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How do you improve the best core workout? Add a ball! But how does a ball make Pilates better and just what do you do with it?

We did a quick Q&A with longtime Pilates instructor Cathy Konciak. She’ll be teaching a special Pilates on the Ball workshop at the studio on Sunday, April 8 from 12-1:30 p.m. Sign-up here or email thestudio108llc@gmail.com.

Q. What is a stability ball?

A. It’s a large ball that’s been used for many years by physical therapists. It’s made of a heavy-duty material that is burst resistant and is filled with air to varying degrees of firmness.

Q. What size balls do you use in this class?

A. The average person will fit on a 65cm ball. If you are shorter than 5’4” a 55cm ball will fit you better. The best way to measure is to sit on it to see how it fits.

Q. When did you first start incorporating Pilates and the stability ball?

A. I started playing with using the ball when I was in training on the Pilates apparatus. One of the things that I learned as a teacher is how all the exercises can be done on all the Pilates equipment. Since I was already teaching in a gym environment and stability balls were readily available, I thought why not apply that same concept?

Q. How does the ball enhance the exercises?

A. What I look at is how the ball can be used. Will the ball be used to make an exercise more challenging or will it be used to make a difficult exercise more accessible?

Q. What additional benefits can people expect?

A. Using the ball adds more challenge to balance. Working on Balance is so critical as we get older.

Q. How much harder is it to do Pilates with a ball?

A. Adding the element of working from a stable place and finding balance can be very difficult. People who are very strong are often surprised to discover that strength and stability are very different things. It can be quite an eye-opener.

Q. Can beginner Pilates students do a class with the ball?

A. They certainly can. Pilates is a mind-body modality. Our principles in Pilates emphasize working with stability and control. For beginners that may mean that their range of movement may be less, but they certainly can do the version of the exercise that works for them. I always offer layered versions of the exercises.

Q. What can people expect when they take the class?

A. To work, to have fun, to be able to laugh at themselves. You may discover a few things about your body you never knew.

Q. How much different is a class with the ball from a regular Pilates class?

A. We will do many of the same exercises in the ball class that you would expect in a mat class but there will be some exercises that will be taken from the apparatus repertoire. Again, since we will be using the ball, stability and balance will be even more of a factor. It’s a great complement to your regular Pilates practice.

Q. What should people bring to the class and is there anything they need to know?

A. People should dress comfortably but not too loose with their clothing as loose clothing sticks to the ball. Shoes will not be needed. It will be a little easier to be barefoot unless you have socks that are grippy on the bottom.

Theresa Conlon

Theresa is a Yoga Alliance certified instructor (200-hour RYT) who has been teaching since 2013. She is skilled in various yoga styles including Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow, Restorative, and Meditation. Theresa also brings an extensive dance background to her yoga practice, which includes teaching both modern dance and ballet. She has over 40 years of dance/theater performing experience and currently showcases her choreography as part of Bergen Dance Makers, a dance collective in northern New Jersey. Theresa’s yoga classes offer a calming mix of traditional asana postures and creative movement flows, supported by energy-moving breath. Students of all skill levels are invited to find ease and peace in their bodies/minds/spirits through the joyful bliss of yoga movement.

Carrie Parker Gastelu

Carrie Parker Gastelu, E-500 RYT, has been teaching yoga since 1993. Carrie began her journey when Yogi Raj Mani Finger initiated Carrie into the ISHTA Yoga lineage after training with Mani’s son, Yogi Raj Alan Finger. In addition, she has studied many other yoga traditions as well as anatomy, physiology, movement, and awareness practices to create an eclectic style all her own. She is known for her honest, non-dogmatic yet passionate approach.

Carrie is a regular speaker and contributor at conferences, websites, and print publications and has been featured in Fit Magazine, the Yoga Zone Book, and in the Yoga Zone Video, “Flexibility and Stress Release.”

Lisa Podesta-Coombs

When Lisa found yoga in 2008, she started to find herself again and it set her on a path of health and healing. She received her 200HR RYT certification from Raji Thron of Yoga Synthesis, and her 30HR Chakra Yoga Teacher Training certificate with Anodea Judith and holds a Y12SR (Yoga of 12 Step Recovery) certification. She is also a Holistic Health Coach (certified through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition). Lisa believes we’re all on a journey of learning how to trust ourselves; she helps her clients build that trust by supporting them in creating better habits for a better life through various functional movement modalities like yoga, barre, Pilates & strength training, mindset, and whole food nutrition.

Forever a student with a passion for people, holistic health, and self-actualization, Lisa is always embracing opportunities to advance her education to better serve; Ayurveda workshops & immersions have been of particular interest as she continues to deepen her knowledge of and experience with food as medicine and she recently completed Unleash Her Power Within, a transformational program of rediscovering our truest selves, powered by Tony Robbins.  

As she continues to give herself space and grace to nourish her natural self and actualize her potential, Lisa continues to share the gift of movement as medicine to inspire authenticity & health in body, mind, and spirit. You can expect mindful, accessible, dynamic, playful, and uplifting classes from Lisa.

Tanisha Sutton

Tanisha’s yoga journey began when she was an undergraduate student studying at university. Changes in her health coupled with anxiety over grades, relationships, and life in general, forced her to search for healthy lifestyle choices she could implement to help manage the stress that she was experiencing as a new adult. A friend of hers suggested that she attend some community yoga classes to help with the anxiety and increase her daily physical activity. Initially, she was reluctant and filled with all these false ideas about yoga and the people who practiced yoga. Like many others, she was concerned that her body type and lack of flexibility automatically excluded her from being a student. Curiously yet hesitantly, she journeyed on to her first class and began laying the foundation for a home and public practice that has supported her over the years.

On this journey, she has discovered that yoga has nothing to do with appearances nor is there anything, but an open mind needed to begin. She intends to provide you with a gentle yoga session that is safe, inclusive, and accessible. Her classes are an expression of self-love and are a deliberate choice to tend to ALL the parts of our being that are neglected, ignored, or disregarded during the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Through meditation, deep breathing, and gentle movement we will collectively share space to observe, rest and re-set. Tanisha is honored to share her practice with you and looks forward to seeing you on the mat!