“Do you continue to embody the best version of yourself with kindness and compassion even when faced with adversity?” asks Auburn’s Shelia Cowart. “And can you be that person no matter what?”
It’s a question the Longevita Pilates & Yoga Studio owner has reflected on often over her 14 years of experience, of which 12 years have been as a studio owner.
“Our compassionate and devoted instructors stand beside everyone, ready to serve as pillars of guidance and unwavering support throughout their wellness expedition which includes not only Pilates, but yoga and other exercise programs. Their heartfelt belief is that all of what we have to offer extends its warm embrace to individuals of all ages and backgrounds,” Cowart says.
Holding numerous fitness certifications, including as a STOTT PILATES instructor, Cowart also has specialized training in Special Populations and Injury, Osteoporosis and Pilates, Pelvic and Lumbar Spine exercises, among other certified training. “Clients come in for shoulder or back problems or wanting to strengthen their core and stay for the other benefits they did not expect, like self-confidence and self-esteem,” Cowart explains.
She draws on her own experience in supporting clients through their journeys.
During her previous corporate job, Cowart felt depleted emotionally and physically. “I used to work over 12 hours a day, plus travel for three weeks out of the month, didn’t exercise and ended up with some severe back issues. Then one day, after starting Pilates my skepticism subsided when I noticed the pain started disappearing. I trusted the process and here I am!”
“Try and think of your life like a GPS system. Every decision you make is either going towards your North Star, or going away from it. We help our clients realize that they need to take care of themselves so they can be there for everyone else.”
Longevita is ultimately a wellness studio, offering private and group sessions where they customize exercises and find modifications for those with injuries, or those preparing for knee or hip treatment or recovering from surgery, for example.
“We are messy human beings. We are emotional and complicated,” says Cowart, radiating positive energy. “I teach people to do their best and only their best, nothing more. I create a place where people know they will be embraced positively and not judged.”
“Our yoga program is based on the belief that whether someone is stepping onto the mat as a curious beginner or as an experienced yogi seeking further growth, our doors are wide open, ready to welcome all into the nurturing world of yoga. Here, we wholeheartedly encourage all our cherished clients to embark on their unique journey and experience firsthand the profound, life-changing influence of yoga. So, whether an individual is seeking solace, vitality, or a sense of belonging, Longevita is here, ready to accompany each client every step of the way,” Cowart says.
Cowart is also passionate about supporting people in the community diagnosed with a neurological condition, such as Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis.
NeuroFit is designed to enhance and improve the lives of people with neurological conditions, combining modified exercises that improve strength, balance and coordination, with low-impact aerobics. The ultimate goal is to increase people’s activities for daily living and challenge them in their medical and physical abilities.
“Our Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis patients are some of the most loyal and consistent clients. They get community and laughter here and start forgetting about their condition. They’re not hiding behind stigma and they feel better for hours after. They have good and bad days, but we help them achieve a quality lifestyle,” Cowart says.
“Dopamine comes from the movement of the feet that helps produce natural dopamine for improved body functions, including memory, movement, and motivation. We do this throughout our exercise program – it’s one of the reasons why people with Parkinson’s feel better here,” Cowart says.