In the fit state of Colorado, wellness business owners can find it hard to distinguish themselves from the competition. That’s not an issue for Elixir Pilates & Wellness, which continually strives to give clients safe, effective, challenging, and fun workouts with world-class instruction.
Owner and instructor Kathryn Shelton isn’t just a certified Pilates teacher, she has trained under some of the most well-known and respected Pilates masters in modern times. Originally an athlete, she graduated from the University of Michigan and soon thereafter began Pilates training.
Tell me about Elixir Pilates & Wellness. What got you or the business started? Tell me about its roots.
Well, I received my Pilates certification in 2001 with the long term goal of owning my own studio. When I relocated to the Front Range, the opportunity to own Elixir presented itself. The previous owner of the studio and I worked together for a year so I could learn the business, get to know the clients and make sure that it was a good fit. And after that time, the ownership was transitioned over to me. That was almost two years ago. Elixir will celebrate 10 years in business in 2017.
Has it always been at this location?
Nope, so it was originally at 32nd and Lowell and then as the Highlands went through a “re-gentrification process” I’ll call it, rents got out of hand and a lot of small businesses had to relocate or close. Unfortunately that is sometimes what happens when areas go through resurgences, but we moved the studio to Wheat Ridge and it will be 4 years at this location in July. And it’s been a really good fit! We’ve enjoyed being over here. Most of the people who do Pilates at Elixir live within a two mile radius of the studio and some even walk to classes, so we truly are serving the local residents. I’m hopeful that with what’s happening with Ridge at 38, we’ll be able to manage the good, positive changes without the congestion that the Highlands is experiencing. I’ve talked with people about how we can make those positive changes without squeezing out locals; I think we can do it.
Could you describe one of your typical workdays?
Every day is different, absolutely – running the website, scheduling, answering questions, helping new clientele get started, managing staff and the studio space. For example, we share space with the Kinjo Akido Dojo four evenings a week after the Pilates classes are completed, and also in a separate area we offer massage therapy. Occasionally we do offer workshops, you know, just depending on people’s interests. Sometimes the workshops might speak to people’s diet, or another may teach clients a how to have a home practice. For instance, do you see those foam rollers back there? Recently, we had a foam roller workshop where people came to the studio and learned how to use the roller at home on their own to stretch and strengthen their muscles. Ultimately we want people to consider their health and wellness, while empowering them to make positive changes that help them continue to be active.
What do you find most enjoyable about your work?
Well for me, I’ve always wanted to do something in the healing arts because I find that it’s personally more fulfilling. I feel like what I do is actually changing people’s lives in a positive way. I think I make a positive difference in my client’s lives by providing safe, effective, challenging, and fun workouts. Sometimes clients come in dragging but leave feeling energized, which helps make it all worth it for me at the end of a long day.
What has been your biggest challenge for your business?
I would say it’s probably that it’s all on me [laughs]. I wouldn’t say that I’m doing everything, but it feels like that some days [laughs]. Obviously I do have help, but it’s kind of like the buck stops here, so if anything or everything does happen, it’s all on me.
What has been the greatest success? Or what are you most proud about?
Well I’ve been involved in the Pilates community for 15 years now, so to be able to continue to find joy in teaching and to know I continue to give really great classes and private lessons is a success. And to be a younger person, and a woman at that, owning her own business, is something I’m very proud of.
Does your organization have any big plans for 2016?
A couple things come to mind. I’m looking into implementing a teacher training program. I’ve had people show interest in wanting to have that at Elixir, which would be great because there isn’t a studio close to here, that I know of, actually training teachers how to instruct Pilates. I’ve also been in contact with the IES Wheat Ridge Greenbelt project. I’m volunteering to be a tree steward, and I will also be doing some fundraising here through the studio. I’m not sure what it going to look like yet. It’s still in the works.
It is something I’m excited about because I don’t actually live in Wheat Ridge, but I am involved in the Wheat Ridge community because that’s where my business, so when I was contacted by IES I thought to myself, “ You know what? I’m a good environmentalist so this seems like a great way to partner up with a good cause and make a difference.”
What is your favorite inspirational quote, or what advice would you give someone?
Gosh, that’s a hard one! Um, I’m trying to think of what I would say to my son…I always tell him that it’s okay to make mistakes, but to make sure to learn from them and move on. I was just reading something on Thomas Edison, about how many times he failed – I’ve heard it was as many as 10,000 times before he created the light bulb, but whether it was 1,000 or 10,000 failures, what’s most important is that he continued to try. I feel that when something has gone wrong in someone’s life, they can get kind of latched on to that and start to identify themselves that way, as opposed to just saying – “You know what, that’s a mistake and it doesn’t define me. I can move on from this, I can learn from this, and leave it in the past and move forward.” That’s advice I give my little boy, so [laughs].
Do you have any hobbies or special interests? What is your favorite thing to do in Wheat Ridge for fun?
I like to go to Crown Hill because I like to use that open space a lot, and there are some really great restaurants over here too. I really like how it’s 15 minutes to anywhere, you know what I mean? It’s very convenient to get downtown or to get to I-70 to head to the mountains. I love that Wheat Ridge has open spaces that have been preserved, and we come here and use the parks and the playgrounds. We’re big outdoor people. I mean obviously because we live in Colorado, right? [laughs]
If you had the power to solve only one problem in the world, what would it be and why?
The environmental issues we’ve created. Like I said, that’s kind of my touch point, making sure that we have open spaces , and clean water, and that we’re not ruining animals’ habitats, and that we’re being respectful as human citizens, thinking of ourselves as being connected to the water, being connected and not separate from the wildlife and the trees. I probably sound like John Denver, [laughs] but I think as humans we are stewards of the earth.
If you could high five, shake hands, or hug one person, living or not, who would it be?
It would have to be Joseph Pilates. right!? [Laughs] it would HAVE to!
Anything else you’d like to say about Pilates?
There are misconceptions about Pilates – that it is for elite athletes, dancers or women only, and Joseph Pilates was a man. So there is that big misconception that it’s not for everybody but it can be as gentle or as challenging as it needs to be for each individual. And there is a misconception that Pilates is too easy or too hard but Pilates is broken into beginner, intermediate and advanced work. The work is so highly adaptable to each person that anybody can start at any age and at any physical shape that they’re in. So really ‘the work’ is about starting where you are currently and then lifting you up from there as you get stronger. I can’t say enough good things about it.
Elixir Pilates & Wellness specializes in Pilates classes, private instruction, senior fitness, pre and postnatal instruction, and injury rehabilitation. You can maximize your health and wellness by also utilizing additional services they offer, like Aikido classes, massage therapy and workshops. Their studio can be found at 7047 W. 38th Ave., Wheat Ridge, CO 80033. They are located in the Ridge at 38, along 38th Avenue just east of High Court and available seven days a week, with classes beginning at various times between 7am to 6:30pm. Elixir wants to benefit your life, while being flexible and making it as comfortable as possible to achieve your goals.
Call 303.594.9508 or visit www.ElixirDenver.com
to view and make appointments online.