In 2007 I was accepted in the teacher training program at the certification center in Atlanta, Georgia. I had no idea that becoming a Romana’s Pilates teacher would ultimately bring me full circle to my dancing days way back when I was studying contemporary dance at Cod arts, a university for the Performing Arts.As a matter of fact, I had my first Pilates class with master teacher and Level I instructor Marjorie Oron (director of The Pilates Studio in Den Haag) at the prestigious Rotterdamse Dans academie.
It was Marjorie who gave me a glimpse at what Pilates is all about. Back in those days, Mat Pilates was performed on the hardwood dance floor and not on cushy mats like today. Truth is, I hated every minute of it because it was hard. It was all about abdominal strength. I had the stretch but zero core strength. And on top of it,I suffered from a mild form of Scoliosis, essentially a spinal condition that really wasn’t conducive to all that floor work we do in Pilates. But as dance students we did not have easy access to private lessons on the Reformer the way we do today.
Several years passed and I had decided to venture in to real estate to get a shot at immigrating to the United States. Broke and starving for work was never my idea of fun so I figured I’d do much better with real estate.
Fast forward, once stateside I found my way back to Pilates and started to actually enjoy Pilates and appreciate its unique ability to help me with my Scolios is while simultaneously improving my overall endurance and tone. As I was going through the teacher training program, I noticed that taking regular lessons yielded lasting results and as an additional bonus, I felt and looked a lot better than I had in years.
One thing I make sure to tell my clients though is that Pilates isn’t a miracle cure. Yes, it is an adaptable form of body work and yes, it tends to work for everyone. Over the past 10+years I was fortunate to get an opportunity to take lessons, workshops and seminars with several highly acclaimed master teachers such as Level I teacher trainer Juanita Lopez, who certified me, Marjorie Oronand Level II teacher trainer Anthony Rabara and Jerome Weinberg. And even though there are many more teacher I am grateful for, these were the teachers that shaped my teachings the most.
With over 10,000 teaching hours, I can honestly say that Pilates is a lifestyle! And once you get hooked, it is much like dance in that you will become a devoted student for life.
Pilates Art Center was founded in 2014 when I took my first careful steps into entrepreneurship. I was always attracted to Martial Arts and soon noticed how Pilates and Aikido training formed a mutually beneficial symbiosis. For life and work balance I enjoy training Aikido and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. And I recommend that if you have the opportunity commit to cross training because certain types of cross training such as Pilates and Yoga, Dance and Pilates or Pilates and Martial Arts naturally lend themselves towards each other. Frankly most athletes and Martial Artists I encountered really need Pilates to balance out their training as a means of injury prevention.Being that I was a martial arts student at Aikido, renting a small space within an Aikido Martial Arts Dojo to operate my own studio out of just made sense.Later, mydojo clients did follow me to my home studio in Dunwoody, Georgia.
Since I moved to Los Angeles in 2019, I have been frequently asked the question: “what made you move to California?” The answer to that is simple; I have been a free spirit all my life! Moving cross country from Georgia to California was equally about pursuing a childhood dream as it was about a change of pace. I truly believe that as humans, inner growth is proportional to our worldly experiences and exposures. Going vegan changed me profoundly and being involved in animal rescue has certainly opened my eyes towards human inflicted cruelty towards humans and animals. In Asia, there is a sub population that still consumes cat and dog meat. These meat dogs are being raised like cattle only to end up on someone’s lunch or dinner plate. The internet can be blissful but it is also the bringer of harsh truth. Imagine my surprise when I learned that this brutal tradition in fact flourishes in certain regions. As a dog lover and mom to two Korean Meat Dog survivors, this knowledge changed me profoundly. Sadly, this isn’t common knowledge amongst Americans. Korea for example has certainly made huge strides towards eradicating this brutal and inhuman tradition. Nevertheless, my Jindo dog Kkamee came from such a meat dog farm in Korea and he is still scared of human touch and runs from his own shadow.
I am talking about this here because my two Korean dogs taught me a thing or two about empathy. Compassion and empathy are not only essential for rescue work but it is vital for every teacher and personal trainer performing body work. Fact is any form of physical exercise is always up, close and personal and sometimes even emotional for clients as they are going through this new journey to Self. Hence it does not matter whether you use words or a gentle touch for cuing,firm yet compassionate guidance is our first and foremost responsibility as teachers. I would like to think that my dogs have helped shape me into becoming a better teacher and human being.
So here you have it, this is my story and I am just delighted to call North Hollywood my new home. If any of my personal journey connects with you and you would like to try an introductory lesson with me, give me call or book your session online. Once you experience the Pilates difference it’s quite possible that you too may fall in love with it the way I and so many of my clients have.
Sunny greetings from the West Side,
Pilates Art Center