This week's Nails of New York features New York Pilates founder Heather Andersen. Their modern studios include curated playlists, metaflora flower arrangements, cheeky merchandise, and gorgeous all-white reformers. Having recently opened up their fourth location on Bowery, her bright and airy studios encompass a community beyond fitness and hosts many charitable events to raise money and awareness for things close to their heart.
Desiring a place to take reformer classes with other women, Heather founded New York Pilates in 2013 with the intention of helping New Yorkers improve their bodies and overall health. With a classical ballerina background, Heather's desire is to teach people about posture, flexibility, and core strength in a positive and healing way. Read more to learn about the gentle, yet effective approach of pilates, the experience of launching NYP with her husband, and the way her style influences her nails.
Why do you paint your nails?
Clean and polished nails are so important when I'm in the studio because I am giving corrections and touching people. For regular life, I love that extra refined polish that having a cute manicure adds to any outfit.
When did getting manicures become important to you?
I started in my early twenties. My sister would insist, and we would go together. Gel polish really changed the game for me, and I became 100 percent committed.
Colors + designs that you gravitate towards?
I often go with dark and a minimal design. I like clean lines on my nails just like my clothes.
Go-to nail shape?
Almond–a little round, a little pointy.
When did you start doing pilates?
I started doing pilates in my teens as cross training for ballet. I decided to become an instructor, because it had such a profound effect on my body and dancing. I wanted to share that transformational power with others.
When did you get your aha moment to open New York Pilates?
I started New York Pilates, because I needed a place to take pilates. As a private instructor for over a decade, I always had to workout by myself or trade sessions with a friend. I noticed there wasn't really a large pilates community in NYC, so I figured I'd start one. It's funny to imagine, but three years ago there really wasn't anywhere in Manhattan to take a group reformer class. What I wanted was to take an amazing, fun, music-driven reformer pilates class that was fast-paced and affordable (our unlimited pilates membership is the most affordable way to get your pilates on).
What is it like working with your husband?
Working with Brion is amazing. It obviously has its challenges, but we really complement each other with different skill sets. We are definitely better together than working apart.
What's been the most noticeable transformation in your health from pilates?
Pilates is incredibly gentle, while being deeply effective. Pilates made me so much stronger, a deep-coordinated strength, not bulky muscle. Pilates also gave me a deeper awareness of my posture and how I am using my joints and muscles. Pilates is a workout that is super effective at targeted toning, but does not leave me in pain–essential after so many years of abusing my joints dancing.
What has been the most challenging and rewarding part of your job?
Being a teacher is such a unique experience. Watching a student grow and develop a deeper mind/body connection is an awesome opportunity. Also, having someone run up to you and thank you for their new fab bottom isn't so bad. ;) I'm most proud of the community we have built and being able to spread the art of pilates to so many wonderful people.
The greatest challenge of being a pilates instructor is teaching complex biomechanics in a simple way that is fun, entertaining, varied, and well-paced. Keeping it fresh means keeping it creative, which is key.
Favorite pilates pose?
I love bridging, side legs, & lunging. Basically all butt work!