The expert instructors at FitWise are leaders in their field and teach from a deep place of knowing and compassion!
A key factor to your success is in your instructors.
WE ARE A COMMUNITY
We are a small, female owned and operated small business. Unlike chain studios and corporate health clubs, we have established roots in our community and strive to create a positive impact. We believe that Pilates is more than just another exercise. It is a modality of wellness that creates positive and lasting change that keep our clients coming back.
PMA-CPT | MOVEMENT THERAPIST | OWNER / DIRECTOR, FITWISE PILATES
CERTIFIED GYROTONIC® METHOD INSTRUCTOR
Ronda, owner and director of FitWise Pilates and Wellness, has worked as a movement therapist, wellness practitioner, Master Pilates Instructor, Pilates Personal Trainer, group exercise leader, and exclusive specialty chef for private citizens and celebrities alike throughout the world for over 20 years. Ronda did her initial Pilates training in Brazil and through Polestar Pilates Education. Ronda is certified through Pilates Method Alliance. She has worked/studied with Elizabeth Larkam since 2005 as well as several other prolific educators including Jean Claude West. Ronda continues to attend advanced workshops, courses and master level classes. During her career as the Body, Mind and Spirit Chef, she instructed workshops and clients on weight management, movement medicine, energy optimization, personal fitness, wellness and other daily life concerns through an easy approach to nutrition, functional movement and sustainable lifestyle choices. Ronda’s Movement repertoire is vast and innovative. Her clientele range from professional athletes to acute rehabilitation and everything in between. Dance and Movement Medicine are her areas of expertise. Movement and healing are truly her second nature. Ronda has traveled extensively throughout the West Indies, the South Pacific, as well as South, Central, and North America, researching medicinal and native foods, movement therapies and modalities that formed the basis of many of her flourishing practices at FitWise Pilates and Wellness. Her own desire for optimal fitness and well-being led her to create a style of nutritious haute cuisine for specialty diets and natural living in which currently she teaches and leads in wellness groups. As the owner and director of FitWise Pilates and Wellness in Mill Valley and formerly El Cerrito for 12 years, Ronda teaches Pilates, functional fitness, Fascia Fitness, brain fitness and movement therapies to heal, rehabilitate and strengthen both body and soul. We also offer the Gyrotonic method, and our goal is to provide you with a range of wellness services geared at enhancing your total mind and body health.
CERTIFIED PILATES INSTRUCTOR | CERTIFIED YOGA INSTRUCTORStephanie was introduced to Pilates in 1997 through a dance program as a means of dance conditioning and injury prevention. She then went on to dance professionally with The Oakland Ballet and State Street Ballet where she continued to be an avid Pilates student. Stephanie experienced so many profound benefits from Pilates that she knew she would eventually make it her career. After relocating to Los Angeles, Stephanie received her certification through Body Arts and Science (BASI) in 2004. She started teaching full time at studios all over Los Angeles. Stephanie has been fortunate enough to work alongside physical therapists and leaders in dance medicine. She has worked with a large number of clients ranging from fitness enthusiasts and athletes to people suffering from various injuries and medical conditions. Stephanie continues to attend master level workshops and courses in the movement sector. Stephanie also discovered Anusara yoga and in 2009 she successfully completed an Anusara yoga certification. Stephanie is thrilled to be back in the Bay area at FitWise Pilates . She draws on her many influences to create an effective, diverse, detailed, and very challenging session. She is able to adapt the Pilates exercises to meet the many different needs of her clients including, athletic training, pregnancy, back issues, weight loss, fitness, and much more!
CERTIFIED PILATES INSTRUCTORJen Raby is a fully certified STOTT™ Pilates instructor bringing 20 plus years of experience and success working in the fitness industry. Jen began her career in New York City with Certifications from New York University, and American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), working in top health clubs, as well as owning her own in-home personal training business. After taking her first Pilates class in 2000, Jen was hooked. Pilates was the intelligent, effective, and rewarding exercise program that she was looking for. Jen embarked on her journey into Pilates becoming a Level II STOTT™ Pilates Advanced Instructor. Eventually, she opened two studios in Newport and Bristol, Rhode Island. In addition to Pilates, Jen is an accomplished Equestrian competing in United States Dressage Federation Horse shows, recreational runner, and avid Yogi. Jen resides in Marin with her husband, son and two Jack Russell Terriers. She is thrilled to be part of the Fitwise team of instructors, and looks forward to working with you!
CERTIFIED PILATES INSTRUCTORSavannah’s love of movement began at the age of 3 when she stepped into her first Ballet class. During her 13 years of classical Ballet training, she was introduced to Pilates as a form of core strength training and injury prevention. She immediately fell in love with the method and has been practicing since 2003. Savannah received her BS in Health Promotion from Auburn University in 2012. She spent her senior year interning at a Pilates studio in Oakland California while simultaneously obtaining her Comprehensive Pilates Certification through Body Arts and Science International(BASI).
Upon graduation, she began working full time as a Pilates instructor in Alabama before returning to the Bay Area in 2014. Savannah has worked with a wide range of clientele from athletes, post surgery rehab, to neurological disorders. She continues to further her education by attending advanced workshops and seminars on Pilates, movement, and human performance. She believes strongly in the profoundness of Pilates and it’s ability to be adapted to every body. She is excited to share her love of this method with the FitWise community and help you reach your fitness goals.
CERTIFIED PILATES INSTRUCTORLori has enjoyed teaching Pilates in group class, private and semi-private settings in the SF Bay Area for over 5 years. With a degree from the University of Connecticut in Speech-Language Pathology, Lori learned one of the core principles of Pilates: the power of breath and how to activate the core muscles for proper breathing techniques. However, it was not until 2005 that she was introduced to Pilates when a herniated disc injury halted her active lifestyle. Pilates aided in not only her successful recovery but also allowed her to identify the imbalances in other areas of her body. She then decided to immerse herself in Pilates’ highly effective conditioning practice and share its powerful mind and body transformation possibilities with others by becoming a fully certified Pilates Instructor through Pilates Sports Center (PSC). In addition to the herniated disc injury, she has also benefited from using Pilates to recover from shoulder surgery, a complete elbow dislocation and a broken foot. Knowing first hand how a body in pain can affect every part of one’s life, she uses that awareness to help people experience the benefits that come from having the balanced and strong body that Pilates can offer even with an injury. Lori has continues to involve herself in the ongoing process of education workshops and is also currently working on her Certification in Neurokinetic Therapy (NKT). Whether you are taking Pilates for a hard core workout, are pre/post natal, are recovering from an injury/surgery or just seeking a healthier and more balanced life, Lori’s passion is to help you achieve your goal!
CERTIFIED PILATES INSTRUCTORA California native, Leila brings expertise from not only her 15 years practicing Pilates, but her lifelong commitment to the mind body connection as a Buddhist practitioner. Starting both her own sitting mediation practice, ballet and soccer at age 5, the connection is inherent in her ability to be completely present and deeply intuitive to her students needs and abilities. This coupled with her experience working with the high performance of athletes and circus performers in Los Angeles to the high stress and low mobility of lawyers and finance brokers in Manhattan; makes for a tailored session focused on balance, strength, flexibility and endurance. Producing lasting results that can only be found through a holistic but challenging approach to movement and well-being.
Leila was fully certified in 2010 through Pilates Technique in Los Angeles, a comprehensive 9-month course taught in the classical tradition. Her Classical training combined with her contemporary approach to the modern body create a welcoming presence but no nonsense approach to life. Leila will keep you motivated, centered and ready to dive in!
CERTIFIED PILATES INSTRUCTOR, PMA-CPT, JDJean was born in Wisconsin and was a successful equestrian for over 15 years. She also enjoyed water skiing, cycling, racquetball and group exercise. She received a B.A. From Marquette University and relocated to California to attend law school at Pepperdine University, graduating in 1990. She began practicing Pilates in 2002 to counter the stress of her work as an attorney and to balance out her body from the rigors placed on it by her love for mountain biking. Immediately realizing the profound difference Pilates made in her life and body she decided to leave the practice of law. Jean did her initial comprehensive Pilates training with Elizabeth Larkam in 2004 -2005 and was certified by the Pilates Method Alliance. She followed that with a second training at Integrated Teacher Training led by Madeleine Black and Jean Sullivan. She was featured as a Pilates Success story in the October 2006 issue of Pilatestyle magazine. Since that time she has continued to expand her movement knowledge by taking in depth workshops with industry leaders such as Karen Clippinger PT, Christine Romani Ruby PT, Jean-Claude West, Thomas Myers, Tom McCook, Eric Franklin, and Nora St. John. In addition to overall health and wellness her areas of focus are scoliosis, joint replacement, movement to alleviate back pain, and deep pelvic floor cueing. Her philosophy is move well, move often and have fun!
CERTIFIED PILATES INSTRUCTORAmelia is a recent resident to San Francisco, having moved from New York in the spring of 2016. She received her education through the Polestar Pilates Teacher Training Program at Rutgers University, under the direction of Kim Gibilisco. Amelia is Polestar and PMA certified and holds a BFA in Dance from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.
Pilates presented itself as a natural extension of Amelia’s training and work as a dancer, and she found many complementary qualities between the two somatic practices. As a performer, it has allowed her to access heightened precision and strength, and she was inspired to evoke that change in others. Amelia values efficiency of effort and cognitive awareness in her classes. She strives to instill in her clients the joys of movement, thereby allowing them to transition into their daily routines with vitality and ease.
Amelia resides and teaches Dance in San Francisco and is thrilled to be joining the Fitwise team across the bridge.
CERTIFIED PILATES INSTRUCTOR
CERTIFIED GYROTONIC® METHOD INSTRUCTOR
Rita is a certified Pilates instructor and certified Gyrotonic method instructor and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Gama Filho University in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, her home town. Rita is also a classical dancer trained by the San Francisco Ballet School and has performed professionally with the San Francisco Opera, and in Brazil with the Niteroi City Ballet. After spraining her ankle during a ballet class, she was referred to the St. Francis Hospital and placed in a Pilates program which led to her full recovery under Elizabeth Larkam’s guidance. This experience led to her interest and training through Polestar Method Alliance, then certification with Pilates Method Alliance, followed by a Gyrotonic Expansion System method certification. Rita’s broad client experience includes caring for professional dancers, athletes, people recovering from varied injuries and physical conditions.
CERTIFIED GYROTONIC® METHOD INSTRUCTOR
Dominique is inspired by people sharing their stories and learning, possibly for the first time, to move their bodies with intention. She is particularly interested in understanding how people can cultivate more awareness, and to discover their innate ability to improve the health of their own bodies and minds. Dominique’s goal is to share the profound freedom of movement she has experienced by learning the Gyrotonic Method, and to help others alleviate pain and feel revitalized.
Her desire to teach began in 2005 as an instructor for Ballet Barre, where she learned the movement principles of core stabilization and she was certified in the Gyrotonic Expansion System. She’s dedicated to continuing the comprehensive Gyrotonic training including the specialized equipment and GYROKINESIS® certifications and she attends workshops and specialty classes regularly. She’s also working on her Master Certification in Intuition Medicine to explore the art of subtle-energy healing and the intuitive mind.
Dominique as always led a very an extremely active lifestyle, but following the birth of her son and a skiing accident, she developed chronic back issues. After experiencing both the pain and emotional discomfort that came with her physical struggle, she began to explore ways to create lasting functionality and mobility in her body that would allow her to be active again.
Dominique welcomes all levels of students to experience the many benefits of Gyrotonic exercise, and she takes a special interest in back health, shoulder injuries, rotational sports movement practices and clients with a limited range of motion due to illnesses such as MS. She takes care to vary the pace and intensity of each session in order to meet each person where they are that day, and is motivated by watching people feel better, gaining strength and becoming more empowered in their bodies.
CERTIFIED GYROTONIC® METHOD INSTRUCTOR
Recently returned to the Bay Area from Los Angeles, Andrea first moved to San Francisco at 15, and soon after joined the San Francisco Ballet, where she danced for 4 years. It was during this time that she was introduced to the Gyrotonic method as a way to recover from surgery, and immediately fell in love with the methodology.
“Through Gyrotonic exercise I discovered a pathway whereby I began to develop entirely new depth of physical internal awareness and kinesthetic understanding of body mechanics that literally re-wired the way I inhabited myself, both onstage and off.
Andrea embodies a passionate dedication to healing, exploring, and creatively expressing the body. A licensed massage therapist since 2012, she is deeply experienced in a broad spectrum of healing modalities and practices, and offers a unique synthesis of styles through her offerings. Particularly, she has studied in Gyrotonic for over 12 years, she has worked with numerous master trainers, including Domini Anne, Nora Certified Gyrotonic Method Instructor, Debra Rose, and Magali Messac; and is additionally certified to teach on multiple pieces of specialized Gyrotonic equipment.
CERTIFIED GYROTONIC® METHOD INSTRUCTOR
Casey Lee Thorne was born in Taylorsville, North Carolina, and started her movement practice as a ballet dancer at American Repertory Ballet’s Princeton Ballet School in New Jersey. In 2010, she graduated as part of the inaugural class of the Alonzo King LINES Ballet/Dominican University of CA BFA Program, where she became a certified GYROKINESIS® and a Certified Gyrotonic Method Instructor. Thorne was awarded a 2014-2015 Fulbright Fellowship to Israel, and graduated with an MFA in Dance Studies from Mills College. She continues to teach and choreograph throughout the Bay Area and is thrilled to be a part of the FitWise team.