Cindy Cook is the owner of Legacy Pilates, Yoga & More and promises not to beat your body up. Instead, Cook promises to help her clients get the most out of their bodies and workouts with mind-body disciplines that combine muscle strength, endurance, flexibility and proper breathing with an overall fitness program. Transforming your body and mind in a powerful, yet peaceful way is the experience Cook strives for.
Cook is, and has always been an athlete. “It made my body happier when I was moving,” Cook laughed. “Basketball, softball, tennis, ice skating, swimming. I was always looking to see what I could accomplish with sports.” Cook even met her husband, Bruce, on the basketball court. “We knew each other in high school, playing basketball. Sports were and is a big part of my life.” Cook and her husband have been married just over 30 years and have 3 kids, 7 grandkids and 2 step-grandkids.
Cook opened Vital Lifestyles, Inc. in 1993 and the Pilates studio in 2001. She offers, in addition to Pilates and yoga, Tai Chi, aerial yoga and Reiki energy. Cook says that the staying power of her business lies within her amazing staff. “There are no egos here, we feel if exercise is not fun then we all should go home!” Cook said that she has employees that have been with her for many, many years as well as her daughter on staff.
Cook, herself, is an instructor and had been for a number of years before she opened her own business. “I was a personal trainer and a group fitness instructor since 1986. But a car accident and powerlifting totally beat my body up. From the accident I had neck and lower back issues and I was looking for something for the pain. I did Tai Chi, Reiki and then I found Pilates and yoga and they all helped balance my body. I was now using different muscles in a pain management focus.”
Pilates itself is a system of exercises, with or without a special apparatus, that was designed to improve physical strength, flexibility and enhance mental awareness. Another added benefit of Pilates, added Cook, is the breathing technique. “The breath work makes a big difference, it’s critical, breathing can make the exercise (and life) easier or more challenging depending on how it is used. I used to smoke and it’s that deep breathing that people find addictive, not just nicotine that provides peace and calm.”
Pilates, according to Cook, is not about working harder but balancing your body to get done what you want to get done. “We do not work harder but smarter. It’s not a no pain, no gain mentality. Pilates is about mind, body and spirit. It teaches about self, your personal spirit and attitude. Think of us as an instructor, motivator, cheerleader. We are here to uplift your body, mind and spirit.”
Pilates, said Cook, is for just about anyone and any body type. “We have clients as young as 11 and our oldest is 81. Anyone can do this and exercises are based upon each person, body and capabilities.” Cook said that there are no limitations in Pilates. “We have people with rods in their spine, people with surgeries to repair their rotator cuff, we have people who have had knee and hip replacements. Pilates allows for modifications, but can also challenge the body as is appropriate for each individual.” She said that Pilates is really about body control, the body using every single muscle, not just the big ones and it is about being cognizant of what doing you are doing. “We do not beat up the body but respect it.”
Legacy Pilates, Yoga and More offers group and private classes. “Group classes have an instructor that tailors the workout to what each individual body can do. The group works together in each exercise, but each participant receives cues and instruction.” Group classes are made up of similar abilities, for example; beginners will not be in an advanced group. “Group classes are based upon what’s appropriate, we try to keep people together who are in the same level.” Private instruction is one-on-one and specifically geared to that individual, modified for that individual.
Many of Cook’s clients have been with her since she opened and that could not make her happier. “People come back, back, back because we uplift their spirit. And we also help them get into physical shape too.” Cook said that many people feel better right away but see true results within 8 weeks. “When the body is balanced it feels and works more efficiently and effectively. It is a great overall fitness program with all fitness components in one class.”
Pilates, for Cook, is also time for herself. “It’s a time for my mind and body to connect. For me it used to be ‘no pain, no gain’ and if I was not sore I was not doing it right. But now I respect the body, and listen to what it says as well. It is a life lesson, not just a fitness lesson.”
For more information for Legacy Pilates, Yoga and More including free introduction classes visit www.mindbodyprograms.com. Cindy Cook and her staff are located at 16939 Wright Plaza, #129, Omaha, NE 68130. 402-502-9772.**