I first saw Ana on a Pilates DVD with Gaiam. I was impressed by her looks and performance. And now I have interviewed her! Peak Pilates® Master Ana Caban (45) is the mother of a beautiful and smart 7 year old boy, who keeps her on her toes. Ana is currently teaching Pilates Mat classes for Equinox (health club), in Pasadena, CA.
As one of America’s leading fitness trainers, Ana Cabán has gained a strong reputation among health/fitness industry experts for her distinctive style. She has sold over 3,500,000 of her award-winning bilingual fitness DVDs, bands, balls, weights, rings and other fitness accessories. Touted “a star Pilates instructor” by InStyle magazine and “the fitness guru to propel you into shape” by Martha Stewart Radio. Ana also regularly appears as the go-to fitness & lifestyle expert in print publications, including Health, Fitness, Pilates Style, Latina and O Magazine. Ana is a Peak Pilates® Master Instructor, International Fitness Presenter, Success Coach and Radio Host, who in her own words would describe herself as “a Puerto Rican, Salsa-loving, Pilates pro who enjoys network marketing and inspiring people to live their best life ever”, what she has coined “La Buena Life!
Pilates did really transform my life. It brought me to a place of being of truly serving others, which is what I enjoy most.
When and why did you start practicing Pilates?
I started practicing Pilates in my early 20’s after a back injury from dance. I tried all kinds of therapy and the only thing that really helped me was chiropractic care. Luckily, my chiropractor suggested that I supplement what he was doing with private Pilates sessions. So I did so, once a week. I couldn’t believe how good I felt after each session. However, it wasn’t until years later that I considered learning to teach Pilates.
Ana, do you own a studio or multiple studio’s?
I have had 2 Pilates studios, over the years, my first was in Miami (Progressive BodyWorks) and my second was in Los Angeles, (ABSolutely Pilates). One was a Peak Pilates studio and one was a Gratz studio.
Why not educate people to safely, and effectively, move their bodies through Pilates? It was like a light bulb going off in my head. I was so excited that I had found my calling.
Where did you receive your Pilates education(s)?
I was originally certified by Romana Kryzanowska and Bob Liekens, through the (then) Pilates Studio of NY®. Since then I have become a Peak Pilates® Master Instructor, which I have been doing for over 12 years.
What made you decide to make Pilates your profession?
I realized how amazing Pilates was and wanted to share it with others. Prior to becoming a Pilates instructor I had spent my childhood training as a dancer, including years of ballet training through The Royal Academy of Dance. Later I became a school teacher, (teaching Spanish to children of all ages). It occurred to me, one day lying on South Beach, (in Miami, FL), that I had been training to move my body and was also trained as an educator. Why not educate people to safely, and effectively, move their bodies through Pilates? It was like a light bulb going off in my head. I was so excited that I had found my calling. I began my research on where to get certified in Pilates, which lead me to Romana in NYC.
How long did you study Pilates?
I completed my certification in only 10 months. Studying Pilates was my full-time job, at the time. I continue to attend conference, as both a presenter and participant and love learning from others. I even love taking other types of fitness classes, as I learn from each one that I take. A personal favorite right now is hot yoga. (And I never thought that I would like a class in hot ANYTHING!)
I love teaching Pilates in a group setting, ideally mat, because I love the energy that the group creates. It’s a community.
What is your opinion about Traditional, Classical and Contemporary Pilates?
Pilates offers something for everyone. I feel very fortunate to have studied Classical Pilates, as I studied Classical Ballet. I believe that having had that experience, and the foundation in the original movements, concepts and philosophy of Joseph Pilates has made me better able to learn and appreciate other variations of Pilates, (and fitness, in general), always remembering from where these new ideas emanated
Some teachers call themselves Pilates trainers after one weekend course or a Pilates workshop. What is your opinion about that?
Pilates is a very rich exercise system. I have been teaching for nearly 20 years and am still amazed at the nuance of each exercise. I continue to learn and grow, in my own practice. You cannot teach Pilates until you know and understand Pilates, in your own body. Therefore, I don’t believe that the Monday after a weekend of studying Pilates, you are ready to teach the method. There needs to be hours of personal practice, observation and practice teaching before you are ready to teach even the Pilates mat. That’s not to say that you cannot be exposed to the content/education over the course of a weekend, but there must be much more work (on your part) to be in a place where you truly understand the exercises, the purpose of each one and how to safely, and effectively teach them.
My real passion is in inspiring others to live the life that they want
What Pilates apparatus is your favorite?
I’d have to say that I love the mat the most! It’s good for everyone, and can be done anywhere. No excuses! If I had to have a second choice I would say the low/wunda chair. It is so challenging and fun! I love Peak Pilates equipment because they stay true to what the Classical instructor wants, and also have offerings for the more Contemporary instructor. Their reformers are made of solid oak, are beautiful and are a joy to workout on!
What is your favorite Pilates exercise?
I love the Teaser! I know, it sounds strange. I love the challenge. I love the Teaser on the mat, reformer, chair, spine corrector-everywhere!
Did you start your own educational program?
I did not start my own educational program, not for lack of interest (plenty of people asked me to certify them, over the years). I believed that my talents were better used being a Peak Pilates Master Instructor, than creating my own curriculum (and I could have done it. I was a teacher before a Pilates instructor). By being a Master Instructor for Peak I was provided with great tools, syllabus, materials to do my job and more time freedom to do other things that I love.
Did you solve any of your own body issues or do you keep them under control with Pilates?
Yes, my back is not much of a problem anymore, as long as I do my Pilates workouts, (mat, and/or equipment).
Do you teach more male or female clients?
I teach more females, however since I teach in the gym environment now there are many men that come to my classes. I would say that 20% of the class is male, which is fun!
How did Pilates change your life?
Pilates did really transform my life. It brought me to a place of being of truly serving others, which is what I enjoy most. It also continues to help me manage any body aches that I might be feeling, (I am getting older, you know!)
Do you think that the perception of Pilates has changed to the people in the last 10 years?
Yes, I’m glad that most people have heard of Pilates, and many have tried it, (in one form, or another). When I started teaching Pilates NO ONE knew what it was. In fact, when I asked my father to lend me the money to study Pilates, and then to buy my first reformer, and wall unit, I think that he thought that I was taking a huge risk! Fast forward a year, or two, and he knew that I had had the right idea. Soon after opening my first Pilates studio, (in Miami), I was sought after by the press; TV, print, even a Pilates DVD deal with Gaiam! My business exploded. I couldn’t even see all of the people that wanted to take sessions with me. (A lot of it had to do with timing, of course.)
What do you like the most about teaching Pilates?
I love teaching Pilates in a group setting, ideally mat, because I love the energy that the group creates. It’s a community. I’m much happier teaching a group than a private session, these days.
Have you taught (or still teach) a famous person?
I have taught a few celebrities, over the years, and I can honestly say that I much prefer teaching the non-celebrity. I have found that they genuinely appreciate my time, and expertise much more than any celebrity that I have trained.
How many times do you workout yourself?
I do mat twice a week and try to get on equipment when I can, these days. However, I also do cardio (usually Spinning®) and yoga. I love how strong I feel after a good cardio workout and yoga brings me peace, (and stops that chatter in my head). I’m quite creative, and we creative types don’t ever seem to stop thinking.
Is there still an exercise (or more than one) you didn’t “nailed” yet?
The hardest exercise for me is the “neck pull” on the mat. My lower back is very tight, so a have trouble articulating it. Therefore, I end up hinging up and it’s just not the best exercise for me. So I usually do it with bent knees, and do the best that I can. We can’t be good at every exercise. But there is always something that we each shine at, which is fun.
Will you keep on practicing and teaching Pilates?
I am teaching less now, than I have in years past, because my real passion is in inspiring others to live the life that they want. I spend my time speaking on stage, and have been working on a book about trusting your instincts.