The teachers of Pilates Collective are unique and talented — their passion for teaching and movement make them an exceptional group. We are honored that they call our studio home and are inspired by them everyday! We know you will be too. Learn more about all of us below.
Chantill Lopez – Master Teacher (video bio!)
Movement is the way I experience the world; one of the greatest ways I relate to the joy of being alive. That is the experience I hope to share in some small way with everyone who endeavors to know their body better.
Chantill first experienced the joy and benefits of Pilates through dance. Over the years it has continued to manifest into a practice of mindfulness, body consciousness and continued strength and joy. As a teacher Chantill believes that personal exploration of movement is integral for each student to grow in a way that is organic and enjoyable.
Chantill has practiced Pilates for more than 18 years and has taught in both California and Hawaii. She is an experienced teacher of Functional Anatomy for Pilates and yoga teachers as well as a faculty member for the internationally renowned educational organization Balanced Body.
She holds Pilates certifications from the Physicalmind Institute and Body Kinetics – Master Trainer, Carol Appel. She is also certified in Yamuna Body Rolling and has continued to study and train in methods such as Yoga, Feldenkrais, Franklin Method, Authentic Movement, and the Halprin Process developed by modern dance icon and innovator, Anna Halprin.
Chantill uses classic and adapted Pilates exercises and other movement techniques to bring a balance of strengthening, opening and body-mind consciousness to her work. Her experience and training enable her to work with students of all ages, abilities and special considerations such as scoliosis and osteoporosis.
Chantill spent several years working in studios throughout the Bay Area and owned and operated Movement In Balance Pilates Studio in Sebastopol before finding a true friend and visionary in Kristen Iuppenlatz Grech and opening Pilates Collective in downtown Sebastopol. Chantill is currently the Educational Director at Pilates Collective and the creator of their dynamic and comprehensive Mentoring Program designed to support and guide teachers as they travel their teacher training path toward successful and meaningful teaching careers.
Chantill is also the founder of SkillfulTeaching.com, a resource for emerging and veteran Pilates and yoga teachers, the author “Moving Beyond Technique: How to Nurture Your Passion, Master Your Craft and Create a Thriving Pilates Business,” and a teaching and studio business coach. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Contemplative Education from Naropa University. She is also the founder of Mobile Pilates Master – serving Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties.
Her permanent residence is in Sebastopol with her husband Carlos and her son Charlie, but all three travel frequently around the world, exploring the realities of being global citizens.
- Favorite Flower: Anything wild
- Favorite Foods: Blue cheese of any kind and all Mexican food
- Favorite Smell: Honey Suckle, fresh baked apple pie and Chanel Allure
- Kinds of Music She Likes To Do Pilates To: Depends on what the class calls for: Nora Jones to Moby
- What makes me smile: Eating, being with my family, time with friends, the ocean — any ocean, watching my son sleep, dancing, date nights with my husband, a good movie, good music, art
- What inspires me: Extraordinary people, my parents (who are extraordinary people) and my husband, good writing, meditation, the sunrise, things that are simple, Zion National Park
- My hobbies and passions: Reading, dancing, writing, time with my family, sewing, traveling
Kristen Iuppenlatz Grech – Master Teacher (video bio!)
It is my personal goal to bring my favorite quote of Joe’s to life by guiding my students toward ‘naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.’ What better way to live than with spontaneous zest and pleasure?!!
Kristen began her study of Pilates in 1993 to alleviate chronic pain from two car accidents. She trained in the PhysicalMind Method then attended the Pilates Teacher Training Intensive at the San Francisco Ellie Herman Studios in 2000. She owned Resilience Pilates Studio for four years before joining forces with Chantill to create Pilates Collective. Kristen is passionate about her continuing exploration of Pilates and has studied with four of the Pilates elders who were taught directly by Joseph and Clara Pilates.
Kristen creates an individualized Pilates program to address the needs of each of her clients. She is especially excited about integrating the Pilates work into everyday movement such as walking.
Kristen has received training in Walkilates with Ellie Herman and Nancy Myers, Rehabilitative Pilates with Lizz Roman, Pilates for Osteoporosis with Sherri Betz, PT, Pilates for Golf with Sarah Christensen and the fabulous new CoreAlign with Jonathan Hoffman, PT, she is proud to be a member of the Balanced Body University Faculty. Kristen’s background is in performing and directing musical theatre and voiceover and she strives to help movement teachers create Dynamic Presence to inspire their students.
She is the creator of the Dynamic Presence curriculum developed to help teacher’s enhance their ability to transmit their true talents into potent, powerful and authentic teaching whether for an individual student or large groups. Her skills in improvisation and directing inform her ability to draw teachers into a more confident relationship with their work and their clients. For more information on Dynamic Presence click here.
She lives in Sebastopol with her husband John and two children, Zavier, and Ava.
- Favorite Flower: Dark red rose
- Favorite Foods: Raspberries and seafood
- Favorite Smell: The ocean, fresh dirt, spring time
- Kinds of Music She Likes To Do Pilates To: Imogen Heap and Classic Jazz
- What makes me smile: My children’s innocent brilliance
- What inspires me: The beauty of the earth and human resilience
My hobbies and passions: Singing, great musical theatre and travel
Geoff Lusk – Full Teacher (video bio!)
The beauty of teaching is to see the joy of Pilates through my student’s fresh eyes every time I show them a new exercise.
After several years of practicing Tai Chi and Chi Gung, Geoff discovered Pilates and fell in love with the work. He approaches Pilates with the deliberate mindfullness and energetic awareness that he gained from hisTai Chi and Chi Gung experience. When his isn’t in the studio, Geoff enjoys biking and hiking around the beautiful local parks and exploring the natural wonders of his adopted home.
- Favorite flower: They are all nice in their own way
- Favorite foods: Things I should not eat like chocolate
- Favorite smell: Baking bread in the morning
- Kinds of Music He Likes To Do Pilates To: Pink Floyd: “Dark Side of the Moon” and Van Morrison: “Astral Weeks”
- What makes me smile: The sudden appreciation that this moment is unique
- What inspires me: My wife, Shirley
- My hobbies and passions: Exploring the outdoors and discovering special places I’ve never seen before
Angelina Alire – Full Teacher (video bio!)
By fluently speaking the body’s native language of movement and sensation, my pilates practice is the conduit of authentic communication between my body and my awareness. My vision is to guide those who seek a mind, body connection and healing through movement.
Angelina Alire has worked in the fitness industry for over 15 years as a Health Club manager. In 2003, she was diagnosed with a chronic pain syndrome. To make matters worse, she was subsequently injured in a car accident. Her regiment of weight lifting and Aerobics was no longer appropriate. Angelina struggled to find the appropriate exercise method to regain her active lifestyle. After nearly giving up hope, Angelina began working with the Pilates instructor at her Chiropractors office. She quickly fell in love with the body mind connection, precision and core awareness that the pilates method has to offer and was on her way to recovery and beyond! Angelina recieved her Mat and Apparratus certifications at ITT pilates in 2007. She trained under Master Instructors Debra Schubert, Madeline Black, Joerg Chabowski and Jean Sullivan.
Angelina views her pilates certification as the beginning rather than the end. She continues to deepen her understanding of the method and to enhance her teaching skills with continuing education courses. Angelina is also a certified Reiki Master.
She is empathic and passionate about empowering her clients to transcend limitations, find a holistic way of being in their bodies and standing tall with strength and resilience from the inside out.When she isn’t teaching, Angelina enjoys being with her husband, Mark and her two beautiful daughters. She enjoys writing, reading, all things fitness, nutrition and metaphysics.
- Favorite food: Thai Food… yummy curry!
- Favorite smell: Lavender
- Favorite flower: Roses
- Kind of music I like to do Pilates to: Anything soft and mellow: Sarah McLachlan and Beth Orton
- What makes me smile: Sunny days, babies, happy families, good friends, my girls, good music…It’s not too hard to make me smile
- What inspires me: The human experience is inspiring
- My hobbies and passions: Reiki and other types of energy work; spirituality, meditation, Kriya yoga, music and metaphysics
Carlos Lopez Jr – Kickboxing Teacher
The most satisfying feeling for me is to move with intention, purpose and ease.
Carlos started martial arts more than 13 years ago. He is affiliated with Martial Skill, a community dedicated to the development and preservation of traditional martial arts through digital media, and the use of online/distance learning technologies.
He continues to practice as a student and teacher of the Seven Stars Praying Mantis system. Carlos is also an ongoing student of Pilates and Yoga. Carlos has developed a cardio class that incorporates proper martial techniques with pure cardio movement.
- Favorite flower: My wife
- Favorite foods: Anything with some spice in it, hummus and sea salt/vinegar chips
- Favorite Music He Likes To Kickboxing To: The Chemical Brothers, Fat Boy Slim and Gorillaz
- What makes me smile: My son’s laugh
- What inspires me: My family
- My hobbies and passions: Martial Arts, Golf, piano, cooking, yoga, basketball, basically anything athletic
Jo Braden – Full Teacher (video bio!)
Pilates helps my mind and my body operate with more ease…that’s what I want my students to experience, too!
Jo Braden first started studying the Pilates Method in 2001, training both on mat and full apparatus. Jo’s background in dance and yoga made Pilates a natural fit and she quickly became addicted to this fun and efficient method of exercise.
In 2006, Jo was pleased to find out that she was pregnant. She stayed active in her Pilates practice all through her pregnancy, and resumed training sessions just a few weeks after giving birth. Jo firmly believes that her regimen of Pilates, yoga and walking made her pregnancy, labor, delivery and recovery as easy as possible.
This profound experience with Pilates made Jo realize that she wanted to make a career change from being a wildlife biologist to become a Pilates instructor. In 2008, Jo completed an instructor training program with Pilates Academy International (PAI) in San Francisco, earning her Mat and Reformer certifications.
Jo looks forward to being a Pilates instructor for many years to come and wants to help others find the inner strength and grace that Pilates has brought to her life. When she’s not in the studio, you can find Jo hanging out with her two boys, Andy (hubby) and Wiley (son). Or knitting. Or sneaking in a nap.
- Favorite Flower: Gerber Daisies, Calla Lillies and Sweet Peas
- Favorite Foods: Carrots and pizza
- Favorite Smells: Lavendar, Lilac, Vanilla
- Kinds of Music She Likes To Do Pilates To: Beatles!!
- What makes me smile:Seeing the world through my child’s eyes makes me smile. And the funny things he says and does makes me laugh really hard!
- What inspires me: I’m inspired by beauty, perseverance and honesty
- My hobbies and passions: Of course I’m passionate about Pilates, but I’m also passionate about movement of any kind – dance, yoga, going for a walk or run, playing in the yard. I’m also passionate about being a big nerd – I have a very scientific, systematic approach to life – if you hang around me long enough, my nerdiness is sure to shine through!
Michal Victoria – Apprentice Teacher (video bio!)
Pilates is magic. Few reps, 1 set of a few exercises, and I end up with that cleaned out from the inside feeling, vitalized, more flexible, and in better shape than hours put in the gym!! Pure magic.
Michal Victoria, transplanted New Yawka, was a fitness/health buff from way back, a dancer, a swimmer, a lifeguard who at age 14 held her own aqua-aerobics classes in the pool, just for kicks. She was a certified as an instructor at Jack LaLane at the tender age of 16 (she lied about her age) and the Vertical Club. She became an amateur competitive bodybuilder and at 19, competed in The AAU Western Massachusetts. After relocating to CA, she started her own personal training business in San Francisco. She began her parallel interest as a performing artist at the age of 9, studying and performing in Carnegie Hall (vaudeville!) at The Neighborhood Playhouse Conservatory. A slow developing chronic illness shadowed her throughout, and eventually derailed her life. Her twenties were spent in a bed, watching the world out of the window.
During this time, in an effort to heal herself, she got into shamanism, metaphysical studies and alternative healing. While at the Y, trying to get back into some activity again, she took a Pilates class with Chantill Lopez, and proceeded to follow her everywhere after that, excited at finding exercise that made her feel great and showed such results. The rest is history. Michal feels blessed to be able to share with others this wonderful healing exercise modality. She’s back performing too. She was Puck in Sebastopol Shakespeare in the Park’s Midsummer Nights Dream has been performing in different venues around Sonoma County.
- Favorite Flower: Sunflower!!
- Favorite Foods: Making me choose is like Sophie’s Choice; it’s easier to tell what I don’t like: okra, head cheese, Swedish meatballs (eeeysh), anything brown and creamy,just keep it away
- Favorite Smells: fresh nontoxic laundry, Nag Champa, autumn in New England, basil, night blooming jasmine
- Kinds of Music She Likes To Do Pilates To: when I’m tired, something funky-Prince, Rick James…all other times-Indian ragas and yoga music
- What makes me smile: kindness, and that Surprise Kitty Youtube video gets me every time
- What inspires me: RENT, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Meatloaf Bat Out of Hell (rock opera genre in general), unbridled explosions of honesty/passion/creativity, the truth, the heroine’s journey, stories of overcoming adversity that allow imperfection, people who celebrate their imperfection
- My hobbies and passions: spirituality, acting, singing, dancing, writing, PILATES, music, hugging, reading, astrology, anything Joss Whedon directs, self-discovery and personal growth, helping people, finding my part to do in the world
Colleen McCarty – Full Teacher (video bio!)
Pilates is a mindful trouble zone workout. Whether toning or alleviating pain, you will learn to unite your body and mind through movement and begin to move through life with grace and ease.
Colleen McCarty simply teaches Pilates, clearly and creatively. She began her own Pilates practice to alleviate chronic lower back pain from years of misalignment and misuse. The centering stability of Pilates grounded her life and freed her of pain. She began studying to teach in Cincinnati, OH in 2005 and completed her beginner and intermediate certifications through Power Pilates in Chicago, IL and New York, NY. She currently is training for her advanced certification in San Carlos, CA.
As a teacher, Colleen believes in the power of movement to heal, center and transform bodies and lives. She teaches classical Pilates with an integrative approach, not only by utilizing all apparatus, but by incorporating whole individuals, their lives, goals and needs.
Colleen holds a Bachelors degree in Art from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, OH where she studied Modern Dance and Choreography. After graduating, she pursued Arts Administration in Cincinnati, where she created and directed Moving Art Dance Company, and performed with local choreographers. Currently she continues to study the Pilates Method and movement of all kinds.
Colleen and her wife recently moved to Santa Rosa, CA to pursue their dreams and live near the ocean.
- Favorite Flower: Lily’s of all kinds and colors
- Favorite Foods: Fresh vegetables (it’s true!) and Juicy Pear JellyBelly jelly beans
- Favorite Smells: Fresh herbs being chopped
- Kinds of Music She Likes To Do Pilates To: I’m classically trained, there is no music in Pilates!
- What makes me smile: The ocean and SmartWool socks
- What inspires me: A challenge
- My hobbies and passions: I love dancing and movement of all kinds and spending time with my wife
Tiffany DeMartin – Student Teacher (video bio!)