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Mindful Movement: How to Deal with Stress and Anxiety

kokou adzo



Shannon Adams Urban Body San Jose

We talked to Shannon Adams of Urban Body San Jose about Pilates and Gyrotonic®methods. 

Tell us about yourself and your career.

Shannon Adams: I am founder and co-owner of Urban Body San Jose. My career as a classical ballerina concluded at the age of 29 due to an injury that led to two total hip replacements before I was 30 years old. My healing journey was my inspiration to find a way to foster movement, wellness, and health all under one roof, and that is how Urban Body San Jose was born. My studio is the only boutique studio in San Jose featuring both Classical Pilates and The Gyrotonic® Method. Beyond being a small business owner, I am also a wife, mother, and educator. 

How does Urban Body San Jose innovate? 

Shannon Adams: I am proud to be a pioneer in San Jose, teaching the breath-based works of Pilates and Gyrotonic® under one roof. Coming to Urban Body San Jose for a session is not only a fitness and movement treat; it is an experience you will never forget. 

How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business, and how are you coping?  

Shannon Adams: People value the work we teach because it greatly improves their quality of life, health, and mental wellbeing, but I’d be lying if I said this situation wasn’t hard. We originally had to pivot to 100 percent online offerings. We were closed physically for seven months. We can now operate at 10% capacity, which means we have a waitlist, and it kills me to not be able to accommodate all of our beautiful clients for in-person appointments. They are; however, thriving in virtual sessions, which is amazing to see. Overall, this pandemic has been very stressful and costly. My only coping mechanism has been having my movement practice. Movement truly heals. Both physically and mentally.

What are the pandemic era lessons learned? 

Shannon Adams: I’ve learned more in this year of business than I have in the past 6 years. The number one thing is to act fast. We pivoted to online in less than 24 hours in order to continue to best serve our clients. My team has been wonderful. They do a phenomenal job with our clients, and honestly, they deserve a round of applause. They are all wonderful and empathetic human beings in addition to their teaching gifts. We are also lucky to have incredible clients that are community and health-driven. Unfortunately, we had to make some tough decisions early on about temporary lay-offs and hourly pay, but if we didn’t, we wouldn’t be here today. My business partner, who brings me so much balance has inspired me to act, not react. Maria has the ability to think logically and reminds me often to take a step back and see the bigger picture. It is hard to believe, but because of COVID, we are now a better version of Urban Body San Jose with a team that fully aligns with our mission, and it’s magic.

How do you deal with stress and anxiety, and how do you project yourself and Urban Body San Jose in the future? 

Shannon Adams: I move. Classical Pilates and The Gyrotonic® Method aren’t just exercise modalities. They are mindful movement practices, which means they bring you into the present moment and foster consciousness. They stimulate your nervous system so you can recover from stress, which is a silent killer. This is something every single person in the world can benefit from. We need more leaders that will nurture and foster wellness in the workplace. If you are not well, and by well I mean physically fit and mentally fit, how can you perform with the creativity you need to grow and how can your employees thrive if they are not well and if they cannot be present? I see myself leading this charge by helping show people how to focus and be fully present in life.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game? 

Shannon Adams: There may be other studios, but they don’t offer the same experience my studio does, and they don’t offer the level of instruction that UBSJ provides. I have some really wonderful mentors and industry colleagues that inspire me and mentor me. I’ve learned a lot from them and am grateful for their generosity. I also believe that there are enough clients for everyone, but I still have yet to find another studio that offers fantastic instruction, a diverse team, an immaculate studio, impeccable customer service and response, and all within a space that has people in awe when they walk up the stairs. My creative brain is always thinking about how the customer experience can be better. 

Your final thoughts? 

Shannon Adams: Invest in your body and mind now with practices like Classical Pilates and/or The Gyrotonic® Method. Otherwise, you will be investing in western medical treatment later, which is far more costly, trust me. 

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Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at

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