Inside the Pilates Studio: Karen Frischmann

Karen Frischmann pilates

Inside the Pilates Studio: Karen Frischmann Karen Frischmann is co-owner of Vintage Pilates in Los Angeles.

Along with Sandy Shimoda, she has created a fantastic post-graduate Pilates Education program with Jay Grimes at the helm. Vintage Pilates does an excellent job of weeding through imbalance, wonkiness and trickiness in an ongoing search for true connection and balance in the body.

Karen has a calm energy and definitely gives off the vibe that we’re gonna do some serious work here. I have a weekly lesson with Sandy Shimoda – which I dearly love – but every once in a while for scheduling reasons I get to see Karen. Notwithstanding the love I have for Sandy, I have to say Karen always manages to come up with a game changer for me that is fun to write down and use as a mantra.

Some recent favorites

  • “There’s no squishing in Pilates.” in regard to the upper back position in the 2nd Stomach Massage Series
  • When do we ever do that?”  in regard to a random Pilates-esque exercise that was probably not part of Joe’s original system as it differs wildly from all the other exercises

Karen has a wicked eye for the work and also a great compassion for when you’ve found a super-challenging element in one exercise only to discover that, my God, you need that same thing in just about every other exercise. Whew. Where are the towels?

1. What is your favorite Pilates exercise and why?  

Karen Frischmann: Hands down – the roll up. It has so many of the principles of the method rolled up in it. The two way stretch, the use of the seat, the back connection… the powerhouse of course. It is also the first exercise in which I started seeing all the connections within the work.

2. What exercise is your least favorite? Pick only one.

KF: Knees off, but just because after all these years it is still so difficult for me. I know I need it, it is a really good exercise, but seriously, it just doesn’t get any easier. Ha, and if it ever does I know I will hear Jay say “OK, now….”

3. What turns you on creatively, mentally or physically about the Pilates method?

KF: Wow, you know I have been doing Pilates for 18 years and teaching for 16 and every day I come to a new connection or conclusion. The depth of this work is astonishing. I get to work with amazing people, – clients, teachers and each one teaches me and stretches me in different ways. Where else can you get that?

4. What is your idea of earthly happiness?

KF: BALANCE. It is something that I’m not very good at it and work towards every day.  

5. What to your mind would be the greatest misfortune?

KF: A world without balance, movement, beauty or joy.

6. What is your favorite Pilates word?

KF: Reach.

7. What is your least favorite Pilates word?

KF: Core, or maybe sit bones.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

KF: Architect

9. If Heaven exists, and by some chance when you arrive at the pearly gates Joseph Pilates is also there, what would you like to hear him say to you?

KF: “Ya done good kid.”

10. What did you learn today?

KF: How to connect better on both sides in my side bends.

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Andrea Maida

Andrea Maida

A native of Pittsburgh, Andrea began her study of the Pilates method in 2000. She holds two comprehensive certifications from Romana’s Pilates in New York and Excel Movement Studios in Washington, DC.  Andrea continues to study with numerous world-class instructors including Romana Kryzanowska, Jay Grimes, Sari Mejia-Santo, Junghee Kallander, Cynthia Lochard, and Kathryn Ross-Nash whenever possible. Andrea was privileged to be in the inaugural class of The Work at Vintage Pilates under the direction of Jay Grimes, 1st Generation Master Teacher and student of Joseph Pilates.

From the Community

  1. FrankZito


    Member since 2013

    I’m so lucky to call Karen my friend. She is amazing!

    • Andrea Maida

      Andrea Maida

      Member since 2012

      I agree with you Frank – Karen is awesome!

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