Learning Your Body from the Inside Out
By Patty Jo Sawvel
Claire Vogt has always been interested in optimal health. One day she read a magazine article on Pilates, which piqued her curiosity. Then, she saw several television programs that starred various celebrities and athletes who used Pilates. So, when her gym started offering Pilates classes, Claire signed up.
“At the first class,” she shared openly, “I realized how little I knew about the body I lived in. The next morning, I was mildly sore, but majorly energized. I signed up for more classes so I could learn more about myself and this amazing thing called the Pilates method.” The rest is history. Within 12 weeks, Claire felt as though she was living in a different body. The nagging back pain that resulted from two c-sections two years apart and raising and lugging two children around was gone.
She also realized that she found her calling. Four years later, she completed her training and attained her Balanced Body Comprehensive Certification. Now she is helping others to learn to read and respond to their bodies using the six Pilates principles—concentration, control, center, flow, precision, and breathing.
Some people’s bodies are basically screaming at them in pain. Such was the case with Regina Lalli. She had a herniated disc and was in so much distress that she could hardly walk or sleep even though she was taking pain medication daily. Her sister, in Brazil, recommended that she try Pilates. So Regina agreed and went to see Claire.
“Claire taught me how to use my other muscles in my core so that I was not putting so much strain on my back or my legs. From the first day of class, I came off all my pain meds. I am loving it,” Regina said happily.
Claire did not give Regina a miracle cure. She educated her about “hidden” muscles in her body and gave her some simple exercises she can do in just five minutes when the pain returns. Now, six weeks later, Regina can go up to three days pain-free before she needs to do her exercises.
However, not everyone who comes to The Mindful Bodi Movement Center is in pain or injured. Michael Bissell started doing Pilates when a friend bought gift certificates for him and his wife, Connie. Before attending, Michael thought Pilates was “girl’s stuff.” This former Marine had been doing weight training for over 40 years and he was “built.” He had no idea that Pilates was originally designed by a man, Joseph Pilates, for men.
Michael said, “Pilates offers a whole new level of fitness. It is a different approach to the body. It is not yoga, it is not weight-lifting, and it is not CrossFit. It is like I was learning my body like I would learn a musical instrument. I could either remain an amateur or I could practice Pilates and become a professional.”
Michael experienced another blessing. For the first time, he and his wife—who has chronic back pain—could work out together. Claire helps each of them get their very different needs met and together they leave feeling energized.
Linda Sylvester was also a “well” student when she started working with Claire several years ago. In fact, she was Claire’s first student. Linda was interested in learning body literacy so that she could respond appropriately to what her body was telling her. “We all have occasional headaches, or our back gets tight, or our knees hurt, especially as we age. But, instead ignoring it or taking a pill, I wanted to learn how to listen and focus so I could either strengthen or relax that area so that my life would be better,” Linda said thoughtfully.
Linda had taken Pilates classes from other instructors before settling on Claire. As in any pursuit, intention and commitment make all the difference. “Claire,” Linda explained, “is passionate about her work. She is much more than an instructor. She really wants you to learn, internalize, and absorb the Pilates Method so that you can do the things you like to do in life better.”
Linda takes group classes because they are affordable and small—only three people in an equipment class and only six people in a mat class. Because the group classes are small, Claire can give attention to everyone from the “ultra-fit” tennis player to someone with challenges as daunting as multiple sclerosis (MS). Barbara Wheeler, who was diagnosed with MS fourteen years ago, loves her group classes with Claire, but it took a while for her to take the leap and join.
“Claire and I have several mutual friends,” Barbara explained, “but with MS I have such limited energy and limited funds because I am on disability, and I was so out of shape, that I just could not imagine that it would be helpful. But after just a few sessions, my Doc said, ‘Keep doing what you are doing.’ Also, I can now go out with my husband three nights in a row—which has not happened for years!”
Barbara was quick to add, “There is no competition in the classes. Each person has a different body they are learning and we all encourage each other. Pilates has become my work out, my friendships, my inspiration—my everything!”
To be most helpful to her clients, Claire continues to acquire trainings and certifications. For instance, to better help her clients with MS and other neurological conditions, she traveled to Washington, D.C., to train with a nationally recognized Pilates trainer who has MS. Some of her other 10 certifications include; pelvic floor, Pilates for athletes, and gait and balance.
Claire has also brought other professionals into The Mindful Bodi Movement Center to support health, wellness, and intelligent movement. One expert is Jennifer Frame, instructor in the Ballet Barre Fitness for dancers. The other is Candy Fleming, a licensed Massage Therapist who graduated from High Point University and who teaches at Forsyth Technical Community College.
Like Claire, Candy continues to master new skills to help her clients. She excels at deep tissue massage, neuromuscular therapy, trigger point therapy, Swedish massage, and table-top massage. Sometimes, Candy and Claire share a client. Such is the case with Dr. Jody Morse, a dentist in Kernersville.
“I have been working with Candy for years,” Dr. Morse confided. “As dentists, we ‘hunch over’ our patients so Candy has been a lifesaver for me. But, she suggested that I work with Claire to develop my core strength, because that would help me strengthen my back when I was working on patients or riding my horse. Claire has helped me discover muscles I never knew existed and she makes it fun.”
Claire added, “It is empowering to teach people such a gentle system that yields such incredible results. Pilates has been life changing for me and nothing brings me greater joy than to give people the tools to change their own lives.”
MORE ABOUT US:
Claire Vogt, Owner, Certified Pilates Instructor
- Pilates for Athletes
- Pilates for MS and Neurological Conditions
- Pilates for Pain Management
- Pilates for Pelvic Floor & Menopause
- Single Mat
- Ballet Fitness
- Arc Class
- Equipment Classes
- Private Sessions
1325 Hwy NC-66, Kernersville