Santa Barbara woman runs graceful Pilates app
Grace over guilt.
That’s the philosophy of the Pilates app Lindywell, founded in 2009 by Santa Barbara resident Robin Long.
It’s about self-compassion, Long told the Business Times Jan. 8.
“Instead of when you go off track or you skip a workout or don’t do what you intended to do with your wellness plan, instead of getting stuck in guilt and shame, we just extend grace to ourselves and say grace over guilt and use that mindset to help us start fresh the next day, “ she explained.
Pilates is a low-impact form of exercise that strengthens muscles and improves posture, alignment and focus, supporting long-term health in both mind and body.
Primarily practiced by women, a growing number of men are coming to it also.
Long, 40, said Lindywell, which offers more than 300 Pilates workout videos filmed on the beach in Santa Barbara, grew out of her health issues.
“I was dealing with some personal health challenges,” Long, who is also Lindywell’s CEO, said. “I had pretty significant and overwhelming anxiety that I was navigating for the first time.
“I also had back pain and neck pain and was just in a place where I was really unhappy with my body and my body image,” she said.
And then she found Pilates.
“It honestly changed all of that for me,” Long said. “I was better able to overcome my anxiety. My back pain completely disappeared, and I really found that I was improving my relationship with my body.”
Long decided to pursue Pilates as a career and became an instructor about 15 years ago, teaching in-person classes.
Wanting to reach more people, she then started teaching online, launching Lindywell in 2009.
The name is a blend of her mother’s name, Linda, with her aunt’s moniker, Judy, she said.
The app has grown significantly since then and now has tens of thousands of paid subscribers in more than 100 countries, Long said.
The Pilates videos feature her and other Lindywell-certified instructors.
The app also offers breathwork and nutrition recipes.
It was named 2023’s Best Pilates App by Women’s Health magazine.
Long said being a woman has presented some challenges in running her business.
As someone who struggled with body image from the age of eight, Long said she found out quickly how much the fitness world focuses on physical appearance and body shape.
“And I think that pressure can be even more intense for women,” she said. “People will decide whether to sign up for classes based on the way that you look.”
But knowing that her brand and business “is about helping people really embrace their unique body, that has helped me kind of overcome some of those pressures,” Long said.
Being the mother of four children has also offered some work challenges between pregnancies and maternity leaves, she said.
Angie Hill, Lindywell’s chief growth officer, praised Long’s leadership.
“Robin is one of the most authentic and committed leaders I’ve ever worked with,” Hill said. “She understands how to create meaningful and impactful programs that actually change lives.”
Long is also passionate “about building a company that focuses on the true needs of the employees,” Hill said.
Long wrote a book, “Well to the Core,” that was published in October.
“I wanted to be able to wrap up our entire Lindywell approach into one very practical and well-rounded guidebook not only for our members but also for people who aren’t a part of Lindywell yet,” she said.
Long said the app’s future looks bright.
“As we are continuing to grow and expand, it’s just been exciting to see how many people are continuing to resonate with our message of grace over guilt and progress over perfection as well,” she said.
The business is looking forward “to keep building on that and supporting people in that way and staying very true to being an honest resource for women,” Long said.
More information about the app, including subscription rates, can be found at Lindywell.com.