Why Choose Internal Fire Pilates? 

Our teachers offer an eternal commitment to the study of movement, which includes immense knowledge of both Classical and Contemporary approaches to Pilates as well as the latest research in movement science. Our instructors skillfully assess areas of imbalance and movement dysfunction and then teach personally targeted movement skills and exercises to encourage stabilization and mobilization as needed. We meet every client where they are at; any age, body type and any level of fitness with deep listening and compassion.

What is Pilates and how is it different from other forms of exercise?

Pilates is the art of control (described by Joseph Pilates himself as Contrology) that develops centering and precision in your movements enhancing how your body functions. Pilates requires a deep focus and intention on your body as one integrated and activated system. We do not isolate body parts, as our bodies don’t function that way. Pilates is always a whole-body experience, utilizing movement in all directions and powerful full breathing to stimulate and enhance the function of all systems in the body. We work with the concepts of decompression and buoyancy to return to natural movement patterning, improving your body’s ability to move through the world as a perfectly organized and functional system, supported by a strong center. One major goal of the Pilates system, aside from whole-body health, is uniform development. By developing a deeply strong center, we move with less compensation, making our movement patterns more efficient, which can help improve chronic pain, increase energy levels and inspire confidence.

Pilates vs. Yoga

Some people believe that Pilates is like Yoga or is a system of stretching. While Pilates and Yoga can be very complimentary practices, they are quite different. Pilates works under the principle of control, not release and while many movements may take you into a stretched position, it is always with a tensional support and control. We teach students how not to ‘hang’ on their tissue. Taking this concept into a Yoga practice can provide much better technique and prevent injuries of overstretch. While Pilates does strengthen the mind and body connection which is very centering, any meditative experience is from focused and controlled movement. A concurrent long-term practice of both systems can be very healing and beneficial.

I’ve never done this before. How do I get started?

The best way to get started is to take advantage of our Intro Special for your first 3 private lessons. It’s important to be introduced to the concepts and skills in a way that is tailored to your body and learning style. This also allows us to assess the best way to help you achieve your goals safely and effectively. After your first three private lessons, you can continue with Solos and/or move into Fundamental or Beginning level classes as your teacher recommends. To schedule, read the answer to the next question.

What’s the best way to sign up for a session or class?

The easiest thing to do is follow the link from our front page of our website under your preferred location (in-person or online). You will be prompted to create a login if it’s your first time visiting. You can schedule an appointment directly from our scheduling program and/or sign yourself up for group classes. We do require advance sign-up for group classes and will cancel classes 24 hours in advance with less than 2 people signed up.

For future booking, we also recommend downloading the mindbody app from the app store. Be sure to search for ‘Internal Fire Pilates’ and save us as a ‘favorite’.

You can always email us at if you have other questions or would like to speak with someone before signing up. Or you can call us at 415.360.3008 and leave us a voicemail.

Before you come in for your first session, please download our intake forms and fill them out ahead of time. If you don’t have a printer, no problem, just arrive 10 minutes before your lesson to fill out the forms.

Please be aware that only fully vaccinated students may attend group classes, so please email a copy of your vaccination card in advance if we don’t have it on file.

What do I wear?

Come dressed in something comfortable that allows you to move. Please don’t wear clothes with zippers or other things that may catch onto and tear the upholstery. Also, be aware that you will be moving in all directions, and clothes that are too tight or loose may interfere with that. We now require socks with treads (‘grippy socks’) to maintain a sanitary environment. Don’t worry if you don’t own a pair. We have a number of options for both men and women to purchase at the studio.

I’ve done this before. What level am I?

Intro/Fundamentals – You may be fairly new to Pilates, or you may be returning after recovering from an injury. Even if you have quite a bit of experience and you have never done Classical Pilates, you may need to start here to learn the exercises. You will be working on Fundamental Movement Skills, Pre-Pilates exercises, and your Basic 5 Mat exercises as well as the starting points on each apparatus. You’ll learn what your core system is and how to properly recruit it with each exercise.

Beginning –

At this point, you are ready for a little more challenge and have mastered your basic Pilate Mat skills. You are practicing your Ab 5’s as well as Swan and Mermaid on the Mat. You are mastering your Footwork on Reformer as well as Stomach Massage Round, Short Box Round, and Knee Stretches (among others) while exploring some of the more challenging exercises on the other equipment that is advancing you toward the Intermediate level repertoire.

Intermediate –

You’ve mastered your Beginning level exercises and skills and are working with more speed and greater challenge. The range of motion increases as your ability to stabilize improves. You are working on mastering Short Spine Stretch, Teaser on all equipment and Mat as well as other exercises that challenge your balance and strength. With a more deliberate pace, the repertoire performed in a lesson or class increases and so will your heart rate.

Advanced –

You’ve been doing this for a while and are working with flow and transitions. You know the names of various exercises and are also working with memorizing the order of the Mat and Reformer Series. You are working toward mastering the very challenging exercises like Tendon Stretch and Snake/Twist on the Reformer, as well as working with more difficult choreography and at an accelerated pace.

What is my Group Class Level? 

How often should I practice?

It is ideal to practice between 3-4x/week. We offer many ways to make this more possible including ½ hour Solos and online options for the super busy as well as Group Classes, Community Classes and our Apprentice Rate solos for the budget conscious. We encourage you to practice on your own at home and to utilize Sharon Gallagher-Rivera’s classes on Pilates Anytime to assist your home practice. Many people choose to do 1-2 privates and 1-2 classes each week, once they understand the basics, to maintain a consistent practice.