Sunni Almond said to us. “It’s cool that you have asked me to do this interview, considering the fact that I’m a Pilates nobody 😉 Relatable I think because I am more like the many unbranded just regular ‘JOE’ teachers out there.” Well, we at Pilatesglossy are very proud to have her on our online magazine!
Can you tell us more about yourself?
I’m 58 and my history briefly is ALL over the place. I’ve been an artist, a comic, an actress, a dancer (not the long lithe willowy ballerina type- think more the shorter athletic gymnastic jazz type) and (shhhhhh) a mime. I am still a hairdresser, I still paint, I have been a mortgage loan officer, and for eight years I was a nurse in an urgent care and Ortho Tech. I have tried it all and not knowing about do-overs, I didn’t want any regrets.
Since when do you practice Pilates?
I started practicing Pilates a long time ago, 20 years-ish give or take. I got introduced to Pilates long after I actually started reading and researching. A hair client’s daughter was just getting her certification and opened up a home studio near me. I was her first client. I had been teaching in gyms and didn’t want to be hulk woman as I got older. The dancer in me appreciated the elegance and intensity. The gymrat in me appreciated the ultimate strength challenges that were so different from anything I’d ever done before.
Can you tell us something about your Pilates Education?
My Pilates education started with Cathleen Murakami of Synergy Systems in Encinitas, and continued on with Polestar inspired training from a graduate who had opened a studio and had a Teacher Training that was pretty much right from her notes, but since I had been doing Pilates for about 10 years before then, I already knew the exercises, she taught me to teach. I also took Basi workshops, Stott workshops, Balanced Body workshops…..
Then a little over 4 years ago I met Siri Dharma Galliano and a Gratz reformer. I took lessons from Siri, and at her Intensives besides the legendary Jay Grimes, a whole host of stellar, well known teachers including Jennifer Kries, Alisa Wyatt, Tiziana Trovati, Joy George, Carrie Macy, Vil Shayanurov, Mari Winsor, Jillian Hessel . So I do only Classical Pilates currently, I do 2 major Intensives a year and take lessons and host workshops as often as I can. I think my game changer was that 2011 Intensive in LA. I then learned just exactly how much I didn’t know.
What made you decide to make Pilates your profession?
I had been in the fitness industry since I was in my twenties. Pilates was challenging and new, always new…so I think it decided itself. It takes brains and physical ability, anybody can’t do it, you need to be able to see and feel. So for my ADD self, it’s actually a life and relationship saver.
Can you describe your studio?
My studio is a home studio; my husband transformed the garage into a sweet 300 square feet boutique studio, with a leaded glass door and sliding bamboo screens. On one wall I have painted a mural of a Thailand beach from pics my son sent me when he was living there. I have Gratz apparatus except a couple of copies (of Gratz) my husband made. A Ladder Barrel, Pedi Pole & Spine Corrector (Instructions on Pilatesology, if anyone is interested)
Which apparatus is your favorite?
My favorite apparatus changes as I tend to binge out on a piece and then move around the studio to something else, currently it’s the Wunda Chair. My favorite exercises are the ones I find most challenging, so since I am just coming back from a torn rotator cuff and severely broken arm and couldn’t do a lot of things for the whole last year…hmmm… Snake and Twist I guess.
Did the economic crisis bother you?
The economic crisis hasn’t really had an impact on my business, I’m in a smaller community so prices aren’t quite as high here as in other larger cities.
How did Pilates help you?
Pilates has helped me as I try to keep my body together. I broke my right ankle while skydiving, and that inspired creativity in my Pilates practice and in teaching Then with my broken arm and rotator cuff injuries ( 3 Great Danes aren’t easy to walk) I’ve had to put myself together again, so yes it’s helped me keep my sanity even as I had pity party meltdowns. I’m getting older now, so I’m thinking that I’d be crippled if it weren’t for Pilates; I’m hard on me ;))
Do you have a target audience?
My target audience is people who are fighting the cancer fight or MS or stroke recovery. I want to help people stay mobile, so that they can have some quality of life even when everything else is out of their control. I teach about 20-25 hours a week, with a good mix of mostly privates, a few duets and a couple small group classes of no more than 4, plus a weekly mat class at a local yoga studio. My favorite person to teach is someone who wants to learn and is inspired to practice even when they aren’t in the studio.
What is your vision about Pilates?
My vision, well I’m a community person, so my vision is Peace, Love, Pilates! The biggest insight I’ve gotten is that it’s ok, every exercise isn’t right for everybody, leaving things out isn’t being lazy it’s being honest.
Did you change things?
I change things about my teaching all the time, I try and talk less, cue more specifically, I invite my clients to what ever I need for them to do and I try not to cue in the negative.
What is your opinion about the classical, authentic Pilates and the contemporary approach?
Well since my roots are Contemporary, even though I have completely changed to the Classical style I don’t want to bag on any Pilates school. I just keep learning.
Who would you like to meet in the “Pilates world”?
Well I have been fortunate enough to meet some of my Pilates heroes, I’m usually very star struck and shy. I would’ve loved to have met Romana, I want to meet Junghee Won, we’re Facebook friends, and I think I’d like to have my butt kicked by Kathi Ross Nash. Really, there are so many great teachers out there that I’d be honored to have the chance to learn from. I have met an’Elder’, Jay Grimes, and he’s the nicest person ever, helpful and not intimidating at all.
Do you have a funny Pilates story?
I can’t tell the funniest Pilates story I have, we promised to keep it in the vault :)))) I just find it funny that Pilates has become kind of a spa, zen, massage music kinda thing, since Joe was a cigar smoking boxer and not very zen-like at all.
What is your Pilates dream?
Since there really isn’t any retirement option and I’ve gotta keep moving, I’m hoping I can teach and practice long after Alzheimers sets in. My Pilates dream would be able to travel to all the places my Facebook Pilates friends are and actually meet them and take lessons, and become a really great teacher.
You can find Sunni and her studio Studio S Pilates on the web at http://temeculapilates.com.
Shoot her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 951-972-2632