Pilates With Astrid de Wild

By Ann Brode   |   February 14, 2023
Astrid de Wild brought Pilates to Santa Barbara in 1992 and still offers individual instruction

“Each person that comes to me has something to teach me, to this day that is the truth, I keep learning.”

Astrid de Wild brought Pilates instruction to Santa Barbara in 1992. Since then, she has helped thousands of people attain their fitness and healing goals. She is one of those extraordinary professionals who bring a delightful combo of charm, intelligence, compassion, and mastery to our wellness community. Everyone I know speaks highly of Astrid and her fine work. 

Pilates is a brilliant form of physical exercise designed to increase strength, resiliency, balance, and self-awareness. Also, Astrid has been a brilliant ambassador. Over the past 45 years, she has shared her unique exuberance, teaching, and training others to teach. Recently, I had tea with Astrid to talk about her experience and love for Pilates. 

Q. Tell me a little about how you became a Pilates instructor.

A. I began studying ballet at 7 but was hardly the perfect ballerina. I was this tall, skinny colt-like thing with endless legs that did not fit the ballerina stereotype. During my college years in Amsterdam, I fell in love with modern dance, eventually studying the Martha Graham technique and dancing with a small company. Then, in my late 20s, I decided to leave Europe and follow a longtime dream of living in California. In Los Angeles, I was doing a desk job when somebody told me about this little place in Beverly Hills where they did some strange exercise, involving strange equipment. I went in and a passion was born! From the very moment I was introduced to the Pilates Method, I knew that this would be my life’s work. Of course, I had no idea how and where and what. I think we only get a few of these absolute certainties in life – and when they happen, you better take them.

I know you had a studio and practice in L.A., so what brought you to Santa Barbara?

Pilates helps strengthen the core muscles, resulting in better alignment and posture

Well, Santa Barbara seemed like a better place to raise my daughter. So, I sold my house and business, and my family moved up here. People thought I was crazy. I just had no fear then. And, I had such a strong belief and trust in the intelligence of the Pilates Method, I knew I could make a life here! Once I’d built a studio in our house and started working, some of my old Beverly Hills clients found me and that was the beginning. In a matter of months, it took off and I was so, so busy.

And you’ve been busy ever since. As a wellness professional in this community, you have been a reliable coach and inspiration for so many. I wonder, what has inspired you through the years?

Each and every person I’ve worked with has been an inspiration. Seeing and listening to someone’s desire to be healthier, happier, and more comfortable is an inspiration. Helping them discover and develop their body’s inherent strength, balance, and even joy is an honor. Because the method helps people participate in the positive changes, it forges a new relationship with their body. Imagine how inspiring it is to see someone discover their potential to work around an injury, regain strength and flexibility, and feel better about themselves!

Say more about the connection between feeling better physically and feeling better emotionally. 

Doing Pilates strengthens the core muscles, resulting in better alignment and posture. This affects the way people sit, stand, and walk. Then, sitting with greater comfort, standing a bit taller, and walking with ease translates to feeling better about themselves.

It’s well-documented that posture influences the way others perceive us! Sitting, standing, and walking a bit taller sets up a positive feedback loop. 

Another feedback loop happens when I design a specific Pilates sequence to address pain, discomfort, or injury. As someone begins to feel better, stronger, and more resilient over time, they feel better about their body and ability to do things. Instead of balance and mobility holding them back, they can move forward with confidence. This is especially true for seniors.

We’re all familiar with the mind-body connection. This is a great example of the body-mind connection. I know you shifted your successful practice from a studio downtown to your home studio in Montecito. How has this changed your practice?

After 25 years of having studios in Santa Barbara, I again work out of my home, in a beautiful space, tucked away in the hills of Montecito. I work quietly, mostly one on one, a few duets. My work is stronger than ever, my joy in the work is greater than ever. It is truly full circle.

“Astrid understands the body as it ages and is so very experienced and skilled that she can accommodate each client’s unique needs and especially make modifications from day to day. She’s the best! Plus, fun and engaging.” – Margaret H. Briggs, Ph.D. 

To contact Astrid de Wild, call (805) 451-7837. In addition to individual work with Astrid, several fine studios offer individual, group, and online
classes, including: 

Be Well Pilates with Alexis at (805) 334-0216 or www.bewellpilates.com  

Grass Roots Pilates with Nicole and Jen at (805) 324-4796 or www.grassrootspilatessb.com

Simpatico with Mindy at (805) 565-7591 or www.simpaticopilates.com 

Why not make an appointment to see what Pilates can do for you?  


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