Pilates instructor Tamara Pfister has an interesting background! She began practicing Pilates and Yoga while studying ballet as a teenager, and she taught Yoga for a year in Central America. Tamara has a broad area of expertise, and is all about helping her clients’ correct misalignments and move properly. Learn more about Tamara in our interview.
Q: How do you describe what you do for people to help when they come to you seeking your help?
Tamara Pfister: We start with a postural assessment and chat to see what’s going on in their body and then we usually jump into doing some basic exercises so I can observe their movements for any imbalances. During the first session, I teach Pilates foundations, such as breathing and neutral spine. After that first session, I create a program that is focused on correcting any misalignments and is tailored to each person’s individual needs and goals.
Q: How did you get into Pilates, what got you interested? When did you first learn about Pilates?
I first learned of Pilates as a teenager, we had to do it in ballet. I used to do these old Pilates DVD’s my stepmom had as well.
Q: I’ve heard that a lot of dancers do Pilates. How well known is Pilates? Where does it come from?
Pilates is quite well known for its many benefits. It was created by Joseph Pilates, a German physical trainer who based his exercises on many disciplines including Yoga and the movements of animals.
Q: What other types of studies and education have you completed?
I am certified in Hatha & Pre-natal Yoga, Barre, and have completed a trauma-informed Yoga teacher training.
Q: How long have you been a Yoga instructor?
I have been teaching yoga since I was 20, almost 10 years ago!
Q: What other tools do you use in your practice? Do you use bolsters, reformer, and reformer chair – is that what it’s called? Medicine balls, weights, etc.?
It’s nice at BodaHealth that we have a lot of props. I love the Pilates reformer and will often incorporate using the Pilates ring and ball with moves on the reformer, and sometimes weights too. I use the foam roller a lot on the mat.
Q: Can you speak a bit more about the reformer and how it can help people with their fitness and recovery goals? How is it different than mat and how does it benefit the session?
I love the reformer because it offers so much support for your body. The reformer helps to hold your body in place to ensure the proper muscles are working and exercises are being executed precisely. It can be easier with the reformer to find a better quality of movement because you have that support versus with the mat, where you need to use your own body weight and strength to support yourself. On the mat, if you don’t have the strength, the movement becomes compromised and the wrong muscles take the load. A lot of people think the reformer is more advanced, but it’s actually great for beginners too!
Q: What’s your intake and treatment process when you’re working with a client? Do you always start with an assessment or warm-up, or something else, or does it depend on what their issue is?
I always start with a conversation and then educating the client on neutral alignment. Then I’ll start them doing some exercises to see how their body is moving and where their imbalances are.
Q: Are there any specific injuries, imbalances or kinds of pain that you tend to treat a lot that especially benefits from your style of treatment?
Everyone has imbalances. The most common I see are posture-related; forward head syndrome, rounded shoulders and tight or sore lower back due to a weak core. Pilates is more than just a workout. You gain an education about your body, how it works and how to move better.
Q: Do you mainly work with clients who’re recovering from injury or do you see clients who simply want to stay healthy and active?
Both! Some of my clients are recovering from major injuries or events, such as a heart attack or stroke and others simply come to work out.
Q: Do you work with pregnant women? What about post-natal work?
Yes, Pilates is very beneficial and safe for pregnant women because it strengthens the pelvic floor muscles and focuses on breathing. Strengthening the abdominal and glute muscles can help relieve back pain and keep the body in shape throughout the pregnancy. This helps to speed up recovery post-partum. During a pre-natal session, I use more props for support.
Q: What kinds of things do you do for yourself to stay fit and healthy?
I do a lot of Pilates of course, and yoga, but I try to get outside and get fresh air as much as possible. I love playing tennis for cardio and I still occasionally practice ballet.
Q: You already have several skill sets and roles, I’m just wondering what’s next for you professionally? Are you planning on doing additional studies or courses or do you want to evolve in a particular area with your practice? How do you see the next few years rolling out?
I’m always practicing and learning; it helps me stay inspired and excited to share new things with clients. One thing I would like to get more involved in is teaching youth. I also hope to put my Trauma-Informed Yoga certificate to use in a volunteer position in the future. I’m interested in massage as well but want to focus on building my Pilates clientele for now. Eventually, I plan to get my second certification as a master trainer and become a teacher trainer.
Q: That sounds like a great direction! On a closing note, is there anything else you would like to tell people: if they’re looking for help with an injury or if they’re just curious about Pilates in general, or anything else we talked about?
I think a lot of people are intimidated or shy to try something new. I hear people say a lot “I’m not flexible enough to do yoga” or that the reformer looks like a torture machine, but I promise it’s quite the opposite! At BodaHealth, Pilates is taught in a private room and I am super friendly, encouraging and non-judgmental. I’m here to help, so please don’t be shy. It’s a safe environment. And I know how valuable working out can be!
About Tamara Pfister:
Pilates practitioner Tamara Pfister completed her training in Vancouver through the PhysicalMind Institute. She’s also certified in Hatha Yoga, Pre-Natal Yoga, Trauma-Informed Yoga and Barre. She’s committed to helping her clients optimize their physical and mental health through movement.
To learn more about Tamara Pfister, visit her full bio here and stay tuned for more Practitioner Spotlight interviews from the BodaHealth team.