Ellie Herman, eponymous owner of Ellie Herman Studios, has been studying and teaching Pilates since 1988. She became interested in Pilates exercise while rehabilitating from injuries she suffered as a professional dancer, and, curiously, from her first, and only, stint as a professional wrestler [No, it was not the choreographed version, but real competitive wrestling.]
Situated in San Francisco for twenty years, in 2005 she moved to New York, and opened her studio at the present location on Union Street. And, her business has certainly flourished.
Ms. Herman asserts in terms of Pilates training, her studio offers “whatever people need.” She’s not kidding, that’s for sure. There are two locations now: the Union Street storefront [actually it’s on the 2nd floor, very near to the Food Coop] serves as the space for individual, semi-private [2-3 people] or rehabilitation Pilates workouts or treatments. There’s an initial private intake session, at a discounted cost, in which a client’s specific needs or goals are addressed, and an appropriate exercise program is drawn up. Sessions can be purchased singly, or in a multiple pack all the way to 20 sessions.
The central piece of equipment for Pilates is the ‘reformer’, a platform with attached straps and springs that allow clients to work on strengthening most muscles and joints as well as enhancing body alignment with a focus on core structure.
Ellie is quite proud of her trainers: her staff numbers fifteen, they’re all of course certified, and are, in Ms. Herman’s words, some of the “best trainers in the world.” She says the approach she favors is a “holistic” one that’s not rigid but is constantly “evolving,” which means “we can work with any client.”
The other studio, The 4th Street Annex, is geared much more to group class sessions: the ‘reformer’ class, limited to 5 people, for example, allows for one hour of a “full-body workout on everyone’s favorite apparatus.” Or, there’s a ‘Mat/Springboard and Toys’ class, a ‘Pre-Natal’ class for women “who want to keep their shape during pregnancy”, and the ‘M.E.L.T. Method class, exercises designed to prevent injuries, and “erase the negative effects of aging and active living.” Once again, a package of multiple sessions can be purchased at discounted prices.
Ellie has a lot more on her plate: the studio offers a curriculum to be certified as a Pilates instructor. [According to Amazon.com, Ms. Herman has trained ‘hundreds’ of Pilates trainers.]The course can be completed in one year, and includes a great deal of practical experience in the course of the one year training. Beyond that training, there’s a ‘Master of Pilates’ Program unique to Ellie Herman Studios in which already certified instructors can focus on a particular area of interest.
The list of classes [all last about one hour] offered at the Annex is huge: a quick glance at the schedule posted on the website shows classes on just one day in April include: ‘Beginning Reformer;’ ‘Work Out Baby’ [for mom and baby]; ‘Pilates Workout With Ellie’; ‘Bodhi Trees’ [for three- to eight-year-olds’. And, that’s just a sampling.
There’s even more: Ellie Herman has written eight books on Pilates, including ‘Pilates for Dummies,’ and produced numerous DVDS as well.
This writer was very impressed with what’s Ellie Herman has accomplished – it’s a remarkable achievement. Ms. Herman at her two studios can obviously accommodate anyone who has an interest in Pilates body conditioning, whatever level of Pilates experience or post-rehabilitative condition that individual may possess. That was amply demonstrated to this writer.
By Jim Israel