The initial seeds of an idea were planted on a sunny afternoon during a caffeine-fueled discussion about how prohibitively expensive Pilates can be. We asked ourselves if there was a more affordable way to bring this training to a larger audience.
Could we do it without diluting the integrity of the work? Would we be able to dispel the myth that Pilates is only for skinny women and graceful dancers? How could we make this corner of the fitness industry a place where elitism and gatekeeping don’t exist? Could we encourage people of all genders, backgrounds, and sizes to try integrating Pilates into their lives?
The answers to those questions converged upon a single solution, and that solution is what we now call The Pilates School.
This program is our way of sharing the transformative experience of authentic Classical Pilates with a larger audience in a clear, organized way. Our mission is to give you the tools you need to keep your body strong, safe, and balanced no matter where life takes you. Classical Pilates is a journey of self-discovery, and we want to guide you along yours.
Classical Pilates is for everyBODY.
Here’s to the journey!
-Ray & Rae
Very, very serious Pilates instructors being very, very serious!
Meet the Boss Ladies in Charge
Rayannah “Ray” Salahuddin (she/her)
Co-founder, Trainer, CEO, Curriculum Development
Ray has worked in the fitness, health, and intercollegiate sports industries for over 26 years. Aside from her Classical Pilates certification, she holds advanced degrees in Kinesiology, as well as numerous certifications in pretty much everything but Yoga. Although you will never catch her calling herself “Dr. Salahuddin”, you will often find her dorking-out over the latest exercise science research with everyone in her class. And speaking of dorking out, a little known fact about Ray is that she’s a *huge* Star Trek fan. She even named her daughter Deanna after one of the main characters in the Next Generation series. But when she’s not rewriting Star Trek trivia questions, Ray is in the studio, always pushing you to be your very best. She wants to make sure you get every bit of squeeze, stretch, and lift out of each class or session. So yeah, be ready for that! She may not be coaching volleyball anymore, but we still call her “Coach Ray” for a very good reason.
- Special Populations: Pregnancy, recovering from injury, seniors, pain management
- Weight Management- based Pilates training
- Pilates for Athletes/ Advanced Pilates Training
- Transitioning to a high Pilates system (Basic to Intermediate)
Ray's Training Approach
I believe that hard work and dedication to your training pays off. My greatest strength as a trainer is I have a no-nonsense approach and thrive with clients that are ready to change their life and fitness.
I tend to train the clients on the “ends of the bell curve”, like someone coming back from major injury or inactive lifestyle, or a high intermediate to advanced client looking to fine tune their training.
Rachael “Rae” Gray (she/her)
Co-founder, Trainer, Marketing Director, Brand Development
Rae is a queer, burlesque-performing, Pilates glamazon whose hairstyle is known to change a little too often (it’s changed at least 5x since this photo was taken and is currently blue or magenta or…). Her life revolved around shoe design and costuming before one fateful day when she suddenly collapsed, having dislocated her hips, SI, sacrum, tailbone, and lumbar spine all at once. That was when she learned she was hypermobile, just shy of an Ehlers Danlos diagnosis. After years of living with pain so severe she could barely walk, she found that Pilates was the key to healing her body and getting her life back. Rachael earned her Classical Pilates teacher certification with the goal of helping others who suffer from life-altering pain, especially those in her LGBTQIA+ community, and other under-served communities that don’t have access to Pilates. As someone whose weight fluctuates a lot, she is obsessed with spreading body acceptance in the fitness world. She may specialize in the careful training chronic pain and hypermobility require, but don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll get off easy- Rae knows exactly how and when to push you to the next level. One session is all it takes to see why her clients gave her the nickname “The Pilates Domme”.
- Pilates for Hypermobility and EDS
- Pilates for Chronic Pain and Pain Management
- Pilates for Beginners
- Corrective Movement Training
- Bad puns and dad jokes
Rae's Training Approach
I love working with clients dealing with complex body stuff. My life experience of living with hypermobility and pain management greatly informs my approach to teaching. Sometimes you just need to meet the body where it is that day, you know? Few things gives me as much joy as seeing a client that was in constant pain get to a place where they feel strong and body confident.
I tend to lean towards clients that are beginners, and go up to high intermediate. I revel in the nitty-gritty of the basic and intermediate systems, and never feel the need to rush through to the end. You won’t get bored, I promise. There is always something new to find in each movement. It is important that my clients to master the exercises at one level before we progress.
Meet the Apprentices!
Aimee Espiritu (she/they)
Aimee had her first Pilates duet with her wife in 2014 after developing plantar fasciitis from years of being on her feet as an Arts Educator. Despite her long athletic history, the sedentary nature of the pandemic brought back her symptoms, and she viewed it as a wake up call to return to Pilates with more consistency. She decided to align her practice with teachers who shared and reflected her values of diversity, access, and body inclusion. Aimee firmly believes that every person who wants to try Classical Pilates should have the access to do so because we are all capable of tapping into our core strength – inside and out. Aimee is proud to call The Pilates School SF her home studio and fitness community since August 2021, and is part of the inaugural cohort of Pilates Interns.
TJ (Tijana) Kaitovic (she/they)
Tj’s wellness and health journey started in high school because of chronic back and neck pain. Over the course of 20 years she tried various ways to address the pain and found the world of Pilates and yoga. She has been practicing Pilates for the past 18 months, and practicing yoga for over 10 years. Her goal is to help others on their journeys towards a healthier lifestyle. When not in the studio TJ loves to bake and cook, spend time with her partner and their cats Mochi and Sushi, volunteer, and explore the outdoors.
What They Say About Us Behind Our Backs…
I absolutely love working with the folks at The Pilates School. They’ve created an environment and ethos where POC, LGBTQ+, and all body types feel included. It truly feels like an inclusive space where I belong! Also, I love that it is an actual school. I get so much individual attention that I now know how to effectively work out on my own. Most places just tell you what to do, but the instructors here empower you to take ownership of your training and I love it. I can’t recommend this place enough!
I was one of the first students to join the Pilates School SF and cannot emphasize enough on the positive impact the school and its instructors have had on me. Rae and Ray have helped me transform from being a person in chronic pain with anxiety, to an almost pain-free person with a strong body and mind. I have a newfound respect, understanding, and appreciation for how the body functions to support you as a whole person.
I’m a working mom, so I don’t have time to waste! Ray and Rachael pack so much into their classes that it’s the most efficient exercise I can think of. They also know anatomy like no one, so no matter how challenging, classes are always safe. I have a history of lower back issues, but since I started going to the Pilates School SF, I’ve become much stronger, and the flare ups don’t happen anymore. And you’d think that after a few years at the same studio I might get bored, but I never have because no class is ever the same, plus the teachers’ energy is inspiring. They are also some of the funniest women in the business!
Ready To Book with One of Us?
Start with a new client consultation package. But if you have any questions before you do, feel free to contact us. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.