Meet The Team

 
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Studio Owner - Mara Sievers, PMA®-CPT

In my first career as a professional musical theater performer, I was introduced to several different movement systems, such as dance, aerobics, and strength training. When I injured my back during a performance, I found Pilates and discovered that the method works like an owner’s manual for your body. I was so amazed at how Pilates gave me the tools to understand my body so that I could protect it and not get hurt again that I began extensive training in Pilates and other forms of exercise, including yoga, body conditioning, and group fitness. In 2006, I switched careers and started teaching Pilates full-time, including leading Teacher Training courses for would-be Pilates teachers.

I moved to New Hampshire from my native Austria in 2008 and saw the need for a studio that offered Pilates the way it was intended to be taught. That’s when I opened Concord Pilates. Explaining the precision of our everyday movements and posture — and seeing someone light up because they finally have an answer for what is not working in their bodies or why they might be in pain — is one of the reasons I wake up every day. I am devoted to helping my students get to know their bodies, figure out their strengths, and find the areas that, when worked on intelligently, will make them feel great. It makes me incredibly happy when I get to work with someone who is curious, willing to listen and try things differently. When I see a client enjoy their workout and feel better because of it, I know I've done a good job.

I’ve studied and trained in both Austria and the US. I received my Pilates training through Polestar Pilates and Balanced Body and I am certified through the Pilates Method Alliance. I also completed a 200-hr Yoga Certification through YogaWorks. I love combining all my movement training to create personalized programs that remind people that working out can be easy!

I've further founded PilatesEncyclopedia.com, a page dedicated to learning more about the method and understanding it on deeper and deeper levels, as well as MakeLifeMoveBetter.com, where I offer online courses for people with various injuries, strains and pain, that help them find a movement routine to feel better.

Listen to my 2012 Interview on WSMM 1590AM Nashua’s News and Talk!

 

What motivates me:
My students’ curiosity. When I see that someone is really eager to get answers to their questions, I get fired up. You can tell, because I start to sing when I have a good time. Yes, I occasionally sing in classes.

My top fitness tip is:
You must keep the faith in your own power to achieve your goal. If you give up, no-one, not the best instructor, not the best partner - can help you get there. But if you believe, everyone can contribute to your success. Be a believer! 

My fitness inspiration is:
Joseph Pilates, who was creative, an innovator, stubborn (he didn’t let anyone try and tell him that his method didn’t work), a fighter (he survived 2 wars), entrepreneur, and ahead of his time. And he was an immigrant just like me so I understand his drive and work ethic. 

My mission in every class is:
To explain to my students with simple words how to move from their center with less effort and more efficiency. I hope to inspire my students to move in a way that makes them feel great about themselves.

My biggest challenge is:
Patience. I wish I could put all of my ideas and plans to work immediately. I have a very creative mind. I love to see people quickly get the results they want from the exercises we’ve developed together. Paradoxically, I'm patient with others, but not so much with myself. 

My personal fitness achievement is:
Being healthier now than ever before. And the same will be true tomorrow and the day after that. The better it gets the better it gets. 

When I’m not at work I am:
In Nature. I might be relaxing with a good book or a cup of coffee, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, or hanging out at the beach or lake. Water relaxes me like nothing else. 

My Top Fitness Tip:
Don't think of Pilates as a workout. It’s the foundation to feel great.

Continuing Education Courses:

• Pilates Adaptations for People with Scoliosis; Hadley, MA March 2018; Educators: Lise Stolze, DPT and Hagit Berdishevsky, DPT
• Oov Fundamentals in Hadley, MA September 2017; Educator: Katrina Hawley

 

 
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Cindy Saka

I have always been active – walking, biking, aerobics but I realized my strength was lacking and in 2002, I turned to Pilates. Over the years I have studied Stott Pilates, Polestar Pilates and several variations in between at studios all over the country and in private sessions. My main focus for all of those years was practice on the Reformer. 

I came to Concord Pilates 3 years ago for private sessions and Mara convinced me to try group equipment classes as well as mat classes. Concord Pilates has taught me more about the movement and my body more than any of the other studios I have been in. The method here is to be precise and to know what YOUR body can do. It’s a very different approach from many other studios.

The teacher training program with Mara has been comprehensive – the anatomy of how our bodies move fascinates me. Knowing the exercises and how the bones and muscles work together to create movement is a very complex process and I enjoy the challenge of putting what I have learned into practice.

 

What motivates me:
An overall sense of well-being. When things are out of balance they can go off track quickly. If I keep at exercise, it’s easier to eat better and sleep better. Everything is connected. The healthiest older people I know keep moving and are mentally and physically active. I love seeing people with a joie de vivre as they age.

My top fitness tips:
Consistency. Keep at it, the more you practice the better you will be. With consistent practice you will feel better and find you are able to things you couldn’t before and you will become stronger.

My fitness inspiration is:
When I see a student able to do something they have struggled with before. It’s a great feeling to master a movement that was once so difficult.

My mission in every lesson is:
To help everyone feel better and move better during their everyday activities and maybe we can have a little fun while challenging our bodies.

My biggest challenge is:
Balance in every aspect. Not just the One-Leg Balance, but balance between work, home and life in general.

My personal fitness achievement is:
Oh, lots of things! Taking the Teacher Training Courses in both Mat and Apparatus here at Concord Pilates, I have learned so much and have been able to challenge myself to perform exercises that seemed impossible once upon a time.

When I’m not at work I am:
Working! My husband and I have an import business that is a new startup, so there is a lot of work to be done. I also like to read, knit, garden and drink a lot of espresso.

My Top Fitness Tip:
The more you practice, the better you’ll be.

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Katya  Brennan

I have been practicing Pilates since 2010 and completed my Pilates Mat certification at Concord Pilates in 2014. I am a former competitive Master Rower and an avid exerciser. I enjoy the balance of participating in diverse athletic activities. In addition to Pilates I incorporate power walking, indoor cycling, and swimming to my weekly routine.

In 2015 I learned that I had osteoporosis. The diagnosis has been a positive life changing event for me. And, it has also led me to add new exercise activities which I am enjoying greatly. I have added three weight training sessions to my weekly routine. I now also practice Buff Bones® and recently became a Licensed Buff Bones® Instructor. Buff Bones® is a medically endorsed system of movement that strengthens bones and balance. It’s a great workout for anyone. 

Since starting my certification training here, I have embraced the Pilates philosophy at Concord Pilates as initiated by Joseph Pilates and integrated by studio owner Mara Sievers. I strive to make my classes a reflection of how these two visionaries approach Pilates, exercise, and movement. Now I’m very excited to instruct Buff Bones® classes at Concord Pilates. Clients who have osteopenia or osteoporosis and who are looking for a challenging yet safe Pilates workout can add Buff Bones® to their exercise routine. I look forward to bringing these benefits to the clients of Concord Pilates.

 

What motivates me:
My strong desire to age gracefully and in good health.

My top fitness tips:
Variety. Cross train.  One thing does not do it all.

My fitness inspiration is:
Feeling good physically, mentally and emotionally.

My biggest challenge is:
Good posture. Push ups and reverse plank and fully extending my right arm.

My personal fitness achievement is:
Teaching here at Concord Pilates.

When I am not at work: When I am not at work (either in the studio or at my day job at NHTI, Concord's Community College) I am walking in downtown Concord... catching a flick at Red River Theaters, sipping a brew at The Barley House, swimming or spinning at the YMCA or enjoying a romantic dinner with husband, Jim, at Angelina's.

My Top Fitness Tip:
Variety. Cross train.

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Sarah Barto Vespermann

I have been practicing Pilates since 1990 and began teaching in 2003. I was first introduced to the Pilates Method by my aunt, Susan Whitlow, who trained with Ron Fletcher in the 1970s. I immediately was intrigued and challenged, and after all these years remain so; there is always more to learn.

I was certified to teach by Michele Larsson of Core Dynamics Pilates in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I am classically trained and enjoy bringing creativity to my teaching to best help the client. My goal is to teach proper movement and technique in the studio which anyone can then employ in their daily lives.

I have recently returned to New Hampshire after spending the last 7 years in Raleigh, North Carolina. I am also an oil painter; I received a BFA from UNH and a MFA from Indiana University.

I am particularly excited to be working with Mara since we share the same Pilates philosophy.

 

What motivates me:
To stay healthy and strong, as a cancer survivor, this is of particular importance to me. It also brings me great pleasure when a student makes an achievement, however small.

My top fitness tips:
Develop a routine - it is much easier reach your fitness goals. Keep your core engaged whether you are participating in an athletic endeavor or simply reaching for an item.

My fitness inspiration is:
My aunt, who introduced me to Pilates. She is now in her 70s, still teaching, and has amazing strength and vitality - a perfect example of a 40-plus year dedication to Pilates.

My biggest challenge is:
Living with hypermobility in my knees and shoulders. Flexibility is great, but too much can be very difficult.

My personal fitness achievement is:
Maintaining my fitness level as I’ve gotten older.

When I am not at work:
You will find me outside enjoying all that New Hampshire has to offer or in my painting studio.

My Top Fitness Tip:
Develop a routine - it’s easier to reach your fitness goals. Engage your core in daily activities.