Many exercise fads have come and gone, but Pilates has taken a true hold on the fitness world. Created by the German-born Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s, the method is an exercise of physical movement that stretches and strengthens the body, while creating balance, flexibility and control; it has many benefits for the mind as well. I was lucky enough to experience its magic at Pilates of Sag Harbor, where I received an hour-long personal session with director Lauralee Bruce. As I entered the studio, her previous client told me that I was “in for a treat”—and wow, was I!
I was immediately welcomed into the studio on Main Street by the friendly and knowledgeable Bruce. She started her business more than 15 years ago with her sister, Lesa Salvani, and is the original Pilates studio in the Hamptons. (Salvani now directs her own “sister” studio in Sag Harbor, InBalance Pilates, offering both individual and group classes.) Bruce started studying Pilates as an adolescent because she had lower back issues, and then she continued for 15 years. Impressively, Bruce studied under Carola Trier, one of Joseph Pilates’ students. Bruce became an actress but continued practicing, and when she moved to the Hamptons from Manhattan, she got certified and opened her studio.
During my one-hour session, Bruce introduced me to a variety of Pilates techniques using the various machines and props that she has in her comfortable and private studio. She likes to use props frequently when she teaches because the props remove some of the tension in the body, and they help the body in receive a better, more effective workout. “I tailor each program to fit each client’s needs,” she said. “We design our workout from beginner to super advanced.” Bruce definitely did shape the workout to my body and abilities, and the personal attention ensured that I was exercising correctly and maximizing the effect of the workout. She made sure to ask how I was feeling at various points, and made sure I was feeling the exercise in the correct places. Bruce was also very encouraging, giving me the boost I needed to finish a set or complete a movement.
I was very refreshed and revived after the session—it was a great feeling. Bruce said, “My favorite part is challenging and making each and every client walk out feeling refreshed and flexible and strong, and really giving the personal care and attention in their one-hour session.”
Pilates is great for all ages and her clients range from ages 11 to 86. It is especially good for people experiencing injuries or other issues, because the exercises can work around the problem area and also strengthen it to allow it to heal. In fact, the original goal of Pilates was to help injured people, and Bruce has specially designed programs for rehab patients who have had hip replacements, herniated discs and more. Moreover, she has special programs for pre- and post-natal women, and, uniquely, a program for golfers to help them with their flexibility.
Bruce says that her greatest challenge, but also her greatest reward, is “putting a program together for each and every client that allows each person to be able to get stronger, and more flexible in their daily life.” She gives exceptional personal attention to all of her customers, and is truly devoted to their health and well-being.
The benefits of Pilates can reach into all aspects of one’s life, and Bruce is committed to helping each and every student receive them.
InBalance Pilates, 34 W. Water St., Sag Harbor. 631-725-8282, www.pilatesofthehamptons.com. Private classes, group classes on mat, reformer, tower, and chair, 7 days a week. [/expand]