My New Pilates Studio: Oxygen Mind + Body, Andover

Amy Cieslik owner of pilates studio Oxygen Mind + Body
Founder of Oxygen Mind + Body, Amy Cieslik, sits on a Reformer apparatus. Photo by Emily O’Brien Photography


I’m so happy to finally be writing about this. While I could’ve sung the praises of my new Pilates studio the moment I began classes back in October, I always like to give a new fitness routine some time to determine if it’s really for me.  And also, what better time to talk about new fitness ideas than at the start of a new year.

I’m happy to report that my initial positive impression of Reformer Pilates at Oxygen Mind + Body has held true and I’m as enthusiastic today as I first was.

Speaking of the beginning, let me start there. In late September, I posted about hanging up my beloved kickboxing gloves. This, without doubt, was the best decision I could’ve made. My long-term back issues have nearly disappeared.

I admit, thereafter, I was struggling to figure out my next fitness “thing.” Then, in my email inbox, came a message from Amy Cieslik, founder and studio manager of Oxygen Mind + Body in Andover, MA.

Amy saw my kickboxing post and sweetly offered a gentler solution. She suggested a Pilates Reformer class (the Reformer is a large apparatus on which these specific classes are conducted). In addition to being both a Reformer and Mat Pilates studio, Oxygen Mind + Body also offers Yoga, Barre and small group fitness classes.


Reformers set up for stationary excercise.


I was familiar with Reformer Pilates and was thrilled that Amy had reminded me of its benefits. I was open to trying something new considering my body was clearly changing, then so should my exercise routine.

No joke, I was hooked after my first session with Amy. Reformer uses pulleys and springs to control your motion and resistance on a gliding carriage. For many exercises, you lay flat on the movable carriage which is actually pretty comfortable and relaxing. The Reformer can also be set up in a variety of other ways in which you are stationary or using the tower portion of the device. There’s always something new – it’ never boring.


Reformers in use with gliding carriage and foot straps in play.


Now that several months have passed, I feel confident sharing this new experience and suggesting that you, if you haven’t already, give this fitness method a try. I have consistently attended a Friday 7:30 am Pilates Stretch class with Amy because I love it that much. Let’s just say physical activity at 7:30 in the morning is generally not my thing.

What I love about Reformer Pilates and my new Pilates studio:

  • Oxygen Mind + Body is on the ground level of Building #2 in Dundee Office Park. The intimate space is charming and inviting. The exposed pipes, brick and beams give the studio a lot of character and warmth.
  • The instructors! I can’t say enough. Well I’ve only had two, but Amy and Michelle have both been amazing. At no time do the instructors work out with you. Instead, they closely monitor the class and make hands-on corrections in an encouraging and upbeat way. Because there are many ways to configure the Reformer, instruction is always clear and specific. I am never at a loss for what to do. I look forward to going as much for the instructors as the activity.
  • The fluidity of the reformer carriage, gliding back and forth, as I use my legs or arms to create motion against the tension springs is oddly soothing. While I know this gentle resistance training is doing great things for my muscles (typically I hate any kind of weight training) I also enjoy the movement. It’s like I’m on a ride.
  • From the moment I started, I felt my muscles being used in a different, good, way. The simultaneous exertion and stretching felt right for me. I’m convinced this will help me achieve the appearance of longer, leaner legs that I’ve always dreamed of.

Two things I’ve noticed

  • I’ve long had a slight imbalance between my left and right legs. It’s barely noticeable, but sometimes I feel the tiniest bit of a limp. The day after my first session, that lopsided feeling was gone and has yet to return.
  • I’m also aware that my posture is improved. I stand taller and straighter and engage my core more naturally and often.

I’m thankful to have found a new fitness passion that is working for me and I enjoy. For the first time in a long time I crave my classes.

In the most basic of terms, it just feels good!

Oxygen Mind and Body, LLC
2 Dundee Park, Unit B01, Andover, MA 01810

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6 years ago

I loved Amy! She is so sweet, and I like your observations about the reformer… last year when my HIIT Tabata classes were too much for my joints, I started incorporating traditional and reformer pilates and it made a WORLD of difference. I wish I lived closer, but I’d still love to get to one of Amy’s classes

6 years ago

Good for you, Beth. Sounds like you’ve discovered a fabulous new workout.

6 years ago

You’ve got me thinking it is time to make some positive changes with my well-being. Loved the article. Wish I lived closer to your area.

6 years ago

Sounds like a great class. Wish I lived closer! I’ve been having lots of aches and pains from “running”. Need to find something easier on my knees!

6 years ago

Beth, thank you for recommending this to me, between you and my Mom I finally decided to give it a try, and so far I am liking the results, I am definitely sore and looking forward to going back for another class soon!

6 years ago

Sounds like a very inviting form of exercise, if I were a few years younger I would give it a try.

6 years ago

Maybe 5 or 6 years ago I tried Pilates and really liked it. Not sure why I didn’t continue. Worth considering it again. Thanks, Beth!

6 years ago

I used to take floor Pilates classes, but never took a reformer class. I think I’ll give it a try!