Lori Coleman-Brown is getting caught up with graduates of the Atlas Pilates Teacher Training Program to learn more about their experiences and hear about what they’re up to now.
Hannah Rae graduated in 2016 and taught full time at Atlas Pilates until the summer of 2020 when she relocated to Moscow ID and founded Clarity Pilates.
What brought you to Pilates?
I was an undergraduate in the dance program at the University of Washington, and several of the graduate students were Pilates instructors. They talked about what a great career path it was to complement dance, and I thought “Hmmm, I should look into this thing!” I was either going to do that or teach yoga. But I found Pilates a LOT harder-and therefore a lot more interesting.
What made you want to become a Pilates Teacher?
I’ve always enjoyed teaching and working with the body-but I knew I didn’t want to teach dance. I didn’t have a passion for working with kids, and I found Private sessions much more engaging than group classes. Plus, I’d been studying dance since I was three, including making it the focus of my bachelor’s degree, and I was really interested in learning about the body through a new lens.
Why did you choose Atlas Pilates Teacher Training Program?
Lori was recommended to me by Jason Ohlberg, a classical Pilates instructor who knew her and thought we would be a good fit. At this point, I had taken Pilates mat classes in college, but never taken a private, and never used apparatus. I really didn’t know anything about Pilates, or what kind of training I wanted! So I booked appointments with people all around town, thinking I’d try a bunch of teachers and see who I liked. Lori happened to be my first meeting, so my VERY first real Pilates session on apparatus was on Gratz, with Lori, at Atlas. I took the session, walked out, and cancelled all my other appointments. I was committed to training with Lori from that day forwards.
What is one of your takeaways from training?
That the sum of the method is greater than the parts. Individual exercises applied intelligently can have a wonderful effect, but the real magic lies in the consistent and thoughtful application of the Pilates Method as a whole.
Why do you like teaching Pilates now?
I love the combination of variety and structure. The variety for me comes mostly from the clients, who not only are incredibly different from one another, but also different day to day, and even minute to minute! The perfect counterpoint to this unpredictability is the incredibly sound structure of the Pilates method, giving me a framework for the client and I to work and problem solve within. I also have developed a love of teaching group classes! The energy is infectious, and it’s so fun to be in a position to guide and direct that group energy in a way that serves everyone; we all leave mat class glowing, myself included!
I’m also just so passionate about helping people discover the magic that is their body. I’ve been through several injuries, a couple of them devastating.
What Pilates exercise, concept or principle currently holds your attention and why?
One of the things that most resonates about Pilates for me is it’s attention to the qualitative. It’s not enough to do the exercise, and it’s not even enough to do it with perfect form. You have to have the right energy, the right feeling. A fundamental Pilates workout includes mostly exercises that to me feel very grounding, almost internally focused. As you learn more and more of the work, it starts to unfurl like a flower, and takes you through this whole emotional range. By the time you get to the advanced work, the body is singing, and the movement is ecstatic (I picture exercises like breaststroke, swan dive, swakatee, Cadillac inversions, and leg pull up, just to name a few).
Why do you think people should do Pilates?
I truly believe Pilates will give anyone the mental and physical foundation to do whatever else it is they want to do, and gain more joy, vitality, and self knowledge in the process.
Is there a particular exercise that has profoundly changed your body?
Arm springs on the Cadillac, and rowing on the reformer! It’s hard for me to explain, but I always had an instinctively negative reaction to upper body work. It just didn’t feel good! I avoided it for a long time, and my body got quite imbalanced as a result. The arm springs and rowing allowed me to develop my upper body in a way that changed the way I looked, and the way I moved. But more importantly, it changed the way I felt! I think using the apparatus was the only thing that had ever allowed me to truly connect my arms to the rest of my body, and it felt so good! I loved (and still do) the feeling of these exercises, in a way I never would have believed was possible. What’s more, now upper body work in general feels much better.
What is your workout routine?
I workout twice a day! A year ago I would have said that sounds ridiculous, but I’ve really come to terms with the fact that that’s what my body needs to feel good.
I mostly do a combination of Pilates Mat and Kundalini Yoga (which has many similarities in the focus on core and breathing, I use my Pilates training a TON in these workouts). 15-30 minutes in the morning (before 6am if possible), and 30 minutes in the afternoon or evening. This at home practice is actually what inspired my YouTube channel! Full length workouts are amazing, but for me the integrity of a daily practice, even if it’s just a few minutes, is necessary to keep me feeling strong and healthy. I wanted to create workouts so that I could share that joy with others, and give them support in developing their own workout regimen at home.
What are you doing now?
I’m opening Clarity Pilates studio in Moscow, ID. In addition to our physical space, we will be offering online privates and mat classes, including a weekly donation pay-what-you-can Community Mat, where 50% of the profits are donated to a quarterly rotating charity chosen by members of the Clarity Pilates community. We also have a YouTube channel, Clarity Classical Pilates, with free workouts and resources for Pilates practitioners at all levels, including beginner. We hope this channel will be a resource for those who want to help cultivate an at home Pilates practice, and those who are interested in Pilates, but are not financially able to commit to regular sessions.
How can people support you?
Aside from taking online privates or mat classes, people can support us by signing up for our newsletter and by subscribing to the YouTube channel, and sharing the videos with clients, family and friends!
Now some fun questions!
What’s your favorite food?
I’m a pretty adventurous eater, so my favorite food changes frequently, and is usually something I haven’t had before!
What do you do to unwind?
Long baths with a book!
What are three words you'd use to describe yourself?
Curious, Empathic, Perceptive
If you were an animal, what would you be?
A fox or a cat. Agile and low to the ground!
What’s your signature phrase?
“Ready. Fire. Aim.”