Sunday, 17th of February 2019
Sunday, 17th of February 2019
I recently signed up for a 10 week mat class at the Center studio in San Francisco.
The studio moved to a very nice and light new space, at 300 Sanchez Street, right before the class started. Though I only have taken 2 classes so far, I have observed instruction at the studio and the 2 classes is enough for me to review this studio, especially the instructor Larry Hall who is also the owner and teacher trainer for BASI pilates in San Francisco.


For me, I am usually positive in my reviewsSmile, this is big to declare. I will try to get my money back, for the remainder of the course, because I don't want to go back.
I had great hopes for this studio, since I have heard that Rael Isacowitz (creator of BASI) is amazing. I choose this matclass specifically because it was instructed by "master teacher" Larry (there were other classes earlier in the spring with other instructors).

The instruction itself was ok, meaning the actual cues on the exercises were mostly clear, but this is not Pilates, more like a pilates inspired workout. I also witnessed private instruction by Larry and other teachers in the studio before and after my classses, and again, they do not teach Pilates there, really. Plus the instruction sounded demeaning to their clients, sometimes borderline rude.

Also since I am not male or a gay male, I was treated like a second rate citizen (male clients were treated significantly different, like; were accknowledged immediatly upon walking into the place, and more politely spoken to). Larry acted unproffessional in between classes, he even stuck his tounge out at me.Surprised Can you believe it.!!

In addition, I had a very sore lower back, for several days after the 2nd class. For some reason, the 2nd time Larry had the class perform much more advanced stuff, than the week before. I knew while I was doing the exercises that it was no good, and I should have just stopped. But my type A personality kicked in and I thought I was strong enough to take it. Embarassed
I just wonder how the other people in the class fared. Many of the movements were HIGHLY above everybody's level. Why the hell would you teach a class that way??

Anyway, I am out of there, and I don't recommend the studio.

Tags: BASI
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Brandon wrote:
This sounds more personal than professional. I believe any form of Pilates that uses the 7 principles of Joe IS Pilates. Also, not fond of the swearing.
lilybl wrote:

Hi Jeanette,

I wanted to respond to the review you have posted for Larry Hall's The Center Studio in S.F., Ca.

I have been a life-long athlete and am currently a competitive horseback rider and am finishing my Master of Science degree in Kinesiology.

I have trained with Larry Hall for over a year and have witnessed increased athletic abilities as well as the profound ability to learn about my body. He has been an incrediblely careful instructor, asking for precision and encouraging me to be a student of the body. This has been a catalyst to pursue certification in the BASI comprehensive teacher training course. BASI is rooted in exercise science and functional movement and the master instructors, including Larry Hall, who I have been fortunate enough to learn from thus far and who have all been students of Rael's , are truly amazing. BASI also seems to maintain that there are variations of approaches to pilates, that there is no one size fits all and that the human body and its physical idiosyncracies takes priority and necessitates adaptation.

I feel as though you have a good idea vested in this website Jeanette , however it bears tremendous responsibility and awareness of the influences it can entertain. I have been in a few matt classes and realized that "spotting" each individual is impossible and more acountability is placed on the individual taking the class to take the propper precautions. Since you are an instructor, it pains me to hear that you emerged with lower back discomfort and felt the need to grit through a session...I would hope that you as well as all instrcutors have the body awareness and expertise to know when modifying an exercise is necessary or at least the interest to learn how to customize the movement and/or ask for help.

I would be interested in reviews that do not maintain tones but rather provide objective information for the general public. I would also like to note that I agree with the above note from Brandon...this sounds more personal than professional.


CastroPilates wrote:

Recently I have been thinking about Pilates and what Pilates means to me. As the trend becomes more and more popular I find myself increasingly frustrated that so many instructors and students refer to “Real” Pilates only as the method taught by Romana Kryzanowska. The fact is that when she started her first teacher training programs in the country she has trained hundreds of instructors to teach the work as Joe taught it to her.


There are other teachers out there also taught by Joe who also teach the method as it was taught to them, and it must be remembered that Joe Pilates only certified two persons to teach his works – Kathleen Stanford Grant and Lolita San Miguel. To say that one way is the only way is insult to these teachers does not allow for an evolution of his work. Each and every body is an individual and must be treated that way.


We can all learn from one another given the opportunity and we must all respect the various methods of Pilates that have developed over the year’s. What is key to Pilates is the Movement Principles.


1. Awareness – Be present in the moment with mind and body, Pilates is practiced in an environment that stimulates the mind-body connection beginning with an awareness of the body.

2.  Breathing – The breath is the essential link between the mind and the body. It draws our wandering mind back into our bodies and back to the task at hand. It is the foundation of our existence and the rhythm that accompanies us from birth to death. In Pilates the breath is integrated into every movement in order to keep our awareness on what we are doing, to improve the flow of oxygen throughout our tissues and to improve the capacity of our lungs.

3.  Concentration – To concentrate is to pay attention to what you are doing. To be present with and in control of the task at hand. Without concentration the exercises lose their form and their purpose. When teaching it is important to have a client do only as many repetitions as they can without losing their concentration. As Joe often said, “It is better to do five repetitions perfectly than 20 without paying attention”

4.  Control – To be in control is to understand and maintain the proper form, alignment and effort during an entire exercise. Pilates exercises are never done without engaging the mind to control the movements and the efforts that the body is making.

5.  Centering – In Pilates all movement radiates outward from the center. Developing a strong, stable and flexible center is one of the defining features of this form of exercise.

5) Precision – Understanding proper form and placement and being able to perform exercises with efficiency comes with practice. Precision is the end product of concentration, control, centering and practice.

6.  Balanced Muscle Development – Understanding, developing and maintaining correct alignment and form is essential to Pilates. With practice these principles become second nature and lead to improved posture, increased comfort and enhanced physical abilities.

7.  Rhythm/Flow – All movements in Pilates are done with a sense of rhythm and flow. Flow creates smooth, graceful and functional movements. It decreases the amount of stress placed on our joints and develops movement patterns that integrate our body into a smoothly flowing whole.

8.  Whole Body Movement – Pilates is fundamentally about integration: integrating movement into a flowing whole body experience, integrating the mind and body to create clarity and purpose, integrating mind, body and spirit to create a life of balance.

9.  Relaxation – To be healthy in body and mind it is important to understand the balance between effort and relaxation. In Pilates we learn to use just the amount of effort needed to complete the exercise correctly, no more, no less. Learning to release unnecessary tension in our bodies helps us to find ease and flow in movement and in the rest of our lives.


So long as these principles are present within the work it is Pilates.

Jeanette wrote:

Wow, I posted this more than a month ago, and now I get 3 responses within one hour!  Smells like an organized response. Wink

lilybl, I am happy that the Pilates you get from Larry works for you. I didn't like it there, on many levels, and I went twice to really make sure. My interaction with Larry was not professional, it was  weird and I felt very uncomfortable. I had a personal experience which is what I am writing about in this blog.

I have taken Pilates from many teachers and intructors around the world, and undoubtedly there are always differences in styles, knowledge and personality. Spotting in a mat class is essential, if you feel there are too many clients to even try, then you have too big of a class. I know I should not have forced myself through some exercises that I felt were wrong, and i admit this is a "personal" problem of mine Wink. When I go to a Pilates studio and take a session whether it is a private session or a mat class, it is a personal experience to me. Not so much when I go to a large gym for obvious reasons. Personal and professional experiences is what I want to express and what I am interested in reading in others blogs too.

This site is not a general Pilates information site, it is supposed to be open for anybody to express their Pilates experiences, whatever they may be. There is plenty of plain objectivity on the net.

CastroPilates, I agree with you, the principles are very important, and if an instructor have had a thorough training and can help a client reach these principles for real, that is a good thing. There is so much to Pilates, like recognizing the appropriate level for a class and being prepared to reassess that throughout the class and to actively take into consideration the abilities of each participant. A good teacher can have many levels of ability in the same class and be able to tech them all.

What is classical Pilates, and is Romana's Pilates the real Pilates etc. This is the subject of a post (yet unpublished) I have been writing on. Of course the way Romana teaches mostly reflects the method as she was taught by Joseph as a client of his. She also spent a lot of time in his studio and saw him and Clara teach others for years, as did all "Elders".

I have been lucky to take Pilates from several "Elders" including; Jay Grimes, Ron Fletcher, Lolita San Miguel and Mary Bowen. They all differ in their teachings in several ways from each other, they are individuals that had their own experiences at Joseph's studio. After all, they came to Pilates with vastly different needs, injuries or problems, just like clients do today. In general, this is told by all "Elders", that male clients at Drago's were passed on to Clara, and Joseph liked to teach the women (except Jay Grimes, he was accepted, and got to stay with Joe, only because he was scared to death of Joe and didn't question anything, or say anything, according to himself as he told us at the Big Bear conference earlier this year). So female elders will have been closer to Joe himself, and the men very lucky to have been Clara's clients. Joe and Clara; two different people, teaching all these different clients, based on what they needed. Naturally the method will have been percieved differently, and passed on as such. And it continues to be passed on and sometimes watered down, sometimes enriched. 

Since I am lucky enough to live in an area like San Francisco, I want to try different instructors and different studios, since there are so many available here. And so should all Pilates students and clients. In a way, all Pilates is good, better than no Pilates at all.

spice girl wrote:

Hello Jeanette,

I have practiced pilates for 20 years have been an instructor for the last 8.  I have studied with many of the elders as well as Larry Hall for the last few years.  I have to say I find your comments, outside of your own peronal experience, unfounded.

Larry has always conducted himself professonally, has been friendly, and above all maintains integrity for the work and what that means to each individual he works with.  I have not experienced a group class with Larry, but can only assume that you caught him on an off day because I have never experienced anything close to what you describe in any of our private sessions.

I spent a year taking sessions with many instructors all over the city trying to find the right one to help me rehab my shoulder and Larry was above all the best!


Althea Hondrogen wrote:

hi jeanette... thank-you for your blog!

just thought i would re-conect with you since you first came to my pilates studio defy gravity pilates in 1999... i see now you are hooked!  GREAT! ;o)

 just an update... defygravitypilates is now sharing space with flow studios located at 2358 pine street ( annex of pacific heights health club).  i specialize in private or duet pilates rehabilitation working with physical therapists on site and have  designed  functional strength training programs for clients for the past 15 years.  my website is

hope to see you someday soon!

althea hondrogen

ASCM/pilates certified

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