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Pilates Teacher Still Following Her Heart, 4 Years After Downtown Studio Opens

Cara Krupa, owner of East Street Pilates, was named Business Woman of the Year in Rochester last fall.

There's a lot of love in Cara Krupa's studio.

First of all, the very walls around Krupa were constructed with love. 

"My husband built the studio from the ground up," Krupa said. "It was previously a cabinet shop and he had to tear down seven walls upstairs alone. But he got it done in a month because he wanted to see this happen for me."

Then there's love for downtown Rochester.

"As a student at Eisenhower (High School) back in the 1990s, downtown Rochester is where we'd hang out. I fell in love with being downtown. This is where the energy is!" Krupa said.

And let's not forget the love from Rochester.

Last fall Krupa received the 2011 Business Woman of the Year Award from the Rochester Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes those that "excel at integrating their businesses to serve local communities."

Last, but certainly not least, there is a Krupa's great love for pilates, both practicing it and teaching it.

"It was instant love for me. I knew from my first class that I would be doing this the rest of my life. I've been doing pilates for 18 years and I still learn new things all the time — about my body, about the work. I do it 40 hours a week and it's still fresh to me."

Not your typical broadcast major

After graduation from Eisenhower in 1995, Krupa majored in broadcasting at Central Michigan University. 

That degree and the job it led to was perhaps not the most perfect fit. ("I had a boring desk job," she said.)

Fortunately for Krupa, her evenings were spent taking and teaching pilates.

"I spent my days just wanting to get done with work so I could go to pilates. I realized it was really silly to be working a job I don't love when I could be teaching pilates," Krupa said.

She got her STOTT certification and started teaching full-time. Her training took her around the country, including a yearlong stint in Hawaii, but eventually the pull of family brought her back to Michigan.

Once back, friends introduced her to her now husband, Brian. He was interested in Krupa and thought he'd show it by attending her class.

"He's retired military, so he though pilates would be a joke, 'stretching like the ladies,'" Krupa said. "I knew what he was up to, so when he'd come to my class I'd give him the hardest workout."

Even with that courting ritual of pain, the couple married and now have an 18-month old daughter.

The most important thing

As a pilates instructor, Krupa was in demand. A typical day would have her driving to 15 different gyms, studios and homes to teach. 

"I live in Rochester but taught everywhere," Krupa said. "I would drive around all day. My husband said it was ridiculous so we decided to open East Street Pilates."

The studio opened its doors on Jan. 31, 2008.  It includes two studios, one upstairs and one down. A variety of pilates classes are offered seven days a week, in addition to TRX, ballet barre, cardio mat and stretching classes. 

"We have something for every budget, every schedule, every age and experience," Krupa said. "The more interesting the physical challenge, the more we like it!"

The best way to know if pilates is for you, according to Krupa, is to just do it.

She recommends all new students start with one private session. "This allows us to access your level and figure out your goals together. Then we know what classes will work best for you and can map a course."

Classes can be pre-purchased as a package or bought individually as drop-ins. There is no membership fee, although class space must be reserved.

"We like to know who we're teaching and keeping class size small is important to us. Pilates is all about the details and we want to make sure our students get the attention they need. After all, our clients are the most important thing."

'If I had a dime...'

So what is the difference between pilates and yoga?

"If I had a dime for every time I was asked that question, I could retire!" Krupa said. "Pilates is complimentary to yoga but it moves fairly quickly. We don't hold poses. Pilates also uses props to create resistance."

"But really, I heard it best described by one of my students like this: 'In yoga you close your eyes and think about the spirit. In pilates you open your eyes and think about your butt!' "

With consistency, Krupa said, you will see remarkable changes with your body from pilates. 

"Pilates is a journey and it's one for every state of your life."

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