How it all began — celebrating Mindful Movements 20th anniversary
I was a young mom with two girls. I was involved in fitness and cycling in some capacity. I taught group fitness classes to stay fit and make extra money while staying at home with my children.
Pilates entered my world in the late ’90s as a new workout fad that promised a “stronger fitter core,” and I was all for that. While I was fit and taught 15 to 17 group classes a week, I always had some sort of “pain.”
I had plantar fasciitis and could barely take the first few steps in the morning. I had a knee that would buckle with no explanation, but hey, that was the price for being “fit,” and I was setting a good example for my children.
As I entered my first Pilates class, I quickly discovered how my “strong and fit body” was not as strong as I thought. I couldn’t touch my toes. I couldn’t even fathom sitting on my “sitz” bones and keeping my legs straight as the instructor wanted me to.
I slowly became intrinsically stronger, and my posture improved. Because of these changes, I looked taller and thinner. I knew this because students asked me what kind of diet I was on — no diet, just learning how to be stronger from the inside out. I was hooked with the connection of linking my mind with my body to positively improved my life.
I knew that Pilates made me feel better, and the positive feedback helped me decide that I had to share my discovery with the world. At the time, I didn’t even know how extensive the Pilates field was until I went to Chicago to obtain my Pilates mat certification.
In that studio, there were these funny-looking machines. I watched how people were supported in each exercise, and I was utterly amazed at what the field of Pilates had to offer. After that weekend, not only did I sign on to complete the mat certification in Chicago, I also committed to learning the entire Pilates system.
For the next two years, I would travel back and forth to Chicago, taking classes, courses, and learning this system. Every week I couldn’t wait to get back and learn more about Pilates and the biomechanics of how the body is naturally made to move.
As I completed my certification, I bought my first reformer with the money I had saved from teaching my group fitness classes and put it in my guest bedroom. This was my first studio, and I would invite friends and charge them $10 for each session.
Shortly after, I moved my reformer into what was once Gold’s Gym, where I coordinated a group fitness program. There I rented the smallest room you could imagine, with enough room for two pieces of equipment, a student and myself. I continued to further my education by traveling to cities across the country, obtaining specialty certifications, and adding other modalities that complimented the Pilates work.
Slowly, the studio grew, and I shared my passion for movement with others as my full-time career. Today the studio has grown to over 2,500 square feet with seven instructors teaching group classes and private sessions.
I say this studio started with a piece of paper, a pencil, and a flip phone. There was no internet, social media, texting, business coaches, boutique studios, or even Smartphones — just hard work and dedication to something you believe in and the desire to help others.
In 2021, our studio turns 20. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t still love coming to work to greet clients who have been with me since the beginning. I continue to add to my repertoire of knowledge and have many modalities that complement one another to offer someone an active, pain-free life. As I celebrate 50 years of my life, I am as active as ever. I have four grandchildren, and my body feels stronger and healthier than it did back in my 20’s. Today, I am so grateful for what I have learned. The secret to a pain-free and active life is to work smarter and not harder.