You’re About to Enter the Boundary-Free Zone for Body, Mind and Spirit

October 14, 2010
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equilibrium22For the past 11 years inside her warm, nourishing, healing and fully equipped Equilibrium Fitness studio in the Oak Tree Center in La Verne, Phyllis Soha Douglass has been using her extensive background as a dancer and dance company owner, nationally-certified Pilates trainer and Master Sound Healing Therapist to help her clients find a natural resonance and balance in their lives.

On the eastern facing wall of the studio hangs a painting of two silhouetted figures dancing around the sun. The dancers’ celebratory rapture and joy seem to capture the essence of the studio.

“It’s like my spirit, said Douglass, who holds a Master’s in Fine Arts in Dance from the California Institute of the Arts and a bachelor’s in Education with a minor in Biomechanics from the University of Minnesota. “Every day is a new beginning, every day is bright; every day there is something to celebrate.”

Celebration for her clients is exercising their body, mind and spirit through a series of workouts and workshops, including Pilates, yoga, BOSU and stability training, Zumba, meditation classes and other offerings that support the “whole” person.

Equilibrium Fitness is probably best known as one of the San Gabriel Valley’s premier Pilates centers. Through a series of controlled, concentrated and precise movements, clients begin seeing improvements in not only their body’s alignment and posture, but also their balance, coordination, flexibility and strength. The studio is equipped with six reformers, two cadillacs (trapeze tables), two stability chairs, two ladder barrels and hundreds of Pilates accessories. The exercises are progressive, and become more complex and challenging as the client advances.

Yoga, of course, is the perfect complement to Pilates, and underscores Equilibrium Fitness’ commitment to helping clients achieve the full integration of mind, body and spirit.

“Many people think that yoga (which means ‘union’ in Sanskrit, the language of ancient India where yoga originated) is just stretching,” Douglass said. “But while stretching is certainly involved, yoga is really about creating balance in the body through developing both strength and flexibility. This is done through the performance of poses or postures, each of which has specific physical benefits. The poses can be done quickly in succession, creating heat in the body through movement or more slowly to increase stamina and perfect the alignment of the pose. The poses are a constant, but the approach to them varies depending on the tradition in which the teacher has trained.” In addition to practicing the poses, yoga classes may also include breathing exercises and meditation.

Phyllis Soha Douglass

Phyllis Soha Douglass

This Saturday, Oct. 20, to celebrate its new yoga program, Equilibrium Fitness is offering two free yoga classes to the community. Teacher Juanita Raymer will conduct a Hatha Yoga class from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. and Katie Cryer will follow with a second class from 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. For the nightcap, Douglass also will offer a Sacred Sounds Gong Meditation from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Starting Monday, Oct. 18, Equilibrium Fitness will offer a full complement of not only Hatha Yoga classes, but also Prenatal Yoga and Taoist Yoga classes, which integrate Qigong and Tai Chi.

“Times are changing,” Douglass added. “I sense people are getting more spiritual. They’re looking for more alternative things, so we’re reintroducing our yoga programs on a broader scale to complement our Pilates programs.”

As always, clients can sign up for private, semi-private or group classes. They can also mix and match classes. All rates and schedules are listed at The studio opens at 6:30 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m.

After enrolling in classes, Douglass hopes that her clients’ will apply their new-found strength, flexibility, balance and confidence to their everyday activities, whether the student is a weekend warrior or simply someone who wants to get of the car more easily and gracefully.

Not surprisingly, Equilibrium Fitness attracts a good number of male clients as well. The series of exercises and training techniques, after all, was founded by Joseph Pilates (1883-1967), who advocated early on the advantages of maintaining a strong and balanced body.

equilibrium3“We do get a lot of men in here,” Douglass noted. “Their wives or girlfriends drag them in as sort of a last resort, and then they end up being our most fanatical practitioners. We can make the workout as tough as you want. There is a whole breadth of exercises we can do.”

While the aim of Equilibrium Fitness is to treat the whole person, that person can be of almost any age or level of fitness. Equilibrium Fitness also offers sports-specific training and rehabilitative sessions. Indeed, many members are referred by their medical doctors.

“We offer a method of fitness that can be modified to accommodate anyone,” Douglass said. “That’s what fun and wonderful about what we do.”

With such a healing, caring, holistic attitude, it’s no wonder Equilibrium Fitness is celebrating its 11th year in business. This spiritual center of movement and mind has received many blessings and it bestows many blessings.

“We like to think of Equilibrium Fitness as a boundary-free zone for the body, mind and spirit, where there are no restrictions,” Douglass said.

For a free introductory session in any of the classes offered by Equilibrium Fitness, call (909) 593-1717. For more information, please go online at, where you can watch a brief, but excellent demonstation video. Equilibrium Fitness is located at 2019 Foothill Blvd. in the Oak Tree Center, across from the Stater Bros. Center, in La Verne.

And again, don’t miss their free yoga events this Saturday!

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