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Passionate about transforming bodies through Pilates, Saul Choza, founder of Winsor Choza Pilates, has dedicated 27 years to refining his craft. Integrating new fitness modalities into traditional Pilates, Saul's client roster includes Hollywood's elite and busy corporate executives. Media accolades from Vogue to Entertainment Tonight attest to his transformative results. Trained by Mari Winsor, Saul continues her legacy while evolving his studio to meet the needs of modern practitioners. As a Romana Kryzanowska-certified trainer and PMA-certified instructor, Saul's workshops and global presentations inspire Pilates enthusiasts worldwide.

website : Winsor Choza Pilates
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You've had the privilege of working under the guidance of renowned figures like Romana Kryzanowska in NYC and Mari Winsor in Beverly Hills. How did these experiences shape your teaching style, and what motivated your decision to eventually open your own studio in Beverly Grove, Los Angeles?

I’m honored to have learned from two of the most influential powerhouses in the Pilates culture, Romana Kryzanowska and Mari Winsor. Both women were very different, yet similar in a lot of ways. Mari’s greatest asset was her emotional intelligence. She knew what her clients wanted and found the right Pilates instructors for her studio. I like to believe I share that same quality with her. She also had never-ending curiosity, always looking for the next new trend, keeping her work fresh and her clients engaged. Romana, to me, was the gatekeeper of Pilates. She presented a Pilates system with a beginning, a middle, and an end. My experiences with her lessons were always full of mind, body, and spirit.  The main similarity between these two women was their playfulness. The lightness of their spirit invited people into their world. They did care about detail, but more critical was that the client exercise and experience the pleasure of movement.

Mari and Romana have made a significant impact on how I currently teach. I’ve kept Mari's wonderment of movement practices. I’m constantly experiencing new movement trends to enrich my vocabulary. I do not use these experiences to change the Pilates system but to fortify it with my expertise. With an expansive movement language,  I can communicate better with students who practice various movement modalities. I recall Romana suggesting that her students observe sports and dance to understand movement better.  Understanding the body’s mechanics in various practices is an asset for any Pilates teacher.

Although I’m influenced by other modalities, I, like Romana, believe in keeping the integrity of Pilates.  To ensure I do not drift far from the essence of the method,  I’m constantly rereading Your Health and Return to Life Through Contrology. These books illustrate the nature of Pilates. These readings keep Joseph Pilates’ vision constant in my practice and teaching.

Approximately twelve years ago, I wanted to understand the “why” of the exercise. So, I completed two years of academic studies in anatomy and biomechanics at UCLA. It gave me a much clearer insight into the Pilates system.
With all these influences and the playfulness of my two mentors, my teaching style is simple but sophisticated. It’s the perfect combination of art and science.
My decision to open a studio in Beverly Hills/West Hollywood happened organically. I believe in a higher power. When one is ready to receive the gifts life has in store for you, things align. After working for Mari for almost twenty years, I decided to leave Winsor Pilates, and I worked at a studio that had both Gratz and resistance training equipment. I wanted to put my studies into practice. After two years, Mari asked if I would return to Winsor Pilates, which I did for two more years until Mari closed her studio. Not having a studio to work at, the universe presented me with two prominent investors, a roster of clientele who believed in me, and Mari’s blessing. This March, we will celebrate our eighth year of business; Cory Henson and I are the sole proprietors of Winsor Choza Pilates. The studio is thriving with private sessions and group classes. We have teachers visiting us worldwide, and Winsor Choza Pilates is ready to launch a summer intensive where teachers can genuinely live the Winsor Choza Pilates experience. Stay tuned for more projects to come.

"The bottom line is that the Pilates system was designed with consciousness. It is a discipline that requires maturity. One must make it a lifestyle to reap the benefits."

Pilates has undoubtedly made a profound impact on the lives of your diverse clientele, including real people, elite athletes, and celebrities. How do you customize your Pilates sessions to meet the unique needs of such a broad range of individuals? Are there specific Pilates techniques that resonate universally, regardless of background or fitness level?

I have a diverse clientele, including everyday people, elite athletes, and celebrities.  A few clients have been with me since I started my career! I find it surreal to hear of their kids in college since many of these clients were single people with only pets when I started training them. Traditional Pilates is a system that meets anyone’s unique needs and, if used accordingly, can transform the human body to its finest expression.
If one can view Pilates as a functional resistance training program, it’s easier to customize a Pilates session. When a client enters my studio, I assess them immediately. They walk past five reformers and two Cadillacs to the reception area. During those thirty steps, I’ve studied their walking gate and interaction with other students and paid close attention to their posture. The individual’s body movement patterns give me their history in a few seconds. Right away, I’m computing how I will add resistance to the body to start transforming it to its optimum function.

My first goal is to teach my client how to use the body efficiently through repetitive movement, and like Joseph Pilates, I don’t overload a set of muscles to the point of fatigue. Winsor  Choza Pilates is a full  Gratz Pilates studio, so if I’m not getting the result of an exercise on the reformer, I move on to a different apparatus. That’s when I like to say, “Let’s play.” I’m letting my students know we’re taking a detour to explore the mechanics of a given exercise on a different piece of equipment.  I always bring it back home by reminding the student that the goal is to finish a reformer workout in 45 minutes. Once the client can flow through a 45-minute workout, the customizing of the workout begins. I tailor the client's needs in the workout's last 10-15 minutes.

Pilates is the perfect workout because, when done right, it fits the current recommendation of the American College of Sports Medicine: 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and two days per week strengthening all major muscle groups. When students participate in a Pilates flow workout, they do a moderate-intensity aerobics class. (I always tell my students that it's not Pilates if you're not sweating)! Also, every Pilates session should target the whole body. If you do Pilates five days a week, you are covered.
At Winsor Choza Pilates, we have group classes so students can supplement their private lessons. The prescription for weekly sessions is at least three times a week. That’s how the student will get the result they are looking for.
Athletes and high-performance celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Rosalia depend on their physicality for work. They require more days of workouts per week. Their workouts are divided into intensive day workouts and recovery workouts, giving them at least one day of rest.

The bottom line is that the Pilates system was designed with consciousness. It is a discipline that requires maturity. One must make it a lifestyle to reap the benefits. Mari Winsor used to describe Pilates as life. The way one approaches Pilates is the way they approach life.

The secret to my success is keeping the work fresh to avoid boredom. The client is part of the learning process. The body will transform if the client knows the exercises' purpose, mechanics, and order. The person sticks long enough with the practice; then they start noticing the benefits.

(Naomi Corti, one of Brooke's clients)

Naomi is a young, talented, powerful, professional ballerina. She found me over three years ago, and we've worked together ever since. We connect 1:1 online, always fun because she has access to various apparatus with her company facilities in NY (though they do need a Gratz Wunda Chair up there, I have to say!). She joins live classes often as well, from Mat to Chisel to Wunda Chair class when she has the space between performances and rehearsals.

*Naomi Corti, member of New York City Ballet’s corps de ballet

Her power and range areincredible, as you might expect. I'll always remember that when she cameto me, it was upon the recommendation of an older principal dancer whotold her that if she wanted longevity as a professional ballerina, shemust find a Pilates teacher she trusts! And so here we are. She's acomplete joy to work with and to know. So dedicated to her Pilates andher body care... you know, she pulls out her toe corrector as part ofher warm-up routine daily :) I'm so proud!

Considering your extensive travels and participation in Pilates conferences, how do you perceive the current landscape of Pilates, and what trends or developments do you anticipate in the near future?

My understanding of the work has taken me to different parts of the world and has brought foreign teachers to my studio in search of inspiration. The current landscape of Pilates internationally is fascinating. People outside of the states are hungry for information. The fitness culture in South America is the one I connect with the most. Not necessarily because of the language but because they are able bodies, and many have some form of higher education in physical fitness. It’s fun to teach an advanced body and experience the fluidity of Pilates. But the most rewarding experience is when I can win over a contemporary teacher who is also a physical therapist. I get excited when this teacher can see that classical Pilates is about function and not form. Students from South Korea visit me a lot. They are also hungry for classical Pilates. They are very receptive, and their bodies take on classical Pilates well.

It's hard to predict the future of Pilates. I’m mostly excited about the second generation of teachers like myself infusing the work with science and archival work. I believe it’s essential to have Joseph Pilates’ original work accessible to all so that we can truly understand the system. Joseph Pilates’ principle still applies to current times. The system was developed over his lifetime. I can guarantee you it works. I see my client’s bodies transformed before my eyes.

I’m also excited about men's interest in Pilates. Most of them come because of a lower back issue. They start noticing the pain subsiding and realize that Pilates is a workout. Before they know it, they are hooked. My studio’s population is very close to 50/50 men and women. They are able bodies that want to get fit safely. That’s very promising for classical Pilates’ longevity.

I pay little attention to the trends in Pilates because they come and go and never last. However, the truth always prevails, and that's why classical Pilates has remained constant. This method has the most logical approach to working out. I have practiced it for 30 years and am still learning new things about my body. It's the form of workout I stick with, and I find it the most helpful for my well-being.

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