Pilates Teacher Training at MOVE Wellness How to Become a Pilates Instructor The MOVE Wellness Pilates Instructor Training Program offers a comprehensive and immersive approach to becoming a skilled Pilates instructor. As Pilates continues to gain popularity for its holistic approach to fitness and well-being, the demand for knowledgeable and certified instructors has never been […]

We are excited to offer the opportunity to become a GYROTONIC® Level One trainer at MOVE Wellness. This profound and wise system will help you and your clients enjoy moving to get strong and mobile while supporting all the systems of the body. This post will give you all the information you need to know about doing your Gyrotonic training at MOVE.

Gyrotonic classes are designed to take the body beyond its current limitations. People come out of a Gyrotonic class with increased freedom of movement, greater strength and more agility. Gyrotonic exercises are adapted to fit anyone’s ability, from those recovering from injury or living with a disability to elite athletes.

For Pilates teachers, this system enhances what you already know and provides a depth of knowledge of how all the systems of the body work together. It is organized with more fluid movements and sequences that encourage proper biomechanics, breathing and the decompression of the joints of the spine and whole body. The training is a bit more experiential and differs from most Pilates courses. 

The steps in the program are outlined below. There is also a link to the official gyrotonic.com website page where they spell out very specific requirements at each level of training. 

Step 1) Training Pre-Requisites:

Students must take Gyrotonic private sessions or classes before they enroll in the course. We want you to be familiar with all of the Level 1 material before you go to Pre-Training. If that is not possible, there is an option to add three days to the Pre-Training Course. This would have to be coordinated in advance. 

Location: MOVE Wellness or another GT studio with a certified instructor

Dates: Individualized

Cost: Individualized

Step 2) Pre-Training Course:

This is a 6 day course that can be done in 6 consecutive days OR two 3-day segments within 60 days of each other. Typically we do this course over two weekends or three if the extended pre-training is necessary. We meet 9-12 and 2-5pm.

Because we will coordinate this once we know who is interested in the course, we can plan time to do weekly classes leading up to the pre-training OR add the 3-day extension. This will be taught by Pre-Trainer Elaine Economou. 

Location: MOVE Wellness

Dates: Two weekend format 3/8-10 and 4/5-7 

Cost: 1,050 for two weekends/$1575 for three weekends

Studio Fee: $250 for two weekends/$375 for three weekends

Course hours are:

9-12 morning

12-2 break

2-5 afternoon

Step 3) Foundation Course:

The Foundation Course must be taken between one week and three months of the end of the Pre-Training course. Each day there are five hours of training with a mandatory two hour break in the middle. We typically meet 9-12 and 2-5pm. This will be a 12-day course taught by Master Trainer Donna Place. 

Logistics: The course runs for 6 days with day 7 off and then 6 more days. The purpose and description of the course is below which is cut and pasted from the gyrotonic.com website.

Location: MOVE Wellness

Dates: May 13-25 (day off on 5/19)

Cost: $2,100

Studio Fee: $500 

(The course fee is paid to MT Donna Place (@Donna-Place-3) on or before the first day of the course and the studio fee is paid to MOVE at the time of registration. 

Course hours are:

9-12 morning

12-2 break

2-5 afternoon

Foundation Course Purpose

To provide a more in-depth understanding of the Gyrotonic Level 1 curriculum and provide students with the specific skills and techniques needed to teach these exercises to clients. During this course, a Gyrotonic Master Trainer introduces the teaching techniques and principles underlying the Gyrotonic Level 1 exercise syllabus and introduces the complete Gyrotonic, Level 1 exercise curriculum.

In this program students learn to design and teach a progressive sequence of Gyrotonic Level 1  classes on the Gyrotonic Pulley Tower. The 195 hour program is composed of four sequential courses. 

General Notes

  • Students typically begin teaching the Gyrotonic Method in the role of apprentice within 3 months after beginning the program. 
  • It takes approximately 1 year to complete the full program and to become a fully qualified Gyrotonic Trainer.
  • Gyrotonic Trainers are eligible to register for Gyrotonic specialized courses and Gyrotonic specialized equipment courses.
  • Gyrotonic Trainers attend at least one continuing education course every two years in order to expand their skill set and maintain their  trademark license.

Why Do My Gyrotonic Training at MOVE?

  • Experience an in-depth exploration of Gyrotonic principles and level 1 movement sequences under the direction of a skilled Gyrotonic Master Trainer
  • Learn to professionally teach the Gyrotonic Level 1 exercise sequences on the Gyrotonic Pulley Tower
  • Gyrotonic level 1 Trainers have access to specialized Gyrotonic teacher training courses including specialized equipment courses.

Step 4) Apprentice teaching and Apprentice Review Course

Once students successfully complete the Gyrotonic Level 1 Foundation Course, they are considered a Gyrotonic Apprentice. At this stage the Gyrotonic Level 1 Apprenticeship period begins and students can begin teaching the Gyrotonic level 1 exercises they have learned in the role of Gyrotonic Level 1 Apprentice. The apprenticeship license is valid for 1 year. During the one year apprenticeship period, students will finish the Gyrotonic Level 1 Apprenticeship Review Course, complete practice teaching hours, and the Gyrotonic Final Certificate Course. Students must spend a minimum of six months in personal practice and practice teaching before they are eligible to attend the final certificate course. 

The apprenticeship period lasts a minimum of six months and a maximum of one year. During the apprenticeship period, students are required to complete 60 “teaching client” hours and a minimum of 30 supervised Apprenticeship Review Course hours. Apprentices complete their supervised apprenticeship review course hours under the guidance and supervision of a Gyrotonic Master Trainer either in the form of a six day Gyrotonic Apprenticeship Course or by re-taking the Gyrotonic Foundation Course. 

For the Gyrotonic Training at MOVE, we will offer a six day Gyrotonic Apprenticeship Course with Donna Place 

Location: MOVE Wellness

Dates: November/December 2024 TBD with cohort

Cost: $1,050

Studio Fee: $300

(The course fee is paid to MT Donna Place on or before the first day of the course and the studio fee is paid to MOVE at the time of registration) 

Course hours are:

9-12 morning

12-2 break

2-5 afternoon

Step 5) Certification Course

The purpose of this course is two fold. It is an education course and it is also a practical assessment of students’ teaching skills and their understanding of the Gyrotonic Level 1 curriculum. To successfully complete this course, Apprentices must physically execute and demonstrate a proficient understanding of the exercises and principles in the Gyrotonic Level 1 Foundation Course syllabus. Additionally, Apprentices must apply the appropriate verbal cues and physical guidance to a moving person according to the Gyrotonic Level 1 Foundation Course manual.

*Please note, this course is not offered at MOVE Wellness. You can look online and find courses in the US and other countries. Washington DC is a popular place for students to take their final certification.

Location: Your choice (see Gyrotonic website)

Dates: Your choice

Cost: $525

Studio Fee: determined by the host studio


We hope you’ll consider doing your Gyrotonic Training at MOVE. Email us with any questions or to enroll!

Please join us for an

Open Studio Event

to preview the 2024 MOVE Pilates Instructor Training Program

November 5, 2023
4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Join our expert team of instructor trainers for a preview of the 2024 MOVE Pilates Instructor Training Program. Our interactive information session will give you the opportunity to decide if our program is right for you. 

  • Hear from our instructor trainers and former students who have successfully launched Pilates careers.
  • Discover the innovative fitness that began with Joseph Pilates himself.
  • Walk-through what to expect in our progressive and comprehensive Pilates education.
  • Learn about how we’ve updated our program with adaptable in-person and online components.
  • Tour our light-filled studio and explore our Balanced Body Reformers.
  • Bring your questions and join the conversation — our goal is to support you every step of the way. 
  • Join a 20-30 minute Pilates mat class (all levels welcome).

Take the first step toward a marketable movement career as a Pilates instructor. Whether you’re looking for a full-time career or a part-time complement to your current professional or educational goals, this is a great time to pursue a new passion!

Interested but can’t attend these dates?

Let’s chat another time! You can schedule a free 1:1 consultation with our program director. Just fill out this simple form and we’ll reach out to schedule a date.

Quick links:

Pilates instructors come from wide-ranging ages, stages, and backgrounds. Pilates as a career can be attractive to many different people. In part, because the schedule and demands can be highly varied according to what is a fit for your own life. Some trainers teach many classes and private lessons at a single studio and keep consistent hours day to day. Other trainers have diverse hours to accommodate second jobs or the demands of parenting. There are successful trainers anywhere from under 20 to over 70 years old. There are men and women. There are trainers of all different body types and sizes. There are trainers with a background in dance, gymnastics, and sports, and those who never had a strong connection to a movement system before Pilates. There are trainers who were already physical therapists and fitness professionals, and some who came out of completely unrelated fields.

What they all have in common, is that at some point they learned what Pilates could do for people’s bodies, got excited about it, and wanted to share it with others. In short, Pilates can be for anyone. These are the personal stories of some of our MOVE Wellness instructors sharing what inspired them to pursue certification in Pilates as a career. We hope you might find your own inspiration in their experiences.

Elaine Economou on the Pilates Tower Reformer

Elaine is the owner of MOVE in Ann Arbor. She is also an accomplished Pilates teacher and Instructor Trainer. When she first considered becoming a Pilates trainer 20 years ago she was looking for the next step after years of training as a dancer and dance teacher. 

Elaine:When I first started doing Pilates, I realized I was doing something really hard that was getting me fit, and it also gave me so much joy. It struck me that this was so different than what we often think about working out: that it’s something you “have” to do, as a duty or a chore. It made me want to help people understand their bodies the way I was learning to understand mine. I took the leap to becoming a trainer when someone I knew let me know that she was starting a Pilates teacher trainer program locally. Suddenly I had available, accessible training and I enthusiastically signed up.”

Davy is a former Gymnast and Peace Corps volunteer.  She started her Pilates training back before she had kids, when she was working 50+ hours a week at a corporate job.

Davy:  “A friend of mine from work was going through the Pilates teacher training, so I first heard about it from her. I was not fulfilled in my corporate job. When I first started Pilates teacher training, I thought that I would be doing it as a supplement to my corporate job, something to help me feel more fulfilled. It was when I started having kids that I decided to make a change professionally. I felt I needed a job with more flexibility that would allow me more time with my family. When I was younger I was in the Peace Corps and it was there that I become passionate about Health Education. It’s always been my goal to get back to that, and teaching Pilates has allowed me to do that. I still believe that being a Pilates teacher is a great supplement to other professions.”

Angela found Pilates when she was in college studying dance. She loves science and movement and found Pilates to be a perfect blend of the two. She also loves helping people!

Angela: “I knew I was going to move to NYC after college and wanted a job that supported my dancing more than just monetarily. I also was referred to my first pilates job in college and just found that it was something I loved to do and the community I worked with was great. I have made lifelong friends through teaching movement and networking all around the world. I know no matter which city I visit when I travel, I will be able to find someone I know or have a lot in common with who is a movement instructor.”

A male Pilates trainer teaching two other men

Kenny is a father and also works full time as a lawyer. He has had a long time passion for Yoga, and started training as a Pilates teacher after talking to his friend Elaine, a Pilates instructor trainer.

Kenny: “A conversation with Elaine inspired me to delve in further to what had previously just been curiosity. I started reading more about Pilates, and soon realized that it’s more than just exercise. I joined the teacher training program because I wanted a new challenge. Even though my first movement passion is Iyengar Yoga, Pilates training seemed like it would be a more time efficient way to become a movement teacher. It also seemed to me that Pilates would be appealing to more potential students. And then there was a course available that I could feasibly fit into my busy schedule. I had originally thought that I would just do the mat course to start. I then realized that although the timing is never perfect, it made sense for me to go ahead and do the comprehensive course all the way through.”

Cadillac Toe Taps

Lauren is a lifelong ballet dancer/student who had just finished graduate school and had a new baby when the idea of becoming a Pilates teacher first crossed her mind.

Lauren: “I had just finished my graduate degree: a Master of Science in Geology. As I applied for jobs in Earth Science I feared that with a baby and a full time desk job I would no longer have time for my other great passion in life: dance and movement. Oddly, I was first inspired by the personal trainers on the show The Biggest Loser (which is kind of funny because I really don’t like that show at all for so many reasons, and don’t at all condone or support the methods they used.) I was, however, jealous of the trainers’ jobs. What appealed to me was that their job seemed to involve a combination of passion for movement and connecting with people one on one to support their growth. The body shaming and the yelling I could do without. 

I didn’t take my own thoughts too seriously at first; it seemed impossible that I would change careers before I’d even begun the one I’d just trained for. But ultimately, while I loved my new baby with all my heart, the prospect of sitting at a desk all day with no time to dance after was utterly depressing to me. I began at first just playing with the idea by googling Pilates training programs. I was surprised to find a training program available just blocks away from my house. I’ve been happily teaching and training ever since.”

MOVE Trainer Sarah Cohen doing a plank on the Pilates Reformer

Sarah’s first career was a former software developer and then a stay-at-home mom and then she found Pilates. The first time she got on the Reformer, she knew something magical was happening in her body. Within months of that moment, she became part of MOVE’s first Pilates Instructor Training Program class.   

Sarah: “About 3-4 classes into trying Pilates, I had a lightbulb moment. I realized that I love this and I want to do this the rest of my life. I knew I didn’t want to go back to a desk job. I did my instructor training about 6 months after that. I’m continually amazed every day by the human bodies in front of me and how I can help them and how they can help themselves. It’s been a gift. I can’t imagine doing anything else now.”

A Pilates trainer teaching a client on the Reformer

Mary is a retired VA worker. She worked in patient safety, and had a desk job for 40 years before embarking on Pilates teacher training.

Mary: “I started taking Pilates 15 years ago from my neighbor who had just opened a studio. I was recovering from breast cancer at the time and was happy to find exercise that felt safe and effective. More recently I ended up deciding to do the teacher training program. At first I didn’t think I could do it, it didn’t occur to me that I was the type of person who could be a Pilates instructor. But I was looking for something challenging that I loved to do with my retirement. A conversation with Elaine (from MOVE ) made me feel like I could do it.”

Pilates Reformer Instructor Training

Jane is a mother of two, a ballet dancer, and former ballet teacher. She was teaching ballet and waiting tables for a living when when she first considered becoming a Pilates instructor.

Jane: “I was teaching ballet and wanted to diversify what I was able to offer students. At first I was just thinking about teaching Pilates to ballet students. As a ballet teacher and a waitress I usually had to work late. After I had kids, I realized I needed earlier nights. That’s when I started to consider teaching a more diverse population of Pilates students. I had just finished my teacher training when I ran into a friend who let me know that they were hiring instructors at MOVE. Soon I was working there several hours a week. Eventually I felt comfortable giving up my waitressing job. Now I just teach Pilates and don’t teach ballet anymore, which makes sense for me and my life right now.”

Pilates trainer Tony with a client on the cadillac

Tony was approaching his 40th birthday and training as a runner to improve his health when he decided he needed to kick it up a notch. After researching various fitness options, he found MOVE Wellness and decided to give Pilates a try.

Tony: “I began my fitness journey back in 2014. Fitness was something I had always struggled with and I wanted to take control. I started with running, and then some biking. By the end of 2014 I ran my first two 5Ks. In the beginning of 2015, I decided I wanted to add something new to my workout routine. After a few months of research I found MOVE Wellness Studios and Pilates. My first private session was such an eye opener and in August of 2015, I decided to become an instructor. I like to create workouts that are not only challenging but fun as well. Because who doesn’t like to have fun, right? I believe doing something that you enjoy gives you the best opportunity to succeed. I am so happy and proud to be part of the amazing team at MOVE Wellness Studios. I am looking forward to being able to help others reach their fitness goals and live healthier lives.”

Legs in Straps on Reformer

Natalie discovered the power of Pilates early in life. She began training in high school to support her love of dance and along the way learned how Pilates can help with strength, power, and injury prevention.

Natalie: “I was initially interested in becoming a trainer because of the powerful information Pilates gave me about my own body in my dancing. I noticed that I was able to have more control and nuance in my dancing and I wanted to share that with younger dancers. I knew I wanted to take the training to become a Pilates instructor, so as soon as I was 18, I signed up. I have definitely loved being a Pilates trainer, but I still want to go to physical therapy school. I know that I will be able to take everything I have learned and continue to use Pilates in my career as a physical therapist.”

Kathy is long time fitness enthusiast and competitive synchronized swimmer. She signed up for Pilates teacher training to prepare for a second act career upon retirement from her human resources job.

Kathy: “I believe in Pilates and the effect it can have on one’s overall health. I felt Pilates teacher training would allow me to get back to teaching as well as have a new career after I retire. Pilates is for everybody and every body…. you don’t need to be a certain type of person or have a certain type of body. Anyone can do it, and everyone can achieve a sense of success and accomplishment.  It feels good on the body.  Pilates allows you to discover just what your body can do and how it moves. I look forward to being able to be a catalyst to my clients in trying new activities, in seeing them explore how and why their bodies move, feeling good about themselves.”

Think a career as a pilates instructor might be for you?

Learn how to become a pilates instructor in our Frequently Asked Questions blog post. Then, check out this video with our top three tips if you’re considering a career in Pilates.


Interested in learning more?

Schedule a free 1:1 consultation with the Program Director, Elaine Economou. 

We are thrilled to announce that MOVE hosted Gyrotonic Master Trainer Donna Place for the Level 1 Foundation Training in August after our own Lauren Miller took trainees through their Pre-Training in June. Now Donna is back for limited private sessions, one special tower class, and a FREE Anatomy Jam. Donna has a wonderful perspective on supporting people as they step into movement work. We’ve all been in such good hands and you won’t want to miss out on this latest training opportunity!

1. Anatomy Jam

  • January 27th, 2023
  • 2:30 – 4pm
  • Free to movement professionals
  • Email us at office@movewellness.com to RSVP
  • Details: Come sip tea and learn some approaches to anatomy that are beyond origins and insertions.

2. Private Sessions and Tower Class

  • Limited spots available January 27th, 2023
  • Fee: $120 for a private session, $55 for the Tower Class
  • These sessions are only open to Gyrotonic Instructors

Information and steps to becoming a Gyrotonic Level 1 Trainer can be found here to help you further understand the process. 

1. Pre-Training: 

  • June 3-5 and June 17-19, 2022
  • Fee: $850
  • Studio Fee: $250 to hold spot

2. Foundation Course:

  • August 15-27, 2022
  • 12 days with a day off on day 7 (8/21)
  • Fee: $1,500
  • Studio Fee: $500 ($400 If paid by April 1)

3. Supervised Review

  • 1/21 – 1/26
  • Fee: $700
  • Studio Fee: $250

4. Certificate Course

To Register:

Please call us at 734-224-2560 or email us to register and hold your space by paying your studio fees to MOVE. Course fees will be paid directly to the trainer.

Master Trainer Donna Place GYROTONIC® Instructor Training

About Donna Place

Donna Place is graduated with a BA in music education from Whittier College in 1987. She spent the next 12 years teaching music, folk dance and physical education, both in college and in elementary schools. Convinced of the necessity of movement in the school system, Donna began studying dance more formally at local studios and the Lewitzky summer dance program. She received her MA in dance studies in 1995 from the Laban School for Movement and Dance in London. During that time she also began studying Pilates with Alan Herdman. After returning to the United States she continued Pilates training with Marie Jos​e Blom and GYROTONIC® training with Mary Halzworth, completing both programs in 1996. 

In 2000 Donna became a GYROTONIC® master trainer and in 2001 she joined the dance faculty at Orange Coast College where she currently teaches kinesiology for dance. Donna travels throughout the United States and abroad teaching anatomy seminars for various movement programs as well as teacher training courses for the GYROTONIC® system. 

MOVE Senior Trainer Lauren Miller

About Lauren Miller

Lauren is a certified GYROTONIC®, GYROKINESIS® and TRX instructor as well as a STOTT PILATES Certified Trainer.

Lauren holds a BA, a BFA and an MS from the University of Michigan and is an accomplished dancer. She spent 8 years with the Ann Arbor Ballet Theatre, 5 years in Chicago as a dancer with JHD2, dance teacher for Park Ridge district, at the Joel Hall Dance Center, as a freelance director, choreographer, performer and (in her own words) a theater tech geek!

Although she has more than 30 years of dance training to her name, when she’s not dancing or helping clients achieve a greater level of fitness Lauren also finds time to pursue her other interests of geology, science education and playing the cello.

Mark your calendars and plan to join us March 5–6 as Shari Berkowitz and The Vertical Workshop visit MOVE to present a deep learning weekend for Pilates instructors.

The Vertical Workshop Deep Learning Weekend at MOVE

Join Shari for Pilates education that makes sense: science and evidence-based, effective, inclusive, fun. Pilates that you love!

  • WHO: Pilates instructors
  • WHEN: March 5–6 at MOVE Wellness Studios
  • COST:
    • $600 for the full weekend of continuing education classes and workshops*
    • $200 for the morning workshop and master class
    • $180 for the afternoon workshop
    • Saturday, March 5
      • 9:00 a.m. Master Class: Magic Circle Mat
      • 10:30 a.m. Archival Standing Exercises Workshop
      • Lunch Break
      • 2:30 p.m. Brilliant Buttocks Workshop
    • Sunday, March 6
      • 9:00 a.m. Master Class: Midline Mat
      • 10:30 a.m. Teaching Reformer Classes Workshop
      • Lunch Break
      • 1:45 p.m. Fascia Fascination Workshop
  • CEC: 14 NPCP continuing education credits available when attending the full weekend
    • Fully vaccinated plus proof of booster required
    • Masks will be worn at all times
    • We reserve the right to require a rapid test (at attendees expense) each day or as we deem necessary

*Can’t make it for the full weekend? A’la carte registration is now open for individual workshops and classes. Please call us at 734-224-2560 or email us to register.

Semi-Private Classes with Shari Berkowitz Available

In addition to the Deep Learning Weekend, Shari will be offering several semi-private class opportunities on Friday, March 4th. Classes have space for up to six participants each and cost $50.00 per participant. Email us to reserve your spot!

Course Descriptions

Master Classes

A Pilates class with Shari is a true education. You’ll find your body and brain sweating with both a strong workout and a new education: physical and intellectual. Now…you get PMA CECs for these classes. We’ll work hard for 45 minutes on a particular theme. Then we’ll take time to discuss. Workout first. Embody and Experience. Discussion next. Intellectual understanding for the teacher. It’s a mini-workshop…a maxi-hour!

Whether in a group class or in a private session, we must work with a theme…an intrinsic action that we’re working to teach our clients to incorporate into each exercise in Pilates…and life. In thematic class, Shari picks one intrinsic action to add to our constant deep low abdominals and active lower back muscles to weave a physical and intellectual understanding of the value of the action. Saturday’s class theme will be Magic Circle Mat class and Sunday’s theme will be Midline Mat class. Join in and learn while you do, then discuss how to make a class extremely effective!

These thematic classes earn 1 NPCP Continuing Education Credit each.

Archival Standing Exercises

Mr. Pilates’ progression of exercises in a session ultimately takes the client to stand up and leave the studio with the ability to use what he/she/they learned in the outside world. The end of each session or class must end with standing exercises, but most of them are unknown to the majority of teachers. Learn these exercises and use them to challenge, encourage and excite your clients…and yourself! 

This workshop earns 3 NPCP Continuing Education Credits.

Brilliant Buttocks

The time has come to wake up that sleepy cheek of yours! That “dumb butt syndrome”…let’s be done with that! I know…I know…you think you have tried everything and nothing has worked. But you have not, actually, tried everything. I’m a biomechanist and have studied gluteus maximus in all ways. What we have to do to get your buttocks awake, smart and brilliant, even, is different from what you’ve learned. In this workshop, I’ll share the functional anatomy and physical biomechanics of gluteus maximus and all that goes into getting it to come alive in the most remarkable way. Then, of course, we’ll apply it all to Pilates. If you follow the protocol I share with you, yes, your buttocks and those of your clients will achieve their highest GPA: Brilliant!

This workshop earns NPCP Continuing Education Credits.

Teaching Reformer Classes and Teaching Tower Classes

Apparatus Classes are a big part of our growing Pilates world. You teach them, but you were never trained for it. In your reformer classes, there are people of all levels, many who have never seen or been on the reformer or been on a tower in your class and some who are pretty advanced, as well. How do you create a class that takes care of them all? Let’s take the time to learn how to create really safe, strong and challenging classes on the reformer OR the tower. There are special guidelines you can follow and great ways to make a fantastic class for everyone…including you as the teacher!

NOTE: These are not combination classes, we will spend part of the workshop talking about the reformer and the rest about creating tower classes.  

This workshop earns 3 NPCP Continuing Education Credits.

Fascia Fascination

Each year there is more and more talk about fascia! More workshops, books, videos… But what do you really need to know about it? How does it really affect you to know about fascia? What else do you need to know? What have “they” all been missing in their explanations? This workshop will educate on what has been left out of the conversation and how to really make the most of your fascia…and your fascia education. Typical to Shari’s work, we’ll cut straight to the point and get to the root of your Fascia Fascination! 

This workshop earns NPCP Continuing Education Credits.

Register Today!

Please contact us with any questions. Online registration is available for the full weekend by clicking the button below. To register for individual classes and workshops, please call us at 734-224-2560, email us, or drop by the studio in-person.

Head Shot of Shari Berkowitz of The Vertical Workshop

About Shari Berkowitz

Shari Berkowitz is the founder and creator of The Vertical Workshop.

She is a Pilates Teacher of Teachers, biomechanist and ergonomist holding Master’s of Science degrees in Ergonomics and Biomechanics from New York University (NYU). She travels the world teaching teachers of all styles of Pilates, though her vocabulary of exercises is classical. Her ability to cross over the boundaries of style in Pilates comes from her remarkable understanding of how the human body works, how people learn, how the apparatus works… She has an unusual ability for taking the most complicated concepts and turning them into simple nuggets of information that you can immediately use.

Prior to her Pilates life, Shari performed in musical theater. A successful singer, dancer and actress, she performed across the stages and screens of the world. Her Pilates practice and education began in NYC during the last 6 months of a 1.5 year period of physical therapy in her recovery from partial paralysis. You can read about her story From Paralysis to Pilates here: PDF. Once Shari found her passion for Pilates had overtaken her love of performing, she started The Vertical Workshop.

Though Shari’s Pilates vocabulary is classical with Romana Kryzanowska training her to be a Pilates teacher and then as the Power Pilates Director of West Coast Education and Lead Teacher Trainer for many years, Shari firmly believes that all styles of Pilates can give rise to effective work! We all share the same goals for our clients even if the way we get there is different. She does not support the conflicts between the different styles in Pilates. Shari works to create what she calls “A Community of Help” that crosses over the divisions of style.

Shari Berkowitz working with a Pilates client

About The Vertical Workshop

The Vertical Workshop as a brick and mortar studio opened in Beverly Hills, CA in 2004. Shari owned and operated it running a teacher training program alongside the studio’s regular client workouts. The Vertical Workshop’s blog, The Pilates Teacher Blog, launched in 2008. In 2010, Shari closed the studio to move back to NYC (romance was calling). That is when The Vertical Workshop took to the road and the internet. 

The Vertical Workshop thrives around the world in the many teachers who take continuing education workshops and webinars, sessions and classes in-person, live-stream or recordings, read The Pilates Teacher Blog and now train in The Vertical Workshop Comprehensive Teacher Training and Bridge Program. Wherever you are in the world, you can always access the education you need and desire.

The Vertical Workshop is shared by some of the greatest and dearest teachers in the world. Join us as we continually work to learn and share…and have a good time while doing it! We take the work seriously, of course, but we do not take ourselves too seriously!

Mark your calendars and plan to join us October 1–3 as GYROKINESIS® master trainer, Alicia Head visits MOVE to present a continuing education course for instructors as well as classes open to the community.

GYROKINESIS® Essentials for Instructors

For instructors, we are pleased to offer Alicia’s continuing education course GYROKINESIS® Essentials Part 1: A Journey of Spinal Motions Toward Level 1

  • WHEN: October 1–3, 2021 at MOVE Wellness Studios
  • PREREQUISITE: Certified Level 1 GYROKINESIS® Instructor
  • COST: $175 Studio fee due upon registration, plus $350 course fee to be paid directly to Alicia.
    • Friday, October 1, 12:00–2:00 p.m. and 4:00–7:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, October 2, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. and 2:00–5:00 p.m.
    • Sunday , October 3, 9:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m. and 12:00–3:00 p.m.

This 3-day course is a dynamic and systematic approach to preparing the spine and nervous system for the full formats featured in GYROKINESIS® Level 1. Each format was developed for a 60-to-90 minute class and they can be presented either as a progression or independently. This course satisfies continuing education and update requirements for certified GYROKINESIS® instructors as well as GYROTONIC® instructors who are also certified in GYROKINESIS®.

These GYROKINESIS® formats explore three different aspects of spinal motions — lumbar, thoracic, and cervical. The classes still follow the basic sequencing — Awakening of the Senses, Spinal Motions, and either standing or floor work — but the stimulation to the nervous system is more gentle and gradual. GYROKINESIS® Essentials of Spinal Motions Part 1 is perfect for beginner level students and also for experienced people who enjoy deepening the work. This approach allows us to discover more about the internal process of elongating the spine and how to best prepare our bodies for energetic awakenings. The formats also work beautifully as a warm-up for private sessions or group classes — either GYROTONIC® or GYROKINESIS® — and they shed some more light on the concepts of Narrowing the Pelvis and Supple-ing.

GYROKINESIS® Essentials for the Community

MOVE clients and the greater community are invited to join us as Alicia teaches her Essentials classes throughout her weekend training. Each class will explore a different aspects of spinal motions — lumbar, thoracic, and cervical. The classes still follow the basic sequencing — Awakening of the Senses, Spinal Motions, and either standing or floor work — but the stimulation to the nervous system is more gentle and gradual. GYROKINESIS® Essentials of Spinal Motions Part 1 is perfect for beginner level students and also for experienced people who enjoy deepening the work. Choose to attend one class or join us for all three.

  • WHEN: October 1–3, 2021 at MOVE Wellness Studios
  • WHO: MOVE clients and the greater community
  • COST: $45 per class.
    • Lumbar spine: Friday, October 1, 12:00–2:00 p.m.
    • Thoracic spine: Saturday, October 2, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
    • Cervical spine: Sunday, October 3, 9:00–11:00 a.m.


About Alicia Head

Alicia Head Portrait

Alicia Head became a GYROKINESIS® master trainer in 2004. She studied exclusively with Juliu Horvath throughout the entire process and has also taken many continuing education courses with him including Happy Moves, Lotus Blossom #1 and #2, the GYROKINESIS® Breathing Course Intensive, GYROKINESIS® Level 2, the Archway, and the Jumping Stretching Board.  Ms. Head’s mind-body movement journey began as a Pilates student at St. Francis Memorial Hospital’s Dance Medicine division, where her main teachers were Elizabeth Larkam and Nora St. John. Alicia later studied closely with Marie-José Blom at her Long Beach Dance Conditioning studio in Long Beach, CA where the approach to movement was depth-oriented. Great attention was given to the concept of core stabilization involving a dynamic process free of bracing or rigidity. Alicia has taught GYROKINESIS® Level 1 Foundation Teacher Training courses for 14 years and has observed the need for material that explores the principles of the GYROTONIC® method that is accessible to all people. She was delighted to connect with Gina Muensterkoetter and become part of her project to offer new GYROKINESIS® formats to the international community. GYROKINESIS® Essentials — A Journey of Spinal Motions Part 1 was finalized in March 2017 and Alicia is honored to be on the teaching team.

Register Today!

Please contact us with any questions. Online registration is available by clicking the buttons below. You may also register by calling us at 734-224-2560 or in-person at the studio.

This past June, we wrapped up another round of Pilates Reformer Instructor Training at MOVE. Think an hour-long intermediate or advanced reformer class is challenging? Try back-to-back days of reformer work with a little intensive academic study mixed in!

Despite the challenge, our most recent cohort of reformer instructors jumped into their straps feet first and showcased the commitment to teaching movement that you’ve come to know and love from each and every MOVE team member.

Below are some highlights from this summer’s training.

Interested in giving Pilates a try with the support of one of these smiling, movement-obsessed faces? Get started today by signing up for an introductory session.

Already a Pilates fanatic and thinking about a career change? Check out our instructor training program and submit a contact form today!

Stephanie Oldre started the MOVE instructor training program in 2017 after falling in love with Pilates and what it did for her body. That same year, she had x-rays taken of her back showing hyperlordosis, an exaggerated curve of the lumbar spine. Two years later, she’s celebrating a new and very different image of her lower back and putting her love of Pilates into practice on behalf of her clients.

From diving, swimming and weight-lifting to Pilates

Stephanie first fell in love with fitness and working out as a swimmer and diver in high school. She practiced twice per day and was encouraged to lift weights two to three times per week. She recalls, “We were encouraged to lift heavy, and I built up quite a bit of muscle. But stretching was never really taught or prioritized.”

During her time diving, Stephanie ended up hyperextending her back while attempting a reverse dive, which resulted in some lower back pain. She was able to get some massage therapy but otherwise maintained her usual workouts and continued to lift weights beyond high school.

Pilates, pregnancy and weight gain

In 2008, Stephanie had her first child through cesarean section. And over the course of the pregnancy, she gained an unexpected amount of weight. At 5 feet 2 inches tall, she had started her pregnancy at 130 pounds. At the time of delivery, she was 205 pounds, going down to 185 pounds shortly after. 

“I had never been overweight before and this was really hard for me to deal with. I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror.”

While Stephanie did slowly lose the extra weight through returning to everyday activities like walking and waitressing, she quickly noticed that she’d also lost much of the strength she once had.

Around the time her son turned three-years-old, Stephanie joined a gym. But this time she had an interest in toning her body rather than simply building muscle, and heard that Pilates was the thing to do.

A passion for Pilates practice and efficient exercise

Stephanie was hooked from her very first Pilates experience. She practiced Mat Pilates regularly and saw differences in her body she’d never seen before.

“I fell in love. It felt as if I had core strength for the first time ever. Which is nuts considering I’d been so active with weight lifting in the past,” she says. “I was going to the gym just twice a week for Pilates and some cardio and ended up being my smallest size and lightest weight ever.”

Early on during Stephanie’s Pilates work, her instructor Ginger noted what a natural she was at it and suggested she might consider becoming an instructor herself. Stephanie, despite loving this new experience, had to laugh. With a young child and a very necessary full-time paycheck from her traditional desk job, it just didn’t seem feasible. 

“Over the years, Ginger continued to encourage me to look into it. She could tell how much I loved it. But I continued to laugh it off as a dream idea.”

Deciding to become a Pilates instructor

Five years after the birth of her first son, Stephanie had a second child. And after a brief interruption to her new favorite fitness routine, Stephanie found her way back to Pilates and added some weight training back into her routine as well. But something still felt off.

“After I went back to work after maternity leave, it never felt right,” she remembers. “I was always wishing that I could somehow work a more flexible schedule so that I could be home with my kids. But when you have a good job with good money and benefits, that’s hard to do.”

However, Stephanie and her husband eventually decided that a change was doable and it was time for something else. And it didn’t take long for her to realize exactly what that something else should be.

Stephanie went back to her Pilates instructor and asked about next steps. Ginger sent her to Elaine Economou at MOVE Wellness, where she was able to join the new instructor training class. “I loved mat Pilates and loved helping people, but I didn’t know anything about Reformer or other equipment. I suddenly realized I had all these new tools at my disposal for helping people. It was intense and a great learning experience.”

That passion for learning and helping others was also evident to Elaine. “It was obvious Stephanie would make a great trainer. She told me this story about helping her father-in-law develop a fitness routine that eventually improved his health.”

Lower back pain, tight muscles and the lumbar spine

Over the course of Stephanie’s instructor training, she noticed some lower back pain and tightness, which she’d experienced for much of her life but had always dismissed as “normal.” But working through and analyzing posture during her training helped her see just how tight her lower back really was.

And Elaine noticed the same thing. “Stephanie was strong. But she had extremely tight hamstrings, hips, lower back and shoulders. Her erector spinae muscles, which run along either side of your spine, were really tight and that made it difficult for her to articulate her spine and get balanced movement.”

The same year that Stephanie began her training at MOVE, she started seeing a chiropractor who took x-rays of her spine that confirmed exactly what they had been seeing during her posture analysis in Pilates. 

“I was only a little surprised to see that my tailbone was practically parallel to the floor.” But Stephanie knew that she now had the knowledge and tools at her disposal to do something about it.

From lordosis and a desk job to Pilates powerhouse

The bright side to Stephanie’s lordosis diagnosis was that she had the power to change it. Elaine notes, “I think that Stephanie’s lordosis was probably always there, but that her muscular imbalance and tense tissue, compounded by several years sitting at a desk job, gradually pulled her lumbar spine into a deeper curve.”

During her instructor training, Stephanie diligently chipped away at the tightness and tension she’d developed and brought balanced movement back to her body. She worked on integrating smaller muscles into stabilization, mobilizing her spine, and ultimately lengthening her back and relieving tension on those larger back muscles.

“For Stephanie, it truly was as simple as doing the exercises in a way that she could actually feel her body moving the way it was supposed to. Once she did that, her dedication and consistent practice took her the rest of the way,” says Elaine.

Stephanie had a clear, new goal. Stretch out that lower back and correct the degree of her lordotic curve using the Pilates principles from her training. She worked hard for the next year and noticed an increase in flexibility and mobility. She could sit up tall on her sitz bone without having to bend her knees and could feel the difference in the reach of her spine during certain stretches.

New spine x-rays and a new Pilates trainer

In April 2019, Stephanie went back to her chiropractor and had new x-rays taken of her back. The images spoke for themselves. The extreme curve to her lower back had been corrected. “I am living proof of what Pilates can do. And more important, I now know how to help other people with the same issues and can confidently say, “Yes, I CAN help you with that!”

For Stephanie, making a difference for her clients by helping them be more mobile and pain-free is the best part of her new job. And she’ll be the first one to tell you that experiencing limited mobility in her own body helps her relate to what others are going through. 

“My favorite thing about teaching Pilates is knowing that I’m making a difference in so many lives. Hearing stories of what they can do now and what they weren’t able to do before. That never gets old.”

Elaine agrees that Stephanie’s own experience paved the way for a bright future in teaching and healing. “Stephanie really came to this work enjoying it in her body and with a desire to help others. She realized during instructor training that she could actually unravel her own unique postural issues. That, to me, is a great pathway to becoming a trainer.”

Consistent Pilates practice can heal your body

One of the biggest takeaways from Stephanie’s experience is that consistent Pilates practice with the help of a supportive, knowledgeable trainer can have a life-changing impact on your fitness. Having that set of expert eyes on your body and working toward relieving pain and increasing mobility, rather than just treating symptoms, sets the stage for aging well.

Recently, Stephanie was asked if she had a favorite Pilates exercise or apparatus. And true to form, her love of all things Pilates made it impossible to decide.

“There are so many good ones. I love the versatility of the Reformer and the challenge involved with chair exercises. Oblique work on the chair is awesome. Feet-in-straps on the reformer is just the best. But I love mat work. It’s what I first fell in love with and nothing can replace that. Side-lying leg work on the mat gets me every time.”

Ready to bring out the best in your own body? Find out what Pilates can do for your own fitness and health needs today.