Vivian Taylor at the studio’s grand opening.

MCL: What makes the Pilates method unique?

VIVIAN: Developed by Joseph Pilates, the Pilates method is unique in that it is ageless and emphasizes the mind and body as correlates to transforming the total body. Anyone at any age can do Pilates, while gaining greater awareness of the body and its integrated parts in relation to holistic development.

MCL: What are the major benefits of a regular Pilates class?

VIVIAN: Pilates enhances core strength, torso stability, posture, balance, flexibility, agility, and range of motion among clients. It is also associated with back pain reduction, improvements in the ability to sleep, as well as stress reduction. The method additionally helps clients to become stronger, leaner, more confident, and graceful—while also helping to improve energy. The more they move, the more energy they have; and the more energy they have, the more they move. The results can lead to flat abs, strong abs and backs, and toned bodies. And equally important, our clients have lots of fun engaging in the Pilates method. Some of them actually take two classes per day. (Hi Susan, Christine, and Kate!)

MCL: How does the Reformer machine work?

VIVIAN: The Pilates reformer is a flat, bed-like platform with a movable carriage, which rolls back and forward within the frame. Progressive springs, with various levels of resistance, are attached to the carriage—allowing it to be pushed and pulled along the frame of the reformer. Body weight, coupled with the springs, facilitates movement on the carriage, while lying down, sitting, or standing on the machine. The movement results in eccentric muscle contractions, which lengthen muscles as they resist the tension of the springs. An adjustable headrest, shoulder blocks, foot bar, handles, and straps are also attached to the reformer, allowing clients to be comfortable, supported, and safe in the execution of movements on the machine.

Healthy-Living-2At first glance, the Pilates reformer can appear intimidating to some, but once they are orientated to its use, they can’t wait to climb aboard in the context of private sessions or small group classes.

MCL: What kind of training did you undergo to be a Pilates instructor?

VIVIAN: During my initial college experience, I was a health and physical education (PE) major where I was first introduced to Pilates in my curriculum. When I moved to Kentucky, I served as assistant manager for She Physical Fitness Spa and was trained and taught Mat Pilates. Summarily, my training has involved integrated coursework, training workshops, observation hours, studio hours taking classes, and taking a certification examination. I am currently certified in the Pilates Method through the Leslee Bender Training Academy—one of the leading training centers in the industry—and through the American Sports and Fitness Association.

MCL: How young and how old should someone be to take Pilates?

VIVIAN: One of the great advantages of Pilates is that any age group—children, teens, adults, and senior citizens—and both males and females, can do it. Baby Boomers are especially attracted to Pilates because it places less stress on joints and muscles and is basically low impact. It is important to note, however, that as with any form of exercise, clients should consult their doctors before beginning an exercise program.

MCL: Can Pilates help weight loss?

VIVIAN: That is a good question! Pilates in combination with proper nutrition does support weigh loss, yielding the appearance of a trimmer, more toned body. Although Pilates is generally done somewhat slowly, it can be done in acceleration, at the intermediate and advanced levels, to expend greater energy needed to burn calories. Using the Pilates jumpboard accessory, which can be attached to the reformer, also allows for a high level of cardio workout. Weight loss results from a balance of good food, nutrition, and lifestyle choices, combined with exercise.

MCL: Tell us about yourself and why you chose to open up a Pilates studio?

VIVIAN: I am an educator, professional consultant, and community advocate for children. I am very concerned about the alarming statistics related to obesity and its impact on health and wellness, particularly in Mississippi. I believe that education, awareness, and exercise are key to helping to improve the outlook on this issue.

Fitness has always been an integral part of my family’s life. As an only child growing up in Kentucky during snow months, my husband’s bench press was our son’s best friend. My husband ensures that exercise equipment is a mainstay in our home décor—a point that does not always thrill me!

In planning for my second career, I wanted to do something meaningful, enjoyable, and beneficial to others and myself—and I knew that opening a Pilates studio would be the answer. The studio will serve not only as a place to exercise, but will also serve as a community outreach engine helping to enhance public awareness regarding the importance of incorporating fitness in our lives. With my knowledge, training, experience, and teaching skills, I hope to be a small part of the catalyst for change in the fitness arena—whether I am in the Pilates studio, in school settings, in the faith-based community, or in workplaces. After all, what good is it to create a “bucket list,” and not be physically fit to enjoy it?

Healthy-Living-3MCL: Anything else you want to add?

VIVIAN: I’m glad you asked! Our studio specializes in reformer-based classes that infuse the use of top-of-the-line reformers, towers, magic rings/circles, stability balls, bender balls, kettle bells, hand weights, gondola poles, dowels, Pilates boxes, and gliders, to enhance fitness in both small group and private class sessions. We have been blessed to work with a diverse clientele of beautiful people, inside and out, and we look forward to seeing them each day!