Who inspires you? Who has helped you grow into the person you keep growing into?
I dedicate a large portion of this website to my teachers because their guidance and influence fuel my inspiration. Each and every person you read about here has had a huge influence on me and my teaching. Their voices are present with me every day and I am eternally grateful to their individual and collective wisdom.
I am a curious person. For many reasons – injuries, pain, curiosity, interest, a desire to learn different perspectives – I have been drawn to different kinds of bodywork and movement disciplines. Throughout this journey, I have met many amazing teachers and now have the good fortune to take regular lessons with several of them.
In thinking about my website, I decided I wanted to have a place where I could represent all of these different teachers. In representing them, they represent me. To accomplish this task, I invited these teachers to enter into a deeper conversation with me around topics we all teach about: gravity, fascia, balance, core, relationships, spine, movement, ease, grace, support, spirals. My hope was that these conversations would further my understanding of how all of these disciplines integrate and relate to each other. It has been an amazing experience. Through this process, I deepened an already existing community for myself, my fellow teachers, and my clients.
These conversations forced me to articulate what it is I’m teaching. So, another great success from this endeavor was the opportunity to educate my teachers, and anyone who visits my website, about the holistic (vs. mechanistic) approach to Pilates I’m teaching where the concept of “Core” is about relationships (relationship to ourselves, to gravity, to each other, and to our environment) vs. a muscular concept of “Core.” This project sparked a very important discussion that I hope continues within the movement and bodywork community. I believe that these conversations can shift perspectives.
Pilates Aligned, Denver, Co
Cara Reeser, the owner of Pilates Aligned Inc., has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA in dance, from New York University Tisch School of the Arts. As a student at Tisch, Cara began her initial studies in the Pilates Method with first generation Master Teacher Kathleen Stanford Grant.
In 1993, Cara moved to Boulder, Colorado where she continued her Pilates training at The Pilates Center. After completing the teacher training program in 1994, Cara stayed on to teach at the Pilates Center from 1994 to 2000. Cara opened the first Pilates Aligned studio in Denver in 2000 and then in 2009 opened a second location where she teaches, mentors, and hosts a variety of continuing education workshops.
In addition to her teaching and touring schedule, Cara has been on the faculty at Naropa University since 1997, where she teaches courses in dance and movement studies. She continued to mentor under Ms. Grant until her death in 2010.
As a second generation Pilates instructor and lineage carrier of the Kathy Grant work, Cara is well respected in the industry. She is an advanced teacher of the work, presenting continuing education and teacher mentoring group workshops at her studios in Denver, throughout the US, and abroad.
Pacific Pilates, Encinitas, Ca
Amy Lange was first introduced to The Pilates Method of exercise in the mid 1980’s when she was a graduate student in Modern Dance at the University of Utah. Upon completion of her MFA in 1990, she moved to San Francisco to dance and continued her study of Pilates with Elizabeth Larkam and Mercy Sidbury. In 1993, she moved to Boulder, CO, and entered The Pilates Center’s Teacher Training Certification Program. Upon completion in 1994, Amy continued to work at The Pilates Center, first as a certified instructor, and then since 1998 as a lecturer for their Certification Program. Amy has been offering Continuing Education Workshops since 1999, across the United States, France and Israel. In addition to these workshops, Amy currently is the owner of Pacific Pilates in Encinitas, CA.
As an accomplished dancer and rock-climber and having grown up involved in many sports, including swimming, gymnastics, and ski-racing, Amy finds the Pilates Method to be the best cross-training for life. In her teaching, Amy brings a playful curiosity to exploring the unknown, emphasizing the release of the external body in order to allow core stabilization through oppositional energy. Less is more. She finds that through external release, bones are more easily moved, range of motion is increased, and internal strength is maximized. Pilates, thereby, helps people recover their physicality and the confidence instilled restores their vitality.
Pacific Pilates: firstname.lastname@example.org; 760-634-1620; Encinitas, CA.
Oakland and San Francisco, Ca
Lise was my very first pilates teacher and I have studied with Lise, on and off, for nine years. Lise Prewitt began taking movement lessons as soon as she could walk. She was introduced to movement imagery and anatomy as a child through Idiokinesis by her teacher Joanne Emmons. This was the beginning of a strong and deep background for feeling and understanding the body and for creating a great body awareness. She studied biology and chemistry as an undergraduate with continual study and performance in modern dance and then began integrating movement and the biological understanding of the body with the study of Ideokinesis, Laban/Bartenieff and Body-Mind Centering. Pilates is a continual evolution of her training. With more than 10 years of pilates teaching she also incorporates the nueromuscular techniques of Valdamir Janda, yoga, Feldenkrais, Franklin Method and her love of athletics. Her teaching is not only informed through technical understanding of anatomy but by her intuitive sense to the body and her keen eye.
Ellie Herman Pilates Brooklyn, NY and Oakland, Ca
Ellie Herman has taught Pilates since 1991 and has developed a unique language to communicate the essence of the Pilates method. Her three studios, Ellie Herman Studios in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Annex, and Oakland, are dedicated to Pilates-based fitness, rehabilitation, teacher training, and continuing education. Ellie is a former professional dancer and has a MS in Acupuncture.
Ellie has authored seven books to date; Pilates for Dummies, Pilates Workbook on the Ball , Pilates Props Workbook, and her professional series on the Pilates equipment: Pilates Reformer, Pilates Springboard, Piltates Cadillac, and Pilates Wunda Chair.
Ellie has developed Walk-ilatesSM; a system combining Pilates-based exercise and props to teach proper gait and alignment and to maximize the walking experience.
Ellie has developed a new piece of Pilates equipment called the Pilates Springboard, an inexpensive and space-saving variation of the Cadillac which is now being manufactured by Balanced Body.
The Alexander Technique
Jerry Sontag has been a teacher of the Alexander Technique since 1985. He trained for three years at the Center for the Alexander Technique in Menlo Park, California. He is certified by the North American Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique, and by the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique. He maintains a private teaching practice in Berkeley, California. Jerry is also the publisher and editor of Mornum Time Press, a publishing company he started in 1992. The purpose of the press, then and now, is to publish high quality books on the Alexander Technique that will help the general public, as well as teachers of the Technique, develop a deeper understanding of this educational method.
Constance Clare-Newman has studied the Alexander Technique since 1990. She graduated from ATI-SF (Frank Ottiwell, Director) in 2001 and has been teaching full time since then. Constance has taught for several San Francisco Bay Area performing arts organizations, including classes at ACT, Asian American Theater Company and the Academy of Art University, where she is currently faculty in the actor training program.
Constance has over twenty-five years of extensive experience in various movement disciplines. As a dancer, Constance performed professionally in the Bay Area with Anne Bluethenthal & Dancers and Purple Moon Dance Project. She has studied dance techniques ranging from Hawkins to Cunningham to Corvino. As a dressage trainer, Constance rode professionally throughout California and spent four years studying in Europe. She trained horses and riders through the international levels of the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI).
Constance’s teaching is informed by all these disciplines, as well as her continuing education and exploration in anatomy, trauma work and consciousness studies.
Margit Galanter, MA GCFP is a movement educator, arts investigator, and dance poet living in Oakland. Her unique practice, Physical Intelligence, helps people experience the innate clarity and vitality one can uncover through the potency of movement. Physical Intelligence incorporates Margit’s expertise as a Guild Certified Feldenkrais® practitioner, acupressurist, qigong practitioner, and movement artist. Margit received an MA in Movement Research and Practice from NYU’s Gallatin School in 2004. She works privately with clients, teaches workshops, performs, and collaborates with practitioners from a wide range of media and disciplines.
Mary Spire is an experienced and certified Feldenkrais® practitioner and a Trainer in international Feldenkrais trainings. She holds a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance from U.S.C. and performed for many years before becoming a Feldenkrais practitioner. She has taught Feldenkrais at U.C. Berkeley, U.C. San Francisco, Boston University, SUNY Stonybrook, the Tanglewood Music Center and at other schools and hospitals. Since 1994, she has been teaching for the San Francisco Symphony’s Prevention & Wellness Program. In addition to her frequent workshops, lectures and symposia, Mary maintains private practices in Berkeley and Corte Madera, California, where she specializes in working with infants and children, older adults, people with neurological conditions and performing artists.
Osteopath and Acupunturist, Phillip Beach has a 30 year interest in whole body movement patterns. Phillip’s training in osteopathic medicine, his exploration of dance, martial arts, movement therapies (such as Pilates and yoga), and his newfound understanding of Traditional Chinese Medicine’s (TCM) meridian map, has informed his investigations and findings for example of movement patterns that he terms “contractile fields”. His model, still developing, is of a new paradigm, changing the way we need to view the body and its’ behavior. His model offers a new way of understanding how the human body works and attempts to map whole organism movement patterns.
Aston® Kinetics and Physical Therapy
Edie started Lakeview Functional Rehab (LFR) with the vision of creating a Physical Therapy practice where people could learn the skills necessary to function even better than before an injury. Trained for 20 years as a dancer, Edie earned her B.S. degree in Dance/ Physical Education in 1974 from the University of Wisconsin and her Physical Therapy certificate in 1978 from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She became certified in 1985 in Aston® Kinetics and in Pediatric NDT (neuro-developmental treatment) in 1994.
Judith Aston is widely recognized as a pioneer in the art and science of kinetics for her discovery of the Aston® paradigm and consequent development of Aston® Kinetics. Aston® Kinetics is an educational system of movement and bodywork that aims to treat each person’s body as unique and customizes the work to match. Rather than enforcing physical symmetry, Aston® Kinetics seeks to recognize which asymmetries are natural to a person’s body and how to maximize their use. Judith Aston is an author and inventor of an array of ergonomic products, movement programs. She continues to teach Aston® Kinetics training and certification courses.
Judith’s husband, Brian Linderoth, joined the Aston® Kinetics Practitioner Certification in 1984. Upon receiving his certification, he continued extensive training and became a member of the Aston® Kinetics Faculty in 1988. Brian has been teaching advanced Aston® Kinetics for 27 years. He has been practicing bodywork and movement coaching for 30 years. His vast experience in his practice of bodywork, movement, coaching and fitness offers clients and students a broad choice within his wealth of information and expertise.
Allison Sagewind began her career in a sports medicine/spine clinic and an outpatient hospital clinic as a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant in Texas where she earned the title “Myofascial Specialist”. Her mentors were Michael Shea, Rolfer and Jan Hutchinson, P.T. Early on in her career, she studied at length cranio-sacral therapy, zero balancing, ortho-bionomy, as well as movement disciplines such as dynamic stabilization and Feldenkrais.
In 1993, she was introduced to Aston® Kinetics and began her 20 year career in the Aston® Paradigm. Allison studied with Judith Aston and became an Aston® Kinetics Practitioner in 1996. She certified as an Aston® Fitness Instructor in 1994, Advanced Practitioner in 1998 and Senior Fitness Instructor in 2005. Her understanding and commitment to the work was a natural progression to joining the Aston® Kinetics Faculty in 2000. She is an instructor for the four Aston® Kinetics foundation classes and is currently in training to teach Aston® Kinetics at the certification level. She lives in Reno, Nevada where she enjoys a full time private practice and teaching schedule.
The Morales Method™
In 2002, Marty walked into the San Francisco School of Massage and enrolled in their program. He became a CMT shortly afterwards and started my career in massage therapy. Continuing his studies, he took as many workshops as he could, absorbing knowledge from all sorts of modalities and learning from fantastic instructors and mentors like Eric Rubin, Zoe Inman, and Art Riggs. Three years into his career, he began teaching at the San Francisco School of Massage (SFSM). In 2007, he pursued started his studies of Rolfing at The Rolf Institute beginning in Colorado and then in Brazil. In 2008, he became a Certified Rolfer and Rolf Movement Practitioner under the training of such greats as Jan Sultan and Monica Caspari. In 2009 he started his advanced bodywork training workshops initially at the San Francisco School of Massage and eventually at schools throughout California. In 2011, he wrote one of the few books on body mechanics, “Mastering Body Mechanics”. 2012 and 2013 saw the beginnings of his international teachings. Finally, 2013 saw the announcement of his method, The Morales Method„¢ of Manual Therapy and Body Conditioning.
Part biomechanist, part science communicator, and full-time mover, Katy Bowman educates people on the role movement plays in the body and in the world. Katy blends a scientific approach with straight talk about sensible, whole-life movement solutions. Passionate about human movement outside of exercise, Katy volunteers her time to support the larger reintegration of movement into human lives by providing movement courses across widely varying demographics and working with non-profits promoting nature education. She directs and teaches at the Nutritious Movement™ Center Northwest in Washington state, travels the globe to teach courses in person, and spends as much time outside as possible with her husband and children. Her website and podcast, Katy Says, is awesome. Her books include: Move Your DNA, Movement Matters, Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief, Diastasis Recti, Don’t Just Sit There, Whole Body Barefoot, Alignment Matters, and Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief.
Vickie Russell Bell was born and raised in Ohio, and is a journalist by education. She teaches yoga because she loves to. Her intention is to help her students increase their level of daily awareness through their body, breath and experience. She is a graduate of the Piedmont Yoga Studio Advanced Training Program and is a certified “Relax and Renew Trainer” through Judith Lasater’s accredited program.
Vickie does a bit of short story writing, belts out an occasional jazz or country tune, and walks with her Rhodesian Ridgeback in the redwoods. She reads a lot, and adores her friends and Oakland. She is also part of the core faculty for the Deep Yoga Program at Piedmont Yoga Studio.
Jessie Holland is a Clincal Ayurvedic Specialist and Pancha Karma Specialist, with her private practice in Oakland on Piedmont Ave. She is also a certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor. She teaches Iyengar yoga at studios throughout the East Bay. Jessie also offers Ayurvedic consultations to explore diet and lifestyle choices for optimum health and a variety of Ayurvedic body therapies. In addition to practicing Ayurvedic body therapies, she practices shiatsu and acupressure.
Leslie Howard holds a 320-hour Advanced Studies Certificate from Rodney Yee, a 300-hour teacher training certificate with Tony Briggs, and a 500 hour Yoga Alliance certification. Leslie has been practicing for over fifteen years in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, including twelve years of teaching, workshops, and annual yoga retreats. Previous international retreats have included Egypt, Hawaii, Mexico, and Italy. She is currently studying under Manouso Manos and Ramanand Patel, both of whom hold some of the highest level certificates given in the system of Iyengar Yoga. Leslie credits Susanne Kemmerer (a Physical Therapist from Germany), for introducing her to her pelvic floor and Lizanne Pastore (a PT from San Francisco) for helping her deepen her knowledge of the subject. She recently completed Judith Lasater’s training on restorative yoga.
Hanna Somatic Education
Susan Koenig is a certified Somatic Educator, and is also a Nationally Certified Massage Therapist. She is past Vice-President of the American Massage Therapy Association – California Chapter. Susan maintains a private practice in Berkeley, California.
Bernard is a very knowledgeable and talented practitioner I worked with for a little while. I did both Hanna Somatic Education lessons with him as well as ten+ Rolfing sessions. His bio is well worth reading: www.stillnessinmotion.com/about/bio.
Gil Hedley, Ph.D. is the founder of Integral Anatomy Productions, LLC, and Somanautics Workshops, Inc. For over 20 years, Gil has guided thousands of “Somanauts” in the exploration of the human form. Gil created the word “somanaut” to describe those who explore the inner space of the body. Gil earned a BA in Religion focusing on ethics from Duke University, and went into the academic study of religion for graduate studies at the University of Chicago, where he earned his MA in the study of religion and his Ph.D. in the field of theological ethics. He also trained in, and graduated from, an esoteric healing arts school, practiced and taught Tai Chi for a number of years, and was at various points certified as both a massage therapist and a Rolfer. Now, he spends most his time developing educational programming and resources for hands-on practitioners from many modalities. He is self-taught when it comes to dissection and this explains the uniqueness of his insights. He bravely shares his learning curve with his students and the learning is always very interactive.
Colleagues, Fellow Teachers, and Friends
Anya Schmidt has been in the movement and bodywork field for over ten years as a Certified Massage Therapist, Yoga and Pilates instructor. She came to the field of bodywork and movement through her own experience as an athlete.
She has experience working with people of all ages and skill levels whether they are athletes, those suffering from chronic pain, rehabilitating from surgery, or those who are simply seeking to learn more about their bodies. She also works with pregnant women and mothers looking to recover their strength after pregnancy and birth.
Anya’s personal movement and meditation practice gives her a good foundation of working with people and the mind-body connection. Her primary goal is to empower her clients with a mind-body awareness that can be carried into their everyday lives.
When Anya is not at work she is enjoying her time with her young daughter and husband, or fulfilling her long time passion of movement through swimming, biking, yoga, dance and, of course, Pilates.
Alyssa Conn, former corporate superstar, has over 10 years of experience teaching Pilates. She enjoys helping people of all ages and abilities and adapts her sessions to each person’s specific needs. Be it fitness, rehabilitation from injury, pre- and post-natal work, to individuals just wanting to improve overall strength and awareness in a knowledgeable and supportive environment, she is present to all of it. With a keen eye on her clients, with the right instruction and guidance, she uses Pilates to improve any body’s health and fitness level!
Her background includes a lifelong love of movement and fitness including a passion for dance, her Pilates Certification with Ellie Herman in 2001 (www.elliehermanpilates.com), to hiking in 37 of our National Parks in 2011. She graduated from Occidental College with a degree in Biochemistry and LOVES applying a scientific understanding and thoughtful approach to her Pilates practice and teaching style.
Abby Crain, owner of Mission Creek Pilates in San Francisco, has been teaching Pilates since 1999 in the Bay Area, New York City, and Austin Texas. She was certified by Master Teacher Madeline Black. She continued her studies with Mercy Sidbury of St. Frances Dance Medicine in San Francisco, who helped her recover from a back injury, and Carrie Field ( now of Taos, New Mexico) who taught her the fundamentals of the technique and how to teach. In New York, Abby was fortunate enough to be whipped into shape after her first child by first generation teacher Kathy Grant, at New York University. Other influential Pilates teachers have been Michelle Larsson, Marie Jose Blum, and Kelly Kane. She has also studied Body Mind Centering with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, prenatal yoga with Mia Borgatta, Pilates for pregnancy with Debbie Goodman, and anatomy with Irene Dowd. Abby dances and teaches dance in New York and San Francisco, and has practiced yoga since 1991. In 2003, she opened a Pilates studio in New York’s East Village called Sixth Street Pilates, which is still flourishing today (under new ownership). She has worked with dancers, painters, computer programmers, baseball players, pregnant and post partum mamas, folks with Parkinsons, folks with repetitive stress injuries, actors, yogis, carpenters, architects, musicians, bodyworkers, people with shoulder pain, and people who just want to get into shape and live a fuller and more versatile life in their bodies….Abby combines strict attention to refining technique and instilling good biomechanics with a rigorous and playful physical practice.
Nora el Samahy was certified by Ellie Herman at the Ellie Herman Studios Intensive Training in San Francisco in 2002, where she also completed an intensive course in Pilates Rehabilitation taught by Lizz Roman. This training led Nora to work with people who are looking to move pain free after suffering from repetitive stress injuries, herniated discs, neck injuries, knee injuries, general back pain, and sciatica (among others). Nora’s teaching has also spanned from training future instructors to client’s whose goals are general body conditioning or toning. Pilates trains the individual to use the body as a whole and Nora’s primary goal in teaching is to empower her clients with a sense of body awareness that can be carried into everyday life.