Pilates instructor enjoys latest moving experience

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Caren Crandall estimates she’s relocated her Pilates studio a dozen times over the course of her more than 20-year career as an instructor, but considers her latest moving experience the best one of all.

“By way far,” Crandall said.

For one thing, the newly constructed studio offers nearly double the space of her previous location in downtown Grand Junction — along with ample parking for her clients. For another, the new studio sits only steps from her home in Loma and closer still to her beloved horses.

Crandall operates Core Connections Pilates Studio. She opened the new studio in late December in a 1,400-square-foot addition to a barn. The studio features the usual Pilates apparatus, but also affords through large windows views of the Grand Valley countyside and horses grazing nearby. It’s exactly the kind of welcoming and calm setting Crandall hoped to achieve. “This is lovely. This is comfortable.”

And this is a part of what she said is a moving experience of a different kind in helping clients enjoy well-being through exercises designed to improve breathing, posture strength and flexibility.

Crandall also helps clients recover from injuries and illness and said she brings to the effort new insights as she recovers herself from a shoulder injury and surgical repairs earlier this year.

Pilates is named for Joseph Pilates, a German immigrant who developed a method of conditioning using exercises and specialized equipment. Born near Dusseldorf in 1880, Pilates suffered from asthma, rheumatic fever and rickets as a child, but worked to overcome those ailments to become a bodybuilder, boxer, diver, gymnast and skier. Pilates and a nurse who would later become his wife immigrated to the United States in 1926 and opened a studio in New York. Their methods soon became popular for dance training and since have become a part of mainstream fitness.

Pilates called his system Contrology and developed precise breathing and movements to promote a uniformly developed body with flexibility, stamina and strength, Crandall said.

Crandall offers private lessons and group classes in Pilates. She also offers Reiki, a Japanese healing technique.

Crandall has scheduled an introductory workshop on chankra centers for 9 a.m. to noon July 13 at the studio. The workshop will include Pilates movements, light stretching and walking mediation as part of an exploration of how energy affects people and their relatonships, she said.

Crandall brings to her operation more than 20 years of experience in teaching Pilates and more than 30 years of experience working in the fitness industry.

She said her career changed when she was introduced to Pilates at a conference. She said she quit her job as a fitness director and presenter to complete the teacher training program at the Pilates Center in Boulder. She relocated Core Connections to Grand Junction after operating a studio in Wyoming.

Pilates offers a holistic approach to physical and mental well-being in teaching people how to properly breathe and maintain posture as well as move in a more precise way — “to use the right tool for the right job,” Crandall said.

That’s especially important given the hazards people encounter slumped over their desks at work all day, she said.

Pilates also can help people overcome injuries and illness, Crandall said. She said some of her clients have been referred by physical therapists and chiropractors.

Crandall said Pilates has helped her recover from a shoulder injury she sustained when she slipped on ice and subsequent surgical repairs. She said the experience has given her new insights and more compassion. “It’s certainly helping me to help clients.”

The same techniques that help people move better also can be used to help other creatures, Crandall said. She’s worked to rehabilitate a gelding named Diamond and uses the horse in demonstrations and workshops.

It’s all part of a moving experience for Crandall — one made all the better, she said, by moving into her new studio.

The Core Connections Pilates Studio is located at 1560 14 Road in Loma. For more information, call 366-9155 or log on to the website at www.coreconnectionspilates.com.