This month, we look at an increasingly popular form of Pilates taking place at our partner's studio in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Reston, Virginia. Find out how mat classes becoming even more fun and challenging on a paddleboard!
Last month, we spotlighted Body in Balance in Laihana, Hawaii and their unique place at one of the world's most enticing vacation destinations. We also explored their SUPilates classes that take place on paddleboards just off the shores of Maui. Thankfully, you don't have to travel too far from the continental U.S. to experience this incredible workout. Other studios like Life Time Fitness in Reston, Virginia also offer classical mat instruction on a paddleboard to create even more instability and greater connection to the powerhouse!
It all starts with Pilates Solutions, a consulting and education company run by Peak Pilates® MIs and mother-daughter dream team Kathryn Coyle and Zoey Trap. Together, they work with studios in mid-Atlantic and southern region of the U.S. to create captivating programs like paddleboard Pilates and Athletix fusion classes.
We spoke with Kathryn, who also serves as the Pilates Studio Coordinator for Life Time Fitness, to discuss both her one-of-a-kind programs and her Pilates journey.
Q: Tell us about your Pilates Solutions consulting group and what makes it special.
A: Pilates Solutions is a consulting and education company that my mother and I operate. It is a truly incredible community of Pilates students and teachers. I also work at Life Time Fitness in Reston, where we are a Peak Pilates studio dedicated to inspiring our members through movement by offering both classical Pilates classes and private lessons, as well as Pilates fusion classes. The entire team is Peak Pilates-certified and committed to developing their personal practice by pledging to a minimum of one session a week. We are fortunate to get to see all of students every week, so we are really able to watch them progress. Our students dedication comes from our amazing instructors who push themselves to be the best they can be for their students through constant study and professional development. I feel truly blessed to be a part of such an inspiring community.
Q: What attracted you to teaching Pilates, and what motivated you to teach at Life Time Fitness?
A: From a very early age I knew that when I grew up I wanted to help people. As a teen I was not sure exactly how that was going to take shape, whether I would work for a non-profit, a professor or attorney. Along the way I was able to get certified as a Pilates instructor and work part-time at my mother's Pilates studio and at my universities. When I started applying for jobs after college, I realized the most rewarding work I had done was teaching. Helping other's to overcome pain, accomplish their goals, find joy in movement and - most importantly - leave their session feeling better than when they came in to the studio. So I decided I would make Pilates my career, and my mother and I opened The Inner Space in Avon, CT together. For the next eight years, we worked hard to grow that studio and the Pilates community.
Five years ago, we sold the studio, and I made a big move and joined Life Time Fitness. As a regional manager for Life Time Fitness, I get to work with so many studios, teachers and students. It's a blessing to be able to do what you love and support such a large and vibrant Pilates community within a company dedicated to supporting members through various ways of healthy living.
Q: What inspired you to start offering paddleboard Pilates at your studio?
A: Paddleboard yoga is all the rage. I was on vacation two years ago and decided to test out a mat workout on a paddleboard. Turns out Pilates and the paddleboard are a natural fit! The unstable surface challenges balance and control a little like the equipment. Although it feels very different, you cannot quite anticipate the shifts in the paddleboard. It also helps students to connect more deeply to their abdominals; as soon as they really scoop deeply, they feel their board stabilize and their bodies become centered.
Q: Do you offer any other special classes that take advantage of the summer season?
A: Paddleboard Pilates has been the runaway hit at Life Time, and it's by far our most successful summer class offering. Who doesn't want to be out on the water on a beautiful day getting a great workout! We also run some special master classes for our students to treat them to some special experiences. We have some jump board classes, a great chair Athletix fusion class and even some self care classes using the foam roller and small massage balls.
Q: What is the most Popular Pilates class your studio offers?
A: Our classical Peak Pilates classes are by far the most popular. Student's love being able to do full session group equipment classes which means they will get mat, reformer and tower in one class if they are beginners and mat or reformer and then tower if they are intermediate or advanced. Our Pilates Athletix classes are very popular too, which is our fitness fusion chair class.
Q: In your opinion, what makes Peak Pilates® equipment special?
A: Peak equipment is smooth, sleek, solid and easy to use. It fits a lot of different bodies from big and tall to very small and every body in between. The various equipment line options are great too, from the portable PPS unit to the classic total work out system. It really is the best-built equipment I've ever experienced.
Q: What is your favorite apparatus to to teach on?
A: While I do love teaching mat on the paddleboard, I really enjoy teaching both classical and fusion classes. They are definitely different in terms of goals and session formats, but it's fun to get to be able to offer both and make sure every student is getting exactly what they want and need to achieve their goals. No two bodies are the same, which means every session is unique!
This article was contributed by Greg Mantell, Director of Content Management – Mad Dogg Athletics.
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