Karen Ellis

karen-bioRaised in upstate NY and now a Southern California local, Karen Ellis is the owner and director of Prana Pilates in Costa Mesa. She began her journey of movement in ballet, earned a BS from Indiana University and received an MFA from the University of California Irvine. After a professional ballet career in Boston concluded with injuries, a passion for healing the body and new career in Pilates was born.

Karen’s first Pilates training course was BASI and later Power Pilates’ Bridge Certification, which set her on a continuous course of exploring other beautiful lineages; and the insightful people who bring this work to life. Karen has had the opportunity to study with a number of Pilates teachers including: Benjamin Degenhardt, Bob Liekens, Jay Grimes, Shari Berkowitz, Samantha Walley, Amy Taylor Alpers, Cara Reeser, Michael Fritzke, Ton Vooght, Martha Mason, Kathi Ross Nash and Brooke Siler. There are SO many gifted teachers with great information and inspiration to share, the journey is exciting!

Karen delights in the powerful transformations that occur during sessions and workshops, hence the evolution of Prana Pilates has been a community where clients and teachers alike come to continue their life long journey of developing a deeper understanding of their own potential.

In 2013 Karen created Pilates Nerd®, a line of clothing and accessories sold internationally and by Balanced Body, Inc.  The Pilates Nerd brand aptly depicts the love and enthusiasm she has for Pilates.  One of her greatest joys is connecting people through the awareness and benefits Pilates has to offer.

Karen has been on faculty at the Chautuaqua Institute in New York (dance), Phillips Academy Andover, MA and Bucknell University PA to name a few. She is currently on faculty at Orange Coast College.

“I did then what I knew how to do, now that I know better I do better”
~ Maya Angeleu
I have been teaching Pilates for 17 years. I have discovered: for me, Classical Pilates is insanely profound. It works you to your depths. It draws out your potential, it makes you think. It makes you work. Just when you think you know what you’re doing, someone comes along and inspires you to know more, apply new knowledge. It’s the cycle of life; plant a seed, grow, shed, begin anew… always! And if you teach from your heart and you love what you do, like minded people find you. I am so humbled and proud to have amazing instructors around me that inspire each other, support one another and find strength in their differences.

“To know the road ahead, ask those coming back”
~ Chinese proverb

I’m curious and I have a thirst for knowledge. I look for inspiration in those who have walked the walk in this industry. I have taken private or semi private Pilates lessons from literally dozens and dozens of different individuals. I explore the body and learn each day. You’ll see me doing yoga, indoor cycling, MELT and most definitely Pilates – it informs everything I do!  I find many adjacent fields complement the exploration of this incredible form we call the body.  I have done a weeklong dissection class with the brilliant Gil Hedly, MELT workshops with Sue Hitzman and a few workshops in Anatomy Trains with Tom Meyers.  I continually open my mind and heart to the real possibility of feeling whole & healthy in our bodies.

“Before enlightenment, chop wood carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood carry water.”~ Chinese proverb
People sometimes ask me why I keep a boutique studio going when there are so many other exercise options for people.  I truly believe Pilates done well, can completely change your life. Pilates can give your body better function and by its inherent nature, has the potential to heal the body.  I have seen it in my clients.  I have felt it my own body. It is my privilege to pass it on…

RAINMAKER- One who is known for achieving excellent results in a profession or field.  ~ Wikapedia
A person whose influence can initiate progress or ensure success.  ~ Miriam Webster
One of the highest complements people have ever given to me, is that I’m a Rainmaker. If I can make things happen, make you want to be better, become more educated, more connected, more empowered, stronger, more flexible…

If I can inspire you period, then I am living my truth.