It was a cruise with family more than a decade ago that altered Adina Olan’s life and career path.
Olan, having never been on a cruise before, didn’t realize that she had to hurry to book her reservations for the ship’s gym and other activities once aboard.
As a result, the only classes that were left for her and her husband and sister-in-law were Pilates.
Olan hasn’t been on any more cruises, but those classes proved to be a life-changing experience. It’s not like Olan, a longtime runner and bicyclist who also tried kick boxing, wasn’t active, but the Chappaqua resident was attracted to Pilates so much that she continued with classes after returning from that vacation.
“It was the only thing that physically changed my look,” Olan said of why Pilates kept her interest. “It made me longer and leaner, in that sense. It didn’t bulk me up, it didn’t hurt me and it also kept my interest because it doesn’t remain stagnant. You do your five repetitions and then you move onto the next. It’s constantly moving and constantly changing, the exercise regimen.”
Once hooked, she was encouraged to take certification classes, which she completed after a couple of years, and began teaching part-time. After she had had enough of her daily commute to Long Island City to run her packaging company, she decided to make Pilates her career.
For nearly 10 years, Olan has owned and operated Breathe Pilates & Yoga in downtown Chappaqua. Earlier this month, she moved her operation from its longtime location at 83 N. Greeley Ave. to the more highly visible 14 S. Greeley Ave. The 1,800-square-foot space is bright and airy and can accommodate as many as seven for the Pilates Tower classes, three students for the Pilates Reformer classes and up to 20 participants for yoga.
Olan is one of about 15 instructors at Breathe, most with a niche class or specialty. Regardless of one’s age, there is a class that is suited for anybody, Olan said. Her oldest Pilates student is in her mid-90s.
“The beauty of yoga and Pilates is there are things you can do until you’re 100,” Olan said. “She comes and she does Pilates every week.”
The 55-minute Pilates classes and yoga sessions ranging from 60, 75 or 90 minutes are offered seven days a week.
While the uninitiated may believe that Pilates and yoga are basically the same, Olan explained the key differences. Pilates uses various pieces of equipment and pulls everything into a person’s core, she said. Yoga, with mats and small props, is about expression and opening up mentally and physically, Olan said. There’s a strong mental component to yoga, connecting mind to body.
Olan said it depends on a person’s preferences and sometimes their physical strengths and weaknesses.
“People who do yoga sometimes say I’m not so strong in my core but I’m very flexible and I can do things that people who do Pilates can’t do,” Olan said. “Some people will say yoga’s too boring for me. I can’t get into it. They’re apparently not doing the right yoga. There are a million kinds of yoga.”
Then there are those students who do both, she said.
At Breathe, Olan offers a wide array of yoga classes, including multiple levels of Iyengar and vinyasa.
Olan said that Pilates and yoga don’t replace other forms of exercise, such as cardio, but the mobility and flexibility helps, especially as a person gets older. Plus, no matter how physically fit someone is, they’re not going to be able to run forever, she said.
It’s only been a little over two weeks since Olan moved into her new storefront, but she has enjoyed the fresh start. She sells a small selection of Pilates and yoga outfits and fiber powder. In the warmer weather, she plans to put out a few tables and chairs outside in the back to invite people to socialize.
“I have enormous respect for my clients and my community. I really do,” Olan said. “I mean they’re very loyal. They’re very supportive.”
To learn more about the types of Pilates and yoga classes offered, schedules, prices and information on memberships, visit www.breathepilatesandyoga.com.