Interview with Natalie Coughlin

natalie interview video

I've been working with Tom since 2004 and truly believe that his unique style of teaching and exercises helped me earn my 12 medals in the Athens, Beijing and London Olympics.
Tom's Pilates and Yoga program played a significant role in my success. He helped me move more efficiently in the water, avoid injuries, and improve my functional strength.
I came to Center of Balance after suffering for five years from multiple joint injuries. I had received some pain relief from various techniques, but very little help in the way of restoring movement and strength to my body. At age 50, I felt like I was 70 years old and had nearly given up hope. Everything hurt; I was unable to do any of the things I loved.

I started training with Juliet, who showed superhuman patience in teaching me, step by step, how to recover my range of motion and how to properly move my body. She had to overcome years of poor body mechanics which I had adopted in an effort to avoid pain.

Every time I had a question, or moved incorrectly, she carefully corrected me. If I did not understand one explanation, she formulated another and another until I understood. Her amazing knowledge of the human body and mind enable her to reach any person at any level, I am the proof. Many times I simply looked confused and she stopped everything she was doing to provide a new way of looking at an exercise or technique.

After less than one year, I am nearly pain-free. I am surfing, biking, hiking, snowshoeing, skiing; I feel 30 years old instead of 70 years old. I started this training after being referred by a friend who told me that some people are simply healers, and now I believe it. Juliet is a healer. She has devoted her life of practice and education to become one. I will always be grateful.
Dave M
The Center of Balance is the best kept secret on the Peninsula.  The teachers are very progressive and address both the  'mind and body' drawing on their life experiences and knowledge of many disciplines, not just Pilates.  I have studied and taught yoga for 25 years and discovered the Center of Balance two years ago, although I had been hearing recommendations for it in the yoga community for quite a while (I now lament not going sooner).  It is a continual learning experience to take classes from the teachers at the Center of Balance.  The level of excellence which they maintain is astounding. These are some of the best teachers that I have studied with and their quest for greater understanding and depth of knowledge, methods of teaching, insight into the human body and being is amazing.  The classes are never repetitive or boring and I learn something new every in every class that I attend.  The Center of Balance is a great place for people from all walks of life, for healthy individuals looking for core strength, for athletes, dancers, for people with injuries, people recovering from illness etc.  Everyone is welcome.  In my experience it takes a few classes (as with most new things)  to become accustomed to a new way of moving and thinking.  My recommendation to new comers is to take at least a couple of classes/week for 2-3 months and you may just discover benefits such as - you feel stronger overall in your body and mind, that your posture starts to improve and you stand taller, that your abdominal muscles start to tone up, you may lose weight, an injury may start to heal, other types of movement may improve too - e.g my tennis game and my yoga improved tremendously due to the insight that i have gained mentally, physically and spiritually from studying with the teachers at the Center of Balance.  This center and what it offers can be life changing if you are open to it.
Sarah W
Center of Balance has, for years, consistently delivered exceptional fitness results. It offers a unique combination of group and individual options, has way-easy access near 101 and 85, and provides a calm and inviting atmosphere. Workshops and retreats have helped strengthen my Pilates practice. Several years ago, a knee injury led me to Center of Balance. I did not believe Pilates could help my injury, especially on the heels of seeing three different orthopedic surgeons and with unsuccessful physical therapy. About five weeks into the Pilates sessions with Tom, one day, as I walked down the hallway at work, I noticed… nothing… an absence of pain — it was a small miracle. I've developed great respect for the benefits of Pilates through Center of Balance.
Sandra B
I feel I've gained a lot of “body knowledge” and can activate certain muscles now. At the beginning, I wasn't sure if my muscles were activated or not.
Bridget C
The Center of Balance and its teachers helped change my life. Not only am I 20 lbs lighter with better tone and strength in my muscles, but I have learned more about the human body and how it works than I ever did in any science class. The teachers not only explain how things work, but help put it into practice for every day movement.
Monica S
This has changed my approach to exercise from “working” to concentrating and focusing on movement.
Norman F
This morning, I had a lovely run along Sawyer Camp trail with so much ease I thought I was in someone else's body! And I could feel a lift from my lower abs that I have never ever felt before! I'm so grateful for your ability and willingness to share your knowledge, and look forward to including this in my life experiences!
Cheryl H
I've gained a greater understanding of Pilates including the core, breathing, and engaging of muscles. I leave class feeling stretched and as if I've worked, but also energized and aligned. I love it!
Hollie H
Tom is a wonderful teacher not only because he is an expert, but also because he embodies compassion and caring for every student. It is a privilege to study with him.
Teacher in Training
Thanks to working with terrific trainers at Center of Balance, I did not become exhausted wandering at the San Jose Jazz Festival last weekend and, literally, felt no pain. Gosh, I hate to think of the Festivals prior to my surgery — our locus of walking to stages kept decreasing. After surgery, I began working with Tom and others at Center of Balance and I keep getting stronger and can go further. Last year at the Festival was nice, but I came home stiff and “spent.” This year, it was my husband who finally said it was time to leave — I could have kept going. I have learned so many great techniques of proper walking that I was able to avoid falling into so many of my bad habits — I'm learning to “feel the tweak” sooner so I catch myself and adjust my posture and gait. I've learned so many great skills — and even today with Sue — learned more. That's why I love working at your studio — there is so much to learn — and I can apply it to “real life” and benefit greatly from it.
My first down dog since breaking my wrist! My neck and shoulder feel so free, and my lower back released.
Brooke H
After two babies, I suffered chronic hip pain that disappeared after strengthening my core and increasing flexibility through Tom's workout.
Rozanne D
This is the best pilates/yoga studio I've been to. Usually I find myself bored, even in an hour long yoga class, but this is the first place where I've been able to make it through an entire 90-minute session without looking at the clock, and often times I'm wishing the class would last longer. The instructors are great, whether in a group class or in individual sessions. I would go everyday if I could!
Jill P