Concord, NH 03301
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My Account


Our Students and Their Success Stories



Sara Krzyzaniak

Sara St.Of Mo pic 

 “Dreams do come true in Pilates.  The little things I couldn't do before I can now do with no problem.  Touch my toes  with no pain, hike, squat down, put my arms behind m  back, ride a bike, sit or stand for long periods of time, even push-ups!  I have a waist again, and definition in my core, legs, and arms.” 


"I attend Pilates once a week and do some homework movements at home and I have been doing this for about a year now. My life before Pilates was difficult, it was a challenge. I had serious hip issues due to an accident in the early 2000's and never fully recovered from it in spite of all the physical therapy, manipulative therapy, and chiropractic work that I was consistently having done.  About a year and a half ago I had a pretty bad flare up with my hip and it knocked me out of commission.  I couldn't do anything without terrible pain.  


I started physical therapy again and more frequent visits to the chiropractic office.  No long term relief.  There were movements in physical therapy that I should have been able to do and couldn't. I learned that my strength and flexibility had depreciated so much. If that wasn't frustrating enough, there was also very little improvement from my overall purpose there.  In the end, I was not in much pain anymore but I still couldn't do a lot of things without discomfort. My doctor suggested new things for me to work on. Pilates, yoga, and dance.  All three things that I knew were out of my league and I kind of laughed at him.  I then realized he was serious.  He wanted me to try them in that order, too.  So I started talking about Pilates to people and I received two recommendations to go to Concord Pilates and meet Mara. They said it will change your life!  I said well that just seems too good to be true!


I set up a consultation with Mara to find out for myself. She had me go through a series of movements to test my strength and flexibility.  It was a huge eye opener when she had me do a push-up and I face planted to the floor.  I never had a problem with push-ups before!  Just goes to show how long it had been since I had done one, and proved to me how much my strength really had diminished.  I started out at Concord Pilates with solo sessions to first learn the equipment and how to use the funky looking things properly before I was released to tackle them on my own.  Once I mastered them I got into the Pilates by Design classes with other people. My first thought was ugh....a class...with other people while I do all these funky movements?  Well, it turned out that we all were there for the same thing!  To better our bodies and work on our individual needs with the guidance from Mara who customized a workout routine for whatever ailment we had. Even though there are other people in the room, Mara is still there looking out for you and assists you where needed so it still feels like a one-on-one session.  


I remember when I first realized how much stronger I had gotten because I asked Mara for a more challenging movement.  Or if I would be doing an exercise that didn't feel right...I would say 'help me Rhonda! What am I doing wrong?!'  It was so funny the first time I said that, Mara asked me 'Did you just call me Rhonda?'.  She gets it now....phew!  Lets just say that not only is Pilates inspiring, relaxing, and motivating as you learn about your strengths and weaknesses and work to overcome them and reach the next level of well-being.  It's exciting!  The classes are fun-filled with wonderful encouraging and supportive people. I now have the knowledge of how to move properly through my day, everyday movements are much easier. Mara's little voice in my head reminds me not to shrug my shoulders! I really wish it didn't take a doctor to recommend Pilates to me. I wish more people were talking about Pilates so I could have started sooner!  Pilates has changed my life and how I feel while exploring it. 


My advice to people is don't go through your life and its adventures suffering. Come to the studio where you will meet the kindest people.  Everyone there is great.  They are all there for you and your special needs to help you gain strength and flexibility where needed.  Its a non-judgmental place with a serene atmosphere that is customized to YOU.  Go better yourself. You won't be disappointed."

   Julia Gove

Julia Gove pic som 

“I enjoy the delicacy of Pilates. Its focus on small muscle movement and the idea that less is more appeals to me, and I honestly hadn't really expected such good results.”

"I started at Concord Pilates in 2016. At the time, I had a bad shoulder and wanted to prevent surgery. My doctor referred me to physical therapy and I was also doing yoga. Unfortunately, yoga made me feel stiff instead of the other way around so I felt discouraged. I tried a Pilates mat class at the yoga studio and my interest was peaked. When I saw an article in the paper about a "Buff Bones" class at Concord Pilates, I decided to give it a try. Once I started, I realized this was it.

As I worked on my practice, my shoulder gradually got stronger. After six months or so, I was surprised to find my shoulder was fine. I hadn't really expected such good results.

I have exercised my whole life and have been in various exercise programs. I like Pilates because it slows down my head and gives me good focus, almost meditative. For me, Pilates is the perfect mix of mental focus and physical effort, giving my overall peace and a great hour for myself!"



       Judith Godfrey


“I have been rejuvenated all over."


"Before Pilates, I wasn't very strong and felt as though I was aging quickly. I was dealing with a leg that couldn't flex because of an infection and I wasn't able to do the things I normally did. My knees were garbage because there is no cartilage and I just felt that I was getting old.
Pilates has truly saved my life. I know this sounds a little dramatic but now I feel like I have bought back some years because I'm so much stronger. My husband and I took a one week bike trip to Europe a couple of years ago and I would not have been able to do that if I had not done Pilates.
I have been practicing at Concord Pilates for three years now and it has made it possible for me to stay out of the knee replacement territory. When I'm in the shower I say to myself 'Oh my God those aren't my skinny weak little legs that I'm used to seeing, those look like somebody else's legs. They are muscular!’
I encourage people to start Pilates now... Don't wait. I wish I had started Pilates years ago. Concord Pilates is a very special place with a lot of options and very unique to any other Pilates studio. I enjoy the fact that I can come with my husband and it's something we can do together and we have a blast and feel great
together! This is the place to be.”



       Hannah Anderson

soconnor test copy_copy“Since the start of my Pilates routine I can honestly say that I wake up in the morning with a sense of clarity and balance that permeate my entire being."

"I have always loved to exercise but have become aware of needing to move differently now that I’m in my 60’s. My traditional ways of exercising over the years via nautilus, light weight-lifting and interval training still offered strengthening but not in a balanced way throughout my entire body.

Then I remembered Pilates! Five years ago when I lived in Massachusetts I had the opportunity to meet with an instructor as part of healing a sports related injury. It was such a positive memory that I began to search for a local Pilates studio in Concord.

I met with Mara last January for an initial assessment. It took me only a few minutes to realize I was in the presence of a master instructor who could read my body immediately. She developed a plan of careful exercises on the apparatus that took into consideration my osteoporosis, level of strength and love of challenge. I began to feel the differences in my body after the first workout.

Since the start of my Pilates routine (I prefer By Design with others in the studio), I can honestly say that I wake up in the morning with a sense of clarity and balance that permeate my entire being. Pilates is quickly becoming my preferred strength and balancing exercise. Much of that is due to you, Mara, and your level of excellence and attention to detail. The days of pushing myself harder in the gym are gone. They have been replaced, instead, by a different sort of workout at Concord Pilates where I am getting just as strong, learning more about the way my body works, increasing my focus and having a lot more fun as I move! A year after doing Pilates I no longer have problems with pulled muscles or lower back pain. My body feels much more balanced and aligned. My posture has improved and I am moving each day with greater awareness.

The studio is beautiful, uncluttered and clean. Mara gives attention to each client with her positive energy and encouragement. I am very grateful for this experience and new way of life that has truly been transformational. I enjoy Pilates so much that one of my retirement goals is to further my study in the teacher training program.”


Learn more about Hannah's Coaching work


Vicki Patric

IMG_2122 copy_copy1“I love Pilates. My only regret is that I didn’t start sooner.”


“I started Pilates six months ago; I love it. My only regret is that I didn’t start sooner. I’ve always been pretty active, I’m an avid walker, I lift weights, I’ve done personal training and yoga. Coming in, I thought that I was in decent physical shape but I still had a plenty of aches and pains and in retrospect, I was generally pretty stiff. Pilates exercises and stretches my muscles in a way nothing else does.

What I really like about Pilates is that it focuses on strength, flexibility, and precision. The precise nature of Pilates helps me isolate the muscles that I need to be working on. Prior to starting Pilates, I was not particularly attentive to my alignment and form when I exercised—I now realize that I wasn’t exercising my muscles nearly as much as I thought I was! The new emphasis on the specificity of movement of my body was eye-opening.

Another thing I love about a Pilates workout is that it’s a mindful workout. Because of the focus required in my workouts, I really don’t think about anything else while I’m in the studio. It’s about both body and mind. When I come to the studio after a busy day at work, the mindful approach of Pilates helps me transition my focus onto my health and I leave the studio feeling great! Pilates is a moving mind body meditation and just fun to do.

I come into the studio three times a week and I also practice at home. I’ve tried to integrate Pilates into my lifestyle. I’ve noticed my posture is better, my body is more flexible, and I continue to understand what it means to come from your core. My body isn’t achy or stiff when I wake up in the morning, my spine feels looser and more fluid, and I’m not carrying around all the tension in my shoulders that I used to before. It’s been a dramatic change.

I thought that I had a pretty good routine before coming into Pilates so I was pleasantly surprised how much stronger I feel and how my workouts are so much more focused and productive. At Concord Pilates, the teachers are great, they meet you where you are, and each person is treated as a unique individual. The teachers work with you to meet your goals.

Pilates is the best thing I've ever done for my body. It takes work and focus but if you stick with it, the results are worthwhile and evident with every step you take."


Louise Palmer

“The pace of Pilates is not hectic, it doesn’t rush you, and it is relaxing and rewarding in a way that no other exercise I’ve experienced has been.”

“Before I started Pilates, my hip was aching and my knee as well. I knew I needed to work on my flexibility and strength. I had done Bootcamp for about 6 or 7 years and while it was great for strength, I felt that the repetition and added weights was contributing to the issues I was having with my hip and knee. I didn’t feel that there was enough time for stretching, so I was looking for something different. That was a long time period of doing the same thing without getting exactly what I needed; I felt it was time to switch things up.

I’ve been practicing Pilates for about a year now and it has definitely made me more aware of my posture. For example, when I’m sitting in the car, I think to push my head back into the headrest and I can then feel that my shoulders are moving down and spreading in a good way, the way that they should be. When I started in the apparatus class, we worked on keeping our shoulder blades apart and not going back and so I started incorporating that in my posture. Also, when I pick up something heavy, or am carrying a lopsided load, I find myself making sure that I engage my core. I’m now going through my life more consciously and aware because of the tools I’ve learned from Pilates.

Mara once said in a class “let your core do the work and let your body go along for the ride” and I noticed that while doing chores, such as raking leaves, I started using my core instead of letting my shoulders do all the work and the difference was amazing. I think more about how I move and I feel better overall; my hips don’t ache and they feel more balanced. Being in the apparatus class has made me more aware of when even stepping up onto something, I need to keep my hips even and it’s started to just come naturally. The techniques I learned from Pilates have helped on so many levels in my day to day life. The pace of Pilates is not hectic, it doesn’t rush you, and it is relaxing and rewarding in a way that no other exercise I’ve experienced has been.

Many years ago I got a Pilates DVD, and when using that, I didn’t realize that I needed to be mindful of my form or technique. I think that if you’re looking for something to assist with core strength or if you have physical issues, Pilates is great because it is adaptable and can be customized to the individual. Most other forms of exercise seems to be more about just powering through the workout and avoiding the real issues that you may have; you don’t address the problem. With Pilates you really try to get to the source of the problem and correct it.

One of Joseph Pilates’ student once said “The only purpose to do another repetition is to do it better.” That resonated with me because instead of cranking out repetitions and losing my form due to concentrating on getting in as many as possible, Pilates keeps me more mindful on how I move and that is a great thing.”


Susan Roemer

“Pilates is smart exercise and it is well worth my time and effort. It offers unique exercises and equipment that other facilities don’t have to offer, and everything can be adjusted to fit the needs of the individual person. I’ve learned a lot about myself, but it’s a commitment and there is a learning curve.”

“Before starting Pilates, I found I had to compromise for specific areas of my body; for example my hip flexors and abdominals. I was doing Bikram Yoga before. Even though the stretching helped, and the pain lessened for a short while, it always came back. I wasn’t getting stronger; I was never improving. It was only a temporary relief.

I heard about Concord Pilates through Kelly Diamond when I was doing Bikram Yoga. Kelly had offered a postural self care class at the studio. While I loved the concept of Bikram yoga, I found that Pilates offered such unique exercises and equipment that most facilities don’t have to offer. I think of it almost like physical therapy but it’s more well rounded and each tool or piece of equipment can be adjusted to fit the needs of the individual person. There’s nothing like that elsewhere in the area. All the other students at Concord Pilates have something different going on with their bodies and the teachers help work on those specific needs for them! I feel that Pilates puts your body in an awkward position that makes it necessary that you feel you need to change the way you move. It’s about rethinking your movement, relearning to move with a different strategy.

During a Pilates session, you focus on how your body and muscles should be used. The teacher focuses on your individual body. They look at you and let you know how to change and better your weak points. You really aren’t aware of your weak points unless someone else studies you and has the expertise to point them out.

I’ve been coming here for about 2 years now; I started with mat classes and moved onto circuit classes and found it was actually fun! Now I’m enrolled in a By Design class, which helps me zoom in to my particular needs.

I usually sit and drive a lot and I don’t use my quads and glutes a whole lot. When I don’t have the time for Pilates, I now recognize that I don’t use the muscles I should be using.

When I leave after a Pilates class, I walk completely differently! Leaving the studio, I put my boots on and I immediately feel the difference in the way I walk and move. Since being here regularly, I’ve noticed great improvement in my back and in my posture. There used to be a lot of tightness but now my upper body connection is better. My hips have definitely improved.

Overall, I’ve learned a lot about my body and the things I need to personally work on - I know what’s easy for me and what’s hard. Joseph Pilates was way beyond his time! A healthy life is exercise, balance, improvement, diet, and spirit. Pilates is smart exercise and it is well worth my time and effort. I’ve learned a lot about myself. It’s a commitment and there is a learning curve. The amount of time I’ve spent in the studio and how much stronger I’ve become is very noticeable to me. Mara shows so much passion for Pilates and that is inspiring!”


DanielleDanielle Smith

"I was in a lot of pain before I started Pilates. I was told I would never be able to do a sit- up again. But now I can. I wish I had started sooner.”

Before Danielle first started Pilates in 2014 her body was sore all the time. “I had been doing Zumba and my joints were constantly sore, especially my feet and hips. After a half mile walk or a long car ride I would come home and was practically on the verge of tears due of the amount of joint and muscle pain.

I finally went to physical therapy, and realized I had to do certain stretches and wear arch supports. As much as I enjoyed Zumba, it was just too much impact on my body. I couldn’t handle it.

I looked into yoga, but I wasn’t into the spiritual aspect of it. My physical therapist had suggested Pilates, because I would be able to adapt and modify the movement after my abdominal surgery.

I started to take Pilates classes twice per week. I felt great doing the exercises, and I could feel some progress right away. After 3 months I finally saw some momentum build and I noticed a big improvement, and then even more after 6 months. Within just under one year, I wasn’t sore anymore. I haven’t had to wear my arch supports anymore, because we had worked on foot strength in class.

After my surgery, my doctor had told me that I won’t be able to do sit-ups anymore. I went for five years without even trying a sit-up. To get out of bed I had to roll onto my side and use my arms to push me up into a seated position. I was told it was impossible and I believed it, at first. Now I know that I can strengthen other muscles that could help the injured muscles. I remember when I was finally able to do a sit-up again, I excitedly called my husband and demonstrated what I could do.

Pilates has totally changed my life. I went back to my surgeon and showed him what I could do. His jaw just dropped. If I had known what Pilates can do for me, I would have started much earlier. I wish I had found it sooner. I’m not sore anymore. I can go on hikes and long trail walks now. I have tools in form of stretches that I could do at home after especially long car rides or long walks.

I can’t get over how much it helped me. Not everybody is cut out for hard physical activity. Pilates adapts to every person and to every situation. I’m much more aware of my body and my posture in everyday activities. If someone puts a limiting thought into your head, don’t let it define you.“

Danielle currently practices twice per week in our Circuit classes.

Laura Milliken photoLaura Milliken

"Pilates is humbling in the beginning. But now I have tools to help myself. I find comfort in the knowledge I have about my body."

When Laura first started her journey with us six months ago, she had been in physical therapy for over a year, mostly for her shoulder, but for some other problems as well. It felt like she would solve one thing, and another one would show up. Once the shoulder stabilized, then a hip issue would suddenly appear.

She thought of herself as pretty athletic, but she kept having these body issues of different kinds. Long ago she used to run, but she had to stop that for various injuries. She then did aerobics with weights, but she hurt her rotator cuff, which meant she had to skip most upper body exercises for a long time. She hadn't been able to do any push-ups at all. After some time in PT, she was able to ease back into weight bearing, but only very carefully, and almost none where the arms were extended. For about a year and a half since her skiing injury, she was very limited in the use of her upper extremities.

"Pilates has certainly been a humbling experience for me. The thing about Pilates is that it isolates your weaknesses, which of course encourages you to work on them. It helped me to understand how my body should work. In particular, it strengthened my core. It helped me feel that I'll be able to gain the strength to do the things I want to do, at some point. I feel like I'm making progress.

In the past, my approach to exercise had been: if you throw yourself into it and work as hard as you can, you'll get over it. But Pilates is not like that at all. It's all about concentrating on small movements and several parts of your body at once, which is challenging, but ultimately worthwhile. 

I have always had issues with my shoulders and neck, and just being able to relax those muscles, and hold my head and body in a way that won't tense those muscles, is a huge benefit. It took me a while to realize what I needed to do. But now I notice the difference all the time. 

What I like about Pilates and your teaching, in particular, is that you help me to visualize what's going on in my body, which allows me to move it in a way that's less painful and more productive. 

Beginning with Pilates is hard. My physical therapist recommended Pilates, and I trusted her that it would help me, so I stuck with it during the first two months. Slowly, I could see progress, and I could see that if I could just get myself to focus on several areas of the body at once, I would feel better. I had to accept the challenge that I had to go through the uncomfortable stage of learning to see the results I wanted.

There is a period at the beginning of Pilates, where you're thinking: "What am I doing? I don't get it? It's so subtle. Is this working?" It took at least one whole session (two months) before I felt like "Oh okay, I sort of understand what's going on here. And it's making a difference."At the end of the second session, I thought: "Oh! I should do this more often! Then I can really make progress.

Especially for someone who has been a successful (recreational) athlete, the beginning of Pilates can be frustrating. You're used to just being able to do everything, and Pilates completely turns your (movement) world upside down. 

I've been trying to talk my 20-year-old son into doing Pilates because I know it would be helpful for him. He's strong, but he notices some body misalignments and asymmetries. My thoughts are - if you learn this now, then you won't have the issues I'm having. If we learn this body integration early in life, we'll be so much more successful as older, or elderly people. 

I wish I found (Concord) Pilates 20 years ago! I feel like I would have gained that strength and understanding much earlier in my life. At least now I find comfort in the knowledge that I have developed. If my body feels bad, I start thinking: "Well what am I doing that contributes to that bad feeling? What do I need to do to feel better? Do I need to relax my shoulders? Do I need to pull down from my underarms?" I now have tools in my toolbox to help myself.”

"I didn't really feel like I was working out, but all the sudden my posture started to change and my back started

strengthening."  -Jimmie H.

"If I'm hiking or biking, or all of the other things I enjoy doing, it's just better because I can move better and I'm so much stronger."  -Cindy S.




"You'll start to see a change in how you feel and how you move immediately." - Amy H.




"I feel stronger, more confident. I'm actually a little happier about my body image." - Betsy H.




"If you're feeling stiff and achy, it just loosens you up and gives you control over your body." - Amy G.




"Pilates has helped me become a better runner and feel stronger in everything I do." - Eva L.




"Your body feels different after you're done. You feel stretched out, but also stronger." - Mary Kate R.




"I can move better. I breathe better. I feel better. I'm healthier!" - Gloria L.




"Don't be a girly man." ~ Scott M. Being a runner for several hundred miles a year, Pilates has helped Scott M. stay strong and avoid injuries throughout the season. 




"You just feel better. You feel stronger overall. Your body control is better." - Mark N.


Dawn Emerson</h5>2Dawn Emerson

"I started Pilates because I was looking for an exercise to strengthen my core. I have been doing Pilates for 18 months. The classes have all been mat exercises.

I recently went for my annual physical and my physician told me that my lungs sounded the best they have ever sounded. I have suffered from asthma my entire life. I joined Pilates to help build my core, but it has improved my lungs more than I ever imagined

Some exercises are harder but usually the harder they are the more I need that exercise. 

If you are thinking of doing Pilates, is would say: Do it! It helps our bodies in more ways than we realize. I did not go to Pilates to improve my lungs or asthma, but in doing it I benefitted in more ways than I ever imagined."


Lori Chartier 

"I like the one on one attention to the client and their needs. The initial assessment gave me a clear understanding of where my body was at, and more importantly where I could go to regain strength and endurance. Both the apparatus instruction and mat classes provide a quiet, peaceful setting with guided assistance on alignment for maximum results. Teachers are knowledgeable, personable and very friendly! Over the years I have either reduced or abandoned certain exercises because of pain. Today, I have hope that Pilates will strengthen the muscles that have weakened, build a stronger core, and restore my sense of balance and flexibility.”

Lori Chartier

Brad Borbidge

"I am pleased to say my trip with my daughter to the Canadian Rockies was wonderful. We hiked over 30 miles (mostly challenging up and down, with a couple of rides thrown in - some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. The trip would not have been possible without your help. I am now back riding with my cycling group, again not possible without your help. That is not to say there are not aches and pains, but every ride, walk or hike is so very appreciated now.

I was able to return to an active lifestyle that includes cycling and hiking that would not have been possible without Concord Pilates. Mara and Sarah use their knowledge of movement in a caring way that provides superior results."

Brad B.

Jennifer-FlandersI love the way class is run; Mara engages the whole class and at the same time is attentive to each of our needs. I like how each class concentrates on different areas of the body. When I started a few months ago, I felt weak and had chronic aches and pains. Concord Pilates has made me feel stronger and has eliminated a lot of those aches and pains. I can't say enough! I always look forward to class!

              Jennifer Flanders



True blue professionalism focused on helping me do Pilates correctly, not just rushing through the steps just to move on to the next exercise. Incredibly friendly and intelligent teaching approach. Great teaching environment. Superb teaching skills and explanations for all. Excellent monitoring of us doing the various movements and making clear and helpful corrections and excellent demonstrations of how to do them correctly. I really can't say enough great things. Thank you so very, very much for all your hard work!


Cyndi Hayden



Cat-RobbinsI am considerably more aware of my posture and spinal alignment. My neck, which has been weak for many years due to an old injury, is feeling stronger. I’ve noticed my wrists gaining strength, my clothes fitting better, and my friends and family comment on my improved appearance.

I’ve been becoming more and more active, and look forward to each class!

Cat Robbins


I have been doing Pilates for 8 months and have been thrilled with the results. My posture is so much better and my back pain is now non-existent. While I have lost a few pounds, the goal was not weight loss but improved strength and balance. The weight loss and loose fitting clothes are an added benefit. Mara is a great teacher. I thoroughly enjoy the classes.


Jodi Roos



Pilates has been life changing for me. I suffered a knee injury a few months ago in a Boot Camp exercise program. My orthopedic physician recommended I take up Pilates to rehabilitate my knee.


Mara has a very keen eye and would pick up right away the moment I would hyperextend my knees and/or elbows. She’s raised my level of awareness and has impacted my recovery considerably. I feel stronger than I have in a long time. Pilates was just what the doctor ordered!

Christine Falkenham



I would like to tell you I am LOVING your classes! You are a great teacher and WOW what a work-out, after just 2 sessions I know this is going to be a great experience for me. I appreciate your ability to work with me and adapt my workout around my special needs.


Sandy Reeves


     Martha Massey

Martha Masey pic (1)

“After trying other forms of exercise I have come to realize that Pilates is where it’s at. It’s made me strong in the areas I need it most and the concentration is good for my mind.”


“I have been practicing Pilates on and off for fifteen years. Before starting Pilates, I felt like my body had no strength. After starting here, I realized how strong and flexible it has made me. I also feel very good mentally, which is huge for me. During the exercises I become very focused because Pilates is all about form and doing the exercise correctly. This concentration is very good for my mind.

Mara is wonderful because she is so specific to each individual she is working with. She saw very quickly what my weaknesses were and picked specific exercises to work on those weaknesses. Other Pilates teachers I've had in the past would just go through a set routine with me. I was still moving, but I didn’t feel the exercises were targeting my needs. Mara’s approach is far better because I'm gaining strengths in the areas that need it most.

I also like the way Mara corrects me. With her, I never feel that I am doing a bad job. When she offers a correction, she tells me clearly and without judgement what I should try to do and how, which is very helpful. She guides me in doing it right.

My sessions at Concord Pilates are the best Pilates instruction I have ever experienced because my teacher is so knowledgeable and aware of my body. Concord Pilates is such a whole body exercise and experience. Pilates it's where it's at!"



       Sue O'Connor

soconnor test copy_copy“Pilates is the single most important thing I've done for myself in terms of taking care of my health and my body in the past 5 years."

"I started Pilates about a year ago. I had attended an Intro to Mat class at Concord Pilates' previous studio location. The main reason I became interested was because I wanted to work on my flexibility. I'm an athletic person with a regular exercise routine and as part of that I've always incorporated stretching on my own; I didn't feel I made much progress and it always felt rushed. Yoga wasn't for me; I have hip restrictions and it was just too much. After constantly having injuries with sports and other recreational activities I realized that I needed to backtrack and address the root cause of those injuries. Being an Occupational Therapist as well as a Personal Trainer, I needed someone with Mara's expertise to observe me and help me understand what I am doing with my body.

Kelly Diamond recommended Pilates to me. She believed it could serve me well and help me work on strength in a different way. I’ve always tried to make good lifestyle choices in terms of how I eat and exercise, but Pilates is the single most important thing I’ve done for myself in terms of taking care of my health and my body in the past 5 years. Pilates has definitely helped my flexibility, but in addition, it’s taught me a way to not only strengthen muscles but to access my muscle strength differently. I now can recruit muscles I never thought to use before. It builds on the things you don’t typically work on and brings exercising to a whole new realm. It’s about balance.

I participate in both one-on-one sessions and the By Design class that is offered. With By Design, Mara is present in the room to supervise but it requires you to be responsible for your own practice and I feel there is a lot of merit in that because while you are doing your own thing, you have the teacher’s support should you need it.

I have less joint stiffness and more strength. The biggest thing though is that I have more awareness of my body and the more I practice, the more I can integrate it into the other activities I do. I find myself changing my movements subtly without even realizing it; it comes naturally. Once you have that ability, you never lose it. It’s a practice which is something I appreciate the more I come into the studio. It fundamentally builds on itself; it isn't one accomplishment that just ends when you have finished a session.

I’ve encouraged many people to try Pilates and still do. Even if you just do the Initial Assessment, that first one-on-one appointment, you get to know the practice of Pilates, see what it is about, and get to know the teachers. We as people are always changing and we’re dynamic; Pilates is the same. The effect that our lives have on our bodies requires a balance. Pilates creates a foundation, one I wish I had worked on years ago, something I didn’t understand or appreciate at that time. What people should really know is Pilates doesn’t have to be something that replaces other activities, but it enhances the performance of whatever else it is that you do.”

Sue O'Connor - personal trainer and occupational therapist





Jackie Berridge

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"I started Pilates when I was age 69. A lot of people think they’re too old to begin exercising at that age; it’s true that you’ll probably never get your 30-year-old body back but you can feel better on a daily basis!"

“When I started Pilates a year ago at age 69, I had severe arthritis and pain in my joints. I did my best to stretch with yoga and walking, and lifting weights with a trainer.  The weights didn’t feel right for my body.  I don’t really like to exercise. In the past, if I had a gym membership, I wouldn't go. I know myself: I need the structure of a class. A friend of
What I like about Pilates is that I can do it at my own pace. I like the focus, breathing, and the individual attention.  It has helped me correct my posture, and other limitations I have.mine highly recommended coming here. I wish I had discovered it years ago!

Pilates allows me to pick and choose appropriate exercises and I always end up leaving feeling a little better. The joint pain may still be there, but Pilates helps me with accepting and managing the limitations I have.

No matter how I’m feeling, there is always something that’s possible for me to do. That’s what I love. Recently I’ve had a fractured rib and muscle spasms with it.  The physical therapist I have been seeing encourages me to stay with the Pilates, just to modify it when necessary.  I can do that!  I couldn't do all of my exercises yesterday, but I did more today.

The Pilates apparatuses allow me to do the exercises without having to get up and down from the floor. If I need help, Mara, my teacher, is there to assist me.  This I find very supportive

I enjoy the camaraderie with others in class. We’re focused and concentrated on our own programs, but we’re still rooting for each other.  It is a very positive, supportive environment!

I often see people you and old, and after observing their gait and thaw they hold their bodies, they make me that that they would benefit from Pilates.  Talking with other people my age here at the studio, I hear how much better they feel, and recover from set backs. 

I would recommend Pilates to ANYBODY.  I would love to suggest starting at a younger age than myself, but it’s never too late to correct misalignments, muscle weakness, and to gain the therapeutic outcomes of Pilates.  I started Pilates at the age of 69, and I know I will never get back to the 30-year-old body I once had, but I can feel better on a daily basis!"

Heather Peterson

Heather Peterson image"Having MS, my balance is really bad. But I want to try paddle boarding next summer. After a Pilates session, I leave feeling good, not drained or tired and exhausted, which is crucial for my health.”

“Before starting Pilates, I felt like I couldn't find anything I liked in terms of exercising. I've tried everything, from yoga, exercise classes like PoundFit and Zumba, pretty much everything except for Pilates. After talking to a talking to a friend of mine about what my goals were going to be for the summer, I really want to do stand-up paddle boarding. But knowing that because of my MS, my balance is really bad, we talked about different exercise options. We found Pilates, thought it looked pretty cool. I had driven by a Pilates studio in NYC and I could see one of the big machines through the window. Now I know it's a Cadillac, then I just thought it was a torture device.

I had heard that Pilates was good for your core, so when I found you I went for it. I came in for my initial assessment, and things got rolling.  I was specifically looking to improve balance and overall strength.  I like that Pilates is more focused than anything I had done before, both mentally and physically. Being a nurse, it’s really kind of interesting to know that you can actually focus on a specific muscle. Having the anatomical knowledge, I really appreciate the method. Knowing that you can actually control muscles and  how to get them to work in different exercises. I also like the less is more principle, because (whispers) I don’t like to exercise.

After a Pilates session, I leave feeling good, which is not something that I normally ever felt after working out right. After other workouts, I usually would feel drained or tired and exhausted. Chronic fatigue is a huge part of my MS symptoms. I feel like I worked out but I don't feel like I overdid it. It is important to me that I can say when I have had enough (repetitions). I’m not being pushed further. I don’t want to be labeled as lazy. I have to take good care of my body.

I have been practicing since May 2016. I started with one private session per week, then changed to twice a week and now I'm coming three times a week, for one full hour and two half hour sessions. And I’ll be moving into a By Design class in the next session, and I’ll continue with one additional private session per week.

It’s fun to learn all the different names of exercises and using all of those crazy contraptions. They are not intimidating anymore. Mara is pretty easy-going, which is nice. It’s easy to talk to her about things if something doesn't feel right, of if I have a question. If I don't understand something - because sometimes things don't click the first time -  I like that she doesn’t give me the feeling that I’m stupid for asking.

I still have off balance days, but generally, I’m doing better. I know my core is stronger. Lying on my back, I’m able to use my core to hold my legs up in the air now. That's a big thing for me. If I have to get something from under the sink my balance is better. I don't worry about falling forward or sideways or backward. I find it easier to reach up high for something or stand on one foot.

I can’t wait to try paddle boarding in the summer, after having done Pilates for a whole year."

StephenBlackmer (1)_copySteve Blackmer

"Pilates gives me the foundation for a high level of fitness that allows me to stay active outdoors and take part in my favorite activities as long as I possibly can."

Steve has been practicing with us for the past three years. His father - now 87 and still practicing Pilates - inspired him to try it as well. His mother who used to be a dancer had discovered Pilates already in the 1960s or 70s, during a time when Joseph Pilates was still alive.
Since he was a child, Steve had always spent much time outside. He enjoys cross-country skiing, hiking, biking, and canoeing. He’s a true outdoor person, being happiest in nature. The older he’s gotten, the more he realized the importance of having a physical practice that would help him stay as fit, strong and healthy as he could, so that he could keep going for as long as possible.

“From the time I turned 40, I realized I’m not going to stay fit without a good physical foundation. Luckily, I hadn’t had much trouble with injuries in the past, but I noticed I was slower up the mountain, and long days of skiing would take more out of me than before. I also noticed I’ve become less flexible, and lost some strength. I guess it’s part of the natural aging process, but I want to keep a high level of fitness as long as I can.

Doing my favorite activities outside are incredibly important to me. That’s my motivation to go inside (the studio) and work on maintaining my fitness level.
I hate going to the gym. I was never able to stick with it for more than a few visits. I don’t enjoy the gym atmosphere, the noise, the TVs everywhere and music blaring. Even more, though, I didn’t have the confidence that it would actually be good for the whole person. It’s easy to strengthen a muscle here and there, but I noticed many people getting injured or developing only a few muscles, instead of supporting the whole body.  I have no need for cardio machines, I get my aerobic exercise much better (and more joyfully) outside.

Pilates is the only indoor exercise I’ve ever stuck with, and is so much more fun than the gym. The combination of stretching as well as strengthening that Pilates provides seems most beneficial to me. With the work on the core, Pilates provides a platform to make everything else work better.

Mara is a great teacher and fun to be around, which makes a big difference. I came away from the first few classes and my body was buzzing with a kind of aliveness that I hadn’t experienced before. It’s hard work, but I come away refreshed rather than exhausted. 

I noticed especially with cross-country skiing, that the core strength I had developed made a big difference. I took part in a long two-day skiing event last year, skiing 85 km in a single day. I wasn’t sure I would manage it, but I did. It was a great personal success. It’s one thing to do that when you’re 40, but a different thing altogether when you’re 60. I want to go back this winter to see if I can do it again.

Pilates recognizes that you’re more than just a machine. It works to bring well-being to the whole person, mind, body and spirit, but it starts with the body, and that really works for me.  This way I can still honor my own spiritual practice.”

Church of the Woods

“I’ve founded this outdoor church in 2014 as a way to honor my Christian faith in a way that allows me to be physically active. Spiritual life shouldn’t be isolated from the outdoors and from our bodies. I don’t enjoy sitting in a “box” (a regular church). Church of the Woods enables me to be outdoors, in the body of the world, while still being true to the Christian tradition and practicing my faith.

Long before I went to divinity school, I used to say , "my church is in the woods or up in the mountains.” Now that’s true even more. It’s where my spiritual and contemplative life has always been at home. So I’ve decided to establish that and create a spiritual community around that.

I welcome anyone to join us Sundays at 9am or 3pm for our weekly service.”

Learn more…

Church Service Calendar:

IMG_0475_copyWendy Olcott

"Pilates is exactly what I needed. Something was missing in my workouts before Pilates."

Wendy has been a consistent, passionate Pilates student since September 2015. After mentioning to a colleague that she was thinking of taking a yoga class, this colleague recommended Pilates. (Thank you, Sarah G.!)

“Before starting Pilates, I felt good. I had always exercised, mostly walking, hiking, running (until my knees didn’t like it anymore) and many workout videos (i.e. insanity, beach body, etc). But I felt something was missing in my workouts, core strength in particular. I wanted something that would strengthen my body, without beating it up.

My experience so far has been fantastic. I’m loving Pilates! It’s exactly what I needed. I love coming to two classes a week. One wouldn’t be enough. I feel more flexible and stronger, and my knees have been doing better.

In addition to Pilates, I take daily morning walks. We have big hills where I live, so my heart rate goes up quite high, which is a good cardio workout. If I get a late start in the morning for my walk, sometimes I run the rest of the way home. And my knees are fine with it.

As I’m getting older, I find that walking just isn’t enough. I feel I need to do other forms of exercise to stay in shape. Pilates has been a good fit.

I can’t believe how much I love Pilates, especially the plank in all variations. It’s my favorite.”

                                      Cindy Hayden
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"I had a total knee replacement six years ago and I thought there were activities I would never be able to do again. Thanks to Pilates I am back to hiking 4000-footers, running, and snowshoeing."

I started Pilates two and a half years ago and it has changed my life. At age 56, I was beginning to feel my body aging. I do my Pilates workout, or some variation of it, 3 to 4 times per week in the summer and 5 to 6 times per week in the winter. Now, at age 58, I can say I have truly aged backwards thanks to Pilates. Generally speaking, Pilates has made my weaker muscles stronger and the more inflexible parts of my body more flexible. As a result, everybody's working together much better.

More specifically as to how Pilates has helped me: I had a total knee replacement six years ago and I thought there were activities I would never be able to do again. Thanks to Pilates I am back to hiking 4000-footers, running, snowshoeing, etc. In fact, I have now gotten to the point where I have no discomfort in my non-surgical knee when I hike and run (during or after) which, to me, is quite miraculous. Thanks to the way in which Pilates has strengthened my abs, lats, etc muscles -- I think they were totally resting for a long, long time prior to Pilates -- I am an inch taller than I used to be. Three years ago I was very round shouldered, but thanks to the Pilates program Mara developed for me, I am now quite square shouldered. I spend a lot of time in my canoe, but prior to Pilates, it had gotten so that I had constant pain in my hip while paddling. Mara recommended various strengthening and flexibility movements and now I can paddle for hours and hours pain free. Very recently I developed pain in my shoulder, which would primarily surface while I was trying to sleep. I could find no comfortable position and would lie awake for hours. I took a break for a month from various activities that I thought might be bothering it, but the pain persisted. When I finally mentioned this to Mara in class, she suggested one simple stretch (bookends). That night I slept like a baby. I did the bookends stretch every night before bed and, voila, miraculously no shoulder pain again.

Pilates has also brought back my youthful stamina. I can now do yard work, gardening, cut cordwood for hours and hours at a time without getting exhausted. I'm continuing to do my PIlates work almost every day and now I am adding to my routine bunion exercises to work on that issue. Since I spend 12 to 15 hours a day on my feet doing one activity or another, happy feet are very important to me, and they had been getting more and more unhappy. I believe between the bunion exercises and the shoe fitting, shoe stretching, and new orthotics from the pedorthist, my feet will once again be happy hiking and running.

In short, Pilates is one of the best things I have ever chosen to do with my time. Making sure I make the time to do my Pilates exercises, getting direction from Mara on the best exercises to fit my needs, focusing on doing the exercises as correctly and precisely as I can and communicating my questions, thoughts and needs to Mara to get feedback has been key -- of course, Mara is so knowledgeable, so experienced and so attuned to what my muscles are doing, even when I am oblivious, that last part is relatively easy. Go do Pilates!!! It will change your life if you make it so. 

Ashley Gray 150
Ashley Gray

"I was looking for a low-impact physical activity that I could do to help strengthen a previous knee injury. Since starting Pilates I've noticed improvement in my horseback riding. I also enjoy the peace Pilates brings me during the week. It's a moment I get to have for myself."

"I started Pilates in August 2015. I was looking for a low-impact physical activity that I could do to help strengthen a previous knee injury as well as an activity I could do along side my horseback riding. 
I practice Pilates 3-4 times a week. I currently do a private session once a week and Independent Practice once a week. The other 1-2 times I have homework that I do at home.

I have noticed numerous benefits to practicing Pilates. Some of them are increased flexibility, core strength, as well as my breathing is more consistent during physical activity. I've noticed improvement in my horseback riding in terms of balance and breathing. I also enjoy the peace and hard work Pilates brings me when I practice it during the week. It's a moment I get to have when I work on myself.

My favorite exercise would be Bridging. I enjoy it because it's such a challenge to be able to learn how to improve the flexibility of your spine, placing one vertebrae down at a time, but also adding in variations such as sliding in and out on the reformer. I don't have one favorite piece of equipment because there are so many different Ashley Gray with Horse copyvariations of exercises to do on each piece and I truly enjoy exploring each different piece and experiencing the benefits from it.

I have experienced so many different benefits from doing Pilates and this is truly an exercise program you can do for life and that will cater to your strengths and weaknesses and help you develop a healthy activity regimen."

Gloria Leberman

Gloria Leberman

“I have always worked out and attended exercise classes. However, I have achieved the most benefit from the Pilates program. I have significantly changed my poor posture and gained muscle tone without bulk. The art of focusing on very precise movements in Pilates brought me to a very happy place.”

I started at Concord Pilates in February 2014. Prior to joining, I was actively weight training in a structured program. However, I was finding that I was bulking up too much and not creating the long lean toned look I was attempting to achieve. 

I currently practice twice a week participating in the Full Body Equipment Circuit classes taught by Sarah and Mara. In the past, I was attending up to four or five mat classes a week. 

I have always worked out and attended many different types of exercise classes. However, I have achieved the most benefit from the Pilates program. I have significantly changed my poor posture and gained muscle tone without bulk and have enhanced the use of deep breathing in my day to day life. Emotionally I have experienced a very difficult year personally and the Pilates classes were my complete escape from my thoughts. The art of focusing on very precise postures and movements in Pilates brought me to a very happy place along with the great camaraderie and nice friendships I have developed at Concord Pilates. 

I absolutely love the Pilates reformer. I would strongly encourage everyone of every fitness level to try Pilates at Concord Pilates. The expertise and personal guidance each student is given is amazing."


Sandy Porcella

Sandy Porcella

“I knew I had to make a lifestyle change to be able to continue my career for years to come. After 10 months of Pilates, I find myself excited about my energy. I  feel stronger and more balanced. Pilates gave me confidence to make more lifestyle changes like walking more and further, horseback riding, and even riding a bicycle again.”

I started Pilates 10 months ago. I knew I had to make a lifestyle change to be able to continue my career for years to come. I grabbed that issue of Hippo that came out with the New Year motivation and read page after page keeping in mind, "no trends, something for life!" I told myself and family back in January that I have a new job, "Pilates"! I adjusted my schedule to allow me to make it to Concord Pilates with NO Excuses!

I started with my private sessions with Mara and by my second session I was hooked. With my schedule book in hand, I started putting in Pilates classes everywhere. I highlighted and even put the time I have to leave the house, as not to be late. I tried a variety of classes and times to see what really worked best for me. Mat classes, equipment classes, roller classes that were helpful with myofascial tissue issues. Let's just say, life changing. Every class is different and builds on your strengths and weaknesses. With a few months behind me, I have settled in to a mat class (Roots), and Equipment class (Full Body Equipment). 

When I started Pilates, my thought process was not to gain weight anymore. As I continued weekly with Pilates I found myself not so worried about the weight. I started to find myself excited about my energy and feeling my body being awakened by the movement. I was feeling stronger and balanced, giving me confidence to make more lifestyle changes like walking more and further, horseback riding, and even riding a bicycle again (I did 50 miles over the summer on rail trails). I'm also thinking of getting out the old skis this winter. Even my Doctor excitedly said, "You're making real lifestyle changes! Keep up the good work!"

I have no favorite exercise or piece of equipment. I do enjoy the variety and feeling the different muscles work (even the muscles I never knew existed). Most of all I love the attentiveness and support of the instructors in each class.

I tell everyone Pilates is amazing. It still is work and a commitment, but if you look at your health and well-being as an important job, it is one of the best commitments that will benefit you and those you love for a lifetime!"


Recently, I’ve been lifting weights with two different personal trainers. They have both commented on my great form when doing the exercises, and I attribute that 100% to my experience with Pilates. Knowing how to maximize my movement and use my body with control gives me a physical edge that I love.

Athena Holevas

mark novembrino  
I was impressed with everything about Concord Pilates -- the knowledge, professionalism, and friendliness of the instructors; the quality of  equipment; and the ordered, but inviting nature of the studio space. I also appreciated the balanced, but individual approach taken to the program so that I can work on what I need most.

Mark Novembrino

Mara makes my personal Top Three List of Incredibly Talented Professionals. I credit her personally with improving my strength and posture and ability to far more easily do the things I love to do (hiking, snowshoeing, canoe portaging, etc, etc). As a 56 year old who had one complete knee replacement 4 1/2 years ago and has been attending Mara's classes for the last 7 months I have seen tremendous improvements in my core and leg strength, shoulder strength and posture, and much more.

Mara is a phenomenally talented and attentive teacher who provides superb feedback, constantly considers student progress, provides heartening positive feedback, and gives precise and very timely direction as to how to improve benefits gained from particular exercises via nuanced changes, which she explains in a most understandable way. Mara is, without doubt among the best of the best Pilates teachers. Her students, friends and family should all take the greatest pride in the positive life-changing teaching she offers her students.

Cyndi Hayden



I am extremely happy with my experience so far at Concord Pilates. Beginning Pilates earlier this year was a natural extension of my personal “makeover” that began in 2012 with a weight loss program. My regular exercise had been confined to using a treadmill, and I certainly needed the regular cardio workouts to lose weight. However, I knew that continuing to pound a treadmill six or seven days a week was going to get old, and I needed to branch out.


A co-worker brought me a Concord Pilates brochure, and I decided to try it. I am so glad I did! I did an individual session with Mara first to get a feel for the exercises, and then began classes. I am about three months into it now and I love going to the classes.


I go three times per week and I feel better overall, I have more energy, and my core strength and flexibility has greatly improved. I am 57 years old and I am in the best physical condition I have been in since I was in my 20’s! It’s a wonderful atmosphere and Mara and her team are friendly, approachable and very helpful.

Mark Naylor


Amy-DykstraI love how I am getting stronger throughout my body. The differences from week to week aren’t always noticeable, but to think back to where I was six months ago and how much strength I have gained… amazing! I seem to have more overall control of my body. Thank you! It is a great outlet for me. The focus needed in class allows me to forget about the stressful day at work, or the busy family schedule.

Amy Dykstra



Ellen SalvatorePilates has helped so much with my hip and IT band, that I don’t even remember having a problem with it. Sometimes it does get tight, but if I work it out in a class it goes away. It was this time last year that I was having cortisone shots and an MRI, and was feeling desperate. Thank you so much!

Ellen Salvatore



Going to class consistently at Concord Pilates has really helped me to progress a lot, both in my strength and my flexibility. I had very little upper body strength when I first started Pilates 8 months ago, and now I can see that I have a lot more strength. I know that I will always feel better, more relaxed and stronger after a Pilates class, so I remind myself of that whenever I am busy or tired and am considering skipping class!

Andrea Bonito



I have to say that I prefer your approach to Pilates from what I’ve experienced in the past. All of the stretching and spine twisting really seems to help release the tightness in my back.


Boris Hadshi