by Bill Batson
Comfortably dressed people, gliding down the sidewalk with a yoga mat tucked under their arm is a common sight in Nyack, New York. Our village has been a yoga hub since the 1920s, when Pierre Bernard introduced the American public to the ancient practice from his Clarkstown Country Club ashram. However, some of those striding toward a fitness appointment might be taking a Pilates class, a system of exercises developed in Germany in the early 20th century.
Nyack Sketch Log got to experience the fitness method, thanks to a former professional ballet dancer and owner of Moving Arts Pilates Studio, Jennifer Attebery.
How did you discover Pilates?
I first discovered Pilates 35 years ago while I was training as a dancer in New York City. It was long before Pilates became widely known and back then it was specifically used as a rehabilitation for injured dancers and a small group of the population. After I left the dance world, I received a degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis on mind/body health and healing.
I love the balance of the physical and mental components of health. The physical space of my studio reflects these beliefs as I have tried to make my studio a tranquil and peaceful place.
Also, I usually have one or two dogs sleeping in the studio as a reminder of the simple pleasures of life.
How does your career as a dancer inform your work?
Dance is extremely physical work. Our bodies are the instrument, so it is important to fine tune it and be as physically fit as possible. I was always curious in the ‘why’ of movement. How can I lift my leg or how do I get my body off the ground?
Pilates is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, whose father was a gymnast and mother, a naturopath.
Pilates developed his system of exercises while he was being held at an internment camp on the Isle of Man during World War I.
There are as many as 11 million people around the world you take Pilates classes. In the United States, there are over 14,000 instructors.
After I aged out of dance, succumbing to many injuries, I was still left with a curiosity of movement. I love when my clients become ‘curious’ and find ways to feel more fit and move with more ease.
What are some off the apparatus you employ in your practice?
The Gyrotonic tower is a unique, holistic exercise system with pulleys and weights that exercise the body. It helps create range of movement, spine mobility and stabilization. It’s a beautiful wooden machine and one of the machines I use in my exercise studio.
The majority of my work is in the Pilates method. My studio is a fully equipped Pilate’s studio which includes the reformer and the tower
How do you approach your work with your clients
The work I do is very individualized. It is one-on-one training. My clientele run the spectrum of young people with newly diagnosed scoliosis, professional musicians, everyday people who come in with aches and pains and I am happy to say that my oldest client is an 88 years old gentlemen.
Pilates is for every body. My work is best to serve the individual and a workout that specializes their needs. Every session is different as every individual is different.
Is Pilates a daily practice?
I don’t believe that people have to do Pilates everyday but I do believe in using the tools of pilates such as awareness of posture & core support daily.
People should have some sort of daily practice that includes physical and mental tuning. Whether that includes walking, meditation, dancing to great music, gardening, keeping a gratitude journal or anything else that fills us up as we run around in our daily lives.
Is it my imagination, or does Nyack have a large wellness sector?
Nyack has a large wellness community for a small town. I find it a positive that there are so many choices. There is something for everyone.
What’s next for your practice?
I am at a phase of my life where I still love what I do and working with my clients. Most have been with me for years, but I also have a real passion for travel. Now that my children are grown and my spouse has retired, my work is purposely not as busy as it was a few years ago. My clients know that there will be times when I am away traveling.
I feel very fortunate in my work and have tried my best to be helpful to those that walk through my door.
You can contact Moving Arts Pilates by phone and/or email at 845 642-6373 and Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Batson is an activist, artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. “The Moving Arts of Jennifer Attebery ” © 2019 Bill Batson.