Studio History
    The Studio • History

    A Sewanee alum, who was attending Kim’s Beginner Pilates Class at Chattanooga State was impressed with her unique teaching style and thought it would be of benefit to the Sewanee Community. She invited Kim to teach a Beginner Pilates class for the Sewanee Community at the Fowler Center Gym on the University of the South Campus. The class of 10 started in September 2007 and met twice a week. Private sessions in personal training and Pilates were quickly added.

    By the fall of 2010 Kim was teaching a full schedule of classes, privates and duets three days a week and two sections of Beginning Pilates had been added to the University’s Physical Education classes. In January of 2014 Kim was able to reserve the dance studio in Fowler from 8 am- 4 pm five days a week. Despite the extended hours, the allotted time in the dance studio quickly filled and a waiting list for privates and duets began to form. At this point Kim felt that God was leading her to open her own studio to accommodate the growing demand for her unique educational and healing techniques. The subsequent journey included a building project, holding classes outdoors in Angel Park and on the front porch of her rental home during Covid and finally renting the American Legion Hall which gave opportunity for growth and for massage therapist Matthew Sias to come on board.

    In the fall of 2021 Kim and her husband Bob, noticed a picturesque stone house for sale on Ball Park Road. The house had been built in 1948 by master stonemason and later head of plant services for the University, Carl Reid. As Kim looked at the beautiful and unique woodwork, stained glass windows, ornate light fixtures and large rooms, she realized that the house could be both a studio with a peaceful, retreat-like atmosphere and beauty as well as a functional living space for the couple. The house was already under contract but the Butters decided to put in a back-up contract on faith that God was providing this house to meet both needs. They got the amazing news that they were now the primary contract on Kim’s birthday in late September. They closed on the house in November and she and Bob moved into the residence part in January 2022 and Bodyworks Youniversity opened in the business part at the end of February 2022. She and Matthew Sias were then joined there by Pilates instructor Bruce Manuel, Yoga instructor Robie Jackson and You Fit instructor Betsy Miller to complete the Bodyworks Youniversity Wellness Studio.

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      Kim Butters
      Kim Butters

      “I believe that movement education is a talent that God has blessed me with. Nothing gives me greater joy than to help relieve someone’s pain and teach them how to stay pain free.”

      Kim Butters was a middle school teacher in Marion County for nine years. Stress contributed to her being overweight and inflexible. “I was miserable, had low self-esteem, and trouble keeping up with my husband on hikes. A neighbor convinced me to go to an aerobics class with her. I loved it and began to pursue a more enjoyable, healthy life.” She became an AFAA certified Personal Trainer and Group Instructor in 2001 and left the Marion County School system to start her own fitness business from her home.

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      Kim would soon discover Pilates, her true passion, at Barking Legs Theater in Chattanooga. "Pilates instructors seemed to have a different—a more healing understanding—of the body. I wanted that!” She became a certified Pilates instructor in 2005 at Corebodyworks in Atlanta and a Pilates Method Alliance certified Instructor in 2010. She worked for nine years in larger studio in Chattanooga and worked part-time as a physical therapy technician.

      She has been teaching fitness classes onsite and online for Chattanooga State since 2001 and was invited in 2007 to teach Pilates to the Sewanee community at the University of the South, where she also teaches Beginning Pilates as a PE class.

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      Kim trained in classical and contemporary approaches to Pilates and studied with Pilates Elders (students of Joseph Pilates), Mary Bowen and Jay Grimes, as well as second generation teachers (trained by an Elder), Michele Larsen, Rebecca Leone and Marie José Blom. She has also completed course work with world-renowned stretching expert, Kit Laughlin, and facial mapping expert, Phillip Beech, author of Muscles and Meridians. She most recently studied with Madeline Black, international leader in Pilates instruction and movement education and author of Centered.

      Robie Jackson
      Robie Jackson
      We breathe, stretch, cultivate gratitude, and find calmness.

      Robie is a registered yoga teacher who received her training from Asheville Yoga Center in 2016. She has taught yoga on the Mountain for the past six years in a variety of spaces, both indoors and outside.

      People comment on the inclusive and relaxed nature of Robie’s yoga classes. The gentle movement used in class encourages flexibility and strength, but more importantly, increases participants’ calmness and well-being.

      Robie is a veteran educator. With a background in dance and theatre, an undergraduate degree in elementary education from Belmont College, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Sewanee School of Letters, she has worked with kindergartners through seniors in college. A few teaching highlights have been teaching children to read, guiding middle schoolers to find their confidence on stage, reading powerful personal essays from her high school creative nonfiction class, and directing University students in last spring's outdoor production of Men on Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus.

      Robie is also a member of Shakerag Workshops Planning Committee, which brings exciting visual art and creative writing workshops for adults to the Mountain each summer.

      Be it in the classroom, theatre, or studio, Robie is at home creating a warm, inclusive learning environment.

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      Bruce Manuel
      Bruce Manuel

      Bruce Manuel graduated from The University of the South C’1980 with a degree in English Literature. A couple of years later, he joined the United States Navy and served for twenty years, retiring in 2002.

      Bruce injured his back early in his military career and suffered from chronic lower back pain for many years. It was treated with physical therapy on several occasions, but always returned. After he retired, an MRI showed that he had a bulge in the L5-S1 vertebrae, but surgery was not recommended as an option.

      A nurse at the Veterans Administration hospital, where Bruce was receiving treatment, suggested that he try Pilates to help with rehabilitation. That was over seven years ago. It has helped tremendously. Bruce started teacher training about six years ago through Body Arts and Science International (BASI) and completed their comprehensive teacher-training program in 2016.

      "I truly feel thankful to have found Pilates, because it has greatly improved my quality of life. I am stronger, better able to manage my bouts with LBP when they occur, less dependent on pain medication, and better able to prevent re-injury. It has been a lot of work, but worth it. I love teaching Pilates. I hope to be able to help others experience the same benefits I have gained through my Pilates practice."

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      Betsy Miller
      Betsy Miller

      Betsy moved from Gainesville, Florida to Sewanee in 2019, after retiring from a career in hospital pharmacy and healthcare management. A parent of an alumna (Kathryn C’17), her love of Sewanee developed during her daughter’s collegiate career. When Kathryn made Nashville her post-graduate home, Sewanee seemed the ideal spot for Betsy’s next adventure.

      Who knew this journey would lead her to become a Group Fitness Instructor? Encouraged by Kim Butters to pursue teaching and add to the fitness offerings at Bodyworks, Betsy achieved her ACE certification in 2021. An avid hiker, kayaker, and self-professed “gym rat” her cardio/strength classes are fun and energetic. Creating a welcoming environment that offers safe, effective exercise and improved fitness is her goal for you!

      When she’s not teaching, hiking, or in the gym, Betsy can be found maintaining trails with the Friends of South Cumberland State Park and volunteering with Housing Sewanee, Inc.

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    Matthew Sias

    Matthew Sias joined the US Navy in 1990, sparking his interest to achieve optimum physical health. That led him to want to help others do the same. He coached friends and soon learned that he could make a career out of it. Matthew then earned a BS in exercise science and a personal training certification, which he held for nearly 20 years. Then he attended Cumberland Institute to become a Massage Therapist.

    Matthew understands the importance of proper body mechanics, how the body works, and the importance of manipulating soft tissue, in order to obtain optimum physical performance. He learned that the more he worked with soft tissue, the less his clients were sore or injured and the better they felt.

    The combination of 18 years of personal training experience with his skills in massage therapy have proven to be powerful. In addition to relaxation massage, Matthew also assists clients with resolving a wide variety of physical ailments through a combination of massage and prescriptive ongoing body care.

    "If caught quickly, physical issues do not have to transition to chronic ailments." Matthew’s approach assists clients in minimizing the pain and movement limitations they may be experiencing from ongoing issues. Every person’s situation is unique, which means he has a new opportunity to assist someone and learn from each experience.

    Deep Tissue • Sports Massage • Swedish Massage
    Myofascial Release • Stretching • Range-of-Motion



293 Ball park Road
Sewanee, TN 37375
and on Zoom app

(423) 322-1443



Private sessions available by appointment.