If it’s good enough for Meghan Markle, it’s good enough for me. That’s what I told myself in my car outside of Form, a new Pilates studio that opened November 5 and champions Sebastian Lagree’s method of whipping your body into shape with slow, deliberate movements. I’m no stranger to Pilates, but when I walked into Form’s perfectly posh pink studio, I was shocked to see a lack of Reformers, those guillotine-esque machines often associated with the classic method.
In their stead was what Form founder Shantelle Jackson called a "Mega"—short for Megaformer, the tool critical to the Lagree method. The Mega instantly reminded me of a Bowflex machine, but again, if this is Meghan Markle’s chosen exercise, I had to be in the right place.
The class kicked off with dance music, and suddenly, the whole vibe came together. This isn’t a Pilates studio; it’s a Pilates party. From the pink lights to the black floors, Jackson said she was going for a certain aesthetic with the space.
After experiencing the drawn-out, slowed-down movements that characterize the Lagree method of Pilates, I can say I get it—or rather, I feel it. The music during class keeps your mood up, a feat since every muscle just wants to bring you down for a break. In the club, you twerk. At Form, you shake, and the crazy thing is, you’re supposed to be shaking. “That’s how you know it’s working,” said my instructor Whitney Webster. The motions are deliberate, and you feel every single one of them. There’s a reason you see changes in your body after as little as two classes.
Although there is a learning curve to finding your groove, the burn is always present, and with only 10 Megaformers in the studio, Form promises small classes with hands-on assistance. However, Jackson takes it a step further: Just when you thought the 45-minute class targeted every muscle in your body, Form works out one more—your heart.
Jackson’s goal was never to simply open up a bumping Pilates studio, of which there are plenty around these parts. Rather, she wanted to create a community for women and caring individuals alike, and she’s done just that. Teaming up with five local charities, Jackson makes her classes complicit in her philanthropy by handing out creatively printed $5 bills, all bearing the face of an inspirational woman, for people to deposit in one of the five donation boxes located on a wall in the studio.
It’s important for Jackson to give back in this manner, and she has huge plans to continue fostering her community by switching out the charities she partners with each quarter and also hosting community get-togethers in the parking lot behind the studio. Pilates is great for toning your body, but Form is great for toning up your soul.
I’ve definitely seen the pink light in Jackson’s philosophy and philanthropy. Call me a masochist, but I’m dying to go back, and lucky for me, Form is running two introductory offers: You can try your first class for $20, or, if you’re like me and want the instant gratification of that two-class tone-up, you can drop $69 for two weeks of unlimited class time. Sign up online and get ready to feel the burn that gives back.