Listen to this article

Writing  by Lindsey Gaynor

Photography by Amy Drucker

Exercise enthusiast Linda Murphy is introducing a new type of sweat to Katonah, incorporating different exercise styles into one studio – yoga, pilates and barre.  Her goal is to create an inclusive class environment and foster a community space to relax and reflect. And, she hopes you’ll get in touch with your mental and physical health while having fun with friends. 

Some of us are looking forward to trying out Plank Katonah once it opens (pro tip: it’s on the third floor – turn left when you get to the top of the stairs), and others are interested in exactly how many of our neighbors will participate in her community-wide plank contests. Either way, we think Murphy is definitely on to something.  

Connect to Northern Westchester: What was your background before opening Plank? 

Linda Murphy: I worked as a senior vice president of a global marketing firm for many years. I have a master’s in advertising, and I’m also  a New York State licensed attorney. 

CT: Wow! That’s quite a resume. 

LM: There’s more.  Eleven years ago, I took a leap and started my first company, Product Launchers. We sell products to all major retailers, including QVC, HSN, Amazon and other .com shopping channels. I’m so lucky to have a fantastic team that has supported me through this new project.

CT: What inspired you to start Plank Katonah?

LM: Last March, I was practicing yoga, and I was in the Savasana pose (a pose at the end of class where students lie on their back and rest). Even though the goal is to quiet your mind in this position, I started to reflect on the lack of exercise class options in the northern Westchester area. I was frustrated by driving thirty minutes each way to take a good barre class, and I knew this was a problem other people were also experiencing. 

CT: Okay, that makes sense. But why blend barre with pilates and yoga? 

LM: All three forms of exercise have one thing in common: the plank, so I thought combining all three made sense. And, each class format offers something slightly different so that it keeps workouts fresh and fun. Plus, yoga, barre and pilates have one more thing in common – with continued practice, they all keep you looking and feeling young.

I wanted to create an environment for a community of people looking for mat-based pilates, where you feel a burn, but the exercise is not too challenging or requires months of practice to nail. I want everyone to walk out of a Plank class feeling accomplished, and I want them to come back and push themselves again. 

CT: What makes your classes stand out?

LM: While we will offer traditional yoga, pilates and barre classes, we’ll also offer some fusion classes, like pilates and barre together or a yoga class that might include some arm and Pilates principles. So you can get the best of both worlds.

Plus, we’re using Manduka Pro mats, which are known for their cushioning, and Bala bangles for weights, which better distribute the weight and are simply prettier than other weights. 

CT: Ballet bars? Will we be doing pirouettes across the room?

LM: Well, we will also offer ballet classes for adults who would like an extended version of our bar work. 

CT: What if we like the idea of yoga or pilates, but we’re not very flexible?

LM: Great question. We will also have meditation and breathwork classes to help calm our minds. I want people to value their mental strength equally to their physical counterpart. 

Plus, we’re scheduling classes according to the time of day. So, for example, we’re offering our intense workouts in the morning, while slow vinyasa yoga and breathing exercises will be held in the evenings to help you unwind and calm your mind before bed. 

CT: So, I have to ask. With a name like “Plank,” are you doing any classes that are just planks for an hour?

LM: No, but we will have plank challenges that are open to the entire community, and we even have a plank leaderboard. 

CT: What’s your record plank time? 

LM: You’ll have to wait and see, but the world record was broken this year by a man from the Czech Republic. He held a plank for over nine and a half hours! 

CT: That’s insane. I worry about the people who would want to break that kind of record. 

LM: Me too. We’re not looking for anyone to break that record at Plank. Instead, we hope to create an inclusive environment and hopefully spark friendships over the love of our classes.  

CT:  So exercise, plank challenges, ballet classes, meditation, inclusivity and friendships. Is there anything else?

LM: Yes, actually, there is. We will also sell healthy and delicious chef-prepared meals.

CT: Wow – it seems like you’ve got it all. Is there anything you can’t do?

LM: A plank for over nine hours.

Lindsey Gaynor
+ posts

Lindsey Gaynor is a junior at Greenwich Academy, but is a Bedford native. She dedicates her time to local and national community organizations and initiatives, including Neighbors Link and St. Jude’s Research Hospital. She is also involved in her school’s arts and athletics programs, where she sings with the Madrigals chorus and is a member of her school’s Varsity Field Hockey and Varsity B Lacrosse teams. In her spare moments, she spends time with her friends or walks her beloved dog, Buckeye. Her favorite time of the week is Sunday night, where she relaxes by the fire and unwinds with her family.