Growing in Jersey City is always on a journey of healthy living and finding the right fitness for ourselves (and for you). We want to share different and fun ways to reach our goals and help you reach yours.
We were connected with Liberty Pilates thanks to Primal Feel and EntoHack 7G. They are a studio focusing on Pilates, fitness, ayurveda, and MELT Method located on Suydam Avenue in Lafayette and is part of our exploration of Bergen/Lafayette. We were able to experience a duet class with our photographer Love Your Light Photos, taught by the owner of Liberty Pilates, Lauren.
Lauren found pilates when a dancer friend recommended she try it because she was having knee and groin pain. At the time she was a runner and devoted yogi and nothing was helping. Once she tried it, it was love at first site and her teacher encouraged her to become an instructor
We started our session with the MELT Method which is a self-care technique that works with the connective tissue of our bodies called fascia. There are different points you work through in a process and we did a little session on our feet. We then went onto the floor to do some body centering work. We finally moved onto the reformer, which if you didn't know this from our PowerHouse Pilates article we love and could sleep on. It is a machine designed to use your own weight to be the workout and the stretch.
Most recently Lauren has been posting her adventures on Instagram working out outside in her neighborhood and Liberty State Park. She climbs trees and uses nature both as for fitness and as a challenge meant to be conquered.
After we had our session with Lauren, we sat down to learn more about her story of falling in love and moving to Jersey City and her journey to finding Pilates and changing how she thought about working out and health in general.
How did you come to Jersey City?
I fell in love with a guy. I am originally from New Jersey but was living in Boston when I met the man who would become my husband. He was living in Jersey City and I moved in with him.
What made you move to Bergen/Lafayette?
My husband had recently moved into a brownstone in Bergen/Lafayette. I didn’t know anything about the neighborhood, which was probably a good thing. At first glance, many of the old buildings which haven’t been refurbished are not that attractive.,I was a little scared to go outside at night, however, I have met some really cool people in the neighborhood and new businesses are starting to open up.
What are a few of your favorite places in Jersey City (or Hudson county)?
I love the Grind (we do too). It has a pleasant vibe, great coffee & tea and is in walking distance from my studio.
In downtown, I like hanging out at Word Bookstore. Van Hook Cheese Shop has a fantastic selection of cheeses and unique pantry items. I also just discovered the chocolate selection at Cool Vines; very eclectic and yummy!
My vote for best brunch in Jersey City is Satis Bistro in Paulus Hook.
How did you get into Pilates and then Melt?
My husband actually introduced me to MELT; he heard about it from a friend. I was having chronic neck pain and aches all over my body. I first tried learning the techniques from The MELT Method book but I didn’t feel like I was “getting it.” So I decided to take the training. I learned so much about the nervous system and connective tissue that I was totally hooked. Just like Pilates, the deeper you dive in, the more interesting and exciting it gets. I love how MELT and Pilates overlap in some respects and complement each other.
What made you decide to pursue a fitness career full time?
I was feeling burnt out at my previous job. I was doing marketing and PR for a celebrity chef in Boston just prior to moving to Jersey City. I had just started my Pilates teacher certification course when I met my husband and decided to go full time. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to take the leap and make Pilates and wellness my primary career.
Can you explain what Melt is?
THE MELT Method® is a simple self-treatment technique that eliminates chronic pain, improves performance, and decreases the accumulated stress caused by daily living. It uses a specialized soft foam roller (not to be confused with the hard rollers you typically find at the gym) and small rubber balls that simulate the results of manual therapy.
MELT teaches you how to proactively address the cause of your pain rather than simply react to it with a band-aid approach. The body part that hurts is the victim, not the perpetrator. Pain is a symptom, a sign of underlying stuck stress or inefficiency in the nervous system. MELT helps to eliminate pain by rehydrating the connective tissue and rebalancing the nervous system so it can function more efficiently.
How would you describe your Pilates practice?
I am most interested in helping clients understand how their bodies work. Most injuries happen as a result of lack of awareness, either the person is not paying attention to what he or she is doing (not being mindful) or there is an internal inefficiency that predisposes a person to move, act or react, in a way that makes them vulnerable. In either case, awareness is the first step to improving quality of movement and restoring proper function. I believe that Pilates is as much a workout for the mind as it is for the body. This may sound really serious and clinical, but I also think it is important to have fun. So I try to crack jokes and mix things up during workout sessions.
What sets your practice apart from other Pilates instructors?
Above all else, health is my number one goal. In addition to Pilates and MELT, I have certifications in Ayurveda and the culinary arts. I have studied many other types of movement modalities so I mix things up depending on the needs and goals of the client.
I try to give at least one “take-away” or homework assignment during each session because self-care is very important for health maintenance as well to prevent pain and disease. Going to a Pilates class or getting private instruction a few times a week may improve your fitness level; but for optimal health, a daily movement practice is essential. I see my role as a Pilates teacher as begin two-fold: 1) giving instructions & feedback on proper technique and 2) helping clients build awareness and trust in their bodies. In this way, I seek to give my clients the confidence to take ownership of their bodies and their health.
Where do you teach?
I teach private sessions by appointment at my studio, Liberty Pilates on Suydam Avenue and group classes at Maximum Motion which is downtown on Grove Street.
What is your advice for people interested in trying a new modality like Pilates or Melt?
I encourage all newbies to sign up for a few private sessions before jumping into a group class environment. This will help you better understand the techniques and get personalized feedback from a teacher so you will achieve the best results. If you haven’t exercised in a while or recently had a baby, it is super important to work at a level that is appropriate for you and not try to do too much too fast. Better safe than sorry.
All photos provided by Love Your Light Photos