Pacific NW Pilates blog

Pilates Posture: The Right Curves

by Trixie on July 18, 2014

 Good posture is not a straight line habit


Pilates is known for enabling and enhancing beautiful posture. But here’s the truth: Developing good posture and movement patterns doesn’t follow a straight path. For the record, the back is meant to have lovely curves. If it took you 40 years to learn how to stand as you do today, it will take a while to unlearn that same habit.

Other postures 2

The cool thing about our bodies is that they are endlessly adaptable. Pilates helps to choose a more efficient or more effective way to stand and move—from a biomechanical vantage.

Clients often ask WHY they stand or move the way they do. There’s no one answer. Among the reasons could be one or a combination of the following:

  • Incomplete understanding of how their body works. Example: “Some part of me didn’t realize where my hip joints are and that I could move them independent of my spine!”
  • A sense of what’s right developed in early life. Example: “My mother always said, ‘Stand up straight,’ and now THIS feels straight to me.”
  • Activity or lack of activity directed to use the body in a specific way. Example: “I was a teenage gymnast and taught myself to arch my lower back. Now I do it all the time.”
  • A coping mechanism was secondary to an injury. Example: “When I was eight, I fell from a tree and landed on my back; it hurt to walk for a long time and, after a while, my foot began to hurt … “


New PNWP clients are evaluated with a postural assessment to give us both a starting point. Typically, we use a plumb line to identify and establish verticality. I’ll explain more about that in the future.

Guiding a client through Pilates exercises to experience a new way of thinking about moving can have powerful results. The compromised movement that feels “right” in the present is often the very thing that needs to be altered. Pilates instruction provides a gentle hand and voice to support and assist you through learning new action.

We’re devoted to help you develop neuromotor control to acquire a new skill. You can experience your good posture, and discover a new way of living in your amazing body.

Yours faithfully,

Leslie Braverman





Pilates Inspired Balanchine Dance

by Trixie on July 8, 2014

Imagine my delight to discover—in the middle of a Public Broadcasting System (PBS) documentary about ballerina Tanaquil le Clerq—that the legendary choreographer George Balanchine drew upon Pilates movement in one of his ballets.



Ballerina Tanaquil le Clerq, Balanchine’s wife and muse, was stricken with polio at the height of her powers. She was only 27 years old. Recovery began in an iron lung to aid her breathing. Her once-powerful leg muscles were weakened, and her career was halted.

Balanchine was devoted to her therapy. He was a friend of Joseph Pilates and routinely referred New York City Ballet dancers to Pilates’ studio to avoid and treat injury. He studied the exercises and put le Clerq through her progressions.


In fact, Balanchine incorporated the manipulation of limbs, inspired by de Clerq’s Pilates exercises, in his Agon ballet. Check out the PBS video for a fascinating story; Agon and Pilates are mentioned at about the 52-minute mark.



Happy Fourth of July

by Trixie on July 4, 2014



On May 1, Leslie Braverman and PNWP co-owner Melanie Byford-Young celebrated 13 years in business as the Pacific Northwest’s premier center for Pilates education, certification, and client fitness. Leslie found the occasion a time to reflect on what PNWP means to her. 

Anniversaries make this girl take stock. We just hit #13. At the very heart of my 13 years as PNWP co-owner remains the daily exhilaration of connecting with clients. I love to hear their stories, to see them learn and watch their bodies—and spirits—change.

There is no greater joy for me then to hear a client say that they are stronger or physically able do something in their life—to describe an experience or pleasure that has been restored since discovering Pilates.

ih2.jsp We were such kids! In 2001, PNWP was born, the brainchild of three Pilates pros: Melanie Byford-Young, Jean Leavenworth and me.


I have to grin when I look back—and stop at certain images: The day we found our first studio; the tingle of excitement and nervousness the day we signed our lease; when we taped the location for each Reformer on the floor. How thrilling it was when our very first STOTT PILATES instructor training course filled—with ten terrific students from points all over the Pacific Northwest. And, how stunned we were to expand the studio after just one year.

“Ballet taught me to be hardworking, focused and disciplined. Owning a business has taught me to be more patient, caring and human. Greatest of all the gifts: PNWP is a wellspring of friendship and community.”

                                                        — Leslie Braverman, PNWP 

Each of PNWP’s certified instructors—from our first day to now—has been hand-picked because of their training, skill, teaching talent and how they invest in their clients. I’m honored that today there are 20 gifted instructors engaged here.

We have grown slowly and organically.  We make choices based on what feels right in the moment and reflects our values. We learned a few lessons the hard way. Working with clients has always been a pleasure; learning to run a business has held as many challenges as triumphs. Growing up can be painful!

I step into our 14th year grateful that I took a chance to have this life. Our anniversary has brought me back to the beginning. I am reminded of why I wanted to own a Pilates studio and how much I love it. My goal this year to keep my eyes wide open, to be consciously aware of PNWP’s extraordinary possibilities and the gift I have been given to help change people’s experiences in a meaningful, life-affirming way.

                                                                                                            Yours in health,

                                                                                                            Leslie Braverman


{ 1 comment }

Melanie’s Pilates Adventure in Dubai – Part 2

by Trixie June 17, 2014

PNWP Owner Melanie Byford-Young was invited to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by Real Pilates in Dubai to teach STOTT PILATES workshops. Before teaching in early June, she explored the desert from an oasis and toured Abu Dhabi—spectacular experiences that she shared on our blog. Here, she comments on what it was like to visit […]

Read the full article →

Every Wednesday is Father’s Day

by Trixie June 6, 2014

Pilates Strengthens Our Father and Daughter Bond    PNWP Owner Leslie Braverman has had the pleasure of introducing her father to Pilates over the past year. It has been life-altering and an education for both of them. She shares their happy story with you, and encourages all our friends and family to celebrate Father’s Day […]

Read the full article →

PNWP’s Melanie Travels to UAE for Pilates — Part 1

by Trixie June 1, 2014

Desert Days Before Dubai   PNWP Owner Melanie Byford-Young was invited to teach the first-ever STOTT PILATES rehabilitation course (RMR1) in the Middle East. Before starting her work in Dubai, Melanie and her husband Kevin spent a few days exploring the land and culture of the United Arab Emirates. Highlights of her travel journal appear […]

Read the full article →

PNWP Movement Workshop with Matt Walsh in June

by Trixie April 28, 2014

Removing Mystery from Movement Patterns Workshop for physical therapy professionals: dysfunctional movement patterns of spine and lower extremities PNWP’s workshop with international expert Matt Walsh is a rare chance for you to access top-level biomechanics with a demonstration that incorporates Pilates exercises solutions. Friday, June 20, 2014 5 – 7 p.m. Cost:  $150 Register by […]

Read the full article →

Media Release

by Trixie April 22, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Leslie Braverman (503) 292-4409 Pacific NW Pilates Kicks Off 14th Year and Pilates Week 2014 with 14 Free Classes   Premier Portland Pilates studio and certification center begins 14th year with free studio and community classes: Solutions for Work, Play & Life Portland, OR (April 22, 2014) — Pacific NW Pilates […]

Read the full article →

Pacific NW Pilates Invites Rehabilitation Health Professionals to an Open House at Element Wellness

by Trixie April 9, 2014

As part of its community outreach during its signature Pilates Week 2014 programming, Pacific NW Pilates, in collaboration with Element Wellness and Sports Rehabilitation, presents Therapeutic Pilates: An Intelligent Approach to Rehabilitation for the Client and Therapist Open House Invitation for Health Professionals Wednesday, April 30, 2014 6:15 – 7:30 p.m. Element Wellness & Sports Rehabilitation, […]

Read the full article →