Studio Elenas offers full spectrum of healthy living
Elena Sartori is still a relative newcomer to Boone, but she’s already transforming people.
The Latvia native moved to Boone in spring 2012 and opened up Studio Elenas off of Bamboo Road about a month and a half ago. The studio offers classical Pilates, Iyengar-style yoga and education for healthy living.
Sartori lived in South Florida for 12 years, but she left behind her booming Pilates and yoga business to relocate to Boone after a friend and fellow yoga teacher introduced her to the area.
“When he described to me all of the things you can do in Boone, it was all of the things I thought would be perfect to have in one place,” she said. “I love the mountains, I love the hiking, I love the skiing and skating. When he mentioned it to me, I had this inner feeling that’s where I wanted to be at.”
Though it was a hard decision to leave behind her friends and clients in Florida, everything worked in her favor.
“It was not an easy choice to change,” Sartori said. “But sometimes, you know. On the second day, I decided to be here; on the third, I found a house; and then two months later, I moved.”
So far, her business in Boone has been mostly through doctor referrals. She started with a handful of clients, and they’ve had such physical transformations in their bodies from working with Sartori, other people have taken notice. “And then it kind of started rolling out from there by the word of mouth, as it so often happens in Boone,” she laughed.
Sartori developed her love of yoga more than two decades ago, when she emigrated from the USSR to Canada as a refugee. The radiation from the explosion in Chernobyl affected her health, as did the stress of moving to a new country as a teenager.
“I was very weak, and I slept most of the time,” she said. “When I got to Canada, with all the changes I had, my body was feeling weaker, I was hospitalized several times, and they could not really understand how to help me, because my body would just not respond to the treatment. I was in bed for almost two years.”
When Sartori was awake, she took English and computer classes. One of her teachers introduced her to yoga and helped get her to a retreat center, when traditional medicine wasn’t helping her.
“For six days, I was immersed in yoga and vegetarian cooking and breathing,” she said of her time at the retreat center. “And for me, it was a miracle cure, which saved my life.”
Sartori couldn’t stop practicing yoga herself, and she eventually started teaching yoga. Some of her clients in Florida asked if she had ever considered teaching Pilates, too. Sartori, who trained as a figure skater from age 5, discovered that Pilates has a lot of the same training as figure skating. She went through three levels of certification and began teaching Pilates, as well.
Though she’s been practicing yoga and Pilates for many years, Sartori prefers to work with beginners and with non-traditional clientele. Her youngest client ever was 3 years old, and she’s certified to work with people up to 102 years old.
“One of my gifts is to teach the beginners,” she said. “There are many great musicians, great artists, great athletes. But there are very few teachers who can really teach raw beginners. And what I have been told and have experienced, I love to teach beginners. And most of my clients here at the studio who are in their 60s or 70s … have never done yoga or Pilates before, and they love it and have such wonderful results. I think it speaks for itself.”
Sartori is also a chef and has worked in that field for many years. She currently teaches cooking classes through the Boone Healing Arts Center and plans to start teaching more classes through her studio, as well. Her classes revolve around the vegan and gluten-free lifestyle and incorporate foreign food styles.
“You know how limited we are sometimes in places we can eat, particularly vegans in Boone,” she said. “It gives people a variety of things they can cook at home. I create my own recipes, and over the years, I came to the conclusion that they’re straightforward, and they taste amazing, and often you don’t see that in vegan combinations.”
Though she’s still building her client base in Boone, Sartori has big visions for Studio Elenas.
“It’s a challenge, but it’s an adventure,” she said. “Every place I’ve ever lived, I’ve achieved a success, and I know it’s going to happen, and I know it takes some time. I really like to share this with as many people as I can.”
To learn more about the studio or to register for a private or group class, visit http://www.studioelenas.com.