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Functional and Experiential Anatomy

Fall 2013

(A 14-Hour course/required for Balanced Body Certificate)

Saturday, August 17, and Sunday, August 18th 10 am – 6 pm| $355


You’ll never have so much fun learning anatomy!

This is a 14-hour functional and experiential anatomy course taught with a focus on Pilates exercises and movement patterns relative to the Pilates Method. We will use bodyrolling techniques, drawing, writing and imagery tools to help you really grasp the information presented. This workshop may also include study of yoga postures for those teachers who it’s relevant for.

We will explore anatomy in direct line with movement, movement patterns, common alignment considerations and HOW the body works. Learn the anatomy of breathing, what makes the core the core, how the pelvic floor works and how it effects breathing, posture, leg function and back health. Get fired up about how your arms connect to your back and how to better empower the use of your upper back to support your shoulders, head and neck and SO MUCH MORE!!!

(Materials not included). We will be using Trail Guide To The Body 4th Edition by Andrew Biel.

(Register for Day 1 Only to complete transaction.)

Early Registration Friday, August 2nd (save $50)


Register Here!


See What You Are In For:

Rejuvenate Your Health With the Best Pilates in Sebastopol and Santa Rosa

Are you looking for a physical outlet to release the stress of everyday life? Does constant, chronic pain plague your waking hours? Perhaps you’re expecting and are interested in ways to make your delivery easier and quicken your physical recover after giving birth? Are you an athlete looking to further your physical abilities? It’s time to discover what Pilates has to offer you. Pilates Collective offers the premiere Pilates in Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, and the rest of Sonoma County. Benefitting men and women of all ages, this Sebastopol / Santa Rosa Pilates studio offers the most comprehensive variety of Pilates classes, including Mat, Springboard and Equipment. Trio classes range from Fundamental (pre-Pilates) to Advanced.

Santa Rosa PilatesFirst, it’s important to consider the many incredible benefits of a regular Pilates practice in your daily life, and what it offers your body. Pilates utilizes techniques, including yoga-like postures, to provide a sense of personal focus and insight into your body through sustained, repetitive movement focused on developing the mind-body connection. Through rebalancing muscular alignment around the joints through proper integration of the body, our Sebastopol / Santa Rosa Pilates practice helps bring about greater well-being to the overall body, and promotes a deeper sense of awareness, strength, balance between stability and mobility. Unlike conventional weight training, Pilates strengthens muscles as well as stretching them. Being a three-dimensional practice, it allows for exercises that can be performed using all movement planes, and therefore incorporates even more muscles into one powerful exercise. Pilates weaves together the elements of breathing, centering, control, concentration, precision and flow, and teaches students how to make those elements really work for the body.

If you suffer from back pain or fibromyalgia, our Pilates classes help by focusing on training abdominal strength, flexibility, and posture—all of which aides and eases the condition of these symptoms. Pilates Collective offers private one-on-one classes to assist those who may not feel comfortable following a Pilates practice in a group setting, where the activity may go a little too fast. For those looking to lose some weight, our Sebastopol / Santa Rosa Pilates classes are a wonderful complement to a well-rounded fitness program. In addition, we also offer an exciting teaching training for Pilates in Santa Rosa through our Balanced Body program. At Pilates Collective, you can train with some of the most experienced and knowledgeable instructors of Pilates in Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, and Sonoma County! We offer Balanced Body Education in partnership with EHS Pilates in San Francisco. Here at Pilates Collective, we believe in community, and regularly donate to local schools, charities, non-profits and offer a subsidy program called  Stretch to Recovery for cancer survivors, a discounted Pilates in Santa Rosa /Sebastopol program. And for a limited time only, we’re offering new Pilates students a special thirty-day unlimited class membership trial for only $69. So contact us today and start enjoying the many benefits that this Sebastopol / Santa Rosa Pilates studio can offer you!

Movement Meditation Class 3 & 4

Class #3:

Reflecting on Last Week
1. How was your week focusing on labeling sensations? Were you able to spend time distinguishing between pleasant, unpleasant and neutral sensations in your body? When were you most aware of the sensations in your body? Were you more aware of pleasant versus unpleasant or neutral?
2. Did you notice stories or judgements that were associated with your noticing the quality of your sensations?
3. If so, were they strong?
4. Were you able to notice them and come back to the sensation simply as it was?
5. Where were your greatest successes or challenges in this regard?

This Week’s Focus: Breath
The breath is a classic point of focus in meditation. It is also an integral part of Pilates as a movement practice. We are coordinating, controlling, synchronizing and connecting with the breath throughout our practice in order to improve the physiological act of respiration, and to enhance the relaxation quality in the body and balance the nervous system (NS).

It is our goal in movement meditation to not only connect with our breath, but let it become a tool for insight, the motivation for movement rather than just something we do absent-mindedly.

Reflection Questions
1. What is your relationship with your breath?
2. Is it calming and easy or challenging and distracting?
3. What do you notice about your breath when you are moving, exercising or exerting effort? Is it a hinderance or a help?
4. What other observations do you have about your breath: quality, pace, historic relationship (trauma, joy), how much are you aware of it daily?

Your Homework
In you movement practices during the coming week to 10 days make your breathing the primary focus of your attention. See if you can allow the breath to motivate and dictate when, where and how you move. Can you allow your breath to guide you rather than you guiding it. When you loose your focus on the breath simply bring it back as you would do in seated meditation.
Practice using the breath in different ways or to insight different qualities. For instance, what happens if you focus on the exhale only or the inhale only? What does it feel like to breath into the areas of the body you are moving? Can you use the breath as a grounding force, something to keep you coming back into your body over and over again?


Class #4

Reflecting on Last Week
1. Think back over the course of the past 1 (or 2 since we had a break) and write down anything notable about how you were in relationship with your body. Was there any experience or situation that brought you more or less into your body? Were there moments of heightened awareness or observation? When or why do you think that may be true?
2. What has your relationship to your breath been like? Have you been more aware of it, its effect on your physical or emotional state?
3. How have you used the breath to insight awareness or evoke desired quality such as ease or relaxation?

This Week’s Focus: Connecting Mind & Body
This week we were exploring how the thoughts we hold in our mind are almost always reflected back in our bodies. When we hold an angry or tense thought, our bodies feel tense and hard. When we hold a joyful or happy thought, our bodies feel easy, light or grounded. If that’s true then think about how when we are agitated or lost in stressful thoughts our bodies pay the price. Our movements are affected in a variety of ways from subtle to severe.
We may disconnect from them in order to not feel the associated discomfort or tension, which can put us in danger of injury from lack of attention and awareness. We may be stiff and resistant, which in turn makes every movement or exercise that much more effortful, which in turn perpetuates a sense of dis-ease or discomfort. In this case we can get caught in a never-ending cycle.
But if we are aware of how our thoughts influence our bodies we can gradually become more responsive to what our mental, emotional and physical needs are and bring all three elements into greater harmony.

Reflection Questions
1. Are you aware of how your thoughts and how or what you hold in your attention affects your physical state? Can you think of any specific incidents?
2. Are you more aware of how unpleasant thoughts or points of focus affect you or pleasant ones? What’s the difference in your body specifically?
3. How does this relationship change how you use your body?

Part one: Continue to notice, and even jot down, when you notice your thoughts are influencing your body or vise versa. Notice when or if there are moments when your thoughts may be neutral but your body distinctly not neutral or the other way around. What is this like and in relationship to what kinds of thoughts or sensations?

Part two: Working with Metta or Loving Kindness Meditation practice using the words as a way of positively influencing your thoughts and therefore your body. Because, in the beginning, Metta is directed inward it is a powerful tool for generating self-compassion, tenderness, openness and love toward ones self and the body. I recommend sitting for 5-10 minutes repeating the phrases below then begin a simple movement practice, one where you can go slow and allow the words to infuse how you are moving.

Metta Meditation
May I be filled with loving kindness.  May I be well. May I be free from all internal and external dangers. May I be happy and truly free.

After working with the “I” statement, you can choose someone else to direct loving kindness toward. Then you move on to someone who is neutral like the kid a the movie theater. Eventually the meditation can be directed toward someone you have negative feelings for.

For more resources on Metta Meditation:
Guided Metta – Sharon Salzberg
Meditation on Loving Kindness – Jack Kornfield


Movement Meditation Class 1 & 2

Movement Meditation

Welcome, students!

Thank you to everyone who has been attending the Sunday Movement Meditation class! It’s been such a pleasure to explore this new format with you. I will post each week reiterating in-class questions/assignments, focus points and other insights or useful material to support your at-home practice. I encourage you to share your insights here on the blog. Your feedback will both facilitate changes in class format and focus and help to support each other along the way.

Please feel to pose your own questions here as well.

Course Objectives:
To use movement as a vehicle for enhancing everyday awareness of ourselves in relationship to our environment, other people, situations and circumstances. To use mindfulness techniques to deepen our body awareness and better understand not only what our body needs, but how it facilitates our understanding and relationship to the rest of our lives. Our overall goal is to bring body and mind in line so we can find greater balance no matter what life sets on our door step. Movement meditation becomes a path of strengthening our ability to know our bodies and minds better.

Breath awareness practices, seated meditation, walking meditation, Feldenkrais, Pilates, yoga, roll and release techniques, mantra or word/sound repetition.

Class #1:

Reflection Questions
1.What kind of relationship have you had with your body over the years? How aware of it have you been? What has provokes a deeper awareness or less awareness of your body? Have there been times when you have purposefully ignored or set your body aside?
2.What is your experience of mindfulness in your body?
3. What encourages attentiveness of the body? What interferes?
4. How strong is you identification to your body?
5. How might you extend more kindness to your body?

Understanding and exploring gross body awareness & sensations versus subtle body awareness & sensations.

Gross body – Refers to the overall quality of the physical body. It is your sense of your muscles, joints, limbs, breath. It is your awareness of tension, softness, pain, fatigue, aching, the environment around you, where you are touching the floor, how the air feels etc. Primarily gross body refers to your physical form.

Subtle body – Refers to what lies beneath the physical body, often reflecting your emotional or psychological state or energy. Sometimes the subtle body is also referred to as the energy body because it is more felt than seen. If you are quiet and notice the tingling or slight vibration of your body you are getting more in touch with your subtle body. You can think of the subtle body almost like electricity. How bright or dim is your subtle body? How aware of it are you? Are you aware of it all over of just in certain places?

Your Homework
Throughout the week, many times per day if possible, stop and check in to see how you can be aware of either the gross body or subtle body. When are you most aware of each of these bodies? Can your awareness of each of these inform how you move, your mood, how you make decision both in terms of moving your body and how you decide to speak and act. Beginning to cultivate a strong attunement to the overall qualities that reside in the body and using this awareness to foster greater balance and responsiveness.

Class #2

Reflection Questions
1. How was your week working with gross and subtle body awareness?
2. What did you notice in terms of these two points of view?
3. What other insights or experiences did you have working with body awareness this week?

In seated meditation as well as movement how aware are you of judging the experience? We tend to judge everything about our interaction with the world whether with other people, ourselves or our environment. Even if we are not conscious of it we assign a judgment to that experience somewhere on the scale from pleasant to unpleasant.

Your goal for the class is to begin to notice when a body sensation arises what quality you attach to it. Is it neutral, pleasant or unpleasant? What comes up more often? When unpleasant sensations arise notice if there is a story that follows. Do you hear your mother’s voice, your partner’s voice, the latest statistics about exercise? Does your mind spiral into planning or fear or resentment or pride?

Your goal is to begin to simply notice the sensations/qualities that arise as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral without needing them to be different. This allows us to cultivate a sense of contentment with things just as they are. We begin to see that although something is unpleasant we don’t necessarily need to rush to change it. Instead we can just notice it and meet it with gentle curiosity. And when something is pleasant we don’t always need to grasp at it or begin to formulate a plan for holding on to it or recreating it for another “good” experience.

Can you notice if there is a difference between the quality in your body and the quality in your mind? Do they agree or are they often different?

Throughout the week notice how often you are judging your experience with regard to your body and wanting it to be different or letting it take you down the rabbit hole of planning and future experiences.

Notice if you can also be aware of your mind in this way. Is your mind neutral, pleasant or unpleasant. Does the experience in your body and mind line up? When, why and how?

*I encourage you to either post your insights here or to be keeping an informal journal so that as these insights come you can capture them for future study and reflection.*
Movement Meditation

Movement Meditation

Gratitude Class Audio Download

Dear students and friends,

I hope you enjoy this recording of our annual Thanksgiving morning gratitude class. It is always such a touching and invigorating experience and although I am sad not to be with you in person, I hope you find a moment to take some time to yourself in the midst of all of the hubbub to get quiet and reflect on the beautiful messiness of life and all that graces your experience.

With infinite gratitude and love,


Download and listen here …

Free Sessions Now Being Offered

Seva Sessions = Seva is a sanscrit word meaning selfless service.
Starting in November Pilates Collective will be offering up to 10 hours of free one-on-one sessions per month to those in need.

Although we will keep the  process very informal – no application required — potential Seva students must be referred by current students or teachers and sessions will be given on a first come, first serve basis. Each candidate will be gifted 1-2 sessions. We will have 1 rotating spot that will include up to 10 or more sessions. Please ask us for more information.

We are excited to be offering the tremendous gift Pilates as a service to our community. If you have suggestions about groups or organizations that we might reach out to, please let us know.
In the meantime, here are some loose guidelines.

Courage – From Our Fall Newsletter

I always feel like these articles are a bit self-indulgent. Today, however, that feels just fine because I want to tell you about someone very special, my friend Fred. (That’s me and Fred in the picture at Shambhala Mountain Center almost three weeks ago.)

On the path

Alfred E. Smith from Tipton, Kansas. I met him on Friday, Oct. 9, at 5:30 pm and by 9 pm knew he was a person I would never forget. Fred is a rancher, a retired cop, the father of four grown children – two boys, two girls – part owner of a restaurant, editor and founder of his small-town newspaper The Tipton Times, a Christian, a seminary school graduate, a gifted writer, and a Buddhist; and since last week, my dear friend.

Fred has a statue of the Buddha sitting by the stream that runs through his property. It sits under a Cottonwood tree you can see from his front porch. Every time he drives his big blue Ford four-door off to Colorado his friends say, “Fred’s gone lookin’ for the Buddha again.” They mean it in jest and yet it is their way of acknowledging they don’t understand, but they don’t mind. They love him. Fred draws strength from his faith in God, but his faith allows him to see the depth of joy and open-heartedness that is fostered by his Buddhism. Like no other person I’ve ever met, Fred knows his own heart.

The fact that he exists in Tipton – an anomaly – speaks infinitely to his boundless sense of self, to his courage to accept himself without shame, quilt, or influence from those who might not understand him or want him to be otherwise.

read more…

Fundamentals Video(s) Ready to View!

Go To Fundamentals NOW!

Our long awaited Fundamentals Videos are ready for you to watch. This is designed to help beginners learn the foundational movements and concepts of Pilates and to offer an opportunity for those who have been practicing to revisit the fundamental work.

There are 12 exercises, but 16 videos in total including the Intro.

You’ll find links to each one on our Pilates Video Downloads page.

We hope you enjoy them.


Will you be practicing when your 80 years old?

Meet Ken and Marty Prouty. I am really excited to introduce you to 2 of my longest standing clients in Sonoma County. I have shared their story with many of you, but wanted to take a moment to really show you 1. That they are real! 2. That they are truly experiencing the benefits of Pilates and 3. That you are never to young or old to start this path!

Share your inspirations with us, too. We want to know can you see yourself practicing when you’re 80 years old? We can.

A true Pilates inspiration! Eighty-years-old and practicing Pilates!


Excerpts of comments from our teachers about who and what they are grateful for:


There are so many people that play a role in inspiring my Pilates practice: Chantill and Kristen for teaching me to make dreams into reality. Don Fischer for showing me the power of a great attitude. Michal for diving into her teaching schedule plus Bootcamp! Angelina for expanding into teaching sessions and teaching me about hedgehogs, my favorite new cue. Colleen for amazing me with her togetherness and organization. Caitlin for being my first Pilates role model, I wouldn’t be half the teacher I am without her inspiration.


I am influenced by so many people…I am particularly thankful to Judy, who allowed me to help her prepare for her surgery and who really showed me how profound of a difference Pilates and a positive attitude can make to an injured body. I am thankful to my husband Andy, without whom I would be unable to pursue my career so fully. I am thankful to my son Wiley, who was my inspiration to become a Pilates instructor.I am thankful for each of you who works at the studio…what an incredible group of people, individually and collectively! And last, but not least, I would like to thank myself. I am my own worst critic, and I’d like to just say…hey self, nice job!


I am soooo grateful for the Pilates Collective Studio space with it’s healing energy..not every space could contain all of the light energy emanating from our teachers and students! I am inspired by the courage of the students and their willingness to be empowered to nurture their bodies minds and spirits.
I am inspired by YOU!,
Chantill and Kristin~ Your awesome role models, I have learned so much from you ladies and benefited from your encouragement, You believe in the studio, in pilates, the students and teachers. You make all of the difference! Chantill’s graceful, elegant mindfulness and Kristin’s strength and gentle power! You guys rock!
Pam~~ You are a fabulous role model for me! I love seeing/listening to you work your magic with clients. Thank you!
Geoff~~ Your sense of humor, strength and skilled teaching, You are starting to realize how awesome you are…I can feel it! :)
Colleen~~You go, girl!! Energy, flow, focus and all right on time :)
Jo~~ I love your passion for Mama’s, your humor, confidence and take charge-ness.
Michal~~ What a blessing to have met you, my kindred friend! Your courage is my inspiration..I love watching you grow this new life!
Sarah~~Thank you for blessing my classes with your presence and attention. I look forward to taking some of yours :)
Tiffany~~ Its been great watching you teach and get your self practice! Dedication, focus and skill!
Caitlin~~It is great to have you back here! I look forward to seeing a lot of you this summer!


I am thankful to Kristie, Tiffany, and Gloria for being excellent role models for me as they balance their roles as teachers mothers and movers. I am thankful for Michael’s grace and openness to being a guinea pig for me! I am thankful for Angelina’s kick butt springboard classes and her uncanny ability to bring serenity and integrity to teaching. I am thankful for Jo’s playful spirit and intelligent advice about working with clients. I am thankful for Geoff’s centered presence (and for letting me observe). For Colleen who has always taken a couple extra minutes to teach me one last exercise or variation in passing. For Kristen for her passion and use of imagery. For Chantill for being a mentor and for her excellent communication skills and boundaries, mixed with just the right amount of support.


I am grateful to Pilates Collective for opening its arms to me 5 years ago, and welcoming me back for the summer. When I moved away in 2006, I knew there was something so special about this studio. It is a gem; precious, sacred and unique. To work in a space where each teacher places such a high value on their contribution is astounding. We are all so lucky!
I am grateful to Chantill for being my mentor, teacher and fabulous friend! For trusting me, and in turn helping me learn to trust myself. I am grateful to Kristen for sharing her passionate teaching style and joyful presence. I am grateful to Geoff for being my first committed student, who is now a thriving, supportive, and inspirational teacher! I bow in gratitude to every teacher I have had the pleasure of sharing space with since I have been back these past two weeks- AND to every student I have ever had!


I am proud of all of you for showing up everyday with your whole hearts; I am proud of Michael for allowing me to give her a shove; of Geoff for his resilience and stick-to-it-Ness and his desire to be the best teacher he can be; to Tiffany for being open to what comes and being so willing; to Jo for her constant creative energy and honesty; to colleen for all the work she takes by the horns; to Sarah for using us as a safe place in the storm and moving forward even with fear; to kristen for stepping UOL and being willing to teach when I don’t want to; to angelina for her constancy and heart; to Pam for taking the next step and coming back; to gloria for being on the path with us all this time… is that everyone? To kristie for her love of pilates and trusting her own pace.


Well, Joe of course, Chantill for knowing when to push me and doing it, god this is easy–ALL the teachers at the studio-I learn every time I’m in from every one of you, Chantill and Kristen for mentoring me and coming up with these brilliant strategies for expanding the business/studio. My clients for teaching me.


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