Have you ever wondered what the difference is between pilates and yoga? Make sure to google before and after photos. While pilates involves small, micro movements, these movements can make a huge difference to your body. Heather Cloud has been a lifelong follower of pilates but it wasn’t until her 20’s that she fell back in love with the practice and turned it into a party – The Pilates Party.
Keep reading to learn more about Heather Cloud, and how to move with her – all from the comfort of your own home.
SDS: As the founder of The Pilates Party, how did you get into Pilates and where did the name come from?
HEATHER CLOUD: I was 10 years old when I tried Pilates for the first time. My mom was getting certified in the classical mat system, so, naturally, I found myself taking her classes. I stuck with them (inconsistently) from then until I moved to NYC in my early 20s. I took a break from Pilates altogether until a friend of mine went through her comprehensive Pilates certification, at which point I realized what a stronghold Pilates had on my life.
As for the name, I started The Pilates Party a month into the pandemic because I wanted to give my loved ones, as well as their loved ones, a place to move their bodies within a community of other incredible humans. The name came about in a text message when I was inviting a friend to the first class. I remember describing to him that the class would be “a little Pilates party” and the name stuck ever sense.
SDS: Pilates is one of the best workouts out there— do you have any favorite type of workouts beyond Pilates?
HC: I love workouts that don’t feel like workouts. I grew up 10 minutes away from a national park, so hiking has always been a favorite activity of mine. Anything that has an err of adventure to it is a win in my book. There is also a very special place in my heart for dancing as it is quite an amazing sport, but it allows me to focus so much on detail and finding grace between the steps. It’s incredibly easy to lose yourself in the art form.
In a more traditional sense of the term, I now enjoy running. I never thought I would be someone who voluntarily went out for a run, since I despised it for most of my life. Once I stripped off all my previous expectations and preconceived ideas of what running should be or how it should feel in my body, it gave me freedom to explore what running could be for me. It wasn’t sunshine and rainbows from the get-go, but with a great support system and some time, I learned the joy it can provide.
SDS: What are your favorite things about Pilates and where do you recommend people start?
HC: I could write a novel on my favorite things about Pilates: the way it feels in your body, the way it challenges you, the way it allows you to shed the limitations on what you thought your body could or couldn’t achieve, the way it allows you to carry yourself through life… the list is endless.
My teacher, Tela Anderson, once said to me that “Pilates meets you where you’re at,” and I think that’s the best way to understand Pilates. It’s a modality that plays a beautiful supporting role in your life. Whether you’re training for a sport, recovering from something physical, trying to alleviate chronic pain; anyone, anywhere, and at any stage of life can incorporate Pilates into their lives and help enhance their well-being.
Whether it’s joining a class, signing up for a private session, looking up on-demand classes, however you feel most comfortable starting, that’s the perfect way to begin. There are so many incredible, talented, and passionate instructors out there (myself included) that are chomping at the bit to show you how Pilates can make your life a little better – all you have to do is ask.
I also recommend giving it a few tries. I find that three classes/sessions are the magic number. Pilates can feel a little weird compared to traditional workouts at first, so trying three classes out allows you the time to sink into the method and really start to feel the incredible benefits it provides.
SDS: Before you were making (pilates) moves, who were you?
HC: Before Pilates, I was deep into the performing arts. I grew up dancing and being in community musicals, then I started making my way further and further backstage. I dabbled in tech theater, set construction, light design, theater management, and even got my MA in Performing Arts Administration from NYU Steinhardt. My last job before Pilates was as an Associate General Manager in the Broadway/Off-Broadway/Touring realm, but it didn’t fit quite right, so I took a gamble to try something completely different and it paid off.
SDS: Heather, you have one of the best laughs I’ve ever heard. Where do you source your cheer?
HC: Oh my goodness, I love this question! I’m surrounded by great company. I’m very lucky because my life is full of incredible and supportive humans who truly want the best for me. My community is there to celebrate all the wins, as well as comfort and uplift through all the losses. I think that’s really shaped my outlook.