Pilates Helps Local Woman Eliminate Pain

Photo by Minesh Bacrania

By Mandy Marksteiner

Gloria Cordova was rear-ended while driving her car, giving her whiplash. Every morning since the accident, she has suffered from a severe headache and pain radiating from the back of her head, down her neck and into her back.

Although the soreness usually dissipated by the middle of the day, she would experience vertigo whenever she looked up or down, and she could never fully relax. 

“When I was at rest I would realize that my neck was killing me and my headache was still there,” she said. “It really did affect my entire day.”

Cordova, 73, was afraid that she would have to live with the pain.

She sought relief through acupuncture and physical therapy, but the achiness persisted.

“Then three different people recommended Pilates,” Cordova said. “My sister, who is a massage therapist, said I should try it. Then my nutritionist, Latetia Krakowski said that it would help strengthen my core. And also my acupuncturist said that it would reduce the pain.”

Photo by Minesh Bacrania

Blue Sky Pilates is the only Pilates studio in Los Alamos

That was when Cordova noticed the Blue Sky Pilates studio. Blue Sky Pilates has been open for just over a year and at 2101 Trinity Dr., Suite G, near Ashley Pond.

Owner Mary Lutes offers private Pilates instruction.

“It was like they say – when the student is ready the teacher appears,” Cordova said. “At first my objective was to just take classes, because they are cheaper. But Mary said, ‘You don’t know anything about Pilates,’ and recommended that I take a private session.”

When someone signs up for a private Pilates session with Lutes, the session begins with a posture analysis. Lutes finds out about medical issues and reviews a waiver with the client. She then covers the basic Pilates fundamentals and builds a complete workout program that addresses each client’s specific needs.

Private Pilates lessons makes it possible to reach fitness goals faster

“At first I wanted to get out of the private sessions as soon as possible, because I wanted to save money,” Cordova said. “But I quickly realized that the private sessions are perfect for me and are well worth the money.”

Cordova began by going once a week and now goes twice a week. After the fifth session she was thrilled to have an entire day with absolutely no pain.

“When I walk in, she asks me what’s going on. Then we start the session addressing what’s going on that day,” Cordova said, who was especially impressed with Lutes’ ability to pinpoint and address physical problems.

Photo by Minesh Bacrania

One of the reasons that Lutes is such an effective Pilates instructor for people with pain and injuries is that she understands what her clients are going through. She began studying Pilates seven years ago. She was experiencing debilitating pain caused by Fibromyalgia and degenerative disc disease and Pilates offered a non-impact way to strengthen her body and reduce her pain.

“Pilates has had such an amazing impact on my life by decreasing my pain that I decided I had to share it with others,” Lutes said.

She makes modifications that make it possible for anyone to complete the workouts, which is one reason that Cordova has had such a positive experience.

“She will put a pillow behind my back so that I can lie more comfortably on the reformer table,” Cordova said. “When she uses weights she always asks me, ‘How’s this weight?’ and adjusts it so that I can handle it. It usually has to be lighter. I’ve seen my strength improve since I’ve started, but there are still things that I can’t do. When I do exercises on all fours, my arms won’t hold me up. They’re too weak. So she will prescribe exercises for me to do at home.”

Photo by Minesh Bacrania

“Once you focus on the needs of the client, the results are amazing,” Lutes said. “You get to know the person and find out exactly what they need. It’s really gratifying.”

Lutes is completing the Balanced Body Comprehensive Pilates Instructor Program. She has completed her Mat certification requirements and the certification requirements for Reformer, Level I and Level II. She will complete her third level of Reformer training over the summer, and take the comprehensive exam after she has completed more than 500 hours of training.

Private sessions center on the client’s body, goals and ability

“Of course you still benefit from taking a class,” Lutes said. “It will be difficult and challenging and I’ll include some props to make it interesting. But am I targeting everybody’s personal issues? No. That isn’t possible in a group setting.”

“Trying to keep up with people with different abilities is just so frustrating,” Cordova said. “Mary is always very positive and affirming. She will get on the machine next to me and let me watch how she does the exercise. And she will place her hands on my back so I can feel where I need to make changes in order to do it right. There is never any disapproval.”

Photo by Minesh Bacrania

Pilates is not just for dancers

Lutes can help athletes improve their performance, help someone rehabilitate after surgery, make it easier to climb a mountain or carry a child.

“Pilates makes it possible to do what ever you do better so that you can enjoy life,” Lutes said. “We have to move. We were born and created to move. If we don’t move we deteriorate.”

“Pilates makes you feel like you’re two inches taller,” Cordova said. “When I’m on the machine I feel my back being elongated. It feels so good!”

Blue Sky Pilates is equipped with five Allegro Reformers, and props, including the Pilates Arc, EXO Chair, fitness balls, rollers and rings. A Pilates Trapeze and Ladder Barrel will soon be added, making Blue Sky Pilates a fully equipped Pilates Studio.

Call Blue Sky Pilates at (505) 412-5762 or visit www.blueskypilates.com for information.

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