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At Zonnie Bauer Pilates, Exercise Is Healing

By S. Mathur

For Zonnie Bauer, Pilates is much more than a type of exercise. It became a form of healing that helped her to continue the work she loved.

"I danced professionally and taught dance in addition to choreographing, directing and producing shows for about 30 years," she said. "I was an acrobat/trapeze artist. I was very physical and also have a degree in Art. I found choreography a perfect blend of so many arts forms that suited me perfectly."

When she developed knee problems, she consulted doctors and surgeons who prescribed extreme surgery. Then a friend who was a ballet dancer suggested Pilates and in just eight to ten sessions, the pain vanished. That was also when she decided to train as a Pilates instructor.

"My knee completely stopped hurting and stabilized," Bauer said. "My quad muscles were stronger than my inner thighs and it was pulling my knee cap to the side. That was it! That simple! After that, I knew that Pilates is the tech that would keep my body balanced and strong for my future."

Bauer has been teaching since 2001. She draws on her experience as a choreographer and dance teacher to help people recover movement and full body movements.

"I can 'think' with the body and with helping another 'mold' their body into what they need and want for whatever they want to do," she said. "The synergy or blending of the person and their body is a piece of art. I help people create their art."

Each new student begins with a full posture evaluation, comparing the 'existing' scene of the body with the ideal. A program is created for each person based on their needs and wants. Bauer also draws on her experience helping elite athletes like golfers, runners dancers and equestrians to rehabilitate, sculpt and tone their bodies.

Students appreciate the knowledge Bauer brings to the studio, and her mastery of exercise gradients and sequencing. She is very patient and focused on each individual, helping to restore full use of the body. She can help people meet their goals, whether these are to improve sports performance or overall fitness, meeting each individual where they're at in a given moment. The studio offers one-on-one training sessions as well as classes. Equipment used includes the reformer, cadillac, chair and barrels.

Bauer feels that Pilates is not an end in itself. It is a complex mix of mental focus, precise exercise and good breathing, with the goal of helping people feel more aligned and more able.

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