Pilates studio opens in Eagle | VailDaily.com

Pilates studio opens in Eagle

David L'Heureux
Eagle Valley Enterprise/David L'HeureuxSuzi Robinson, instructor at the new Anam Cara Pilates Studio in Eagle, is also a certified physical therapist.
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Not feeling yourself lately? Not mentally sharp? Or, is it that the only sharpness you feel is a shooting pain in your back? If you want to do something about it, head to the newly opened Anam Cara Pilates studio on Chambers Drive in Eagle. The studio, housed within the “Community Health Care Center” in the chiropractic offices of Eric Eckdahl, was the brainchild of Darcelle O’Connor. She saw the need for a Pilates studio in Eagle because she was tired of driving upvalley to do the exercise to help heal her ailing back.Mat classes were available through Colorado Mountain College, but it is only by using the Pilates specific equipment found at studios like Anam Cara that one can truly “identify their core, and build core strength,” said O’Connor.The “core” is a term used frequently amongst Pilates students and teachers. It refers to the area in your midsection comprised of the diaphragm, the pelvic floor muscles and the abdominal and back muscles. The focus on the core represents the true essence of Pilates, said therapist Suzi Robinson, who helps instruct classes at the studio.

“Everything starts from your core, then your energy flows out from there,” Robinson said. “So you’re focused on that, but you are also going to work your arms and your legs, so it’s a whole body workout.”O’Connor, a 17-year-valley resident, has been involved in the health and fitness industry for 21 years, as an EMT, a physical therapy aide and a certified massage therapist. She enlisted the help of Robinson to instruct classes at the studio.Robinson, who is certified to teach both mat and equipment Pilates, has a master’s degree in physical therapy from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The first time she ever did Pilates, she said she knew her patients could benefit from the core strengthening principles inherent to the practice. “I have been able to do Pilates-based workouts for people with such debilitating back pain that they could not even exercise,” said Robinson. “The immediate benefits I see in people is that they stand taller and feel stronger. It’s also very relaxing and fun.”Having a Pilates studio work in conjunction with a chiropractic office seemed only natural to O’Connor, she said.

“The Pilates dovetailed nicely with the chiropractic that Dr. Eckdahl does,” said O’Connor. “He is seeing people with back injuries, so we can be good for each other on a referral basis, and we can help with the whole physical therapy and rehabilitation side of things.”When German-born Joseph Pilates developed the program of exercise bearing his name in the 1920s, he hardly could have imagined the popularity it would enjoy nearly 40 years after his death in 1967.He started the practice as a nurse during World War I, attaching bed springs to immobilized patient’s mattresses to speed rehabilitation and recovery. He migrated to the United States after the war, formalizing the fitness regime, and incorporating the principles of concentration, relaxation, fluidity, breathing and stamina making it a full workout for both body and mind.”Pilates was developed to create a healthy body, mind and lifestyle,” said O’Connor. “He was way ahead of his time, and his methods are clearly relevant today.”Anam Cara, which is Gaelic for “soul friend,” is part of the new Community Health Care Center that recently opened in Eagle. The Center is also home to an herbalist, an acupuncturist and several massage therapists.

“The neat thing is that Pilates goes well with acupuncture and chiropractic for people who are looking to improve their overall wellness or fitness, or for people who have chronic-pain problems,” said O’Connor, who went on to say that 75 percent of Americans will have some sort of back problem in their lifetime.Eagle resident Nancy Powell was ecstatic when she heard a Pilates studio was opening in town.”I’m really excited because I’ve been doing the mat classes for a year, and I have been wanting to try the machines,” said Powell. “The mat classes are good, but the machines encourage you to do things in a fluid movement and focus on your breathing.”An average Pilates session lasts about one hour and it is recommended that participants do classes at least two or three times a week to really see results. Anam Cara is offering a few introductory specials to get people in Eagle involved. For the month of July a five-session punch card can be purchased for $100. The normal cost of a private session is $35, with ten-session punch cards available for $300.