Business

Ground Floor: New pilates business owner spreads her wings

Donna Herring Johnson of Metamorphis Pilates Center believes 'we are all butterflies inside'

Cliff Jette/The Gazette

Metamorphosis Pilates owner Donna Johnson Herring gives a private Pilates lesson to Courtney Jasper of Cedar Rapids at the studios location at 102 3rd Avenue SW in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, September 29, 2015.
Cliff Jette/The Gazette Metamorphosis Pilates owner Donna Johnson Herring gives a private Pilates lesson to Courtney Jasper of Cedar Rapids at the studios location at 102 3rd Avenue SW in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, September 29, 2015.
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Donna Johnson Herring views Pilates as the catalyst for her personal growth, which she likens to the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly.

It is that analogy that inspired the name of Herring’s new business, Metamorphosis Pilates Center.

Pilates is an exercise program that consists of low-impact, mindful movements designed to increase flexibility and muscular strength and to improve posture, coordination, balance, and breathing.

Herring’s introduction to Pilates came after she suffered a low back injury. Her chiropractor suggested Pilates to as a way to strengthen her core and, through the exercise program, she found more than lasting pain relief.

“Pilates made me feel different,” she said. “The transformation was not just physical. My growth was multi-dimensional; it was a development of body, mind, spirit and heart.”

Herring wanted to share her Pilates experience with others. In 2003, she became a certified Pilates instructor and began teaching classes at various fitness centers in the area, all the while dreaming of opening her own studio.

“I knew even at that early stage that Pilates was changing me,” she said. “I knew for years that the name of my studio would be Metamorphosis Pilates.”

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In 2008, Herring joined her Pilates instructor trainer, Risë Karns Stokstad, and two of Stokstad’s other former students at Pilates Center Cedar Rapids, where Herring taught private and semi-private lessons. The center relocated from the Cherry Building to the northeast side following the June 2008 flood.

When Pilates Center’s lease expired, Herring decided it was time to complete her transformation and become a studio owner.

Metamorphosis Pilates Center opened Sept. 8 in the historic Gatto Building in downtown Cedar Rapids. Joining Herring at the new studio are her former colleagues from Pilates Center, along with four new instructors.

“The other instructors have invested time, talent and treasure into the studio,” Herring said. “I couldn’t have done it without their support and investment, and I am really grateful to have such great people working there.”

The building, which offers high ceilings and a light, airy environment, had not been occupied since the flood. It required significant renovation, which was completed by the building owner.

The space offers two studios, one for classes and the other for private sessions. Classes include Pilates, yoga, and Nia, a low-impact, high-energy movement form.

Metamorphosis Pilates also offers aerial yoga and Pilates classes, which Herring said are newer to the area. These classes are conducted on colorful silks that are suspended from the ceiling and look a bit like giant butterflies.

“I believe we are all butterflies inside,” Herring said. “I aspire that Metamorphosis Pilates Center is a catalyst to finding the butterfly inside every individual who walks through its doors.”

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At a Glance

Owner: Donna Johnson Herring

Business: Metamorphosis Pilates Center

Address: 102 Third Avenue SW, Cedar Rapids

Telephone: (319) 360-1602

Website: www.metamorphosis-pilates.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/metamorphosispilatescenter

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