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XXI - My Twenty Second Year

Paula  Present  has been a certified Pilates instructor since 1998, receiving  her certification from the highly  esteemed institution, Long Beach  Dance Conditioning.  She focused her studies on rehabilitation, due, in  part, from her own personal  experience with Pilates.  Now she works as  a second generation teacher in the classical technique.  She also  certified to be a Strength Trainer  with National Academy of Sports  Medicine (NASM) since 2014 and has completed the Foundation Course in  the Gokhale Method in 2015.  In 2019, she started studying Tom Meyer's Anatomy Trains in Motion.  She is currently the Creative Director at  Winsor Choza Pilates, mostly shooting and editing all video content.

Shortly after receiving her certification, Paula was invited to return to LBDC as a teacher, and continued teaching at several well-known studios in  Los Angeles.  From 2004-2010, Paula ran her own home studio.

An  effective teacher remains an applied  student.  Paula continued her classical Pilates education under first  generation master teacher, Jay  Grimes, and second generation  instructor, Karen Frishmann from  2006-2013.  She completed “The Work” an intensive year long study with  Jay Grimes. She currently studies with  Romana trained, Saul Choza.   In addition to her Pilates studies, she also has studied Anatomy Trains in Motion, Neurokinetic Therapy (NKT), and Lymphatics Mojo with Dr Perry Nichelston. Combining the practices of both rehabilitative and classical Pilates has  allowed Paula to strike a  training balance with her own students, based  on the needs of each  individual.  Whether the goal is to strengthen the  core, reduce pain,  or to rehabilitate post-surgery, Paula helps her students to become confident in their bodies with Pilates and Strength Training.

Additionally,  Paula has furthered her understanding of biomechanics and the  effectiveness of Pilates practice  from being a yogi, dance teacher, hiker, and an accomplished dancer and choreographer. 

Paula also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, and a Bachelor of  Arts degree in Theatre Arts (Dance Emphasis) from the University of  California at San Diego.

“I discovered  Pilates in 1995, quite by chance, as a dancer. I was experiencing  chronic back pain, and at the suggestion of my dance  teacher, I began taking Pilates classes.

Concurrently,  I visited an orthopedic  doctor, who diagnosed me with an 8-millimeter  herniated disc, and told me it was only reparable by surgery and that my  career as a dancer was  over.  I was heartbroken. 

As  Pilates had eased my back pain, I  decided against the doctor’s advice,  and continued to dance and perform with a dance company.   For two years, I learned by trial and error to be my own healer and use what I learned in Pilates to strengthen my  back and body.  After two years an MRI revealed that my herniated disc was considered healed.   The doctor said it healed better naturally than if I had the surgery.

In  2016, I was diagnosed with a 15 millimeter herniated disk just below the first one.  I was told I was a surgery candidate once again.  Three months later, I was back in dance class.  Not only do I owe my quick recovery to my PT, but my layers of strength from Pilates, Dance, and  Weight Training. "

I am still dancing to this day


For over a decade, Paula has been my personal, primary Pilates instructor and the number one, go-to instructor I trust with my clients.  Because of her vast knowledge, ego-less teaching methods and her ability to help and do no harm, I trust Paula implicitly to work with my clients’ individual needs, injuries, and help with their recovery.  I admire Paula for her endless drive and desire to learn and improve herself both personally and professionally.  She makes every class a challenge and always uses new and different exercises and techniques to keep things fresh and achieve maximum results. 


Paula has been my Pilates instructor for 15 years. She is dedicated to her craft, always seeking the best way to help her clients. I like many things about Paula, but what I like most about her as a Pilates instructor is that she is always flexible (in body, mind and spirit!) to helping me, stretching me and making the most of our session. She keeps it fresh and there are always new avenues to pursue, even after 15 years! Each time Paula gives her all and as I’ve changed my athletic pursuits (I’ve recently taken up tennis again), she is there guiding me and my body. She’s just the best!


I have attended Paula's sessions for the past 9 years.  I  have  been most satisfied with her training sessions during which she addresses and works on the exact body issues I have had. Each time I left her session I felt vitalized, with less pain and more energy.

She is been very meticulous in having me do the exercises correctly which is exactly the way a good teacher should be.

Before each session starts, she finds out if I have any special needs to work on, and if there is any pain anywhere, to work on it and be careful with.

Paula is one of the few Pilates teacher who not only teaches Pilates, does weight training as well.



The Swan Progression

With permission from Winsor Choza Pilates, edited by yours truly