Head and Neck Flexibility
The following is all completely true and I feel eternally grateful to you, Susanna. It wasn't until I had taken a few of Susanna's Pilates classes that I realized I had been carrying my shoulders up around my ears (most likely) my whole life. There were arm movement exercises that seemed simple enough for others (in class) to follow along with but I quickly learned that I couldn't do them without my shoulders rising up with my arms. Susanna kept reminding me to lower my shoulders while I followed along but soon we both acknowledged that I had little arm movement without the shoulders working tandem. I was all bound up. Susanna suggested that I start taking smaller steps to achieve the goal of simply touching my elbows together in front of my chest without lifting my shoulders. This at first was a near impossible task but with Susanna's optimism and patient reminders, I have made great progress over the past few months. My shoulders today are a good two inches lower at the resting position (arms at my sides) than when I first began her class.
Combined with the whole body routine that we go through each week, I am standing taller and am much more flexible and "aware" of my body than ever in my life. These exercises with Susanna's kind guidance have connected my brain to my body. It is interesting to have become "body aware" at the late age of 50 (better late than never...). For the reasons above, I have found these Pilates classes a life changing experience.
-- Sandra Taylor
Two car accidents—when I was 15 and 18—changed the alignment of my neck and pelvis.
Lots of pain and discomfort later, I discovered Pilates (c. 8 years ago, when I was in my mid-20’s)), but was not getting the proper training on the Reformer. It actually disguised that my shoulders were hunching up, which is easy to do on the Reformer because of the shoulder rests.
Since starting Susanna's mat classes six months ago, my health and flexibility are skyrocketing. Susanna's exercises are so intuitively geared to the class constituents that we each come away with something that seems "invented" just for us. There's a neck exercise - apparently of Susanna's own devising, as are many of her moves - that is one of my favorites for stretching that difficult and sensitive area. My neck often adjusts naturally!
Susanna gives individual attention to her clients even though we are in a group setting. She does not do too many reps of one exercise to avoid muscle strain. She introduces new advanced moves if we are ready for it. Susanna is keenly aware of our individual levels and knows how to move us forward or stay where we are until we are ready to do so.
The results are: I love Pilates and my instructor!
-- Marcella A.
As a student in one of Susanna's semi-private Pilates classes for over a year, I can say without reservation that she is a remarkable instructor. I especially appreciate her ability to recognize and deal with different physical types and capabilities. For example, I have a lower back problem, so she customizes some exercises for me and never asks me to do something that might hurt my back. She shows similar knowledge and care with all her students and somehow manages to make us feel OK about our physical limitations and body types. She even accommodates the different musculature of male and female bodies.
As a 74-year-old woman with osteopenia, I can testify to the therapeutic effects of taking Pilates from Susanna. My flexibility, especially in the head and neck, has improved dramatically. I can plausibly claim that Pilates has made me a better driver because I have gained the flexibility to turn my head and upper body much further so that I can look behind me while I'm backing up. And contrary to my worries about shrinking in height, I am now about 1/8 inch taller as a result of some of the stretching exercises we do.
Needless to say, I heartily recommend Susanna as a Pilates instructor. Whether a person is slim or hefty, young or old, in great shape or totally out of shape, Susanna has the skill, knowledge, compassion, and humor to help us all feel healthier and stronger. And she does it with style and enthusiasm!
-- Maydene Fisher