Spirit of Ukraine: Xenia’s Story

EDITOR’S NOTE: We reached out to the Pilates community in Ukraine to see how everyone was doing after the invasion. The responses, from those who have left and those still there, were eye-opening, heartbreaking and inspirational. The people of this country have an indomitable spirit that can’t be broken, and we thought we’d share some of their stories with you. Our next is Xenia’s. And, if you can, click on the link at the bottom and donate to assist Ukraine. Many thanks to Katherine Ryzhova for translation assistance.

I am Xenia. I still live in Kyiv. Why? Because dry bread at home is better than roast meat abroad.

In addition, I have an adult son and a disabled husband who has difficulties moving anywhere.

In general, we stayed in Kyiv and everything you see happening here, we are experiencing. And everything started suddenly. On the morning of February 24th there were explosions, and messages about the war in social networks. It was a nightmare. In a daze I went to my studio at 34 Vasylkivska Street. Only to find the doors of the business center were sealed with adhesive tape. All closed – for good.

It was then that I realized that the war had begun. And life as I knew it was over.

At first I could not even breathe from the horror of what was happening. Bombing. Fighting on the streets. On March 1st my doctor died with his wife and 4-year-old daughter from the bombing. I forced myself to sit down and do something with myself. I began to breathe. And then I started to move. Pilates is truly an amazing method especially in war conditions – it really helped bring me back to life.

Now Kyiv is no longer a front-line city. And, of course, people are trying to come back to life -including, and through Pilates and Contrology. Despite the fact that we still live in a shooting range. We still ask ourselves every day – who will the rockets hit tomorrow?

My Ukraine is all about honor and dignity. And this is an honor and dignity. There is also incredible hard work, ingenuity, a a sense of humor from the Ukrainian people, which, I think, no one else has. My hope is that we will learn to live again. And that I too will finally live – not just survive, but truly be alive again.




Balanced Body thoroughly believes that movement can change people’s lives. We are the leading resource for Pilates and mindful movement equipment, information and education for fitness centers, studios, rehabilitation facilities and home enthusiasts.



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