We are so excited to have our very own Pilates Director, Jenny Speirs, featured in La Revista Biobalance, Costa Rica’s leading wellness publication.
In an interview for the publication, she was asked to tell us her favorite things about Pilates, how her practice fits in with her overall wellness routine, and her thoughts on mat classes versus equipment classes, among other topics.
Here is a translation of her interview from Spanish into English. You can also learn more about Pilates at Florblanca here.
Jenny tell us a little about yourself, what brought you here?
Jenny: The first time I came to Florblanca was for a Yoga retreat almost 8 years ago. I met my husband when I was here. Initially we had a long distance relationship, but then I decided to come to Costa Rica. Now we have 2 children and I’m here.
Where were you before coming to Costa Rica?
I grew up in California, my Pilates studies were there. I have traveled a lot through Central America. Costa Rica is very different. California is more like a desert and here we have jungle and biodiversity.
What does Pilates means for you?
Pilates is a way of conditioning, it consists of a set of physical exercises specially designed to strengthen and tone the muscles. All the exercises are made so the abdomen is the center of your body, resulting in the strengthening and toning of the lumbar spine, which is the base of the spinal column.
The Pilates method means that the mind, body and spirit work as one.
What do you enjoy most about Pilates?
I love how it feels in my body. When I finish a Pilates session, I feel taller, longer, more toned. I do not feel heavy, rather I feel like floating.
The difference between this and other practices where you feel heavy is that Pilates makes you feel toned, it is a practice that anyone can perform, it’s for everyone.
How does Pilates play a role in your perception of conditioning?
I was a runner, practiced yoga and surfed in the summer, but I felt more powerful doing these exercises when I joined Pilates.
I feel better when I practice Pilates, but mostly I feel protected. With Pilates now I know how to protect myself, because I can feel it.
What do you think is better; practicing Pilates with the equipment or doing a Pilates mat class?
It is better to combine them, because they are very different. Pilates mat classes do not have anything that will help against gravity. This is why the equipment was created, to help people to be better at the mat class. So the best combination is to do both, the equipment supports you with the technique and the mat will push yourself to do a little more.
With respect to the equipment, was it easy to find it here in Costa Rica?
When I began to search on the computer, I had no idea where to start. But I found a girl in San Jose that sold me part of her equipment. Then I found someone who has a company that imports the best Pilates equipment including Multispa, and I ordered the equipment that was missing. Then it was a challenge to bring it from San Jose to Santa Teresa.
But, thanks to all that, Florblanca has one of the best Pilates equipment studios in Costa Rica. All this combined with the beauty of Santa Teresa and Florblanca, that is paradise.
Which factors do you consider important when planning your routine?
When I’m planning a private lesson, it will depend on each person and which factors influence each individual.
When it is a mat class, I always try to make a class that involves the whole body.
The most important reason I have my studio at Florblanca is because I want not only to promote Pilates locally, but also to promote it with all the people that visit us, including people from San Jose and other parts of Costa Rica. Then they can integrate a Pilates routine into their holiday and likewise integrate it to your life. People can plan a holiday without leaving out the fitness. They can focus on their body and also relax in this beautiful place.
Jenny has enjoyed a rich background in studying Pilates.
She began her journey in 2002 under the instruction of Rael Isacowitz, a teacher of teachers who is recognized internationally as a leading expert in the Pilates method. Through Rael and his program Jenny learned the importance of preserving the legacy of Joseph and Clara Pilates, and how to complement their method with contemporary scientific knowledge. She became certified through Rael’s program, Body Arts and Science, in 2003 and began working for inBalance A Women’s Health and Wellness Center in San Juan Capistrano, California that same year. inBalance was owned and managed by two lovely Physical Therapists, Kirstin Motte and Hayley Brinker. Working closely alongside, as well as assisting both Kirstin and Halyley, she was able to acquire a deeper understanding of the human body that not only helps her to work therapeutically with clients but with compassion and determination to help others be the best that they can be.
She enjoyed working with inBalance for 4 years until she decided to move to Costa Rica for a totally different kind of life (and the love of her life, Mario, who is now her husband). Upon arriving to her new home in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica she found herself out of work with no Pilates Studio within 100 miles. Santa Teresa consisted of a single dirt road, a few thatched roof hotels and restaurants, and miles and miles of some of the most gorgeous beaches and jungles in all of Central America. Once she decompressed from the fast pace life of Southern California, and had her fair share of hammock time, sipping coconut water, and floating in crystal clear tide pools, she found herself craving the environment of a Pilates studio and the connection with her clients. She missed the work and the equipment and especially how her body felt after a day of teaching and sharing with others this method she believes in, inside and out. So within 6 months, she opened her own Pilates studio and introduced Pilates to many of us in the tiny beachside community of Santa Teresa.