- Owen Grady
- Amy Moore
- Ommi Pipit - Suksun
- Jessica Reis (on Maternity Leave)
- Jeffrey Ross
- Susi Strigl
- Emilia Wysocka-Treder (on Maternity Leave)
- Tali Vaknin
Co-owner & Director
ACE, NCPT, Balanced Body Master Instructor and Mentor, Franklin Method Level 3 Educator, Certified Somatic Coach
Tom McCook, Founder and Director of Center of Balance in Mountain View, CA, is an internationally-recognized Pilates Master Teacher and movement specialist. Beginning in 1984, Tom designs programs for health and life performance for a range of clients, from Silicon Valley executives and Olympic athletes, to active seniors and people looking for solutions to their imbalances and injuries.
Tom’s mission is to improve people’s lives through movement! He teaches a practical and accessible way to understand your own body and then apply it to your movement practice. These skills go beyond exercise to cultivate health, body wisdom, and being responsive and resilient in life.
Tom's unique teaching approach synthesizes over 35 years of fitness training, Pilates, body therapy, Somatic Coaching, the Franklin Method, Anatomy in Motion and meditation. His fascination with movement began at an early age playing sports and growing up in a large athletic family with 11 siblings. His long and successful history working with athletes include the Stanford women's swim team and four Olympic Gold medal swimmers.
Tom has been leading teacher trainings in the Pilates Method since 2001. He is on the faculty of Balanced Body for Pilates, CoreAlign and the Bodhi Suspension System. Tom is also a sought-after international presenter and mentor.
Co-owner & Business Manager
Together with Tom, Karen owns and manages Center of Balance. She oversees the business, planning and financial matters of the studio as well as designs the marketing materials and maintains the website. Karen's background is in non-profit management and fundraising, communications, and international political advocacy. Her work has been mainly involved in global environmental and human rights issues. She was the Development Director of Pesticide Action Network and National Press Director for Oxfam America, an international social justice and disaster-relief agency. She holds a BA in political science from Tufts University in Boston. Karen has been practicing Pilates and Yoga since 1997, and completed PhysicalMind Institute's Initiation 101 Pilates Mat training with Tom in 2001, and Balanced Body's CoreAlign 1 & 2 in 2010.
Owen has been teaching Pilates and Yoga full-time in the Bay Area since 2002. He is a certified Physical Mind Institute Apparatus, Mat and Standing Pilates instructor. He began his studies and teaching of Pilates with nationally-recognized Pilates Master teacher Tom McCook, founder of Center of Balance in Mountain View, CA. He credits Tom's mentorship & coaching as key factors in his rapid development and success in teaching movement full time. In 2005, Owen began studies with Eric Franklin, founder of the Franklin Method, combining vivid imagery and experiential anatomy to help people navigate their bodies with greater ease and facility. Owen is a Level 2 Franklin Method Movement Educator. He is also certified by Pino Carbone of Body Code Systems in Bodykey instruction and completed the CoreAlign teacher training in 2010. Owen's Yoga teaching is founded on a combination of his personal practice of Iyengar and Ashtanga Yoga and more recently influenced by the Core driven styles of Ana Forrest and Jill Miller, with whom Owen recently completed his Level 2 Yoga Tune Up® certification. Yoga Tune Up®, developed and created by Jill Miller, is a "whole body" regenerative fitness system integrating elements of Yoga, calisthenics and body therapy.
Trained by Tom McCook and certified with PhysicalMind Institute and Balanced Body University, Amy has celebrated over 16 years at Center of Balance where she continues to bring her warm, friendly teaching style and positive energy. Her skill is rooted in Functional Anatomy and traditional Pilates, influenced also by the work of Karen Clippinger and Eric Franklin. Amy is certified in all levels of CoreAlign, the Nemerov Method, and Elvis the Pelvis. She also implements FMS (Functional Movement Screen) and the associated corrective exercise protocol to progress clients toward their goals. Having experienced first-hand the benefits of alignment and functional movement, Amy collaborates with clients of all levels and life stages to reinforce optimal movement patterns and strengthen the body for daily activity.
Originally from Thailand, Ommi is a Pilates instructor and dance educator. After graduating from the prestigious Royal Ballet School in London, where she received a full scholarship, Ommi continued with the San Francisco Ballet and then as Principal Dancer with Ballet San Jose. Pilates has always been an important part of Ommi’s dance career, especially when she was recovering from her knee injury. In 2013, she was certified in Mat Pilates and continued with her Comprehensive Pilates training program through Balanced Body with Tom McCook at Center of Balance. She received her MFA in Dance from Hollins University in 2020. Throughout her dance career, Ommi has been fascinated with the concept of mind and body connection. She loves sharing her passion of movement practice with others, and particularly enjoys learning and growing as an instructor. Ommi bridges her experience in dance with Pilates to help clients build strength and develop greater body-awareness.
Jessica Reis (On Maternity Leave)
Jessica completed her comprehensive Pilates teacher training at Center of Balance with Tom McCook and Balanced Body. She was first introduced to Pilates in college where she graduated with a BFA in dance. After three years of performing and teaching professionally in New York, Jessica, along with her husband and cat, made the move to California. It was during this time that Jessica became really passionate about her Pilates practice. She started noticing the positive impact it was having on her dancing which is ultimately what inspired her to become a Pilates teacher. In addition to teaching Pilates, Jessica currently performs and teaches dance in the Bay Area. She has experienced first-hand how much Pilates can improve a person’s quality of movement, and is excited to support and inspire her clients at Center of Balance in reaching their goals.
Susi completed her comprehensive Pilates education at Center of Balance through Balanced Body with Tom McCook. She is from Vienna, Austria, where she studied medicine, later dentistry and finally specialized in Orthodontics. After the birth of her first baby and working on patients in her clinic, she found Pilates to be helpful in recovery, releasing tension and realigning her body. Moving to California with her three kids and husband, Susi decided to start teaching what she loves to do, Pilates! Her goal is to help clients discover the many benefits of Pilates and learn how to move and feel better in their bodies.
Emilia Wysocka-Treder (On Maternity Leave)
Tali has been teaching Pilates professionally since 2005, certified after her studies in Israel by the Pilates Method Alliance. In 2016, Tali received her Diploma of Osteopathy by the Israeli Institute for Applied Osteopathy. During that time she also studied medical massage therapy, and received her diploma from the Zinman College of Physical Education and Sport Sciences at the Wingate Institute of Israel. Tali's approach to Pilates has been heavily influenced by a deep understanding of anatomy and bio-mechanics. This allows her to focus her Pilates sessions on clients with specific rehabilitation or post injury needs. Although not a licensed osteopath in California, she is fully licensed by the state of Israel and incorporates osteopathic philosophy and techniques into her Pilates instructing style. Tali loves instructing and challenging clients of all levels, beginners to advanced. Tali strongly believes that the human body needs to move in a functional way in order to stay in good health. She focuses attention on making sure movements are being done correctly for maximizing their impact on the body and mind.
In Memory of Brody
For many years, Brody was our unofficial greeter and could sometimes be found beneath the front desk conserving his energy. Gentle and sweet, he specialized in human affection and may have licked your toes in exchange for a pat on the head. Brody passed away October 2008 and we miss him dearly. We adopted him from Golden Gate Labrador Retriever Rescue, an organization in need of loving homes for rescued Labs - particularly in this tough economic climate and home foreclosure crisis, pets are now much more vulnerable to abandonment.