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Instructor Trainer bios

The members of our esteemed team of Instructor Trainers are accomplished and internationally sought-after educators known for their comprehensive knowledge, dedication and professionalism. Each hold full certification in the STOTT PILATES® method and have achieved additional designations to complement their training.

A diverse group, they come from varied backgrounds including physical therapy, exercise science, athletic therapy, dance, and group and personal fitness training to name a few. Every member of the team strives to uphold the highest standards of training that have been developed worldwide.

Heather Lawson
John Garey Fitness & Pilates
Long Beach, California, USA

IT qualifications
STOTT PILATES® Matwork & Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, Barrels, ISP; Total Barre®

Additional credentials and designations
ACE, BFA

Bio

Heather Lawson is an Instructor Trainer for Merrithew specializing in Total Barre® and is a Lead IT for STOTT PILATES®. A valuable member of the company's prestigious programming team, she has been teaching Pilates for over 10 years and is also an ACE Certified Instructor. Heather graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet Performance. Heather was involved in the most recent DVD production for Merrithew as a featured performer and instructor

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Helen Qiao (Yingying Qiao)
Helen’s Home Pilates
Beijing, China

IT qualifications
STOTT PILATES® Matwork and Reformer

Additional credentials and designations
Bachelor of science and engineering, ACE certified personal trainer, triple jump national second-rank athlete, The People’s Republic of China Occupational Qualification Certificate Senior Skill Level

Bio

With a strong athletic talent, Helen began competitive gymnastics training at the age of five, and then took part in radio direction finding, triple jump and other competitions. Helen discovered STOTT PILATES® by chance at a ChinaFit Conference and was intrigued by the method’s scientific approach to physical training. In 2014, she began to study STOTT PILATES. The course gave her a new understanding of biomechanics, functional training, fascial movement, and rehabilitation practices, etc.

In 2018, Helen became a STOTT PILATES Certified Instructor. In 2020, she became a STOTT PILATES Instructor Trainer.

Helen has seven years of experience teaching Pilates, and has set up her own studio in Beijing, where she’s taught more than 10,000 classes. In the face of heavy teaching tasks and different demands of customers, Helen believes in ongoing self-improvement and completes the top courses in China every year. She regularly combines her STOTT PILATES training methods and other modalities to solve her customers’ needs in a holistic way.

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Holly Furgason
Blue Sparrow Pilates
San Francisco, California, USA

IT qualifications
STOTT PILATES® Matwork & Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, CORE™, Total Barre®, Merrithew™ Fascial Movement

Additional credentials and designations
BFA, MFA, PMA

Bio

Holly was introduced to Pilates through her passion for dance, and she has always been intrigued by how the body moves. Now, she has over 16 years of experience teaching Pilates and is the founder and CEO of the only Merrithew Licensed Training Center in San Francisco, Blue Sparrow Pilates.

Offering a wealth of experience in working with diverse clientele from professional athletes to those in rehabilitation, Holly is dedicated to helping others live healthier lives and support other students in mastering skills required to become successful fitness professionals.

Holly is driven to share her knowledge and enthusiasm with other teachers. In addition to regularly publishing on her own blog, her written work has appeared in publications such as Pilates Style Magazine and she has contributed two books. She is also a regular contributor to important industry online platforms such as PilatesIntel, Pilates-Pro, PilatesPal, and Profitable Pilates. Holly designed a Pilates Prenatal App that accumulated over 85,000 downloads in the first year—she is currently working on creating its sequel.

Because of her love for continuous learning, Holly has a host of certifications and trainings under her belt. She became a Merrithew Lead Instructor Trainer in 2016 after receiving her STOTT PILATES® certification in 2001 and becoming an Instructor Trainer for Merrithew, specializing in STOTT PILATES in 2011. Additionally, she is a Lead Instructor Trainer for Merrithew Fascial Movement (2017), CORE (2013) and Total Barre® (2015). Holly holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from the University of Michigan, and a Masters of Fine Arts in Choreography and Performance from Mills College in Oakland, California.

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Holly Shaw
Pacific Northwest Pilates
Portland, Oregon, USA

IT qualifications
STOTT PILATES® Matwork & Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels; Total Barre®

Additional credentials and designations
Certified in Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED, Bachelor of Fine Arts

Bio

In 2014, Holly combined her career as a professional dancer with teaching Pilates when she became a Merrithew Instructor Trainer in STOTT PILATES®. In addition to teaching private and group classes at Pacific NW Pilates, she currently performs with the contemporary ballet company ‘push/FOLD’ in Portland, Oregon. She’s also the company’s managing director! To this day she continues to use Pilates as a form of cross training for her dance career. Holly also specializes in training athletes and dancers, and enjoys guiding older adults and clients with special needs to use effective and efficient movement in all areas of life.

Prior to her certification, Holly danced professionally with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, BodyVox, Éowyn Emerald and Dancers, and skinner|kirk DANCE ENSEMBLE—performing internationally in Japan, South Korea, Germany and India. Along with her pre-physical therapy studies, Holly graduated in 2010 from the University of Utah with a BFA in Ballet, with an emphasis in performance and teaching.

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Hsiao-Ching Karyn Kuo
Floating
Shanghai, China

IT qualifications
STOTT PILATES® Matwork and Reformer

Additional credentials and designations
NCPT (PMA-CPT), STOTT PILATES® Specialist, Post-Rehabilitation Conditioning, Fascia Fitness Trainer of Concept-Rossmann, Total Barre® Qualified Instructor, TRX®, RYT-200

Bio

Karyn stumbled upon STOTT PILATES® after suffering a serious knee injury that caused her a lot of pain. Being amazed by the therapeutic benefits the STOTT PILATES method offered, she decided to learn more and subsequently became a STOTT PILATES Certified Instructor in 2015 and is now a Merrithew Instructor Trainer.

After making the decision to leave her corporate career to further pursue a career in Pilates, she focused her attention towards post-rehabilitation. In 2017 she earned her specialist designation in STOTT PILATES Post-Rehabilitation Conditioning and a year later she became a Fully Certified STOTT PILATES Instructor. Karyn has also studied Release Technique and CranioSacral Therapy and hopes to help clients find their inner balance to facilitate better movement and enjoy a pain-free life.