Jillian Hessel — Pilates Master
Profile of a "Teacher's Teacher"
Originally from Tarrytown, N.Y., Jillian Hessel is an internationally renowned Master Pilates teacher based in Los Angeles, California, and a second-generation Pilates teacher in direct succession from Joseph Pilates. Jillian first discovered the benefits of Pilates when her professional dancing career was sidelined by a back injury in 1981. She began to study with Kathy Grant, a New York-based movement coach specializing in the technique of corrective exercise and body conditioning developed by Joseph Pilates.
Jillian recognized at once that the goals of this therapeutic conditioning system are full body control, an extremely high degree of abdominal strength, greater range of motion, and most significantly, the combined power of the body and mind.
Within a few months, Jillian was apprenticing at the Carola Trier Studio, where she studied to teach Pilates' method of exercises. "I began to develop my own teaching style," she says." It was a synthesis of my knowledge from years of dance training, yoga classes, and my work with Kathy and Carola."
In 1986, Jillian moved to Los Angeles, where she continued teaching the work of Pilates at the Ron Fletcher Studio. Two years later, she founded her own training practice, and since then she has tutored countless students in the finer nuances of Pilates exercise. Throughout this time she has developed and constantly honed her own unique approach to teaching Pilates, which she calls the B.E.A.M. Technique™.
Into the Limelight
Jillian's B.E.A.M. Technique quickly gained popularity, and she began to attract the notice of numerous high-profile students eager to learn from her. Past celebrity clients have included Cher, Holly Hunter, Emma Thompson, Heather Graham, Lena Olin, Paul Reiser, Melinda Clarke, Rhea Perlman, Carole Kane, Amy Pietz, David E. Kelley, Jami Gertz, and film director Randa Haines. She also works regularly with both student and professional athletes and dancers, helping them to alleviate muscle imbalances, prevent injuries, and improve overall performance.
As the popularity of Pilates has exploded in recent years, Jillian has earned a reputation in the Pilates world as the "teacher's teacher," and she is a much sought-after presenter at fitness conventions across the country and around the world. She has been quoted in and written articles about Pilates for many publications, including Pilates Style, Oprah Magazine, Allure, Glamour, Shape, Fitness, Prevention, ePregnancy, Cooking Light, and Yoga Journal, among others, and has made television appearances on Lifetime and HGTV.
Gaiam International has produced many exercise videos starring Jillian, including the 2002 Telly Award-winning A.M. Pilates Mat Workout (later sold on DVD under the title Pilates Powerhouse Workout). Motivated by the desire to reach a wider audience, and always on the cutting edge of new ideas, Jillian conceived her first book, Pilates Basics — and the accompanying DVD, Pilates for Beginners — specifically for home viewers unable to travel to a studio for instruction. The exercises in the book and DVD clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of her B.E.A.M. Fundamentals in action.
And you can now join in the fun at PilatesAnytime.com for her series of online Dance-ilates classes.
Carrying on the Tradition
Jillian traces her Pilates "lineage" back to Joseph Pilates himself through her teachers Kathy Grant, Carola Trier, and Ron Fletcher, who learned directly from Pilates at his original studio in New York City. Through this rarified pedigree, Jillian is regarded as a second-generation Pilates teacher in direct succession from Joseph Pilates himself.
She has trained and certified many Pilates teachers over the years, and as a faculty member taught Pilates to dance students at the California Institute for the Arts from 1993 to 2005. She is a regular presenter at the annual Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) and Inner Idea conferences, as well as at many private studios throughout the country and internationally.
Jillian holds a Certificate from U.C.L.A. Extension as a Health/Fitness Instructor, and also is certified through American College of Sports Medicine (A.C.S.M.). In addition, she is a certified Personal Trainer through American Council on Exercise (A.C.E.). She is on the Advisory Board for Pilates Stye magazine, and helped the Pilates Method Alliance to develop an International Exam for Pilates Teachers that will help ensure safety, competence, ethics, respect, and professionalism in the industry.