Our first featured instructor of 2017 is Iona Ruiter. Iona is a champ in all sense of the word! She just gave birth to her second child (10lbs 3oz 100% naturally!) this past month and taught classes up until right before she delivered her sweet little daughter.
Although she was never a fan of working out, Iona found Pilates in 2011 after a couple years of being married and “starting to feel a little softer.” She had heard about the benefits of Pilates – toning with lean muscle – and decided to give it a try. She loved what she saw, how she felt and eventually wanted to share this passion with others by becoming an instructor.
Not only has Iona thoroughly enjoyed the physical benefits of Pilates, the emotional stress reliever was an added bonus for her. “Emotionally I feel like a weight has been lifted, I always found Pilates to be a great stress reliever because I have such a busy mind. The mind body connection you get with Pilates makes it so I don’t think about everyday life. I only think of what my body is doing using my mind to focus and create healthy movement with my body. That is why I fell in love with Pilates! For me it does not feel like a workout, it feels almost like a form of meditation.”
Iona loves being an instructor and in between being a mom, doing Pilates on her own and finding time to walk and hike with her husband and 2 little ones, she loves that she has found a career that does not feel at all like work! When asked what her favorite part of being an instructor is, Iona said, “I always love the positive feedback from clients whether it be that they really enjoyed the workout, that they thought something new that we did was really interesting, that they learned something new, or that they notice how much stronger they are getting and that they are finally able to do that one thing that they couldn’t before. To me that is the best feeling.”
One of Iona’s passions in working with her clients is working with prenatal and postnatal women. “I discovered Pilates before being pregnant with either of my children, so I really enjoy working with prenatal women, I also suffered from diastasis recti [abdominal separation] after my first so postnatal Pilates is a true passion of mine. I learned so much from the experience and was able to make my most recent postpartum part of pregnancy so much easier. I still have the diastasis, but it’s so much less severe this time and I already feel so much stronger. I’ve done so much research on the condition and love to share my knowledge and passion about the issue.”
Prior to her work as an instructor at Pilates in East, Iona became certified in the pink ribbon program, which helps breast cancer survivors learn how to move their bodies again after their treatment. Iona is truly a caring and informative instructor who will give you a challenging workout but also feel like a friend after the hour class.
When asked what advice she would share with someone new to Pilates or Barre, Iona said, “Don’t give up if it seems too hard, and ask questions!!! Also listen to your body, don’t push your body too much thinking you have to be doing the exercises like the person next to you. It’s about teaching your body how to move, and we are all at different levels physically. That’s why you really need to focus on you mentally and physically, and how often do we really get a chance to do that in this day and age?”
Iona will be back in the studio before we know it. Check out the schedule and come check out a class!