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 first getting me thinking about natural alignment 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
+ Myofascial Release + Alignment + Pilates
Photo credits on this page: Jim Iacona
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. Ultimately, I called 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 effectively 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 knee pain thingy there, still a bit of that same old low back pain. The OrthoPilates approach was better, but it still wasn't doing everything we needed it to do in terms of bringing reliable ease and joy into daily movement (and thus, well, life).
It became clear that I couldn't just send my clients away improved and expect to reach our real goal: lasting change. (Even with the homework!) Because after all: how much time do we spend in our day-to-day life performing specific exercises for reversing our particular muscular imbalances (ie., the homework), versus our time spent doing everything else we do all day long, exactly the way we long have done it? (Which, by the way, is one most likely culprit for the development of our muscular imbalances and spinal misalignments 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.) In other words, in the cold hard light of day, we were actually trying to combat decades of muscular imbalances, as underlined by decades of daily habit, via home exercise practices 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 a workshop on natural alignment taught by Jean Couch and Jenn Sherer as based Noëlle Perez's notable Aplomb work in Paris. I was immediately drawn to its simple, clear principles for understanding and re-establishing healthy foundational alignment, and quickly signed up for further Aplomb-based classes and teacher trainings.
And thus I found the third element of what I was to call 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 amounts to decades of poor body posture and usage habits that tend to lead us each inexorably to our individual set of pain-and-woe complaints.
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).
Over time and very many sessions with clients, I have found that no single fitness approach to be as effective as the 'trio 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 the improved natural alignment.)
One other reason Body ReMAP works so well is that each component is centered on the best approach I've found for each of its trio of elements. For myofascial release, the Hendrickson Method of orthopedic manual therapy, which employs structural laws of the body and movement to scientifically, gently and effectively unwind predictable patterns of muscle torsion in the body. For alignment, Balance work in the Aplomb lineage, to relearn and practice our once-innate command of natural alignment of the human body against gravity. And for strengthening, Pilates as a singularly effective method to build long, lean, flexible strength on a muscularly-balanced frame that can then move easily through space, and through life.
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 activity we undertake. 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 coaching model, remotely or live. The remote model means I can help a much wider reach of people around the globe (thanks, pandemic!), as well as often providing a better scheduling fit for clients' lives in this frequently complicated and too-busy world.
You will find that as one practices the BodyReMAP principles of release, alignment and strengthening, 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.