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If you've been to a Pilates class before, something the instructor will usually notice: the elegant, graceful steps that are reminiscent of a prima ballerina. And that's because many Pilates and New Wave fitness instructors are often retired dancers. New York Pilates founder and 2019 partner of Estée Lauder, Heather Andersen, knows the story better than most: After a few years of dancing in professional ballets in New York and Portland, a recurring ankle injury led her to Reformer base trained where she finally found her calling. While living in Portland, she started working at the reception of the Pilates and Gyrotonics studios in exchange for the free classes she found necessary to rehabilitate her ankle. There an instructor told her to teach.
"When I started taking my Pilates certificate, it completely changed my dancing by teaching me the right alignment and creating a balanced force," says Andersen. "I think it's so easy to look at the shape of a movement instead of understanding the biomechanics, and you just have so much more power when you work in a really healthy biomechanics."
Andersen soon realized that Portland was not for her and returned to New York, where she spent the next few years of her life paying her bills by teaching Pilates and fulfilling her artistic activities by taking part in a series of performances by Ballet to opera to dance danced performance art at the Bushwick Star. Andersen has a lively and rebellious side that she proudly wears, and after four years of teaching in sterile Pilates studios, she wanted to open up her own space that reflected her personality. And that's exactly what she did. Andersen started New York Pilates in 2013 and had a cult following almost overnight.
It turned out that she knew exactly what people were looking for in their practice lessons: a place that was just as loud and fun as they were. But Andersen soon learned that this was not all that was required to run a successful business of his own. Although she knows the art of dealing with people is a never-ending journey, she has grappled with the financial troubles of a multi-gym fitness brand and trusting your instincts as a business woman. Then of course COVID-19 happened, closed their studios and forced them to lay off all of their employees overnight. But when life has taught Andersen one thing, it learns to find an opportunity where it least expects it.
The pandemic has allowed her to focus on expanding into new platforms (hello NYP World, the online platform she and her partner husband Brion Isaacs have been trying to develop for years) and thinking about how they live their lives would like to . Part of that is taking care of your skin. As a fitness instructor, she spends so much time thinking about the health of her muscles and cardiovascular system, but her skin is just as important. "Your skin is the largest organ in your body. I think it's very logical to think about how you look after your skin in a similar way," says Andersen.
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