thank you for collaborating with thesecretlarevista, a pleasure to have you here.
Could you tell us a bit about how you started in the world of Pilates?
I was introduced to the world of Pilates when I was training as a dancer. There were only a few studios at that time in Los Angeles. One of them was Mari Winsor’s studio, Winsor Pilates. She would take ballet classes at Stanley Holden Dance Center, a ballet studio I attended on a scholarship. One day I asked her if she would be interested in exchanging Pilates lessons for receptionist services at her studio. After a few months assisting her, she asked If I wanted to teach Pilates. I had never thought about the opportunity to be a Pilates teacher. I wanted to dance. As a creative person, it took my creativity to a whole different level. Through Pilates movement, I was developing a strong, able body. That was life changing, and I have been teaching Pilates ever since.
How would you define Pilates from your personal point of view?
The way I define Pilates today is very different than when I first started teaching, or how I would have even described it five years ago. It’s forever evolving. In a practical sense, Pilates is a functional, resistance training program guided by the breath.
What I mean by functional, is the exercises in the system are to work the body to its full expression. For example, the beginner system is all about developing the muscles to execute a full squat. A full squat has great benefits. It stretches the lower limb articulations, decompresses the lower back, and stimulates the digestive system. It is functional, not to mention it gives people freedom of movement. It’s rewarding when clients tell me they’re able to go down to the floor to play with their grandchildren, all while without pain!
I define Pilates as a resistance training program because the body works against an external resistance. This resistance is applied by springs, the magic circle, small weights, and gravity. When muscles works against an external resistance, the benefits are in strength, muscle definition, power and endurance.
I believe there is a spiritual aspect of this practice. Joseph Pilates touches on this in his book “Return to Life.” When the body is centered, and all the muscle groups are working adequately, the mind can enter into an almost meditative like state. The breath guides the body. You feel weightless, and the movement just flows.
What has been the most important tool in your career as a teacher and mentor?
I find empathy to be my most valuable tool as a teacher and mentor. As soon as my student walks into the studio, I know where they are emotionally. I may have an entire session planned for them, but if that is not where that person is emotionally, I can’t continue with what I had in mind. I let their body guide me. Clients always feel much better after their session.
What is your way of seeing life and what do you think is important right now?
Life can feel uncertain, especially over the past few years. I think it’s important to try and be fully present. I appreciate everything I have and have been blessed with. I think it’s also important to be a part of a community. Having a space where we are seen ,and able to connect with others is crucial. Winsor Choza Pilates is exactly that, a safe space for the Pilates community, teachers and students alike. We always strive for inclusivity and acceptance.
Do you have a secret that you would like to share or any advice that you think can help?
Fun fact about Saul Choza: I wouldn’t call it a secret , at least to my family and friends, but I love Spanish “romanticas” songs. They are incredibly sappy and melancholy, and I love them!
Thank you Saul