What brought you to Pilates?
Oh man. My first exposure was doing Mari Winsor’s Pilates CD’s with friends in college. Post-college I ran full speed in endurance sports and found Pilates mat and yoga classes a good counterbalance to all the pounding I was taking. I trained for lots of road races, marathons and eventually did a full Ironman. Later I found a Pilates teacher in New York City who introduced me to the Reformer which was revolutionary. I took sessions in between work and my athletic training.
When I moved to Seattle for graduate school, I took Pilates lessons regularly at a classical studio- Studio Jacks– with Sara. She had an infectious joy and I just loved my sessions with her. I enjoyed the process and the work and was always learning and exploring. I loved everything from the footwork to the inversions and was always just very happy to have that time with myself and my body.
What made you want to become a Pilates teacher?
One day, my first teacher in Seattle said to me, “you should go through the training.” At the time, I was working full time at Seattle Childrens (hospital) as well as coaching cross-country and track seasonally at Holy Names Academy. I was hesitant at first about a big career shift, but Pilates was the perfect compliment to my coaching work. And coaching has always been my passion. As a coach, I am a teacher. And as such, I am constantly trying to become better as coach and teacher – through workshops, courses, reading, feedback, etc.
At first I was intimidated to become a Pilates teacher because my teachers always had strong dance backgrounds, and while I had a rich movement background, it wasn’t in dance. I felt like the thing in the row that didn’t belong.
When I decided to pursue a teaching certificate, I knew I wanted a program that would make me a really effective teacher. Not just that, I wanted a program that would nurture my curiosity about the body and teaching different bodies. Pilates gave me a framework and a lens through which to observe movement and work with the body in front of me. It’s corrective, progressive and athletic. The interplay of those things is so interesting and fun. Every body and mind needs all those things to be balanced and happy.
Why did you choose the Atlas Pilates Teacher Training Program?
The two teachers I knew best in Seattle (and thoroughly trusted) told me to go to you, Lori. They were like she is the best, and you should study with her. So I wrote an email to you and set up a phone call. I remember you asking me what I knew about other programs and what other ones I had looked at. And I said I was coming to you first because I was told you were the one to train with, if I could get in. Like I said above, I wanted a program that would not only teach me Pilates exercises but teach me how to translate them on all the different types of bodies and movements patterns we see.
What is one of your takeaways from training?
There are seemingly endless exercises in the system. And once you feel like you master those – like where to tell someone to put a foot or how to get them moving – you will realize that you have only scratched the surface of the Pilates work. Breathing life into the work and having the work breathe life into individual bodies is incredibly rewarding and challenging.
There is so much detail to learn at first. And as someone whose curious brain always has questions, it was hard to set my questions aside. And just go through the details of set ups and exercises. There was so much to learn just to get a client moving and safely at that. As you know, I had a whole spreadsheet that broke down the various components of each exercise that I needed to train into my teaching body. And once all that is there, you can start layering the work on bodies. And then the fun begins.
In Social Work school, we were constantly reminded over and over again to meet the client where they are at. To ground the work in their reality. I think about that when I walk into a session with a client at the studio and when I walk into practice with my kids. It is not about me but them. My job is to meet them where they are at…and go from there. This requires clear eyes and a calm mind. The art of teaching Pilates is just as fun for me as the science. I learn every day, and I love that.
When did you graduate?
Why do you like teaching Pilates now?
I like it (today and everyday) for the same reasons I love coaching athletes (today and everyday) — I believe that movement is inherently joyful, and that connection with people in movement is powerful. I believe people are more powerful and capable and resilient than they imagine. I believe they can do hard things. I believe that not only can we do them but we can find joy and community amidst the challenge. I believe that movement is medicine for the body and I mind. I believe we can learn if we are open to learning, and that there is nuance to everything and everyone once you start looking closely. Pilates is specifically fun to teach because I am helping people develop or strengthen a relationship with their bodies. I get to help them explore things that feel impossible or intangible or offline, and I get to help them work through challenges. I also get to witness and be a part of some incredible breakthroughs and successes. And finally, I get to spend my day with great people – my fellow teachers are all so inspiring and lovely as are my clients.
What Pilates exercise, concept or principle currently holds your attention and why?
I am very fascinated by feet right now. They are the base of support and play such an important role in gait and mechanics. I have never been particularly interested in my feet before. I laced up cleats or running shoes on them, and I ran away on them. I never thought about how critical they were to the functioning of the whole system. After decades of abuse, I am finally taking my socks and shoes off and getting to understand them.
I am curious in general, and I can get brought into exercises, concepts and principles that are holding my clients or teachers attention. There is so much good and interesting stuff to explore that I am happy to jump down a rabbit hole with someone.
Why do you think people should do Pilates?
We ask a lot of our bodies in life, and Pilates is the work that will keep your body able to meet those requests. With my runners, I will talk about having a big engine. How it’s really important to have a strong engine to be a distance runner. But it doesn’t matter how strong your engine is if your chassis is out of alignment and broken. Pilates gets you mobile and strong. It helps you understand your body and its movement patterns. It helps you address deficits and balance out your body. On top of all that, it feels great.
Is there a particular exercise that has profoundly changed your body?
I don’t attribute a single exercise to changes in my body. I see the impact of the entire system. How things have balanced out….or how they rebalance after a stretch away from the work. I think dedication to practicing – to moving your body and connecting with it deeply during the process profoundly changes you and your body.
What is your weekly workout routine?
Oh man. The pandemic and my children have ruined my workout routine. Haha. I get into the weight room about 4 times a week. I work out at the studio during breaks. I am chasing after my runners at practice. And, I walk the dog as a bookend to my day.
What are you doing now?
I am in the final weeks of Cross Country season. My team will compete at the Metro Championships next week and will make a bid for the state meet at the end of this month.
What else do we need to know about you?
I have two young kids. My oldest, Benji, started Kindergarten this year. My youngest, Ollie, is 2. I also have a sweet puppers named Macadoodle. According to Benji – First name: Mac; Middle Name: A; Last name: Doodle.
What’s your favorite food? I am just as happy with a bowl of cereal as I am with a good cut of steak. In terms of comfort food (non-dessert), I would say nothing is more comforting than mac and cheese. In terms of dessert, my tried and true is rainbow chip cake out of the box. It’s different from funfetti. If you know, you know.
What do you do to unwind? Reading, sleeping, walk the dog (anything alone and quiet)
What are 3 words that describe you? Funny, Determined, Curious
If you were an animal, what would you be? A monkey. I would be something that could swing through the trees, be upside down and create lots of noise and chaos.