Santa Fe Favorites
The popular fitness program known as Pilates was first developed during World War I by Joseph Pilates, who designed a series of exercises to help rehabilitate injured soldiers. These exercises emphasize strengthening the muscles of the abdomen, torso and thighs (the “core muscles”), as well as spinal alignment and breath awareness. Pilates is popular with both dancers and athletes, who benefit from the increased flexibility, strength and balance that Pilates can bring. Though Pilates lacks the spiritual aspect found in yoga, both practices use breath work to achieve a holistic approach to health and fitness.
The popularity of Pilates has spawned much more affordable “Pilates mat” classes, in which exercises are performed in group settings (available at most Santa Fe gyms), but “true” Pilates is performed on special equipment with intense supervision by instructors. For this reason, sessions tend to be expensive. Most studios offer individual, duet and (in a few cases) small group sessions.
Pilates Santa Fe is located just minutes from the Plaza. Sessions are available for all levels, as well as for those who are recovering from injuries. Private, duet and small group (under 5) sessions are available here. Many of Pilates Santa Fe’s instructors are also licensed in other healing arts, including various types of massage and Alexander work.
PilateZone is known as the place to go for serious Pilates students, but they also offer private and semi-private sessions at beginner and intermediate levels. Unlike most Pilates studios in town, PilateZone also offers small group classes with up to eight students at a more affordable rate (beginners must first take several private lessons to become familiar with the equipment). Owner Maya Aubrey, who has been teaching Pilates for eighteen years, believes in training clients in the classic exercises developed by Joseph Pilates. PilateZone now also offers teacher training.
Elisabeth Rimane’s Active Recovery is a physical therapy clinic that uses Pilates as a recovery tool. Clients are generally victims of automobile accidents (or have sustained other injuries); their therapy is usually covered by insurance. Sessions are private. There is a licensed physical therapist on the premises.
This small, newly opened Pilates studio is run by Kiki Jadus, whose background in dance, movement and body work enhances her Pilates practice. Private and semi-private sessions are available. Essential Movement combines Pilates with gyrotonics, a related fitness system developed by Hungarian Juliu Horvath, which blends yoga and tai chi and involves spiral movements to strengthen the spine.
Core Dynamics owner Michelle Larson is a second generation student of Joseph Pilates himself. Known for its comprehensive teacher training program, Core Dynamics also offers Pilates sessions at all levels, including therapeutic work.
Pilates Fitness Plus takes a less traditional approach to Pilates work. Less expensive than most studios, sessions are generally semi-private (though privates are available), with programs designed to fit the needs of clients.
Pilates Persuasion, nicknamed “Thera-lates” by its tight-knit group of students, offers two mat classes a week as well as private, duet and trio sessions. Attention to detail and form is emphasized, making this small, intimate studio a great place for beginners. Prices here are quite reasonable, with free classes offered to regular clients.
Popular Santa Fe dancer and fitness teacher Julie Adams offers private Pilates sessions at her home studio. Though equipment is more limited than at larger studios, Julie’s sessions are more affordable and combine mat work with traditional equipment exercises.