Community - May 4, 2011

Business: Menlo Pilates & Yoga moves to El Camino

by Sheryl Nonnenberg

A walk down Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park confirms that the economic recovery appears to be happening slowly, and that small businesses were among the hardest hit by the downturn. Empty storefronts are visible proof that some businesses could not attract the dollars needed to succeed. There is an exception, however, at 1011 El Camino Real.

Once the home of the Menlo Park Academy of Dance, then a hot yoga studio, then Devi Yoga, the space has been reinvented as Menlo Pilates & Yoga.

The new owner, Fran Phillip, used to run a small Pilates studio on Oak Grove Avenue, where she had a thriving business but needed a larger space. While attending a yoga class at Devi Yoga in December, she heard the news that the studio would be closing.

She sprang into action, signing the new lease in early January. She says she was attracted to the openness of the space and the possibilities of offering classes that would "touch more people's lives."

Ms. Phillip, originally from Australia, has always been an avid sportswoman. She has been involved in health fitness for almost 15 years and is a certified personal trainer.

She began using the Pilates Mat seven years ago and is fully qualified in both Pilates Mat and equipment. She teaches several classes a day, as well as offering private instruction.

On the yoga side, she is slowly building a schedule of classes in a variety of styles, including Vinyasa and Yin. She also has included the popular dance exercise method, Zumba, in the weekly schedule.

She says moving to the former Devi site has been a dream come true, although it is challenging to get old participants back to the space. There is a misconception that Menlo Pilates and Yoga is tied to the former ownership. Once students enter the studio it becomes apparent that there is a new look, new energy and new possibilities for improving health and fitness — all in a location that is familiar and accessible.

Go to for more information. Sheryl Nonnenberg, a Menlo Park resident, teaches Yin/Vinyasa Yoga at Menlo Pilates and Yoga.


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