Oak Park resident Regan Hoerster was not always as flexible as the elastic waistband in a pair of yoga pants. Back when Pilates was only a hobby to her, she pursued a Master’s degree in social work at the University of Chicago. As a grad student, everything seemed to be going according to plan and she envisioned herself working in social services after completing her degree.
That all changed the day she met Fran Ahrens, an instructor she found so inspiring that she wanted to switch career paths halfway through her time at the University of Chicago. Under Ahrens’ instruction, Hoerster completed a one-year, 750-hour program to become a Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) certified instructor. Some might call that a major change in life direction, but Hoerster found a way to combine her love of Pilates and desire to help people with her own studio in Forest Park, Village Pilates.
We recently caught up with the Owner and Master Instructor of the studio to learn more about the movement and what Village Pilates has to offer. This is what Hoerster had to say.
Around Oak Park
Where are you from & how long have you lived in Oak Park?
I’m originally from Elmhurst. I moved to Oak Park when I was in my twenties and going to grad school at the University of Chicago. I’ve been here a total of 11 years and opened the first Village Pilates location in Oak Park 10 years ago.
How long have you been doing Pilates?
I was a gymnast for a long time and I was also involved with dance. I never thought I would make a career out of something like that, but when I started doing Pilates in college & grad school, I met Fran Ahrens, an inspiring woman who taught me a lot. I was captivated by her lifestyle and although it was a scary decision, I knew I had to make a shift in my life’s path to pursue Pilates.
What inspired you to open your own Pilates studio in this community?
I always wanted to do something that helped people, which is why I studied social work. Through Pilates, I feel like I can empower people to feel better about their lives. That’s why I decided to name the studio Village Pilates. Oak Park and Forest Park are tight-knit communities, and I want Village Pilates to reflect those ideals. The studio is not just for the extremely flexible or athletic, but it’s something that people of all ages and experience levels can get into.
What is the atmosphere like at Village Pilates?
I think we have a very welcoming atmosphere. Between our clientele and instructors, we are representative of just about every age and personality type. One instructor is a male in his 60’s; we also have teachers who are in their 20’s, 40’s and 50’s. Our clientele is equally varied amongst different ages, body types and abilities. We make the classes and environment within the studio encompassing to all, just like the communities we live in.
What type of training do your instructors have?
All of the instructors (including me) are classically certified through the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA certified). They have also completed my Classical Pilates Training Program, which mirrors the training I received from my mentor Fran Ahrens, including over 750 hours of apprenticeship, anatomy of movement and philosophy coursework.
Why did you decide on Forest Park as the location?
Our first studio was in Oak Park but we eventually outgrew the physical space of that studio. Forest Park presented the opportunity, so I jumped on it. I had freedom to design the studio the way I wanted to, and the square footage matched what we needed. I also believe the community of Forest Park closely matches that of Oak Park, which was important in making the decision.
How can people get involved if they are interested in taking classes or learning more about Pilates?
Everyone’s first class is free. I encourage anyone interested to take a tour of the studio at any time and ask any questions they might have about Pilates. I think a lot of people believe that it’s intimidating or expensive. But if you take a private lesson for the first time, you will see how the equipment makes working out easier. With traditional workouts, the springs in the equipment are used for resistance but in Pilates, the equipment is there to assist you. We are a unique Pilates studio in that we offer over 50 classes per week, along with open availabilities for private lessons and Duets, so we can make your practice as affordable and convenient as possible.
Village Pilates is located at 411 Marengo Ave., Forest Park, IL. 60130
For more information, visit http://villagepilatesstudio.com/