Trained by the amazing Ellie Herman (author of Pilates for Dummies, inventor of the Springboard) on all Pilates apparatus’ in San Francisco, her movement career has taken her around the world to all types of students. She has taught Pilates in places like China, Thailand, England, and in the US: San Francisco, Dallas, and of course DC. She has trained people ranging in fitness from Olympic athletes to people with partial paralysis in the limbs. In 2005 Sommer went to China to open her own wellness center in Beijing, Jara Wellness.Love brought her back to the US in 2008 and currently resides in Falls Church, VA. Sommer began her movement career at 3 years old in classical ballet. Throughout her life she studied various types of dance: African, Mexican (Folklorico), German, Tap (20 years), Jazz, Modern, Improvisational to name a few. In her twenties she studied Gong Fu and Wushu from a Shaolin Temple Master in China. Sommer is known for her kind yet motivating demeanor and sense of humor. Her diverse background knowledge and how she incorporates all her experiences and techniques will give you an inspiring, disciplined, and challenging workout – regardless if you are fit, injured, recovering, or just starting out.
Kate first discovered Pilates in 2000 while earning her Bachelor’s Degree from Colorado State University. She found it served as a perfect transition out of a vigorous horse showing schedule and a wonderful complement to a very athletic and competitive sports background. Pilates helped her immensely in rehabilitating many neck alignment issues, pinched nerves and lower lumbar injuries. She quickly saw and felt an incredible transformation in her own body, and knew Pilates would play an integral part in her life forever.
After 12 years working as a Business Development Director for several law firms, Kate decided it was time for a change, both mentally and physically. It was in 2014, that she decided to finally pursue Pilates as a career.
In 2015, Kate completed her Comprehensive Pilates Training through Pengu Studio in McLean, VA, and has been seeing private clients and teaching classes at Pengu since January 2016.
Kate assesses and builds custom programs for each of her private clients based on their individual needs and goals. Since she is still involved in competitive horse showing, her class repertoire aims to create unique classes with energy and flow, while always pushing clients to their limits and looking for progression.
Her teaching style is encouraging, supportive and motivating. She loves to help clients create, achieve and surpass their goals. She believes that Pilates is the best full body work-out that can complement every sport or fitness program, and help clients achieve balance and peace of mind.
Julia first lunged into yoga with the sole goal of strengthening her body. The mental clarity and discipline that followed suit was merely an accident, and an addictive one at that. Julia found herself demonstrating a new level of appreciation and resilience with each practice, embracing change and uniqueness that now translate into her everyday life. She yogas everyday—on and off the mat, in-studio and out, in her asanas, and through her prana—inhaling gratitude, exhaling the apathy. From her personal journey, Julia hopes to continue exploring and sharing the boundaries of her compassion, understanding, and strength.
Alex Duchscher has been practicing yoga since 1999, and teaching yoga since 2002, when she got her initial 200hr teacher training certificate from Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. Since then she has incorporated more Vinyasa flow to complement Kripalu’s Hatha style of yoga, attending trainings with Vinyasa teachers and mentors Shiva Rea and Shannon Paige. Also, studying and practicing Buddhist philosophy and meditation with her teacher Genla Chokyi Dhakpa, Michael Gregory has added a joyful peace and freedom to her approach to yoga practice. Today her style and flow revolve around the breath as teacher, guiding her into deeper expressions of organic, fluid grace combined with power channeled from within. Always drawing back to the midline to tap into the truest, most mindful manifestations of the present moment helps her joyfully bring her students to this place within their own practice.
Having attained 35 hours of prenatal yoga training with accomplished prenatal yoga instructor Laura Wade Jaster, Alex has been teaching prenatal yoga since July 2012. In a happy twist of fate, she also journeyed through her own first pregnancy during this fledgling year of teaching prenatal yoga, giving her teaching a connection from theory to practice, and an essence of authenticity. She not only taught yoga throughout her pregnancy, but also took many different prenatal classes to support her changing body and bonding with her baby. The spring off-season of 2013 came just in time for Alex to have her own baby, and then return to the classroom full of experiences and insights to share with her pregnant and new mommy students!
Having obtained her massage certification from Boulder College of Massage Therapy in December of 2005, Alex has been practicing massage since. She traveled to Thailand in 2006, and in Thai massage Alex found a happy marriage of her two loves, yoga and massage. She had the opportunity there to take retreat at a Thai Buddhist monestery, giving her a chance to deepen her practice of meditaion and mindfulness. All of these experiences serve to create a deeply authentic experience within her tapestry of practices.
Alex lived and taught yoga and practiced massage in Vail, Colorado for the better part of 10 years and has recently relocated to the Northern VA/D.C. Metro area.
Heather started teaching exercise classes in college after years of jazz ballet, horseback riding and biking. What started out as a way to avoid the dreaded “freshman ten” became a passion for how movement and body awareness can improve our day-to-day lives. For many years Heather was an instructor at Somebody’s Exercise Studio in Georgetown and various fitness chains in the D.C. area. After being told by an orthopedist that “gentle walking” was her only safe exercise option, Heather tried Pilates and was instantly hooked. One of her favorite things about Pilates is that people of any age or fitness level can leave class feeling stronger and happier than when they came in and believes Pilates can be a life changing experience.
Alexandra started taking Pilates classes while in training at the Actors Studio Drama School, where she earned her MFA in directing. She saw incredible changes in her body quickly and knew she found a life-long practice. After moving back to New York, Alexandra decided Pilates was important enough to her to train as a teacher. She completed her comprehensive training at CORE Pilates, NYC in October 2009 and taught there until October 2011. Alexandra has education and experience in teaching all body types from those with injuries to prenatal.
Wendy completed her Comprehensive Teacher Training Course with Body Arts and Science International (BASI). Her training style focuses on achieving strength through proper alignment and muscle recruitment during movement. After injury, the body finds a way to heal and often that process leads to various muscular compensations. Similarly, our daily activities develop inefficient muscular patterns that stress our bodies and eventually create imbalances. Pilates identifies those compensations and imbalances and transforms the body to function efficiently by encouraging proper muscle recruitment.
A native of South Beach, Florida, Evy is a nationally accredited fitness professional. In addition to her Pilates qualification from Balanced Body, she is a certified personal trainer with multiple certifications in group exercise instruction.
Evy’s background in athletics and dance provides her with an in-depth understanding of human kinetics and the ability to prepare distinct, results-oriented fitness programs. Her teaching philosophy is to make each class entertaining & energetic but also educational.
Evy enjoys keeping up with the latest fitness trends and educating other instructors by leading instructional workshops. She has collaborated on over 18 nationally distributed fitness video projects, contributed fitness tips for news segments on local and syndicated TV, and modeled for fitness apparel designers.
Two years ago while taking some time off from running Kim discovered Pilates. She has always been active and a fitness enthusiast. She immediately fell in love with Pilates. Wanting to expand her knowledge of Pilates, Kim decided to become an instructor. She enjoys working with clients and showing them all the amazing benefits Pilates can bring to their lives. Kim is a STOTT PILATES trained instructor in Matwork, Reformer, Chair and Barrels. She is also certified in Total Barre. As a military spouse, she has called many places home and will be calling NoVa home for the next few years. Kim is originally from Columbia, SC. She holds a B.S. Degree in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University. She enjoys spending her free time with family and friends. Kim has two active daughters (15 & 10) so she can always be found watching them at swim team or high school cheer.
Olga is a professional ballet dancer and master Pilates teacher. She graduated ballet training from Rambert School of Ballet in London and received a Foundation BA (Hons) Degree. Later she joined several dance companies in Germany, Greece, and Australia. In addition, Olga has a Specialist Teaching Diploma in Contemporary Dance from Laban Center in London. At the age of 13, she began Pilates training as a young dancer. Olga completed Advanced Master Training (2.5 years and 1000+ hours) in Body Control – Pilates as a student of Jenny Colbourne (student of Jerome Andrews (First Generation Teacher who worked for Joeseph Pilates for 10 years) and Dreas Reyneke (Pilates Teacher to the Royal Ballet and the Rambert School of Ballet). She specializes in Advanced Pilates for Professional Ballet Dancers. She was the personal trainer for a number of wonderful celebrity clients in London, Germany, Greece, California, and Australia. Her advanced training techniques helped her clients achieve the highest level of physical fitness, with long and lean bodies. Olga is an active member of the Royal Academy of Dance in London (RAD), the Pilates Alliance Australasia, and the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS).
Mariah has been teaching Pilates for more than 15 years, both nationally and internationally. Mariah has been comprehensively trained with over 1500 hours of training through two certification programs and is now a Teacher Trainer. She is passionate about helping her clients find their true movement potential through core strengthening and full body conditioning. Mariah has a deep interest in the myo-fascial network and how these lines and spirals of support influence the body’s ability to move within gravity. She is interested in bringing out the grace in people’s movement that comes when they move from core. Her specialty is being able to “see” whether or not her client is activating their core. She knows how to help her clients get out of compensation patterns and back into moving with strength, efficiency and ease. A stickler for quality and a natural explainer, her clients progress quickly under her watchful eye, finding themselves stronger, more flexible, and more fit with every session.
After many successful years of touring in a rock band and owning her own record label which followed attending the University of Wisconsin for piano performance, Kjo took a corporate gig with a music equipment manufacturer traveling the world.
Years of globetrotting and one million plus airline miles have taken their toll on her body. After researching the many alternatives, Kjo* decided to pursue Pilates and quickly saw the benefits. Interested in new challenges, she pursued the next level of understanding by receiving her Power Pilates Mat certification in 2011.
Kjo lives in Falls Church with her husband and Kung Fu cat. In her spare time she enjoys songwriting, photography, motorcycling, horseback riding, negotiating, organizing, gadgets, champagne and eating out.