The Bird Dog Pilates & Fitness Studio
The studio is a small, intimate space and was designed to maximize as much of that space as possible. There are essentially three rooms: main studio space, private studio space, and the wash room. There are very few permanent structures in the studio: ballet barre, Ped-O-Pul, and TRX multi-mount structure that are all on the east wall. All of the other Pilates equipment can be moved out of the main room and stored in the back room (or private studio space) in order to have an open studio space for mat classes, barre, and Fletcher Floorwork.
Meet our Team
Wes Waggener, PhD, CSCS
Wes Waggener has been teaching, coaching, and training people of all ages since 1997. He has earned degrees in physical education and a masters of science in biomechanics from Ball State University (Muncie, IN). Wes also earned a PhD in Kinesiology from Michigan State University. Wes has taught in higher education since 1997, serving on faculty at both alma maters in addition to Lansing Community College, Eastern Michigan University, and The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. While completing his PhD, Wes moved to Chicago to write his dissertation. In the process, he started personal training. Upon completion of his degree, he moved to Ann Arbor and began working in medical fitness as a fitness specialist and personal trainer. In that time, he was able to expand his clientele to include running a physician referred exercise program. Not only did this lead to a position at the corporate office of a wellness management company, but it led him back to Chicago to begin a comprehensive program of study in Pilates. Wes completed his Fletcher Pilates comprehensive program in 2011 and the Fletcher Pilates Advanced Intensive (Tucson, Arizona) in 2017. He has taught studio Pilates in a commercial gym and at a Chicago neighborhood studio before opening Bird Dog Pilates & Fitness with Suzi Butcher in 2016. As a former gymnast, Wes coached for 4 seasons as an assistant coach to the Ball State University women’s team and also coached youth gymnasts, volleyball players, and tennis players. In his spare time, Wes enjoys playing tennis, hiking, working out and spending time with friends.
PATTI MEHL is a Third Generation Pilates instructor with over ten years of experience. She is a Balanced Body University (BBU) certified Mat Instructor, and BBU comprehensively trained in all apparatus, including: Reformer, Chair, Cadillac/Trapeze, Barrels and Small Apparatus. In addition, she completed a year of intensive training through the Personalized Pilates Apprentice Program under Legacy Teacher Trainer, Katrina Foe in Scottsdale, Arizona. Patti is an active member of the Pilates Method Alliance.
Pilates was recommended to Patti by a Physical Therapist as she rehabilitated from several surgeries including a spinal fusion in 2006. Patti suffered from debilitating chronic back pain for years initiated by a serious car accident in her late teens and antagonized by several disc injuries, arthritis and frozen shoulder. Her love of Pilates grew as she recovered through the wonderful exercises designed by Joseph Pilates which emphasizes the balanced development of the body through core strength, flexibility, and awareness in order to support efficient, graceful and pain-free movement. Eager to share her experience of wellness and with a desire to help others she left her career in Operations Management and Marketing in the tech industry to become a full-time Pilates instructor.
Patti has worked at several studios in the valley and managed a studio in Palm Valley. She also owned her own studio in the west valley for eight years. She is now the lead instructor at STUDIO VERVE PILATES in Arcadia and participates in the comprehensive teacher training program there. Her passion is helping others find the amazing mind and body connection that Pilates provides. Her approach is to connect the mind to the body and breath creating a synergistic “Mindful Core” to correct and maintain balance within the body, mind and spirit. Patti remains active in continuing education courses and is a current member of the Pilates Method Alliance. Patti is a mom of four children, three adults and one in high school. She moved to Arcadia in 2018 and is enjoying everything this area has to offer. She loves the outdoors, hiking, swimming, reading and visiting her hometown of Newport Beach, California whenever possible.
Sasha Swift, NCPT
Sasha is a contemporarily trained Pilates instructor and completed her teacher training through the Polestar Pilates program.
She relocated to Phoenix from Tucson with her boyfriend and their 3 dogs in January 2018. She is a sleep technologist by day, helping patients afflicted with sleep apnea and a certified Pilates instructor by night.
A former gymnast, Sasha began taking Pilates classes in 2005 and became instantly hooked. At first her pull towards Pilates was driven by nostalgia, but later by the physical and mental benefits of regular that came with regular Pilates practice. She finds the most rewarding aspect of being a Pilates instructor to be when the a client not only begins to see the transformation in their own body but also when they make the connections of how that transformation is helping them in their everyday activities or through a long-term affliction.
She volunteers annually at the yearly Pilates Method Alliance conference and loves every minute of being a part of this talented, brilliant and compassionate community of movement professionals.
The Pilates Method
Most people that come into the studio are surprised to learn that Pilates is actually a surname. Joseph H. Pilates is the man that is credited with creating the movement program we call Pilates, a distinction that was made posthumously. Joseph Pilates called his work Contrology and described it as "complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit" that was critical for transforming the body physically and also transcending oneself to a higher level of well being or whole-body health. In 1929, Pilates opened his Universal Gymnasium (or studio) in New York City and really honed and established his brand, Contrology. An author of two books and innovative line of equipment, his ideas and apparati continue to flourish as a world-wide phenomena. His book, Return To Life Through Contrology, is still very relevant today.
The Pilates Movement Principles
- Flowing Motion
- Oppositional Energy
"Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness."
-Joseph H. Pilates, Return to Life Through Contrology.