Stepping into Pilates Bayfield is gentle and soothing.
There's even a little sign that reads, "Leave your shoes and worries at the door."
But with equipment names like the Cadillac, Wunda chair, and tower, it can be a bit intimidating, too.
Don't worry, the equipment doesn't bite, said owner and certified Pilates instructor Elaine Labach. She opened her studio in 2013, located in the Bayfield Center Plaza, between Momentum Fitness and Hong's Garden.
Pilates is a "serene method" of building and enhancing torso strength - your core, in Pilates parlance. It was created by Joseph Pilates of Germany early in the 20th century.
Labach said she turned to Pilates to lessen the pain of a herniated disc in her back, and after a few sessions, she was hooked. It worked better for her than surgery and physical therapy.
"When you get older, you want to do thing things you used to do," she said. "Pilates helps you do those things."
Her back still gets stiff, she said, but she knows the exercises she can use to alleviate it.
She recommends the techniques to anyone who wants to maintain flexibility and increase strength, but there is a psychological aspect to Pilates, as well.
"A good session leaves you feeling calm and peaceful and renewed," Labach said, connecting the body with the heart and mind.
Even though we live in a beautiful area, the stress of low wages, commuting and a high cost of living can leave us pretty burned out, she explained.
"Pilates helps you with stress," she said. "It's a refuge for people. There aren't a lot of distractions."
Labach offers Pilates classes on mats, at $10 a session, or equipment, for $25. A 30-minute private introduction costs $30. There's also a Pilates-Yoga fusion class, new mom and senior offerings, and Nia, which draws on jazz and modern dance, martial arts and healing arts. Unlike some dance classes, there aren't a lot of complicated steps to learn in Nia, Labach said. "It's fun."
For more information about Bayfield Pilates, visit www.bayfieldpilates.com or call 769-0811.