November 2008

Work that body to the core at Core Pilates & Yoga

Author: Lynne Hummell | Photographer: John Brackett

Core (kohr) noun: the central, innermost, or most essential part of anything.

When Katie Finger Girardi and Lynne Anderson decided to create a fitness studio that would employ the methods of Joseph Pilates, they searched for a name that would reflect his philosophy—that the body and mind are inextricably connected and that the most effective exercise involves controlled stretching and strengthening from the body’s core.

In physiology, the “core” is the band of muscles that wraps around the lower abdomen and back that supports the spine and provides stability and balance for the entire body.

“It’s all about the core,” said Anderson. “Every move starts with that band of core muscles.”

It should come as no surprise, then, that the two decided on the name Core Pilates & Yoga. The name is powerful and succinct, Anderson said. “It tells who we are and what we do.”

The key principles of Pilates are concentration, control, centering, breathing, balance, alignment, and rhythm or flow. The focus is on strengthening and lengthening the core muscle group, which leads to overall fitness.

Because it is a non-impact form of exercise, Pilates is appropriate and beneficial for people of all ages and any fitness level, Girardi said.

Pilates also teaches body awareness, with breathing that is choreographed into each exercise to promote an increase of oxygen intake to the muscles.

By awareness, Girardi said, they mean being conscious of every move and posture, even when not exercising. “One of our clients told me she was standing in line at the checkout and she was suddenly aware of her posture, remembering to stand with her shoulders back and her abdominal muscles pulled in toward her spine,” she said. “That’s body awareness.”

Reflecting the very nature of this form of exercise, the studio in the Courtyard Building on Hilton Head Island is itself organic, fresh and inviting. “We chose the colors and furnishings very carefully,” Anderson said. With simple muslin window treatments, soft natural colors of pale greens and blues, and natural fiber carpeting, the space feels comfortable.

Girardi said it was important to them that the studio be a friendly and non-threatening environment. “When people are trying this for the first time, we want them to be comfortable,” she said. A new client recently complimented Girardi because she felt so welcomed. “That meant a lot,” Girardi said. “We want them to want to come back.”

Core Pilates & Yoga is unique, the partners said, because “we are all about fun.” Often, in a class of four or five moms, for instance, talk centers on their children and life in general. “There is a lot of laughing and yakking,” Anderson said.

However, when a client prefers to work harder to the point of sweating and “feeling the pain,” they can dish out a serious workout, even for those who need to sweat to feel their exercise is effective. “We have a couple of NBA athletes who stop in from time to time,” Anderson said, “and they go through a lot of towels!”

Another important facet of the business is the dedication of the two partners. “I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t believe in it,” said Anderson.

Girardi, well-known on Hilton Head as a prima ballerina, discovered Pilates in college after dislocating both knees over a period of time. Using Pilates as a way to rehab her knees, she fell in love with the exercise and the concept. She decided she should learn to teach so she would have something she could do for years to earn a living. She was certified in New York, where she was dancing at the time, and taught 40-50 clients a week.

When she got a call from Karena Carlyle to come back to Hilton Head to teach ballet at Hilton Head Dance School, she knew she would have an alternative reason to come home. She now divides her time between teaching young ballerinas and leading classes at Core Pilates & Yoga.

Anderson said she has been “into fitness and sports” her whole life, trying a little bit of everything. She began taking Pilates classes about 10 years ago, along with yoga. When Girardi returned to the island, Anderson was her first client. Later, she became certified when the two brought in a trainer to teach a certification class.

After a few months, the two discussed opening their own studio. Anderson said it was “a no brainer. We knew we could make it work.” Her drive was to teach people what she had learned, because she knew others would love it. “It’s a lifestyle thing,” she said.

Apparently, the two were right.

Mat and equipment classes are held Monday-Saturday at various times to accommodate work and school schedules. Call (843) 681-4COR for more information.

Core Pilates & Yoga
32 Office Park Road
The Courtyard Building
Suite 306
Hilton Head Island, SC
843-681-4COR (4267)

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