Learning & Living Pilates with Kevyn Zeller

Kevyn1She Sweats:  One thing we want to promise as we continue to do this blog is that we’ll take recommendations and suggestions very seriously. We’ll try it all! So when someone reaches out to us, we’re going to schedule it ASAP. That’s exactly what happened when we were told we needed to try Kevyn Zeller Pilates at ZenGirl Fitness. Similar to HE, the extent of my Pilates experience goes as far as Chaise23 and SLT so I was excited to try the real deal. Kevyn is an amazing woman and you can tell that this is her true passion in life. She explained everything to us about Pilates. She took us through the history of it and why Joseph Pilates created it. I was shocked to hear that Pilates was founded by a man and that it was originally a workout geared towards men. Joseph Pilates actually had rickets and created Pilates to improve his overall strength and well being. He was a man of many trades – a diver, gymnast, body builder, circus performer and more, and it was because of Pilates that he was able to continue doing all of those things. Over time, women, especially dancers, began to fall in love with Pilates because it helped improve their overall performance. The more popular it got among women, the more some of the exercises began to fade out. There were many original exercises that helped improve and build upper body strength, which was something female dancers didn’t want. I found this whole history lesson to be SO interesting and I felt like every move we did made so much sense. Because of all the spinning and bootcamps we do, HE has hip issues and I have IT Band issues on both legs. Kevyn explained to us exactly how and why Pilates can help both of us. Every move is very focused and slow, coordinated with deep breathes. She even modified some of the stretches for me that affected my knees. We spent some time foam rolling. I’ve spent my fair share of time in physical therapy and Kevyn was able to show me new ways to use the foam roller which I loved. So many of the exercises that we do at Refine, SLT and Chaise23 originate from Pilates. Especially the chair machine – you really get to see exactly where Chaise23 comes from! I’ve come to learn that Pilates is not just a great exercise but is truly an extremely important practice to improve overall health, strength and well being…especially for people who are as active as HE and I are. I can’t wait to schedule another session with Kevyn! She’ll be in NYC until July and then she’ll be teaching out in Bridge Hampton and Sag Habor the rest of the summer.

Kevyn2He Sweats: I was absolutely excited to take my first no non-sense Pilates class. This was also a sweat session where SHE did not have an advantage over HE in terms of expertise and vise-versa. We had taken some of the Pilatesesque type classes in the fitness boutique world but not an actual 100% Pilates class. Funny thing is, walking into the studio I felt like I had just walked into a Mid-evil torture chamber looking at all those different devices. HE would have to get into Game of Thrones mode ASAP in order to survive this hour of stretch. I’m a history buff. And amazingly enough, I experienced something I hadn’t as of yet since I started taking this fitness love of mine to a whole new level two years ago. Kevyn, before anything, explained to us the history of Pilates and the reasons why we would be doing certain maneuvers. It was like I was having an epiphany on the spot. I had not once ever asked why in fact I was doing what I had been doing. Why do planks. Why do crunches on a bike. Why do pikes on a chair. Kevyn explained all this to us. For starters, Pilates was invented by Joseph Pilates. And better yet much to SHE’s dismay, Pilates was created for men! Pilates was intended to strengthen the human body and mind. It was also nice to hear from Kevyn that most of her clients are actually Bootcampers and Spinners. Kevyn gave off this aura of relaxation as she explained everything we would be doing. For the guys out there, as you may or may not be aware, I run. I do bootcamps. I spin. I do TRX. And to date in the Pilates world I have done Chaise23 and SLT. I do get aches and pains from time to time. I should probably foam roll more to prevent these pains but blame my manly laziness on this. Kevyn in a matter of minutes proved to me why I should in fact be rolling more and better yet, Pilates should be mandatory for all at least once or twice a week. I specifically have a nagging tightness in my right hip. Kevyn was able to pin point this and using one of her many Pilates teqniques within 5 minutes I felt like a new man. Kevyn mentioned I could most certainly be doing some of these maneuvers at home with a tennis ball. All the different maneuvers were slow with a focus on breath and movement of the rib cage. Kevyn also offered up a medical lesson with regards to the Psoas. Just call me McSteamy. I was yearning to learn more. The biggest factor in back and hip pain is frequently the psoas muscle. When we think of smooth, elegant and graceful movement in dancers and athletes we are looking at the psoas functioning at its optimum. Pilates helps with this. Kevyn walked us through the Reformer moves and then we made our way over to the Chair. The funny part about this portion was SHE looked like it was way easier for her than for me. I thought maybe the two ladies were in a cahoots together to make HE look bad but alas, Kevyn said the springs were new and just needed to be worked in a little. Lucky HE! Bottom line on this workout was that my world was turned upside down. I have to do Pilates more. I have to stretch more. Injury prevention should be first and foremost on the radar. HE promised Kevyn she would be seeing us again and I don’t break my promises. Looking forward to next time. Thank you Caroline Klohs for introducing us to Kevyn. I am pretty sure HE and SHE are in agreement, we are coming back again and again and again!


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