Testimonials and Benefits of Pilates
What better way to tell you about the benefits of Pilates than from some of my
healthy and happy clients:
Beginning an exercise discipline is always challenging when one is sixty and out of shape. Many times, I have ended up on the couch suffering some sort of strain or sprain from trying to keep up.
Meeting Susanna has been a blessing. She is amazingly strong and flexible and living proof that Pilates is effective. Her thorough understanding of the requirements for each movement allows her students to progress without fear of injury. She is a wonderful diagnostician for bodies with specific problems. I am a retired nurse with a long history of low back weakness, mostly from overuse. Private sessions have allowed us to discover muscle imbalances I have developed over many years. These imbalances have caused me to give up or injure myself in most exercise classes. With Susanna's careful monitoring and spirited guidance, I am becoming stronger and much more flexible. As my core strength improves, I notice that my balance and general body strength are returning. My aching back is disappearing. I am looking forward to hiking, biking and gardening without risk of injury in the near future.
I have completed two months of twice weekly private sessions. My money has been well spent. Moving into a class is exciting and challenging, but not risky. Her constant awareness of her students gives us a sense of being tutored, even in a group. I am inspired by the level of performance of the advanced students and have great expectations for myself. I heartily recommend Susanna's classes for a life changing commitment.
Relief from Back Pain
I had been treating the chronic pain in my shoulder, neck and low back with chiropractic care and physical therapy for years before I realized it was not a permanent enough solution for me. I knew that if I wanted to live pain free, I was going to have to change my lifestyle, as well as improve my body mechanics.
Susanna was just the person to help me achieve my goals. She takes a personal approach with each of her clients, and understands their individual needs. After a lot of hard work, dedication and Susanna’s unparalleled attention to detail I am pleased to report that I am completely pain free. Pilates is a lifestyle choice for me that works, and with Susanna’s help it has changed my life.
I have been taking Pilates classes from Susanna Gaertner since January of 2002. While I have always found the classes both relaxing and energizing, I have recently noticed other important benefits. I have always suffered from lower back pain, making standing for any length of time painful. Through Pilates my back has strengthened to the point where I can stand for hours with no back pain at all. In addition, I am more flexible than I have ever been.
I would highly recommend Susanna's classes to anyone, regardless of their age or current fitness level. I especially like the small class size and personal attention Susanna gives to each student to make sure we are doing the exercises correctly. This ensures that the proper techniques and breathing that are crucial to achieving the maximum benefit from the exercises will be learned.
Taking these classes has been, and continues to be, very valuable to me. As I said before, I would recommend them to anyone wishing to improve their fitness and overall well being.
Thank you for your expertise in helping my stiff tired body gain some new life. You may not be aware of my attempts to regain normal movement before I enrolled in your Pilates class.
I had a low back injury at work in January of 2003. Although I had excellent chiropractic treatment, I still couldn't move very well. Subsequent physical therapy helped reduce the pain and, while I felt really great after each treatment, I rapidly lost a lot of movement and the pain would return. I had about 25 chiropractic treatments and 12 physical therapy sessions in the course of a year but I still experienced a lot of lost range of motion. I knew that "if it's going to be, it's up to me." (With your help)
That began a wonderful adventure in gaining movement. You are so skilled in training the very beginners to do various exercises that start to open up the trunk, the low back, the hips, neck and the shoulders. Each class was an adventure and resulted in several days of "good" pain from using body parts that had been frozen just like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, who rusted together each time it rained. That was me. Your classes also confirmed my self analysis that all the prior medical treatment had been only partially successful because it focused only on the injured body part, when my body was reacting by stiffening up all over. I knew that I needed something that would involve my whole body. Pilates, with your method of instruction, has certainly been an excellent answer for me.
Now, only 14 weeks later, I am moving better, having almost no low back pain and am finding that I actually do have abdominal muscles somewhere beneath all that stuff covering my stomach. And I am finding I do have a waistline if I use those abdominal muscles. I am still seeing my chiropractor to make sure things stay in alignment, but he gets a lot of very positive feedback about my Pilates classes and about my instructor.
Margaret Phillips, MS
Registered Occupational Therapist
Certified Hand Therapist
Fellow of The American Occupational Therapy Association
Head and Neck Flexibility
Two car accidents—when I was 15 and 18—changed the
alignment of my neck and pelvis.
Lots of pain and discomfort later, I discovered
Pilates (c. 8 years ago, when I was in my mid-20’s)), but was not getting
the proper training on the Reformer. It actually disguised that my shoulders
were hunching up, which is easy to do on the Reformer because of the
Since starting Susanna's mat classes six months ago, my health and flexibility are skyrocketing. Susanna's exercises are so intuitively geared to the class constituents that we each come away with
something that seems "invented" just for us. There's a neck exercise -
apparently of Susanna's own devising, as are many of her moves - that is one
of my favorites for stretching that difficult and sensitive area. My neck
often adjusts naturally!
Susanna gives individual attention to her
clients even though we are in a group setting. She does not do too many reps
of one exercise to avoid muscle strain. She introduces new advanced moves if
we are ready for it.
Susanna is keenly aware of our individual levels and knows how to move us forward or
stay where we are until we are ready to do so.
The results are:
I love Pilates and my instructor!
The following is all completely true and I feel eternally grateful to you, Susanna.
It wasn't until I had taken a few of Susanna Gaertner's Pilates classes that I realized I had been carrying my shoulders up around my ears (most likely) my whole life. There were arm movement exercises that seemed simple enough for others (in class) to follow along with but I quickly learned that I couldn't do them without my shoulders rising up with my arms. Susanna kept reminding me to lower my shoulders while I followed along but soon we both acknowledged that I had little arm movement without the shoulders working tandem. I was all bound up. Susanna suggested that I start taking smaller steps to achieve the goal of simply touching my elbows together in front of my chest without lifting my shoulders. This at first was a near impossible task but with Susanna's optimism and patient reminders, I have made great progress over the past few months. My shoulders today are a good two inches lower at the resting position (arms at my sides) than when I first began her class.
Combined with the whole body routine that we go through each week, I am standing taller and am much more flexible and "aware" of my body than ever in my life. These exercises with Susanna's kind guidance have connected my brain to my body. It is interesting to have become "body aware" at the late age of 50 (better late than never...). For the reasons above, I have found these Pilates classes a life changing experience.
As a student in one of Susanna Gaertner's semi-private Pilates classes for over a year, I can say without reservation that she is a remarkable instructor. I especially appreciate her ability to recognize and deal with different physical types and capabilities. For example, I have a lower back problem, so she customizes some exercises for me and never asks me to do something that might hurt my back. She shows similar knowledge and care with all her students and somehow manages to make us feel OK about our physical limitations and body types. She even accommodates the different musculature of male and female bodies.
As a 62-year-old woman with osteopenia, I can testify to the therapeutic effects of taking Pilates from Susanna. My flexibility, especially in the head and neck, has improved dramatically. I can plausibly claim that Pilates has made me a better driver because I have gained the flexibility to turn my head and upper body much further so that I can look behind me while I'm backing up. And contrary to my worries about shrinking in height, I am now about 1/8 inch taller as a result of some of the stretching exercises we do.
Needless to say, I heartily recommend Susanna as a Pilates instructor. Whether a person is slim or hefty, young or old, in great shape or totally out of shape, Susanna has the skill, knowledge, compassion, and humor to help us all feel healthier and stronger.
And she does it with style and enthusiasm!
Increased Lung Capacity
Discovering Susanna Gaertner's Pilates classes has been a joy, and I have been working with Susanna now for about eighteen months. Correct breathing techniques are stressed and I can feel the increase in my lung capacity. I can also see the difference Pilates has made to my entire musculature and feel the difference in the way my clothes fit.
I absolutely love Susanna's classes and would highly recommend them to anyone.
Not only are they fun, but the small class size means personal attention, which is crucial for anyone wishing to learn the proper Pilates techniques.
Additionally each class has students of approximately similar degrees of expertise.
I enjoy my Pilates time so much I plan to continue: the improvements in health, posture, muscle tone and lung capacity are very evident, not to mention the improvements in flexibility, and these benefits can only get better the longer I continue.
I have found Susanna to be an excellent and supportive teacher: her explanations and demonstrations of new exercises are easy to follow and I would give her an unqualified recommendation as a Pilates instructor.
Pilates has given me core strength and endurance for long distance (10+ miles) runs. For leaning into an increasing speed without bending, it is very beneficial to have a solid core. Instead of powering up a hill with your quads, you engage your core to “lift” you up the hill. Since I have started Pilates I can run farther, faster, and stronger.
Well Paced Learning
In an intensive four-day session Ms Gaertner provided me with nutritional
information and exercises which I will take back home with me... I had to travel all
the way to the US to find someone of her intuition and skill to devise a program which
I can actually follow.
Ms Gaertner has extraordinary talents in sensing just how much a body is able to do and
in creating a program for that specific body. I am very pleased.
I really think that meeting Susanna has been the best possible thing for my health and well-being.
I cannot recommend her enough.
Fortunate is the person who gets to be in a Pilates class with Susanna Gaertner! She is upbeat and hilarious, encouraging and demanding and totally professional. Pilates is a precise form of exercise and Susanna, more than any other teacher I've experienced, understands the most obscure nuance as well as the big picture. I take one class with her a week and I can see my progress as the weeks go on.
Susanna knows everyone in her class by name after they've been to one class. The personal attention she gives her students, no matter how large the class, is really impressive. This kind of attention has kept me coming back. At this point, there are several of us who should be in the advanced class but we won't leave. Susanna adjusts for us and gives each student the appropriate level of Pilates exercises.
I have to say this has been my best exercise experience in ten years.
I've been going to Pilates classes for over 20 years and have seen the most amazing results since taking your classes just 10 months ago. The difference between your classes and the other classes I've taken is the individualized attention and coaching you've given to me. I'm an avid cyclist and have maintained a high level of fitness throughout my life. My enthusiasm for your instruction is a result of knowing I am more comfortable every day as I sit, stand, ride and do all the activities I love. I have more range of motion and strength in my core than I even thought was possible. You have taught me to be comfortable working at the level I'm at so I can improve by building a strong foundation.
I would strongly encourage anyone looking to make positive changes in their bodies to try your classes! I'm 45 years old and have two grown children - my body looks and feels better than when I was in my 20's.
Certified PUSH Therapist, Pain Relief Specialist