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Meet Hilary Opheim of WAPilates in Washington Ave Arts District

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hilary Opheim.

Hilary has been in the fitness industry in Houston since the days of high impact aerobics and has been teaching Pilates for over 25 years. Born and raised in Houston, Texas she was always active with swimming, tennis, gymnastic, dance, figure skating and sailing. She started her fitness journey teaching aerobics and was one of the first to get certified with Johnny G and to teach Spinning in Houston. She was the Group Fitness Director at the University Club for over 10 years. She set up their Spinning Program, one of the first Cycling studios in Houston.

After years of teaching Hilary found her knees in bad shape and was led to Pilates by one of her instructors at the University Club. She immediately fell in love with the Method.

She practiced Pilates for years and with no more pain in her knees she knew this was something she was meant to do and was led to John Gossett, at the time with Physical Mind Institute. She then set up the Pilates studio at the University Club and continued teaching in other studios after its closure.

In 2005 she opened up WAPilates and became PMA Certified. She founded Pilates has Heart in 2013 to honor client and friend Terri Dome, which raises money every year to help with awareness of Women’s Heart issues and Cancer. 100% of all the proceeds go to Texas Heart Institute.

She continues to study the Traditional Pilates work and has studied with Jennifer Kries, Benjamin Degenhardt, Lolita San Miguel and others. “One thing I love about Pilates and as a Teacher is that you are constantly learning. It is a journey that never ends and I not only learn from other Pilates Teachers but also every student that comes through the Teacher Training Program.”

She has used her upbeat style to create an environment of positive and supportive guidance with the Teacher Training Program at WAP. “I created our program to really nurture the students and I wanted it to really bring the Mentorship aspect into our program, to really guide the students and share our knowledge with them. We are giving information to them that took me years and years to learn.”

“My favorite, each class, is seeing the progression of each student and how their personality and style comes out in their teaching.”  – Hilary Opheim

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
When I first opened up WAPilates I would constantly get calls saying I needed to have group classes, or Reformer classes. I made the decision before opening my studio that I was going to teach Pilates to the individual as Joseph Pilates did. To teach to the body in front of you. It has been hard sometimes with many not understanding that Pilates is a system and that the mat and Reformer are only part of that. When I went through my training you had to learn the entire work of Joseph Pilates, you couldn’t just do one machine or pick and choose. So I liked how the whole work had a purpose.

There are more and more Group classes now and we have continued to specialize and be known for our boutique individualized teaching. I read once to stick with what you are good at, to work at it, to be really good at that one thing. For some reason that stuck with me for WAPilates. We teach Pilates as it was intended. We don’t do anything else. The Teachers at WAPilates all teach to the client who is right in front of them assessing how the body is moving and working. I know that the decision has always been the right one for WAP.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with WAPilates – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
WAPilates specializes in the Traditional Method of Joseph Pilates. We are known for individualized sessions that are catered to the needs and goals of each client. What I am most proud of is the group of Teachers that are at WAPilates. The knowledge and the natural gift each has to see the body of the client, to assess the needs of that client and to know how to push the client to a challenge point, how to get them to understand what the work is asking of them and to see how much they love what they do is what I am most proud of.

I think what sets us apart from others is our structure of the one-on-one, the Gratz apparatus and our Teacher Training Program which is just as individualized as our studio.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We are continuing to grow our Teacher Training Program and are now going to other studios around the country to train their Teachers. We have grown our WAPilates Teacher Training School and now have Continuing Education Programs for not only Teachers but, some of our workshops are for the public which we are very excited about.

We continue our Pilates Has Heart event every year and are most excited about our 3rd event coming up this February. Last year we double what we raised from our first year so we have big hopes for this one. All the proceeds go to the Texas Heart Institute to honor our client Terri Dome.

Pricing:

  • Private session $75
  • Package of 4 or more $70 per session
  • Duets $50 per person

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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