Pilates to the rescue: Nicole Meadors Keegan is living the dream. She’s wondering why you aren’t.

By Mitch Rustad

“An ordinary sunny day with no plans and the ease that comes with maturity.”

That’s how Hudson-based Pilates instructor Nicole Meadors Keegan defines happiness. But she also finds joy and delight through her Pilates practice and teaching classes at her stunning studio which she says has attracted celebrities, artists, doctors, stone masons, parents, carpenters and kids since it opened in 2003. 

“Exercise is essential for my own well-being,” says Keegan. “As for my older generation Pilates clients, they have joie de vivre. For them, exercise is a tonic for vitality and longevity—a mood boost.”

Keegan teaches Classical Pilates, which was invented by Joseph Pilates. Though he passed away decades ago, Keegan says he defined the essence of Pilates as “the coordination of mind, body, spirit—or an ‘internal shower.’” But, most of all, learning to breathe correctly is the foundation necessary. Keegan says the current science—from experts including Dr. Rangan Chatterjee, author of Feel Better In 5 and Andrew Huberman, a professor of neuroscience at Stanford University—tells us that a simple, slow deep breathing practice is an immediate physiological and psychological balm for our nervous system.

In addition to Pilates, Keegan tells me she finds happiness by calling this area home where she has lived for more than three decades. She worked at Upstate Films in the late 1990s and Time & Space Limited in 2000 before opening her Pilates studio a couple of years later. “I’ve met the most amazing, low-key, authentic, creative artists and thinkers,” she says. “This community is an unusual mix of people. I love driving to my studio on Blue Hill Road, past the apple orchards and snow-covered mountains while the sun rises. No traffic, no stress, one stoplight. Fifteen minutes. Perfection.”

Keegan says she started her Pilates training in her late 20s after a tumultuous and quietly sad period, while navigating the symptoms of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD). Through Columbia Count Mental Health, she received grant funding for Pilates rehabilitation training and then won a self-employment grant from New York State to open her own studio. “It was a complex, bureaucratic process, hard won and it took time,” she says. “Twenty odd years later, I have the life of my dreams; I feel peaceful and utterly content almost all the time. Pilates has literally saved my life.”

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