Vanessa Voltan Of Pilates Boutique On How Pilates Can Improve Your Health and Wellbeing

An Interview With Maria Angelova

--

Breathing better: The breath in Pilates is important, and the deep focus it requires helps form patterns in our bodies and minds that change how we move not only short term but throughout our life. The patterns of the deep core during proper breathing provide centering and strength while supporting ideal digestion, immunity, and mood balancing. Additionally, using the diaphragm correctly while breathing offers several benefits to our body including reducing blood pressure and heart rate.

Pilates was invented around 100 years ago, and it is becoming an increasingly popular form of exercise. What exactly is Pilates? How is it different from other modalities like Yoga or Tai Chi? What are the benefits of Pilates? Who can most benefit from it? In this interview series, we are talking to Pilates professionals & practitioners who can talk about how Pilates can improve your health and wellbeing. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Vanessa Voltan.

Vanessa Voltan is a Brazilian Pilates expert, movement specialist, and the founder of studio Pilates Boutique in West Hollywood; the first studio in LA where clients can train using every single piece of Pilates equipment including the hard-to-comeby Pilates Cadillac. After decades of dedication to her craft, Vanessa has developed a deeply rooted belief in the transformative power of movement and its healing properties. Her profound knowledge and specialization in spinal injuries, hip and shoulder replacement and pre/post natal care sets her apart as an industry leader and a coveted mentor.

Thank you so much for joining us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

I grew up in Brazil and was always a very active child. I particularly loved ballet and after sustaining a hip injury from it, I went to a physical therapist who was doing something different and much more efficient with her clients; Pilates. I was immediately amazed by the apparatus and that small clinic became my playground. Professionally, I started teaching Pilates after I moved to NYC in 2017. The city inspired me to get back to my old passions which were always related to movement. I started taking Pilates classes rigorously and going around all the Studios while trying different methods. My ‘AHA’ moment was when one of the instructors said “when I was a kid, my father used to say that hopefully I will find a job where I can talk all the time and now, here I am teaching Pilates.”. Well- my father used to say the exact same thing to me. That was my call and I never looked back!

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

Being a Movement Specialist is really interesting. Wherever I go I always look at the people around me and start observing their posture, the way they walk, the way they stand, how they are crossing their legs, etc. I’m not judging them- I’m simply looking with fascination and intrigue. I think about what kind of movement would help them move their bodies more freely and with more alignment. What I learn every day is that everyone’s body is its own universe; every single one of them beautiful and different in their own way.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Passion. I have a genuine passion for Pilates and its benefits. It’s amazing seeing people move and discover their bodies. I think my enthusiasm and love for the practice inspire and motivate my clients, making them more likely to stay committed and achieve their goals. This passion also drives me to continuously learn and improve, staying up-to-date with new techniques and developments in the field. I’m a lifelong student and I’m always studying and learning.

Empathy. I understand and relate to my clients’ experiences, concerns, and limitations. By putting myself in their shoes, I can tailor my instruction to support them and meet their needs while creating a safe and inclusive environment where they feel valued and understood. I work with my private clients at their own pace, understanding that each individual progresses differently. Empathy helps me guide and support them through their challenges, ensuring they feel comfortable and motivated throughout their Pilates journey. Many of them come from environments where they feel judged, so I always make it a point to make sure they feel seen, valued, understood and encouraged.

Positivity. I’m a positive person and maintaining a positive and uplifting attitude can go a long way in creating a supportive and enjoyable atmosphere for my clients and team. By radiating positivity, I can help my clients overcome challenges, boost their confidence, and create a sense of community within my classes. A positive mindset always helps me navigate any setbacks or obstacles that arise. I find solutions and keep moving upwards and forward.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that might help people?

Yes! I just opened my first Pilates studio which is a dream come true! My studio Pilates Boutique is a transformative Pilates experience in the heart of West Hollywood. What sets us apart is our commitment to providing an exclusive and highly personalized approach to the practice. Our signature Pilates Class combines the best elements of the Reformer, the Cadillac, and the Pilates Chair. This unique fusion allows for a comprehensive full-body workout, targeting every muscle group, improving flexibility, strength, and posture.

I am very proud and excited to share that Pilates Boutique is the only Studio in California that offers Cadillac classes. We are introducing our clients to the Pilates Cadillac, which is an amazing piece of equipment that is very hard to come by, and most people (even pilates veterans) have never used. It’s incredibly exciting to watch them discover new ways of moving their bodies and give them the opportunity to exercise on this amazing apparatus. It’s a huge deal and I could not be more thrilled.

What we are doing at Pilates Boutique is a Pilates revolution. We believe that Pilates is not just a workout, but a lifestyle that promotes physical and mental well-being. The studio is thoughtfully designed to create a serene and welcoming atmosphere, where everybody can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With state-of-the-art equipment and a spacious, well-lit environment, our clients feel inspired and motivated to elevate their fitness routine and embrace a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.

It is truly the most beautiful Pilates Studio in town, but I may have bias (hehe).

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview about Pilates. To begin, can you tell our readers a bit about why you are an authority on the topic of Pilates?

I have over two decades of experience and expertise in the field of Pilates, which has allowed me to develop a deep understanding of the anatomy of movement. As I said earlier, I was introduced to Pilates at a young age, and my passion only grew stronger over the years. To further enhance my knowledge and skills, I obtained a Classical Pilates Comprehensive certification from Core Pilates NYC, which has given me a strong foundation in the classical approach to Pilates. This comprehensive training has equipped me with the ability to address various specific needs and conditions that my clients may have.

In addition to my Comprehensive certification, I have also pursued a Therapeutic Specialization in spinal injuries, hip and shoulder replacement, and pre and postnatal care with the renowned Pilates Guru Erika Bloom. The Erika Bloom Method is based on exploring healthy human movement and how our bodies were designed to move. The Method incorporates the best genius from all the mindful movement modalities throughout history: Alexander Technique, Klein, Feldenkrais, Bartenieff, Franklin, and Pilates. This specialization has set me apart as an industry leader, as I have gained valuable insights and techniques to assist individuals with specific injuries or conditions.

I take great pride in working with private clients who have injuries, as it allows me to go beyond just teaching Pilates choreography. My approach involves tailoring the exercises to meet their unique needs, helping them heal and achieve their fitness goals in a safe and effective manner. Overall, my commitment to helping individuals heal and reach their fitness goals is unparalleled. I am dedicated to staying up-to-date with the latest research and techniques in the field of Pilates to ensure that I provide the highest level of expertise and support to my clients.

Let’s start with a basic definition so that we are all on the same page. What exactly is Pilates?

Pilates is a mind-body exercise that focuses on strengthening the core muscles, improving flexibility, and promoting overall body control and coordination. The Pilates method emphasizes the principles of concentration, precision, control, centering, breath, and flow. Pilates is strength training designed to target deep muscles, and it involves a series of precise and controlled movements that target specific muscle groups, particularly those of the abdomen, back, hips, and pelvis.

Pilates exercises can be performed on a mat using only body weight or with the assistance of various equipment, such as the Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, and Barrel. The equipment provides resistance and support to challenge and enhance the exercises. The method is suitable for people of all fitness levels, from beginners to advanced practitioners. It can be adapted to individual needs and goals, making it a highly customizable form of exercise. It is often used for injury rehabilitation, improving posture, enhancing athletic performance and overall body conditioning.

How is Pilates different from other movement modalities that you have practiced?

Pilates is a unique exercise method in that it offers several distinctive benefits compared to other forms of exercise. It emphasizes core strength, which is crucial for stability, posture, and overall body strength. Additionally, Pilates respects the natural biomechanics of the human body making it incredibly safe and beneficial. Pilates focuses on the mind-body connection promoting concentration, control, and precision in movement. It is a low-impact exercise; gentle on the joints and therefore reducing the risk of injury.

Pilates also aims to improve both flexibility and strength simultaneously. It is amazing how you can work both sides of the body in a unique way without overcompensating with the stronger and bigger muscles; in Pilates, small muscles matter thus making it a full-body practice..

Personally, I have felt profound moments of trauma release and deep connection to my body through my own practice and have been able to correct physical and emotional patterning that no longer serves me. I will always practice Pilates because there’s always more to learn about my body and about the approach of the method.

On a personal level, what are the biggest benefits that you have gained from regular Pilates practice?

I have a neck and upper back injury from previous exercises, and Pilates helped me gain confidence in strength training again. I feel safe doing Pilates.

Furthermore, it’s also my form of meditation because I have to connect with my body and be 100% present when I’m practicing Pilates. My digestion and overall wellbeing also improved a lot because Pilates creates space for the organs to work more effectively. The way that it strengthens while also keeping the body healthy with any condition, at any age, makes it my lifelong daily practice. For both myself and my clients it is a must for staying healthy and balanced. Pilates is truly magic!

Who do you think can most benefit from Pilates?

Absolutely everyone from high-level athletes to people who have never exercised. Throughout my career I have had the pleasure of working with individuals from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds. I can happily say every single person has benefited from this practice.

Pilates can sometimes be expensive. Can you share with our readers your perspectives on why Pilates is worth its costs?

The Pilates apparatus as well as the comprehensive certification to become a Pilates Instructor are very costly, which is why Pilates can be expensive.

Pilates is low-impact, making it suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels, it not only helps prevent injuries but also helps rehabilitate injuries, making it a valuable investment in your physical, mental and financial health. It’s certainly worth its cost in terms of wellness, health and longevity.

Based on your research or experience, can you please share your “5 Ways That Pilates Can Improve Your Health and Wellbeing”?

Breathing better: The breath in Pilates is important, and the deep focus it requires helps form patterns in our bodies and minds that change how we move not only short term but throughout our life. The patterns of the deep core during proper breathing provide centering and strength while supporting ideal digestion, immunity, and mood balancing. Additionally, using the diaphragm correctly while breathing offers several benefits to our body including reducing blood pressure and heart rate.

Increased core strength: Pilates focuses on strengthening the core muscles, including the abdominal, back, and pelvic floor muscles. This can provide better support for the spine and improve posture. If Pilates is practiced regularly it can reduce or alleviate lower back pain caused by weak core muscles.

Enhanced body awareness: Pilates emphasizes the mind-body connection, encouraging you to focus on your movements and how your body feels during exercises. This increased body awareness can help you identify and correct any imbalances or weaknesses in your posture or movement patterns. Through Pilates you become more conscious of your body’s alignment and learn to trust yourself and address any misalignment for overall body coordination.

Improved flexibility: Pilates exercises incorporate a wide range of movements that promote flexibility and joint mobility. By targeting specific muscle groups and regularly stretching them, Pilates helps improve your overall flexibility. You will move better on a daily basis and feel more comfortable in your body.

Increased energy levels: Regular Pilates practice can boost your energy levels and your mood, improving your sense of wellbeing. The combination of physical movement respecting the natural biomechanics of the body, controlled breathing, and mental focus, leave you feeling more energized and revitalized. You will experience increased stamina and vitality.

In my own Pilates practice, I stress the importance of precision in Pilates. Based on your experiences and research, what are your thoughts about why precision is important in Pilates?

Precision is important in Pilates because in Pilates we respect the biomechanics of the body. It’s not only about moving, it’s about moving properly. Precision is crucial in the practice and it helps ensure that the exercises are performed correctly and effectively. By focusing on precision, you can target specific muscles and movement patterns, allowing for better alignment and engagement of the body. This precision activates the correct muscles and avoids compensatory movements or improper form which could lead to injuries.

The precision in Pilates allows for better body awareness and control. By paying attention to the details of each movement, you will develop a deeper understanding of how your body moves and functions. This increased body awareness will carry over into your everyday activities, improving your posture, balance, digestion, lymphatic system, and overall movement efficiency.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I just started a movement in Los Angeles by opening my first studio. Pilates Boutique is the only Pilates Studio in California that teaches Cadillac, Reformer and Pilates Chair in one amazing fusion class. Everybody can get a chance to experience first-hand all these incredible Pilates Apparatus. Pilates is not only a Reformer class, it’s much more than that, and now you can have this experience in my Studio. I want people to think of Pilates differently, I want them to understand the method and how these exercises can make them move better through their lives.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?

My website is pilatesboutique.com and readers can also follow me on Instagram at @studiopilatesboutique

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

About The Interviewer: Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl. As a disruptor, Maria is on a mission to change the face of the wellness industry by shifting the self-care mindset for consumers and providers alike. As a mind-body coach, Maria’s superpower is alignment which helps clients create a strong body and a calm mind so they can live a life of freedom, happiness and fulfillment. Prior to founding Rebellious Intl, Maria was a Finance Director and a professional with 17+ years of progressive corporate experience in the Telecommunications, Finance, and Insurance industries. Born in Bulgaria, Maria moved to the United States in 1992. She graduated summa cum laude from both Georgia State University (MBA, Finance) and the University of Georgia (BBA, Finance). Maria’s favorite job is being a mom. Maria enjoys learning, coaching, creating authentic connections, working out, Latin dancing, traveling, and spending time with her tribe. To contact Maria, email her at angelova@rebellious-intl.com. To schedule a free consultation, click here.

--

--

Maria Angelova, CEO of Rebellious Intl.
Authority Magazine

Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl.