Sanctuary Pilates(r), Owner/Founder
Since 2004, I take some continuing ed course every year, some times yoga, pelvic floor PT, West African drumming, anything to get me into student mode. I hit the ceiling for pilates courses a long time ago and have been offering my own teacher trainings since 2006.
Certifications: DONA Doula (1992), Sivananda Yoga (1997), PhysicalMind Pilates (2000), Advanced Pilates Mat and Apparatus Protocols (2001), Skinner Releasing (2001), Anatomy w/ Irene Dowd (2002), (Astana Yoga (2003), Skinner II (2003), Ma Yoga Prenatal (2003), Bartinieff Fundametals (2003), Laban I (2004), Skinner III (2006), Infant Care and Lactation Support (2011) Childbirth Education (2013), Elimination Communication (2014).
Introduction: Tell us about yourself, your story, where you are from, practice, etc.
I grew up practicing Hatha yoga. I had a daily practice from my adolescent years through my 20’s. My first memory of teaching a pose was lion to a friend at 12 years old. I decided to get certified to teach because of an injury I received as a result of an adjustment I was given by a well respected teacher in class when I was 16. The 90’s were wild with teachers who had no grasp on anatomy and weak trainings. I wanted to be a functional teacher who trained individuals in the most efficient way possible, using clear language rather than leaning on them into injury.
How long have you been practicing pilates?
A friend introduced me to pilates in 1997. I was hooked and practiced daily until entering my first teacher training, a rigid classical program, in 1999. The materials and approach didn’t always make sense for how they applied to all bodies. When I asked questions, the answer was always, “because that’s the way it is.” I had a sense that these teachers only understood choreography and not anatomy and functional application of movement. I found a program in 2000 that was more contemporary in their approach but still applied classical choreography and history. I dove in deep and did every certification they offered. I ended up training the owner of the company and being close to the organization for years.
By 2003 I was managing a studio on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and teaching in the Hamptons during the summer. In 2006, I opened my own brick and mortar studio, Sanctuary Pilates, also on the Upper East Side.
What type of pilates do you teach? (Please Explain)
I focus mostly on prenatal and postpartum clients now. I always mix yoga and pilates in my teaching regardless, and it’s nice to see how many teachers have followed suit and are doing the same now. It used to be unheard of that a teacher was both pilates and yoga certified.
What do you prefer/enjoy about this particular form of pilates?
I love working with expectant mothers and supporting them in their journey. I don’t often attend births anymore, more because not having the time. I have been called a baby whisperer, and I love giving tips and tricks to make motherhood more streamlined and focused on the bond and healing the mother’s body. It’s a tricky balance between regaining a mother’s old-self while also creating space for the new self and the new being.
Do you feel anyone can enjoy and gain from pilates?
Literally anyone. If you can breathe, you can do pilates and will gain from it.
What has pilates done for you as person?
I have been practicing and teaching most of my adult life. My whole identity is wrapped up in it. I can’t imagine a life without pilates.
Do you feel pilates is more mental or physical?
It’s a nice combo of both.
How important is living a healthy lifestyle (clean eating/eating healthy/plant based for example) important to the pilates lifestyle?
I am plant based, I believe in supplementing where there are deficiencies and constantly reassessing ones changing needs as they age.
Any natural ingredients and/or vitamins (example: chlorophyll, Vitamin b12) that you recommend? And why?
If someone is plant based, always B12. Otherwise, it’s up to the individual and where they may be lacking in their diet. Food is always the best way to gain nutrients. “Let food be thy medicine.”
How important is hydrating/drinking water to the pilates lifestyle/your practice?
I drink so much water. So, so much. The body performs best, the skin looks more radiant, the stomach feels more satiated.
When and where do you currently teach?
I teach at Sanctuary Pilates(r), now located in Brooklyn. I offer pelvic floor workshops at birth centers and studios around the US, and I offer online training for clients outside of the NY area. I also teach regularly in the LA area. Check my website for classes near you.
Where can our readers find you? (Instagram, Website, etc)
Anything else you want to share?
I may have over shared already- haha! Thanks Matt!