New pilates studio opens

Elk Valley Pilates is believed to be Sparwood’s first pilates studio.

An Australian woman hopes to transform the bodies and minds of Elk Valley residents through a fitness system that is popular in her home country.

Sandra Robertson hails from Darwin – aka “Sweat City” – and has been teaching pilates for 10 years.

She moved to the Elk Valley about four years ago after falling in love with a Québécois and on Saturday opened what is believed to be Sparwood’s first pilates studio.

Elk Valley Pilates offers private sessions and group classes using apparatus designed to assist and challenge participants.

Robertson is excited to share a fitness system she says has helped her become more energized, productive, relaxed and resilient to stress.

“Sparwood is a mining town. The people here can work long hours in a sedentary position, in potentially dangerous and stressful situations,” she said.

“Pilates can be a lifesaver through building resilience in both mind and body, allowing those who practice it to handle stressful situations with greater ease and efficiency.

“Pilates increases circulation and oxygen intake due to the use of the breath to facilitate movement, therefore boosting the participant’s energy levels and allowing them to think more clearly.”

About 20 people attended the grand opening on Saturday, which featured apparatus demonstrations and kombucha samples provided by Fernie Alpine Springs.

Robertson said pilates could benefit anyone looking for a way to better manage stress and increase their energy levels.

“We’ve lost the ability to perform functional movement patterns with ease and free of discomfort,” she said.

“The spring loaded pilates apparatus was designed to assist and guide all joints through their full range of motion, with the elimination of gravity’s compressive forces, which puts strain on the joints.

“Optimal movement patterns are learned in this supportive environment and then translated to your everyday life, where your body then knows how to work with gravity, rather than against it, to prevent injuries.”

Elk Valley Pilates is located at 493 Engelmann Spruce Drive, Sparwood. Visit for more information.


Elk Valley Pilates owner Sandra Robertson demonstrates snake pose on the reformer. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

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