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This pilates studio offers a tailored experience for all fitness levels

North Shore's Moving Spirit Pilates offers small classes for personalized approach
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Susannah Steers, owner and Pilates Integrated Movement Specialist of Moving Spirit Pilates, guiding a pilates student. Photo via Paul McGrath

After Tara Walsh, a North Vancouver horticulturist and avid mountain biker, injured a disc in her back, she thought her career and the opportunity to participate in her favourite leisure activity were over.

With lifting, digging, and planting plants (her work involves heavy physical activity), and navigating backcountry trails on her bike, discovering Pilates was a game changer for Tara.

"We spent time bringing her back from injury," says Susannah Steers, owner of Moving Spirit Pilates. "What Tara learned about her body and her movement in the process resulted in the kind of mobility and strength that weren’t available even before her injury.”  

For Tara, Pilates has become fundamental to her overall health and athleticism, and helps her maintain her active lifestyle. 

At its best, Pilates is balanced exercise, based on whole-body movement. It encourages you to focus on breathing and cultivate a mind-body connection, one of control and technique, while being mindful of how all your movements are connected, and supported from your core. At Moving Spirit Pilates, Steers explains their philosophy:

"Everyone has their own individual movement habits, which may affect how they're able to build and maintain strength. Our approach involves looking at your body, your movement and your life - and meeting you wherever you are now. Whether you're a seasoned athlete or have had limited physical activity in the past, whether you're in peak condition or on the path to recovery from injury or illness, we work with you to improve your movement and increase your fitness in a healthy and sustainable way.”

Steers emphasizes that the goal is for you to be able to navigate your daily life and accomplish all your desired tasks, while also feeling more confident in reaching for new goals. This involves addressing joint stability, enhancing core support for the spine, releasing overactive muscles caused by poor habits, and gaining new insights for more optimal movement. 

You’re not just adding muscle; you’re also identifying and addressing areas that need better support and balance. When your foundation is well integrated, it becomes possible to build strength with less struggle. Moving Pilates creates access to the right support, then helps you work on control, stamina, strength and mobility. As people progress with the studio, they tend to discover new ease in their movement, and a refreshing lightness and efficiency to their athleticism.

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Susannah Steers. Photo via Paul McGrath

Pilates packages and memberships

Moving Spirit Pilates teachers work directly with you to help you learn how to move your body better as you gain fitness. They specialize in creating personalized Pilates programs tailored to your unique needs, goals, and challenges.

"Each teacher has over 20 years-experience in the field, accompanied by additional specialized training in Pilates, movement science and complementary modalities," reveals Steers. “We have career professionals who are devoted to supporting you every step of the way.”

The Introductory Private Training package is the first step, which involves five, 55-minute introductory private training appointments. Then they develop a personalized Pilates "starter" program (for whatever your level, beginner to pro), and then, most move on to their monthly Small Group Reformer Class memberships. The Small Group Reformer Class is similar to personal training, in a small group setting. In a class, each person works through their own personalized program, under the guidance and coaching of staff who correct form, cue new strategies, and add progressions (and sometimes a little magic) along the way.

Additionally, Pilates Mat classes are available as the studio’s only "instructor-led" class option. Mat classes are accessible in monthly class series.

There's also ongoing private training for those with special challenges or busy schedules, so you can address specific issues or work more intensively toward goals. "Consistency and frequency of practice are important for best results," says Steers.

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Allison Birt, PMA Certified Pilates Teacher, guiding a student during a class at Moving Spirit. Photo via Paul McGrath

‚Äč"You don't have to push yourself past crazy limits just because somebody tells you. Know how your own body feels and recognize there are ways of getting where you want to go without having to beat yourself up to get there."

"We're about building relationships: inside the body, between body and mind, between exercise and life, and within the Moving Spirit community," Steers says.

"What has evolved over the years is a beautiful community of active people who care about each other, celebrate each other's wins, and support each other through challenges."

For more information, visit movingspirit.ca.