Stretch Your Muscles, Ease Your Mind and Strengthen Your Core at Ara Pilates + Movement
Written By: Andrea Gomez
Photographed By: Nathan Cox Ara Pilates
For Missoni Lanza and Marlys Yvonne, the women behind Ara Pilates + Movement, Pilates is not just another workout alternative, it’s a lifestyle. With its clean, sophisticated and natural aesthetic, Ara Pilates + Movement invites you to decompress, relax, renew and heal. What better place to practice this than the laid-back, desert oasis community of Greater Palm Springs? Lanza and Yvonne are ready to open their doors to take the intersection of mind and body wellness to exciting heights at their new studio in Indian Wells.
Ara Pilates + Movement started over 1,000 miles away in the city of Seattle. “We both were teaching in Seattle at the same studio, but we didn’t really know each other,” Yvonne says. “I had started working with a small group of private clients in a home studio at my apartment.” At the same time, Lanza was looking to branch out into home studios. After coming across Yvonne’s website, Lanza decided to contact her, and they met up for coffee. A partnership and a friendship were born. “It was kind of the first time we really met,” says Lanza. “So it was like, ‘Yeah sure, I’ll go into business with someone I know nothing about, but her vibe is cool, so sure let’s do this!’”
By June 2017 they had opened their first studio. With Ara Pilates + Movement, they both wanted to have dynamic, effective training, but with the luxury of a spa, “Pilates is a luxury service but sometimes it’s still being treated like a gym assembly line,” says Lanza. “You can’t connect to your body when you are around that many people. We want to change people’s lives, so why not create a setting where people can succeed.”
This connection is important to them. Both arrived in the world of Pilates to heal their own bodies. When Lanza was involved in a head-on collision, Pilates helped her recuperate. “I avoided knee surgery and ailments through Pilates, I saw someone here [named] Shary Harrison, and she helped me heal, and I became obsessed with it.” Yvonne is a former professional ballerina, and discovered the world of Pilates when she suffered a rib injury. “My partner dropped me on my back,” Yvonne shared. “Going from dancing every day to laying down for two months every day was just completely life-shattering.”
When a new business space development plan fell through, Yvonne and Lanza pursued their goal to open a new location in the Greater Palm Springs area. “We saw the opportunity of the desert,” Lanza says. “This place is a destination for wellness, and there isn’t really anything that caters to that demographic, so we saw it as a wide-open opportunity.”
Ara was created with a unique vision in mind. “We are not looking at Ara as just a brick and mortar, we are looking at it as an entity and [are trying] to share this movement with as many people as possible through the studio, online videos, retreats, workshops and more,” they both say. They’ve carried out that vision into the look of their new location. With handmade equipment constructed out of wood paired with adobe white upholstery, Ara Pilates + Movement’s new location doesn’t feel like a first, it’s a space with an elevated feel.
It’s not just the interior that sets Ara Pilates + Movement apart from other studios, Lanza and Yvonne make their clients a priority, making notes of any complaints, restraints and goals of their members. Ara Pilates + Movement focuses on incorporating modern scientific research into their teaching to maximize the benefits to clients. “Certain moves that were used in the past are found not to be good anymore,” Lanza says. “But our team of instructors are highly qualified and have extensive continued education. Our staff has taken it upon themselves to take additional workshops over their years as teachers. Some of their areas of expertise include anatomy, gait patterning, prenatal + postnatal care, athletic conditioning, neuromuscular disorders, trauma and pain management.” One of the initial concepts behind Ara Pilates + Movement was to provide members exceptional knowledge and instruction.
At Ara Pilates + Movement, intimacy is key with treatment rooms. The studio will have three separate areas to conduct lessons at the same time—one small classroom and two private rooms. “Your environment affects your mood [and] your nervous system, so creating that clean space was important.”
Both are proud to own a women-run, self-funded business. It is a way to show others that dreams are achievable, and to prove the saying they both stand by, “If you have the vision to do something, you can make it happen.”
Ara Pilates + Movement
Indian Wells, CA 92210