THRIVE INSTRUCTORS

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Teacher, Owner

Tish Tillis

In 2007, after giving birth to her son, Tish began having chronic lower back pain. Upon seeing many doctors and specialists, Tish was informed that surgery was imminent until she met a physical therapist that started her on the Pilates Method. After a few short months she was pain free and was eager to pay it forward. 

A few years later, Tish left her career and began her journey of becoming a certified Pilates teacher, training with renowned PEAK pilates master instructor Clare Dillon Palma. After studying under Clare for many years, Tish began to explore workshop options and came across Vintage Pilates teachers, Jay Grimes, Karen Frischman and Sandy Shimoda. 

Jay, having studied under Joseph Pilates himself gave a wealth of insight on the method in which “Joe” taught to his students and apprentices as well as the other workshop presenters Karen, Sandy, Dana and Chris. Realizing such first hand information was available, Tish became increasingly curious on whom she could study more in depth with. Hearing from her mentor, Clare, that Kathi Ross Nash offers the Pilates Professional Advanced Teacher Training she new she needed to pursue this. Tish flew to NYC and met with Kathi and has been accepted into the 2021 PPATT and will start training in February of 2021. Shortly after Tish received an email that Pilates “Elder”, Lolita San Miguel was hosting a Master Mentorship program. Knowing that Lolita studied under Joseph Pilates and Carola Trier, how could she pass up this opportunity? 

In September of 2019 Tish entered the Pilates Master Mentorship program with Lolita and will complete both programs by end of 2021, adding to her current certifications and 1000's of hours of practice. 

By becoming a certified teacher of future instructors, Tish’s goal is to keep Joe’s “Method” alive and helping his dream of everyone doing pilates is becoming a reality.

Click to see Tish take Nicole Allshouse through a Baby Chair exercise on Talk of Alabama.

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Certified Pilates Instructor, Community Volunteer, Tech Consultant

Lindsey Chitwood

Lindsey is a 15+ year resident of Birmingham, moving here from Dallas after attending Wake Forest University.  After a career in banking and an MBA from Samford, she found pilates as the only way to keep her back from hurting while trying to get herself back in shape after carrying and caring for twins full time. She has always  been very active, enjoying various aerobics classes and when the weather was nice hiking and biking. After many years of incorporating pilates into her weekly routine, the opportunity to become certified and teach others how to transform their lives and bodies for the long term was a natural fit.
Lindsey has completed and passed level 1 certification of the comprehensive pilates system certification and Pilates Mat Certification through Joel Crosby at the Vitality Method Studio-- learning the original work of Joe Pilates with the Classical Pilates Education coursework. She has also completed more than 60 hours of Kathi Ross-Nash Foundation & Core Level Red Thread workshops. She has over 500 hours of teaching and training as she works towards Advanced Certification. She is also certified in L1 & L2 Pilates Suspension Method (PSM) and BarreAbove Method.

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Certified Pilates Instructor, Baker

Stephanie Garner

Stephanie developed a passion for Pilates after a debilitating back injury. She worked as a Manager and Account Coordinator in the cosmetics industry for years. This is when an onset of chronic low back pain resulted in 3 major back surgeries. Years passed, and Stephanie was still in terrible chronic pain and was desperate to find relief. She began to practice Pilates several times a week and after a few short months, the results were so profound, Stephanie knew she wanted to pass on this knowledge and practice to others.

​Stephanie's training included a 500 hour comprehensive program including the Reformer, Cadillac RTC, Mat, Springboard, EXO Chair, Ladder Barrel, Spine Corrector, TRX, Functional Standing Movement and Myofascial Release through Balance Body.

​When not practicing and teaching Pilates, Stephanie spends her time cooking fresh healthy food and gardening.

Registered Dietitian, Certified BarreAbove Method Instructor, SCW Barre Certified Instructor, Dance Trance Fitness Instructor

Ellyn Gagnon

 Ellyn began teaching fitness classes in college.  After years of aerobics and feeling like she simply could not do one more grapevine, she discovered dance fitness after encouragement from another instructor who felt it would be a good fit.   She tried barre while looking for a new challenge and found it an excellent way to balance the work of dance choreography and build strength and balance.   She graduated from Samford University with a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, did her graduate internship in Nutrition at UAB and worked as a clinical dietitian and hospital food service manager for years in Newnan, Georgia and Birmingham.  Her current job in Campus and Residence Life at Samford allows her to both interact with inspiring young people and still have time to pursue her love of fitness instruction.  Ellyn’s barre classes combine different fitness and dance methods with traditional barre movements to create an efficient workout that includes strength, balance, flexibility and cardio components.  Her husband is an avid biker and outdoor fitness enthusiast.  They have two children and enjoy long rambling walks around their Forest Park neighborhood.

Yoga Instructor, Training: Rishikesh Yogpeeth in Rishikesh, India, HR/Educator

Ally Leonard

Ally is a native of Birmingham and after attending Randolph-Macon Woman’s College she lived and worked abroad. She finally settled back in Birmingham and worked as a Spanish teacher and school administrator for many years. While pregnant with her daughter, she began practicing yoga, then took a break from it when her kids were young. As her children got older, life got busier, and having consistent low back pain, she decided it was time to start practicing again. A passion for yoga began…

Her teaching experience and passion for yoga led her to marry the two – she attended 200 hour yoga teacher training this past summer at Rishikesh Yogpeeth in Rishikesh, India. The depth of her training included asanas (poses), yoga philosophy, anatomy, meditation and pranayama breathing. She is eager to share her passion for yoga as a way to not only build strength but to connect the mind and body. On weekends and evenings, you can find her spending time with her husband and two children.

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Certified Barre Intensity Instructor, Speech Pathologist

Caitlin Stone

Caitlin is a native of Birmingham and has been teaching barre for 8 years. Her love of ballet and exercise prompted her to try a barre class and she has been hooked ever since! At age 8, she began training at The Dance Foundation, later moving on to Alabama Dance Academy and Alabama Dance Theatre in Montgomery, and finally the Alabama Ballet School where she performed in several ballets including The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella. She is Barre Intensity certified and enjoys incorporating the ballet techniques that she studied for so many years into her classes. Caitlin graduated from Vestavia Hills High School in 2003 and then from Auburn University in 2006 with her Bachelors degree in Communication Disorders and 2008 with her Masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology. She works as a Speech Pathologist at UAB in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, specializing in speech & swallowing disorders in the setting of head and neck cancer. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and chasing around her toddler, Elizabeth. She is thrilled to be joining forces with these amazing pilates instructors and bringing some barre to the mix! 

Certified Pilates Instructor, Sales

Ginny Webb

Ginny first discovered Pilates when recovering from a hamstring repair. She quickly realized it was the perfect cross training regimen to strengthen her core, tone and stretch her body as well as focus her mind. Having a great outcome from practicing Pilates, Ginny became an advocate for the benefits of Pilates and obtained her Mat Pilates Certification from Vitality Studio Method in Atlanta. She is actively working on her comprehensive certification with Joel Cosby at Vitality Studio by learning the original work of Joseph Pilates through Classical Pilates Educational Coursework. Ginny grew up in Columbus, Mississippi and has a BS Degree in Business from the University of Mississippi. After receiving her Masters Degree in Business Administration from Millsaps College she worked in advertising and pharmaceutical sales. Ginny enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. When she is not teaching, she loves hiking, walking her dog (Belle), reading and playing tennis. As an instructor, Ginny has a great appreciation for Pilates adaptability and being able to meet her clients at their current level and create a program to meet their specific personal needs.

Contact Us

6 Office Park Circle
Suite 119

Birmingham, AL 35223

United States
Mail: info@thrive-pilates.com
Tel/Text: 205-578-8722

Opening Hours

Classes and private appointments offered 7 days a week - See our schedule for time for you to THRIVE.

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