WEST HARLEM — Anna Howington moved to the city seven years ago from Texas seeking inspiration. Now, she's found it in her West Harlem Pilates studio.
Balanced Pilates at 305 West 123rd St. opened its doors Saturday and offers single, double and group classes for folks wanting to work on their core strength.
"I felt like the community could really use a Pilates studio," said Howington, 27, "They've been waiting for something like this to come because all the other studios are farther away, so I think that it's definitely going to be a benefit to the area."
Howington, who has been teaching Pilates for five years, decided to open the studio last summer after seeing a yoga studio and a bunch of new restaurants open in the neighborhood.
"If all these other places could be successful here then we could too," she said.
Her studio, which was first reported on by the blog HarlemGal Inc., has four apparatuses to help with body alignment.
Howington added that Pilates is great for "building up your stabilizing muscles."
"It helps prevent injuries. You want to try to get person to point they are not having pain any more. They are strong enough in their core to pick up their kids or run errands."
When Howington first moved to the city from Denton, Texas, she waited tables and worked at a Jazz club. Then she discovered Pilates.
"I got certified and just fell in love with teaching and really loved the whole atmosphere of Pilates studios and what a positive environment it was, and how people's body changed when they did it for a while and how happy they would be when that happened," Howington said.
She first taught at a couple studios in the Upper West Side and worked with chiropractic patients in Midtown.
With the lack of spaces in her community and number of working professionals in West Harlem it seemed like the perfect time and place to open up her own space.
"Well we're right by an express train, so everyone that lives in this area a lot of times will get off at that express stop, so it's an easy place to go to before you go to work or after you get home from work," said Hownington. "And I think that was one of the main reasons why we chose this location."
Sandra Wiley, 28, took classes with Howington when she taught in the Upper West Side, but then Wiley moved to Harlem about a year ago and the trek was too much for her.
"Once I hear she was in Harlem I started back up with her," Wiley said. "She's super nice, but she's also no-nonsense. She pushes you more than I've had in other places — there's a lot of attention to detail."
Wiley added that she hopes others in the neighborhood take advantage of the added exercise option.
"I just think it provides the neighborhood more options to be healthy."
Balanced Pilates is offering a 25 percent discount on all packages through Dec. 15.
Intro packages are $200 for three private lessons, $120 for three duet sessions and $75 for three group sessions.
All sessions are 55 minutes long.
For more info you can call the studio at (718) 395-3525 or email them at email@example.com.