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Meet Nicole

Nicole Richter, Founder/Director

MA (Dance Studies), Certified: Master Pilates Trainer, Massage Practitioner (CA license 65332), Orthopedic Manual Therapy Practitioner (Hendrickson Method), Body Alignment Instructor (Balance Method trainee), Associate Life Coach/ADHD Coach (iACT).

An avid mover all my life, I came to Pilates from a career in contemporary dance, most notably as founding director of Detours Dance Theatre in London and as Co-Artistic Director of the Bay Area's renowned AXIS Dance Company, comprised of dancers with and without physical disabilities. I hold a Professional Certification in Community Dance (highest honors) and an MA in Dance Studies from the Laban Centre, London.

In developing my Body ReMap approach over the last 20+ years, I've specialized in work with movers of all types; in special issues including pre- and post-natal fitness, disability, hypermobility, and scoliosis; in post-rehab injury recovery; and in solving long-term pain issues (or just irksome crunky ones) in collaboration with each client.

I completed Ellie Herman's 400-hour comprehensive Pilates certification course while pregnant with the first of The World's Two Best Kids. I trained with Tom Hendrickson in the Hendrickson Method of orthopedic manual therapy, with Jean Couch in the Balance/Aplomb method of natural alignment, with Karina Thek in Scolio-Pilates, and with Patrick Douce in the Feldenkrais Method. I credit an immersion in Release Technique while at the Laban Centre with getting me thinking about natural movement even (or especially) while a body performs at its highest level, and I am grateful to Oberlin College and its lack of distribution requirements for allowing me to major in English (high honors) simultaneously with first discovering and then falling in love with dance. Thus sealing my fate.

I hold a foundational, fervent belief that living in a body that moves well is a key source of joy, and a birth-right. For all of us living our short times on this planet, in this amazing and singular structure that houses us each. 

The Body ReMap Story

          

 

Almost my entire adult career has been spent specializing in movement of the human body. (Before that, I waitressed for many years.) (So, arguably: yeah then too.) Somewhere along the way, I became obsessed with developing a more effective means of 1) getting the body moving well and 2) keeping it that way. Further along the way, I started to call that method Body ReMap. In practice over these many years, I've become so convinced of its effectiveness that it is currently exclusively what I offer here at Powerline.  

It was a bit of a journey to get here. 

If I am honest I will admit that a few years in as a Pilates trainer, I became frustrated with asking people to strengthen certain muscle groups if they could not actually get them working well because of tightnesses or restrictions elsewhere (so, the antagonists to those targeted muscle groups) that were inhibiting their ability to do so. 

So, I trained as a massage therapist and ultimately as an orthopedic manual therapist in the most effective approach I've found for brilliantly unwinding muscle tension and restriction: the Hendrickson Method. I developed combo sessions of what I then termed (a little clunkily) OrthoPilates, so that first we could release key areas to get those tight inhibitors out of the way, and then we could so much more effectively target key muscles for strengthening via Pilates. 

And it worked! It was so much more effective, and clients would leave the studio so much happier: more elongated where they'd needed release and stronger where they needed to strengthen. As always, I'd give a few exercises as an optional 'home practice' to help each client sustain those changes. 

 

But I began to notice that regardless, the next time they came in, even as they reported unprecedented overall improvement, they'd also recount some version of many of the same complaints. That crick in the neck here, the wrist pain thingy there, still a bit of that same low back pain upon waking. The OrthoPilates approach was better, but it still wasn't doing everything we needed it to do in terms of bringing ease and joy into daily movement (and thus, well, life). 

It became clear that I couldn't just send my clients away improved (even with the optional 'homework') and expect to reach our real goal: lasting change. Because after all -- how much time do we spend in our day-to-day life performing specific exercises for unwinding the muscle imbalance patterns of our bodies (ie., the homework) versus time spent doing everything else we do all day long, exactly the way we long have done it? (And which likely built the 'problems' to begin with.) Even the most committed take on 'homework' would be utterly off-set with time spent sitting, working, standing, walking, moving, (scrolling, driving, sleeping, texting.) (Ugh, the texting.) We were trying to combat decades of muscular imbalances underlined  by decades of daily habit, via home practice exercises that equalled a miniscule portion of the time we spend living in our bodies each and every day. Very David and Goliath. (If Goliath were winning.)

So my clients and I began to spend more and more time during our sessions unearthing and analyzing what they were doing in their day-to-day lives. (Side-note: right about here was where we changed the model to 80-minute sessions.) And we started to more purposefully incorporate practicing all of those things in better alignment (what in Pilates or dance, we might call 'neutral' or 'natural' alignment). Right around that time was when I (needed a retreat and took myself off to Esalen where I) wandered into my first workshop with Jean Couch teaching her Balance Method of alignment, as based on the principles of Noelle Perez's notable Aplomb work in Paris. I was immediately drawn to its simple, clear principles and the call for daily practice in the every-ness of our lives -- all towards incremental, lasting changes in how we align and use our bodies.

And thus I found the third leg of what I was to call (ding!) Body ReMap: to complement the essential release component that had to precede any effective attempt at strengthening, an equally non-negotiable alignment component to seal those changes in. And to begin to reverse what for most of us is decades of body posture and usage habits that tend to lead inexorably to our individual pain-and-woe patterns as we get older.

 

And for that alignment component, it is imperative to offer both alignment education (because although the principles are simple, most of us have been doing something else for years, and that feels 'right' by now), and alignment practice (because same). 

And over time and very many sessions with clients, I have found that no single fitness approach to be as effective as the 'tripod approach' encapsulated in a Body ReMap session, the singularly powerful combination of:  1) release, 2) align, (and then and only then) 3) strengthen. (And then. Practice, practice, practice.)

 

Decidedly part of the reason Body ReMap works so well is that I centered each component on the best approach I'd encountered for each of the tripod goals: for release, Hendrickson Method principles. For alignment, Balance work in the Aplomb lineage. And for strengthening, Pilates as the best method for building long, lean, flexible strength on a muscularly-balanced frame. (So, exactly the type of muscular strength and balance through the body that lends towards maintaining fluidity, alignment, and ease of movement.)

 

To get the body moving well, and to keep it that way, we need all three legs of the tripod in conjunction, in each movement session or physical undertaking we might choose. And as each supports the other, new habits build and the cycle starts to spin the other direction: we become more aligned, which makes for a 'naturally' more released body, which in turn allows the body to strengthen in day to day life in the ways it specifically needs the most. 

Because the work is so specific to each body, I teach Body ReMap mainly in an individual remote coaching model. The remote model means I can help a wide reach of people, and my clients like that it's work you can do from wherever (super handy for today's world and for simplifying too-busy lives).

 

It is also true that as we practice the BodyReMap principles, it becomes more and more of a self-regulating practice. (Read: you start to do it unconsciously.) And this is how we most effectively cycle out of pain. Or restriction. Or repeated injury. Or body crankiness. That kind of change is most effectively found in the daily living of new habits and strengths

So. Real talk. The practice of Body ReMap is not flashy. It is not quick. At best, it's going to make for some really tiresome TikTok videos.

 

But it works.

 

Like all good, lasting change, it is incremental, and mindful, and its truths keep unfolding one upon another. 

That's Body ReMap.

Photo credits on this page: Jim Iacona

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