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    A gift with movement

    (left to right) Laurie Elliehausen, of Purcellville, Carrie Trimble of Herndon and Brooke Nichols, of Leesburg with Amy Hershey, owner of Loudoun Pilates. They are using the reformer, a spring loaded piece of Pilates equipment used to help with the exercises. Times-Mirror/Karen Graham
    As a lifelong horse rider, Amy Hershey, 30, has always had a natural gift for seeing movement in all living things. She understands how to encourage natural movement in people.

    This talent translates well to teaching Pilates.

    Developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900’s, Pilates is a physical conditioning routine. It is meant to help people strengthen their flexibility, posture, alignment and core. There is an emphasis on breathing and improving balance.

    “I took my first Pilates class when I was in college in Boulder, Colorado,” Hershey said. “It was at a world renowned program there. My teacher saw something in me and kept encouraging me to do the program to learn how to teach Pilates classes.”

    After becoming certified to teach, Hershey decided to come home to Loudoun County and live her dream of owning a horse farm, and starting a Pilates studio.
    Loudoun Pilates opened in March at 604 S. King St., Suite 006 in Leesburg.

    Hershey began Loudoun Pilates in an effort to build an interactive community. She has hired three Pilates instructors and one yoga instructor. So far, the response has been great.

    “This is the best Pilates studio I have been to in Loudoun County,” said Brooke Nichols, of Leesburg, adding that she has tried almost every studio in the area. “There are amazing instructors. The equipment itself is beyond most studios I have been to and the classes are at a great price point.”

    “This is addictive. I do it three times a week. We are all different shapes and ages and it is always a good mix of people,” said Laurie Elliehausen, of Purcellville.
    Hershey felt it was important to purchase the full line of equipment used with the Pilates method, including the chair, the reformer and even the Cadillac, which is not a car, but a large piece of equipment that can help with a variety of different exercises.

    Each piece is spring loaded and creates different challenges to take the workout to the next level, Hershey explained.

    Hershey teaches her clients to use the Pilates method as an avenue to live a stronger, healthier, pain-free lifestyle. She points out it is a great foundational exercise regimen that can assist in injury prevention and rehabilitation, reduce chronic pain, promote body awareness, increase core strength and correct improper movement patterns.

    “If you are out of alignment, you are going to have pain. Most people say after taking a class they have used muscles they did not know were there,” Hershey said. “It teaches body awareness.”

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