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2076 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025

(310) 446-1720

Grow stable roots for a happier, healthier you


Clients Corner

Heather McFarlane


WP: How did you learn about Pilates and what made you start taking classes?

As a college rower and now avid swimmer and yogi, my core has always been my weakest link but as I age, I need to protect my back. I joined Equinox years ago and it came with a free Pilates session. I told my cousin this one Thanksgiving, who has quite severe spinal scoliosis and has taken mat Pilates at her local sports club for years, and she insisted I try it.  So I did. The Pilates instructor at Equinox was an older woman (my Grandmother’s age!) who was fit and graceful. She flew into a pull up on the Wunda chair and I couldn’t even get the pedal to move. After that session, my whole body was sore for 3 days. Obviously, Pilates was something I needed to do.


WP: What has Pilates done for you?

Pilates strengthened my entire core and back, connected my hamstrings to my glutes and returned strength and flexibility to my arms and shoulders post-TOS surgery. I now rarely suffer from mid-back and low-back pain, which is typically the gift after collegiate rowing.


WP: Do you have a favorite exercise?

Is hanging upside down an exercise? Probably short spine – I love the stretch.


WP: Yes, hanging is considered an exercise!  How great is that. Why do you choose to do your workouts at Westwood Pilates?

Shop local! I have lived in the neighborhood for >10 years and when I knew I needed Pilates in my life, I wanted to find somewhere that was accessible and the instructors knew the right methods to take care for my body.


WP:  What would you say to someone who tells you they are interested in taking Pilates classes?

Best investment you can make for the longevity of your body.


WP:  Well said! How often do you take Pilates classes?



WP: What other physical activities do you do besides Pilates and do you feel Pilates has helped you in these activities?

I swim, practice yoga, and take some cross-training classes. Pilates helped to connect my shoulders to my core in swimming, elongated and returned flexibility to my body post-surgery. People can’t believe how much I swim even though I had thoracic outlet surgery. In yoga, I always dreaded the core moves at the end of class cause I would shake, cheat and not be able to finish – now I can actually do them!


Brenda Clemens

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WP: How long have you practiced Pilates and how has it changed your life?

I just celebrated my one-year anniversary with practicing Pilates AND the Westwood Pilates studio! I had NO previous Pilates experience, so I have learned a lot over the past year under the guidance of Pamela and Daniela. I started Pilates because I went to bend over and then felt wobbly as I stood up. I was having difficulty with work/life balance and my body was paying the price. My Pilates practice has helped me to physically feel at least 5 years younger.  I am stronger, have better balance and fewer aches and pains….not to mention a calmer mind.


WP:  Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

I live in Westwood with my husband and Amber, our labradoodle. My husband and I love to travel, go to movies and walk in nearby neighborhoods and hiking trails. I retired in June from UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center where I was the Director of Quality and Patient Safety. I have two grown sons who are both newlyweds, so I am enjoying having daughters-in-laws now. 


WP: Why do you choose to do your workouts at Westwood Pilates? 

I choose to workout at Westwood Pilates because of the professional, knowledgeable, kind and patient instructors. I do the Contrology classes and always appreciate the small class sizes and individual attention.  Pamela always asks me what my goals are and makes sure that she helps me to reach them. She also always maintains a great sense of humor when I get mixed up and become a little creative…she patiently gets me back on track. 


WP: You practice Pilates around 4 times per week. How do you stay consistent with your practice? What motivates you to come back for a Pilates session? 

I have been able to remain consistent with my Pilates practice for two primary reasons.  First, there is a lot of variation with my sessions between the reformer, mat, Cadillac and the other equipment.  I feel that I am always learning new things and perfecting my practice so there isn’t the boredom factor.  The second reason that I am able to remain consistent is that I am afraid if I stop, my body will return to what it was, and I will lose how Pilates makes me feel.  I see the physical benefits and as I get older I think Pilates will allow me to better enjoy all that awaits.


WP: How do you apply Pilates to your everyday life? What kind of progress have you seen in yourself through your practicing Pilates?

Since I began Pilates, I have become very aware of my posture and what muscles I am using when I do everyday things like driving, cooking, working on the computer or crawling after my great-nephew. I was in an auto accident 8 years ago and thought neck pain was just part of my life. However, with this increased awareness and strength, I no longer suffer from daily pain. I have built long lean muscles in my arms, legs, abs and most importantly my back. Little did I know that Pilates would help me to dance the night away at my son’s wedding and even do the Limbo!


WP: What is the biggest piece of advice that you would give to someone who has never practiced Pilates before?

My advice to someone who has never practiced Pilates is not to be intimidated by all of the equipment and commit yourself to 60 days. I bet you will start to see and feel the difference in your body and mind and be hooked!

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Rina Freedman

WP: How long have you practiced Pilates?

 For a long time, about 10 years, but only once weekly until recently. [Rina now takes Pilates twice a week!]


 WP: Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

I am a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst. I am also a mother of two grown women and grandmother of two grown grandchildren. My husband is retired and used to do Pilates until his health deteriorated.


WP: Why do you choose to do your workouts at Westwood Pilates?

I met Pamela [Debiase] and she is the best teacher I have ever had. When she opened her  studio, I followed her there and am grateful for her exquisite attention and patience with me.



WP: If you were to have a conversation over the dinner table with Joseph Pilates himself, what would you ask or tell him?

 I would tell him that he created an amazing system for all, not only for dancers. I would tell him that I admire his vision and dedication that he imparts to his followers.


WP: Which Pilates equipment do you like working with best? Why?

I like the Cadillac because it gives me a comfortable sense of space and I like the exercises a lot.  I actually like all of the equipment.


WP: How do you apply Pilates to your everyday life?

Pilates makes me think about my body, my balance and makes me feel lighter and more flexible. I also find an important connection to my work - the receptions, the need for minute attention to words and body language, and the fact that for emotional healing one has to to consistently develop “muscles" and have patience for slow progress. Humor is essential too, and [Pamela] has a sense of humor.


WP: What is the biggest piece of advice that you would give to someone who has never practiced Pilates before?

TRY it for a few weeks!

Amy Jacobson

WP: How did you learn about Pilates and what made you start taking classes?

My good friend at work started taking Pilates and asked me if I would consider starting it also so we could do lessons together. She has since moved out of the area but I am still taking Pilates with Daniela, who has been my Pilates instructor from the very beginning.


WP: What has Pilates done for you?

 Pilates has taught me a lot about my posture and how I carry myself. Being six feet tall since I was a teenager, slouching became second nature. And then sitting at a desk during the day, my shoulders creep up to my ears. Pilates has made me aware of keeping my back straight and my shoulders down. It makes a big difference in how I feel at the end of the day.


WP: What's your favorite exercise? 

Anything that doesn’t take place on the Wunda Chair.


WP: Why do you choose to do your workouts at Westwood Pilates?

As corny as it may sound, it is because of the people at Westwood Pilates. Daniela has been my instructor forever, so I would follow her anywhere, but she and Pamela have created a studio that is a great place to workout. It’s always spotless, and everyone respects each other’s space. It’s nice to walk in and be greeted by name. And, I know that everyone who teaches there is a true Pilates professional, not someone just using that title.


WP: What would you say to some one who tells you they are interested in taking Pilates classes? 

 I would tell them to start with five private lessons, just like I did. It gives you a chance to get familiar with the equipment, and also to understand how Pilates is really different than any other type of exercise you may have done in the past. It’s not yoga, it’s not just stretching, and understanding that is what will make the difference in your outcomes.


WP: How often do you take Pilates classes? 

My job got transferred to Santa Monica, so unfortunately I can only come once a week. My hope is that I can get back to Westwood so I can go back to twice per week. That extra class/lesson makes all the difference!

WP: What other physical activities do you do besides Pilates and do you feel Pilates has helped you in these activities?

I enjoy walking and hiking, and improving my posture helps me walk farther and stay conscious of my breathing.



Zoe Kemper


WP: How did you learn about Pilates and what made you start taking classes?

I started Pilates about 10 years ago and learned about Pilates through my yoga teacher who encouraged Pilates to make my yoga practice stronger.

WP: What has Pilates done for you?

Pilates keeps my muscles super toned and helps with lower back pain.

WP: What's your favorite exercise?

 I love tower on the cadillac, it is great for releasing a tight lower back. But I really enjoy all cadillac exercises because the exercises are so concentrated you can almost feel the fat melting.

WP: Why do you choose to do your workouts at Westwood Pilates?

I choose Westwood Pilates because the instructors are so great, they talk you through the exercises, so you aren't just going through the motions. We also have an awesome independant hour [group class]. The IH was a bit intimidating at first but now the workouts are so fun and beneficial.

WP: What would you say to some one who tells you they are interested in taking Pilates classes?

I highly recommend Pilates to anyone who wants a better body, long, lean muscles, and overall improved strength and vitality.

WP: How often do you take Pilates classes?

 I take Pilates classes 2-3 times per week.

WP: What other physical activities do you do besides Pilates and do you feel Pilates has helped you in these activities?

I also run and practice yoga. Pilates has made my yoga practice much stronger.


Roberta and Paul Marshall


WP: How did you learn about Pilates and what made you start taking classes?

I learned about Pilates more than 10 years ago when I was at a physical therapy session and the therapist put me on the reformer as part of my treatment.  I was hooked immediately and remained with that instructor for about 7 to 8 years.  My enthusiasm was quite contagious since I looked and felt better after each session.  I encouraged my husband, Paul, a retired dentist, to join me in a duo session nearby at Westwood Pilates. Voila, another hooked student!  I continued with my privatelessons and we have been enjoying the duo on Sunday mornings for more than 5 years. 

WP: What has Pilates done for you?

Pilates has done a great deal for our minds and bodies.  It took more than 60 years for someone to tell me that I had good posture.  I was thrilled to hear it.  Paul, who was beginning to round at the shoulders, caught the condition before a bad situation worsened and he is standing taller right now.  We are both more flexible. He plays a better game of golf and we both are proud to rely on our strong cores. When people insist on helping me with heavy objects, my reaction is “no, thank you.”  I pull in my core and move right along.  We are both more than 75 years young!

WP: Why do you choose to do your workouts at Westwood Pilates?

We chose Westwood Pilates because our wonderful instructor, Lesley, relocated there. Today, we remain with her but are extremely comfortable in this environment where we are surrounded by lovely instructors, clients, and up to date equipment. We have continued to be challenged by Lesley who works us harder each month because she can and we want to! We know that we can rely on Pamela and Daniela for good instruction and advice in Lesley’s absence. That is important to people who are committed to the program.

WP:  What would you say to some one who tells you they are interested in taking Pilates classes?

If someone we know is interested in taking a Pilates session, we eagerly recommend Westwood Pilates.  We are proud to share our experience with others, younger and older, who are looking for a better and healthier lifestyle.  Pilates puts you on that path and teaches you how to continue getting the most out of the program.  I cannot tell you how many times a week I refer back to something I learned in Pilates that helps me through a challenge or difficult situation. 

WP: What other physical activities do you do besides Pilates and do you feel Pilates has helped you in these activities?

Because we are so tuned into our well being, Paul enjoys his golf 3 times per week and on the alternate days, he walks through UCLA estimating a distance of 5 miles per walk. Pilates has played a major role in this achievement.  Strong legs, a strong core, and a strong mind are qualities that Pilates has enhanced for him.  I work out at home at least 4 to 5 times per week riding a stationery bicycle 35 to 40 minutes and then I alternate between mat exercises and weights for my upper body. Needless to say, discipline is another result of the program.  Pilates inspired us more than any other exercise program we have known and we will continue to work the program as long as we can get to the studio!


Ethie Hitter


WP: How did you learn about Pilates and what made you start taking classes?

I began my Pilates instruction in 1997 at the age of 49. I was approaching menopause and my Ob/Gyn suggested that I undergo a “Bone Density” Test. The results were rather dismal. I had very low bone density. This really came as no great surprise to me. I had never set foot in a gym. I did very little exercise what so ever. My girlfriends only went to the gym for one reason, to lose weight. As I did not have a weight problem, I never joined them. My doctor suggested that I should begin doing more weight bearing exercises. Since I enjoyed some occasional Yoga, Pilates seemed somewhat similar and I thought it would be a good fit. I was absolutely right!

WP: What has Pilates done for you?

I enjoyed the Pilates even more than the Yoga. In addition to the need to increase my bone density, I was aware that at my age it was very important to strengthen my core. I knew that my spinal cord would compress with age. Well, Pilates has successfully done that. Seriously, I think that I might be able to bounce a dime off my abs. They really feel that flat and strong!  I strongly advice those of us of “a certain age” to practice Pilates. Supporting our spinal column with our abs and posterior is really very important.

WP: How often do you take Pilates classes?

I take private lessons twice a week. I buy a group of 10 lessons, which helps to reduce the cost.

WP: Why do you choose to do your workouts at Westwood Pilates?

As you can imagine, I have had a variety of pilates instructors over the years. I honestly feel that Pamela is the best that I have ever experienced. She is very professional. It’s uncanny how she sees the slightest incorrect movement that I am making and she corrects me. Pamela is also very true to Joseph Pilates’s methodology, which I think is important. Honestly, I am glad that she is so much younger than me. I intend to practice with her until she retires!


Valerie Antonini


WP: How did you learn about pilates and what made you start taking classes?

In all honesty and in the spirit of full disclosure, I have never been the type of person who found pleasure in working out.  Yes, it’s true.  I always wondered what I was missing, but it just never clicked for me when I would go to the gym or take a jog around my neighborhood. 

I tried everything: different aerobic class styles, step classes, bar method, hip hop dance, salsa, boxing, treadmill, elliptical, yoga, spinning, and just plain old circuit and weight training at the gym.  But you’d take a 45-60 minute class and THEN you have to work the other parts of your body you didn’t get to in order to work out your entire body.  My interest and motivation would fade, getting sweaty really only added to my laundry pile, and it was tough to fit it all into my busy schedule regularly. 

The only thing I was doing regularly was wasting money through a gym membership that did not hold me accountable.   So, I was looking for the “magical exercise routine” that would keep my interest; one that I really believed was impacting my whole body; and one that I could do in 1 hour start to finish.  Long story short, a friend’s referral led me to try Pilates.  Perhaps I got lucky, but I liked it from the first workout, felt sore in the right places, and knew right away that I was impacting my body from the inside out.  Cut to now (10 years later) and I still love it. 

WP: What has pilates done for you?

Pilates has provided me a strong foundation of strength, balance, and resilience in and from my CORE.  During my time doing Pilates with Daniela Escobar, I have gone through two pregnancies.  Needless to say, the female body goes through a ridiculous change and expansion when pregnant. 

What I found was that continuing to do Pilates (a modified version, of course) before, during, and after pregnancy led me to keep up my strength and feel healthy during this process.  I strongly believe that it helped in my process to support my body as it went through these transformations and, as a bonus, return back to my slim and strong shape.

Daniela tells me that I seem stronger now than I did prior to my first pregnancy.   Who knew!?  Equally as important, Pilates also helped me mentally because it allowed me to feel confident that I was actively working to take care of my body, my babies, and ultimately my family.  I believe that a healthy mommy leads to a healthy family.  It just fits for me.

Daniela is a wonderful partner in my exercise and health regime, not only for her wealth of knowledge and persistent drive to excel as an expert Pilates instructor and champion, but also because she keeps me accountable.  She is invested in me, just as I am invested in her to keep this partnership going.  Her contribution has made all the difference for me.  

WP: What would you say to some one who tells you they are interested in taking Pilates classes?

Do not hesitate!  Jump in!  It is good for everyone and anyone, any age, any physique, any ethnicity, and any gender!  However, it is imperative to get one-on-one attention.  Your body WILL cheat!  I am astounded by how it does this!  Even after years and years of doing these exercises, we will eventually (and very quickly) do exercises wrong if we don’t get corrected on the regular.   Scoop! Shoulders down!  Breathe!

WP: How often do you take Pilates classes?

I wish more, but I can only manage it financially 1 x per week.  I do semi-private sessions with my sister which means extra bonus family time.   


Marilyn Osborn


WP: How did you learn about pilates and what made you start taking classes?

I am a writer by profession and I first started taking Pilates to combat the ill effects of a sendentary job.  I spend hours in front of the computer and another writer told me that Pilates would not only keep my body in shape, but help lengthen my muscles and strengthen my core, which in turn, would improve my posture.  She was right, and I’ve been taking classes ever since! 

WP: What has pilates done for you?

Pilates has done many things for me.  But the most significant and surprising thing it has done is help me relax.   I work long hours, often on stressful deadlines.  But after a class, I always feel reguvinated.  This, because Pilates draws it’s strength from a mind/body connection.  Once I learned how to make that connection, the rewards were both physical and mental health.  I actually look forward to my workouts and hate to miss them.

WP: What's your favorite exercise?

I could do short spine and frogs all day.  But I like them all! 

WP: Why did you choose to do your workouts at Westwood Pilates?

I started coming to Westwood Pilates because they are near my house.  But I stayed because of the excellent instructors.  I have taken classes at several different studios, but the instructors at Westwood Pilates have a remarkable ability to both communicate and inspire.  They are truly passionate about what they do, and committed to keeping you challenged and growing.  They’re constantly helping me make new connections and as a result, the excercises are becoming increasingly effective and changing my body in ways I never felt possible.   

WP: How often do you take classes?

I take three classes a week.  And at Westwood Pilates that’s affordable because they have fantastic group classes, both reformer and mat.

Harold Woodley

Harold Woodley first came to Westwood Pilates encouraged by his wife Erin who is passionate about Pilates and a long time client of Daniela. He became a Pilates enthusiast himself and his dedication and consistency was the main reason he was picked to be our first featured client. Harold is extremely focused and is always trying to improve and have a deeper understanding of the Pilates method.


WP: How did you learn about Pilates? 

•   I learned about Pilates from my wife.  She loves Pilates so much that it inspired me to give it a try.

WP: What has Pilates done for you?

•   It has helped me to strengthen muscles that I was not working doing other exercise or activities.  It has also made me more aware of my body structure as a whole and as a result has improved my flexibility and mobility.

WP: what's your favorite exercise?

•   It's difficult to pick just one.  I really enjoy movements like Jack Knife, and Short Spine but strangely enough my "favorites' will be the movements I don't do particularly well because I want to get better at them e.g. Teaser or Tendon Stretch.  Actually upon further consideration Half Hang is my favorite; it feels so good.

WP: why did you choose Westwood Pilates to do your workouts?

•   It was thanks to my wife's opinion as to how great the instructors are.

WP: What would you say to some one who tells you they are interested in taking Pilates classes?

•   I'd tell them Pilates is the truth but that they need to listen to their body to get it.  I'd also tell them to mix and match group classes & private sessions or duos for a good combination of instruction and cost effectiveness.

WP: Do you think a lot of men are intimidated by or just don't like Pilates as a form of exercise?

•   I'm not sure if it's that men don't like Pilates.  I think it's more common that men simply don't think of Pilates when it comes to a movement/exercise program they might consider.  As for being intimidated by it, I think for any man that is, it would stem from not understanding the nuance of Pilates.  There is a bluntness to the way men usually work out so when they look at Pilates movements being executed there's a tendency to think that it would be easy to "muscle through it" when anyone who does Pilates regularly knows that simply doing it isn't the point but rather doing it mindfully and in control.  It's a journey vs. destination sort of thing.

WP: As a man, do you feel that Pilates works your upper body enough?

•   If you want to look like The Rock, then no.  But if you take a guy who can knock out 30 push-ups with bad form and with no problem but make him do Pilates push ups (for example) I think he'd soon realize that there is plenty of moves that will work out his upper body.

WP: How has Pilates helped you in your daily life?

•   It's made me much more conscious of how I move and even how I don't move.  A good example is when I am driving (most notably on my commute to and from work) and I feel a little discomfort in my back; if I simply think about pulling my stomach to my spine and then do so any discomfort will usually go away quickly.