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Low Impact, High Result

Madison Pearson Pilates Conservatory Brings Legacy Techniques into the Future

Article by Linden Butrym

Photography by Amanda Proudfit

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

To those who aren’t familiar, Pilates might seem like a daunting form of exercise. Not because it involves high-intensity movements that leave you breathless the way technical sports do — but because of the precision required for the smaller movements, the extreme finesse, the control. Surprisingly, just like high-intensity cardio training, Pilates movements can also provide enormous benefits to people of varying athletic abilities. What’s more, they can significantly help someone who wants to rehab an injury.

The low-impact nature of Pilates is what attracted Madison Pearson to the practice many years ago, when she suffered devastating ACL and meniscus tears during a high school cheer competition. “I wasn’t able to continue dancing and cheerleading to the extent that I wanted,” she says. “My physical therapist pointed me in the direction of Pilates, and I really fell in love with it.”

Her enthusiasm blossomed into a desire to study and learn as much as she could, which she did all over the country before putting down roots in Colorado. After teaching Pilates for three years, Madison reached a point in her journey where she felt that typical cueing and training techniques weren't properly benefiting her clients. She wanted to take her teaching to the next level with the expertise of a master trainer. Enter Pat Guyton, founder of the Pilates Conservatory in Boulder and Pilates teacher for nearly 40 years. A former dancer and gymnastics coach, she has a firm understanding of the discipline and rigor required to teach Pilates, and its unique ability to strengthen the body.

“Pilates can be educative, preventative, rehabilitative and enhance athletic performance,” Pat says. “Many doctors and health professionals send patients [to Pilates] for a bridge between physical therapy and group fitness classes. The rewards from the practice are many, regardless of relative fitness or age. Pilates is a practice that is inclusive.”

With Pat as her mentor, Madison has continued to develop her skills and enhance her knowledge, even traveling to Europe and Asia to assist with various workshops. This past fall, she made her teaching goals a reality with the ownership transition of Pat’s  Pilates Conservatory to Madison Pearson Pilates Conservatory (madisonpearsonpilates.org). She leads private and small group classes with an array of equipment, from the reformer to the mat to the spine corrector to the guillotine — a rare, archival piece that must be screwed into the floor and ceiling. Pat continues to teach workshops and private Zoom lessons, and she’s excited to continue mentoring Madison and other teachers who strive to reach their full potential.

“Legacy is not a name or a company,” Pat shares. “Legacy is the ability to teach our clients to improve the quality of their lives. As an experienced teacher, it is my responsibility to lead the next generation.”

This month, Madison and Pat will co-host a three-day workshop titled “Compare & Contrast.” It’s a really fun way, Madison says, to bring teachers near and far together to break down barriers between the diversity in choreography and abilities. At the end of February, she'll also accompany Pat to Singapore for the Asian Pilates Summit.

Whether it’s helping you learn body mechanics, cross-train as an athlete, develop stability, or simply get up and down from a chair, Pilates offers more than a workout. As a teacher, Madison especially loves connecting with clients who take what they learn and apply it to their own fitness routines. The highlight of doing it every day, she says, is the continued excitement in learning what her body is capable of. “You’re always learning. You’re always a student. Even things you think you can do, well, they can always be better. There’s so much ability within your body. The body that comes to class one day is a different body the next day.”

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