In Conversation with Pilates Instructor Karena Thek

We met with the Pilates instructor Karena Thek to talk about her passion for Pilates, sportswear and how Pilates has helped her scoliosis. 

Karena is the founder of the Scolio-Pilates method. Her method has been developed to help people with scoliosis. As June is the National Scoliosis Awareness Month, who is better to interview this month, than Karena?  

Karena lives in Virginia and so we took the opportunity to first of all ask her about this beautiful place. Meet Karena! 

The best with living in Virginia must be discovering the waterways. I felt so at home near the ocean in California that finding my “outdoor home” in Virginia has been the best way for me to feel at home here. I have taken up whitewater stand up paddle boarding and just rode my first class 1 rapids without falling in. Woohooo!!

As a result of this new passion, we’ve officially begun a “Stand-Up for Scoliosis” campaign to help raise funds to support doctors who volunteer their time in the Dominican Republic performing life-saving scoliosis surgeries.

My very first Pilates experience was at University of Utah. I was studying dance and was told I needed Pilates in order to control my flailing “baby giraffe” limbs.

It did the job and got my first professional job dancing just months later.

The Pilates equipment I cannot live without today is the reformer. I love the reformer.

My true motivation to keep up with my workout routine is that motivation is function. I love feeling good in my clothes, who doesn’t? But really it’s about being able to get out and walk my dog, plant a huge new garden, play a pick-up game of volleyball on the beach at a moment’s notice or to get out on my paddle board.

The best thing with Pilates is that it gives me the confidence to take on new activities or new challenges. I wouldn’t be taking on whitewater stand-up paddle boarding at the age of 52 without Pilates.

There is no question that these exercises keep my body at its highest functioning capacity.

Karena Thek wearing Pebbles Sportswear

When I learned Pilates at the University of Utah, the reformer was essentially in a storage closet. There were three of them lined up with barely room to walk between them. There were five exercises written on a poster and I did those five exercises for about four years. I had no idea there were any more. Haha! So Foot work, Feet in Straps, Arm arcs, Hip Circles and Reverse knee stretches become my favorite Pilates moves. 

My absolute favorite Pilates sportswear is Pilates wear that I don’t have to worry about. I really do love the Pebbles Pilates wear. I feel long and lean and because I spend so much time on Zoom and filming short videos, it looks great on camera.

Other than a Pebbles piece, I am right now dreaming of going back to my friend Lucy’s studio in Jakarta, re:formation studio, and hanging out with her and Dati and Feni. I also dream of going up to Bandung (also on Java) to see our practitioners at FirmPoint Studios and Synergy Studio. I love Indonesia. Aku Cinta Indonesia! As you can probably tell.

If you have scoliosis and want to get in contact with me to try Scolio-Pilates, my team is happy to help. We are very specific to working with those with scoliosis. You can find all our information at

Details, detail, and more detail is our focus in our work. We love the assessment and the sleuthing to find how we can make your perfect body work even more perfectly for you.

After a session I can really recommend to stop. At least for myself It slows me down and I just kind of stop. It’s like I’m in a daze. Or a semi-coherent meditation. It’s good. And I just let it be instead of forcing myself into the next task.

You asked if I listen to any music when I practice Pilates and you know, I grew up in a very quiet household. My dad worked in a factory and couldn’t stand any more noise at the end of the day. Even dishes clanging in the dishwasher was too much. So, I do love music and I’ll listen to whatever any one puts on from opera to avant-gard to country music to jazz (I love jazz); but it almost never occurs to me to actually turn the music on. I’ll have to put a sign up to remember. Thanks for reminding me!

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