Want to try Yoga, but not sure where to start?

Increased flexibility, decreased stress, strength, and a workout you enjoy…

If you’ve heard about Yoga you might be thinking it could just what you need in your life….we agree!!  We also know that sometimes it can be really intimidating to start something new, so we’re writing this blog to help you feel more comfortable before you walk into the studio and so you’ll have a better idea of where the best place might be to start. Here’s a few answers to our most frequently asked Yoga questions and a guide to the best way to get started!  

What do I wear to Yoga?  Wear clothes that you can move comfortably in!  This could be leggings and a t-shirt, shorts or whatever you feel most comfortable in! There are absolutely no rules to what you should wear other than you want clothing that allows your body to move in a variety of ways comfortably!

Should I take a class to get started or a private session?   The choice is entirely up to you!!  At Rivercity Pilates we know that everyone has different learning styles and we offer either a complimentary private session or a complimentary class to get started so that you can start with the option that you are most comfortable with.  We have a variety of classes on our schedule that are truly beginner friendly and our teachers are fabulous about giving variations of exercises so that everyone in class feels comfortable.  If you are brand new to Yoga and want to start with a class here is a list of our favorite first time to Yoga Beginner Friendly classes:   Yoga for Life w/ Nil  Tuesdays at 8:30 am, Fridays at 12 pm or Sundays at 9 am, Yoga for Happy Hips and Back w/ Kim Thursdays at 6pm.     

Are you one of those people who really doesn’t enjoy not knowing how to do things(especially in a group setting?) or maybe you have something going on in your body that might effect your movement time and how you do exercises?  Taking a complimentary private session before jumping into a class might be the best option for you!  A private session gives you time to chat individually with a Yoga teacher and ask all the questions that you might be a little nervous to ask in a group class!  It also allows your teacher to teach you the exercise in a way that is completely individualized to your body.  If this sounds like you click here to schedule a complimentary private Yoga session or simply call us at 319.665.2499.

Can I talk during class? I think there are a lot of misconceptions about the atmosphere in a Yoga class.  Every teacher is different when it comes to the music they play and the atmosphere they create in their class so I can’t speak for everyone, but I can tell you about our teachers at Rivercity Pilates.  Our teachers are super passionate about making Yoga accessible to ANY BODY and they are all really great at creating an atmosphere where everyone who comes to the class is comfortable!  It’s pretty common in our group classes to hear moments of laughter and casual conversations during class!  Of course everyone is super respectful of each other and no one is loud and obnoxious…but no one is overly strict about someone asking a question or talking during class.  In fact most of our teachers encourage their students to ask a question in class if you have one, because they know if you have a question someone else has probably thought the same thing!  

Do I need my own mat?  We have Yoga mats at Rivercity Pilates so you don’t need a mat.  If you want to bring your own mat you can though! 

Have more questions?  We would love to answer them for you!  Email us at rcpilates1@gmail.com or call us at 319.665.2499!  



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in Motivation and Inspiration

Could you actually feel results after only one Pilates session?

One of the most common questions I hear on a client’s second visit, goes something like this:

“I felt really great after our session. I felt taller and my posture was better. My ______________(fill in the blank with an achy body part like low back, shoulder, neck, foot, etc.) seems to be feeling better . . . could that really have been just from that one session?”
My simple answer: YES!

Here’s why:

The exercises you did in your first session were taught in a way unique to your body.  Your teacher took time to learn what was going on in your body at the beginning of your session by going through your health intake form and asking you questions about your movement time in your life.  After learning about you, your teacher taught a session that was designed to help your body stretch the muscles that were tight and strengthen the muscles that were weak or underdeveloped.  Doing these exercises tailored to your body resulted in your body practicing great alignment and had your body working in a really balanced way.  When you do this…your body appreciates it and you’ll know it because you actually feel better…even after just one session!! 

Wondering if that feeling better in your body after your first session will continue? It absolutely will!  Every time you practice Pilates you will be repeating this process of strengthening your underdeveloped muscles, stretching your tight muscles and bring your body closer and closer to your ideal, balanced alignment and posture! 

Like anything though…the more you practice Pilates the more you may take for granted how much it is helping you and not be so aware of it after each session.  Many of our clients comment to us that they forget how much their Pilates practice helps them feel better in their body until something happens in their life that they end up taking a few weeks off.  Clients comment that they can just feel a difference in their body, even after just a week or two.  Luckily, as soon as they get back to their movement time the “feel better” results come right back!

Ready to try an exercise method that gives you results every time you practice it?  Click here to read more about our complimentary first session or click here to set up a time for your first session!  



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in Motivation and Inspiration

Inspiration of the Month July 2019 Shuva Rahim

Inspiration of the Month
July 2019
Shuva Rahim

When did you start Pilates and what inspired you to start?
I started Pilates about 10 years ago when I first met Carey. We were both growing our businesses at the time and I thought I’d see what it was about. So, my inspiration started more as a curiosity.

How often do you practice Pilates and what type of sessions or classes have you been doing?    
Currently, I practice Pilates once a week and am a regular in Sunday’s Reformer Jump Board class with Shaina. I started coming to this class last year and have really enjoyed it.

What benefits or improvements have you noticed in your body and life from doing Pilates? 
I’m a runner – currently training for a marathon – and have used Pilates to help strengthen my core. This helps me especially when training or racing on uphill terrains.

Do you have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment (or both)?  
The Reformer Jump Board class is super fun. When I first show friends a video of it online, their first reaction is, “It looks like a torture machine!” Well, yes it does, but it’s definitely not. I think because you’re horizontal through class, it doesn’t look intense. But during and after class, you definitely feel like you got in a workout.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing Pilates?
Try one class, and then try some others. Rivercity Pilates has a variety of offerings, and there’s definitely something for everyone. 


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in Inspiration of the Month

3 Great Reasons To Try Small Group Classes in a Studio Setting

RCP-511.  Your instructors get to know you and your body.  In a small group setting an instructor can really get to know you, where you need to work, what motivates you and how to help you get the most out of your workouts(aka results).  This makes for a very efficient workout(Let’s face it we are all crazy busy these days and want to maximize our time!)

2. The most effective workout is the one you doMaking yourself accountable to a class, an instructor and classmates is a great way to keep you on track!

3. Safety….  A trained instructor can make sure they are challenging you but also making exercises safe for your body.  One size does not fit all when it comes to movement and it’s important to have instructors who recognize and implement this!  If you injury yourself you will be less likely to stick with your program.

So what are you waiting for?  Try one of our small group classes for free or schedule a complimentary private session to get started!!



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in Getting Started, Group Classes, Motivation and Inspiration

What to Expect in Your First Private Pilates Training Session

Many people have never worked one on one with a movement or exercise  instructor and have some misconceived ideas about what a one on one Pilates session will be like.  Let me put to rest some of your fears!  If you’ve been watching the Biggest Loser we may have some work to do:) Or maybe you’ve heard horror stories of people doing personal training and being so sore they can’t even walk the next day or lift their arm to brush their teeth?  That is something you will not experience after a session at Rivercity Pilates!

Today I’m going to walk you through your first Pilates private session at Rivercity Pilates. (P.S.- this session is free so definitely take advantage of it!)

  1. When you arrive at the studio we’ll give you a tour of our space.  We’ll show you where you can put your coat, shoes, and gear, point out the restrooms, show you our massage room and our two spacious studio rooms that we use for private sessions and small group classes.
  2. If you haven’t already filled out our new client paperwork we’ll have you fill out our health intake and other preliminary forms.  The health intake form in particular is very important to us.  Your instructor will start your session by sitting with you and going over your health history and discussing how it effects your exercise program.  As instructors we want to help you create a Pilates practice that meets your goals and is safe for your body!
  3. After we’ve learned a little bit more about you, your instructor will start by sharing a little more in depth about the history of Pilates and what and how we teach the Pilates Method at Rivercity Pilates.  We find that learning Pilates is a process and teaching the “why” behind the method is important when helping others create a Pilates practice in their life.
  4. Whether you have been practicing Pilates for years or a brand new beginner we will start the movement portion of your session by teaching the Pilates fundamentals in your body.  The Pilates fundamentals are the building blocks of every exercise and movement we do in Pilates and it’s important to us that you understand them as they are used over and over again in your Pilates practice.  These fundamentals include the concepts of breathe, engaging your deep abdominal muscles, how to stabilize your hips and shoulders and more.  We’ll tailor the exercises we use to teach these ideas to your body and move at a level appropriate for you.
  5. After we teach you the fundamentals and have had some time to work with you and see how your body moves we’ll introduce you to some Pilates exercises that are appropriate for your body.  We often like to let you experience exercises that are considered Mat work (just using your own body for resistence) as well as letting you experience exercises on some of the traditional Pilates equipment such as the Univeral Reformer, the Cadillac or the Pilates Wunda Chair.
  6. We’ll wrap up your session with some time to talk about what we did and give you an opportunity to ask questions.  Your instructor can help to explain the different ways you can learn and practice Pilates and give suggestions as to what might be best for your body.

Our goal during your first session is to start the teaching process and help you decide whether you want to pursue a Pilates practice.  Your session will be a combination of discussion and movement.  Will you be sore the next day?  You might be.  Often when you are learning a new movement and engaging new muscles you’ll feel it the next day- but in a good way!  You’ll know you did something different but no need to worry about being so sore that you can’t function!!

Ready to try a complimentary session?  Click here to find a time that works best in your schedule!  We look forward to meeting you!

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in FAQs, Private Pilates and Yoga Sessions

Commit to an Active Healthy Summer!

Welcome to our 2019 Healthy Summer Challenge! Whether you are starting a new movement practice or maybe you just want to continue to keep consistent this summer with your already established practice we are excited to have you join our free summer challenge. Our challenge to you is to stay committed to keeping movement as important part of your life, no matter where you are or what your summer schedule looks like!   Our summer challenge is not about a 6 pack or focused on losing weight — our summer challenge is about body confidence, energy, strength and happiness!    

Like we’ve done in past years we’ll be giving you a chance to win super cute Rivercity Pilates gear for being consistent and getting regular classes in at the studio. Simply check off on the chart at the studio when you are in to track your classes! Get a minimum of 8 classes in (1 per week) and you’ll win a newly designed Rivercity Pilates love handle (Carey’s favorite accessory for her phone), Get 16 classes in and earn a super cute Rivercity Pilates baseball hat! Get 24 sessions or more in and you’ll earn a Rivercity Pilates shirt from our fall collection!

Out of town but still want to participate? If you have internet access you can take a class virtually! Just email us and we’ll help you set it up!! We’ve been doing this for some of our clients who travel a lot and they love it!! These classes count toward prizes!!

Not able to make it into the studio this summer but still want to participate? Take our 10 minutes a day movement challenge! Click here to get your tracking sheet! Use one of our weekly workout videos or do your own movement practice each morning for 10 minutes. Turn in your completed sheet after the challenge to win a Rivercity Pilates journal (great for tracking fitness, writing down your health goals or just taking notes)!!     

Click here to officially sign up for the challenge!




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in Motivation and Inspiration

Inspiration of the Month June 2019 Cindy Brown

When did you start Pilates and what inspired you to start?
My first private with Carey was in July of 2015. My dear friend, Sara Tack suggested that I give Pilates a try as she had been a regular client at Rivercity for years. I was in need of increased core strength as I had some minor back pain. I quickly signed up and began taking mat classes, eventually adding in Tower and Reformer.

How often do you practice Pilates and what type of sessions or classes
have you been doing?    
 I try to attend 4 classes per week. I attend Mat, Tower and Reformer classes.  When I am not at Rivercity Pilates, I practice Pilates at home.

What benefits or improvements have you noticed in your body and life
from doing Pilates? 
I have increased my core strength significantly. I use the Pilates Principles to keep my back safe while participating in (modified) CrossFit classes and gardening.

Do you have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment (or both)?    
My favorite is the Tower. The feedback/support the Tower system gives is very
encouraging. It has helped me to gain strength, so I am better able to perform exercises in the Mat and Reformer classes.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing Pilates?
You will not regret investing in yourself. Pilates is the perfect complement to any other movement practice. Pilates is for everybody!

How has the journey of becoming a Pilates teacher effected your Pilates practice?  
Teacher Training has made me love Pilates even more. I am amazed at how far I have come in (almost) 4 years – I can’t wait to see what the next 4 years bring!

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in Inspiration of the Month, Motivation and Inspiration

Is Mindful Boring?

When you hear the word mindful what image pops into your head?  Silence, solemness, stillness….

Here at Rivercity Pilates we are big believers in the power of mindful movement to create results in your body and life, but we also like to have fun.  Of course we want to stay focused and mindful throughout our movement practice but at the same time we know that if you are enjoying your movement practice you are more likely to keep doing it and hence get even better results!

We have a “No Grimacing Rule” at the studio!  (See the sign we included here.)  We use this rule to remind clients to smile, lighten up and be positive – all of which are conducive to better movement!


If you are looking to find an exercise program you love, consider trying our our small group classes and expect to smile throughout class!   Your first session is complimentary — you can email us or call the studio to schedule  (319-665-2499).

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in FAQs, Group Classes, Motivation and Inspiration, What's so great about Pilates?

Happy, successful people create these 2 habits in their life!

Do you ever look at those successful, happy people who seem to be doing it all in life and doing it well and wonder how do they do it?  How can I have what they have?

I do and I’ve made it part of my journey to take notice and even study the lives and patterns of those people who have what I strive for in life.  The two habits that I see over and over again are physical exercise and “me” time.  No matter how busy these highly successful people are they find time to exercise their bodies and renew their soul.   Many times this is a daily exercise routine, meditation, a time to read, and simply time to relax on a daily basis.

What amazes me is that these people have the same amount of time in the day as you and me yet they manage to accomplish extraordinary things AND carve out time for themselves and their bodies.  In fact when I talk to these happy, successful people they often credit their successes in life to these habits that they’ve incorporated into their life.  They will also be the first to tell you that it’s not always easy to find that time but the results have made it “not an option” but a requirement in their life.

So all of this is great to hear, but how do you incorporate it into your life?  My suggestion is to start small and doable.  Can you get up a half hour early everyday and add 15 minutes of Pilates, Yoga, Stretching, Cardio  or even meditation to your life?  Create a small doable goal and do it consistently(everyday) for at least 2 months.  Yes, I said  2 months.   If you get to the place where you can add more time- great!  That’s it…see where it takes you and let us know how it changes you!!

CareyIMG_2781-1 Sadler is the owner of Rivercity Pilates in North Liberty Iowa. Carey is a PMA Certified Pilates instructor who has been teaching Pilates since getting her comprehensive certification from Body Precision Studios in 2001.  Before that Carey was a personal trainer, a chemical engineer and a volleyball player!  Carey’s love of health, movement and happiness have lead her to open her Pilates studio and continue her passion of living life to the fullest!  She is a wife and  a mom of 3 energetic children as well as a spunky cat and dog.

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in Motivation and Inspiration, What's so great about Pilates?

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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in Inspiration of the Month

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 rcpilates1@gmail.com 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 it..you 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

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