Promoting Health: Sundial Pilates in Carefree helps clients ‘return to life’

By Allison Brown

Trainers at Sundial Pilates in Carefree use decade-old methods to help clients strengthen their core, increase flexibility, tone muscles and even reduce pain.

The studio doesn’t just call its workout Pilates, it strictly adheres to the methods developed by physical therapy pioneer, Joseph Pilates, who developed the movements and exercises over a span of 60 years.

“Utilizing the specialized equipment he designed, the method works by toning muscles as well as balancing muscular force at the joint level. It stimulates circulation through facilitating muscular flexibility, joint range of motion and proper musculoskeletal alignment,” co-owner Jill Eisma says.

“In addition, it promotes new neuromuscular patterns, heightened body awareness and more precise coordination. All these things combine to help prevent future re-injury and reduce — even in some cases alleviate — chronic pain altogether.”

Sundial Pilates is run by Eisma, Pamela Zeff and Denise Gurnee, all of whom have extensive training. The instructors have between 600 to 1,500 hours of formal training and undergo an additional 16 hours of education annually to maintain the national certified standard of Pilates instructors. Eisma says their understanding of the exercises helps them to “better teach the cultivation of a healthy body, mind and spirit.”

Zeff says because of their advanced training, they can accommodate just about anyone.

“We have had people as young as in their 20s. But I’ll be honest with you, most of our clients are in their 40s and we have some that are in their upper 70s and early 80s,” Zeff says.

“We have people that come in that have had absolutely no experience at all and we have some that have come in and done a couple years of Pilates. We really have every level of individuals, and the cool part is we can accompany every level.”

The goal of Pilates is simply to strengthen the core, but Zeff says that it can have a profound effect on the rest of the body. She recalls working with a man who could barely walk when he came in. After a combination of Pilates and physical therapy, Zeff says he walks on his own and his pain is reduced.

The studio opened in November 2021 after Eisma noticed the lack of Pilates in the area.

“When I moved to Scottsdale I was shocked at how little classical Pilates was here,” she says.

“I could not find a studio to practice or work out in anywhere within 30 minutes of my home. Pamela and I wanted to bring classical Pilates to Carefree/Cave Creek to share our knowledge and help residents with rehabilitation from injury, better alignment, better concentration and most importantly to help the people in our community to ‘return to life,’ as written by Joseph Pilates.”

Unlike other Pilates studios, Sundial Pilates offers one-on-one instruction or up to three people to make sure clients are getting personalized attention and doing each exercise properly.

Zeff says it’s impossible to really watch everyone in a 30-person class, and she feels clients get cheated from that. She says if someone isn’t quite doing the exercise right, they are not getting the full potential of that exercise and putting themselves at risk for getting hurt as well.

The first lesson at Sundial Pilates is complimentary, so prospective clients can see if they like it.

And people must like it, because she added that since they opened, to the best of her knowledge, every person who has tried Pilates here has stuck with it.

Private Pilates lessons start at $60, duos at $40 and trios at $35. Appointments are available seven days a week and can be made online or by phone. Memberships and packages are also available.

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