STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Although it was always a stressful job, Christine Longcore, 41, loved working as an architect in the retail fashion industry for nearly two decades, until the coronavirus (COVID-19) shuttered the globe in March 2020.
During the world shutdown, Longcore took time to rethink her future career goals. And even after New York City began to reopen, she said she knew she wanted to switch gears.
“Between the stress in that specific niche of architecture, the commute into the city, the travel and the hours, I began to realize that I needed a big lifestyle change … I began suffering various injuries, and was unable to recover from them properly with my very long, and very stressful working and commuting hours,” said the New Springville resident.
That’s when she started doing Pilates.
“I found that Pilates was the one place where I was actually able to let go of those heavy daily stressors. Focusing on breath, while also maintaining balance on a machine under the weight of the springs was an awakening for me. And in combination, my injuries began to improve,” she said.
In 2017, during “an intense period of constant travel and elevated drama in the workplace,” Longcore began training to teach Pilates, while still also working long hours as an architect.
“It provided me a light at the end of the tunnel, in a way. It was also a return to my roots, having grown up with a mom who was an aerobics instructor out of the home, and a family who was always in a gym. My first job as a child, in fact, was in a gym,” she added.
Before the pandemic, Longcore was still pursuing working a few days a week in architecture while teaching Pilates. And back then, the thought of starting her own business was “scary.”
“It is difficult to give up a lifelong career, which you worked so hard to achieve,” said Longcore.
However, when everything went remote in 2020, She learned the “true value” of her time.
“My mother came out of remission for bone cancer, and I was able to spend two months with her, helping her with her treatments,” said Longcore. “I was able to spend significantly more time with my partner and my senior dog — instead of spending all my energy and focus on getting to an office, getting home, traveling or sitting at a desk. And, ultimately, I determined that quality of life was so much more important.”
In June, she traded in her drawing table for Pilates machines and opened Longcore Pilates in Westerleigh.
And she hasn’t looked back.
Longcore was recently challenged when her new studio flooded during Hurricane Ida. But she managed to stay open and serve her already growing clientele.
“The night Ida came through here, my camera alerted me… Then one of my clients called me and said the studio had flooded,” she said, noting that the client helped her save her equipment after coming to the studio with a wet vac to help her clean up. “The community I came into is so amazing. I have so many clients right on the street where the studio is located.”
CLASSES AND PERSONAL TRAINING
Longcore offers private and semi-private sessions on common Pilates equipment, known as reformers, towers, chairs and ladder barrels. She also offers group classes, like Bodhi Suspension, which includes ropes that allow for suspension exercises.
In addition, she offers Movement for Seniors, strength conditioning fitness classes, and two levels of Pilates mat classes –-an intermediate level, and a therapeutic level for those with injuries or mobility issues, or who may just want a more gentle session.
Starting in December, she will be offering full apparatus group classes, including reformer classes and cardio classes using a jumpboard, which is a plate that replaces the foot bar on the reformer to allow for cardio activity.
BENEFITS OF PILATES
Just the way she found Pilates to be a stress-reliever, Longcore said she wants her clients to get the best benefits from the practice.
“There is a great need for Pilates here on the Island. Many people here are not familiar with its benefits. …it can help so many people,” she said.
“I also wanted to create a place, using my design experience, where people would feel comfortable and welcomed, and where they could also relax and really breathe deeply during a session. My goal was to create for people the same thing that I experienced when I found Pilates –- the ability to let go of all of those daily stressors, focus on yourself, and improve yourself both physically and mentally,” Longcore added.
LONGCORE PILATES AT A GLANCE
Address: 16 Burnside Ave.
New Businesses in Focus is a weekly column that relates the stories of new Staten Island business owners.
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