Meet the Owner...
Ayanna Makalani, owner of HEAL: Pilates, spent her childhood competing as a gymnast and turned to modern dance in college. Introduced to Pilates during rehabilitation for knee surgery, she found it to be the most effective therapy for her. Pilates stabilized and strengthened her knee & guided her back into her body with patience and understanding. Ayanna's also used Pilates to manage chronic back and neck pain. She is a certified instructor through BASI-Body Arts and Science International, and has been teaching Pilates since 2007.
Ayanna's instruction is currently virtual only.
In New York City, Synthia studied dance through her twenties, Pilates integral to her training. Studying anew, parallel to a career in fundraising and adventures in parenting, Pilates offered rich pathways through spondylolisthesis and a shoulder injury. Synthia uses Classical Pilates principals coupled with contemporary movement and thought in classes and private instruction.
Vanessa Naja is a Rehabilitation Specialist, Postpartum Corrective Exercise Specialist, Dancer and lover of nature.
Vanessa’s interest in anatomy, kinesiology and the therapeutic application of movement led her to Pilates in which she is comprehensively certified through Balanced Body University. She has done extensive studies both privately and academically in anatomy and body mechanics and she uses this knowledge to help her clients achieve balanced and effortless movement in their activities of daily living as well as any sports or dance activities in which they participate.
Vanessa's instruction is virtual only.
During a hiatus after and through 4 major surgeries to address a congenital spine condition, Olivia studied Pilates intensively as a means to heal, rebuild, and reconnect from the inside out. Throughout her surgical journey from 2012-2017, she continued to learn a multitude of healing modalities which she now combines in her work to help others. Olivia holds a comprehensive certification through STOTT Pilates and has been teaching since 2013. She has experience and compassion for working with all age ranges, levels, and especially those with injuries. She specializes in rehabilitation especially with the spine and Psoas.
Olivia graduated from the University of California, Irvine, studying Afro-Modern dance with Donald McKayle, and focusing on Dance Performance and Sociology. She is a multi-disciplinary artist, performer, teacher, and choreographer.
Nadya is a Berkeley native who began practicing Ballet at the age of four. She's explored a variety of dance and movement styles: from Yoga, to Krav Maga, Tai Chi, and Pilates, ultimately leading her to study dance at Cal State University Long Beach.
While Pilates was always a part of the repertoire, it was not until the birth of her first child in 2018, that movement and care of the body was no longer just a passion, but a career choice. Nadya found that Pilates eased her body out of the residual pain of childbirth & re-strengthened her whole body and core. Nadya is now pursuing her Comprehensive Teacher Training Certification through Balanced Body at EHS in San Francisco.
Rebecca’s love of movement was shaped as a child in the world of competitive dance. She quit dance as a young adult and eventually found herself with persistent pain in her low back and arthritis in her knees, for which a doctor prescribed a future of pain management. She rejected that and found Pilates.
She received her certification in Pilates mat and reformer from Body Harmonics. She's currently working toward her comprehensive Pilates certification, a secondary specialization in post-rehab, as well as an eventual doctorate in Occupational Therapy to someday work as a pelvic floor therapist. She's certified in pregnancy and postpartum corrective exercise, NASM personal training, Booty Barre instruction, and she has studied the work of the Postural Restoration Institute and the Buteyko Breathing Method.
Samira is an administrative manager for HEAL. With past experience in small business management and human resources, she hopes to help the studio run smoothly and thrive.