Inspiration of the Month May 2019 Brenda Kochanny

When did you start Pilates and what inspired you to start?     

My Pilates practice started as a joke. My girlfriends and I decided we needed to find an alternative to happy hour. In all seriousness, the joke turned into the feeling of my muscles getting longer and uncoiling from stress. When I started I had just had twins and was early in my trading career with high stress and high demands.  At this time I didn’t have time for exercise and I loathed exercising, but Pilates never felt like exercise to me, as I loved it. So, I bought the Windsor Pilates VHS tapes and off I went!

How often do you practice Pilates and what type of sessions or classes have you been doing?    

My goal right now is 3-5 times per week. I mix it up with Mat Class, Reformer, Roll/Release & Relax on Saturday morning, and Privates with Carey.  With some current health challenges if I can do Pilates this often I have found my body and pain level responds very well.  

What benefits or improvements have you noticed in your body and life from doing Pilates?  

Pilates for me is a big benefit to my stress and tension levels.  When I do an early morning class I stand taller and ready for the day. When I know it’s going to be a particular challenging day in the office I get to the early morning class. Being recently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis & other Autoimmune Conditions Pilates has been a key to my journey to find my way back to less pain, function and decreasing fatigue. Pilates is less impact on my body and if I am having a particular hard day I can change my level of intensity or the way I do the exercise and still get movement in which is key to my health. Another key for my health is stress reduction.  Being in a high demanding Agriculture Commodity Trading business my neck and shoulders have been known to turn into cement.  Doing Pilates keeps me from turning into cement, which keeps me away from doctors and physical therapists offices.

Do you have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment (or both)?    

Favorite exercise is Seal & I love the Reformer!  The Seal reminds me of doing Pilates early on in my living room during the early morning hours and being terrible at it.  I couldn’t roll and my legs were going everywhere! My biggest concern was my husband seeing my crazy Seal legs and laughing at me. The reformer classes feel like my muscles stretch even further, which is always good for me. I love the different balls we use in Roll/ Release class and I have bought my own and they travel with me.  Some days I have to get them out during the day if it’s a harder day in the office and use them to roll out my neck and upper traps. If I do it sooner than later I have no headaches.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing Pilates? 

Do it… You can adjust each exercise or each class. Even if you aren’t feeling on your game you can get benefits of it.  If you’re looking for stress relief do Pilates. Coming from a person who has a love hate for exercise do Pilates. Pilates is an investment for today and for your future health.  I truly believe Pilates saves me from other medical bills.

How does doing Pilates make you a better Mom?    

Pilates has helped me with stress for the entire life of my kids. Over the last year my kids have seen me do less and be in pain. Getting a diagnosis, outlining a path on how to improve my health and doing Pilates consistently has helped reduce my pain and fatigue, so I feel like doing things again.  My kids will graduate high school this year so I need to stay active so I can travel to see them wherever their adventures take them.  I have many more years of being a part of my kid’s lives and Pilates is crucial to that.  Pilates keeps me grounded. I find so many times during my everyday life of using my breathing practice.

How has the journey of becoming a Pilates teacher effected your Pilates practice?  

Being a teacher has helped me be more aware of movement in my own body. I think there are a couple exercises that I was probably “hanging out”, so now I know how to engage more and reap the benefits.  Using different props in my practice has been very beneficial.


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Secret Momming Energy Tricks!

Somebody said to me this month… Don’t you get tired of being at the studio? And how do you get everything done? How do you get your kids to places, do the dishes, fold the clothes, do all the mom stuff and life stuff… and how do you find time to sit on your butt and watch Netflix and just relax??
I laughed and said well… sometimes that stuff just doesn’t get done! But really… I have an amazing husband who shares all the family duties with me and we coordinate as much as we can to get the important stuff done( you know .. kids to school, feed the kids( totally Jeff’s department as I don’t cook..), laundry, cleaning, etc  AND we try not to get too crazy with each other when the house is messier than we’d like, the kids are fighting with each other and we forget an appointment that we thought the other person was going to take the kids to…. 
Do I get tired of being at the studio?…honestly no. There are days when I am ready to go home so I can replenish and get some me time in and get some family time in…but I love what I get to do! That must be the key because even after a crazy day when I’ve been teaching for 8 or more hours and trying to do business stuff in between…I wouldn’t change it for anything.   As for finding time to sit on my butt and watch Netflix…that’s pretty rare and I’m ok with that.  I’ll sit and watch an occasional show with my hubby or kids but honestly I would rather relax by reading a book, going for a walk or taking a relaxing bath! 
Momming and parenting in general is hard.   If you are a parent I don’t have to tell you this!!
50% (that’s generous… maybe 75% if I’m being really honest!) of the time I feel like I am totally failing at parenting and the other 50 percent I am having proud mom moments when I just stand back in awe at the loving, caring people our kiddos are becoming..
Pilates and movement are clearly my business but they are also a non negotiable part of my life that keeps me sane, less stressed and focused on what’s really important to me and my family.
I kind of feel like movement is my secret momming energy trick…
For a long time I didn’t realize how powerful it actually was in my life but lately I have really realized that if I’m not moving on a regular basis all the other stuff in life gets harder… I get stressed out easier, I feel lethargic and I don’t get my to do lists done! So I’ve made it a point this year to be overly intentional about my movement time. Here are 3 pretty simple movement rules I follow in my life…
  1. EVERY day starts with a minimum of 10 minutes Pilates time. I picked 10 minutes because I can always fit 10 minutes in. 10 minutes doesn’t seem like much but because it’s short I can commit to staying focused and flowing through exercises and I always get a great little workout in. Many days if I have time I do work out longer but honestly my longest morning workout are usually only a half hour max!
  2. ALWAYS a walk with the dog.. rain or shine I figure we always both need a walk… so even if it is a run around the block in the pouring rain or snow… I just do it!
  3. If I’m feeling tired or lethargic (this usually happens in the afternoon) I make myself do a minute of movement time before I reach for tea or coffee… yep just a minute! And you know what? 9/10 times I don’t get the coffee! My favorite go to movements are bouncing on the big ball for a minute, jumping jacks, or footwork on the reformer if I’m at the studio… all these things engage my whole body, get my heart rate up and my breathing activated and always leave me feeling energized!! It’s kind of amazing how simple yet effective this can be!

If you haven’t ever thought about how important moving your body is in helping give you energy to live the rest of your life, maybe today is the day to think about it! If you are rushing through life and find yourself not having the energy to do all of the things you want to do I would encourage you to explore how you could add some movement and exercise time into your life in ways that will improve how all your days feel! And of course if you need some ideas or suggestions myself and the movement teachers at Rivercity Pilates would love to help! 





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in Motivation and Inspiration

Inspiration of the Month Ellen Alexander April 2019

Ellen Alexander

April 2019 Inspiration of the Month

When did you start Pilates and what inspired you to start?
I’ve been thinking about trying to start Pilates for a couple of years, and finally took the plunge late last year. I’ve had some chronic shoulder problems in the past, including a frozen shoulder, and had tried Neural Reset Therapy with Sara See, which is what got me in the door of Rivercity. I’ve practiced Yoga off and on for years, and wanted to get back into the habit of this type of movement. As I age I’m starting to realize more and more how important strength and stretching are to feeling good.

How often do you practice Pilates and what type of sessions or classes have you been doing?  
I have mostly been doing mat classes, but have also enjoyed Equipment classes and a few Pilates Mat and Barre classes. I love the variety.   I have also been taking advantage of Rivercity’s online presence and trying to do some of the YouTube videos at home a few days per week. I’ve been trying to follow along with March MATness, and find myself randomly just doing small Pilates-inspired movement as I make dinner or sit at my desk at work.

What benefits or improvements have you noticed in your body and life from doing Pilates? 
I feel like I’m using my muscles more as they are meant to be used. I’m more aware of my core muscles and my posture, and I am finding muscles I didn’t realize I had. I have more energy and it just seems to motivate me to be more active – doing the Pilates workouts does not register as exercise on my Apple Watch, but I feel like other activity is much more likely to register on days when I have done Pilates (like when I walk, I’m doing it with more energy and it counts!). Finally, I find it to be a mental enough practice that it is a mind break. Paying attention to so many details of what my body is doing forces me into mindfulness.

Do you have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment (or both)?
Two exercises that always make me smile are Seal and Helicopter. With Seal I think it’s just the silliness, and Helicopter really gets my hips. Anything that is a good shoulder stretch I also love. Open Leg Rocker is my nemesis so far, but I’m hoping that our relationship will evolve.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing Pilates?
I would encourage anyone to try. It is so customizable and not as intimidating as it might seem. Part of the beauty is how personalized a Pilates practice is – it grows with you and I’ve already started to discover details and layers I wasn’t aware of when I first started. The staff at Rivercity Pilates truly make it fun. It is a wonderfully welcoming and encouraging environment filled with people of all different ages and fitness levels.

What do you like about taking the early morning classes? 
I love getting to the studio before I really have a chance to think about it. I love how it gently warms up and wakes up my body for the day. It is also a great way for me to fit it in before the other demands of the day have a chance at me.

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in Inspiration of the Month, Motivation and Inspiration

Is Pilates “real exercise”?

“I feel amazing when I get done with Pilates!”    “I never get out of breath during Pilates.”     “I’m never super sore from Pilates, yet I can tell I did something.”    “I feel taller and longer when I’m done with Pilates.”  “I actually enjoy Pilates!”  

All the reasons that so many people LOVE their Pilates workout, are also all the reasons that so many Pilates virgins are skeptical that this lovable method of exercise could actually be effective!  It’s true that a Pilates workout does not leave your body feeling the same as it might after a long run, an aerobics class or even a weight training session, but don’t let that trick you into thinking that it’s not effective “real” exercise.  

ex·er·cise   /ˈeksərˌsīz/  noun:   activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness
Here’s a quick list of all the amazing benefits that make Pilates a method of exercise that is guaranteed to improve your health:
  • Strengthen Your Muscles   Pilates exercises are designed to strengthen all the muscles in your body if they need it.  One of the goals of the Pilates method is to uniformly develop your body. This means that by practicing the exercises you will develop strength in your muscles in a way that balances your body out.  I often describe this simply as strengthening the weak muscles and stretching the tight muscles so that your body functions more efficiently and you are less prone to injuries caused from imbalances.  
  • Gain Flexibility  When you strengthen the weak muscles in your Pilates exercises, you will simultaneously stretch and lengthen the muscles that are chronically tight in your body.  This means you will gain flexibility and mobility in your body without having to spend hours simply holding stretches.  
  • Gain Mobility in Your Spine    By doing exercises that move your body in a variety of ways that you might not do a lot in your everyday life, you will feel more mobile and less stiff in your back and throughout your entire body.
  • Increased Circulation    Pilates uses whole body movements and focused breathing techniques that will increase circulation throughout your body.  Blood circulation is what keeps our bodies functioning and increased circulation can promote healthier skin, promote cell growth and just plain help you feel better and more energized.  
  • Physical Activity that increases your heart rate   Our bodies were designed to move!   Pilates classes and sessions are designed to have you moving throughout.  You may not get your heart rate up as much as you would for a run, but your heart rate will increase and you will be active throughout your session.   
  • Decrease feelings of stress and anxiety       Physical activity like Pilates produces endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.   Studies show that physical activity is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function.  

If you are used to traditional exercise methods that leave you feeling the burn, exhausted and out of breath, and maybe so sore the next day it’s hard to sit, then learning Pilates will definitely be a change. Just because it feels different though doesn’t mean it isn’t effective!  The Pilates method is versatile enough to be an effective exercise method for professional athletes and adaptive enough to be a favorite method for practitioners in their 60’s and beyond.  If you are curious about what it could do for your body and your life, we would love to introduce you to it!  Click here to schedule a complimentary session with one of our trained Pilates professionals.    




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in Motivation and Inspiration, Pilates in Your Life

Confessions of a 66-year-old Pilates Teacher

Let me begin by telling you that I was never very confident. Nope. Not me!

As a young girl, I felt contented and enjoyed my life very much, but somewhere amidst those years of growing up, I lost confidence. Totally! :/  Perhaps it was because I grew up in the 60’s?!? It was a turbulent time. I just wanted to be a wife and mother but suddenly women were demanding to be liberated, burning their bras, and deciding which career to pursue! It was very confusing for me because I had to write notes just to remind myself to wear a bra on gym days so the Senior girls wouldn’t laugh at me.  (Bra-burning was something I would never consider!) All I really wanted in those days was to be rail-thin (just like Twiggy!), to have perfect hair (long, dark, and straight), and to have a boyfriend. Well, I was thin, and even had the perfect hair, yet never seemed to have the boyfriend. Most girls I know from “back then” dated someone in high school, got married, raised families and rocked grandchildren, and are now celebrating 40+ years of marriage. Not me though!

Looking back, I just don’t think I knew myself very well. I married an older man and divorced after just ten years of marriage (and one great son). I’ve dated since then, collected a couple of graduate degrees, gone on some great Life adventures (moved to Arizona, then to Grand Cayman Island) and ultimately, returned home to Iowa. Still, I continued to question where I belong. It wasn’t until I returned to the Iowa City area in the Spring of 2017 that everything started to click; all the dots started to connect.

So why do I share this with you now? Well, I started reading “Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis and because I adore her transparency, I decided to become more transparent. By doing so, perhaps you’ll see me with all of my flaws (yikes!) and decide to give Pilates a try. Get ready because here’s the big reveal: Pilates has changed my life. And I want it to change yours!

What have I gained from my Pilates practice?
1. I decided to become a Pilates teacher at about the same time that I started to practice regularly. Very soon afterward, my father passed away and I almost quit the teaching program. My father thought it had been such a great idea to train and then, to teach Pilates in my retirement, but suddenly, I felt lost. I was grieving deeply. The teacher training program and obviously, regular Pilates practice, forced me to concentrate on something outside that grief. I embraced it as an attempt to work through that period of sorrow.

2. I am more confident. No- I AM confident. (I can’t believe I just wrote that!) I challenged myself in many different ways and made it over
every single hurdle. (I’m shy, for one thing, and I had to teach and do Pilates in front of people I practically idolized.)

3. I am all of the following: Stronger. Centered. Calmer. Relaxed. Happier. Things just don’t rattle me anymore.

4. I reflect on a more regular basis. And I’m more forgiving of myself and others.

5. I sleep better! After a bath, a cup of chamomile tea, and some reading, it’s lights out. Literally and figuratively. I wake refreshed and eager for the new day.

6. I feel younger. And I finally had the confidence to let my hair return to its natural color, knowing that no one’s opinion would or could
convince me to dye it again. This is who I am.

7. I am committed to being present… in my mind and body, to the practice and teaching of Pilates, and to my Life.

8. I feel younger! Yep. Not sure when that happened but age really is just a number.

9. I am more committed to the parts of my Life that I hold most dear: my family, my friends, my fur-babies.

10. I am contented with not being a Perfect 10. I am Jane. And I am Enough!

Come try Pilates for yourself.
Take my Beginner workshop. I promise results.

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in Motivation and Inspiration, Pilates & Aging

Inspiration of the Month: Theresa Johnson

Inspiration of the Month
Theresa Johnson

When did you start Pilates and what inspired you to start?         
I talked my friend Diana into taking a beginning class with me. I have had back problems for years and I was looking for a way to get stronger and relieve that pain. I had just finished up a round of physical therapy and knew I needed to continue with some type of exercise. (What I have found is that many of the movements we practice in Pilates, are the same or similar to what the physical therapist was teaching me to do.) I was scared that I would not be able to do the Pilates exercises, but Carey was so helpful in teaching me how to modify the movements to protect my back that I was able to do everything!  

How often do you practice Pilates and what type of sessions or classes have you been doing?
I try to attend classes twice a week. I mix it up between mat classes and the tower. I also do the stomach series most mornings at home.

What benefits or improvements have you noticed in your body and life from doing Pilates?
My back pain is so much better. Before Pilates, I would have to miss work and take muscle relaxers when my back went out. I have not called in sick to work, because of my back in a year. I am so much stronger. I love it!

Do you have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment (or both)?
I really like doing roll down on the Tower, because the stretch is incredible. But, I am proudest of the fact that I can now do Teaser! It took a while, and it isn’t always pretty, but I can do it!

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing Pilates?
Just do it. Take a beginning series class and don’t be afraid to tell the instructor about any issues you have in your body. If I can do it, you can too.

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in Inspiration of the Month

What does it mean to flow when you are exercising???

Flow is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot when we talk about movement, but I often wonder if people really know what it means? What does it mean to be flowing in your movements and why would you even want to make that a goal during your movement practice and how would you go about it?  
Let’s start by talking about what exactly is “flow”?
I consider flow being intentional about moving from one exercise to the next and not losing concentration, engagement and focus in the “in between time” between exercises. This can be as simple as continuing to breathe and knowing how you are going to transition from one exercise from the next. In my own mind I always think of my movement time like a well choreographed dance that doesn’t stop until the song is over or in the case of Pilates when the workout is over!  For example let’s talk about transitioning from the Hundred exercise to your Roll up.  When you first learn the Hundred you might just do the exercise then rest your body on the mat when you are done( this might look like collapsing your body to a comfortable position and possibly talking to your neighbor about how much you despise the hundred!!)  and wait for the teacher to explain what you are doing next.  After the initial learning phase of the exercise you can build strength and endurance by not “resting” after that exercise and heading right into the next exercise.  After finishing the hundred exercise you might extend your legs on the mat and take 1 full breath where you set up your body to get ready to roll up.  On the very next breath you would start moving in to the rolling up of the exercise.    
So Flow creates muscular endurance… What’s the benefit of muscular endurance?   You wont get tired as easy!  For instance have you ever been at a stadium where you’ve had to walk up what feels like a gazillion steps to get to your seat? When you muscles have more endurance you don’t have to rest as often during your walk up those stairs! 
Why would you want to do that?
1. Flowing is more mindful and takes more concentration.  Flowing from one exercise to the next and not taking your mind off what you are doing trains or mind to be better at focusing and concentrating( and let’s face it…in today’s world of many distractions we all need that!!)
2. You’ll get double the benefits from the workout.  Yep that’s right… by simply not taking an all out rest in between each exercise you will keep your muscles engaged and working and they will get stronger quicker and you’ll gain muscular endurance.
***Side note…What’s the benefit of muscular endurance?   You won’t get tired as easy!  For instance have you ever been at a stadium where you’ve had to walk up what feels like a gazillion steps to get to your seat? When you muscles have more endurance you don’t have to rest as often during your walk up those stairs! 
So how can you work on adding more flow into your movement practice?
The easiest way in a group class setting is to make it your goal to be mindful of what you are doing in between exercises.  Even if the teacher doesn’t specifically cue a transition or something particular to do you can still make a point of noticing what you do in the in between time and being purposeful about whatever it is you are doing!  If you are practicing at home or by yourself you can practice flowing together 3 or 4 exercises at a time and see how that changes the movements for you.  
Ready to give it a try?  We would love to know how it goes!  Here’s a video we created specifically to practice your flow in your Pilates Mat work! 

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in Pilates in Your Life

Pilates with my Love

In honor of Valentines this week I thought I would write a little bit about my love, my hubby Jeff.  People will often ask me if he does Pilates and the answer is yes, but probably not as often as he would like.  Which of course seems like a shame since I own a studio and spend my life teaching and at the studio.

Jeff first started Pilates when I started the teaching training program 18 plus years ago.  He was my first guinea  pig!  I had picked him to be my practice teaching client for the program because I thought it would be fun to teach him and we were living together so clearly finding time to practice would be easy.  It turns out this was not the case and that was when it was just the two of us, no kids. We were both working full time and juggling schedules and we found that it was really hard to consistently get sessions in and really easy to just skip it on days when other commitments came up or one of us was tired or unmotivated.  So I decided to pick a new practice client because I needed to have someone consistent to get through my practice hours with.

Fast forward 18 years and we seem to have the same problem when it comes to him getting in for Pilates sessions!  Over the years Jeff has definitely snuck in to do Pilates with me and at the studio.  He even went through part of my teacher training program thinking it would be helpful for me to have an extra teacher at the studio. At the time that just didn’t work out because it was too chaotic trying to juggle him getting the training hours in with kids’ schedules and his work schedule. Now that our kids are older and we have a little more freedom in our time he has started back doing his teacher training hours again and he’s hoping to be able to eventually teach some mens only Pilates classes at RCP! 

img_3457Like most people our lives seem jam packed with work, kids activities, family time and along the way trying to take care of our own health by adding in some healthy movement and exercise.  As a studio owner’s wife, Jeff has inherited the job of studio maintenance guy and most of his time in the studio is when I need help with projects or something is broken!

img_7044One of our goals for Jeff is to arrange our schedules so he can get into the studio at least once a week for a session with me or a class.  For the most part we have been making it work and it’s been fun!  I love that I get to help him do something that is good for his health, but more than that I love the time we get to spend together when we do his sessions.  When we first started this I realized how little time we get to spend together that doesn’t involve the kids and home projects.  It’s kind of funny, but our Pilates time kind of feels like date nights.  It’s so nice to get to spend an entire session focused on Pilates and movement and nothing else…no phones to distract us, no kids yelling Mom! Dad!, etc.

Want to introduce your spouse to Pilates and try a Pilates date?  Schedule a complimentary private session to introduce him or her to Pilates! Want to try a class together? This month’s free Life Inspired Community class is a free Pilates Couples class on February 9th at 6 pm. This class  is designed to have everyone moving safely (no crazy hard exercises that will make newbies feel uncomfortable!) and having fun while exploring the Pilates method.  

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in Motivation and Inspiration

What could be better than teaching Pilates Mat?

Have you met the Pilates reformer? If you teach Pilates mat work and haven’t practiced Pilates regularly on the reformer….you are seriously missing out!  You are missing out on having a deeper understanding of the Pilates method in your own body and you are missing out on one of the best Pilates teaching tools EVER!!  Don’t get me wrong…I love Pilates mat work.  I love how easy it is to do anywhere because all you need is your body…but if you are someone who wants to explore what the Pilates method can do for your body and for the bodies of clients of all shapes, sizes and abilities: you need to study the Pilates method utilizing Joseph Pilates’ Reformer.

 Here’s just a few of the things you’ll learn while going through the training program:

  • The reformer will helps you (and your clients) find your alignment.  The design of the equipment gives feedback that allows you to self correct and figure out how to find your own best alignment.
  • You’ll find engagement in your body during exercises that you didn’t know you could or should do. The straps and spring of the reformer give your body support and at the same time teach you how to engage your muscles more efficiently.  This will build strength, flexibility and balance in your body in a way that will completely change your Pilates Mat work.
  • By studying Pilates in different places( ie different pieces of equipment)  you’ll learn new tools that you can use to help yourself and your clients safely and effectively train their body.  

Our Pilates Reformer Teacher Training Program starts on April 13th! The program is designed to help you learn how to use the Pilates Reformer as a teaching tool for yourself and your clients.  You’ll learn how the reformer can be ideal for clients overcoming injury and imbalances and you’ll walk away from the program comfortable teaching Pilates classes and private sessions on the Pilates reformer.  Read more about our program here.  Contact Carey today at 319.665.2499 or to learn more about signing up for the program.  


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in Teacher Training

Inspiration of the Month-February 2019 Donny Lindell

Inspiration of the Month
February 2019 
Donny Lindell

When did you start Pilates and what inspired you to start? 
I started Pilates in April 2018. My reasoning for starting Pilates goes back to Memorial Day 2017.  I woke up that morning and experienced a sharp snapping sensation in my left knee and it wasn’t long until the right knee decided to join in. This turned into constant discomfort and pain.  After what felt like a million doctors visits, MRI’s, XRays and PT- I was diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder: Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (hEDS).  After learning there really is not a medical fix for this condition I was instructed to go to PT in order to strengthen my body to support my “loose” joints.   Throughout PT my physical therapists and doctors all recommended I try Pilates since it was something that would help me build overall strength.  I decided to give it a shot after my brother went and scoped out Rivercity Pilates and did a private himself. He came back to me with all the information and I decided it was worth a shot!!

How often do you practice Pilates and what type of sessions or classes have you been doing? 
I try to go to at least 4 classes weekly, but on the days I am not able to make it to class I incorporate Pilates exercises into my morning stretches/exercises.

What benefits or improvements have you noticed in your body and life from doing Pilates?
Pilates has really helped me manage my pain/discomfort on a daily basis.  When I start my day with Pilates it always makes me feel so much better mentally and physically.  For those reasons I actually have decided to to the Teacher Training Program as well!!  I really feel that Pilates  has helped me so much and am excited to learn all I can and hopefully help others who may be experiencing anything similar. 

Do you have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment (or both)?
I really love the Roll Down or Neck Pull right now, but I have SO much to learn, so who knows what my next Favorite will be!!

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing Pilates?
I would say “DO IT”! Not only is it a great way to get a whole body workout but it helps you so much in your daily life!!!  

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in Motivation and Inspiration

Wait….those people in that Pilates class look normal

Just last week I was chatting with a client during one of her introductory private sessions and we were talking about adding some more classes into her regular routine.  She mentioned that she was enjoying her beginner classes she had started doing and she thought she was ready to add in another time or two per week. She also mentioned how relieved she was to see that the people that were headed to a different class on our schedule that day were….well…normal.  I could tell that seeing a variety of ages and body shapes heading into class helped her realize that she too could do a class and not feel out of place! 

So many times in life I think the thing that stops us from doing something that might make a huge difference in our life and in how our body feels on a regular basis is our fear, our fear of worrying about what other people might think of us and our fear of not fitting in.   I know that my passion and “my why” in life have a lot to do with helping people realize how movement can be an amazing health tool in their life to live their best life.  I’ve also come to realize that the hardest part about sharing my passion with others is that for me to get to have the chance to share it with people I first have to convince them that their fears of not fitting in, not being strong enough, not being flexible enough, etc to start a movement practice are not really true!!    

If you are one of those people who really wants to add some movement time into your life but you are just plain scared that you might not fit in or you might not be able to do are not alone!  Most of our clients feel that way when they get started!  But I have to tell you…it doesn’t take them very long to figure out that Rivercity Pilates is a place where everyone fits in. 

Let me help you out with rethinking some of those fears! 

  • I am too old…    nonsense!!   If you are wanting exercise and move at whatever age you are, doesn’t it make sense that there are others close to your age that feel the same way? 
  • I am too out of shape…..    I know you probably don’t believe me but I can promise you that our teachers are experts at giving you exercises that are within your abilities that can be done at a level you are comfortable at AND you will not feel out of place doing it! 
  • I’m not sure if I can do it because of …(fill in the blank with an ailment or injury)    Again….I know this might be hard to believe but our teachers not only know how to give you exercises that allow you to strengthen and move no matter what is going on….they do it all the time even in small group settings.  When you take small group classes at our studio you will see people in class doing lots of different variations on exercises because we know that not every body is the same.  You won’t feel out of place adjusting an exercise for your body because we insist that everyone does the exercise in a way that is beneficial for their body (and we of course will help you figure out what that way is!) 

Ready to get out of your own way and experience how movement can help you feel better in your body?  Schedule you complimentary session today!




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in Motivation and Inspiration

Happy Hour Pilates may be your perfect FIRST Pilates class!

Does the thought of attending your first Pilates class terrify you? You are not alone! Maybe you are worried you won’t be able to do any of the exercises and you’ll look silly?  Maybe you are worried everyone in class will be younger and more fit than you? Maybe you are just nervous that you won’t fit in.  If you’ve been wanting to start Pilates classes but have been a little nervous about your first class here are 5 reasons why our Monthly Happy Hour Pilates class may be the perfect first class for you!!

  1.  This all levels class is super beginner friendly!  With a name like Happy Hour Pilates this class is designed to be fun, relaxed and you’ll do lots of things that will feel good in your body after a long week!  You definitely won’t feel any pressure to be able to do anything perfectly and even if you are brand new to Pilates you’ll feel comfortable!
  2. The people coming to class want to chat with you!  Happy Hour Pilates class is just as much about the social connections as it is the movement and exercise time. The others coming to this class enjoy getting to talk with other clients and connect with others. By staying after class for snacks, refreshments and social time you’ll have a chance to meet some other clients who take classes at Rivercity Pilates and get a feel for if you will enjoy other classes at the studio.
  3. Even if you hate class, the snacks and refreshments after are always fabulous!  Ha,Ha…we know you won’t hate class but seriously we always have some great snacks and refreshments!!
  4. If its your first class ever at Rivercity Pilates…it’s free!  New clients can take advantage of a complimentary free first class!  Not only can you try out Pilates at Rivercity Pilates for free, you get snack and refreshments too!  #scoreforyou 
  5. You’ll leave happy!  What could be better than ending your week with a happy experience… using movement to take care of your body, connecting with others and sharing some laughs!  

Sign up for this month’s Happy Hour Class here or call us at 319.665.2499!  Drop ins are welcome for this class! 



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in Motivation and Inspiration

Happy Hour Pilates for January!

Celebrate the first Friday of each month with some “you time” to strengthen and align your body and de-stress! Jane’s Happy Hour Pilates class is an all levels Pilates Mat class (beginners welcome!) that will incorporate extra time at the end of class to relax and release tight muscles utilizing the foam roller and specialized therapy balls.
This month we are celebrating the cold with toasty warm drinks…peppermint hot cocoa, Carmel apple cider (non alcoholic versions available too!)
“Happy Hour Pilates” is Friday, January 4th at 5pm!





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in Motivation and Inspiration

Looking for a whole body strengthening workout that also makes your back more mobile?

This beginner friendly Pilates equipment class will explore using a variety of pieces of the Pilates equipment to help you gain mobility in your back while increasing your core strength and getting a great whole body workout. Both beginners and more experienced students will enjoy this class!

Space is limited to 5 participants so sign up early to reserve your spot! If you are brand new to the studio or Pilates we always recommend starting off with a complimentary private Pilates session before your first class!

Tuesdays at 7 pm with Shaina Boylan.  Purchase 4 classes for $89 or use any of our class card or membership options!

Makeup classes are possible if you need to miss a week.

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in Group Classes, Pilates Equipment

Inspiration of the Month: Rachel Piper

Being riddled with back issues, knee issues, and a hip flexor injury that would leave me limping if I did anything strenuous, I found myself nearing the last half of the last year of my thirties with the worst back pain I’d ever had since my injury in 2002. Anytime I did an activity with my 6 year old I would find myself feeling wobbly and weak. I couldn’t sleep on my back without so much pain. I thought, “I have got to do something about this before I turn forty”.

Everyone always gave me the same advice – strengthen your core and you’ll have less back problems. Strengthen your core and you’ll have more balance. Everything always comes back to the core. I realized I need to go somewhere, outside my home, to mix it up because I didn’t trust myself to stick with it if I did it at home. I decided I would take a small step forward and try doing yoga; something I had loved in the past.

I searched for weekend Yoga classes and asked a local mom’s group for suggestions on Yoga studios that had classes on the weekend. One of the first comments was a recommendation for Rivercity Pilates who had “beginner classes that were fantastic”. I had not done Yoga in at least 15 years, so I figured a beginner class would be a great idea. I was out of shape and out of the loop, so I got on the website and was tunnel-visioned on yoga. Then a box popped up about Pilates and a complimentary session?? I like free stuff! I did some quick reading on the website to see what Pilates was all about and decided to give it a shot. I booked my complimentary session!

I was immediately nervous for two reasons:

  1. I didn’t think I would be physically able to do any of the exercises.
  • When I looked at the class schedule and recognized a few words based off the descriptions, I was a little worried. I couldn’t even sleep on my back…how was I supposed to do these exercises while I was on my back?
  1. A one on one session with a person I don’t know.
  • I tend to get weird about stuff like that. I don’t like to be the main focus and I certainly didn’t want my shortcomings or my body shape to be the center of attention.

I promised myself I was going to do something, so I decided I need to just see what would happen. Plus, it was free! I repeated this to myself for the full day before my complimentary session.

I walked into the studio on July 29, 2018 to the friendliest greeting. I got a tour of the studio and then we had a conversation about my body, my past injuries, my concerns, and my thoughts. I received the history of the Pilates method and what it does to the body. I was immediately told that anyone could do it and that the studio was focused on Pilates being for every body. Every body is a different shape and size. Every body moves differently. Every body can do it, the body just may need a prop or modification. It doesn’t matter what the person next to you can or cannot do, you listen to your body and figure out what your body can do now and then you can try and push yourself to see what it might be capable of when you are ready. Pilates was meant for the long term, start small and build on it. The conversation I had with Kimberly was something I desperately needed to hear. I needed to hear that someone was confident that I could do Pilates and that I didn’t need to worry about how strong or weak I was or what kind of shape I was in (or what my body shape was).

After we had our chat, I got to trial a few of the basic Pilates exercises on the Cadillac and I was given details on what each exercise was doing for my body. I was able to do each exercise I tried (yes!!) and I felt so exhilarated by that, that I wanted to do more! I was surprised by my own excitement. I purchased one of the beginner packages that had private sessions to start my journey, even though I had just spent over 24 hours fretting about one on one focus. It was completely out of my comfort zone, but it was the best decision I could have made looking back.

I started with one Saturday class and one Sunday class a week. The Sunday classes were specifically for beginners and the Saturday class was an ‘all level’ class where the instructor would show different modifications for the exercises. There was a lot of great positive reinforcement with each instructor I had and that made me want to go more, learn more, and push myself more.

After the first month, I started to pick up a few props from the studio so I could practice at home. I tried to focus on the exercises that were the hardest for me in class. I got on the Rivercity website and started watching videos and breaking them down to see if I could use that information to help myself get better at certain exercises. There were times I found myself getting a little frustrated that my body couldn’t do certain things and any time I brought that up with an instructor, the instructor would give me a tip or an exercise I could start practicing “to get me there”. After a couple of these interactions I started to give myself more leniency when practicing something new. I purchased and read Return to Life and found a lot of wonderful passages that made me realize that this is something you need to practice and work on for a lifetime, but that even in a short amount of time you’ll see progress. And you will feel better – physically and mentally.

After three full months of doing classes at least twice a week and doing short 15-20 minutes sessions at home at least once a week (and doing the Core Challenge in October) – my back pain when sleeping diminished by about 95%. I still can’t believe it! I also realized I was able to pop up and down off the mat, I had lots of extra energy, and I was just happier!

Four and a half months later:

  • I am pretty positive that I have more flexibility now than I had in my teens, though I’d never been super flexible. I do have the confidence in my body to try more advanced exercises and to try and push myself a little more each time. I have more patience with my body now and I appreciate what it can do and how far it has come.
  • I scheduled myself to do the Return to Life advanced class. It was a goal I set for myself around the 6 week mark of my journey. I really wanted to do Return to Life before I turned 40!
  • I am also signed up for the Teacher Training Program for Mat Levels I – III. I am so excited to get involved with this program!

My Favorites!

  • My favorite exercise is the roll up because it feels so great after doing the hundred to roll up and down one vertebrae at a time while coordinating breathe with it. I also love working on all the pieces to the Boomerang. I hope to be a total pro at the Boomerang one day because it is a beautiful exercise to watch.
  • My favorite props are pretty much all of the props. The band, the ball, the foam roller, the oov, the magic circle, the big balls – all add a little something to class and I like the fact that the instructors mix it up.
  • My favorite equipment would probably be the Chair even though I have only used it twice. It was the piece of equipment used in one of my first private sessions. Multiple times throughout the session I thought (and possibly said aloud), “I don’t think I can do that, but I guess I’ll give it a try”. I was able to do all the exercises and felt really accomplished.

What would I tell someone who is thinking of starting?

  • I would say, if you have any fears or concerns, the Rivercity team will help you get past those. They believe that if you have a body, you can do Pilates.
  • I would say, if you are feeling off balanced, if you are sore a lot, or if you have trouble getting up and down – you can still do Pilates.
  • I would say, it doesn’t matter how old you are.
  • I would say, mix it up. Try some mat classes and try some equipment classes. Go to the free Life Inspired events, even. I know I went in thinking that I would only like the equipment classes because I thought I would need the equipment to do the exercises. I found out quickly that my body was capable of more than I gave it credit for, but that I also needed to give my body “a break” when it wasn’t in the “advanced” position.
  • I would say, get a beginner package with some private sessions or spend the money to do some private sessions. You will get to try so many different things in the private sessions with that one on one attention and you will always leave realizing that you are stronger than you think you are.
  • I would say, watch some of the videos that Carey has posted on her site. Not just the exercise videos. My favorite video is one where Carey talks about someone telling her that she hadn’t tried a Barre class because someone told her she wasn’t strong enough. Carey called out “BS” on that because she truly believes that you are strong enough to try anything you want in her studio. I loved that raw video and her comments are something we all need to hear.

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in Inspiration of the Month, Motivation and Inspiration

Ready to try Yoga?

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 including 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.  
What to expect/bring:
Bring a Yoga mat if you have one and if you don’t we have some at the studio!
Bring a water bottle if you like to rehydrate during movement. 
Wear clothing that allows you to move freely.
Be prepared to move and also be prepared to have moments of stillness. 
Bring a positive and open attitude towards the discovery of your new practice!
$49 for 4 week series or use any class card or membership series.

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in Yoga at Rivercity Pilates

Attention beginners: Learn, move, strengthen, lengthen and feel better with this Pilates Mat Class!

This 4 week Pilates Mat class series is designed for those who are brand new to Pilates and want to learn what it is all about and how they can use the Pilates method of exercise to feel better and move better in their body.
This class will move slowly and purposefully.  Participants will get detailed explanations of how to do each movement in a way that is safe for their body and in a way that makes it most effective for them!  Expect to learn how to breathe better, how to engage your core muscles, and how to start thinking about movement and exercise in a whole new light!
This weekly class held Wednesdays at 5pm will help you gain strength, flexibility and mobility in your body.  4 weeks for $49 or use any class card or membership option.  

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in Beginning Pilates

Top 3 reasons you absolutely will not want to miss the free Braided Towel Class!

This month’s free Life Inspired Class will be a Braided Towel Pilates Mat Class taught by Shelley Oglesby. Shelley’s Braided Towel Mat class will incorporate the braided towel prop into a beginner friendly Pilates mat class.  The braided towel was created by one of Joseph Pilates students Ron Fletcher as a way to enhance the Pilates work.  The 3 foot braided towel can be used in a variety of ways to help clients activate the correct muscles so they can build uniform strength in their body.  
Our top 3 reasons for loving the braided towel as a Pilates Mat prop:
1.  Shoulder awareness:  If you are like the rest of the world and tend to hold tension and tightness in your neck and shoulders, this class will change you!  You’ll learn how to activate the muscles that need to be strengthened to create more balance in your shoulders and upper back and you’ll leave class feeling like you have more mobility and ease in your shoulders!
2.  Support and connection: You’ll learn how to use the towel in ways that help the rest of your body move better! You’ll find yourself engaging your deep abdominal muscles more and being able to gain more movement in your spine with the support of the towel.
3.  Variety is the spice of life...Changing up the exercises you normally do with this simple prop will challenge your body and mind in new ways giving you a fabulous whole body workout! 

Life Inspired is a free community class held every month.  Class is free but space is limited so be sure to sign up to reserve a spot!   Stay after class for wine and chocolate and other great snacks!! 

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in Life Inspired monthly gathering

Gain strength and increase mobility with our Beginner Friendly Tower Classes!

This beginner friendly Pilates equipment class will use the Pilates Tower to practice exercises designed to create mobility and strength in your body. The Pilates Tower system springs create a support system for your body so you can learn how to engage muscles properly and stay safe in your movements. You’ll leave your workout feeling an inch taller and amazing in your body!

Space is limited to 5 participants so sign up early to reserve your spot! If you are brand new to the studio or Pilates we always recommend starting off with a complimentary private Pilates session before your first class!

Mondays at 6 pm with Kimberly Burke. Purchase 4 classes for $89 or use any of our class card or membership options.
Makeup classes are possible if you need to miss a week.

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in Beginning Pilates

Does the Pilates equipment scare you a little?

New to Pilates? Does the Pilates equipment scare you a little because you don’t like not knowing what you are doing?

Maybe you are nervous about feeling silly in class because you don’t know the exercises? Start here!

The Introduction to Pilates Equipment Class is designed for true beginners and those who are still getting comfortable with the Pilates equipment.  It is safe for those with chronic back pain and those with knee and hip replacements.

Classes will focus on learning the Pilates basic concepts and movements and will utilize the Pilates equipment to help you gain strength, flexibility and mobility in your entire body! You will get a great whole body strengthening workout and you are going to love the support of the equipment and be amazed at how it helps you see and feel results in your body!  

Space is limited to 5 participants so sign up early to reserve your spot!  Purchase 4 classes for $89 or use any of our class card or membership options.  

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in Beginning Pilates

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