Client Testimonials

Karen I can not put in to 5 sentences how you changed my life.
Ellen Shire, NFL Films

In 1994, I came to Karen Carlson in desperation, plagued by frequent and severely disabling back spasms. Over the next few years, Karen taught me an entirely new way of using my body; my back problems are now long gone. Karen combines her profound knowledge of the workings of the human body and an almost uncanny ability to communicate it with unstinting dedication to the well-being of her students. So here I am, 17 years later at the age of 68, still seeing Karen regularly, not because I hurt, but because I would be a fool not to take advantage of the opportunity life has presented me to work with such a great master.
Dan Coren, Queen Village, Philadelphia

With her extraordinary expertise, patience and good humor, Karen Carlson has, for the past decade, led me step by step in the direction of a more functional, fluid, and graceful body. Gone are the back aches that plagued me for years—it is so much fun to be getting older and better. These days, I’m tickled when occasionally I am asked if I had been a dancer, which is not the case. Karen Carlson is a masterful teacher and I could myself one lucky gal to be studying with her. 
Judith Stein, Ph.D. Writer and Curator

Karen is a highly gifted Pilates teacher!  After a few steps into her studio she knows exactly what I need that lesson. She is extremely knowledgeable about the body as well as the technique and creative in her approach. Karen is a very special woman and I feel honored to have her as my teacher.
Jill Bonovitz, Artist

Karen’s knowledge of the body and how it moves is incredible.  She has helped me overcome chronic injuries, improve posture and get stronger.  Each of her Pilates sessions is unique, creative and challenging. 
Gayle Lacks, Psychotherapist

I began working with Karen after suffering the effects of scoliosis and a depressed sternum throughout my life. Through careful evaluation and drawing on her vast knowledge of how the body works, Karen was able to design exercises specific to my needs. She afforded me movement, strength, and flexibility that I never thought was possible.

Karen uses much more than the Pilates technique in helping her students achieve their goals. She has a masterful knowledge of how the body works, and is able to draw on that expertise in creating a program specific to each person’s physiology; she is able to verbally communicate what one must feel internally, a rare talent.

Karen is able to puzzle out a solution to any problem presented to her. She is never confounded; she is excited to face any challenge presented to her, and does so with intelligence, support, and care. Her clients are always extremely impressed by capabilities.

Ronnie Klein, Ice skater, gardener, mom

I came to Karen Carlson at the end of a 25 year professional dance career, hoping to extend my dance career for a few more years, both teaching and performing. I was particularly concerned about fluidity in the torso. Karen helped me gain insight into how I was restricting my own upper body movement. In the last few years she restructured my body with the result that I am moving better than ever before. The information she imparts is backed up by an ocean of supporting knowledge of many disciplines. Her passion lies in seeing her clients succeed.

Habiba, Middle Eastern Dance

I consider myself fortunate that Karen has been my Pilates instructor for the past twenty years. I sought her out when I needed help for an unusable left hand and arm and neck and spine problems after a highway traffic accident that the orthopedists and physical therapists couldn’t solve. Her unique knowledge set combined with being a pioneer in Pilates training (her teacher studied with Joseph Pilates) make her fluent in anatomy, biomechanics, and kinesiology including her use of “Butler techniques” for gentle un-entrapping of nerves, reducing pain and maintaining or increasing function.

Having been a modern dance performer earlier in her life, Karen understands the ways that dancers and musicians and artistic or emotional people in general need to use their bodies for expression and the subtleties and nuance involved when the body movement is involved in self-expression. This applies not only to dancers but to artists, musicians and other creative people as well. Consequently, with her background, movement intuition and Pilates training, she is able to take an approach to rehabilitation of injuries that addresses this very vibrant and expressive function of the body while addressing the reduction of pain, and increasing function.

When I met Karen I had little control over the fingers of my left hand, they hardly moved voluntarily and had tremors all the time, and thanks to my work with Karen, my hand is almost completely back to normal for most purposes. I remember how patiently she worked with me, explained all the exercises and stretches, and how watershed a moment it was when I was able to touch each fingertip to my thumb.

For anyone who wants to restore or maintain function and reduce pain to the highest degree possible, I cannot recommend Karen Carlson more highly. For anyone wanting to learn how to help people, especially artistic, musical and creative people to regain expressive and artistic body movement or expression playing of their instruments after an injury, or to maintain expressive bodily movement as we age, Karen is an encyclopedia of methods for helping you help others.
Son Silvers, Musician

I have been a client of Karen Carlson for 12 years. I started seeing Karen due to a sciatic nerve injury. Pilates focuses on improving flexibility, strength, and body awareness. Pilates develops core muscles and spinal alignment. With Karen’s help and using the Pilates Techniques, I no longer suffer constantly with my sciatic problem. She has a complete understanding of the musculature of the body which enables her to fully help her clients.

I have had “one on one” Pilates lessons with Karen Carlson for over ten years and as a result my body is strong and erect and my balance is excellent. I’m 72 years old. Karen has seen me through a smashed broken ankle and a total hip replacement. She has an excellent knowledge of the human body, more proficient than many orthopedic surgeons, chiropractors, or physical therapists with whom I’ve come in contact. When I’m engaged in my “one on one” lesson, Karen keenly watches how I perform the exercises and whether the proper muscles are engaged to result in the maximum benefit possible.

Karen Carlson is the finest Pilates teacher and person I am privileged to know.

Adele Aron Greenspun, Author and Photographer

Knowledge, intelligence, and relaxed but firm discipline are included in each session with Karen Carlson. For the client, this results in flexibility, strength and a more capable body. I have worked with Karen for an extended period of time and am still impressed during every session with the depth of brilliance she brings to her instruction. Just as impressive is the instinctive and varying manner with which she cares for each client.

Sherrill Joyner, Curator

Karen Carlson has an exceptional understanding of how the human body works. I have been a client of hers for well over 10 years and she has helped me get stronger, stay stronger and become more intelligent and confident about my body mechanics. Additionally, she has guided me through recovery from injuries much sooner than might otherwise have occurred. She is a highly effective teacher. I would recommend her to anyone.

William H. Shoff, MD, Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Had I not had the good fortune to meet Karen Carlson 15 years ago, when I was in my late 50’s, I know without question, that I would not feel as well or have as functional a body as I have today. When I began Pilates training with Karen, my neck and shoulders hurt much of the time; today, I rarely have that problem and it’s because my body has learned to relax, to come into alignment and to get those shoulders down! Each visit continues to feel like a time of learning, both intellectually and physically. Karen Carlson is a fabulous diagnostician and teacher.
Liz Werthan, Women’s Advocate, Social Worker

I have been a client of Karen Carlson’s on a weekly basis for the last ten years. During these wonderful sessions, I have come to realize that Karen is in a class by herself. She has an inherent and deep understanding of how the human body works. She is the Leonardo da Vinci of Pilates—She is a master. Karen is very professional, courteous and really, really loves her work. For years I suffered from degenerative disc disease and all that goes with it–pain, surgeries and the discouragement of going through the gamut of professionals to find a different direction, a new procedure, a new someone to help me live with this disease and restore my health. Thanks to God, I ended up with Karen. At 66 I am playing golf, traveling, getting my teaching certificate to be a Pilates teacher and enjoying my life. Karen, thank you so much.
Linda Massey, Artist

It is hard for me to recognize myself as the same person who now takes two to three dance classes a week and the person I was when I walked into Karen’s studio over ten years ago.

I came to Karen as a last resort after many years of chronic back pain from a curved spine and a herniated spinal disk. There were times when I could barely shuffle down the street due to the pain and restricted movement.

I thought Pilates could help me develop my body’s resources to prevent the recurring back problems, and to shorten their duration, if they did occur. Karen developed a program which progressively increased my physical strength and flexibility. The back pain attacks were occurring less frequently.

As I developed more confidence in my expanded physical abilities, I added the goal of enrolling in a ballet class. After working with Karen for four years, I felt ready to try a ballet class. Since that day seven years ago, I have added more dance classes, and best of all, my back pain is history.
Anna O’Connell, Scientist

I have been Karen’s client and student for more than twenty years. The breadth and depth of her knowledge about movement and body mechanics is impressive and her inquisitiveness insures that she is always learning. She is an effective communicator, patient, empathetic, and creative. Together we have helped my body resolve many injuries. She is a consummate professional both as a teacher and as an instructor. I am thankful that our paths have intersected.

Linda S. Koenigsberg, Lawyer

Karen is a unique force in the body work field. She’s an incredible healer, a passionate teacher and trainer, and a tireless student of the body, always expanding the frontiers of what is known.

I came to Karen for help with severe chronic back pain. Under her care and direction, the pain was eliminated and I learned to move and use my body in better ways. I’ve now been pain-free for over ten years.

Our long-term friendship developed around our mutual interests. I’m a neuroscientist – someone who studies how the brain works and teaches medical students. During the sessions with Karen, I peppered her with questions about her methods, trying to fit her insights into my knowledge of the brain. She, in turn, asked me about the nervous system, trying to broaden and deepen her own understanding of body work methods.

Karen has a probing, inquisitive mind that drives her to understand the workings of the body at a scientific level. She has profound and holistic understanding of the workings of the body. Over the years, I’ve watched Karen develop her training program. Selflessly, she’s worked to find the best ways to pass on her knowledge to others. The body work world is a richer place thanks to Karen’s passion for healing and teaching.

Martha C Nowycky, PhD
Professor, UMDNJ –New Jersey Medical School

In many ways, Karen has been my bodies’ best friend for over 10 years. Her understanding of kinetics and anatomical function never ceases to amaze me. With this knowledge she has guided me through periods of peak performance, as well as severe injuries and the aging process. It’s hard to imagine what my physical health would be like without her vast expertise.

Claudine Katin, Artist

Karen Carlson is by far one of the outstanding teachers of Pilates in the U.S. Her understanding and knowledge of the body is way beyond that of the traditional Pilates teacher. Karen’s work as a performer and dance teacher gave her additional knowledge of the moving body. As a dancer and teacher myself, I have valued and continue to benefit from Karen’s many skills.

Dina Shachar-Labes, Performer, Teacher, Counselor

Karen Carlson trained with some of the seminal Pilates masters years before most people knew the discipline existed. Her keen understanding of human anatomy and her extensive background in movement provide a powerful basis for her training technique. The chronic back pain I had when I began working with Karen years ago has long since dissipated and what I have gained in terms of posture and balance is profound.

Wendy Born, Business Owner, Mentor

In the world of body work, so much depends on the practitioner: her knowledge, her skill, her intuition, her ability to impart what she knows, and, above all, the quality of her attention. By all these measures, Karen Carlson is as good as it gets. She probably has more refined knowledge of the body’s skeletal and muscular structure than most doctors, can locate the source of dysfunction, devise exercises to alleviate the strain and retrain the neurological pathways, and explain in images as well as technical terms exactly what she has devised, and why. She does nothing by rote, as each person’s situation is uniquely individual, and so is her approach.

I am in my 70s, have lousy posture and a writer’s too-many-hours at the desk. Without the individual instruction, focused attention and movement practice I have had from Karen, I would probably be no more mobile than a wrought-iron lawn dog. But as it is, I am doing fine; in fact, she has taught me how to move to maximize my body’s strength and rely on its structure. And I should add that my husband, who has worked with Karen for 15 years or more, is entirely free of the severe back pain that brought him to her door.

Eleanor Wilner. Poet, Writer, Teacher