Blog - Page 8 of 9 - The Pilates Studio

Suzanne Mente Pilates Instructor

Suzanne Mente NPCP

Polestar Pilates Instructor

When you meet Suzanne Mente, you should know that two things are probably going to happen. 

You will laugh, and you will be talking about hip mobility. She has a direct approach to teaching and coaching, punctuated with humor.

Suzanne was a highly accomplished equestrian and riding teacher, prior to becoming a Pilates Instructor. She was a lecturer through the equine program at UMass, a dressage competitor, and UMass dressage team coach. (Dressage is a competition in which horses perform special movements in response to signals from their riders.) For many years, she has also been a freelance riding instructor. 

Pilates has often been used by riders to improve hip and spine flexibility, and for developing core strength. When Suzanne first discovered Pilates, she not only improved as a rider; she also realized that it's the perfect jumping off place to whatever is next in a person's life--that it eliminates or diminishes barriers.

Suzanne is particularly interested in helping clients improve their balance, ease of movement, strength, and flexibility. Attention to form, efficient movement, and the mechanics of everything working together-- these are the keys to unlock any challenge a client may have.

Suzanne's superpower is observation. Watching riders’ and horses’ hip movements for years has enabled her to notice things others might not. She not only helps people connect with their horses, should they happen to be riders--she helps all people connect with their bodies.

Polestar certified Pilates Instructor

BS Veterinary and Animal Science

AS Equine Industries

 

Leave Suzanne a Review!

Suzanne manages to consistently give us a well-balanced class in a creative natural way which always changes things up to challenge us with something new. Not only does she do this with a light touch and a wonderful sense of humor, so that everyone feels comfortable, but she manages to “correct our mistakes” without making us feel singled out. She truly seems to be having a good time and so do we, her loyal students.

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Susan M.
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Susan M.

Suzanne manages to consistently give us a well-balanced class in a creative natural way which always changes things up to challenge us with something new. Not only does she do this with a light touch and a wonderful sense of humor, so that everyone feels comfortable, but she manages to “correct our mistakes” without making us feel singled out. She truly seems to be having a good time and so do we, her loyal students.

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Anne H.

I have had the wonderful experience of working with Suzanne, Katrina and Cathy. All are fabulous — both professional and fun to work with.

I’ve been with Suzanne for almost three years and she doesn’t let me “get by” when I’m feeling lazy! LOVE THIS PLACE.

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Stephanie A.

Suzanne- Thank you for your knowledge and laughter each week. I look forward to coming to see what you have dreamt up and funny stories that you tell us to laugh through the challenging Pilates moments. I always get upset when I can't make it to the 10am Saturday.

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Faye O.

Suzanne is a fantastic teacher! Her classes are always challenging and different. She loves to try new things, is kind when correcting our posture, and she always keeps us entertained.

My body is always happy after working with her.

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Margery G.

We all know how funny Suzanne can be, but importantly she makes corrections to assure that the workouts actually work, even in a group class. She seems to love the jump board and for someone who stopped jumping long ago this activity is a kick.

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Melba J

I'd give 6 stars if I could. I've worked with Jenny, Kathy, and Suzanne to rehabilitate after a painful back injury. I couldn't do conventional mat exercises, so they developed a personalized set of exercises I could do on the reformers. Within a month, the pain had largely disappeared. Pilates helped me heal and gain strength; now I'm working on flexibility. I've continued because The Pilates Studio staff is so knowledgeable, professional, and supportive.

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Danielle L.

Suzanne is insightful, friendly, encouraging and knowledgeable.

Who could ask for more?

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Denise R.

I have been taking reformer (small group) with a number of wonderful instructors for a number of years. I started with Katrina and Jenny, and now work mainly with Suzanne. I love the fact that there’s nothing routine about what we do during these sessions. The exercises are tailored to your particular issues, and if you suddenly injure yourself while gardening, or playing a sport or instrument, you are given new exercises on the spot that target the problem and help you heal. It is like doing physical therapy and resistance training rolled into one. Actually, I much prefer going to the Pilates Studio than to a regular PT, because instructors at the studio know me well and can gage what I can already do, and what needs improvement. The other very important aspect is the easy-going, friendly, and supportive atmosphere : instructors are highly trained and very professional, but they have a real rapport with clients. People don’t go to the studio to show off. They go there to learn how to overcome physical limitations, seek release from pain, feel stronger and more energetic, regardless of age and ability. In the bargain, we often share stories, jokes, get a good laugh (mainly about ourselves). What’s not to love about this studio?

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Kate R.

I love my weekly class at the Pilates Studio. Suzanne keeps the exercises varied and tailored to her students. It's a small group so we are able to get a lot of individual attention.

And we laugh a lot too! The Studio is such a great community within our community.

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Denise R.

Suzanne: I love your new bone density class. You are the best!

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Anne Z.

I'd like to thank Suzanne for working with me over the last few years. She's a wonderful instructor and her classes are always enjoyable. Her expertise, caring and humor make each class a great experience!

Laurie Johnson, Studio Owner

Laurie Johnson

Studio Owner, Marketing & Program Development

Laurie is the gravitational force that draws instructors and clients to The Pilates Studio. She has created a culture of acceptance and freedom at the studio where everyone  can feel comfortable to explore the boundaries of movement, strength, and flexibility. 

That includes mothers with children in tow, people who hate to exercise and people who need to answer their phones during class (Studios with strict cell phone policies drive her nuts). 

As a child she played “Office,” and on most days now feels like she is still playing instead of running a flourishing business. Laurie is the social media, marketing and innovation strategist with an exceptional track record of getting things done, while making it look easy.

She manages all marketing, web content (she made this site!), and program development.

Laurie began college as a marketing major but changed her mind when she felt marketing was really just making people think they wanted something they didn’t need. She switched majors many times– from English to Religion to Liberal Arts to Exercise Science, until she began designing her own major at UMASS. In that time she also earned her Associates and Certificate in Massage Therapy, trained with Power Pilates and Stott Pilates, and became a birth doula. While she enjoyed her many hats, she found the one that fit perfectly when she became co-owner of The Pilates Studio and finally learnt that marketing didn’t have to make her feel “icky”!

Maureen Shea Pilates Instructor

Maureen’s passion is in moving and empowering others to move.  She grew up in Ottawa and Montréal and has been living in Western Massachusetts since 2006.  She trained as a contemporary dance artist, which is where she first encountered the Pilates method, as a complement to her dancing.  She earned her Pilates mat teaching certificate from Jacqueline Ethier (The Pilates Space, Ottawa) in 2003 and has been teaching Pilates ever since.  She has gone on to accumulate many of the Fletcher Pilates training certificates, including: Fletcher Towelwork®, Fletcher Floorwork®, Fletcher Barrework™, Spine Corrector and Ped-i-pul work.  In 2013 she passed her Polestar Pilates Comprehensive exam, and in 2016 she became a Polestar mentor in Hadley, as well as in Montréal, QC.  Maureen continues to learn and refine her understanding of the Pilates method and functional movement through Polestar’s advanced courses, including the work on the revolutionary OOV.  Maureen is thrilled to be part of the teaching team at The Pilates Studio in Hadley, Massachusetts as well as on her own at her own Pilates Room in Cummington, Massachusetts (Grasshoppa Dance & Pilates).  Besides seeing clients privately, she has led a Pilates mat class for Elders for ten years; makes regular home visits for clients with neurological conditions that prevent them from entering the studio; teaches Pilates for children; leads Fletcher Fusion classes; and is a mentor for Polestar’s Comprehensive Pilates teacher training program. As a dancer, she continues to choreograph, to teach dance for people of all ages, and to perform.
Maureen’s Philosophy: Get off, or get off (thank-you, Peter Bingham)


Maureen teaches Private, Semi-Private, and Small Group Sessions by appointment.

Katrina Hawley C.M.A., NPCP, Co-Director

Katrina Hawley CMA NPCP

Studio Owner, Polestar Pilates Educator

Katrina is from Wyoming where the untamed spirit of the West and majestic natural beauty open your mind and invigorate your senses to release your own inner freedom and sense of adventure. It’s also where she taught her first class. The students were stuffed animals.  

When Katrina moved to the Five College area, she brought with her this sense of freedom and adventure, along with her compulsion to teach.

When she discovered Laban Movement Analysis, it gave her the language she needed to understand movement at a deeper level and a way to communicate with those who would become teachers themselves.

Katrina’s superpowers are movement, teaching, and collaboration. She has collaborated with other professionals to teach how movement integrates with healing, communication, self-esteem, and empowerment.

She believes that relationships come first, business comes second, and play is the best!

Katrina is a Certified Pilates Teacher by the Pilates Method Alliance and a graduate of the Polestar Pilates Rehabilitation Program. She studied Somatic Movement approaches under Janis Pforsich, Aliza Shapiro, Charlotte Wile, Irene Dowd and Martha Eddy.


From 2005-2010 Katrina was on the Board of Directors for the International Somatic Movement Education & Therapy Association (ISMETA) and now continues to be an ISMETA Registered Somatic Movement Educator (RSME).

Katrina teaches Laban Movement Analysis, Issues in Pedagogy, and Pilates at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School in the Dance Division. Previously, Katrina was the co-director of HawleyMartin Dance (2001-2006) and she holds her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Temple University.

Leave Katrina a Review!

After 20 years of yoga I decided I needed core strengthening. I was apprehensive because childhood onset scoliosis caused me to be overly protective of my upper body. And then I heard about Katrina. She has made such a difference in my life. The extent of her knowledge and teaching skill is incredibly impressive. Katrina, Laurie and every one on the staff have created such a wonderful, welcoming atmosphere at the studio. I’ve been going there over three years now, private classes, then small groups and now that I know my exercises I’m doing independent sessions. I absolutely love the Pilates Studio!

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Sheilah S.
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Carmela P.

I am so grateful that my dr. referred me to Katrina and the Pilates Studio. I have had 2 back surgeries and Katrina has been amazing at helping me to work through some fear and apprehension to gain strength again. I totally respect her expertise as she works with so many of us who have our own story working on our individual programs. I take her small group class and have met some great people who are part of the group as well! I have also taken classes with Nate and Kathy - both super! And Kay, another staff person, has been so supportive in understanding both the physical and emotional part of this recovery journey. Everyone is behind you and I'm feeling stronger every day! Thanks, Katrina (and all!)

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Lauren K.

have been going to The Pilates Senter for a VERY long time, close to 12 years (before Laurie and Katrina took over and really made the studio the fabulous place it is today). When I was 50 I looked at other people I knew who were older than I , and asked how they kept so strong and fit and they said "Pilates". I had severe sciatica at the time and both a life and career that kept me
on my feet pretty much 12 hours a day. It was clear Pilates was the way I needed to go! From those first days working with Laurie, and then Katrina -and fast forwarding through lots of life and body changes which included a near fatal car accident 2 years ago at the age of 60, I have never been more grateful than I am today for the expertise and genuine care taken by all the practitioners at the Pilates Studio and most especially Katrina. Yes, it is very expensive! But having a body that can continue to work, and continue to gain strength, despite injury and illness is worth more than most things that one has to spend money on. I have modified what classes I take and how often I can take them over the years, to work around the ever changing finances. But I also respect so much Laurie and Katrina's continued commitment to grow (both through education workshops, classes for teachers and clients, improving and upgrading equipment regularly and attention to community outreach and resourcing ) that I know the money I spend is going to the right places. Thankyou, you know how much I value you all. Lauren

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Peter H.

I can attend 3 classes in a 24 hour period and each one will be different and great! Say, Monday evening with Tristan who has a background in yoga, Tuesday noon with Kristy and her Classical Pilates, and then end it with Katrina (one of the co-owners) who has a wide knowledge of the apparatus Pilates and regularly teaches series for beginners, among other things. And then I can still go for the 5 pm class with Nancy where one never knows what's gonna happen - she likes to take out the Oov, for instance!! OK, so that's actually 4 different Pilates classes in 24 hours in one studio...well I'm sure you get my point; 5 stars, the best.

Can Pilates help with low back pain?

This question is answered with a sumarization of the four stages of rehabilitition by Porterfield and DeRosa and the Polestar Pilates Rehabilitation Program

Pilates uses great progressions for rehabilitation of low back pain.  At first a Pilates client will workunspecified-33 to stabilize the movement of the back while strengthening other parts of the body.  Often to take the pressure off of the back so that the inflammation can be relieved, a student will be laying supine (on the back) doing exercises that isolate the movement of the arms and legs to give the back a break.

After this step some gentle movement is introduced to the back muscles so that these myofascial configurations can begin to learn healthy and efficient movement.  Then a client begins to challenge himself with proprioceptive challenges that trick the new movement patterns and create neural pathways that make them happen, and finally integrating the new movement patterns into daily life.  This is a process that empowers the client to learn how to take care of the back!

Does a Pilates workout ever get easier? How do I progress beyond a beginner level?

ThePilatesStudio_OliverScottPhoto_079One of the best parts of a Pilates practice is that there are no numbers attached.  As clients get stronger the progress is measured by activities not the amount of resistance.  Once a client who started doing Pilates after a back injury, came into the studio very excited.  She said “On Thanksgiving I pulled a huge Turkey out of the oven and lifted it to the counter by myself!” As a Pilates practice progresses the measures come from life not from numbers.   When an exercise gets too easy, an instructor will not ask for more repetition, she will give a new exercise, or she will add a proprioceptive challenge (like trying that exercise standing on one leg). Clients are encouraged to notice how their body feels instead of counting repetitions.

How many times a week should I do Pilates?

ThePilatesStudio_OliverScottPhoto_075That depends on a lot of factors- what else do you do for exercise? What other activities do you participate in? How much time can you devote? There is no right answer as everyone’s situations will be different. At The Pilates Studio we push for consistency. Doing a session once a week regularly will be better than a lot one week, and none the next. The studio offers many possibilities for different types of sessions and classes. We also encourage and help clients to establish a home program.

How long are your Sessions and Classes?

Officially Sessions are 50 minutes, and Classes are 50-60minutes. This allows for Instructors to unspecified-42schedule future Sessions, and take payments. Most of the time, after you settle up with your instructor, you are welcome to stay after and use available space in the studio to stretch, or complete your workout.

If you arrive and your instructor is still working with another client feel free to get started.

Will I always see the same Pilates instructor?

unspecified-11The Pilates Studio encourages working out with a different Pilates instructor from time to time to keep your workout fresh, challenging and exciting but for the most part you will be scheduled with the same instructor. When you first come to the studio for Sessions we will pair you up with a Pilates instructor based on your availability, background and goals. Occasionally you might have a substitute but your main instructor will arrange that with you ahead of time. Very rarely, will you have a surprise substitute for a Session and you always have the option to reschedule.

Our staff works as a tight knit team.  All of our Pilates instructors are trained and certified through Polestar Pilates so there is a consistent language amongst them when it comes to Pilates.  On a weekly basis our instructors share and work together on case studies, and continuing education. While you may be working with one particular instructor you will always have the whole team supporting you. Each instructor came to The Pilates Studio with her own unique background, experience and specialties.  Scoliosis? Ask for Jenni. Athlete? Ask for Kay. Horseback rider? Ask for Suzanne. Neck problems? Ask for Ruth. Dancer? Ask for Maureen or Ivy. Yogi? Ask for Nancy. Cross Fitter? Ask for Holly.

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