Shelia Donovan is the heart, soul and founder of the Pilates Studio in Canton, Massachusetts. Her love, positive energy and laughter flow into every corner of the space, uplifting all who enter.
She and her instructors share a love of movement and are resolute about educating their clients in mind body practices. As an athlete herself, runner & marathoner, Shelia knows the profound joy, strength and healing that accompanies movement practices. Her belief is that joyfulness, renewal and transformation through mind body practices is for everyone to experience. Passionately committed to all forms of movement that connect mind, body and spirit, she has completed a multitude of courses and certifications enabling her to serve as an expert, inspiring confidence in her students.
Originally from Virginia, Shelia’s fitness journey began with a BS degree in Exercise Science/Kinesiotherapy from Norfolk State University followed by 13 years employed as a Kinesiotherapist with the Veterans Administration Hospital. She relocated to Massachusetts in 1998 and graduated from the Massage Institute of New England. Gaining her National Certified Massage Therapist license in 1999, she remains an active AMTA member. At about the same time, Shelia became a personal trainer, receiving her certification through the American College of Sports Medicine.
Shelia has trained in Stott® Pilates since 1998 and became a fully certified Stott Pilates Instructor in all aspects of Pilates, advanced Mat & all equipment; both level 1 and level 2. In her pursuit of rigorous academic credibility she undertook the Functional Anatomy for Movement and Injuries Program twice at Mt. Sinai Medical School and is now an alumnus with access to cutting edge research in musculoskeletal conditions.
In 2003, she began her Gyrokinesis®/Gyrotonic® exploration which added a missing piece to her mind body practices. The system was created by Juliu Horvath, to rehabilitate himself as an injured dancer. Shelia trained with master trainers Kathy Van Patten of Boston and Sebastian Plettenberg of New York City. During 2004, she completed level one teacher training and completed her certification by Juliu Horvath as a Gyrotonic® and Gyrokinesis® trainer, followed by Level 2 Gyrotonic® and specialized equipment.
In caring for her own wellness and desire to continue running 10K/5K races and marathoning, (Shelia has completed 35 marathons and won 3) Shelia pursued Yamuna Body Rolling and became a certified Instructor of Trainers. She utilizes the Yamuna Body Rolling and all of the above methods proactively to prevent injury for herself and her students. Trained and certified in ActivCore FEX™ gives her an additional training apparatus which augments the wide variety of methods offered to her clients.
In 2008, Shelia became a registered National Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher having completed the rigorous YogaWorks program with Natasha Rizopoulos, as well as certifying as a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist through the Lotus Palm School of Montreal. She has studied with many renowned yoga instructors including Beryl Bender Birch, John Friend, Rodney Yee, Baron Baptiste and Sean Corne. Shelia expresses, through all of her teaching that mind body exercises are part of a journey that must be continually experienced. She believes that the ability to gain mental and physical strength through one’s practices helps a person maintain clarity and to endure whatever obstacles life may bring.
Shelia is well known for her attention to detail and her ability to "see" and “feel” each individual’s strengths and relative weaknesses and then formulate a specialized program to address these needs. She has guided all of her instructors in these methods. Whether clients be elite athletes, the unconditioned, weekend sports enthusiasts, those with significant physical disabilities, people with joint replacements, and a variety of other issues which require special attention, she is inspired and moved by all of her clients’ dedication and courage.
She mentors young athletes as well as her instructors, sharing liberally her wellspring of knowledge and talents in mind body methodologies. Her generosity to the Canton community and fundraising for worthy causes is another passion to which she devotes her time. Whether it be a memorial run, raising money for YogaHope, or supporting the local schools and charities, Shelia is well recognized and admired. She is an integrating force and role model in the lives of her students, her community and beyond.