About Kristy

I can honestly say with love, deep gratitude and a belief that everything, including ALL of life’s messiness is part of the greater plan. As a certified Pilates, Yoga, and Fitness Instructor who has studied Buddhism since 2011 and health and fitness for over 20 years, I have helped hundreds of people find joy in movement and discover their Inner Strength.

My Story

Hi, I’m Kristy Howell, founder of Inner Strength Essentials.

In many ways I am your typical busy Mom of two girls with a full career and a joyful 20 year marriage that enjoys movement, travel, adventure, and food. However, life was not always this good.  I am a New Yorker by origin and nature, and when I first moved to my husband’s midwestern hometown I was lonely being a new mom in a new type of town. In addition, I was struggling with intense low back pain from having children and I felt disconnected from my body, and from who I had been prior to having children.

I was able to alleviate some of this discomfort with diet and exercise however as I started feeling better physically,  I noticed that I had growing underlying anxiety. This anxiety spiraled into severe debilitating dreading-the-end-of-the-day-insomnia. At this point I was spending nights watching the sun come up, crying as it rose because I knew I had to tackle another day with two little kids on no sleep yet again. I worried about my physical and mental state and the more I worried, the more I unraveled. I tried Western medicine, and with little success I turned to Eastern medicine which provided some relief but not enough. I was my own worst enemy, stuck in a vicious mental cycle.

I recognized that I was the only one who could help myself, but I didn’t know how to take control of my mind.

During this time I was  taking traditional fitness classes and discovered the classes that taught a connection between the mind and body were the ones I was most drawn to.  Fitness classes became a way for me to connect with other women and feel a sense of community. I started taking them whenever I could and quickly found that they were the best part of my day.  Fitness was literally helping me breathe life back into my body. Eventually I decided I might like to sub classes and get paid to do what I love. One training led to another and I started teaching group classes. 

Everything I taught was low impact and emphasized the mind/body connection because I started seeing that other traditional fitness classes left people’s bodies feeling abused.  I decided that I would only teach and do classes that feel GOOD for the body. I had struggled intensely with body image throughout my younger years, and once I became a mother I realized this was not the example I wanted to set for my daughters. 

I committed to no more self abuse of any kind. 

My classes were tough, but they were also loving and honored the body for all its beauty and wonder.  I believe exercise is a celebration of what our bodies can do, not a punishment for what you did wrong. I knew I had found the direction to self healing but still felt like my mind was unreliable moment to moment. 

I connected with a local Buddhist meditation group and found training my mind through meditation was the only thing that helped me sleep and lessen the grip anxiety had on me. I started sharing what I was learning with my private clients from my own Pilates and Yoga studio, and noticed how much it helped them too.   Meditation became a regular part of my life and started me on a spiritual path of self discovery.

Now I work with clients, assisting them on their own individualized wellness journey. Through our work together my clients benefit from my love of movement, natural healing, mindful practices and uplifting energy. 

I hold space for whatever arises in a session and meet them where they are.
My services offer a one stop shop for BODY, MIND and SPIRIT.

Through our work together, I help clients physically connect with their bodies and feel safe and strong and empowered to tackle the self limiting beliefs they may be interfering with their growth. That means no matter how broken things may seem, a course correction is always possible and I am here to offer my guidance in that journey.  


It would be my honor to support you! Please reach out to set up a time to chat.

4 + 5 =

I loved Kristy’s positive energy and acceptance of where I am.  I knew her through fitness classes and felt drawn to her. I have been able to be consistent with my workout for the first time in my life.  This and therapy add balance and strength to my life. I feel both physically and emotionally stronger. Kristy has opened my mind to so many possibilities and things regarding being a mother, a wife and a spiritual person.

Alexis Tatel


Kristy is the best! I have been doing Pilates Reformer two times a week for a year.  I had no experience at the beginning except beginner Yoga for one year. Kristy is a good listener, a good cheerleader and very attentive to the details of your program.  Within 6 weeks I lost 2 dress sizes without changing my diet. I have severe Fibromyalgia and would say my pain and fatigue are 50% better from doing Reformer with Kristy.  Kristy also has good knowledge of general health and fitness.

Jill Noreuil, MD

Retired Pediatrician

I have worked with Kristy both on the Reformer at her home studio and in her yoga classes at Beyond Zen.  She is patient, knowledgeable, clear and welcoming. I had never used anything like the Reformer before and she made it accessible but challenging, leaving me feeling balanced and strong after my session.  In her yoga sessions, she gives ample time to meditate and warm up but cues sequences that challenge and push your practice to the next level. I always feel completely rinsed, refreshed, and relaxed when I leave her class.

Kristen Cudd