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How an instructor’s personal Pilates studio became a destination for LA’s most glamorous people

Forma PIlates - LA Pilates destination

Liana Levi never planned for her personal Pilates studio to become a flourishing business during a pandemic— not to mention a destination for LA celebrities, models and influencers — but after training a few of her close friends on her new Merrithew Reformer, there was no going back.

“My friends then told their friends, and soon enough I decided to transform my ‘personal studio’ into Forma Pilates LA,” she says.

“It has been tough with the pandemic, but Forma has become such a safe haven for so many of my clients, a place where people can see each other, share human connection, and some normality.”

Forma Pilates is a referral-based studio only, so all of Liana’s clients are connected in some way. This helps her maintain a safe, private and intimate atmosphere for her clients, appealing to those who are higher profile.

“I love making people feel good, it is truly the most gratifying feeling and I take a lot of pride in it. It’s been very empowering growing this business organically; it keeps me motivated and moving every day,” she says.

Discovering a natural passion for Pilates

Liana on Reformer

Liana played sports and danced for most of her life, so when she tried Pilates for the first time, it “automatically clicked” for her.

“I started doing Pilates a bit over 10 years ago and instantly became addicted to the feeling I felt after each class, not to mention the way Pilates transformed my body. It was like nothing I had experienced in any other workout,” she says.

The uniqueness of Pilates— its ability to help people maintain strong, lean and agile bodies— is what she thinks makes it appealing to so many different demographics— from elite athletes to fitness enthusiasts, and top models and actresses looking to shape and tone their muscles before shoots and shows.

“People really enjoy working muscles they never knew they had. The greatest part of doing Pilates is watching your body transform. Everything feels tighter and stronger, your muscles wrap around your bones, your posture improves, you feel taller, your chest is lifted, your shoulders aren’t hunched over, your neck is longer, your arms become more defined, but most importantly, your core becomes a powerhouse. It really is such a life-changing practice,” she says.

Staying true to her ‘personal studio’ roots

Liana rowing on Reformer

When Liana decided to purchase her first Reformer in March, she knew it would be a Merrithew V2 Max Plus Reformer—the same type she’d trained on at Natural Pilates in Beverly Hills.

“All I know is Merrithew— and to me it’s the best and also the most luxurious equipment. I call Merrithew Reformers the Rolls-Royce of Pilates equipment.”

Once her personal studio became a professional studio, she added another V2 Max Plus Reformer and Cardio-Tramp® Rebounders.

Based on the huge interest and success she’s seen, in January, she opened her second studio location in West Hollywood with three V2 Max Plus Reformers. Later this year, she’ll launch online training options to cater to people beyond her referral network.

Despite her studio’s growth, Liana still prioritizes a small and intimate atmosphere of three clients or less where she can focus on their technique and form, and give them the personalized instruction she’s known for.

“Form is such an important factor in Pilates. I’m big on making sure my clients have the correct form since each movement in Pilates is so targeted and precise; one small adjustment makes a world of a difference.”

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