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                             Meet The Team                           


Ann van Messel

Comprehensive Pilates Instructor

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Zhao Catherine Xu

Pilates Instructor

Endlessly curious and constantly seeking, I love finding new ways of approaching movement. My sessions are driven by the needs of the body that presents itself at that moment. The hope is that when one becomes conscious of their movement patterns, students will find their own freedom of movement, propelling them to move more and better without fear!

I love moving – swimming, biking, skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, climbing --name it and I probably want to do it. But my movement patterns used to leave me in a ball of pain for weeks —until I discovered Pilates. After a few months of Pilates twice a week, the constant numbness I had in one leg for several years evaporated for a few minutes. With consistent pilates practice being symptom free grew to hours at a time. I was hooked!

The way my body felt after a pilates session was magic so I knew I had to learn more. I sought out my teacher’s teacher – Rael Isacowitz and graduated from the BASI Comprehensive Teacher Training in 2015. I began working with people daily and my students became my teachers. Learning how they held their bodies informed how we went about their movement practices and led me to seek out further trainings.

Over the years since, I have augmented my teaching with other courses - including Pathologies and Injuries; Pre and Postnatal Pilates; Pilates for the Athlete; Pilates for Neurological Conditions; Fascial Conditioning; the BASI Mentor Program; etc. - expanding my learning into human movement. A perpetual student I am thankful to be able to assist people on their own movement journeys!

Pilates found me about 10 years ago, halfway through the pregnancy of my first daughter and starting to experience all sorts of body pain. I was fascinated by how some ‘simple-looking’ exercises could help me breathe more easily, feel taller, more balanced, and more in-control overall -all in a relatively short period of time. I was hooked; prior to Pilates I had little interest in sports aside from some yoga and a little badminton.

 The more I practiced, the more I wanted to know. I enrolled in Polestar Pilates Teacher’s Training Courses - Mat and Reformer which I completed from beginner through advanced work in 2020. And my study continues.

I hope to help my students improve their ‘mindfulness’, so they may have a better mind-body connection, moving more freely, aligned and at ease in their bodies.bodies.

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Linda Botha

Comprehensive Pilates Instructor

After completing my training in classical pilates I started a home studio (Spring Punk Pilates) in 2018. In 2021 I transitioned to teaching from commercial studios, specializing in duet and private sessions for clients with a variety of activity levels. In addition to my classical training, I have also been incorporating influences from other lineages (Stott & BASI) and drawn inspiration from other styles, e.g. Fuse pilates (Mariska Breland) and Glo Pilates (Anula Maiberg). With a background in biochemistry and science, my teaching philosophy is to join my students on a journey of exploration to learn their own bodies'  preferences and pattern new, more balanced ways of movement. My focus on 'harnessing the power of the spring' in the various pieces of pilates equipment, essentially relies on the feedback of the springs as teacher to and inform different muscles/ muscle groups during dynamic movement. I view Pilates as the supporting platform which enables my students to do what they love to do outside the studio with strength, balance and resilience.


Katya Skrypchenko

Comprehensive Pilates Instructor

I have always been driven by a passion for sports and an aspiration to excel in movement. From the age of 6, I delved into ballroom dancing and became a champion of Ukraine. In university, I took up sports aerobics and achieved noteworthy accomplishments. Moreover, I dedicated a decade of my life to yoga. After the birth of my second child, I immersed myself in functional training for three years. In that time, I not only achieved an impeccable physical form but also developed back pain. This pain prompted me to explore the Pilates method. Throughout my journey, I've always been intuitive about finding the perfect exercise techniques, whether it's in the waltz, samba, or even burpees. The question of why certain movements felt more correct than others has always intrigued me. I later realized that the principle of mindful movement underpins the Pilates method. I successfully completed the Comprehensive Polestar course, which covers work with all apparatus including the Reformer, Trapeze Table, Chair, Ladder Barrel, and Spine Corrector. My primary goal is to guide individuals towards mindful movement, enabling them to develop new movement patterns, find relief from injuries, and experience the joy and satisfaction that comes from truly understanding their bodies.

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