In case you didn’t get a chance to pick up your own copy of The Florida Villager, below is the feature on Pilates in the Grove found in the February 2016 and May 2016 Editions.
Work Out Smarter Not Harder
By: Andrea Carniero
Pilates in the Grove brings their unique brand of healing to South Miami
For many, the idea of a Pilates studio conjures up images of long, lithe women stretching themselves into seemingly impossible positions as they maneuver within a series of weights and pulleys. They would be wrong.
In reality, says Pilates in the Grove owner Christa Gurka, students are more likely to find an atmosphere of support and healing, with many regulars working to alleviate everything from back pain to sports injuries in addition to getting fit. “Our studio is very different,” says Gurka, who opened her newest studio in South Miami last month. “We’re all about bringing [Pilates] to the general population. It’s a very comfortable, very positive environment.”
The South Miami studio is no exception with 1,500 square-feet of space that Gurka says reflects the attitude of her staff and students. “We searched for more than a year to find the right spot,” she says, admitting she was drawn to the final space thanks to its cozy atmosphere, ample parking and bright, window-filled rooms. “It was important to have the space speak to what we are trying to grow.”
Gurka herself brings more than 15 years of experience in the wellness and physical therapy world to her own practice. When an injury sidelined the longtime athlete in college she found a new passion during her own recovery, leading to a masters degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Miami. When Gurka found post-collegiate work in a Pilates-based outpatient facility, her fate was sealed. “We were using Pilates-based methods with all of our patients and then sending them off to local studios when their therapy was done,” says Gurka. “I thought ‘Why are we sending them somewhere else?’”
Since then, Gurka has opened three studios that embody her welcoming, inclusive philosophy on fitness and healing, a Miami Beach studio in 2006 (which she eventually sold to focus on her thriving Grove business), the Grove location in 2010 and now South Miami. Through it all, Gurka has populated her studios with other professionals who share her attitudes. “Pilates in the Grove is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of the greater Miami community,” says South Miami studio manager Lauren Travis. “Our instructors and staff lead with passion, lean on our diverse experience and keep abreast of the latest techniques to provide a safe, welcoming environment for all who workout with us.”
In addition to working with back issues (““Sitting has created a lot of problems,” she says) and other physical issues, Gurka and her team offer students a variety of options when it comes to beginning or continuing their Pilates work.
- Group Classes Limited to no more than eight students per class, Pilates in the Grove’s group reformer classes are kept small to ensure personalized attention, giving students the benefits of a personal training session at the class price point. Additonally, Gurka points out that many of the classes are taught by experienced physical therapists, making the group classes a good –and safe—choice for those worried about past injuries or limitations. “We get people who want to stay fit in a safe, efficient way; a way they can keep up consistently for twenty or thirty years. We teach our clients how to workout smarter, not harder”
- Private Sessions For those looking to hone their Pilates skills, private sessions allow Gurka and her team to give individual attention and customize the time for maximum results.
- Physical Therapy In addition to fitness students, Pilates in the Grove is a full service physical therapy center and wellness facility, bringing more than 30 years of combined experience in staff of highly trained Physical and Occupational Therapists. Gurka’s team has specialized training in Manual Therapy, Myofascial Release, Soft Tissue mobilization, Joint mobilization, Kinesiotaping, Neuromuscular Re-Education, Movement Integration and Muscle Energy Techniques.
- Corporate Wellness Gurka and her team work closely with various organizations to create and conduct a wide variety of on-site wellness programs, working together with business owners on everything from a single session to a series and allowing employees to develop a better understanding of how their lifestyle habits affect their energy and overall performance.