Teacher Feature: Get to know Drea Russell

What was your path to Pilates?  What inspired you to take it up as a profession?

I had low back and hip pain for most of my life because of years of dance and working as an early childhood educator for more than 15 years. I remember taking a body condition class during a summer intensive when I was a teenager and thought that would help me again as an adult. I researched for many months and found that I would like to be a Stott Pilates Instructor.  I found Bodycenter Studios and once I started training I was hooked! I initially wanted to do mat intensive but Kristi encouraged me to do all apparatuses and I am so glad I did.

Can you explain what you do and your philosophy?
I have no philosophy! Just kidding! I like to provide pilates sessions that are tailored to meet the client's personalized needs through intentional movement with functional exercises that increase focus and preserve the mind and body as a whole.

What advice do you have for novice students?

Just be patient with themselves and the process on their Pilates or movement journey. They will surprise themselves with seeing such a difference not only physically but mentally as well. 

How would you challenge longtime students to advance their practice?

I like to modify an exercise they have been working on for a while to challenge them not only physically but mentally. For example, with the hip roll, I like to add a stability ball underneath one foot to challenge their balance, stability, and proprioception.


Who are three colleagues/practitioners in the community whose work you admire?
Kristi, Shane, and Michelle at Bodycenter Studios. Since I trained with them I have been fortunate to learn from the best trainers.

When you're not teaching, what is your personal practice? Do you have goals for your personal practice?
My personal practice is taking a private with a fellow instructor at the studio. I like to be the student because sometimes I find it hard to self practice without getting distracted and have a different eye on me when I am practicing pilates.


What do you do for fun?

Practicing the ukulele, scrabble,  walks with my family and dogs and any chance to go to the beach or some sort of body of water I am there!

Has a student ever surprised you? If so, how?

When my client who has been working on the short spine after doing Pilates for almost two years was able to do the short spine on the reformer after we were practicing the prep for a while. She was so happy with herself and I was so proud of her.

What's the greatest moment you've experienced in a class or on the mat?

The greatest moment for me is when a client with MS was able to do the front single leg press on the chair because we have been working on her balance for a few months.

In today's fast-paced world, what advice do you have for people who don't think they have time to practice?

I usually tell my clients that if they don't have time to practice pilates at least practice the breathing foundation especially when we are stuck in bad Seattle traffic.

What is something you'd like to share that people might not know about you?

I was born on the beautiful island of Guam and I love wearing sweatshirts all year long. No matter what the weather is like 🙂
You can find Drea teaching super fun Friday morning classes as well as teaching private sessions at Bodycenter Studios. Check out her bio to book a session!