My name is Amahl Van Halsema, but you can call me Van. Teaching Pilates for 30 years, I have taught a variety of clients ranging from ages 14 to 88. My clients include athletes, equestrians, housewives, teenagers with scoliosis, and clients with chronic autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis, as well as those with spinal disorders. Many clients with orthopedic injuries are referred to me by physical therapists and I enjoy working with them to improve their physical condition. And teaching pre- and post-natal moms is special for me, since I usually get to see the babies born so easily from their mothers’ Pilates-improved labor! I am happy to work with clients and accommodate to their busy schedules, teaching bicoastal business executives and individuals in the film business.
In addition to private sessions, I offer small group reformer classes. Groups are limited to just four persons per class. Putting clients together who are at similar levels of competence, I aim to achieve a great workout for everyone.
As a victim of two severe car crashes, I learned the marvelous value of Pilates during my recovery from multiple surgeries. I worked postoperatively with my physical therapists to incorporate Pilates into my rehabilitation. My dramatic recoveries propelled me into further studies in anatomy and physical therapy. These studies greatly enriched my teaching and attracted many medical clients to my practice.
While growing up and traveling in more than 50 countries, I became fascinated with body movement in different cultures, watching everything from Sufi whirling dervishes to the Bolshoi Ballet. I began to see how physical activity could center, strengthen and heal my body. Later in my life I had fun learning Pilates while working as a model in Europe. I first became an instructor in the 1980’s in New York City. I taught clients in Manhattan until I moved to Los Angeles in 2006. After teaching in Malibu and Marina del Rey, I finally settled into a lovely private studio in Santa Monica where I currently teach.
My favorite movement teachers have included dancers Maria Tallchief and Jillian Hessel, as well as John Geary, Maria Leone, Kathy Grant, Marie Jose Blom, Eric Franklin, Madeleine Black, Leslie Frank, Mari Winsor and many others. My most recent certification (2016) is with the international Pilates Method Alliance. Previous certifications included the Physical Mind Institute of NYC, among others. I also enjoyed working some years teaching Stott Pilates and studying in different studios to learn therapeutic techniques. Learning Pilates medical adaptations as a specialty expanded my knowledge of teaching clients with diseases and injuries and it helped my understanding of clients who are runners or who play sports such as tennis and golf. I am fascinated by and passionate about Pilates, I continue training in different aspects of Pilates to this day. During the last two years, I completed my certifications in teaching Pilates for ALS, Cerebral Palsy, and Multiple Sclerosis. Occasionally I still serve as a body model at various Pilates events and conferences.