It’s easy to find a Pilates studio in the Triangle, but not all Pilates classes are created equal — and neither are their instructors!
Luiza Barteldes Farinha, owner of Pilates by Luiza in Cary, has a different story than most.
“I am originally from Brazil,” said Farinha. “I moved to NYC in 2003 to pursue a dance career. At that time, I knew nothing about Pilates, but I thought I should work on something that was related to the body. I knew this lady from ballet class who was a Pilates instructor. Her name was Pam Pardi. I asked her about the process to get certified. Little did I know, she was a very respected and experienced instructor who worked under Romana Kryzanowska, Joseph Pilates’ only protégée.”
In 2009, Farinha was accepted to the certification program at True Pilates New York — Joseph Pilates’ original studio, complete with some of the original equipment that he had built.
“I thought, ‘Wow, this is the real deal,’” said Farinha, who graduated after over 600 hours of practice and observation.
Since gaining her certification, Farinha has worked with athletes from the Chicago Bears and Cleveland Cavaliers, Olympic contenders, horseback riders, and professional dancers and gymnasts. Today, Farinha teaches one-on-one Pilates classes in her private, home-based studio in Cary — fully equipped with an original Pilates Designs by Basil Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda chair, spine corrector, and much more.
We recently spoke at length with Farinha to get to the core of her business and what “authentic Pilates” is all about.
When did Pilates by Luiza first open, and what did you do prior to its opening?
After teaching in NYC, I moved to Chicago and later opened my own studio, The Pilates Loft of Chicago. Two years after having our son in 2017, my husband and I decided to move to a quieter and warmer place, and NC seemed ideal. We love this mild weather, green forest areas, and so many outdoor activities. I also wanted to downsize a bit and work from home. We packed our belongings in a truck and moved blindly to Cary after the summer of 2019, without ever stepping foot here! After a lot of looking, we found a beautiful house with a big yard surrounded by trees and the perfect layout for a cozy little Pilates studio.
How did you fall in love with Pilates?
It’s unique how I found Pilates. I wanted a job in fitness, and I happened to know Pam, so I dove into the full certification program without ever taking a Pilates class before! Within a few months of training, I started feeling the amazing results from it and began to love it! It was almost like an arranged marriage where you grow to love each other! I was still dancing, and I noticed how I could turn more easily and jump higher. I even started to get more dance gigs! I just wish I had found Pilates much earlier! I firmly believe that Pilates can help improve everything you do.
After retiring from ballet, I found running. I have run several marathons and ultramarathons. I qualified for 2024’s Boston Marathon. I am also a competitive Spartan obstacle course racer. I am almost 45 years old, and I believe that Pilates is the reason I can keep pushing my body like this without breaking it!
Your website states that “not all Pilates are the same.” How is Pilates by Luiza different?
My certification, Romana’s Pilates, is the only Pilates method in the world that kept true to the original. We never changed or made up new exercises. Everything is based on what Joseph Pilates created, including the equipment. In my studio you will get an authentic Pilates experience.
Describe the classes that you offer!
I work one-on-one, based on each client’s unique needs. I offer 55- or 45-minute sessions.
What can clients expect?
Joseph Pilates has a famous quote that says, “In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you’ll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body.” That sums it up! Pilates can do so much for everyone, from improving posture to gaining strength, flexibility, and so much more. You also learn a lot about your body!
Why would you encourage people to try Pilates?
Pilates will first improve your posture and stance. Your balance will be better. You will also gain strength and flexibility. Your clothes will fit differently, but in a good way! Pilates works your deep core muscles, the same muscles that support your spine. Like my experience with ballet, Pilates will help you become a better athlete. You will also have more longevity on the things you love doing. I’ve also heard about clients getting taller after a few months of practice, even at an older age!
What is the best and most challenging aspect of owning a business?
Best: Having control over my schedule. I also love working from my home and having a small, intimate practice. All my clients feel like family. Most challenging: Sometimes in this business we have some slow periods. I’ve been lucky enough though to be very busy with amazing clients!
What advice would you give to a newbie?
Don’t hesitate to try it! It’s a great workout!
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