Aero Joe Pilates is a fully equipped Pilates Studio that offers the full range of Original Method Pilates benefits in the context of a great workout and all within a beautiful studio space in Pepper Place. Aero Joe is more than boutique fitness; Aero Joe Pilates offers whole person wellness. Aero Joe Pilates offers the full therapeutic benefits Joe Pilates once imagined through a simple business philosophy – highly vet instructors, provide instructors pathways to mentorship, and teach only in private or small group settings to maximize benefits. Instructors take the time to develop real relationships and understand how students learn and are motivated. Multiple offerings from community workshops to massage therapy help address the whole person. Aero Joe believes in everyBODY Pilates, offering the corrective and preventative care benefits of the method to a wide demographic of people seeking to align, both, body and mind.
They will celebrate their 5 year anniversary of their grand opening this January 2018!
More on Aero Joe Pilates in their own words.
How did you get your start?
My original training occurred the “old school” way… I apprenticed at a Romana, or Classically based, Pilates studio in NYC while studying for my Masters Degree at NYU. Once I graduated I was auditioning and trying to dance professionally, but also teaching Pilates 36 hours a week to help make rent. I was on the move seven days a week to different boroughs no matter rain, sleet and snow. I injured my back while dancing, and Pilates was the only rehabilitation I had access to in NYC. Pilates saved my dance career, and I knew someday I wanted to pay that kind of healing forward. After I got married I wanted to return to a slower pace of life, and my husband and I moved to Birmingham. At that time I started AROVA Contemporary Ballet as the Founding Artistic Director and a Company Member. I taught Pilates here In Birmingham while managing AROVA for six years before the opportunity arose for me to start my own studio. It’s incredibly rewarding now to be full circle — keeping other athlete’s dreams alive and well through Pilates.
What has been your biggest challenge or success so far?
Our biggest issue here is qualified man power as it can often take 13 – 14 months to comprehensively train a Classical Pilates instructor. Birmingham has been a hub of good Classical Pilates for decades, but often to be certified one had to have the time and means to travel out of state multiple times for proper training. We’re helping overcome this now with a Bridge Teacher Training Program for instructors with basic education from a reputable organization who wish to advance to comprehensive training on all apparatus, at all levels. All instructors must come to us with some level of training, but we then “bridge” the gaps through this in-house Bridge Training that I helm along with co-creator and lead instructor Emily Cain (Graduate of The Pilates Center of Boulder, CO).
I will graduate this December from respected industry leader Cara Reeser’s Post Graduate Heritage Training Program in the lineage of Master Instructor and Pilates Elder Kathleen Stanford Grant. (An Elder is term for someone who studied with Joe Pilates himself.) This credential further gives credibility and mentorship backing to our in-house Bridge Pilates Instructor Training Program, and we further hope to grow and expand this program as part of our 5 year plan.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I am in the pre-school carpool with my 3-year old Jackson by 9am. Then I am ‘off to the races’ teaching 4 – 5 hours, commuting sometimes for at-home Pilates visits, and getting in an hour or two of administration done. I love being behind the desk, and hearing every day how people feel better when they leave than when they come in! Most evenings, after school pick up and my husband arriving home, I am usually back to work to finish up something — a class schedule or social media post schedule . It’s a job that doesn’t quit, but I actually thrive on that kind of life. I have plenty opportunities to still be an artist, my first calling, by being creative in staging community events and how we shape our brand.
What do you hope to give your clients who use your studio?
Aero Joe is a community unified through lifestyle wellness goals. The saying “Pilates is up and forward” is a common tenant for the quality of movement desired in class, but it’s also a metaphor for the lifestyle effect the form has. Everyday people exit the doors saying “I feel better now” or “I feel taller now,” and this progress has a domino effect into everyday life. Now five years in business with testimonials and proven results, we have a vibrant story to tell about Pilates’ mind/body learning as a unifying force that defies demographic boxes. Clients range from 14 yrs to 95 yrs (truly!), from professional ballet dancers to those recovering from joint replacements.
Aerial yoga seems to have gained popularity in the recent years. How has Birmingham accepted this new practice?
Aero Joe is foremost a fully equipped Pilates studio, yet when the studio isn’t abuzz with Pilates aerial silks are pulled down from the rafters and Aerial Yoga classes commence on evenings and weekends. Clients who attend Aerial Yoga see benefits to their Pilates practice like increased mobility, flexibility, coordination, stamina and motivation. Plus, Aerial Yoga is just fun! The upside-down, twisty poses in the silks make for exciting pics that everyone loves to share on their feeds, which helps us to bring new converts to Pilates.
When we first opened in 2013 the Birmingham market was definitely a bit reticent to try Aerial Yoga, even though the form was booming in larger markets like NY and LA. Fortunately we received a lot of media coverage being the only studio in Alabama at the time to have this trendy new exercise, and we were able to get a lot of consumer education out there to help ease nerves about trying this new thing. Classes are often full with wait lists now. We still have a lot of folks asking if they are flexible enough or strong enough to give it a whirl. We encourage people to read our beginner class listings as “Come here to begin to feel (stronger, more flexible, more confident),” and we welcome those with no experience to these classes. Have the courage to let yourself begin. We say this is a process, like learning any skill, not an overnight solution. We’re going to make positive change happen together one movement, one class at a time, but the first step is to let yourself begin.
For those that aren’t 100% comfortable beginning in group training we also offer private and semi-private Pilates and Aerial Yoga sessions. For those that just want to “hang with friends” we offer our popular Aerial Yoga Private Event Groups… These are perfect for bachelorettes, birthdays, corporate events and holiday parties!
What is your favorite local vendor?
My fave local vendor is REP Active Art. Ruth Penton Hayes, local owner / designer / artist, makes leggings and active wear from her paintings. So creative! Plus the fabric is moisture wicking and hugs you in, in all the right places.
Fave local haunt is the patio at Rojo.
Where do you see your business growing in the next couple of years?
The company, which launched a new website in 2017, will be completing a full re-brand in 2018. As there are a few classes each week running with a wait list. We will also be making future equipment upgrades and additions. Long-term goals include creating a separate business entity for the Bridge Teacher Training complete with approval from regulating body Pilates Method Alliance.
One fun fact about you?
When I lived in NYC I once was the Assistant to the Dance Supervisor of the Lion King on Broadway. I assisted in taking notes on the dancers’ execution of the choreography to keep everyone looking consistent, and I developed a keen eye for details within movement. I have Pilates clients now who call me “eagle eyes!”
Where are you located and class sign up information?
Pepper Place, 2805 2nd Avenue South Suite 100 Birmingham, AL 35233
Group Classes start at $13 (package rate) and are available for sign up via www.aerojoepilates.com
Private and Semi-Private Training starts at $45 (package rate) and is available by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 205.202.5758
November 2nd – Pilates & Pinot 5:30pm — Pilates Mat Class and Post Class Glass of Wine – As part of Pepper Place hosts the 15th Annual Day of the Dead Festival. $16 per person Sign up for class: www.aerojoepilates.com
December 6th – Aero Joe 5th Anniversary Event Series: Holiday Art Show 5pm – 9pm — As part of the Pepper Place Holiday Open House Aero Joe will host an Art Show featuring Thomas Andrew and other local artists (Fine Art, Jewelry, Pottery), Aerial Dance Performances, Wine & Small Bites.