TPC Grad Chats! Michal Nitzan

This week we are chatting with Michal Nitzan, who is soon to graduate from TPC’s Advanced Teacher Training Program. Michal became inspired to learn to teach Pilates after taking classes with Kelli Burkhalter Hutchins. She trains with Kelli and TPC host teacher Cathy Brown at The Pilates Movement Studio in Austin. 

Hi Michal, how are you and what are you up to today?

I’m great! I’m busy going over emails as I sip my morning coffee and then we’re off to start another Sunday of hockey. Our weekends, and weekday evenings during kid’s hockey season, belong to hockey. My whole family play the game, even my 4-year-old!


How did you find out about TPC?

I took Pilates lessons with Kelli Burkhalter Hutchins after the birth of my fourth child.

Pilates with Kelli was different from the Pilates I’d been doing before we moved to Austin.


The Pilates Center, Boulder teaches the original method of Pilates as devised by Joe Pilates and it wasn’t just a workout that was ‘done’ to me – being taught The Pilates Center way made me own the movement. I was forced to think about muscle pathways and make substantial changes in my body – correcting posture, decompressing my lower back, removing pressure from joints, and relieving aches and tensed muscles.


I was able to take TPC principles and apply these to sports and to my overall life.


I used to be a high school math teacher and the Pilates path to uniform development, health, strength and flexibility really interested me.


Training under Kelli (Kelli is a TPC licenced teacher trainer based here in Austin) was the best I could have asked for. I did not look at other Pilates teacher training schools because The Pilates Center stood out as the best training school option.


Why do you think TPC is the best option for people wanting to become Pilates teachers?

The TPC method is brilliant!


Before I started the program, I doubted I’d be able to see the different bodies for their imbalances. Kelli assured me that this was part of the TPC teaching. Indeed, this “x-ray vision” is becoming more and more available to me as I go through the training. It is fascinating! Every body is a riddle ready to be solved and healed. I believe that teaching teachers how to look for and deal to correct imbalances is also unique to The Pilates Center, Boulder Teacher Training, and therefore the best route for a future Pilates teacher to take.


What is your favourite thing about TPC’s teacher training programme?

Being taught under Kelli is a great privilege. I feel that same privilege when I observe the online videos led by Amy and Rachel. This incredible online resource is unique to TPC and it is available for all trainees. It is so valuable to our training.


What do you think your experience at TPC has given you most?

The TPC experience has put me on an incredible path to uniform development and health. The change I’ve seen in myself is enormous. I’ve corrected, and am on the path to correcting, so many imbalances: forward neck posture, rounded shoulders, tight pectorals, tight shoulder girdle, compressed lumbar spine, forward tilted left hip, knee pain, tight calves, tight quads, weak hamstrings and gluteal, a lack of foot flexibility and supination and a lack of spine flexibility.


I was an unusual math teacher before the TPC training, I developed my own “hands on” Calculus curriculum where I taught students to think outside the box and develop critical thinking. I find the skills the TPC program has given me with regards to changing people’s health are parallel to what I was doing in Mathematics.


Teaching Pilates using the TPC method is not about memorizing and following exercise instructions like one might want to study math by memorizing equations. Critical thinking and outside the box thinking is necessary if your goal is to change someone’s health. TPC teacher trainees learn these skills during the training and they are invaluable.


What would you say to someone who is considering training with TPC?

I don’t know much about other training programs around but I have seen the result of other training programs (Pilates teachers who give by rote exercise instructions but are not attentive to the imbalances of clients or have the know-how to fix these imbalances). The skills I have learned with TPC are not unique to my personality or to my previous teaching experiences – I have definitely seen these skills within other teacher trainees I’ve met at The Pilates Center, Boulder, Colorado.