New Yoga Inspired Movement Classes

Jenny started offering Integrative Health Sessions at the studio last year and she has added two small group Yoga Inspired Movement sessions to her schedule that started this week.

For those of you who haven’t worked with Jenny yet, I wanted to tell you a little bit about her and the small group sessions she’ll be offering, because it might be just what you’re looking for!   

Jenny is a licensed physical therapist, a certified Yoga teacher (200RYT) and is also certified in Yin Yoga. 

Jenny’s goals for her weekly group movement sessions are to create a Yoga inspired movement session that focuses on mobility in the back and hips, strengthens core muscles and brings a sense of balance to the nervous system.

Her sessions will be doable by ANY body and she’ll give lots of options on how to make movements work for your body.  If you are looking for a gentle, mind body focused movement session designed to improve overall strength, flexibility and mobility you will love these sessions! No Yoga or movement experience is necessary!  

Jenny is offering sessions Tuesday mornings at 9 am and Saturdays at 10 am.

If you want to schedule a small group Yoga session yourself you can look for openings under the appointments tab in Mindbody and request an appointment on the app or on in Mindbody in a browser.  You can also always just email us and we can schedule it for you!

Inspiration of the Month: Jodi Cooper

When did you start Pilates and what inspired you to start?

I started Pilates in September 2019 after a physical therapist suggested it would help with back pain. I immediately felt welcomed in my classes.

How often do you practice Pilates?
I started with a few private classes and then joined a semi-private beginner reformer class. I loved it! Initially I could sometimes only move an inch but over time I’ve seen huge progress in my strength, flexibility and balance. Now I try to spend sometime daily doing Pilates, even if it is only ten minutes.

What benefits or improvements have you experienced from practicing Pilates?

I notice so much change in my body from how I stand, how I hold my shoulders and how I walk.

Do you have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment?
I don’t have a favorite, I have enjoyed them all.

How has Pilates helped you in your life?
In May of 2021 I had a major surgery. Pilates really helped me prepare and recover. I was stronger than I had been in years going into the surgery. I saw the benefits after surgery including the ability to perform deep breathing and to begin to walk immediately. After surgery the staff at Rivercity Pilates helped me with exercises I could do to slowly and safely get back into Pilates.

Inspiration of the Month Karen Viars

Pilates Inspiration of the Month Karen Viars

When did you start Pilates and what inspired you to start?

I first started Pilates about 10 years ago and didn’t stick with it for long. In the Fall of 2020, deep into the pandemic, I was dealing with an ongoing back injury and wanted to find an activity that I could do at home that would make me feel stronger, and Pilates came to mind again. I wasn’t sure that it would work as an online class, but I also knew I wasn’t going to go to a studio during the pandemic. I was a beginner the last time I did Pilates, and didn’t advance very far, so the idea of pre-recorded classes didn’t appeal to me, either.

I found Rachel Piper (a Rivercity Pilates Instructor) on Instagram and asked her if she knew of anyone who teaches online, and she gave me the studio’s contact info. I did a free private session with Carey, and Pilates felt as good as I remembered, so I kept going! I’ve never visited the studio, or met Carey in-person, but the level of teaching and attention to detail is very much like my previous in-person experiences. 

How often do you practice Pilates?

I do weekly sessions with Carey, and have taken many of the workshops that the studio regularly offers, too. I’ve enjoyed all of them. 

What benefits or improvements have you experienced in your life?

One dramatic example happened just three months after I started Pilates again: I had a fall down some stairs. The body awareness that Pilates classes created helped me know right away that while I was bruised, I was (fortunately) not seriously injured. I could tell that my range of motion was normal and I was going to be fine. Pilates also helped me get back into exercise the next week. On a day-to-day basis, I am more strong, stable, balanced and I love how I feel when I’m doing Pilates. 

How do you incorporate Pilates into your daily activities?

In-between weekly sessions, I do what I call “bite-sized Pilates.” I don’t do a full hour long class, or even half an hour. I do the stomach series with my morning tea, or practice rolldowns between calls for work, or some mermaid stretches to finish out the day. I don’t schedule it, but I just find a few minutes to fit in. Pilates feels great after working at a computer all day!

Do you have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment ( or both!)? 

I’ve gotten serious enough about my practice to buy a Wunda chair, and it’s the best! Carey gave me a ton of great advice about what to look for and the pros and cons of different models as I was thinking about which one to pick. I love using it for footwork or running, where I get to work on strength, stretching and balance all at the same time. I also love the roll down, both on the chair or on the mat. That spinal articulation feels amazing! My previous Pilates experience was entirely on the reformer, so I’ve enjoyed getting to know more of the mat exercises, as well as what’s possible with the Wunda chair. 

What would you say to someone who was thinking about starting Pilates? 

Absolutely give it a try, even if you’re not in the same physical place! I came back to Pilates completely out of practice, unsure of what a back injury would allow me to do, and a little uncertain about online Pilates teaching because it’s a movement practice. I’ve gotten support, guidance, thoughtful instruction that have led to more strength, more flexibility and a greater level of knowledge about how my body works. It’s a great idea for almost anyone to try.

Inspirations of the Month: Sidney & Larry

Sidney and Larry are activer agers who love Pilates!

From Sidney: My husband and I are active retired people who prefer outdoor activities like hiking, biking and golf. With gentle suggestions from the massage therapist at River City Pilates and enthusiastic encouragement from my younger sister, about 2 years ago we decided to try Pilates to help improve our overall fitness, reduce aching muscles and joints and for me primarily to improve my strength.

Although it is cliche, for me Pilates is a journey and not a destination.

I truly relish the notion that in Pilates there is no finish line, no required levels of testing for particular achievements or accomplishments, no trophy for Best in Show. Both the group and semi private sessions my husband and I have done together at RCP emphasize working at my own level. And I get to decide what that level is! I especially enjoy trying a particular movement taught in a very specific way.

Being able to do a movement I couldn’t fully do the week before is exciting and it gives me a true feeling of accomplishment. Instructors also provide a variety of teaching techniques for people whose optimal learning style may be visual, or auditory or even tactile often using metaphors and their own personal examples. The movement methods taught have allowed me to be more flexible and certainly stronger which is very satisfying. The outcome of this is reduced inflammation and less soreness.

I like to think my golf game has improved driving the ball further and straighter without pain or stiffness in my back afterwards, I like to think I am taller when I leave class than when I arrived and I am always looking forward to the next class because my body has so many parts I continue to focus on and improve and again, it’s all at my own level. My Pilates journey is intriguing, satisfying and has taught my body to move in helpful ways I never thought possible.

Now, some thoughts from my husband.

From Larry: I have participated in competitive sports all my life. In my younger years I would workout because I had to. Now I work out because I want to.

Initially in Pilates classes, I was surprised at my lack of balance and core strength. My awareness was brought to light by the gradual progression of Pilates routines. During semi private sessions I find that Pilates gives me a complete and challenging workout that is refreshing at the end of each class.

The instructors vary the routines and equipment to make each session unique and motivating. Also the instructors attention to the details of proper form and technique is what sets them apart. I enjoy all of the equipment pieces we use and the variety keeps the workout challenging and definitely keeps my interest and focus. However, I must say, the Oov rates pretty high on my “brutal meter!”

I appreciate that I have improved my range of motion in both shoulders and overall improved my strength and balance. I look forward to continued involvement in Pilates at River City Pilates.

Inspiration of the Month Beth Bartlett

When did you start Pilates and what inspired you to start?
I first started Pilates at Rivercity Pilates in 2011. After the birth of my son in 2012 I struggled finding time for myself. After a break from Pilates I started back at Rivercity in November, 2019. I had been having issues with my back and my physical therapist recommended Pilates. I have never been someone to work out, but I have always loved Pilates. My body always felt better when I practice it regularly.

How often do you practice Pilates and what type of sessions or classes have you been doing?
Currently I do private lessons with Carey once a week. I always tell Carey I would come every day if she had time. Before Covid I was attending classes 2-3 times a week. I try to incorporate some exercises Carey has taught me at home as well.

What benefits or improvements have you noticed in your body and life from doing Pilates?
I have a spinal fusion, and I tend to be tight on one side of my body. Pilates make my body, especially my back feel so much better! I also think my core has become stronger which helps protect injury to my back. I think my mental health is better when I do Pilates. I have been trying to make time for myself a priority. Pilates has been the only form of exercise I enjoy doing. I look forward to class each week and how I will feel after class.

Do you have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment (or both)?
I love any type of side bending exercises. Mermaid is a favorite. I also like using the barrel and chair.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing Pilates?
I would highly recommend Pilates to anyone thinking of trying it. I honestly think most people could benefit from Pilates. Carey is the best! I think she does a wonderful job of watching clients form and making appropriate adjustments.

Inspiration of the Month Mary Smith

When did you start practicing Pilates?
I began practicing Pilates about 14 years ago when I attended classes taught by River City’s own Shannon Ottoson at the North Liberty Rec Center!  I am a physical therapist and found the combination of stretching, core strengthening and emphasis on breath and alignment complimentary to the principles I use when working with patients with all types of musculoskeletal problems. 

How often do you practice Pilates and what type of classes and sessions do you enjoy? I currently practice Pilates about 3 times a week.  I like the Intermediate Mat Flow class and the Big Ball class  (and not just because my daughter, Kathryn teaches them!).  These classes provide an extra challenge for me as I strive to become stronger and more flexible. 

I love the foam roller class as I find the stretching very helpful for my lower back and neck.  I have also taken private sessions with Carey as I rehabbed from a back injury.  These sessions were invaluable to help me regain mobility, strength and confidence to resume mat classes.  I have taken 2 of the virtual workshops Carey has offered which go into greater depth.  I love the analysis of movement and the modifications we can make with the exercises, allowing them to be accessible for everyone. 

How has Pilates helped you in your life?
Pilates has helped me to maintain an active lifestyle including hiking and gardening.  I find the exercises helpful to maintain my flexibility and strength.  My lower back feels best when I am consistent with my practice.  I also feel more centered and less stressed at the end of each class. 

How have the virtual classes helped you during the pandemic?
The virtual classes have provided a great predictable routine.  As we know, not much else is predictable these days!  I have actually been more consistent with my participation since classes went virtual due to the ease of exercising in my own home.  I certainly miss seeing the instructors and participants in person, but it has helped me feel connected to others with similar goals of staying active.

What would you say to someone who was thinking about starting Pilates?
I would encourage everyone to give Pilates a try.  It is a form of exercise that almost everyone can do, no matter your fitness level or age.  The exercises can be modified for those with health concerns including neck, back, shoulder and hip pain.  It has helped me live my mantra…keep moving!