Kyria Sabin wants to help you move your body the right way.
The Fletcher Pilates teacher has opened her second Body Works Pilates studio in Oro Valley, at First and Tangerine, intended to reach new clients with the form of exercise that offers "the ultimate core fitness.
"But it's much more than that," Sabin said in the new studio. "It's full-body strength, flexibility, endurance and conditioning."
Pilates focuses on smooth, coordinated, full-body movements that require focus and rhythmic breathing. Sabin believes "the whole idea of core strength for the sake of core strength is meaningless, without knowing how to use it. It's about having the strength when you need it.
"The most graceful athletes move from their centers, so it looks effortless," she said. They "know how to use their core." Pilates emphasizes "moving with grace, moving with power, moving with ease, moving with symmetry."
She is "very passionate about what I do, and I love helping people," Sabin said.
Sabin began doing Pilates in Los Angeles, after searching for the right workout.
"I fell in love with it," she said.
In 1993, Sabin opened the first complete Pilates studio in Tucson. Ron Fletcher, the Pilates master teacher who had studied with Joseph and Clara Pilates, encouraged Sabin. "He mapped out a program for me," Sabin said. "It's amazing. One of the grandmasters of the Pilates world mentoring me, and helping me start this business."
It started small, in apartment spaces at Ventana Canyon. Canyon Ranch began referring guests to Sabin. The practice of Pilates began getting national attention. "It took off almost immediately," she said.
Body Works Pilates now has two locations, one at River and Campbell, in St. Philip's Plaza. Sabin was looking for space in the Northwest. She first studied Steam Pump Village, then found the retail center at First Avenue and Tangerine Road.
"This center is just pristine," she said. It sits atop a hill with spectacular mountain views. "The space was easy to build out." Body Works Pilates occupies 2,000 square feet.
The new studio holds major pieces of apparatus upon which teachers and students practice Pilates. Upon each there are "dozens if not hundreds of exercises." Those exercises require concentration; "you can't think about anything else when you're doing Pilates, which is wonderful, because it becomes a form of meditation," Sabin said.
While Sabin believes "spirituality can be reached, or a spiritual place can be reached, through a physical approach … I don't think I agree to starting with that as a goal."
Instead, students can expect tone, strength, flexibility and range of motion, improved posture and body alignment, the relief of back and neck discomfort, improved balanced, better circulation and a release of tension and fatigue.
Lessons are either private or in small groups, in the "Cortet" model. Sabin said an instructor using peripheral vision and other techniques can effectively teach four people. "It's that fifth person who gets lost," she said. The Cortet offers "almost the benefits of a private Pilates session at a much lower price point." It's suggested that students complete two or three hour-long sessions per week. As with any activity, Pilates takes time and repetition to learn, and to see results.
Pilates students can "learn how to do anything you do better," she said. Joseph Pilates said people should do his exercise three times a week "so they can extend their lives and have better lives," with "more energy, and more awareness of your physicality," Sabin said. "It's very much a physical practice, with similar movements to yoga.
"The body's a building. It's so simple," Sabin said. "The way fitness is taught is not from that point of view. It's from a place of looking better, being stronger, or losing weight." With Pilates, "all of those things would be byproducts. … The more the body's working in the right way, the lighter the body becomes. It's about creating length. It's strength through length."
Sabin runs national training for Fletcher Pilates teachers
Kyria Sabin, proprietor of Body Works Pilates, is the director of Fletcher Pilates Company, one of two major Pilates teacher-training programs in the country.
"I teach all of our teachers," Sabin said.
She learned from master teacher Ron Fletcher, who is himself a protégé of founders Joseph and Clara Pilates.
The training is rigorous, requiring 18 months and 780 hours of education, case work, observation and assisting time. Her program is state-licensed. She's hoping to operate the first accredited Pilates teacher training program in the country.
"I pride myself in employing who I consider to be some of the best Pilates teachers in the world," Sabin said. They're not instructors. Rather, they "teach people how to move better."
Body Works Pilates
11901 N. First Ave., Suite 155
7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday
7 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday
8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday
A grand opening party is slated for Thursday, Sept. 23, from 4 to 7 p.m. Refreshments, door prizes and demonstrations are planned.