TPC Grad Chats! Sophia Briegleb

This week we had the absolute pleasure of chatting with Sophia Briegleb, owner of Kinesis Pilates. Über talented, Sophia has a B.S. in Sports Medicine, a M.S. in Neuroscience, was a Strength and Conditioning Coach in the early 2000s, used to teach Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology at the Community College of Denver and Metropolitan State University of Denver, and in 2016, graduated from The Pilates Center, Boulder’s Advanced Teacher Training Program. Sophia has continued on to become a Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) Certified Pilates Teacher and TPC Host Advisor. She is very committed to learning and knowing more about Pilates and human movement.

Hi Sophia, how are you today? Where are you right now and what are you up to?

I am well.  I’m at home in my living room while it snows like crazy outside.

Where did you train and when did you graduate?

I trained at TPC in Boulder and graduated in 2016.

Do you teach at a studio? If so, where and can you tell us a little bit about it?

After graduating, I opened Kinesis Pilates in my home. One year later, I moved the studio into The Stanley Marketplace in Aurora (next to the Stapleton neighborhood of Denver). It’s a small studio with five Centerline combo units, five chairs, one Cadillac and one high barrel. We are small but mighty–with about 2500 classes taken and over 1300 privates taught in 2018. All my teachers are graduates of TPC.  

Are you a Host Advisor or LTT? If so, please tell us a little about how you enjoy these roles? 

I am a Host Advisor. I love to teach not just clients but also those who want to become teachers, so I enjoy my role as a HA. I love helping my new and aspiring teachers see connections in the body, better understand its anatomy and biomechanics, and grow as communicators and teachers.

How did you find out about TPC?

I did an internet search. While considering a variety of programs, others recommended it to me.

What was your motivation for learning to teach Pilates?

I had eight years of chronic hip and SI joint pain that was improved by Pilates. I wanted to do the program to better understand Pilates for myself, uncertain if I would actually ever teach it. But the interest in my community led me to decide that I would in fact teach it. During my training program, my pain disappeared and I’ll forever be grateful to TPC for their role in my personal healing.  

What was your reason for choosing to train with TPC? 

Depth and location. I liked the 900 hours advanced training program, with all the student teaching and case study. It seemed thorough. And since I live in Denver, it felt like a blessing to have such a renowned training program so close to me.  

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

I think TPC offers a solid foundation from which to start your Pilates career. They do a nice job of taking a large amount of information and organizing it into levels that make it easier to understand and apply. They have honored the original ideas of Joe and Romana, and tried to pass them on with integrity. Their training program design makes sure that you have a wide variety of learning opportunities, from lectures to observations to personal lessons.  They try to create well-rounded teachers by not just teaching the exercises, but also movement skills and teaching skills. The Pilates Center Teacher Training Program offers a good balance of supports and flexibility.  

What was / is your favourite things about TPC’s teacher training programme?

Observing other teachers and student teaching. I like the emphasis on these two.  Watching lectures and taking classes is fine, but I think you really learn the art and craft of teaching by watching those who have been doing it for decades. I also think having to do hundreds of hours of student teaching, plus a case study, was a driving force in making me a confident, capable teacher today.

Why did you choose to do the full, Advanced program as opposed to the Intermediate or other programmes on offer? 

Why not learn it all? I wanted to understand the full depth of Joseph Pilates’ work.  

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

I think it gave me a strong foundation and peaked my curiosity. It gave me a hunger to know even more about the body, brain, movement, teaching movement, and helping others heal. I feel compelled by how a more classical, whole body approach to Pilates healed me and want to know even more about how to help others.  

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

I think TPC is a fantastic starting point in your training. It will help you understand who Joseph Pilates was, his vision for movement and health, and how to use Mr Pilates’ exercises to accomplish that. There’s only so much that can be taught in a training program, so while I don’t think it’s as comprehensive as I wanted, it was the right place for me to begin. They are passionate about Pilates and that passion is contagious.  

What’s your fave piece of equipment and why? 

As my body changes and my education continues, my favorites change. During the program, I loved the pole and chair and I bought a small barrel and used it daily. Today, I might say Cadillac and high barrel are the ones I crave most. Honestly, at some point, every piece of equipment has been my favorite.  

What is your fave memory of training at TPC and why? 

I loved my private lessons. I wanted to fully experience the work and its power to transform in my own body. And because I have that, I am a better teacher. 

Where has Pilates taken you that you never dreamed of before Pilates became part of your life? 

Pilates has changed my physical body so much. Before I started, I was a fitness enthusiast but couldn’t touch my toes nor extend my spine nor move my ribcage on an inhale. It’s remarkable how much Pilates has changed my range of motion, alignment, strength, breath and balance. I’m a completely different person.

Pilates has also changed my mind. I am more patient than ever before. Learning how to be patient with my own body and patient with the bodies of tricky clients has taught me to be patient in non-Pilates areas of my life as well. I possess a calm that I didn’t before. I not only have a limber body now, I have a more limber mind.  

My start at TPC has made me insatiably curious about the body, alignment and pain. I became especially interested in the building blocks to accomplishing Pilates exercises, because let’s be honest, roll up and single leg circle aren’t really basic exercises. Most of my clients come to me with pain and conditions that surgery or physical therapy struggle to treat. It’s forced me to continue to learn to try to help them improve their pain, heal their bodies, and restore health and happiness. I have pursued continuing education in anatomy, movement science, “pre Pilates” exercises, neuroscience, pain, breathing, and the head/neck/jaw. I feel like I can’t learn enough about how the body works and how to return it to life!