by Sharon Liao
Pilates and booze don’t seem like an obvious match, but some instructors are working to mix business with pleasure. They’re pairing classes with tastings, happy hours and even getaways.
In Houston, Michele Stamos runs a series called Pilates and Pints. She teaches an hour-long mat class at breweries across the city that’s followed by discounted drinks. “It’s a fun way to introduce Pilates to the community,” says Stamos, owner of Happy Belly Studios. “Plus, who doesn’t love Pilates and beer?” Along with her regular clients and friends, Stamos always sees a smattering of new faces at her events.
At Casa Rodena Winery in Albuquerque, NM, Pilates is followed by a post-class glass of wine. As part of the winery’s Wellness and Wine program, instructors Angela Hanchett and Jolene Madrid teach mat classes. They’re held in different scenic locations on the property, such as in a barrel room or a garden. “Following an intense workout, a glass of wine is offered,” says program director Colleen Constance Franco. “Many people bring picnics to enjoy by the pond afterwards.” Already in its fourth year, the Wellness and Wine series is popular with regulars and newbies alike.
The Pilates-wine combination has also taken off on the East Coast. For the past few years, Stacy Schwartz, founder of Ketanga Fitness Retreats, has organized Pilates and Pinot classes. “Last year, I decided to take it to the next level by organizing a retreat,” she says. “It was a sold-out success!” During the weekend, classes are held in vineyards in the beautiful North Fork of New York’s Long Island. Pilates pro Jenna Muller teaches different classes, including high-intensity power Pilates and those that focus on restorative stretching. Wine tastings come next. “It makes for a wonderful balance of relaxing and being active,” says Schwartz. “In my opinion, that’s a perfect vacation.”