Maria Curti, the owner of Purely Pilates, on North Larchmont Boulevard, feels the most rewarding thing about teaching Pilates is seeing the physical improvement in her clients. “I’ve had some people with some major issues; one in particular came in with a hamstring that was detached completely. He began doing Pilates with me, and six months later he was playing tennis. That’s so rewarding!” Curti said.
For the uninitiated, Pilates is the physical conditioning regime created by Joseph Pilates in Germany in the early 20th century. He originally designed a series of exercises that are performed while lying on a mat using one’s own weight as resistance, and eventually designed machines that use springs, rather than weights, as resistance. Both types of resistance training strengthens and heals the body, encourages proper spinal alignment and increases muscle tone.
Curti and the other instructors at her studio offer private Pilates sessions on the machines as well as group mat classes. Curti, says both types of Pilates “work your core muscles and help strengthen and align you.” (I can personally attest that her Saturday morning class is a killer!) She has had clients ranging in age from 16 – 90 years old. According to Curti one of the unique things about Pilates is that it can be done even with most injuries.
Curti developed a passion for Pilates after she herself was injured. “I danced for many years and I had a pretty severe knee injury. The doctor had said I probably wanted to either have knee surgery or quit dancing. So I quit dancing. Then someone said I should try Pilates because I was having a lot of inflammation and pain in my knee. I tried it, and that was it. I loved it!”
Curti, who grew up in Hollywood, received a Pilates teaching credential as well as a National Academy of Sports Medicine kinesiology credential and began teaching 14 years ago. After working for another studio owner on the Blvd. for several years, Curti opened her own studio on North Larchmont, five years ago. Purely Pilates is located just upstairs from the cozy coffee shop, “Bricks and Scones.” Curti says she chose to stay on Larchmont because she already had a client base here and she loved the neighborhood. “There’s a warmth in this community, a deep caring that makes me feel like I’m in a small town when I’m on Larchmont. There’s a hominess that you don’t feel on the Westside.”
In her spare time, Curti, who owns a horse, horseback rides, takes Italian classes, and enjoys time with her boyfriend and dog. She travels fairly extensively and is lucky enough to have a client who lives in Europe.
When I asked Curti what she thinks distinguishes her studio from others she said she thought it was the level of care. ” I care a lot about the people who come in here, so it’s more than just a job. It’s a passion. It’s really important to me that they are happy and feel better and stronger when they leave here.”Purely Pilates 403 North Larchmont Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90004 (323) 463-3282