Lee Sahlaney

Self-care gives people permission to look deeper inside of themselves and unlock their potential for body and mind.


Lee Sahlaney is the Owner and Founder of Lee Sahlaney Wellness & Pilates in the San Francisco Bay Area. Originally from Pennsylvania, she spent her early years in Washington D.C. before ultimately relocating and settling down in San Francisco Bay Area.

Lee Sahlaney began her first San Francisco business in project management consulting. She provided individual solutions to her clients. One of her key passions was her ability to work with clients to meet each client at their own level of growth. These projects ranged from large corporations releasing a new product to small companies installing new systems. There was no one size fits all approach. Lee has a passion for partnering with people one on one to customize solutions that fit their individual needs. In fact, her devotion to customizing solutions is a core value that she brought to her current business – Lee Sahlaney Wellness & Pilates.

Over the past five years, Lee shifted her career. More specifically, she has a movement practice in Pilates and also provides Reiki therapy. Now, instead of having business partnerships, she is happily working in and within“wellness partnerships.”

Where did the idea for Lee Sahlaney Wellness & Pilates come from?

My entire career has been based on working with business clients solutions. About ten years ago, I began practicing Pilates myself and realized that Pilates was a lot more than an exercise program. Pilates encourages an internal dialogue between your mind and your body. It was inspiring for me to guide myself to move my body in a very specific and deliberate way. Over time, I began to notice improvements in my posture and in my strength. Furthermore, I developed a whole new awareness of my body as I move through everyday activities. As my appreciation for Pilates continued to develop, I decided that I was ready to move forward into a full training program that would enable me to train others in Pilates. Right around that time, I had a serious foot injury that required me to go through some rehabilitation work. That incident, combined with Pilates, inspired me again. This was what I wanted to share with my clients. I wanted to share everything I learned during my rehabilitation.

I went to Pilates Teacher Training programs with Balanced Body University. I also take continuing education in rehabilitation protocol training. It has finely tuned my ability to correct imbalance in other people’s bodies and allow my clients to work from a much deeper place.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

What I love about my work is that each day is different. It is pretty dynamic. My sessions are customized for each individual. I work one on one with people. If a person has an injury I gear their sessions toward rehabilitation. If a person is coming to me for fitness, we have a different focus for their sessions. Pilates is a very customized program. I also work with people in pre and post-surgery. In addition, I offer Medical Reiki to reduce pain, stress, depression, and insomnia. I work with women who are going through fertility treatments to increase their ability to get pregnant. I also work with women going through menopause for hormonal balance. In particular, I offer a holistic approach to the mind-body connection. Essentially, I want clients to relax and have fun when they visit Lee Sahlaney Wellness & Pilates.

How do you bring ideas to life?

What I share with my clients are movements, vitality, laughter, love, and self-care. I bring movement to life because movement IS life. It enhances brain-power, reduces stress and increases longevity and health. I help people use Pilates to meet their bodies where they are. Vitality is a state of being and improving it leads to a healthy robust lifestyle. Having fun is essential. If you’re not having fun, you will not continue to workout. It’s important to honor yourself and your body.

What’s one trend that excites you?

One trend that excites me is all about self-care. That excites me. It gives people permission to look deeper inside of themselves and unlock their potential for their bodies or their minds. I can see it manifesting itself in my clients in many ways. They function better in their daily lives. They feel safe and loved. Being able to see the change in my clients excites me the most.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

In the first part of my career, I was in management consulting. I organized myself quite naturally. The way I stayed on top of things is that I made lists so that I wouldn’t become overwhelmed. Lists help me enormously when it comes to reminding myself of my daily tasks and their priority. I prioritize and lay-out my day in a way that is manageable for me. I have also released the idea of perfectionism over the past five years or so. If you feel like every day and every moment have to be perfect, you’re going to fail. We are only human. Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and realize that you did the best you could and then learn from it. Have compassion for yourself and the situation. Know that it is okay.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell younger Lee Sahlaney that it is okay to not be perfect. Have compassion for yourself. Take time for self-care regularly. Give your body the movement that it needs. Honor the mind-body connection. In addition, identify your own unique strengths and honor your own unique perspectives. I have been doing this for many years without understanding that I was doing it. This is how I intuitively know my client’s needs. I do not use a template. In fact, I hone in and listen to each client.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Two dogs are better than one! I believe that whole-heartedly.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I believe that it is not adhering to the same template as everyone else. I look at each day and each week, for what is best for my clients here and now. I consistently reassess for myself as well as my clients. For example, a client recovering from a back injury is going to be far more advanced three months after the start of the rehabilitation. It is staying in alignment with how we have evolved.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I believe that it is customization. I tailor sessions exclusively for each individual client. My business evolved from offering fitness sessions. As my expertise grew I was able to offer rehabilitation services. Now I offer Medical Reiki. I can offer what each person needs. I ask questions and listen.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

When I had my corporate clients, I had the idea that every client was a good client for me. Gradually, I learned that it is important to honor what is a good fit. You really need the same values. It is okay to not take every client. I learned to honor my own instincts.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Pilates as rehabilitation is a great idea for a business. Many physical therapists incorporate it into their therapy sessions and it’s not difficult to see the reason – Pilates movement is invaluable to healing and recovering from injury.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I recently had foot surgery and got to experience a lymphatic massage. The massage is meant to help your body post-surgery. It increases blood flow and removes fluid from swelling. The massage was truly remarkable. It is the best money you can possibly spend after surgery.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

One of the studios that I use has Mindbodyonline it is used to schedule appointments.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Centered by Madeline Black. It is a great resource for movement professionals and rehabilitation workers.

What is your favorite quote?

Exercise and movement should bring joy to your body rather than a punishment for eating improperly.

Key Learnings:

● Self-care gives people permission to look deeper inside of themselves and unlock their potential for body and mind.
● Perfectionism, If you feel like every day and every moment have to be perfect, you’re going to fail.
● Identify, your own unique strengths and honor your own unique perspectives.