Laura Sepulveda

Laura Sepulveda

My enthusiasm for movement, and the study of movement, developed from pivotal moments such as these. These events, in addition to having such skilled mentors, significantly influenced my teaching style. I am so grateful for such meaningful experiences.

Elementary School and Tap Dance

Mrs. Vataglione, my Physical Education teacher, at P.S. 41 in the Bronx, had such a unique and innovative teaching style. That inspired me to move more creatively and to think critically about movement at an early age. I even appeared in several episodes of her educational television series, Children in Motion.” I remember them fondly, as well as the subway ride from the Bronx to the television studio in Brooklyn!

Concurrently, my mom asked me if I wanted to take tap dance classes, and I replied yes. I remember loving the shiny patent leather shoes and tying the bow. The sound of the taps on the wood floor resonated with me in a soulful way. I also recall the elation of seeing some tap dance legends such as Honi Coles, Gregory Hines, Buster Brown (whom I met at Swing 46 and had a Scotch with!) and Savion Glover. Tap was my first love in the dance genre, and still is. Clients can often see me break out a step here and there at Gotham.

Steps and New York University

Dance is the language of my life. It has been my therapy, my escape, my savior, and at times a paycheck, albeit a very small paycheck! I can still recall the exhilaration of taking three dance classes in a row at Steps on Broadway. I remember trying to learn a complicated time step and the joy when I mastered it. It is those memories, and others, that guide me to teach with passion and patience.

Dance allowed me to graduate from New York University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Dance Therapy/Dance Education. It is there that my classes in Anatomy, Kinesiology and Ideokinesis (with the late Andre Bernard) built upon my knowledge of the intricacies of the human body in relation to function and movement. I also performed with two NYU dance companies, Kaleidoscope & Washington Square Repertory. Later in life, I was able to pass on my knowledge while I was a faculty member at COSA (Coronado School of the Arts.) and hopefully inspired others as my mentors inspired me.

Swimming

Upon moving to La Jolla, in 1991, John Darauche, my late husband, asked me to join him in an integral part of his joy- swimming in the ocean. The only constraint was I did not know how to swim. After several unsuccessful attempts in a pool, we went to the cove, mask, snorkel and fins in hand. John confidently said, “See that quarter mile stick, we are going to swim there and back. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, just relax, flip on your back and kick if you get tired, we will do this together.”

And we did. For almost twenty years, it became our time together, our escape, even our therapy. Ocean swimming was to John what dance was to me, and I thank John for that. I continue to enjoy the waters of La Jolla as it envelops me with waves of memories as well as inspiration.

Career Highlights
  • Managing Director/Owner Gotham Pilates, La Jolla, CA 2005 – Present
  • Guest instructor at the Active Living Room Studio, Lorna Jean, La Jolla
  • Guest speaker at Pharmaca, La Jolla 2012-2013
  • Guest Instructor at Rancho La Puerta: Pilates Specialty Week Feb. 2008
  • Pilates Director for La Jolla’s Finest Training Center 2004-2005
  • Group Fitness Program Director at Club La Jolla, 2000-2004
  • Implemented and instructed “Funky Jazz” class at Birdrock Elementary After School Enrichment Program, 2001-2004
  • Faculty member with the Musical Theatre department at Coronado School of Arts, 2002 – 2004
  • Trainer at NYC’s Sports Training Institute Performed with NYU’s Kaleidoscope Dance Company & Washington Square Repertory
Education and Credentials
  • Bachelor of Science, Dance Therapy/Education, New York University
  • Studied Ideokinesis with Andre Bernard at NYU
  • ‘Studied acting (The Meisner Technique) in New York City’
  • Pilates certified 750 hours from The Pilates Institute of Southern California
  • 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher Training, La Jolla Yoga Center
  • Over 30,000 hours of personal training and teaching
  • Registered Representative at Smith Barney, La Jolla, CA 1999-2002
Client Base and Specialties
  • Mindful, focused and energetic exercise with an emphasis on efficient movement, flow, form and function
  • Pilates, Yoga, dance and fitness inspired methodology
  • Kinesthetic education with focus on alignment, flexibility and balance
  • Post-Rehabilitation, for most injures, with an emphasis on core strength
Preferred Training Techniques
  • Customized programs that yield a balance between mental clarity and physical performance
  • Use of Ideokinesis to release chronic holding patterns and optimize movement potential
  • Enhance posture through flowing, corrective exercises
  • Strict attention to uniform development of the body
Fitness Philosophy
  • Incorporating fitness into our lives is essential to finding balance and happiness, and thus allows us to achieve our dreams and aspirations.
Hobbies and Interests
  • Tap Dance, Desert hiking, Ocean swimming, Arts and Culture, Capital Markets, Sunday New York Times, Espresso

Diana Puig

Diana Puig
About Me

I began dance, fitness and teaching at an early age. I performed with dance troops and in competitive gymnastics. I completed a BFA at Rutgers University where I studied dance and kinesiology before becoming a fully certified Pilates Instructor. I used my Mind-Body techniques and exercise to help me overcome extraordinary health challenges and severe pain from a chronic disease (Endometriosis). I understand what it takes to overcome challenges. I love movement and helping people connect with their bodies. I have traveled to far places like Africa and the Galapagos to discover the world, to write, and dive while I learn new things. I am a solo parent and love the adventure of raising my son. I enjoy designing workout programs and helping my clients achieve their goals.

Teaching Style

I practice and teach with a Mind-Body approach to fitness, movement and life. I will help you improve your body awareness and physicality which will help you align your goals and live a more fulfilled life doing the things that you want to do and love.

What I will do

I will teach you how to integrate the principles and practice of Pilates into every aspect of life with a compassionate training approach for improvement of quality of life at any level of fitness. I will design a specific program for you with a focus on core strength, flexibility, and functional movement patterns for your lifestyle.

Client Base and Specialties
  • Increasing flexibility and balance
  • Increasing body awareness for more healthful organic movement
  • Increasing core stability and strength for fitness and injury prevention
  • Muscular re-education and postural improvement to reduce stress on the body
Education and Credentials
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts, Rutgers University
  • Pilates certified from Physical Mind Institute
  • Member of IDEA
  • CPR & AED Certified
  • BFA Rutgers University in Dance with Exercise Physiology
  • PhysicalMind Institute Full Pilates
  • Certification Korean Kung-Fu Coaching
  • Belay Certified Rock Climber
  • Padi Dive Master
Preferred Training Techniques
  • Motivating, inspiring, and coaching clients to achieve optimal fitness goals with strict attention to proper form and technique
  • Consulting with and training clients to apply Pilates in their daily lives with functional movement pattern training
  • Creating and designing individualized programs for each client
Career Highlights
  • Trained and performed with dance companies in NY area including Alvin Ailey, Solaris, Don Redlich and University Dance Works.
  • Honorary black belt in Keg Kune Do – Kung Fu
  • Member of the 1st United States Group Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastic Team
  • PADI certified scuba dive master with international experience
Fitness Philosophy
  • To help clients increase their body awareness with the use of core control and functional movement patterns to improve overall strength, reduce injuries, and ready the body for whatever life demands.
Hobbies and Interests
  • Practices and teaches martial arts: Travel, Writing, Artist/painter
  • Injury Prevention
  • Core Strength Coach
  • Converting Pilates Principles to daily life and specific sports
  • Progressive Parenting and school involvement incorporating Ashoka Empathy and Change-makerprinciples
  • Endometriosis Outreach and Patient Advocate
  • Mind-Body Approach to Life
  • Writing
  • Travel
  • Community Art Projects
  • Scuba Diving
  • Photography

Contact » send Diana an email

Wendy Kniffing

Wendy Kniffing
About Wendy

I was born in Guatemala and always wanted be a to ballet dancer. Due to being in a third world country, opportunities were limited. But that didn’t stop me to discover my enthusiasm for health and wellness.

Ultimately, an opportunity to move to the United States was given, and I’m so glad I made San Diego my new home. Another important event, becoming a mom, changed the dynamic in my life – I decided to live life purposely. Ironically, I developed a frozen shoulder due to some of the roles of being a mom, which lead me to another passion in life, Pilates. After a diagnosis of never having my full shoulder mobility, a physical therapist recommended that I try Pilates, “You won’t be able to bounce back with full shoulder mobility,” I was told. Instead, I bounced forward. With pilates, I was able to regain complete shoulder mobility in addition to having an extremely toned body! I gained confidence as well as empathy to other’s limitations and overcoming obstacles. Teaching pilates is my calling in life. So I want to share it with everyone who is open to experiencing this amazing physical fitness system for the body, mind and spirit.

Teaching Style

Strong ability to encourage clients in using the Pilates principles to align and strengthen the body and in developing ways to live an extraordinary healthy life.

What Will I Do
  • Build a community that supports and transforms unhealthy habits to healthy minds and bodies.
  • Design each class to match the skills and learning levels of all participants.
Client Base and Specialties
  • Increase body awareness
  • Develop body strength with the use of controlled movement
  • Balance mind and body strength and flexibility
  • Challenge clients with a mix of exercises from the classical repertoire and modern influences while focusing on proper form and technique
Education and Credentials
  • 2000 Bilingual teacher English-Spanish IGA -USAC
  • Instituto Guatemalteco Americano
  • Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala
  • 2012 Certified on apparatus, mat with thorough training of anatomy and injury prevention.
  • CPR certified
Preferred Training Techniques
  • Provide functional movement to clients of any age, gender and fitness conditions.
  • Create unique routines, for any individual, with a strong focus on body alignment and techniques to achieve fitness goals.
  • Commit to improve clients physical condition with persistence and consistency.
Fitness Philosophy

Stay positive to impact others in life in a a graceful and compassionate way. Find safe and fun routines to reach realistic fitness goals.

Hobbies and Interests
  • Pilates and fitness continuing education
  • Read books specially about transformations for the body, mind and spirit.
  • Volunteer to make this world a better place
  • Travel
  • Being a mom

Interested in joining the Gotham team? » Please contact Laura