Winter skies can be drab and gray, but the bright skylight ceiling and cool blue walls inside the Clearly Pilates studio resemble a tropical retreat, exactly the feel Clare Westwood was going for.
“I wanted to bring that feeling of warmth and peace to people who come in after a stressful day, to people who are recovering from a hip replacement surgery,” said Westwood, owner of the Sewickley studio. “This place needs to be a retreat.”
The Sewickley resident was thinking along those same lines when she named the studio Clearly Pilates, a title derived from her first name Clare, which means “bright and clear.”
On Monday, Clearly Pilates officially opened with a full schedule and a bright future ahead. Located at 352 Beaver St. in the heart of the business district, the studio offers advanced or beginner’s classes, as well as private, semi-private and group equipment sessions. Village Green Partners plans a ribbon cutting at 4 p.m. today to welcome the new studio to Sewickley.
Westwood said Pilates offers physical, emotional and spiritual health by providing balance, strength and flexibility. She specializes in the classical Pilates method, a practice developed by Joseph Pilates. He had a saying that "after 10 sessions, you will feel better; after 20 sessions you will look better; and after 30 session you will have a whole new body."
Westwood said anyone who consistently practices at least two or three times a week can accomplish this.
“The difference between you today and you six weeks from now is you telling me, 'my God I feel good,' " she said. "I want people to feel good and healthy.”
The mother of three boys—Andrew, Sean and Jack—Westwood has been practicing Pilates for about 14 years. She began studying the discipline after learning she could relieve chronic lower back pain by strengthening her core. She's been teaching for seven years now and works with a variety of clientele, from busy moms to professional athletes.
"I think the clientele who have been coming here value the personal experience by very highly trained Pilates instructors," she said.
Clearly Pilates prides themselves in having the highest level of education for all their instructors. All three trainers are Peak Pilates certified, an internationally recognized Pilates certification program that focuses on the anatomy of movement.
Regardless of age or athletic ability, Westwood said they want clients to feel encouraged. She even has sessions called the “I can’t do it” classes for those who aren’t sure they can actually do Pilates, but want to give it a try.
“The whole goal is to make sure everybody can do it,” she said.
For participants looking for something beyond Mat classes, Clearly Pilates offers “Spin-yoga” and “Spin-lates” classes, a combination of Pilates and yoga or spinning using Mad Dogg athletics bikes.
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