As a wife and mother of three whose job often had her spending much of her time in uncomfortable hotel beds and compact airplane seats, Inverness resident Sheila Foley knew what stress felt like from a mental point of view. But ten years ago, she also began to feel the physical affects of that stress, as the tension of her everyday life would often travel to her neck and back, leaving her in pain.
So she decided to try Pilates. And yes, her whole world changed.
“There is no doubt that I feel better now than I did ten years ago,” explains Foley, who currently attends Pilates lessons at Pilates Studio 6 in South Barrington. “For me, Pilates gives me more strength and flexibility. Mentally, it gives me a chance to get in touch with my core and let go and release those muscles in which I hold my tension.”
Indeed, the early 20th century form of body training and maintenance has changed the lives of countless men and women—the same men and women that are increasingly craving a way these days to become more in tune with their bodies, both physically and mentally.
“So many people don’t know what Pilates truly is,” explains Chris Girard, owner of Pilates Studio 6. “I feel like the whole world is walking around and unaware of their body and how it works.”
Girard herself was once one of those people. That is, until she took her first Pilates class in 2002.
“It was so different than what I had imagined,” recalls Girard, who opened Pilates Studio 6 thirteen years ago. “I had been athletic all of my life, but I became so intrigued with Pilates’ emphasis on using the smallest of muscles, rather than the commonly used larger muscles. I took six lessons and I knew I wanted to become a teacher.”
Working alongside an accomplished team of professionals that have all been certified through Romana Kryzanowska’s gold standard training program, Girard says that it is a common goal of her entire team at Pilates Studio 6 to show people of all ages and genders that a Pilates regimen will change their body in more ways than they can even imagine.
“Pilates allows you to stabilize your body as it bends, twists and reaches in every day activities,” says Girard, who resides with her family in Barrington. “It works all of the muscles evenly and efficiently, to achieve a balance of and stretch, strength, and control needed to be supple.”
And yes, often, these changes begin to get noticed quite quickly.
“Shortly after starting Pilates, people commented that I looked taller, and that there was a lightness, a spring in my step” she recalls.
And while the physical benefits of Pilates are many, the mental benefits are perhaps even more powerful.
“I know it sounds crazy, but concentrating deeply puts you very in tune with your body when doing Pilates,” says Girard. “The mind body connection allows you to feel every ounce of yourself in a whole new way.”
That feeling carries with you even after leaving the studio.
“When you turn on your core to either hit that tennis ball, empty the dishwasher, or gallop on your horse, for example, it’s going to feel different,” she says. “As we get older, the fact is that gravity is fighting us. Pilates allows us to strengthen the foundation within your body to help carry you through life’s up’s and down’s.”
And make no mistake—every body is different.
“We really focus on private and semi private classes at Pilates Studio 6. Everyone has different issues and imbalances when it comes to their body,” Girard explains. Teaching each individual body what it needs will get the best results.
And once you feel the magic of Pilates, chances are you will be hooked.
“People stay here forever,” chuckles Girard. “We are like a little family. We all speak the same language in this place and there is no place I would rather be. Pilates completes me.”
Pilates Studio 6 is located at 6 Pembury Way in Barrington, 847-602-8001, pilatesstudio6.com.