Strengthening the core at Vibrance Pilates and Fitness

By Teresa Dovalpage
Saturday, August 7, 2010 6:11 AM MDT
The Pilates session starts and I find myself lying on a mat, with a foam roller under my back. It feels good, like a getting a massage just on the right spots.

It’s the perfect way to get rid of those shoulder cramps one gets from spending too many hours in front of a computer. Then we do a breathing exercise.

I can picture stress dissolving away as I slowly inhale and exhale … Now we stand up and stretch, and the wood floor feels smooth and warm under my feet. I am at Vibrance Pilates and Fitness Studio, located at 616 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, near Creative Framing. The cozy, one-room space opened July 21 to fulfill a longtime dream.

After teaching Pilates classes for several years, Sadie Quintanilla and Hillary Thieben decided to open their own studio — a community-oriented venture that combined their passion for Pilates and their background in education. Quintanilla, who has a B.A. in psychology from Naropa University, has taught at several schools in Taos.

Thieben, with a B.A. in social science from Fort Lewis College, was the head swim coach for the Taos Swim Club and also taught at Anansi Charter School. They are both certified Core Dynamics instructors. Their main goal is to make Pilates available to “todas las personas,” as Thieben emphasizes in Spanish. “We want to reach as many people as possible,” she says, “that’s why we have created a cost-friendly program.”

Mat classes are $10 for dropsin, $40 for a five-time punch card. Equipment classes are $20 for drop-ins, $80 for a five-time punch card. There is also a generous student discount. They offer mat, spring board, chair and combo classes for beginners and advanced students, in addition to private and semi-private lessons.

The studio is open Monday to Saturday and the class schedule appears on its website http://www.vibrancepilates. com/Schedule.

“Pilates is all about strengthening your core, standing correctly and breathing right,” says Thieben. “It starts from the foundation up, from the core, and improves your posture while eliminating joint pains.” (When I hear that, I try to mentally locate the core in my midsection, but can’t find it.)

“Pilates is a ‘white meat sport,’ Quintanilla goes on, “as opposed to ‘red meat’ ones, that focus mostly on bulking up. Our goal is to lengthen and straighten the muscles. It’s a wholebody kind of exercise.” Though the studio has been open for just a couple of weeks, it has already attracted a clientele.

My classmates, who move gracefully and “flow” from one detail-oriented movement to another, swear by it. “You need to take four or five classes to really get into Pilates,” says one lady, noticing my efforts to keep up with them. “Then, it becomes much easier.”

With some help from Thieben, I finally locate my core and things get better. We use the chair and the exercise bands (this is a combo class) and an hour passes by fast. For a taste of Pilates, drop into Vibrance, visit the website Vision or call (575) 737-5800.

This article ran in the Aug. 5 edition of The Taos News.