While still at Evergreen State College, I was finishing up an internship with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and my supervisor asked me what I had learned. Before I could catch myself, I responded, “That I never want to work in an office!” Graduation was drawing near and my dreams of trekking wilderness areas studying and drawing plants & birds and doing yoga on the hillside were being dashed.
Since I had studied & practiced various forms of movement for my whole life, from weights and dance to martial arts and yoga, I decided to focus on a career in movement after the disappointing internship. Yoga had been my most consistent concentration with 20+ years of practice and I often had friends asking to do yoga with me, so I decided to find a yoga program after graduation.
But instead, I found Pilates… or you could say that Pilates found me when a student of Gail Anderson’s began offering Pilates sessions in Olympia, Washington. I couldn’t believe it—Pilates in Olympia—it seemed too good to be true. I had to try it, so I called and made an appointment. I was hooked after my first session; it was like nothing I had ever done before. After my second session I said to Liz, the instructor, “you have got to give me your teacher’s number,” and she did.
Shortly after contacting Gail Anderson at Balance Within, I made a trip to Redmond that changed my life. I discovered that Pilates is everything I love about movement and more, rolled into one neat package. I began studying with Gail in Redmond and continued with Liz in Olympia. Combining breath, strength, grace and flexibility in every session left me focused and energized.
Many people end up finding Pilates after an injury, but I initially came to it in full health and with an injury-free body. However, that does not mean the work was easy for me—quite the opposite—many of the moves were difficult and challenging and they still are!
Pilates saved my body when I suddenly became ill with mono and an ectopic pregnancy. Keeping one’s body still is incredibly challenging for a movement practitioner and as I started rehabilitation with the smallest movements to recover my range of motion, I began to understand what Gail had meant when she said, “Pilates is a process.”
A process indeed…
Time went on and my body healed, my energy slowly came back and my body and I were moving again, finally! I’d been envisioning working part time in my gallery position and part time in the Pilates studio when my boss forced me to choose between art and Pilates. Pilates won. I quit my job, moved to Portland and finished my training with Gail.
I like to say that I came to Portland for love, work and to get rid of my car, in that order. Working in a Pilates studio, enrolled in another full comprehensive Pilates training program and commuting by bike nearly everywhere, it felt like a tragedy when I was rear-ended while driving a rental car. It was August 2006 and a rear end collision caused two bulging discs. Then in December of 2007 I was involved in another car accident, this time with 4 bulging disc in my lower lumbar an sciatic nerve pain, I had to re-heal and rehabilitate all over again.This is really the time when I learned the awesome healing powers of Pilates. Working with a chiropractor and using spinal decompression therapy along with Pilates, I have fully healed my injuries. During this process, I designed my own unique program to help others recover from disc injuries.
To add on to Gail’s comment, I would say, “Pilates is a process—a process for life.” I opened Brave Heart Pilates and Yoga so that I could share my love of Pilates, health and healing with others. I want to give clients the service and focus they deserve, something I felt I was unable to fully deliver at studios elsewhere. I hope you come join me and see what Pilates can add to your life.
Training Sadhnaa Lakshmi Devi (formerly known as Sylvia Catzen) studied and certified with Gail Anderson of Redmond, Washington, at Balance Within (2005). She completed another full compressive training with Momentum Studios (2007), in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Pilates Method Alliance (PMA), an organization of which Sadhnaa is a member, recognizes both training programs. The PMA is a non-profit organization dedicated to certification and continuing education standards for Pilates professionals. She is also a member of IDEA Health & Fitness Association. She has attended Mind Body Centering workshops, Kline technique, Eve Gentry technique as presented by Michele Larsson and Kathy Grant’s work presented by Dixie. Sadhnaa holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science from the Evergreen State College (1999).
“It is the mind itself which builds the body.” — Friedrich von Schille
I received and earned my new name Sadhnaa Lakshmi Devi in 2008 by translating Sanskrit mantra’s.
Mission Statement My mission is to help people find ease and comfort in their bodies. I help individuals realize their own capacity for movement and potential for greatness. I facilitate and teach people about the body’s ability to heal naturally. I raise Awareness about Body Mind Spirit Connection and better the world through movement.
What do I stand for?
Love * Movement
How well do I communicate this?
I live it, being a living example through embodiment of wholistic self care.