As someone who struggles to even touch their toes, I feared for my life entering my first class at Pilates By Design. One hour later, that fear had been stretched, flexed, and molded into excitement for the next session. It wasn’t easy, however, and this blog details my first pilates class and how Jeni Ivovic turns one’s fear into fortitude.
Being married to traditional exercise my entire life – like bench press, squats, and running – pilates felt like a waste of time. How could anybody possibly benefit from this modern version of medieval torture? Turns out, well, EVERYBODY!
“I’ve been doing this for 17 years, and pilates is for every…body! It’s functional fitness for life,” Jeni talked about who benefits from pilates. “I have high-end athletes like these two sophomores. They didn’t realize how if you have a stronger core, you’re going to run faster. Now they’re being hunted down by colleges. I also have 80-year-olds here. It keeps them flexible and helps with arthritis and fibromyalgia.”
After a recommendation from a friend, I finally walked through the doors of Pilates By Design. Jeni’s studio was air-conditioned, clean, and inviting. She then placed me in my workout station and started the class with some simple stretches to get the blood pumping. This is easy enough, I remember telling myself. Then the workout started.
Jeni hooked up my wires and springs and guided the class through slow, methodical movements. My arms, legs, abs, core, and muscles I didn’t even know existed were all howling. All the while, Jeni walked through the isles and talked to the class in a loud, and encouraging manner. She explained each movement we made on an anatomical level, what was stretching, how important posture was, and as soon as I thought I was doing it right, she would make a slight adjustment that would leave my body shaking.
“I love the personal relationship I have with every person that comes in. Knowing what their path is, their injuries, what they’re doing. When I know who they are, I can personalize the exercise to them,” Jeni talked about why she loves teaching her pilates classes. “That’s why I’m here, my clientele all become family. I call each person my own orchestral music piece. Some are drums, some are tubas, and some are flutes. Each person has a different sound and need and I go the extra mile to meet that need.”
It also helps having classmates there enduring the “pain” with you. Classmates from different walks of life, of different ages, and different ailments. The unifyer, however, is Jeni. Everybody seems to have a personal relationship with her, and her feisty personality makes for the best encouragement. Like a friend that deals out tough love and doesn’t allow you to settle for anything less than your full potential.
“My motivation is to teach people the passion of movement in their body to appreciate their body and to be in awe of their body,” Jeni talked about her motivation for doing what she’s been doing for almost two decades. “I know how magical this is and how pilates will change the life of your body and I love the opportunity to teach people how magical it is. I hope other’s motivation is ignited by that, and I say within four sessions you’ll learn that. Within eight sessions, you’ll be able to apply pilates to life situations.”
Before you know it, the class is over, you’re lying in a pool of sweat, and feeling absolutely amazing. You also realize how much more resilient your mind and body are – thanks largely to Jeni’s constant reminders to “toughen-up, buttercup.’
From elderly folks working on mobility to division 1 college athletes strengthening their foundation, pilates is for EVERYONE. We’re walking, talking bodies of work in progress that require the best maintenance possible.
So the next time you have $20 in your pocket, you could absolutely splurge on the dollar menu, or you can sign up for one of Jeni’s classes and splurge on a lifestyle change. The choice is up to you!