Inside the Pilates Studio: Cynthia Lochard

OMG Inside the Pilates Studio: Vblog Edition

with your host, Alisa Wyatt!

Cynthia Lochard is one of the topmost Teacher Trainers for Romana's Pilates. She continues to travel for months at a time to conduct their Continuing Professional Education seminars around the globe.

Based in Sydney, Australia and with just a hint of an Aussie accent – I love to wait for it on certain words – Cynthia's teaching is steadfast, pragmatic and masterful.

She encourages teachers to to be confident, independent thinkers and to trust in ourselves as well as our beloved Pilates Method. She has a calm and commanding presence that you want to  must soak up and inject into your own teaching.

There is a lovely quote from Cynthia in one of my most-viewed posts (7 Spot-On Pilates Quotes to Keep you Honest). She was speaking on the proliferance of clients who stop and chat during their workouts and how to combat that in a nice way. Welcome to California!

“Today let's focus on NOT stopping.”

In this manner you give your clients the gift of stamina and endurance that maybe they thought they didn't have. A perfect lesson. How very Clara-esque to lead your student to the brink of discovery without giving it all away. Look what they can do!

Thank you so much Cynthia for your participation in my blog series. It is a true pleasure to have you and this awesome vblog courtesy of Pilatesology.

Enjoy the show!

The transcript of Cynthia's interview:

Alisa Wyatt: So these are the 10 questions that Andrea asks of every instructor that she interviews for this [Inside the Pilates Studio] and for Cynthia Lochard the first question is:

1. What is your favorite Pilates exercise and why?

Cynthia Lochard: The ones I could do well (smiles, laughs). Because I looked good doing it (laughter).

AW: Is there any one?

CL: The arabesques of course…

AW: Oh, lovely! The arabesques, I love it.

CL: They come after the Elephant.

2. What exercise is your least favorite? Pick only one.

CL: Oh, but you see, now I was trying to think about that, and I can't… It changes.

AW: Mmm…I like that. Okay, that's a great answer.

3. What turns you on creatively, mentally or physically about the Pilates method?

CL: The movement. The simplicity and his genius in how – you know, we're all over-complicating it – and it's just so simple. And every time you realize how simple it is…that really turns me on.

AW: I love it.

4. What is your idea of earthly happiness?

CL: A king-size bed with fabulous sheets and those fluffy things over the mattress and lots of feathered pillows and that: a great bed.

AW: You must have the time to spend in it as well. I love that idea.

5. What to your mind would be the greatest misfortune?

CL: Oh, gosh. What's happening – our insensitivity to the planet and what we're doing to it. What's happening, what you can see happening to everything around us.

AW: Yeah, it is a great, great misfortune.

Inside the Pilates Studio: Cynthia Lochard

Romana's Pilates CPE 2013 with Cynthia Lochard

6. What is your favorite Pilates word?

CL: Reach.

7. What is your least favorite Pilates word?

CL: (with rapid-fire delivery) Wrap.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

CL: Singing. I always wanted to be a singer.

AW: Are you a good singer?

CL: No. I thought I was when I was younger, I think, maybe…

AW: In the car?

CL: Yeah, the car's a good one… (laughs)

9. If Heaven exists, and by some chance when you arrive at the pearly gates Joseph Pilates is also there, what would you like to hear him say to you?

CL: “Let's go.”

AW: Nice!

CL: “Get on the Reformer.” (laughs)

10. What did you learn today?

CL: I learned, what I was saying before, that what a great medium this [pilatesology] is for really shedding some light on the Pilates Method and sort of hoping to inspire people to come to it and to really have the experience for real.

AW: Thank you, that's wonderful to hear. Thanks everyone!

Learn more about Cynthia here.

Related interviews:

Inside the Pilates Studio: Mariska Breland

Inside the Pilates Studio: Mariska BrelandThe creator of Pilates for MS, and a respected name in the industry, Mariska Breland has been on my Pilates radar for a few years. She hails from my previous Pilates home, Washington, DC, and I owe a huge thanks to serendipity for bringing us together.

A favorite new friend

Swirling friendships brought us together, colleagues and mutual friends, and I could not be more thrilled. Mariska has been studying with my first ever Pilates teacher, Lesa McLaughlin of Excel Pilates in DC.


Wait, there's more.

My San Diego Pilates pal, Jennifer Kries has been singing Mariska's praises as well. So on her recent visit to San Diego – Del Mar to be more exact and literally minutes from my home – Mariska and I met up ostensibly for coffee or drinks.

Me: Hi! When I suggested coffee or drinks a few weeks ago I was partaking in both – but now I've been eliminating caffeine, sugar and alcohol for nearly a month – could we get a snack instead?

Mariska: I don't really do caffeine or alcohol either, a snack is perfect. What do you suggest?

Me: Well we're really close to one of my favorite sushi restaurants…(crosses fingers)

Mariska: Perfect. I love sushi.

Okay she gets like a million points for being a fellow sushi-lover. Now we'll talk about Pilates, awesome! There's nothing like some girl-bonding over sushi, books and Pilates. Wait, what book are you reading???

Our heroines discover they are both reading the same book.


(The Secret History by Donna Tartt – all the cool Pilates gals are reading it.)

OMG we talked forever and in just 2 weeks I hope to do it all over again.

1. What is your favorite Pilates exercise and why?

Mariska Breland: Short Spine Massage. If an exercise can be called ‘delicious' this one is a culinary masterpiece, especially if you get a great hands-on assist during it.

Since this question doesn’t say that I need to limit my response to one exercise, I also have to throw in that I love Reformer Leg Circles. It’s become a saying at my studio “Leg circles save lives.” First, because they are instant bliss, but second, because weak and tight hips can lead to falls, hip fractures, disability, nursing homes, and yes, early death. Leg circles save lives.

2. What exercise is your least favorite. Pick just one.

MB: Easy – kneeling side kicks. I have a lot of neurological-based weakness on my left side, and this exercise goes right to those weak areas and points them out. I should probably do it every day. I don’t (Next time I do a private with you, you can make me do it if you like).

(Mmm…duly noted.)

3. What turns you on creatively, mentally or physically about the Pilates method?

MB: There are so many things to love about Pilates. I love that I am never finished learning. I love that I can always get better at something. I love that on days where I feel weak or tired or beat down, there’s something I can still do that makes me feel strong and empowered. I am an eternal student, always curious, always asking questions. I love that there are amazing teachers (classical and non-traditional) who can answer those questions or explore them with me.

4. What is your idea of earthly happiness?

MB: Floating in the ocean. Even better – snorkeling in a very crowded (with sea life) coral reef. Follow that up with some time to read an amazing book on the beach and dinner (that I didn't have to cook) with good friends.

5. What in your mind would be the greatest misfortune?

MB: The greatest misfortune would be to be too scared to go after your dreams, followed closely by failing to make the time to enjoy the pleasures of life. My mother died young and I was diagnosed with MS in my 20s, so I think I’ve had a fire lit under me that says I have to do things and I have to do them now. It’s always been hard for me to take time to just enjoy because I have always so goal-focused, but as I am writing this on vacation, the importance of fun is fresh on my mind.

6. What is your favorite Pilates word?

MB: Lengthen. 

7. What is your least favorite Pilates word?

MB: “Pelvic floor” or pretty much any cue or phrase that is telling me to engage my “bladder control muscles.” Sure, these are useful in certain circumstances (I teach an entire section on exercises for neurological bladder issues in my Pilates for MS course, for instance), but when I’m just going through a session, I don’t need to be cued about that. I find most great teachers don’t. The worst variation of this term I ever heard was “imagine you are a pregnant cat, and you’re trying to hold in your kittens.” Seriously, yuck.

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

MB: Tough one – is there a job that combines restaurant critic, fiction writer, philanthropist, healer, and animal trainer? ‘Cause that’s perfect for me!

9. If Heaven exists and by some chance, you arrive that pearly gates and Joseph Pilates is also there, what would you like him to say to you?

MB: “We have a full Pilates studio right over here. Let’s go play.”

10. What did you learn today?

MB: So much! I’m in Nevis (West Indies), and I learned that free divers can hold their breath for 3 minutes on average, but some push it to 4 minutes and up. The Dive Master told me that divers always work in pairs, and one stays up while the other dives. If the diver blacks out, the other is there to rescue them. Apparently, when this happens, the diver's lungs often don’t fill with water due to a protective reflexive spasm of the larynx. Often, the diver regains consciousness when they are brought back to the surface – several seconds to sometimes minutes after they are pulled out of the water, when the spasm relaxes. I don’t want to try it, of course, but it reminds me of how fascinating and powerful the human machine really is. 

I also learned that “goat water” is a very hearty Caribbean soup made with goat meat and a kind of pepper Nevisians call a burnt pepper. It tastes like habanero to me. I should look that up to see if it’s the same thing.

I could keep going. I think you should learn a lot of new things every day.

Visit Mariska at Fuse Pilates, her Washington, DC studio.

More on the fantastic Pilates available in DC in a future post!

Inside the Pilates Studio: Michael Fritzke and Ton Voogt

Inside the Pilates Studio: Michael Fritzke and Ton Voogt

Michael Fritzke (right) and Ton Voogt (left) are longtime veterans of the Pilates Method. Originally trained by none other than Romana Kryzanowska, who referred to them simply as ‘the boys', Michael and Ton have been educating and training Pilates teachers around the globe since the 1990s.

I was first charmed by this pair way back in 2000. Dianne Garrett, one of my first Pilates teachers, told me a story about Ton. Dianne had weekly lessons with Ton during her apprenticeship at The Pilates Studio (Romana's program at the time).

When Dianne would get to the T-straps exercise on the Long Box, Ton would often question her:

“‘T' for…?”

Dianne admitted to being puzzled every time. Was he asking for the purpose of the exercise? No… What about the song, ‘T (tea) for two?' Was that it? What is he asking??

His response made me giggle: “‘T' for Ton, ‘T' for Ton.”

I think I love this guy already.

Dianne would also give me a specific spot/correction in the Shave exercise (Rowing Series on the Reformer). It was not until just this January that I got to feel the same spot from Michael. Ah! There it is again. I love when my Pilates world comes full circle. I had been experiencing moments of Michael and Ton's brilliance since my first Pilates lessons. How lovely.

Remember when Glinda the Good Witch tells Dorothy that by just using the ruby slippers and her intent she could have gone home to Kansas at any time? It kinda felt like that.

Shortly after my first training program at Excel Pilates, I got to meet Michael and Ton at an Education Seminar. Amazingly I would not see them again until nearly a decade later. But I remembered their fun banter and the warm learning environment they create.

It was a pleasure and a luxury to learn from them for 2 full days this past January at a fantastic event created by Michael, Ton and Elin Benson at Premier Pilates in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Now that their home base is in Arizona, I plan to see much more of them in the next decade.

For more information about Michael and Ton or to find out where they will be teaching next visit

Inside the Pilates Studio: Michael Fritzke and Ton Voogt

1. What is your favorite Pilates exercise and why?

Michael Fritzke: I don’t have a favorite exercise. It varies from day to day, depending on how my body feels and what it needs to realign and balance. So I guess you could say I have an exercise “du jour.” Today it was extension exercises. It was tax time and I spent too many hours rounded over my desk.

Ton Voogt: Ok to clarify I don’t believe in favorite exercises. Each exercise feels different each day you perform it so sometimes this exercise feels the best and sometimes another exercise feels the best. Having said that, today the Roll Up is one of my favorites. It engages and stretches your entire body. It centers you, you get a great stretch in the front and the back of the body, you feel your abs contracting, and you get a great articulation through the spine.

2. What exercise is your least favorite? Pick only one

MF: I don’t have a least favorite exercise either. I learned early on in my teaching career, not to judge. I believe all exercises, variations and evolutions of the method have merit. The art of teaching is finding the right exercise or variation of the exercise for your client.

TV: Least favorite is a strong word, but the exercise that every time “sneaks” up on me and my mind goes “really….again?” would be Swimming.

3. What turns you on creatively, mentally or physically about the Pilates method?

MF: The fact that the method and our bodies are constantly changing and evolving and we have to adapt and grow with these constant variables. My biggest insight is that the essence of the method is quite simple, but it is this simplicity that challenges you creatively, mentally and physically.

TV: The fact that there is always room for improvement and growth. You are never “done” with any exercise, you are never “perfect”, and the method will never stop evolving and growing. It is a fluent and ever moving and growing field. Can it get any more exciting?

4. What is your idea of earthly happiness?

MF: Love, I found it with Ton.

TV: With a good book, on a beautiful beach, together with Michael of course.

5. What to your mind would be the greatest misfortune?

MF: Not to have love in your life.

TV: Not to be able to follow your dreams.

6. What is your favorite Pilates word?

MF: Contrology. The art and science of body mind and spirit, development through disciplined movement. Joe’s one word describes the whole method.

TV: Contrology. It explains and defines the entire method.

7. What is your least favorite Pilates word?

MF: I don’t use many of the “Pilates” words with clients. It is my experience that many clients have no idea what you are talking about and therefore it does not really give them the experience of the movement. I don’t think the use of the “Pilates” words is wrong, it is like using anatomical terms, it is about when and how you use them and with whom.

TV: Any word that does not help the client. I see so many instructors rattling off their cues, the set up of exercises etc., but they pay no attention to what the client is actually doing. Their words and the action of the client/group do not match. Such a waste. Your words matter….use your words!

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

MF: I can honestly say, I have pretty much done what I wanted to do. Teaching Pilates is my third career, but if I had to pick a fourth, I would be a philanthropist…. I just need the billions to spread around! To quote a line from Hello Dolly, “money is like manure, it needs to be spread around.”

TV: Philanthropist….is that a profession?

9. If Heaven exists, and by some chance when you arrive at the pearly gates Joseph Pilates is also there, what would you like to hear him say to you? 

MF: Interesting question. I guess he would say, “Hello!” I believe everything ever created has an energetic field and we all have the ability to tap into Joe’s energetic field of creativity, and most of us probably have. So I guess you could say we have already met….energetically that is.

TV: Based on the stories we heard from Romana Kryzanowska and other protégées about Joseph Pilates I would not be surprised if he said: “WE ARE FULL” (of course in his German accent). What I would like him to say is: Willkommen und viel Spaß! (Welcome and enjoy!)

10. What did you learn today? 

MF: When we were in St. Petersburg for a Pilates convention we took some extra days and went to the Hermitage museum. There we saw a painting called Portrait of a Man by Dominico Capriolo. I did not know this painter so I finally googled him to learn more about him. And what I learned today is that there is not a lot of information about him. So the search continues, because now I really want to know about him.

TV: I really should stop procrastinating. Yeah I should. I will start immediately….tomorrow.

Remember to visit and see where M+T will be teaching near you!

Inside the Pilates Studio: Kerry DeVivo

Inside the Pilates Studio: Kerry DeVivo

Kerry DeVivo

Kerry DeVivo is one of my first Pilates teachers. In the fall of 2000, I took a Mat class at Excel Pilates (formerly Excel Movement Studios) in Washington, DC. Kerry was co-owner of the studio (along with Lesa McLaughlin) and was friendly when I would see her in the studio. We bonded immediately because of the whole Italian thing, and I have always been envious of her last name. Mine sounds too much like a verb (Andrea Maida cake, etc…), whereas DeVivo means “To life!”

After a while I started to take semi-private lessons in addition to the weekly Mat class (you can see the addiction was growing…).  Finally I got to have a private lesson with Kerry. I was nervous. I wanted to be really focused and do my best. She did not have many openings in her schedule and I managed to snag one. If I did really well, maybe I'd get another? She could tell I was pretty amped up and wisely suggested that I relax. It turned out to be quite the hour. I had no idea I locked my knees so much…

I learned many valuable lessons from Kerry. I mean besides the body of work known as the Pilates Method. Oh that.

  1. The goal as one advances in Pilates is to sustain the work of the powerhouse from the moment the class begins until the final finish 50 minutes later. It was quite the blow. Cynthia Lochard mentioned this just last week. All roads lead to Romana Kryzanowska.
  2. If you are stressed out and need to focus, do the Wall. In a few minutes you'll be calm. And taller.
  3. It's okay to need counseling after teaching your spouse. In fact it's expected.

I was thrilled to be able to catch up with Kerry this past May when she hosted me for a workshop at her studio. Our relationship has developed over the years and I am so fortunate to have her as a friend, teacher, mentor and colleague. I am positively in love with the swiftness of her replies be it via voicemail, email or text. Really, when we need something, we need it yesterday, am I right?

1. What is your favorite Pilates exercise and why?

Kerry DeVivo: At this point in my life, my favorite Pilates exercise is footwork on the reformer.  I lie back on the reformer, set my feet on the footbar, and as I start the first repetition I think, “YES!  I've arrived on the reformer – lucky me and I have a whole workout ahead of me”.  Part two, as a teacher, my favorite Pilates exercise is rolling like a ball on the mat.  First, this exercise is an icebreaker.  First repetition – roll back – roll up…. not quite.  It catches people's attention.  It makes them realize there's something more to this work.  Second, rolling like a ball is a building block to so many other exercises and you see aspects of many exercises in rolling like a ball.

2. What exercise is your least favorite? Pick only one.

KD: Neck pull.  Well, if after 27 years I still can't do it well – then it gets the “least favorite” award.  Of course, it also means I need it!

3. What turns you on creatively, mentally or physically about the Pilates method?

KD: The severity of Pilates' brilliance of the layering and intertwining of the exercises.  It's all there, Pilates has provided it all.  And I just love how it helps us all “return to life”.

Inside the Pilates Studio: Kerry DeVivo4. What is your idea of earthly happiness?

KD: The ability to experience silence, pure silence.

5. What to your mind would be the greatest misfortune?

KD: The lack of appreciation of any thing or anyone.

6. What is your favorite Pilates word?

KD: Empower.

7. What is your least favorite Pilates word?

KD: Belly.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

KD: I would love to be a full-time philanthropist.

9. If Heaven exists, and by some chance when you arrive at the pearly gates Joseph Pilates is also there, what would you like to hear him say to you?

KD: “Gut gemacht! (which is German for bravo), now would you like a lesson?”- as I would not want to stop learning.

10. What did you learn today?

KD: Simplicity really is best.

Kerry is the owner of Excel Pilates Annapolis. Learn more about Kerry and her Pilates POV in Peter Fiasca's recent book Voices of Classical Pilates.

Must-reading for nerds of all stripes.

Inside the Pilates Studio: Kerry DeVivo

Inside the Pilates Studio: Benjamin Degenhardt

Inside the Pilates Studio: Benjamin Degenhardt

Benjamin Degenhardt

Benjamin Degenhardt wrote a wonderful article on his love of the Pilates Mat. I found it the day after this question popped up on Facebook:

What's your favorite piece of Pilates equipment?

Dismayed by some of the responses (most notably ‘the foam roller') you can imagine my joy when I read Benjamin's article on the Mat. It was a lovely serendipitous gift from the universe.

This guy was speaking my language.

As I continued to follow Benjamin online I was reminded of all kinds of cool stuff Joe Pilates said:

“One of the wonders of the world,” Joe Pilates says in an interview from 1961, “is that people give their wonderful, complex bodies less consideration than they show their automobiles. Cars can be replaced but your body is the only one you’ll have. Yet not one person in a thousand takes the time each day to see that it is properly exercised.”

This spring I met up with Benjamin when he was teaching in California. Sans Facebook?? Turns out he is as lovely in person as he is online. A brilliant combination of Pilates Nerd, historian and entrepreneur. The clear vision of his 360° Pilates continuing education program is inspiring.

I hope you enjoy this installation of Inside the Pilates Studio. Geek on more of Benjamin's articles here. You know you want to. 🙂

“In with the air and out with the air…”

1. What is your favorite Pilates exercise and why?

Benjamin Degenhardt: That would be The Hundred, without a doubt. It was love at first pump, and to this day I think it's an incredibly effective exercise. If done as described in Return To Life it is one of the best full-bodied movement, power, and strength assessments, all the while being a complete warm-up that activates all of the body's systems in 30 seconds. It's everything a good exercise should be – simple, but not easy.

2. What exercise is your least favorite? Pick only one.

BD: I only dislike exercises that have no purpose, and I have yet to find such an exercise in Joe Pilates' repertoire! But if you are asking for an exercise that challenges every ounce of my strength and determination, that would be the Hip Circles on the Mat.

3. What turns you on creatively, mentally or physically about the Pilates method?

BD: As someone who constantly questions and reconsiders how we teach movement and how the Pilates repertoire relates to the human body, it continues to amaze me how far Joe was indeed ahead of his time. We have such a specific, in-depth understanding of each of the body's systems today, yet we struggle to turn that knowledge into a comprehensive view on human movement. Joe's work was absolutely holistic. What turns me on creatively and mentally is to connect the dots between modern movement science and the historical work – and to see how they don't conflict with each other. And on a physical level – borrowing a quote from an original student of Joe Pilates – I love “to let my body think through the exercises”; the sensation of being (completely immersed and fiercely present in) movement.

Inside the Pilates Studio: Benjamin Degenhardt4. What is your idea of earthly happiness?

BD: To have a healthy body, a sound mind, and lots of fun! Most importantly, to have someone to share my earthly happiness with.

5. What to your mind would be the greatest misfortune?

BD: To lose my determination and willingness to learn new things, and the ability to adapt to whatever will happen in my life.

6. What is your favorite Pilates word?

BD: Top of mind is “zest”. It perfectly summarizes the outcome of a regular Pilates practice. Yes, you get strong and flexible and all, but it's that spring in your step, the glow on your skin, and the smile on your face that a good movement practice is all about – “spontaneous zest and pleasure”, as Joe said.

7. What is your least favorite Pilates word?

BD: It's not a Pilates word, but I hear it all the time – “Hundreds”. It's only one hundred!

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

BD: I feel fortunate that my first career in dance has become such a great departure point for what I do now. I honestly can't imagine doing anything else, but if I ever was to leave the world of movement altogether, I would probably want to learn how to design and make clothes!

9. If Heaven exists, and by some chance when you arrive at the pearly gates Joseph Pilates is also there, what would you like to hear him say to you?

BD: “Komm', lass uns bewegen.” (Translation: Come, let's move!”)

10. What did you learn today?

BD: To always take any important, irreplaceable items on board with you during air travel. I just arrived in Stockholm this morning and am still waiting for my bag – which holds my entire archival Pilates collection. I hope that in the meantime they are learning a thing or two from Joe's writings at Customs.

Benjamin DegenhardtBenjamin Degenhardt is the creator of 360° Pilates, a continuing education program designed to reconnect movement teachers of all training backgrounds with the original philosophy and guiding principles of Joe Pilates' work – with a keen eye on modern exercise science. He conducts historical research, writes articles for his website, and presents workshops around the world.



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