Phil Castle, The Business Times
Caren Vogt believes sitting at a desk all day can be hazardous to your health. The slumped shoulders, protruding neck and compressed organs can cause not only minor aches and pains, but also lead to such serious conditions as nerve damage and digestive difficulties.
One antidote, Vogt said, is Pilates, a series of exercises that promotes proper breathing and posture as well as improves strength and flexibility. While invigorating the body, Pilates also invigorates the mind, she said. “When you reset your brain, you think more clearly and can be more productive.”
Vogt owns Core Connections, a Pilates studio she brought to Grand Junction two years ago. She’s taught Pilates for nearly 20 years and worked in the fitness industry for more than 30 years.
Vogt said she was impressed the first time she was introduced to Pilates. After a lengthy career as an instructor, she remains convinced of its benefits. “I’ve seen some amazing, amazing results,” she said. “I’m very passionate about what it can offer.”
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. By one estimate, more than 10 million Americans practice Pilates.
Vogt relocated Core Connections to Grand Junction after operating her studio in Wyoming since 1999. Vogt said she saw in the Grand Valley a good market for her services. “I felt like there was a need for what I could offer here.”
Vogt has long worked in the fitness industry as a personal trainer, fitness director and presenter. She also competed nationally in fitness competitions. She said her career and life changed, though, when she was first introduced to Pilates at a conference.
Vogt said she quit her job to complete the teacher training certification program at the Pilates Center in Boulder, a studio she described as the Harvard of Pilates instructional facilities.
The Pilates method offers a holistic approach to physical and mental wellbeing in a process Vogt compared to encouraging various parts of the body to perform together like an orchestra.
Pilates called his system contrology and developed precise breathing and movements to promote a uniformly developed body with flexibility, stamina and strength, Vogt said.
At her studio, Vogt offers private lessons and group classes. She said it’s best for those new to Pilates to take private lessons to learn proper breathing and exercise techniques. Those familiar with the techniques then can join in group classes, which tend to move at a faster pace, she said.
Pilates believed a balanced body has the ability to heal itself, and Vogt said she’s used his methods to help clients overcome a range of injuries and illnesses.
Some of her clients have been referred by physical therapists and chiropractors, Vogt said. She’s also helped clients who were injured and, as a result, afraid to move, she said.
Injuries affect not only specific parts of the body, but also the entire body, Vogt said. “It affects everything.”
As for prolonged sitting, the heath hazards can include a strained neck, sore shoulders and back aches, Vogt said. Research also has linked prolonged sitting with high blood pressure and a greater risk for certain types of cancer. “We have to move,” she said. “We’re designed to move.”
Going through Pilates exercises requires precision and attention to detail, but also just an hour a session to work effectively, she said.
Along with private lessons and classes, Vogt said she’s willing to work with businesses to help employees counter the hazards of prolonged sitting with the benefits of Pilates.
Core Connections is located at 321 Rood Ave., Unit 4 in downtown Grand Junction. For more information, call 366-9155 or log on to www.coreconnectionspilates.com.