About our teachers

Katie Atkins-Castillo

Choreographer/Dancer/Certified Pilates trainer. A native of Arizona, Katie’s career began on the West Coast. She danced professionally in San Francisco before she graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of performing arts with her MFA in 2000. While at Tisch, Katie studied with Pilates Elder Kathy Grant. Kathy is one of only two people to be certified by Joe Pilates himself.

In October of 2001 Katie moved to Boulder CO. to be the artistic Director of Bolder Moves Dance Center. While running Bolder Moves she also received her Pilates teacher certification from the most rigorous training program in the nation, The Pilates Center, Boulder. With over 980 hours of required training the Pilates Center Boulder is considered the Harvard of Pilates teacher training schools.

Katie opened Life Pilates in 2008. Life Pilates is a full service Pilates studio specializing classical Pilates for everyone from extreme athletes to those in need of injury rehabilitation. Life Pilates gives Katie the opportunity to use her deep knowledge of the body. This comes from many years of dance performance, over 10 years of accredited training, and her love of teaching. Katie’s students learn to live without unnecessary pain by being empowered to know, love, and ultimately respect their body’s unique challenges and gifts.

Martina McLerran

Martina has always been interested in the health of people. After years of kickboxing training, tae bo, yoga, and Pilates, Martina decided that Pilates was the best exercise option for overall physical, spiritual and mental health. She understands that all the right food without the proper exercise will not get you into the mental and physical shape that you desire.

After having her son Gabriel in 2007 she had a lot of back pain and returned to her Pilates regimen to help overcome the back pain. After 10 years of being a student of Pilates Martina decided to get her Pilates Certification. After 980 hours for study and practice, Martina graduated from the Pilates Center in Boulder Colorado on August 25, 2011. She is excited to share the Pilates method with others and inspire people to take charge of their own well being.

Sarah Willbergh

Sarah has always found happiness in movement. She received her BFA in Interior Design and realized after three years of sitting behind a computer this wasn’t the match made in heaven that she had envisioned. In 2010 Sarah moved to Seville, Spain to teach English. Four years of walking the streets and riding her bike to and from her classes she recognized that this was the favorite part of her day. Being a long time Pilates practitioner she decided that she could combine her passion for teaching with her love of movement and become a Pilates teacher. Thus, in the summer of 2014 Sarah returned to her hometown in New Jersey and enrolled in The Pilates Center Advanced Teacher Training Program.

For Sarah, Pilates isn’t another exercise trend. Practicing the method gives her balance and assists her in her goal of having a centered body, mind and spirit. Sarah works with her clients individually so they can own their practice and utilize it in their daily lives. This way they can live each day with zest and vigour just as Joseph Pilates had intended.

Sarah loves any outdoor activity. If you can’t find her in the studio she is most likely hiking, camping or riding her bike. She loves being apart of a community, yet her inner compass is continuously pulling her to new places. Sarah has recently moved from Brooklyn, NY and is very excited to make Washington her new home.

Ellen Schmelzle

Ellen graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada with a double major in Psychology and Sociology. She was employed as a Juvenile Probation Officer several years, before deciding to remain at home to raise her four children. She volunteered at her children’s schools, held several PTO Board positions, worked part-time as a District Manager for a children’s book company, sang and competed with Sweet Adelines, and earned a Second Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do.

When she was sidelined by a painful low back injury in 2004, many attempts to relieve her pain were unsuccessful and surgery was recommended. Having heard about the non-invasive wonders of the Pilates method in relieving back pain, she signed up for some lessons. Within a relatively short period of time, and after practicing the exercises consistently, she became completely pain free! In addition, she felt stronger, more flexible, more energetic and more uplifted in general. She was enlightened about the founder’s ‘mind-body-spirit’ philosophy in relation to lifestyle and healing, and discovered that Pilates was not just a short-term fix, but a ‘natural path’ to long-term health and wellness!

This life-changing experience inspired Ellen to become a Pilates Teacher, in order to share the multitude of benefits with individuals of all ages. In 2008 she graduated from the highly esteemed Teacher Training program at The Pilates Center in Boulder, CO, and in 2013 she became one of their Host Advisors/Teacher Trainers. Her many extra-curricular interests include rowing, biking, skiing, golf, sewing, traveling and reading. She is looking forward to exploring the wondrous beauty surrounding her new Oregonian home, having recently moved to the state from Alabama.

Sarah loves any outdoor activity. If you can’t find her in the studio she is most likely hiking, camping or riding her bike. She loves being apart of a community, yet her inner compass is continuously pulling her to new places. Sarah has recently moved from Brooklyn, NY and is very excited to make Washington her new home.