Pilates Group Celebrates 22 Years - TribPapers

Pilates Group Celebrates 22 Years

Maureen Sher. Photo submitted.

Woodfin – Have you ever thought about the number of ways to exercise? There’s walking, running, weight lifting, swimming, cycling, hiking, and the list goes on and on. But what about Pilates? It’s not the latest fad. Just ask Maureen Sher, founder of Asheville Pilates.

Asheville Pilates is celebrating more than two decades in business. “I opened Asheville Pilates in July of 2001, so this year am celebrating 22 years!” she told the Tribune. Asked what all is offered at Asheville Pilates Sher said, “We offer Pilates, as well as Gyrotonic® and Gyrokinesis® methods of exercise.’

For those who don’t know what Pilates is, Sher explains, “Pilates is a system of mindful exercise designed to develop strength, stability, flexibility, mobility, increased elongation and tone in the muscle system while focusing on deep core recruitment. It strengthens the body from the inside out, balancing it from left to right, top to bottom, [and] front to back. We use spring-based equipment to provide resistance and assistance, cultivating awareness of the body to support everyday functional movements that are efficient and graceful.”

She goes on to explain “the Gyrotonic® (equipment based) and Gyrokinesis® (non-equipment based) method is an original and unique movement method that addresses the entire person by opening energy pathways, stimulating the nervous system, increasing range of motion, and improving strength and movement efficiency. With Gyrotonic exercises, each movement flows into the next, allowing the joints to move through a natural range of motion without jarring or compression. These carefully crafted sequences create balance, efficiency, strength, and flexibility. We use specialized equipment to guide, assist and challenge the client.”

Sher says she opened Asheville Pilates as a solo practitioner shortly after moving here from South Africa. “I hail from South Africa, where I was a body conditioning instructor, reflexologist, and massage therapist as far back as the early ‘90s. We moved to Asheville in 1998, and I commenced teaching in Asheville in 2001 as soon as I received my Pilates certification. I brought Gyrotonic exercise to Asheville in 2006.”

If you are looking for one of her classes, you’re out of luck. There are no classes at Asheville Pilates. “We do not teach group classes anymore at Asheville Pilates, focusing on one-on-one instruction instead. There are now six of us instructing movement at Asheville Pilates, and lessons are by appointment only,” she explained.

Asked if she has any post-surgery clients, or clients wanting to avoid surgery, Sher responded, “Yes and yes! We have many clients who have been surgically altered in a variety of ways (joint replacements, spinal fusions, organ removal, [and] cancers, to name but a few), and I would say we are all wanting to avoid surgery. Pilates and Gyrotonic exercise are the kindest forms of exercise I have ever come across, as they protect our joints and create resilience in our musculoskeletal system. We also work with a lot of clients with osteoporosis and osteopenia.”

Asked if Pilates is helpful for losing weight. “All exercise is helpful for losing weight when done concurrently with a healthy diet and lifestyle.”

Asheville Pilates moved to Reynolds Village in Woodfin (41 N. Merrimon Avenue, Ste. 109) in October of 2012. Prior to moving, they were “located on Charlotte Street for ten years, and before that, I operated out of my house for a couple of years.”

What do Pilates sessions cost? “We encourage clients to purchase packages of 5 or 10 sessions, which is more economical than paying for single sessions. These packages range from $90-$120 per lesson, depending on which package is chosen.” She directed those wanting to learn more about the cost to see their fee structure at https://www.ashevillepilates.com/fees.

Who would be a good client for Pilates? The Tribune asked Sher. “We work with everyone, including older people with balance issues, people with scoliosis (young or old), dancers, athletes, young adults, mature adults, golfers, tennis players, people with MS, Parkinson’s, sedentary people, active people. Anyone can do Pilates and Gyrotonic, and we customize the lesson to the individual who walks through our doors.”

Sher adds, “We have fun and laugh a lot at Asheville Pilates. Although the equipment can seem pretty daunting at first, don’t be shy or feel intimidated: We would be happy to arrange to show anyone around, although we ask people to set up a time to do so. No amount of my verbal description of these beautiful exercise forms can do them justice – they have to be tried to be understood.”

To contact Asheville Pilates, you can reach them at their website, by calling 828-230-0800, or by email at info@ashevillepilates.com.