Our Team

 

 
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Marisa Haga - Owner 

Marisa began studying Pilates in her early teens as a method to support and compliment her dance training.  She continued her Pilates study through college and after graduating completed her certification with STOTT Pilates, a leading program in the contemporary Pilates approach.  She earned her BFA in dance from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington and taught dance and Pilates around the Seattle area for several years before moving back to her home state of Colorado.  In addition to Seattle, Marisa has taught at studios in Ridgway and Telluride Colorado as well as New York City.  

She teaches a  comprehensive approach to Pilates that emphasizes biomechanics and proper anatomical alignment, and is passionate about integrating mindfulness into movement.  She often draws upon her studies of dance, Feldenkrais, and Laban/Bartenieff to inform her sessions and classes.  She is also certified in Yamuna Body Rolling and is completing her certification for Yamuna Foot Fitness.  She has found this technique extremely powerfully in helping clients realign their bones, release muscular tension, and get in touch with the intricacies and patterns held throughout the body.

 

 

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Rhonda Unkovskoy - Owner 

As a Pilates partitioner and Certified Instructor, I am continuously inspired by the benefits I have felt for myself and been fortunate enough to see in my clients.  11 years to committed practice and instructing has shown me the remarkable way Pilates re-educates and heals the body.

Trained and certified through Pilates Sport Center based in California, my training philosophy is one that preserves the essence of the Classical technique Joseph Pilates embodied with his original works, and blends today's progressive scientific knowledge and principles of proper body mechanics.  I encourage my clients to become active participants in their own well being.  Together we explore mindful movement, full body integration, ideal alignment, balanced musculature and breath!

I enjoy working with clients of all ages and physical conditions.  My intention is for each client to leave my session or class feeling energized, stronger and more centered, empowered to meet the day with those qualities to do what they do best!

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Lori Moore 

Lori is a certified Classical Pilates Trainer. She studied and received her certification through the Streamline studio in Salt Lake City and completed her apprenticeship hours at the Minds Eye Movement Studio in Durango. Her teachers studied at the Boulder Pilates Center under the branch of Romana Kryzanowska, one of Joseph Pilates' proteges. 

She started her personal Pilates training in 2012 after incurring a back injury playing hockey. She fell in love with the methodology of Pilates and the study of the human body as an incredible machine. She practiced as a professional engineer for the last 12 years and has been a sports enthusiast all her life. Her love of sports range from basketball, volleyball, running, mountain biking, downhill, x-country, and skate skiing, hockey, paddle boarding, hiking, etc...Unfortunately, playing hard comes with its fair share of injuries, however each injury has provided her a deeper understanding of her body which has helped her when working with other bodies. 

With her engineering mind, she looks at the body as a mechanical machine with levers (bones) and pulleys (muscles) and determines where and which pulleys are being overused and which ones may not be working at all. She has found a place where both her love of problem solving and body movement can combine to help people move more efficiently reducing pain, and play harder for longer. Pilates is her tool for a strong foundation, which allows her to continue to move and play in all other aspects of her life in an efficient, pain free way.

She wants to help people develop a strong, uniformly supported body so that they are primed for what ever activities the day may bring whether it is sitting at a desk all day, ripping down some single track, or out on the slopes.

Lakshmi Van Atta

Lakshmi is a New York trained dancer and a Yoga Postures and Philosophy Teacher; though this knowledge strengthened her inner and outer life it did not help her with her questions around correct joint placement and muscular use. In 2005 Lakshmi trained to be a Bowen Nerve Therapist after Bowen healed her from dance and yoga injuries that had been debilitating her hips, shoulders and tailbone for many years prior. Even after knowing the body through dance, Yoga and the nervous system a puzzle piece was still missing. In 2011 she became a Classical Pilates instructor. Pilates is where she finally learned about correct joint placement and muscular use. During her months of training she quickly realized; while Bowen is a passive Nerve resetting technique, Pilates done slowly and correctly resets the nerves out of old trauma patterns through activity.

Today she infuses her knowledge of the nerves into all of these physical venues. She loves helping people understand how their Nervous System affects the muscles which then affects many areas of the body and can push bones out of place creating pinched nerves and pain. She helps people understand how their nervous system thinks and functions through movement and why this knowledge is so important for keeping the body young, fluid and elasticized.

Joseph Pilates commented that aging is inevitable but getting old is a consciousness. Lakshmi is in her 60’s and feels more healthy, flexible and vibrant now, than she ever did as a dancer in her 20’s. This is because she integrates Pilates into her day to day life and has an understanding of how her nerves function and what they are saying to her day to day. To learn more about her, visit:  www.BowenNerveTraumaReleaseDurango.com

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Val Russel 

Val Russell has spent more than 20 years teaching Pilates, Yoga, and Aerial Acrobatic Arts. An acclaimed circus-arts performer herself, she also owns and manages Valeria’s Wings, a circus-arts event production company and teaches Trapeze, Lyra and Fabrics from her home studio.

Before relocating to Durango in 2017, Val owned and operated PUSH Pilates, Midtown Memphis’s first Pilates studio. She was certified in San Francisco at the Ellie Herman Studio and went on to study rehabilitative Pilates with Liz Roman. Her two certifications in yoga, from Cindi Lee’s Om Yoga and Richard Freemans’ Ashtanga Teacher Intensive, have further informed her multi-disciplinary approach to fitness. Val has attended two Teacher Training Programs at The New England Center for Circus Arts. Please contact Val directly to talk about circus-arts learning opportunities in Durango.

With a BFA from the University of Colorado and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, Val is a rare combination of skilled teacher, talented performer, and successful business owner and producer. She currently offers customized private lessons in Pilates for students in the Durango area. Through her production company, Valeria’s Wings, she produces magical shows that may feature contortion, hip-hop, juggling, fire dance, aerial performance, clown, stilts, and even roller-skating. 

Val began working at Pilates Durango August, 2017. She is excited to begin teaching group Reformer and Tower Classes, and working hard to build a Private Clientele as well. Val’s sense of adventure and deep understanding of core control as well as a love of nature and the mountains has inspired Pilates Durango’s first Pilates Paddle Boards classes.

 

Priscilla Blevins 

Priscilla began practicing pilates 12 years ago. The profound and transforming benefits pilates provided over the years influenced and propelled her to complete training and certification through the Pilates Sport Center based in California. With past work experience as a pediatric orthopedic nurse at Children's Hospital in Boston, MA (where she was born and raised), and with years of competitive running, triathlons and cycling, and with raising two highly competitive athletic children, Priscilla is passionate about the lifelong practice of pilates.

Priscilla's intention is to encourage others to integrate the principles of pilates into everyday life by increasing and enhancing strength, flexibility, body awareness and mechanics. With combining the principles of breath, concentration, center, control, precision and flow, the goal is to reduce stress and heal the body from injury and to feel a general sense of well being and energy at any stage of life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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K-Lea Gifford 

K-Lea is Iyengar Certified at the Junior Intermediate Level 2, as well as certified with International Association of Yoga Therapists. She started practicing in 1983 and has studied in Pune, India with the Iyengars several times.  She enjoys working therapeutically, as well as teaching specialty classes such as pregnancy, restorivie and back care needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

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Kristie Kiser

Kristie began her career with the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company as a professional dancer and teacher while attending college.  She graduated from the University of Houston in 1995 with a BS in Psychology and minor in dance.  After experiencing a fractured foot, physical rehabilitation involved Pilates.  Kristie experienced the positive effects of Pilates and became certified in 2001 by the PhysicalMind Institute.  Pilates certification involved apprenticeships in Houston, Texas and classes in Austin, Texas.  She has a passion for training and helping people recover from their injuries as well as teaching first time students.  Kristie moved to Durango in 2012 with her husband and two children and their new Great Dane, Ruby. Kristie is also an avid CrossFit athlete.