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Jules Pilates Brings Harmony And Balance In A Welcoming Studio

By Pamela Sosnowski

At Jules Pilates, all clients are welcome, regardless of age, body type, or physical fitness level. Says Jules Wolf Stenzel, the studio's owner, "I work to create a sense of belonging and community for everyone whether you're here an hour or five days a week. Classes are small and caring. Guidance is given without being put down or yelled at as in a boot camp situation.  You are supported, you are encouraged, and all are welcome."

That laid-back atmosphere has proved so successful that Jules Pilates will be opening up a second location in March on Atwood Avenue. The original location, on Mineral Point Road in Madison, offers a combination of Pilates, yoga, and meditation sessions to stretch and soothe both muscles and stressed out minds. Classes are available in a group setting as well as privately, and besides the standard drop-in price, a variety of class packages suit everyone's commitment levels and budget.

Although Stenzel credits Joe Pilates, the creator of the workout regimen, with inspiring her to launch her own studio, it was yoga that was actually her gateway drug into working out regularly, starting when she was ten years old. A slight curvature of her spine affected her posture to the point that strangers would sometimes tell her to stand up straight when she simply couldn't. She was introduced to yoga PBS, and later learned meditation and T'ai Chi from her father. After growing up and becoming a mother, she rediscovered yoga again, loving the way it helped her regain her 5'9" height through stretching and balancing.

But it was Pilates that truly made her feel tall, and inspired her to achieve both yoga and Pilates teacher training in 2005 and 2009. Before opening Jules Pilates, she worked as a chef specializing in heart-healthy dishes and as an environmental educator at a nature preserve in California. That background is not so far off from Joe Pilates' philosophy.

"He wanted to help people create whole body health," says Stenzel. "He thought that this would create healthy minds and happy lives. His ultimate goal was to make people so happy and healthy that there would be no less than world peace! He thought that the internal world would be reflected outward. I am absolutely willing to continue this experiment."

Besides the regular classes at Jules Pilates, the studio hosts special regular events such as Melt Method Intro workshop (designed to melt away aches and pains), Stress Reduction 101, and Qi Gong 101.

According to Stenzel, Pilates is her clients' favorite form of exercise. "Pilates makes you feel good," she explains. "It is an exercise form that works you from this inside out.  You will not sweat (much), you will not 'feel the burn (often).'  What you will feel is taller!  You will feel floaty. Once people notice that they are taller (yes, actually taller), and that their issues are resolving or feeling better, they are hooked." 

In between classes, clients are welcome to use the studio to relax, read, have a cup of tea, or even knit. It's all about creating a sense of community that keeps members coming back for more. "Jules Pilates is comfortable, welcoming," says Stenzel. "It is about you and your journey in health, not about me and my ego. I can hardly wait to meet you all and hear your stories!"

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