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Sumbody | Pilates & Healing Arts Studio | Santa Monica, California

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Heather Leon

Heather Leon is considered a master of the Traditional Pilates Method and is of a select few in the Pilates community today recognized to be a direct lineage of Joseph Pilates’ original teachings. With over 35 years combined experience in various movement disciplines including dance, Pilates, Gyrotonic®, yoga and martial arts, as an instructor and movement educator, Heather offers a wealth of knowledge and expertise that delivers transformative results to her clients through her teaching and motivational practices. Specifically, Heather is highly sought after for her ability to utilize both the Traditional Pilates Method and Gyrotonic Expansion System® for rehabilitative benefits and for achieving the long, lean and supple “Pilates body.”

Heather’s background in ballet, jazz and modern dance includes intensive study at the Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey Dance Conservatories, and a work-study scholarship with the Bella Lewitzky Dance Company. Heather received her Bachelor of Arts in Modern Dance Choreography from UCLA in 1990, and subsequently taught, performed and produced dance concerts in the Los Angeles area.

Heather is currently a member of the Pilates Method Alliance and was a member of the New York Pilates Guild until its dissolution in 2003. She received a scholarship to complete her Pilates certification in 1995 under the tutelage of Master Instructor, Romana Kryzanowska, direct disciple of Joseph Pilates and one of five living “Pilates elders” in the world today. Heather is considered a “second generation” instructor and has conducted her own comprehensive Pilates teacher training programs since 2005.

Heather received her certifications in the Gyrotonic Expansion System® and Gyrokinesis® in 2001 and 2004 respectively; and has studied extensively with Authorized Master Trainer, Lisa Marie Goodwin. As a certified Gyrotonic® Pre-Trainer, Heather conducts instructor trainee courses for students who wish to pursue certification in the Gyrotonic® Level I Foundation Teacher Training Program.

Most recently, Heather has been involved in a new dance genre known as “mass dance” choreography, in which the general public learns and performs dance routines to create awareness surrounding specific causes. Her most recent credits include dance instructor for the 2009/2010 Thrill The World Los Angeles Project, in which thousands of people around the globe, simultaneously performed the classic Michael Jackson Thriller dance. Additionally, Heather participated as a dancer in the CW’s “One Mass Dance,” competition, choreographed by legendary Michael Jackson choreographer, Travis Payne.

Sumbody is Heather’s new solo venture, a Pilates, fitness and wellness facility committed to providing an oasis for exercise, movement, healing and personal transformation.

Christiane Woolaway
Pilates Instructor

Christiane was born in Brazil. She has been an athlete most of her life, beginning with ballet at the age of five. She studied modern jazz and tap dance in addition to many years of martial arts. In her teens, Christiane moved to Europe and pursued an extensive international modeling career. She worked in Milan, Paris, Munich, Zurich, Athens, Japan and New York. In Los Angeles she worked for several commercial and fitness magazines including Shape, Sports Illustrated, Fitness, etc..

Eventually Christiane’s passion for exercise and movement led her to Pilates. She quickly fell in love with the method and then trained and got certified through the PhysicalMind Institute. With a solid, classical understanding of the Pilates Method, Christiane’s sessions are dynamic, upbeat and fast-paced. And in the spirit of Joseph Pilates, Christiane encourages her clients to focus and work on every part of their body with her very easygoing and sweet personality.

Janet Ruiz
Pilates Instructor

Janet Ruiz is a native to California, and having lived in Santa Monica for most of her life was introduced to Pilates at a young age. As a teenager she was privileged to study under Heather Leon, who has mentored her over the past ten years. Janet went on to attend The University of California, Santa Barbara where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. After earning her B.A. she became interested in the study of exercise and physical movement and the effect it had on people, both physically and mentally. She was drawn to the Pilates ideology, based on concentration of the mind and coordination of the body. This interest ultimately led to her decision to become trained in The Traditional Pilates Method. She currently teaches Pilates and continues schooling towards an advanced degree in Physical Therapy. Her teaching stems from a desire to offer Pilates to every person regardless of limitations.

Khaled Ali
Pilates Instructor

Khaled has been doing Pilates under the guidance and instruction of Heather Leon since 1996. Khaled has an extensive background in and commitment to personal growth, training and development. Currently, he is the Primary Facilitator of KaliNow, a consulting firm utilizing a multi-modal approach for resolving personal and professional challenges: he has worked with Senior Executives and others to achieve significant positive change. Formerly, he taught and mentored graduate students who were becoming teachers at UCLA, been the Western Regional Senior Educator for forty-five of Hilton’s Owned and Managed hotels and resorts and been a Master Teacher in the public school system. During his association with Landmark Education, some of his accomplishments were: for twenty years he led transformational seminars in Los Angeles, Pasadena and San Jose with anywhere from one hundred to three-hundred and fifty people attending at a time; he coached and trained others to become Seminar Leaders, and as the Center Manager of the San Jose Center turned around a failing business, established a reliable staff and doubled sales and production over the four and a half years he resided in the Silicon Valley. In Los Angeles, he was the number one Communication Program Manager worldwide and was eagerly sought out for both his seminar leading and his coaching. All totaled he has trained, mentored and developed several hundred teachers, trainers and
Seminar Leaders. In addition, he is a state, regional and national skating champion, has studied ballet and jazz, and is currently a Reiki Master Teacher and healer. His doctoral dissertation was a treatise drawing on Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Dewey; from eastern philosophy, he has studied and practiced a variety of other disciplines. Khaled looks forward to teaching the Traditional Pilates Method.


Maryam Day
Pilates Instructor

Maryam Myika Day (Broadway’s Tony-winning revival of 42nd Street), a Harlem-based actress and founder of Epiphany 3 Films, with acting credits featuring Law & Order, Rescue Me, NBC’s Fort Pit, upcoming film release of INDELIBLE staring Tristan Wilds of 90210 and currently now on Showtime, NOISE with Tim Robbins and Brigette Moynahan. Additional past theater credits The Negro Ensemble Company’s New York premiere of Offspring with Notable NEC alumni including: Angela Bassett, Janet DuBois, Lawrence Fishburne, Sherman Hemsley, Debbie Morgan, Phylicia Rashad, Esther Rolle and Lynn Whitfield.”. And also starring in Satchel: a requiiem for Racisim with the New Federal Theater.

Recieving her BFA in Dance Performance from Temple University, Ms. Day has not only graced the broadway stage, she was work in contemporary ballet companies such as PhilaDanco, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Martha Graham School; Ethnic/African dance companies – 7 and a Principle, Kariamu and Company and Duane Cyrus Production.

Additionally, Maryam Myika Day is the writer and executivce producer of the broadcast and interactive production company Epiphany 3 Films where she has garnered recogniztion as New Emerging filmmaker with the Independent Spirit award from the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora film festival 3 Bronze 1 Silver Telly Award for outstanding work in webseries and new producer on the raise with her interactive viral campaingn Swagger Wagon “Mommy Like” campaign on YouTube.

Since the inception of Epiphany 3 Films in 2004, Maryam Myika Day has premiered her work around the country at venues including the April 2005 Spaghetti Junction Urban Film Festival (Atlanta). The 2005 ImageNation Independent Film and Music Festival, part of the 31st Annual Harlem Week Celebrations (New York City); Medgar Evers College (The City University of New York) 2005 Film and Cultural Series; and the 2005 Black Hollywood Resource and Education Film Series (Los Angeles). Additionally, her knowledge and experitse has been saught after with consultant credits on films such as A NICK IN TIME which has gone on to screen at Sundance (2007), Tribeca (2007) Festival Du Canne (2007) Method Festival (2008) Milan Film Festival (2008)

Day appeared on Broadway as an original company member in the 2001 Tony Award-winning musical revival of 42nd Street. She was seen in the movie version of Mel Brooks’ The Producers (starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick), and also in the independent film Lifted by Academy Award-winning director Randy Dottin. As a producer, credits include the feature film Alicia in Wonderland and the upcoming documentary film, Black Sorority Project. In addition to other credits as a producer.