My name is Amahl Van Halsema, but you can call me Van. I’ve taught a variety of clients ranging from ages 14 to 88 during the last 35 years of my teaching career. My clients include athletes, equestrians, housewives, musicians, teenagers, actors, business execs…people from all walks of life who have a variety of injuries, specific goals, and physical disorders. In my “other” career, I am a nutritional therapist and functional medicine health coach (www.vhHealth.com). My two careers blend well together. I am happy to work with clients and accommodate to their busy schedules, teaching both bicoastal and local regulars.
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 three 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 clients with specific medical conditions 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 Brentwood.
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, Mary Bowen, Karen Clippinger and many others. My most recent certification is with the international Pilates Method Alliance. Previous trainings included the Physical Mind Institute of NYC, Stott Pilates, and Long Beach Dance Conditioning, as well as others. I also enjoyed working 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 athletes or who feel they are in some way physical disabled. I am fascinated by and passionate about Pilates, I continue training in different aspects of Pilates every year. During the last two years, I completed my certifications in teaching Pilates for ALS, Cerebral Palsy, and Multiple Sclerosis. I have also begun accepting individual clients on the autism spectrum. Occasionally I still serve as a body model at various Pilates events and conferences. I am fully certified by the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA-CPT).