Leslie Clayton

Many of you have probably driven right by Body Awareness Pilates on Roswell

Road (5549 Roswell Road) just inside the perimeter. Leslie is the owner and loves to share the value of Pilates and her unique wellness program to help people reconnect to their bodies to promote good health and fitness.

What inspired you or led to your current career? I was a dancer and taught dance at Atlanta Ballet School and one year I went on Spring Break with friends and as we were driving back to Atlanta at 4 am in the morning we saw shooting stars and I made a wish. At the time I was living at home, so I wished for a way to afford to live on my own and do what I love for a living. The very next day I was in a car accident and fractured many bones. The recovery involved physical therapy which included a reformer machine used in Pilates. It worked so well and I was so impressed with all the improvement, that with the insurance money from the accident I bought one and started learning to teach Pilates. Wishes do come true!

How long have you lived and or worked in Sandy Springs? I have been working in Sandy Springs since 1995 when I moved into my current building – as the owner came to one of my classes where I was at the time. She offered me this space on Roswell Road to get my business started. I got a head start as no one in the Atlanta area was offering Pilates at the time.

What is something interesting about you that people probably don’t know? I was lucky enough to dance in the 1996 Opening and Closing Olympic ceremonies as a member of Lee Harper Dancers. We were the Southern Spirits Butterflies… It was a wonderful experience.

Who is the most interesting person you have met here?  Laura Turner Seydel who I came to know through Eve Ensler’s V-Day movement for ending violence against women and girls globally.  I am impressed with Laura’s campaigning for environmental and humanitarian issues with the Captain Planet Foundation and many other organizations. She is a strong leader who uses her influence to bring different communities together to learn from each other and build a better world. I love how she listens to the quiet voices in the community and brings those voices forward to be heard.

What advice would you give to people? To listen to your body. Give your body what it needs. Concentrate on breathing and moving. Those two things help with your mood, anxiety, depression and improve your immune system.

Choosing anyone alive, with whom would you love to have lunch? Oprah – I love how she uses her voice and talents to bridge the gap between cultures.

What is your favorite thing? Being outside in nature – taking a “nature bath”

Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years? Still working, but speaking more in public on loving ourselves and taking care of our bodies. Also doing more through my Joyous Heart Network, a nonprofit support service organization, dedicated to the support of individuals and communities affected by sexual and domestic abuse. We offer support and resources to assist. ( www.joyousheartnetwork.org and on Facebook.)

What words come to mind when you think of the word home? Cozy and peaceful with family and pets.

Debbie Soneshine of The Sonenshine Teamwould love your Faces nominations.

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