Layne Rodrigues Raises the Barre (And More) at Flow Studios
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Going With the FlowJanuary 2016
By Fache Destochers
Photos: Brittany Wilbur
Whether it is a New Year’s resolution, cleaning out that cluttered closet or even setting up a first date, one human truth that is universally agreed upon is the unmitigated difficulty of Taking The First Step. And it’s not always a figurative challenge, either. As a lifelong dancer turned Pilates professional, Layne Rodrigues has long understood the literal importance of the first step, and how essential it is to not just take it, but to embrace it. So when Rodrigues first began to contemplate shifting from the hustle of carving out a dance and fitness career in Los Angeles to returning to the Valley and opening her own Barre (a popular ballet-inspired workout) and Pilates studio, it was her lifelong understanding of the rewards of the first step that – perhaps more than anything else – made the creation of Visalia’s Flow Studios possible. “I just went in headfirst,” Rodrigues says with a laugh. “I knew exactly what I wanted to end up with; I had a vision. So the biggest hurdle was just diving in and starting it all.”
Housed in an exquisitely historic building in the heart of downtown Visalia, Flow Studios is not only a beautiful space dedicated to strengthening the mind, body and spirit, but it is also a kind of living monument to the joy that dedication to a dream can bring. “I could have stayed in LA, but although I was building my career, in my day-to-day life I wasn’t happy,” explains Rodrigues. Initially, her plan was to dance professionally, and support that passion with side jobs. But as often happens, it wasn’t long before Rodrigues’ “side jobs” were claiming the bulk of her time. Never one to settle, Rodrigues decided it was time to take charge of her destiny, and refocus her sights on achieving a career that was more in line with the things that had always meant the most to her.
“The older I got, the more I came to realize that I have always been happiest when I am dancing, and teaching. I’ve been dancing my whole life, and teaching it since I was 16, so I’ve always known that I loved being in that sphere,” says Rodrigues. “But I came to love Pilates because it’s a lot easier on your body than dance or distance running, or anything else that tears you up. Instead, Pilates is about becoming strong and centered.
“And that’s supposed to be the purpose of exercise,” continues Rodrigues. “To make yourself feel good while enabling your body to be even better at day-to-day life.”
Upon her return to the Valley, Rodrigues immediately set about finding the right space to house the Pilates and Barre studio that had become her vision. And while this phase of a starting a business can often take forever, for Rodrigues, things began to happen very quickly. “When I found the space, I wasn’t exactly fully prepared to start my business,” Rodrigues says with a grin. “But that was actually kind of a blessing, because it forced me to get everything ready and dive in and open my doors.”
And dive in she did. After some much-needed renovations, Flow Studios officially opened in November 2013, and has been attracting a community of like-minded fitness enthusiasts ever since. But despite her business’ welcome growth, Rodrigues is committed to keeping things personalized. “I like to keep my classes small and intimate so that I can really give each person who attends the attention that they deserve,” says Rodrigues. “Because Pilates isn’t truly effective unless you’re doing it correctly, so the instructor’s participation is essential.”
Flow Studios offers a Barre class, a circuit-training class, and both private and semi-private (two clients only) Pilates classes, as well as a Pilates reformer class. The private and semi-private classes provide a personalized program specific to each client using either the reformer, Wunda chair or springboard as equipment. The Pilates reformer class is limited to four clients at a time and is a bit more advanced, requiring a basic knowledge of the reformer and its use. The studio’s Barre and circuit-training classes are less equipment-oriented, able to accommodate more students, and therefore perfect for those just getting their feet wet in this fitness realm. But one thing remains consistent through each of Rodrigues’ classes: a focus on a centered strength, and the joy of the mind-body connection. The flow of it all, in fact.
“I chose the name Flow Studios because the definition of “flow” according to positivity psychologists is ‘the mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process’,” says Rodrigues. “And that’s exactly what I think fitness is meant to do: make you stronger, happier and better equipped to love yourself and the life you’re living.” •
Flow Studios • (559) 904-3912
111 S. Court St., Suite 208, Visalia
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