Q and A with Shari


Q: What drives you? What makes The Vertical Workshop different?

Shari: Answering questions…and understanding!

When I was a student of Romana’s I was frustrated that she wouldn’t and couldn’t answer my questions about the human body. I understand that that wasn’t her forte…but I needed someone who could and wanted to answer my questions. I searched and couldn’t find anyone in the Pilates world who could. In which case, I knew I had to figure it out myself and then share with everyone else.

It’s from this that The Vertical Workshop became the place where you can go to feel safe asking questions and know that you are getting evidence-based answers. Ones that work. That’s for any question you have. Whether it be the questions of why The Elephant on the reformer is called The Elephant, has a rhythm of 1 count out and 3 counts in, is on 2 springs…or the 50 other questions you might have about that exercise or the countless questions you may have about Pilates, the human body, teaching tools…etc… We do not stop researching until we can answer your question with real information that you can use.

Q: You do something else that is different. You apply IAT. What is that?

Shari: IAT stands for Intrinsic Actions Technique. This is a method that I have  developed that help everyone harness her/his natural physical potential. I know that sounds kind of corny, but everyone has greater physical potential if s/he only knew how to access it. That effortless seeming movement we see in an elite athlete…that amazing basketball player, that glorious ballet dancer…what do they have that you don’t? Access. The Vertical Workshop weaves IAT into the work. Taking Pilates to the next level of accomplishment. Giving you access to your physical potential.

Q: Why should we even care about how the body works? Isn’t it all just about how it feels?

Shari: Our clients and students deserve more than intuition to guide their Pilates. Often your intuition of how the body works is wrong… I feel the need to apologize, but it’s that straightforward. Intuition is a great place to start making discoveries, but it is not a final place of education and information. From our intuition, we can start a path of research that leads to a well-supported set of information…answers.

Now, I don’t expect anyone to become a research scientist like myself. As a biomechanist and ergonomist, I have an unusually broad and detailed perspective of all that we do in Pilates. These are my passions and I don’t expect them to be anyone else’s. However, a sincere education in the anatomy, physiology and physical biomechanics is essential in crafting a solid teacher training program from an apprenticeship program to continuing education. We are happy to provide that in The Vertical Workshop. We don’t teach our clients any anatomy or biomechanics…but we know it. And that makes all the difference.

Q: You refer to joy, care and fun in The Vertical Workshop? This is not what most people talk about with Pilates. What’s the deal here?

Shari: When you really understand something, it’s simple. What we have in The Vertical Workshop is so clear and simple because it’s thoroughly understood. When we understand…we can play and enjoy! We can work hard, be serious and enjoy at the same time. When we are confused, we don’t get to enjoy ourselves. Our goal for our clients, apprentices and teachers is clarity and joy as we achieve our goals. Sometimes the goal is simply to have fun! Other times it’s to get rid of pain! Other times to accomplish The Knee Stretches Knees Off. No matter what it is…if we as teachers truly understand it, then we can teach what is necessary…and then…it simply is successful and fun!