Power Up with Pilates in Paris and the Suburbs

Power Up with Pilates in Paris and the Suburbs

studio 15 pilates

Are you taking care of your most important asset — yourself? When you are multi-tasking and overworked, it’s more important than ever to make time for yourself. Whether it’s taking a Sunday morning mindful walk, seeking out a one-of-a-kind retreat, or pampering yourself at your favorite spa, it’s time to stop fantasizing about better self-care and do it. One low impact way is to power up with Pilates to help you feel better, stronger and healthier, ready to face any challenge.

Pilates improves flexibility, builds strength, and develops control and endurance in the entire body. It is known to help with back pain, stiffness.

Did you know that Pilates was a fitness routine created by the German Joseph Pilates in the 19th century to help alleviate bad health? His father was a gymnast and his mother was a naturopath. He developed a series of controlled exercises while he was interned in a camp during WWI. Dancers and athletes have been using Pilates to strengthen and lengthen their muscles throughout their careers. Today, Pilates is practiced worldwide by people of all ages.

Finding the right Pilates instructor is the start towards proper body and life change. INSPIRELLE reached out to two of its favorite instructors to talk about their approach towards Pilates and the benefits to be gained from it. Meet Maria Ney, a former dance teacher and Founder of Studio Ney, servicing the southwest suburbs of Clamart, Sèvres, and Meudon and Karen Seidman, Founder of Studio 15 Pilates in Paris 15ème.

Pilates with former dance teacher Maria Ney at Studio Ney. © Alexis Duclos for INSPIRELLE

Maria Ney, Founder of Studio Ney Pilates in Clamart, West end suburbs

Why did you become a Pilates teacher?

It was a career choice that was a natural evolution for me as a professional dancer and teacher with the Royal Ballet and Academy in London and then my school in France. After my ballet school for children, I wanted to work with adults in a more zen corp-esprit – mind and body – atmosphere. I always loved anatomy and how the body moves (biomechanics) and understand how it changes with age and our lifestyle.

When I was a young dancer, we all heard about Pilates. We knew applying certain principles could help a dancer strengthen the stomach muscles and stretch their legs further. Elite dancers such as Martha Graham and Balanchine were doing it, finding qualified instructors to strengthen their core and enhance their performances.

When I was ready to make the change, Pilates was just becoming widely known and it was a very contemporary approach. I returned to Canada to enroll in an intensive course and train with Moira Stott, the founder of Stott Pilates. Since I was a teacher already in ballet, I only needed to learn the syllabus and apply it.

I opened Studio Ney in 2001 in parallel with the dance school. At the time, only two other instructors were working in France. The curriculum I learned from Moira Stott was adapted to the laymen community – not just for athletes or dancers. Pilates is for everybody today.

Maria Ney coaching in Studio Ney Pilates in the west end suburbs of Paris. © Alexis Duclos for INSPIRELLE

What can Pilates do for one’s body?

When people walk into my studio, they basically are going to relearn how to walk and stand up. Most people who come in have body issues such as pain, bad posture and want to increase their strength. Many people are in pain. From my experience and program, I will help them identify their weaknesses and zero in on overcoming them with the proper Pilates exercise program.

In Pilates you can do power, or do it softly. I have a lot of men who work out on the machines. Depending on who comes, I personalize the private classes with no more than four people. There are softer classes and no cardiovascular for older people. My youngest client is a teenage dancer and my oldest one is 82 years old. Older people who do Pilates realize the importance of not becoming sedentary and the need for movement as they age.

Studio Ney Pilates class in Clamart, France. © Alexis Duclos for INSPIRELLE

How should one choose a Pilates instructor?

The first thing is to meet your teacher in person and study their profile or diploma. Find out if they are qualified and from where? Ask to sit and watch a class, to see how the instructor interacts with her students. Stay back and have a chat with the other clients for their experiences. A good teacher will never be afraid to let you do that.

When watching a class, look for good contact with the teacher. Observe for individualized, personalized contact. Every client has different needs. Is she addressing that person’s needs? Attentive? She can be tough but is she good? Is she hurting anybody?

Maria Ney, founder of Studio Ney Pilates in Clamart, France. © Alexis Duclos for INSPIRELLE

Is Pilates instruction in France taught differently here in Paris than where you are from?

Pilates is taught differently all over the world. It depends on the person’s approach and passion. But the basics will always be there and from there, people can be creative or go by the book or extend their knowledge with training and go further.

For me, I involve both the physical and artistic to Pilates. Admittedly, I have a hawk-eye approach. As I was a dancer, I see everything, every movement, every breath.

As soon as someone walks in and I can determine by their gait what is working and not working. From there, I can help the person to realign himself or herself and adopt a program. Every body is unique. With Pilates, the goal is to help you get back in touch with your body.

Studio Ney
Address: 31, bis Avenue Henri Barbusse, 92140 Clamart
Contact Maria: +33(0)6 1670 8598 for an appointment

Karen Seidman, Founder of Studio 15 Pilates in Paris, France. © Studio 15 Pilates

Karen Seidman, Founder of Studio 15 Pilates Studio

Why did you become a Pilates teacher?

My Pilates journey began after a 17-year career as a flight attendant with TWA/American Airlines.  I discovered this method in 2002 in South Florida while participating in classes on the mat and on the equipment. The intelligent and creative exercises were so challenging and different from other forms of movement that I knew the method would become more popular as time went on.

The principles of Pilates help people of all ages and can be adapted to all populations. I knew I wanted to be part of the Pilates community to bring awareness to this exercise method. I studied with leading instructors and in 2012, I opened Studio 15 Pilates in the heart of Paris.

There is nothing more satisfying than a client telling you that they are moving better or feeling less pain in certain areas of their bodies since adding Pilates to their weekly workouts.

Pilates workout on a reformer machine. © Studio 15 Pilates

Is Pilates instruction in France taught differently here in Paris than where you are from?

Since the Pilates Method is new to many people in France, they are eager to learn and discover the exercises along with the principles. The instructions can often be more explanatory in order to make participants aware of why certain exercises are done a certain way and what benefits they bring.

Many participants have not experienced Pilates mat classes using the roller, the Pilates arc, the stability ball, and/or other accessories and want to understand how those items can enhance their workouts.

Along with the differences in anatomical terms in the French language, the classes can be both fun and challenging to the instructor and the students alike!

How is the practice of Pilates different from yoga or aerobics? 

The Pilates Method concentrates on movements and exercises emanating from the deep core muscles and moving out to the limbs (even to the fingers and toes!).

While many exercises increase one’s flexibility via increasing the end range of motion, the method also creates an aerobic component by increasing the speed of certain movements like “the hundred” which is a warm-up exercise.

The variety of different machines, including the Reformer, the Tower and the Exo Chair among others, offers resistance with springs to tone and stretch muscles throughout the body and adds a lot of fun to the workouts!

© Studio 15 Pilates

What can Pilates do for one’s body?

While Pilates can help strengthen and tone large muscles in your body, it also recruits smaller deep muscles, which are often not thought of (like your neck and feet). It can help balance the body with stretching short, tight muscles and aiding weak muscles that can put the body out of alignment.

The addition of Pilates machines to a workout can challenge the weaker parts of the body whether it’s the abdominal muscles, the back muscles or even the ankles which are crucial for better walking to name just a few.

Pilates also creates a sense of well-being and of the release of muscle tension to complete a total body workout.

Studio 15 
Address: 12 rue Letellier, 75015 Paris
Telephone: +33 (0)9 8226 3050


Check our DEALS page for INSPIRELLE Insider discounts on classes at both studios.



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