Article, East Nashville Section of The Tennessean



Pilates Workshop Still On The Move

Business expands both in mind and body, with movement therapy added to the list of services

Greta Severs opened the Pilates Workshop in East Nashville three years ago, and the business continues to grow steadily. With three instructors now, Severs hopes to further expand class offerings and times, giving clients ample opportunities to fit Pilates into their schedules.

But the most recent development at the Pilates Workshop is not its growth, but Severs’ creation of a second business called The Movement Therapy Co. The philosophy behind both ventures is the same: Each part of the body is interconnected, and learning the fundamentals of movement is the first step to not only a healthy body, but also a pain-free life.

Severs has worked in the fitness industry for 17 years, but she said, “Pilates found her”; she was sold on the low-impact exercise method after she took — and was worn out by — a Pilates class. After teaching for other studios, she decided to open her own in 2005.

“I knew the area, and I wanted to offer something here. I recognized there was a need,” said Severs, an East Nashville resident. “So when I opened here, I already had a good clientele, and I was fortunate they followed me.”

When she first started, she taught all of the classes, leading students in exercises on a mat, on a special resistance machine called a reformer. With the addition of two more instructors, the studio is able to offer classes that specialize in back health, sports readiness, kids’ fitness, and pre- and post-natal exercise.

Program teaches students how to move

No matter the focus of the class, the idea behind Pilates is to establish a mind/body connection, focusing on movement and breath to ensure proper form. “Greta practices the very traditional Pilates, and her instruction requires serious concentration, listening to the verbal cues, and then executing the moves,” said client Sue Salburg. “I think it is a good exercise to learn to listen carefully and then to challenge our minds and bodies to go ‘outside the box.’ “Though Pilates is not done as an ‘aerobic’ exercise, an hour of Pilates causes me to be drenched with sweat. I am thinking about what I’m doing the entire hour. Greta is dedicated to spreading the message that ‘Movement is Therapy,’ and Pilates is a great way of reteaching our bodies to move.”

After more than a decade in the business, Severs said it’s not that most people don’t know they should exercise, it’s that they move incorrectly when they do, leading to pain and discomfort.

That’s why she created the Movement Therapy Co. and the Movement is Therapy program — to teach people the fundamentals of movement and how it can improve your overall well-being.

“People come in here for post-rehab treatment, and the pain may be gone, but they never addressed what got them to that pain in the first place,” Severs said. “Basically, the program teaches you how to move.

“This program also addresses some larger issues, because some people are to the point where the pain has gotten to a such a level think they can’t do a certain exercise anymore. This program teaches you progressively, over a series of weeks, how to align your body and move correctly, so you can do whatever exercise you want.”

She shares the knowledge

While Severs has devised this special program, the fundamentals of movement have always been at the heart of her Pilates instruction.

Denise Ceule started Pilates after finishing up six months of physical therapy for degenerative disk disease, and her physical therapist recommended that she transition to Pilates as an extension of her therapy.

“Pilates has changed my body and my outlook on my back pain,” Ceule said. “By developing my core strength, I’ve been able to relieve most of my pain. When the pain does creep back in, Pilates has also given me the tools to work through it. It might sound a bit hokey — but Pilates has made me feel like I’m in control again.”

No matter if you’re taking a class or participating in her new program, Severs’ students say that her knowledge about the method is what sets her studio apart from others.

“Greta has the knowledge necessary and a gift for noticing and positively correcting the slightest mistakes in form,” said Jack Salberg. “This eventually helps the student to self-correct when not in the studio and working out on their own. Her belief and enthusiasm for what she does is contagious.”

Contact Angela Patterson by telephone at 259-8287 or by e-mail at