Around the country, but especially in New York City, there’s a never-ending supply of hip and trendy workouts and studios to sample. And that’s great…for some people. Don’t get me wrong, I like to work up a sweat, but I make it my mission to stay away from fitness that doubles as an Instagram opportunity. That adds a level of social anxiety that I work out to actively escape from. So after flirting with a number of workouts and studios over the years, I’ve decided to stick with the first one I ever crossed paths with: Sal Anthony’s Movement Salon.
Sal Anthony’s first opened its doors in 1998, when Pilates was still a workout you had to spell out for people. To this day, the studio remains wildly untrendy. Its decor has a noticeable lack of the Pantone color of the year. There’s not a stitch of Shibori-dyed fabrics. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t expect to see whatever the plant du jour is anywhere near here.
Despite all of this, the studio remains a looker, with its high ceilings and iconic stained-glass skylight. The decoration, and the studio itself, is organized chaos, and I can’t get enough. The walls (and really all of the surfaces) are covered in a random assortment of photos, posters, and artwork. I am particularly fond of the photo of Gandhi that I stare at while on the Reformer.
In direct contrast to its clutterbitch aesthetic, the quiet classes at Sal Anthony’s could double as meditation. There’s no music—a fact I find jarring each time I climb onto a Reformer, until I’m lulled by the machine’s gentle whir. The general flow of the class is relaxed, with no rough transitions from pose to pose, and while some instructors lead more intense classes than others, generally, I never leave the workout feeling out of breath. Instead, I focus on stretching my body and opening up my muscles, something that’s incredibly necessary after hours spent hunching over my computer. It’s a cathartic full-body experience that challenges me physically and mentally, but that never pushes me too far out of my comfort zone.
And when you’re finally done with your hour of serenity and bliss, there is a magical thing that awaits you on your way to the exit—a complimentary spread that includes two pots of soup and a cheesecake. And that right there is the exact energy I need from a place where I workout.
Even if you’re a seasoned Pilates veteran, this is what you need to know about the rise of hot pilates and how to avoid overstretching.
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