Romana Kryzanowska – The Woman Who Learned from Joseph Pilates

Romana Kryzanowska – The Woman Who Learned from Joseph Pilates

The Woman Who Learned from Joseph Pilates Himself

FLEX Singapore is set to become THE home of 3rd Generation Classical Pilates in South East Asia.

And it all started with a woman named Romana Kryzanowska, once a young ballet dancer who was introduced to Joseph Pilates as a teenager.

In 1941, aged 18, Romana’s ankle was playing up. Her dance mentor, George Balanchine, recommended she try to avoid surgery and instead, visit Joe and his wife, Clara’s, studio on 8th Street in New York. 

The Pilates exercises Joe gave her worked, and soon Romana was a member of staff in the Pilates studio, eventually taking it over in 1967 after Joe passed away.

Today, Romana is world renowned as the true protégé of Joe and the founder of Romana Pilates International (RPI) ( a global Classical Pilates instructor network and instructor training program that works as a community provide the most experienced, committed trainers available. RPI has a global network of locations in more than 40 countries and 30 US states. There are instructor training centers in over 15 countries and 15 US states.

As RPI says: When you work with a Romana’s Pilates instructor, you can be confident you’re getting quality and experience, not an instructor who achieved certification over the weekend or using a fast track approach. Romana’s Pilates instructors will teach you much more than just the mat; they will teach you using all the key pieces of Pilates equipment.

Since 2013, when Romana passed away, Romana’s daughter and granddaughter have kept the dream alive and continued to run RPI the way Romana started it. And soon, Flex Hong Kong and Singapore will offer its clients the chance to learn from one of the RPI’s expertly trained instructor’s, Karen Winselmann.

Karen is now the lead trainer and studio owner of Pure Pilates in the US. Her repertoire includes a certification from both the Pilates Studio of New York Certification Program and the title of Instructor Trainer from Romana’s Pilates Instructor Training Program (RPITP).


The fact that Karen is an alumni of RPI is a feat in itself. RPI is not your average training concept. Instructor trainers are handpicked, guided and directly mentored by Level I Instructors’ Sari Mejia Santo (Romana’s daughter) Juanita Lopez and Cynthia Lochard.

These individuals are selected to participate solely by Sari’s, Juanita’s and Cynthia’s long-term observations of their experience, dedication and prowess as Pilates instructors.

“These efforts were undertaken in order to offer you the highest quality instructors in the industry and to prepare instructors for a lifetime of learning or teaching Pilates the way Pilates’ intended,” RPI says on its website.

Additionally, RPI uses a proprietary instructor leveling system to identify instructors with the appropriate level of skill and commitment to work as a member of our network.

Romana’s Pilates instructors teach the exercises and philosophies of Joseph and Clara Pilates as handed down to Romana, and later to Sari. 

The reality is that nobody knew Joseph Pilates’ work better than Romana. She also believed that Pilates was not just exercise, but a way of life. One of her most reported quotes goes to the heart of this belief: You apply Pilates in everyday life, like how you sit, how you walk. You’ve heard a lot of people complain about back problems; it is because these people walk incorrectly with the last vertebra of their tailbone. They stick it out instead of pulling it in and down.

Flex is extremely excited, therefore, to announce Karen’s arrival in Singapore at our beautiful studio. On May 3, join us for two morning sessions – Mat and Classical Reformer Transitions. These will be highly sought after, so get in now. Karen will also be conducting workshops and classes in Hong Kong between 8 to 11 May.

Like Romana, Karen is a real inspiration. Prior to her journey as a Pilates instructor, she taught ballet and agility training to the Florida A&M University football team. She then worked in Human Resources and has an MBA from Nova Southeastern University in International Business.

But after some time in the corporate world, Karen found her true calling in building her own studio to teach the art of movement, and – after completing her training – her studio, Pure Pilates was born to facilitate that love.

“Flex is now THE home of 3rd Generation Certification Classical Pilates,” says Flex Singapore founder Heather Thomas. “We are dedicated to Classical Pilates and the original teachings of Joe and Clara Pilates. It’s a huge honour for us to host Karen and to offer our special clients the chance to advance and enhance their practice.”

Master Workshops & Classes with Karen Winselmann


Master Class for Instructors – Classical Pilates Mat Flow – 2 May Master Classical Reformer Transitions – 3 May Master Classical Mat Flow Transitions – 3 May Master Workshops for Instructors – 3 to 5 May (Weekend 1) Master Workshops for Instructors – 17 to 19 May (Weekend 2)

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Master Workshops for Instructors 9 to 11 May – One Island South

Realignment East – Master Workshop Exclusive for Flex Instructors 12 May – One Island South

Master Classes Wunda Chair 8 May – One Island South 9 & 10 May – Central

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