To have a sound mind is to have a sound body. This statement and main belief by Joseph Pilates has found a resonance within me and is now the means to how I live my life. I have been a dancer for the majority of my life and it was because dance that I was first introduced to Pilates and Yoga as a means to lengthen, strengthen, and align my body more properly. Little did I know that by strengthening my body I was also strengthening my mind!
I have been blessed to have great Pilates instructors who taught me so much about the body, about myself, and mainly about the passion of teaching. It was not until I became a Pilates instructor myself that I discovered the beautiful thing it is to teach and serve. The most significant experience I have had has been at Pilates Connection in Pleasantville, New York. I have been able to truly build deep relationships with the clients, which has allowed me to witness their growth both on a physical level and on an emotional level as well. Their sincere positive feedback has been ever so gratifying and because of this, I have understood what it really means to serve and take care of other people for a truly rewarding experience.
As I have developed my teaching skills, I have gained much confidence and joy in teaching and working with different bodies and different people. This led me to pursue the Jivamukti Yoga Teacher Training. As a practitioner of Jivamukti Yoga for many years, I was able to experience a wonderful transformation of body, mind, and soul. The connection between a healthy body and that to a healthy mind; intellect, psyche and spirituality, has changed my perception on how one should live their life.
I strongly believe that the means to living a healthy happy life is to have a fit and healthy body. This can be achieved through Pilates or Yoga or both. The two practices are very different in many ways and in fact they can compliment each other in a most beneficial way. What they do have in common, however, is their ability to transform. It is because of this that I have decided to dedicate my life to teaching Pilates and Yoga where I have the pleasure of helping people transform their bodies and their lives.
Michele Jongeneel is originally from Southern California where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from California State University, Long Beach. It was there where she was first introduced to the Pilates method in the department’s own fully equipped studio. Soon after, her sister, certified through Romana Kryzanowska, opened her authentic Pilates studio. She knew then that Pilates would be a way of life for her. Michele received her 700 hour classical Pilates certification with Brooke Siler at RE:AB Pilates in NYC in 2007 and soon became an instructor there teaching group classes and privates. Michele received her initial classical instruction form advanced instructor, Mejo Wiggins, where she also had the pleasure of working at her Pilates studio in Greenwhich, CT. Aside from Mejo Wiggins’ Studio and RE:ab Pilates, Michele has also been on staff at Equinox Fitness, Chelsea Piers Sports Center, Pilates Connection, and Pilates on 66. She, and has been teaching at Uptown Pilates in NYC for 7 years and is currently at their Sag Harbor Hamptons location. She feels blessed to have had such inspirational teachers- Mejo Wiggins, Brooke Siler, and Carolyn Driscoll. Michele has continued her education and has attended workshops taught by Cary Regan, Brooke Siler, Jay Grimes, Lesy Levy, Phoebe Higgins, Sean Ghallager, and llaria Cavagna. Michele has completed a post-natal Pilates certification from East River Pilates.
Michele is a professional dancer and aerialist in NYC and is currently training in the circus arts. She has performed extensively with the world renowned off-broadway show, Fuerza Bruta. Michele is a certified 800 HR Jivamukti Yoga teacher. She has received her yoga education from David Life, Sharon Gannon, Lady Ruth and Rima Rabath in NYC and completed her 500 HR apprenticeship with “Lady Ruth” Ruth Lauer-Menenti.
I started working with Michele in private Pilates sessions over 10 years ago. She has patiently and thoughtfully taught me more about my body and Pilates than I could have ever imagined at the onset. I amaze co-workers, friends and family with how I have been able to shape my body: even at the age of 63, my body looks like I am in my 30s, and more importantly, it feels like I did when I was 30, even 20, though I am no doubt in better shape now than I was then.
I treasure my private sessions with Michele. She pays attention to every detail of how my body is positioned, which muscles I am using, and how to breathe through my whole body. She describes movements using visual imagery that communicates exactly what she wants me to do, efficiently and elegantly; if one description doesn't get through to me, she tries another. She understands the problems I have with my back, and works to strengthen the muscles necessary to improve my flexibility. After all these years, I still learn something new every time I see her, which keeps me energized, engaged and challenged. Every time I come out of the studio, I get into the car with my husband and say the same thing: "she is sooo good." In all these years, I have never once hurt myself during her sessions; I have only felt taller, stronger, and younger when I walked out the door.
I have also participated in group sessions taught by Michele, and found the same attention to each person's form and execution of the exercises. I don't know how she does it, but even when she is watching several people at once, I still felt that I received individualized attention and care.
Over the past ten years, there have been times when we were not in the same place, and could not work together. During those times, desperate to keep up my Pilates work, I tried other instructors, always choosing the one with the best resume I could find (I am very picky). None even came close to Michele. She is, without a doubt, one of the best in the country, I am absolutely sure of it. She is a gem.