Cait Lyddy, the owner of Westport Pilates, knows a thing or two about bodies and movement. Formerly a professional dancer, she’s graced stages around the world, and it was through dance that she was first introduced to the low-impact strength, balance, and flexibility method of Pilates. When she retired from dance after a 15-year career, she knew that she wanted to bring Pilates to others since the method had impacted her so much as both a dancer and a person. Cait chose an anatomy-based method of Pilates to receive her certification, later retraining in the style of Romana’s Pilates. In 2005 she moved from New York City with her two young children, opened the first Westport Pilates and has been sculpting bodies ever since. We chatted with her about just what Pilates really is and why you shouldn’t fear among other things, the “Guillotine.”
What really is Pilates? Is it just for rehab?
Not at all! Pilates is great for every body, no matter the age, gender, or fitness level. It can “fix” the body, but it can also get you into and keep you in killer shape! Joseph Pilates developed this brilliant method in the 1920s. The exercises emphasize controlled movement with correct form, which engages the mind as well as the body and melds the two. Some of the benefits of Pilates include longer, leaner muscles, improved coordination and balance, increased flexibility and strength, better posture, increased circulation, and an overall feeling of physical and mental well-being. Simply put, Pilates is strength, stretch and control.
What makes Westport Pilates different?
Westport Pilates has been going strong for 15 years, running in two locations for the past nine years. We are the only studio in Fairfield County and one of two in the entire state with every piece of Classical Equipment. You get the full experience here on the best Gratz equipment, no puzzle pieces missing.
This year we have launched a teacher training program to insure that this amazing method is carried on in a solid way and with positive energy. We offer seminars, workshops, small group classes for experienced clients and a strong emphasis on private sessions for newcomers and clients who are interested personal growth.
What’s the thing that people find most intimidating when they start Pilates?
The equipment can be, shall we say, “somewhat off putting.” With springs, metal handles, and neck stretchers, you might mistake the equipment for medieval torture devices. What magic they deliver when in the right hands! Our well-trained instructors know how to use the equipment in a million different ways to challenge clients just enough to keep them growing.
The Guillotine is a metal tower with pulleys that looks like its namesake, and helps strengthen the hips, back, and develop mobility. In our studio, it lives a short distance from the Electric Chair (you provide the electricity), just past the Swedish bars and Ladder Barrel, which looks a bit like a gymnastics horse attached to a short ladder.
The Cadillac is where folks gravitate to, a table below a steel frame—so inviting in its support but little do they know how mean it can be when you reach the advanced level.
What can clients expect when they come to a class?
When you walk through our doors, you are walking into another dimension. It’s not just about the exercise—the experience taps into your will, requires tenacity, tremendous focus and some imagination. Centering, concentration, control, precision, breath and flow are the founding principals of Classical Pilates and they each come into play throughout each session.
One of the amazing things about Classical Pilates is that it never gets boring or easy. We continue to study and workout regularly and we’re constantly challenged. We just never stop learning and discovering. As Joe Pilates said, come to my studio, I’ll help you.
What steps are you taking during COVID-19 to ensure client safety?
We are lucky enough to have two studios so clients can work one on one, with no crossover with other clients.
Masks are worn at all times, with temperature taken, shoes removed, and hands washed immediately upon entering. We have a strong air purifier, air flow from front and back windows/door, and a ceiling fan circulating the air. And oh boy the cleaning! We completely disinfect all surfaces touched between clients, and a deep 350° cleaner does the work at night.
1015 Post Rd E, Westport, CT 06880, (203) 255-1246
420 Post Rd W, Westport, CT 06880, (203) 227-7969