Client Spotlight: Felicia

If you read my first “Client Spotlight” post about my student Marianne, you will know that she has been a student of mine for years. Marianne has a unique perspective on taking Yoga and Pilates classes since she has been doing so three times a week, every week, for years.

When I initially talk to people about Pilates there is usually two responses: 1. They have no clue as to what Pilates is or 2. They have some sort of an idea but are a little afraid to start. My recent post “What to Expect from Your First Pilates Class”  was an attempt to hopefully prepare new students and squash any fears they may have about starting a Pilates practice.

So when a new student, Felicia, expressed interest in trying out Pilates, I thought it would be great to feature her in a “Client Spotlight” post to get her perspective on taking classes at the studio being a new student. So introducing Felicia…


img_7675Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a local Realtor who strives for work-life-balance.  I love my job and I also like knowing I am taking the right steps for a continued healthy life.

If you, or anyone you know, is looking for a realtor in MA you can contact Felicia at her Facebook page Felicia Mancuso Realtor – Coldwell Banker or through her website, Felicia Mancuso Realtor.

Why were you interested in trying Pilates?

I was interested in Pilates because I have heard it’s very different from Yoga. I had heard that there are Pilates people and there are Yoga people!  Now, I can say that I am gladly a Pilates AND Yoga person.  With Pilates I felt that each movement was safe and worked muscles in a different way than I was used to from my Yoga practice.  I am looking forward to adding the benefits of Pilates to my weekly routine.

How would you describe Pilates to a friend or coworker who wasn’t familiar with it?

I have already started telling my friends that Pilates is an incredible, safe work out and the time flew by as I learned each new step and exercise.

How did your first session go? How did you feel after your first class?

My first lesson was great.  Chris shared his knowledge of Pilates and the human anatomy throughout the session.  Chis would make modifications to movements depending on what my body needed and this really helped me appreciate what Pilates had to offer.

What did you like most about your Pilates lesson?

My favorite part of the Pilates lesson was how Chris tailored the entire lesson to what I needed and how my body responded to each movement while keeping my work out on track.

Client Spotlight: Marianne


If you follow this blog or follow me on any social media platform, you may have seen the quote above. It truly is my mission to share the message that both Yoga and Pilates are indeed for everybody, regardless of your age, body type, fitness level, and any injuries or medical conditions you may have.

I’m very passionate about what I do, so I am always talking to people about the benefits of Yoga and Pilates (as well as good nutrition and meditation). I’ve heard every excuse in the book too…”I’m not thin enough”, “I’m not flexible enough”, “I have _____ problem with _____”.  First, I kindly call BS to all of these excuses. Then I educate them on how they can make a Yoga or Pilates practice accessible to themselves, and how I can help.

If you are working with a certified and trained teacher, there are modifications and other ways we can help you to find an accessible and fulfilling practice. In fact I’ve worked with MANY different injuries and conditions, but I find a way to make the client feel safe and still get a good workout in. In this day and age, there are very few “PERFECT” bodies. We are all “broken” in some way. I’ve personally found my Yoga and Pilates practices to be very healing not just physicalyl but also mentally and emotionally.

All this had me thinking. I can preach the benefits of a regular practice, and give you an insight into my own practice, but does that help you? Hmmmm maybe, maybe not. A few weeks I had a small epiphany though. I can share some of my clients with you! What are they struggling with in terms of their bodies? What brought them to try Yoga or Pilates? What benefits have they seen from their practice? So without further ado…meet Marianne.

Marianne is one of my regular clients and also probably my biggest cheerleader! Marianne is an enthusiastic Proofreader for BJ’s Wholesale Club by day and a professional illustrator by night. She spent two years at Tufts University, another two at UMass Amherst and three years at the University of Michigan grad school of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning. Trained as a classical violinist, she moved on to perform in a bluegrass band and eventually wound up on stage singing, acting and dancing in Gilbert and Sullivan and Broadway musicals. She has illustrated three books and has been drawing since the age of four. You can visit her Facebook page, Marianne Orlando Illustrations:


What brought you to try a Yoga or Pilates class?

I happen to have an artificial hip, and I’d always wanted to try yoga, but was afraid my range of motion would be too limited for the poses. Turns out I was wrong. I went to an orthopedic specialist to find out if it’d be OK to do yoga, and she said, “That’s about the best thing you could do for yourself.” That was good news because I like to be active. Back in the day, I had a boss who encouraged me to take up running, and I used to run 3 miles a day on my (extended) lunch hour. So originally, I went to yoga because my boss went and I figured it would be a good use of my lunch hour. So I have to thank her for that tip.

After I’d been doing yoga for 3 years with great benefits, I decided to add Pilates. I’ve been doing that for a year now and I can see real improvement.

What are some of the benefits you’ve found from your Yoga and Pilates practice?

Well, I sleep a lot better for one thing. I don’t get as stressed as I used to at other jobs. Can’t say I have any backaches, and I used to have a really bad back. I’ve also become more flexible (After all, I am 62 and I can lean over and touch my hands flat on the floor before me, and that’s a great benefit), and with the Pilates I’ve gained a lot of strength in my core. I also find my ability to focus on my work during the day is greatly enhanced. Yoga sweeps away any tension you might have had during the morning, and when you get back to your desk, it’s with a fresh, new outlook. As a side benefit, it’s much easier to manage my weight because I’m more aware of my body and what kind of foods I put into it. So I would say yoga has made me more focused and relaxed, and Pilates has made me stronger. And both yoga and Pilates help me with my balance.

How would you describe Pilates and Yoga to a friend or coworker who wasn’t familiar with them?

Yoga is a series of poses that are held for different lengths of time that make you more limber and flexible than when you started. You do the poses slowly and you can feel your joints and muscles loosening up. There is a pose called “Child’s Pose” that is kind of uncomfortable when you first do it, but by the time a couple of poses and a few minutes go by, you do it again and you can really relax into it. That’s a great feeling. And the music is soothing and contemplative – the entire experience is a nice break from the day that clears your head.

Pilates is more fast-paced than yoga: You’re doing quick, athletic routines that work from the abdominal muscles or “core”.  The exercises are also harder to do. But the time goes by much quicker than in yoga. You even do pushups – LOL.

What do you like most about Pilates and Yoga?   

I like getting a break from work for an hour as opposed to eating lunch at my desk with no break.* I especially like the bounce I have in my step afterwards, carrying my yoga mat under my arm while I’m walking back to my desk after class. It makes me happy and I feel like I’ve really accomplished something.

The best part about yoga *and* Pilates is that with Chris as the teacher you don’t have to do the poses or exercises perfectly or be a size 2. He will tailor the exercises to what you can physically do, which is especially helpful when you have an artificial hip or any other kind of limitation.

Last, but not least, I treasure the friendships I’ve made with my fellow students and my teacher Christopher R. Students come and go, but I’ve always enjoyed their company. Waiting for yoga to begin we often talk about movies to see, the latest video on Facebook, good books to read. But when it’s time for class to start, Chris is all business. And people who take yoga tend to be upbeat and positive, which puts a great spin on my day.

*Marianne is one of the students who comes to classes at one of my corporate clients. I go in three times a week to teach Yoga and Pilates during the lunch hour.