Galore Darling: New York Pilates’ Heather Andersen on Why Pilates Rocks
Pilates as we all know if a very popular form a exercise especially amongst the ladies, we chatted with Pilates expert Heather Andersen about her studio New York Pilates!
How did you get into Pilates?
I grew up dancing and Pilates was a part of our training regimen. When I moved to new york I got a job working the desk at a studio so I could take free classes and I really fell in love with the way peoples’ bodies transformed – it was inspiring!
Why has Pilates been so beneficial for you?
Pilates is all about functional strength – so you get really strong without a bunch of unnecessary bulk in your muscles. As a dancer, my body was always an important instrument to my art. Pilates helps sculpt a body in a healthy way that brings out everyones best lines.
What different kinds are there?
There are two main schools of thought – Classical vs Contemporary. Classical Pilates teaches Joseph Pilates work as exactly as possible to the way he taught it in the 1940s-60s. Contemporary Pilates takes liberties with his original work incorporating science we’ve learned in the last 50 years about our bodies. So instead of just using choreography the exercises are re-designed around functional muscular engagement and healthy joint usage for the healthiest – most efficient workout possible.
We focus on a contemporary style at New York Pilates. I’m obsessed with anatomy and have studied under the famous Irene Dowd and Kelly Kane. Our focus is on Biomechanics and while we are a Pilates studio, we have a heavy focus on science and are always applying new thoughts to our teaching style.
Do you think Pilates is an expensive form of exercise? How can people participate with not spending a lot?
Pilates can be expensive because it is often taught in a small group or private setting. Anytime you have one-on-one attention the price obviously goes up- it’s New York, so everything’s expensive here. However, we offer larger mat classes which are less expensive. I tell people to splurge on a private session once every month or so – that way you get personal attention and really learn how to move your body properly. Then you can then take that info and use it on your own or in a class.
What another forms of exercise do you enjoy?
I still take ballet class and love yoga – I usually try to go twice a week. I always joke that I take yoga like its Pilates with my focus on alignment and stability. I also bike all over the city in the summer. I’ve always hated running, but my boyfriend is obsessed, so I’ve been joining him – Oh the things we do for love!
Do you find its mostly women who gravitate to pilates? why do you think that is?
Pilates is very female centric. I think its because Pilates WILL pull in your waist and lift your butt, but WILL NOT give you the bulging muscles which men are often trying to sculpt. Its more of a lean and strong thing vs a bulky body builder thing.
But no matter what type of body you are trying to sculpt, Pilates WILL give you core strength and keep your body stable and safe for whatever other activities you enjoy. Men tend to come in a when they’re a bit older – usually after an injury to recover and strengthen. But they stick around because they love the results!
Tell us a bit more about New York Pilates:
I’m so happy with my studio. It’s been great getting to curate the instructors and build the studio that I was always looking for. Everyone is positive and well educated and lovely. The vibe is fun and not too intense – people instantly relax when they arrive and relax even more after their great workout.
The best part of owning the studio is watching people transform. Its amazing to watch how people change when they feel strong and confident in their bodies. Its really a joy, thats why I do this.
The space is often described by our clients as “an oasis” – its really beautiful and airy and feels more like a secret underground spa than a typical fitness studio – my boyfriend Brion of Rivington Design House designed the space with me ;). We hired our friends to help us build it so the whole process has been a labor of love.
what’s coming up next?
We are thrilled to be celebrating our 1st birthday in Septemeber, and are just getting our feet wet 🙂 I’m so excited to watch the studio grow and see many more bodies change for the better.