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Concord Pilates Helps Others Live Better By Moving Better

By Pamela Sosnowski

For some people, just hearing the word Pilates is intimidating. Although the fitness system was created in the early 1900s, some of the contraptions used look like they're meant to inflict torture, not develop a lean body. Mara Sievers, the owner of Concord Pilates in Concord, NH, wants interested members to know that there's nothing to fear when it comes to Pilates. In fact, her studio is regularly visited by students of all ages and all abilities; some even joined while suffering from painful physical ailments.

"We have a very supportive atmosphere at our studio," she said. "Most of our students between 15 and 75 come with some sort of physical imbalance or ailment, be it back or neck pain, joint replacements, multiple sclerosis, scoliosis or arthritis. I totally understand that it can be scary for someone whose body is hurting to begin a 'workout', but this is exactly where Pilates shines."

Sievers cites her own personal experience with Pilates for turning her life around. An earlier career as a dancer in her native country of Austria left her with an injured back. The Pilates method, which corrects the body's posture and basic movements, strengthened her core and posture. In 2006 she became a certified Pilates teacher and moved to New Hampshire in 2008, opening Concord Pilates in 2011.

At Sievers' studio, members can take individual or group classes, but they're never left alone to wonder if they're doing an exercise correctly. Each student receives personalized attention by a skilled and caring instructor that makes sure their form is on-point and that a strong foundation is being put. Pilates is a workout that requires a certain amount of concentration, according to Sievers.

"You can't think of anything else while doing Pilates," she said. "Many of our students who have struggled with the 'empty your mind' approach of yoga or other eastern philosophies, enjoy this more active approach to meditation."

All new members must receive a complimentary initial physical assessment to determine their individual strengths and weaknesses, as well as to establish a short and long time goal for their Pilates journey. From there the staff member creates a plan that fits the schedule, budget, and body. Students should wear comfortable but fitted clothing as loose fabric can interfere with equipment. Sievers says that the most important quality someone new to Pilates can have is patience. It's a regimen that takes time and effort to start seeing results.

Concord Pilates also offers teacher training for inspired Pilates instructors. The in-depth training covers 450 hours and usually takes a minimum of one year to complete as students learn anatomical overview of bones and muscles and how to make modifications for students with physical limitations.

Sievers doesn't consider her studio to be a gym, and stresses that the facility is free of criticism and judgment. The proof is in the client testimonials and reviews that speak of how their lives were transformed by belonging to Concord Pilates.

"I wish I could tell everyone what amazing experiences people have with Pilates," she said. "We have many of our students' success stories on our website. If you don't believe me, read their stories. You'll be amazed."

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