Risa Sheppard
Founder and Owner of Sheppard Method Pilates

Founder of the Sheppard Method Teacher Training Program

Noted as one of the most sought-after Pilates Instructors in the world by both celebrities and individuals with life-changing injuries, Risa Sheppard is dedicated to the methods of classical Pilates and the many benefits that accompany the practice. While her life’s work is dedicated to helping others achieve personal perfection and maintain optimal health at any age, her practice and teachings are deeply rooted in the mind, body, and spirit connection as they tie directly to personal empowerment.

Risa began teaching “The Pilates Method” in 1975 where she fell deeply in love with the work and decided she would never look back. Having gained her formal Pilates training education by working directly with Ron Fletcher, legendary Pilates elder and founder of Fletcher Pilates®, Risa’s work undeniably incorporates the Graham-based elements of movement and dance into the equipment-centric structure of Joseph Pilates’ original creation.

Since then, her practice incorporates an understanding of the thoughts of the mind and how they affect our lives and bodies. Through every classical Pilates class taught at Sheppard Method Pilates, the trainings are based on teaching and healing, expression of the authentic self, and allowing the body to move in a fluid, efficient, powerful, coordinated, and relaxed manner. Through this method, it is Risa’s hope that the results will allow each client and student to move beyond their limitations, allowing them to feel more and more comfortable in their own skin. With this, Risa’s practice and The Sheppard Method is movement with grace, agility with beauty, and power with a gentleness that brings out your true inner spirit.

Not only is Risa the founder and owner of the Sheppard Method Pilates Studio based in Westwood, but she is also the founder and remains as one of the head instructors of the Sheppard Method Teacher Training Program, a Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) certified program with successful graduates who teach throughout the world.

Trained Under The Elders of Pilates

While there is an endless amount of incredible Pilates instructors, few have been trained under the elders of Pilates. Risa, on the other hand, began her Pilates career alongside Pilates Elder Ron Fletcher and is the only remaining instructor with a studio in Los Angeles who trained in his LA school. In addition, she continues to preach the original goals of Joseph Pilates as a restorative art

Mindful Movement: Heal Your Back Pain with BAM Therapy

by Dr. David Tannenbaum D.C. & Risa Sheppard
Risa Sheppard and Dr. Tannenbaum have poured over seventy years of combined experience in healing into Mindful Movement, along with cutting-edge medical research that supports Body and Mind Therapy (BAM). Read More:
Barnes and Noble
Apple Books

Notable Achievements


Features & Appearances


Janine Venable-deZarn
Senior Pilates Instructor

Functional Anatomy Teacher

Co-Teacher for the Sheppard Method Pilates Teacher Training Program

Backed by more 24 years of experience as a Pilates teacher, Janine Venable-deZarn brings an unmatched wealth of knowledge to the team at Sheppard Method Pilates and remains as the Co-Teacher for the studio’s Pilates Teacher Training Program. Her passion, which stems from helping clients learn to use their bodies optimally through Pilates so they feel better in their physical presence, allows her to improve the quality of life of every client by empowering them to care for themselves. As a result, one of her greatest joys as an instructor is when she hears a client say that Pilates is helping them in unimaginable ways, that they no longer have pain every morning, or that a lifelong injury has healed after so many other forms of treatment. This is what keeps Janine going and lets her know that she has done her job well. For this reason, it is without doubt that her favorite part of teaching at Sheppard Method Pilates is the personal nature of the studio’s instruction, where the team seeks treat the whole person, not just the body.

Janine’s Journey to Pilates

In 1998, before the practice was ever popularized, Janine discovered Pilates. She had been a professional dancer in musical theatre on the East Coast. Years after she had stopped dancing, Janine moved to Westwood and a friend who owned a Pilates studio asked if she would teach Pilates at her studio. Her friend admitted that she desperately needed an instructor and said she would even pay her to learn.  A seemingly good offer that was too good to refuse, Janine thought, “What have I got to lose?” Little did she know, she would soon fall in love to with Pilates, creating for herself a career of teaching clients and not too long after, a career in also training future Pilates instructors.

For the next two to three years, Janine continued to work at her friend’s studio until she was offered a job by a pain management doctor where she would work closely with the doctor’s patients. In this arena, Janine worked with patients suffering from chronic pain or recovering from a surgery/illness and who needed rehab, which in turn, completely changed her outlook. Over the next 16 years, Janine absorbed nearly everything about the human body from Dr. Axler and developed an appreciation for the power of healing through Pilates. Through this journey, Janine realized that anyone could learn Pilates, no matter their age or physical ability so long as they had a willingness to do so. In 2005, Janine began working with Risa, training future Pilates instructors and thus began a new chapter in her Pilates career.  All in all, Janine’s journey has been one that is nothing short of amazing, and the evolution only continues.


Director of Cuteness
Carolyn Wright
Pilates Instructor, Personal Trainer

With more than a decade of experience practicing Pilates, Carolyn Wright curates enjoyable yet challenging classes for her clients to help them find thoughtful, practiced, dynamic movement. With a love to create magnified energy in group classes, Carolyn deeply enjoys witnessing and sharing the increased well-being of a person as they grow through their Pilates practice. For these reasons and so many more, Carolyn brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to our Westwood Pilates studio.

Carolyn’s Journey to Pilates

Since childhood, Carolyn has participated in dance and a variety of athletics. As an adult, she began running, working out with personal trainers, and enjoyed every cardio class she ever tried. Curious about the wonderful world of Pilates, Carolyn took her first mat Pilates class more than ten years ago and discovered that she had all sorts of untapped muscles that hadn’t been strengthened through other forms of exercise. She continued and increased her mat Pilates practice, which eventually led her to discover (with great joy) the Reformer, Cadillac, Ladder Barrel, and other Pilates equipment to unwind and realign her body.

She joined our Westwood Pilates team at Sheppard Method Pilates for the sophisticated, intimate charm, and excellent selection of equipment. Now, Carolyn enjoys the warm, friendly community that her clients enjoy.  Small enough for friendly chats, yet large enough to feel vibrant and buzzy in the morning and after-work hours, Carolyn adores providing each Sheppard Method Pilates client with the best possible Pilates experience.



Emily Carr Anderson
Pilates Instructor

Backed by more than 5 years of experience in practicing Pilates, Emily Carr Anderson knew it was time for her to dive deeper into what had become her passion. As a former accountant whose primary job was to handle numbers and other mundane tasks, Emily felt as if something was missing. That’s when the pandemic occurred. Emily knew that waiting was no longer an option and she decided that a career change was necessary. Her love for movement would be used as the goal to help others move their bodies through her favorite practice, Pilates!

As an adolescent, Emily lived an active life and spent much of her years as both a swimmer and gymnast. In time, she would learn to discover the power, variety and community of Pilates group classes. After attending just a few, Emily was completely addicted and decided that she would never look back from her love for Pilates. The further in love with the practice that she fell, the more she was convinced that becoming a Pilates instructor was her next and greatest move.

Now, Emily is an adored Pilates instructor at Sheppard Method Pilates, whose greatest passion is helping people move and feel more connected to their bodies by placing an emphasis on Pilates’ most important principles, body, mind, and spirit.

Emily’s favorite part about teaching at Sheppard Method Pilates in being led and taught by the world renown Risa Sheppard, whose emphasis has and always will be on community, small clalss sizes, and great Pilates equipment!


Payton Valencia
Pilates instructor
Shawn Taryn
Pilates instructor
Sara Miller
Pilates instructor
Jessica Bramer
Pilates instructor