If there is a lesson to the current pandemic—and to be honest, there are many—it’s that everyone adjusts. People adjust and react, and move forward or around any obstacle life drops down into their path.
Maria Jiménez has been teaching Pilates for 17 years, and was just approaching the five-year anniversary of her studio, Pilates of Pasadena (PoP), when the pandemic rolled across the planet, changing everything.
These days she and a few of her instructors carry on with mat classes via Zoom, just like nearly every other interaction in our world these days.
As Jiménez admits, “It isn’t much, but it’s better to keep people going and keep us very relevant in our community.”
In fact, a number of PoP instructors still hold large mat classes for clients as well as smaller private classes for other clients who prefer a one-on-one approach.
“I personally provide weights and TheraBands to my clients who are taking classes with me,” said Jiménez in an interview last week. “So if they don’t have their own , I drive by and I drop off equipment on their porch.”
“So then they have some equipment at their disposal,” she continued, “and we run through different exercises every week. We focus on different areas. It’s really fun.”
And as Jiménez pointed out, Pilates of Pasadena is an equipment studio, not a mat studio.
“We’re primarily an equipment studio, so it’s been tough,” she says.
But five years of running a pilates studio in Pasadena has earned Jiménez a lot of loyalty, as well as new interest.
“A lot of people,” says Jiménez, “ want to use equipment, and they’ve already let us know, ‘As soon as you’re open, we’ll be there. I’ll be there three days a week.’”
Before the current crisis, Jiménez noted, she worked close to about 35 hours a week, and is now working four to five hours a week. But, as she stressed, loyalty remains the key to keeping and growing her customer base.
“Our customers are very loyal,” she said in a recent interview, “and they’re constantly in touch with either myself or any of the other instructors.”
Jiménez continued, “I’ve had standing clients for 17 years, I have a very loyal clientele, as do the rest of the instructors. ”
She attributes much of that loyalty to the studio environment itself, which is large and welcoming. That translates to the kind of support people need when they’re exercising, she says.
“The minute people come in,” says Jiménez, “our studio is super welcoming. It’s a beautiful studio. It’s big and airy. It has a good vibe.” As Jiménez also points out, “Clients will come in and have a favorite instructor, but if that instructor goes away, they’re happy to see somebody else because they know the quality of our instructors. So everybody’s pretty loyal.”
Jiménez also stresses the studio’s obsessive attitude when it comes to cleanliness as a big attraction and element of its success.
“In our industry because, you have to lie down on this equipment,” Jiménez explained, “our equipment, because it’s so tactile, it is either a one-on-one service or one to three people in a class, we have always been in the practice of disinfecting everything constantly. Nobody ever sits down until everything is cleaned and disinfected, from the previous use by a client.”
Taking no chances, Jiménez has also made sure that all of the studio equipment is properly spaced for all her clients.
“All the equipment was already pretty far apart,” she said. “But I went in and measured everything and made sure that everything is at least six feet apart.”
“As far as cleanliness and sanitation goes,” said Jiménez, “clients have confidence in what we’ve done. As far as cleanliness, it just kind of goes without saying. All of the instructors are really, really, diligent about it. It’s never even been an issue. It just goes without saying.”
Jiménez added, laughing, “I don’t know how we can wash our hands more than we did before.”
And despite the edict that keeps everyone home and ordering dinner and movies online, Pilates of Pasadena is still offering classes via Zoom. Mat classes as well as more personal attention, are also both available.
Adding to their appeal and reputation, Pilates of Pasadena is also a continuing education studio and host site for Polestar Pilates, a worldwide Pilates international organization, which will begin a new series of teacher training certifications in the fall. PoP is the only host site for the classes in Pasadena.
With a combination of loyal customers, fastidious cleanliness, and internationally regarded education, Pilates of Pasadena has a lot to offer new and existing customers, pandemic or no pandemic.
Pilates of Pasadena is at 990 S. Arroyo Parkway Blvd., Pasadena | (626) 765-6500