinski
Inspiration of the Month November 2017

When did you start Pilates and what inspired you to start?
I believe I finally started Pilates in April 2017. I had intentions of going in for a long time and had even gone online to their website, but like many of us never followed through. I injured my neck several months later and was referred to their Massage Therapist, Sara Sea! She was wonderful and fixed my neck pain. I have told many people about Sara. She is amazing and so knowledgeable. While I was there for my massage my long time family physician, Cheryl Johnson happened to be attending a Pilates class. That was enough for me and I signed up, went to my Private Pilates sessions, then started in classes and never looked back!

How often do you practice Pilates and what type of sessions or classes have you been doing?
When I started I went 2, maybe 3 times a week. Now I try to make it 4 times a week. I loved the attention I got from the personal training sessions with Carey. She gave me confidence to try the Tower classes. These classes gave me knowledge and support as I learned the Pilates method. I moved on to Barre Mat and Fun class and found new areas of my body becoming stronger and definitely more toned, all the while having a great time. The Pilates Mat classes are always different, challenging, and yet rewarding because you learn to perfect the moves with the instructor’s guidance and encouragement. Zumba is my latest favorite because I am finally strong enough to enjoy it. No pressure, just dancing ! I love them all because they all offer something different, you never get bored.

What benefits or improvements have you noticed in your body and life from doing Pilates?
I think there are a couple of things that happen. One, you become more in tune with your core strength, standing tall and keeping your shoulders down in every day life. While driving in the car you feel the small of your back touching the seat and your belly pulled in. That’s a silly example but true. I notice it especially when driving long distances. The mental aspect is so important too as it gives you more confidence, stamina and the relief of stress that comes with the breathing .

Do you have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment (or both)?
I like the practice as a whole, each exercise or movement building on to the next with fluidity. I like it when I have worked on something and I see that I am making progress and feel stronger.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing Pilates?
I would say you should do this for you!! Many people don’t think they are worth the time and money and never find out just how much better and how much happier they will become practicing Pilates. By doing something for themselves they will be a better person for the people around them. It is not scary, it is not painful, it is rewarding. If you have an injury the instructors modify and help you gain strength in that area. It makes you a stronger, happier you and who wouldn’t want that in their lives. Can you tell I love Rivercity Pilates !!!!

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in Inspiration of the Month

Mindful Mat Pilates Basics

This short video reviews the Pilates fundamentals utilizing a 5 count breath pattern designed to help you focus and fine tune!  It’s great for beginners and just as great for non beginners who want to fine tune their basics!


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in Mini Workout, Motivation and Inspiration, Pilates in Your Life

Quotes about Mindfulness


Whoever you are, it’s possible that you could live your whole life in a dream; what the practice of mindful meditation will give you is your actual life.  Instead of being driven by forces in the past or anxiety about the future, you can face your life with clarity, relaxation and calm.  But, interestingly you are much more likely to get those things out of your meditation practice  if you don’t try, if you just allow things to be as they are, then take them as they come, whether you like it or not.      -Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Mindful yoga is a yoga of wholeness that has nothing to do with what your body can or can’t do in any given moment, or how your posture looks.  It has everything to do with the sincerity of your effort, with how awake you are in your life and how embodied you are in the only moment in which you are alive — which is always now.”  – -Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mindfulness is often likened to a mirror; it simply reflects what is there.  It is not a process of thinking; it is pre-conceptual, before thought.  One can be mindful of thought.  There is all the difference in the world between thinking and knowing that thought is happening, as thoughts chase each other through the mind and the process is mirrored back to us. 

The only time that mindfulness can happen is in the present moment; if you are thinking of the past, that is memory.  It is possible to be mindful of memory, of course, but such mindfulness can only happen in the present.

Mindfulness is unbiased.  It is not for or against anything, just like a mirror, which does not judge what it reflects. Mindfulness has no goal other than the seeing itself.  It doesn’t try to add to what’s happening or subtract from it, to improve it in any way. It isn’t detached, like a person standing on a hill far away from an experience, observing it with binoculars. It is a form of participation – you are fully living out your life, but you are awake in the midst of it – and it is not limited to the meditation hall.  It can be used on a simple process like the breathing, or on highly charged and unpleasant emotions like fear or loneliness.  It can also follow us into the ordinary life situations that make up our day.  Eventually, it becomes more a way of living than a technique.   From Breath by Breath: The Liberating Practice of Insight Meditation by Larry Rosenberg. 1998. Shambhala Publications.

“The heart of skillful meditation is the ability to let go and begin again, over and over again.  Even if you have to do that thousands of times during a session, it does not matter.   There is no distance to traverse in recollecting our attention; as soon as we realize we have been lost in discursive thought, or have lost touch with our chosen contemplation, right in that very moment we can begin again.  Nothing has been ruined, and there is no such thing as failing.  There is nowhere the attention can wander to, and no duration of distraction, from which we cannot completely let go, in a moment, and begin again.”         Sharon Salzberg, Lovingkindness:  The Revolutionary Art of Happiness



How can we know all of who we are 

unless we take the time to be silently 

with ourselves, and to listen to 

the many voices of our heart?    

  1. Feldman


Mindfulness “invites us to be willing, over and over again in the face of even our own overwhelm, reluctance, and despair, to turn toward what we most want to turn away from. It invites us to accept what seems beyond accepting and to experiment with embracing the actuality of it with a sense of enormous kindness toward ourselves. This is a practice—one that can only unfold over time.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn, in “When Life Feels Hard.” Sounds True. iBooks


“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”  – Victor Frankl,  Author, Psychiatrist, Holocaust Survivor


The crucial factor influencing how well we can respond in any given situation seems to be the level of mindfulness we can bring to bear upon the moment. If we don’t care to be present, unconscious decision-making systems will function to get us through to the next moment, albeit in the grips of (often flawed) learned behaviors and conditioned responses. If, on the other hand, we can increase the amount of conscious awareness present by manifesting mindfulness, we expand the range of our possible responses. Even if disposed to anger, we can choose to act with kindness. This is the essence of our freedom in an otherwise heavily conditioned system.     Andrew Olendzki

Patience is a hard discipline.  It is not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control:  the arrival of the bus, the end of the rain, the return of a friend, the resolution of a conflict.  Patience is not waiting passively until someone else does something.  Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are.  We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later, and somewhere else.  Let’s be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.  Henri J.M. Nouwen

“Dwelling in stillness and looking inward for some part of each day, we touch what is most real and reliable in ourselves and most easily overlooked and undeveloped. When we can be centered in ourselves, even for brief periods of time in the face of the pull of the outer world, not having to look elsewhere for something to fill us up or make us happy, we can be at home wherever we find ourselves, at peace with things as they are, moment by moment.”  Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life 


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in Motivation and Inspiration

What if exercise didn’t make you sore?

I started a new Beginner Pilates Mat series this week, and at the beginning of class I found myself saying something to this group of new Pilates students that I felt like more people should hear.  I told them that they probably wouldn’t be sore after their first class and that’s OK and it’s actually a good thing. I told them they may feel some muscles they haven’t used in awhile and have what I like to call “muscle awareness” but really the last thing I wanted was for me to check in with them in a few days and find out they were so sore it almost hurt move!  I could just feel a sense of relief spread through the room when I said this.  My guess is that many of my participants who had finally gotten the courage to try Pilates, were already dreading how sore they might be after their first class.

I think in today’s society we have this perception that if you are not miserably sore after you exercise- it isn’t effective.  I asked them to get rid of this belief when they started their Pilates journey.  I asked them to start looking at movement and exercise from a different perspective.  Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying you should never have sore muscles from your Pilates practice- you will.  What I’m saying is that it is actually better and more effective for your body to gradually progress through exercises feeling mild soreness from the strengthening process, versus trying to do too much too soon and overloading your muscles to the place where you are likely to injure yourself.  I’m also saying that it’s OK if you are not sore from a Pilates/movement session!

The belief that you have to be sore from movement for it to be effective is really a little ridiculous if you think about it.  For instance, I walk on a daily basis to make sure I get my plenty of cardiovascular movement time in and to strengthen my body as a whole.  I would never think to myself, ” Wow, I’m never sore from walking so it must not be doing me any good!”  We all know that regular cardiovascular exercise like walking is great for your cardiovascular health, your muscles and even your bone strength!

Is the dread of post exercise soreness keeping you from trying Pilates?  I encourage you to rethink some of those old movement beliefs and come in and try out a complimentary introductory private session with one of our instructors.  Let us help you change your mind about how exercise should feel!



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in Motivation and Inspiration, Pilates in Your Life

Give Back to Our Community!

We are an official drop off for the Toys for Tots Campaign! We have a big box in our studio for you to drop off


Need some ideas for gifts? There are lists of suggested toys by age by the toy box at Rivercity Pilates! Bring your toys in by December 10!

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in Motivation and Inspiration

An Introduction to Mindfulness


I am very excited to focus on mindfulness at Rivercity Pilates this month. I have to admit, a few months ago I am not sure I really understood mindfulness. I am still not sure I do, but I am excited to share a few insights from my experience taking the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program through the University of Iowa.

When I signed up for the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program, I was apprehensive and not entirely sure what I was getting myself in to….What is mindfulness? How do I achieve it? What will it do for me? What I learned is there are many possible answers to these questions.

While my understanding of mindfulness continues to evolve, after participating in the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program, I have some initial answers to my questions.

What is mindfulness? According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Mindfulness is the awareness that comes from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.”

How do I achieve it? Mindfulness is a practice, not a destination. It is a way of living. In the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn, being mindful is simple but not easy.

A few ways that we practiced mindfulness during the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program include a guided body scan, meditation, mindful eating, mindful movement, and paying attention to our senses (smelling, tasting, feeling, seeing, and hearing) during events throughout the day.

What will it do for me? There are many potential benefits of practicing mindfulness, including decreased stress, decreased chronic pain, decreased anxiety, improved anger management, and improved quality of life. Personally, practicing mindfulness is helping me become more responsive rather than reactive. It is helping me focus on the present, rather than dwelling in the past or worrying about the future. It is helping me become a little less judgemental with myself by focusing on the process rather than the outcome. And for all of that, I am grateful.

“Mindfulness means seeing things as they are, without trying to change them.  The point is to dissolve our reactions to disturbing emotions, being careful not to reject the emotion itself.  Mindfulness can change how we relate to, and perceive our emotional states.”

Tara Bennet-Goldmen,PhD in Emotional Alchemy

For more information about mindfulness programs at the University of Iowa, visit https://uihc.org/mindfulness-programs

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in Pilates in Your Life

Gratitude Day Friday,  November 24

Do your Black Friday Shopping early, then come in and relax with free classes, snacks and special in studio deals starting at 9 am!!  Friends and family are welcome!

  • 9:00 am Zumba with Amy Boelk
  • 10:00 am Everybody Pilates Mat with Shelley Oglesby
  • 11:30 am Reformer Flow with Carey Sadler
  • 1:00 pm Restorative Pilates Mat with Carey Sadler


Sign up for FREE Classes!  Space is limited so sign up early to reserve your spot!

Click Here to sign up for a free class!

Healthy Snacks will be provided  by Amy Boelk and Tree of Life Health Coaching

Saturday and Sunday our client gratitude continues – bring any family or friend to class with you for free! 

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in Motivation and Inspiration

Zumba for active agers!

We’ve just recently added Zumba to our class schedule at the studio and we wanted to fill you in on why we love it so much!  Probably the number one reason we love it is that it is an amazing, safe workout for active agers of all ages.  Not sure what exactly an active ager is?  Read our definition below!

Active Agers:  Someone well past their 20’s who has realized that fitness and movement is not just something we do to fit into our favorite jeans…but that it is essential as a health tool in our life.  Active agers want to keep moving well so they can do all of the amazing things they want to do in their lifetime.  Active agers want their movement time to be effective and enjoyable and they don’t want to get hurt while doing it!!

So what’s so great about Zumba for active agers?  Here’s our favorite reasons:

  1. It’s fun!  Yep that’s our number one reason!  We believe that if your movement time is fun you are more likely to keep doing it!  What could be more fun than listening to some great music and dancing?
  2. Everyone can do it!  Our instructors teach you the dance moves and give options for every fitness level.  We love this because we know that everyone is safely getting their heart rate up, doing some great overall strengthening for their body and they are not going to get hurt doing it!
  3. It’s functional!    Dancing has your body moving in a variety of planes of movements, just like how you move in your daily life.  It’s great “moving in your life” training!


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in Motivation and Inspiration, Zumba

Should I be in a more advanced Pilates class?

I teach a weekly class that I call Return to Life on the Mat. In this class we practice the entire advanced Pilates Mat sequence that Joseph Pilates created in a very flowing tempo.  Most of the classes on our group class schedule are considered all levels, but Return to Life is not and because of that I require that students be approved by a teacher to take the class.  This is because we do exercises that are often not taught in an all levels class and the pace is pretty quick so there is not a lot of time as a teacher for me to stop and “teach” an exercise to an individual body who has not done it before.  As a teacher it’s always first on my list to keep all students safe in their body.  Truly this class flows enough that at the end of class your heart rate is often raised and you are dripping with sweat as if you just went for a brisk walk or run! If the challenge of being able to safely practice the advanced mat sequence is something you would love to do, definitely talk to me or your teacher about how we can help you get there!

Now that I’ve told you all about the advanced Pilates Mat class, I have something VERY important to tell you:

There is absolutely no need to be able to do advanced Pilates Mat exercises to get the amazing benefits of a Pilates practice in your life!!  

If you practice Pilates on a regular basis I probably don’t need to tell you this.   You’ve probably had some “aha” moments in your practice when you say to yourself:

“The more I learn about how to move my body correctly, the harder the exercises are!”

“I think that going slow and at a “beginners” pace today was harder than when we have more flow?!”

You can practice Pilates for your entire lifetime without doing the “advanced exercises” and you will still feel amazing in your body and you will still be progressing! 

The reason so many of our classes are “all levels” is that you don’t need to do a more advanced exercise to improve your Pilates practice.  When you practice Pilates exercises on a regular basis, when you learn to focus and concentrate more on each movement and be more precise, you are advancing in your Pilates practice!  And I’m guessing you’ve probably noticed that and said to yourself, “Why is this Pilates thing feeling more challenging the more I do it?!”.   It’s because you are progressing, improving and becoming a better, more efficient mover who is stronger and more balanced in their body.

The goal of your Pilates practice is not (or should not!) be to “get to a certain level” or to be able to do a particular exercise.  The goal is to move your body in a way that brings balance and uniform development to your body, which in turn allows your body to function at its best.  I believe the best way to achieve that goal is to find movement classes that you enjoy coming to and create an at home practice that supports your goal to create optimum health in your body.  Probably the most challenging part about a Pilates practice that I see in clients is consistency.  The method itself is amazing, and if you practice on a regular basis you will feel results and reap daily benefits from it.  But let’s face it…life gets crazy and movement and exercise time is often one of the things that easily gets thrown aside.  If you want to make a commitment to advancing your Pilates practice simply make a commitment to keep practicing!!






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in Motivation and Inspiration

Inspiration of the Month – Jane

Jane balancing on the rocks of Ellesmere Island, arctic Canada, August 2017.  Photo by Bill McClelland

When did you start Pilates and what inspired you to start?
I started Pilates in 1999 with a terrific instructor, but when she left the area I eventually stopped.  I finally restarted about a year ago doing private sessions with Carey.  I was terribly out of shape and out of balance – mostly due to a major surgery that severed the balance nerve on the right side of my brain – and these sessions have really helped me get “centered’ again.  Carey is absolutely fantastic at analyzing my body’s problems and working with me to improve form and function.  I am a field geologist, so fitness is important to me.
How often do you practice Pilates and what type of sessions or classes have you been doing?
I try to take 2 Pilates classes a week.  The private session with Carey keeps me honest.  Carey targets my trouble spots and really helps me with flexibility.  I also enjoy Shelley’s Every Body Mat Class.  I don’t have the patience to do 50 minutes of Pilates at home, but time flies in Shelley’s class.  The equipment classes are also great if you remember to sign up in time.  Recently, I tried Zumba for cardio … the jury is still out … but it is also good for coordination.
What benefits or improvements have you noticed in your body and life from doing Pilates? 
Since I started Pilates again, I notice my body moving better and my posture improving.  I really believe that keeping the body moving is the key to a healthy life, especially as I age.  My old rock climber balance will never be what it was, but I want to maintain what I have and maybe even improve.
Do you have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment (or both)?   
The challenge of doing Pilates on the reformer boxes really pushes me to the limit of my comfort zone, and I like that.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing Pilates?

Rivercity Pilates is a VERY welcoming place.  The classes are small by design, the space itself is cheerful, and best of all … the staff are amazing.  So if you are thinking about doing Pilates – go for it!  I convinced my husband to try it, and he is hooked.

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in Motivation and Inspiration

Do you do your side leg kicks with Precision?

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in Motivation and Inspiration

Nominate a Breast Cancer Survivor for a Pilates “Scholarship”

Nominate a Cancer Survivor and give them the gift of strength, inspiration, empowerment and encouragement… 

One of my passions as a movement teacher is helping people use movement to improve the quality of their life.  I truly believe that whatever is going on in your physical body, movement can be used as a tool to help you feel better in your body.  I’m so excited to be part of the nonprofit organization called Core Compassion.

Core Compassion Project is a non­profit organization dedicated to offering Pilates scholarships to cancer patients in order to reduce the side effects of cancer treatment. Specialized Pilates fitness training helps to restore physical strength and mental well­ being.
Click here to learn more about Core Compassion.  Click on Scholarships and be sure to read some of the amazing stories of those who have earned Pilates scholarships through Core Compassion!  On that same page you can apply for a scholarship or help a friend or loved one you know apply.  (It’s a really easy process!!)
Send us an email to learn more or if you need any help with the application process!!
P.S.  This is an ongoing program and scholarships can be applied for at any time! 

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in Motivation and Inspiration, Pink Ribbon Program

October Life Inspired – Free to the Community

Happy, Healthy Holidays!

Sunday, October 22
  6 pm to 7:30 pm
Life Inspired is a free monthly event that we host for us to connect, learn something new, and have fun!
Join Health Coach Amy Boelk and discover how to not just make it through the holiday season, but actually THRIVE!
…and join us afterwards for wine and chocolate!!
Sign up for the FREE Life Inspired Event:

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in Motivation and Inspiration

Do You Practice Pilates with Precision?

This month’s studio focus is the idea of “Precision” in your movement practice. For me, precision is simply fine tuning.  Precision is the challenge of continuing to practice a movement so that each time I do it, it gets a little better and I get a little bit “more” out of the exercise.  Precision is what keeps my mind occupied when I’m doing an exercise that I’ve done thousands of times.  Precision is also what creates movements that are controlled and refined.
Precision is one of the qualities of a Pilates practice that I believe really sets it apart from other movement modalities.  Our focus is rarely how many reps can we get in, or how fast can we move.  Our focus is on how we can move in a way that coordinates our breath and movement and use our muscles in a balanced way to move with ease.
As a Pilates teacher I am talking about precision in relationship to my Pilates practice, but the great thing about this idea of precision is that you can apply it to practically any movement practice.  If you are flowing through a Yoga pose or lifting a weight I think you’ll find that just changing your mindset to think about precision takes any movement you are doing to another level.  It makes it a little more challenging, it helps you move with more ease, with more balance and it helps you move better!

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in Motivation and Inspiration

October Beginner Yoga

Beginner Yoga 4 Week Series
picture of yoga classOur September series filled so quick we added two more Beginner Yoga series in October (Wednesdays at 7:30 pm) and in November (Tuesdays at 7:30 pm) 
This series is designed to introduce Yoga to those with limited or no experience.  If you’re a beginner in Yoga or haven’t practiced in awhile, start here!  Over the course of 4 weeks we will learn the basics of Yoga, breath work, postures and alignment and see how all of these combined will help you on your journey to more focus, balance, strength and flexibility.  $49 for the 4 week series.
Sign up: Click Here!

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in Yoga at Rivercity Pilates

Inspiration of the Month – Kathleen

Kathleen Knutson IOM
Inspiration of the Month
Kathleen Knutson

When did you start Pilates and what inspired you to start?
I starting taking Pilates classes at Rivercity a little over a year ago. I had sporadically taken large group mat classes over the years at various gyms but was looking for a smaller studio to get better instruction on the proper form of Pilates.
How often do you practice Pilates and what type of sessions or classes have you been doing?  
I usually take 2 classes a week, one equipment and one mat. I would like to fit in one more this fall/winter per week as my schedule allows.
What benefits or improvements have you noticed in your body and life from doing Pilates? 

I’ve really noticed positive differences in my balance, range of motion and strength. Especially in my neck and core.  Core strength is important to me because I have moderate scoliosis.

Do you have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment (or both)?    
Any exercise that involves stretching my spine one way and then the other are my favorites. Feels great!
What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing Pilates?
Pilates is a great alternative to traditional strength training such as cross fit or HIIT.  There’s less risk of injury.  Cardio is also very important.  I very much enjoy taking Jazzercize classes in Cedar Rapids too.

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in Inspiration of the Month


 This month’s studio focus is the idea of centering in your movement practice and in your life, and I think it’s pretty relevant to this time of year.
For me centering represents focusing on the important stuff first, because I find when I take care of what matters most first everything else falls into place.  When I’m practicing Pilates this means giving myself time to take care of myself and simply focus on myself even though life is crazy busy and I could be doing 100 other things other than Pilates.  It also means focusing on moving from my center first, because all the other details of the exercises often fall into place when I come back to practicing initiating movement from my center.
What does centering mean to you? We’re hoping you’ll take some time this month and explore how a little focus on centering might improve your movement practice!

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in Instructional Video, Mini Workout, Motivation and Inspiration

The one piece of fitness equipment that trains EVERY body….

I think we could all agree that not all workouts are for EVERY body.  For example….running is not the best choice for EVERY body.  If you are overweight or have knee or hip issues…running is not going to feel good on your body and its not necessarily good for it as it may exuberate pre-existing conditions.  Another example…if you have low back problems, jumping into a fitness program that does a lot of burpees and planks may actually make your back pain worse if you are not using good form.  Yet if you are an elite athlete, or fairly healthy with no pre-existing conditions this might be the perfect type of workout for you.  I truly believe there is not one exercise program that is the perfect fit for EVERY body…although I do think there might just be a piece of equipment that effectively trains EVERY body- the Pilates Reformer.  Let me explain.

The Universal Reformer, as inventor Joseph Pilates called it was truly designed to be adaptable to train EVERY body.

Here’s some examples:

For the overweight person who is just starting to exercise, the Reformer provides a supportive place to strengthen the entire body without strain.

  • Many exercises are done lying down on a moving carriage hence giving the body a way to strengthen the muscles without the weight bearing in knees and hip joints that can cause pain and discomfort.
  • The adjustable spring tension allows clients to be really supported in their movements (no straining!) and slowly progress as they strengthen.
  • The design of the reformer allows practitioners to strengthen their core muscles in non traditional ways( ie no sit ups!!).

For the overall healthy, fit person the Reformer works with the individual to challenge their strength, flexibility and balance in a very safe progressive manner giving them what I like to call the most bang for their buck.  You know… a super effective all over body workout that doesn’t take 4 hours..

  • The Reformer is designed to “work with the body” giving it feedback on how balanced it is and how it could work most efficiently.  This feedback from the spring based Reformer system allows practitioners to make adjustments in their alignment and muscles engagement quicker.  This constant feedback system is kind of like having a great coach giving you constant positive feedback as you workout about how you can get more out of your workouts.  The results are increased strength, balance and flexibility quicker than traditional strength training or flexibility workouts.
  • The Reformer exercise sequences are designed to challenge the body and your brain.  For most this means that this highly effective workout has the side effect of reducing stress and leaving you feeling energized after spending your workout coordinating your movements with your purposeful breath.
photo by getty images

Jake Arietta, Pitcher Chicago Cubs

For the elite athlete looking to improve their performance:

  • The feedback from the Reformer allows athlete to quickly identify patterns and movement habits in their body that are affecting their specific sport movements.
  • Many sport specific movements can be imitated on the reformer….giving the athlete’s body a chance to strengthen and balance their body specifically for their sport.
  • There are a variety of advanced exercises in the Reformer series that I’m pretty sure Joseph Pilates designed with an elite athlete in mind.  To get to these exercises you really have to develop the entire body uniformly and have a uniform combination of strength, flexibility and balance. The challenge of these exercises allows athletes to truly take their bodies to the “next level” of competition.
  • The Reformer Sequence is designed to challenge the mind and the body equally and everyone knows that the mind is just as important as the body when it comes to being able to excel at any sport at a high level.  The Reformer could be considered mind training for athletes!!

Curious about what the Pilates reformer could do for you?  Our Beginner Reformer 4 week series starts every 4-6 weeks.    Let us know if you’re interested! We’d love to introduce you to this fabulous piece of equipment!!




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Breath Inspired Pilates Mat Workout

Our focus this month has been on breath.    This 15 minute Pilates Mat Workout focuses on using the full capacity of your breath, coordinating your breath with your movements and just plain breath awareness!


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