Inner Strength Pilates: Helping You Get Balance & Harmony in Your Life

Life can be overwhelming to say the least. Coping with the complex and diverse challenges of everyday responsibilities, which is not an easy task, can upset the balance and harmony we seek within ourselves and in our environment. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, fitting in those times to take care of ‘you’ gets pushed to the side for another soccer game or office meeting. “People, especially women, have difficulty finding the time for sufficient rest, exercise and relaxation,” said Amy Dixon, owner and instructor at Inner Strength Pilates. “There was a time when the boundaries between work and home were fairly clear, however, today, work is likely to invade your personal life. At Inner Strength Pilates we help our clients to schedule time in their daily lives for exercise and relaxation, working through Pilates, Barre, Postural Therapy, Movement Therapy and an overall assessment of one’s health, to find balance and harmony in your life.”  So how do you decide which method is for you? That’s where Amy and her staff come in to help you find the perfect fit for what you want for your body and life.

“When consulting with a potential client, we describe the services we offer, gain information from the person as to their issues and make recommendations based on the individual,” said Amy. “The wonderful benefit in working with our studio is that we have training in so many movement therapies to cater to their needs. We tailor each workout to suit the needs of our individual clients.” Pilates is just one of the methods offered and for many, is a great place to start.

The Pilates ‘method,’ as it is often referred to, is an exercise system focused on improving flexibility, strength and body awareness, without building muscle bulk. Pilates is a series of controlled movements performed on specially designed spring-resistant apparatus. “Two of the key elements of Pilates are core control and spinal alignment,” stated Amy. “Our Pilates sessions are with a certified instructor teaching you to properly engage your core muscles, focusing on correct breathing patterns and high quality of movement. The object of the Pilates lifestyle is the coordination of mind, body and spirit. Through the Pilates method, a level of integrative fitness is achieved by promoting strength and balanced muscle development, as well as flexibility and increased range of motion for joints. One of the great things about Pilates is that whether you are a senior adult just beginning to exercise, a trained athlete, or like most of us, somewhere in between, Pilates movement foundations apply to you. With our highly qualified and experienced staff, we have a passion to introduce clients to Pilates and the way it, along with our other services, can bring balance to their bodies.”

With its roots in ballet, yoga and Pilates, Barre exercises implement a ballet barre and other props, incorporating controlled and precise movements, and promise a strong core and long, lean muscles. Originally developed by a ballet dancer in the 1960s, Barre has evolved into exercises known to strengthen and, unlike the ballet you knew as a child, this is a conditioning workout, not a choreographed one. “The exercises with the Barre method include small, controlled movements called ‘pulses’ that work into the supporting or stabilizing muscles of the body, thereby challenging balance, elevating the heart rate and delivering increased muscular strength and flexibility, much like Pilates,” commented Amy. “The focus is on perfecting your ‘form’ and those small holding and pulsing movements. We keep the classes small and intimate, ensuring personal attention to get the most out of your workout.”

“We usually start with an upper body warm-up, progressing to the barre for a series of standing exercises that include pliés, leg lifts and stretching,” continued Amy. “These moves can be deceiving, so I always tell clients to not be surprised if your legs are a little sore after a Barre class. After working at the Barre, clients can expect some Pilates apparatus and mat work, then ending in a stretch. Clients leave feeling tall, lifted and centered.” stated Amy. As with any exercise, proper technique and posture are always important. Inner Strength Pilates has a method that focuses on your posture and addresses health issues in a common sense approach to the human body.

The impact of postural changes affects individuals in different ways and at different rates. Having an aligned posture is essential in maintaining a healthy body. “A person’s age, activity level, occupation and weight are just some of the factors that will help determine where, and to what extent, a person will be affected anatomically,” commented Amy. “An alteration in normal joint mechanics leads to decrease in performance, which can range from throwing a curve ball to being able to rise from a chair. Often these changes go unnoticed because the body compensates to avoid pain, possibly leading to inflammation, overstressed tendons and bursa, laxity of ligaments, and muscle pain to list a few.” However, the problems associated with posture misalignments are not limited to the musculoskeletal system.

“As the body moves away from its most efficiently functioning position, the nervous, circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems can all be affected. As an Egoscue University Certified Therapist, I begin with a discussion of the patient’s history and the goals they would like to achieve with Postural Therapy. Then, I test the client with various movement patterns designed to reduce compensating patterns to reach the desired outcome. While at home, the patient would also have daily exercises that they would do to continue the progress of the treatment,” said Amy. The Postural Therapy program is designed to restore the body to normal functioning movements that typically eliminate associated pain. Though Amy is the only Certified Egoscue Method Therapist within 80 miles of Winston-Salem, she strives to educate the area of this California-based therapy. As a result, she has many clients that travel to her for appointments from surrounding areas, or Skype appointments from surrounding states.

Beyond these treatments, Inner Strength Pilates offers Movement Therapy, which is an impact-free regimen placing an emphasis on the deep core abdominal muscles to achieve a stabilized torso and pelvis, while keeping the limbs active and joints mobile.

“Clients in pain often experience a Catch-22, in that movement is essential to healing, but movement hurts,” noted Amy. “At Inner Strength Pilates, we are qualified to work alongside your physical therapist to help you find pain relief and a return to function. It’s always best to discover the root cause of dysfunction and treat it for permanent relief, not just a quick fix. By coordinating the entire body, Movement Therapy exercises connect the upper and lower musculature with the body’s center. Our therapy techniques minimize abnormal muscle tension, while at the same time improving muscle, joint and fascial mobility.”

Inner Strength Pilates’ staff also helps both men and women with pelvic floor dysfunction. “The pelvic floor (PF) is huge in learning how to properly engage the core. We educate our clients on how both engagement and relaxation of the PF is vital to pelvic health. There are many exercises, including the one we have all heard of, the Kegel, which can help partially strengthen the PF. And like the rest of the body, as with all muscles, these tissues respond to the position of the bones they are connected to, so let’s make sure the alignment is correct to begin with!” said Amy.

No matter where you are in life, from a 12-year-old dancer, to a new mom, a weekend warrior, or an 85-year-old grandpa, keeping your body in proper alignment is essential to have the most balanced and healthiest life you can achieve.

Inner Strength Pilates is located at the intersection of Peacehaven & Country Club Roads, in the Harper Hill Commons Center. For more information call 336-813- 5320 or visit