Back to the beginning: a reflection on why we started this studio.

As many of you know, The Pilates Collective just celebrated its first birthday in January!  We are eternally grateful for our loyal, dedicated, and most of all fun clients who make work feel like play.

I was looking through some documents and found a post I wrote just after the studio opened. A year later, my feelings still ring true.  


One of my goals with the Pilates Collective is to remain open and honest about why we do what we do. With that in mind, I decided this opening blog post should explain why I left my former studio to start the Pilates Collective. My brief answer to that question is simplicity. To the outside eye it might seem that leaving a successful Pilates studio to start from scratch would be the opposite of simple. But for me, striking out on my own has brought me a new clarity and sense of purpose.

My greatest strength as an instructor is my ability to empathize. When I’m teaching, I try my best to feel what another person’s body is feeling. That’s the space where I do my best work—but it doesn’t happen every day.

There are certainly days when I wonder if what I’m doing is making a difference at all. I love teaching Pilates and I know people enjoy my classes, but sometimes I feel like I’m not doing enough. I feel like my mental energy hasn’t had enough time to recharge and I’m not doing my best work.

One of my favorite clients to work with is actually my husband, Neal. He has Muscular Dystrophy. I have been amazed at the way the Pilates method helps his unique situation… I love working with him because I feel comfortable trying out new ideas and taking my time to make sure he’s really getting it. Plus I don’t have to worry that he’s getting impatient or wondering what I’m doing because, well, he’s not a paying client!

I can find the same joy and connection with other clients, but it’s not always consistent. Sometimes I get a little too into my own head about whether or not I’m giving them the “right” exercises, or whether they’re questioning what we’re spending time on.

As I progress in my career, I want to feel fluid in my knowledge of the body and of Pilates. I want to learn to trust my instincts more so I can work seamlessly, empowering people to discover a deeper connection to their bodies.

Recently I realized that, while I love teaching Pilates, running a studio, and being an active part of the community, my inner teacher is fueled by my family. I started teaching Pilates as a way to help my husband. As I got more involved, at some point I got caught up in the “business” part and began to lose track of what really motivates me.

By starting a new studio in a simple and straightforward way, I have an opportunity to help people find what nourishes their bodies and their passions. The Pilates Collective is my attempt to make a small and meaningful positive change in people’s lives. We live in a world that encourages us to disconnect: we disconnect from our bodies, from ourselves, and from our loved ones. I got lost in a studio where I couldn’t express my unique strengths, and found I was falling prey to that same disconnection.

My hope is that the Pilates Collective will allow me to stay true to my vision and become the best instructor and business owner that I can be. Thank you for joining me!

Clara Gelatt