Tell me a little about yourself; how did you find your way to Pilates and why did it resonate with you?

I recently quit my desk job in emergency management to do this full time. But after completing my Masters in Geography in 2012- I just assumed I was supposed to get a job in something related to the field I studied. However; I really struggled sitting at a desk all day and not always interacting with people. I also had a slightly idealistic view of the world and emergency management post graduate school, and when I started to learn that I couldn’t fix all of the problems in the emergency management world, I got frustrated.

In Pilates, every client is different, every day is different, and that’s so much better than sitting behind a desk. I’m also super technologically challenged, and there is something basic and simple about Pilates. It always goes back to the fundamentals and there is not a lot of changing technology. It is still basically the same as it was so many years ago, and there is something comforting and inspiring about that. It is all very physics based which I love. As I am working with each client it is like solving a problem. Would an exercise work better like this, or if someone is struggling with something, how can we modify it? The concept is problem solving and that appeals to me.

I started to practice Pilates when I moved to DC for work in 2012. I thought it was the smartest type of exercise I had ever done. I have always been an exercise junkie. I also swam competitively for 10 years growing up and have run 2 half marathons, love step aerobics, and weight lifting. But I found that my body would really hurt after exercising. When I started practicing Pilates, I would take class five to six times a week and all of a sudden my body wouldn’t hurt. And I thought, wait a minute, your body doesn’t have to hurt to exercise? I have a spine injury and have dealt with lower back pain as long as I can remember, but once I got into Pilates and strengthened that 360 core; I literally remember walking home one day and being aware that wow, my back doesn’t hurt and I was stunned (and my mom complimented me on my posture for the first time in 26 years- so that was a huge selling point). That’s how I found Pilates. I rarely dip one toe in the water, I tend to just canon ball, so once I figured out I liked it, I went for it.

It sounds like you found Pilates and were doing it for yourself first. What made you decide to want to teach?

Good question! I think a lot of it was that I wasn’t feeling fulfilled in my work, because I wasn’t interacting with people. I was a competitive swimmer for ten years and a swimming instructor. It was always part of my life growing up. When I was so unhappy in my desk job, friends would tell me: why not do something that involves working with other people? At the time I was doing a lot of group classes and I would always look at the instructors and admire them, look up to them. I kept thinking that they were so cool and having fun and that I wished I could do that.

Then I took a private with Meredith (another fabulous instructor at Quantum Pilates). I asked Meredith how she got into teaching and she told me that she quit being a lawyer to do this full time. I thought, if she can do that, then so can I, and I researched it from there.

Meredith is really responsible for this! She’s going to be the “body” for my (Pilates training) test out, and I am grateful for her friendship and guidance through this process.

You already talked a little bit about what you like about working with people. Do you find that you learn more about your own body as you work with clients, have you advanced that part of it?

I find that I get to exercise less, which is sad. I have a New Year’s resolution to do something about that. It’s easy to focus on working with your clients all the time, but if you can’t feel it in your own body, there is no way you can teach it. That’s something Mark has taught me and Mark is constantly pushing me to try new things: advanced exercises, to challenge myself and try doing things in a different way; I think that is critical. I’ve recently gotten into a fair amount of cross training and am working on incorporating that into my teaching. Developing a more diverse exercise background and working on programs like: Pilates for athletes, dealing with different balance issues and incorporating cardio into workouts. I think cardio is required for me to feel fit, so if I can get that done as well as toning in an hour, then that’s a double check! So I love to incorporate that into my sessions.

Now that you are doing this full time, having left your other job behind; has this allowed you to open up to other experiences in your life that you find inspiring? What else is there in your life right now that gets you going?

Well, there are my logs for Mark! (Equipment logs are a required part of the machine teacher training – mt). Once I get those done I will have a life, I swear! I think it’s the master’s student in me writing my thesis all over again. I just want it to be perfect. Mark assures me it won’t be and it will be fine!

Other things in my life? This may sound weird, but I try to have fun, and not to be so serious anymore. Playing in the park with my dog or going out with friends. I take lots of exercise classes with friends including cycle, reformer, and barre. And anytime I can dance, either in my apartment, on the metro, out for a night on the town, or in a Zumba class–I am a happy camper!

That all sounds really good! So, in the end are you happy with the decision you made to quit your day job, so to speak? I’m sure it was kind of scary.

Oh yes! Absolutely! I actually get kind of emotional talking about it. Everything in life happens for a reason, and the fact that I found Pilates, started teaching while having the desk job, and was able to build a client base so I could shift over; it’s just such a gift, every day. When everyone was dreading January and having to go back to work, I was looking forward to getting started again. I love that I don’t have to dread what I do. When you love what you do, you don’t have to work a day in your life.

“Sweat for real at least once a day, even if it’s dancing in your pajamas” and “never do a form of exercise that is not fun.” – Dara Angelo