Client Feature: Tom Oksner

Tom Oksner has been a steadfast practitioner of Pilates — and a dedicated client of Jay Grimes — for many years. Spending his days in a high-stress career, he found relief and energy through his weekly workouts. Over the years, we’ve been inspired by the consistency, curiosity and joy Tom brought to his practice. So, we’re happy to share his words with all of you!

HOW DID YOU DISCOVER PILATES?

I’m a slow learner, so I’ve had to discover Pilates more than once. I first found Pilates in New York on a college break after I saw an article in a magazine. I loved it and made a point to take sessions at Drago’s Gym whenever I was visiting family in New York. I was hooked when specific exercises I was given helped me recover from a knee injury. I re-discovered Pilates many years later (well, ok, decades later!) when I moved to Los Angeles. I had been pursuing yoga, weight lifting, swimming and other stuff, but a back injury led me back to Pilates and eventually I was lucky enough to find Jay Grimes.

HOW DOES PILATES AFFECT YOUR LIFE?

Doing Pilates puts me back in my body. I worked for many years in a high-pressure job at a digital advertising agency and I used to sneak out once a week at lunchtime for a Pilates session. I learned to schedule my toughest meetings for the afternoon after my workout. It gave me the best energy to handle whatever stress was coming my way for the rest of the day. I guess that’s what Pilates does for me– it puts me in this great state of mind and gives me the physical energy and confidence to take on my day.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE EXERCISE?

I think the tendon stretch right now, although “favorite” might not be the right word. It’s more like a place where I’m finally understanding another layer of the exercise. Maybe also doing a push-through at the end of a workout, that’s always good. Having someone push me on the push-through at the end of a workout–even better!

WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?

There’s something about the concentration, moving, stretching and flow of the exercises that creates some kind of energy transfusion or something. It’s very addicting. I also come back for great teachers. I’ve tried different styles of Pilates, but now I know to look for classically trained teachers using quality equipment.