All posts in “Staff”

Corinne Letts

My Story


I grew up in the interior of beautiful British Columbia.  I am a mom to two boys and have been married to my husband Tom for 20 years.  Soon after marrying we relocated to Australia where we spent the better part of 10 years before living in Singapore from 2008-2012.   During my time and experience abroad, I cultivated a passion for health and fitness while striving to find life’s balance. I  was fortunate to have the opportunity to spend much time developing my practice and technique in Yoga and Pilates with several professional teachers.

I have been practicing Pilates since my son was born in 2000.  In 2009 I took my love one step further and took my mat certification with Stott Pilates.  Recently I completed Reformer training with Balanced Body and am pursuing my Core Align instructor training as well. I am also a certified Yoga Instructor with close to 1000 additional hours of study. Both practices are such an important part of my life that I can’t imagine it without them.  Both Pilates and yoga allow us to move more effortlessly as we age and I encourage everyone to try them.  I am fortunate to live in beautiful West West Vancouver where I teach in my studio as well as at Esprit de Core.   If you are interested in learning more about Pilates or Yoga I’d love to speak with you.


Svetlana Lipnitskaya

My Story


With over 7 years of experience in the dance and yoga industry and over 4 years in Pilates, I’m excited to pass along my passion to you, the clients at Esprit de Core!

I was born and raised in Russia. I started my journey in the health industry with Hatha Yoga and became a certified instructor in 2006. I became increasingly interested in Pilates during this time as there was a growing need for a method to better prepare clients for Yoga.

In 2004 I took Fitness Theory and Mat Pilates courses through BCRPA. I trained in the Balanced Body Pilates method which allowed me to work with clients on the Reformer and Cadillac machines, mat, arc barrel and many other types of Pilates equipment.

My teaching style is geared towards safety, effectiveness and fun! I’m as comfortable teaching a class of 6 as I am being one-on-one. My repertoire of new exercises is never ending, and I enjoy keeping clients on their toes (quite literally). I want to make sure whoever I’m training is working their mind as much as their body. You never know what is going to come next!

The most rewarding part of my profession is seeing the huge progress my clients show in their bodies and lives! Pilates and Yoga are very adaptable and I therefore welcome any level. I know my job is done when my clients experience body awareness and control and learn to love and respect their bodies.

I hope to train with you soon!

Mary Sayers

My Story

Mary SawyersBorn in North Vancouver, raised on the island of Jersey, Channel Islands, and returning to Vancouver at the age of 25, I have always enjoyed an active lifestyle and feel very blessed to have lived in places where opportunities for indoor/outdoor recreation are abundant.

Music and movement have always been a passion for me and I started teaching fitness classes called “Popmobility” at the age of 18.

My most challenging times have revolved around health issues including a struggle with my weight as a teenager and a shocking cancer diagnosis in my forties. Having faced and overcome these challenges has provided me with a wealth of knowledge about how to obtain optimal wellness.

I have also realized these events can ultimately make you stronger and better equipped to manage future road blocks, as well as provide support for others facing similar situations.

Along my path to a healthier and happier life, I have been blessed by a host of experts and educators who were willing and able to offer me guidance and support. Knowledge combined with action are the keys to success!

Why did I choose a career in the wellness industry?

Why did I open the Esprit de Core Fitness Studio in 1999?

Because my gift and passion is to inspire and educate people who are looking to make positive changes in how they look, feel and move. We have fun on this journey so the experience is about positivity not punishment!

With over 35 years of teaching fitness, hundreds of hours of professional training and many certifications, I have selected Pilates, CoreAlign and the MELT Method to be my current functional movement resources. I regularly attend seminars and conferences as continuing with personal and professional growth is crucial for attaining excellence.

With guidance, education and support, my clients attain impressive results including better posture, positive body composition changes, improved overall fitness, flexibility and balance, restored movement and a reduction in pain and stiffness. Even small improvements can change your participation in life!

It is never too late to start!

At the age of 51 I married the man I was destined to meet, have two beautiful step daughters, a (step)grandson and am blessed to live and work in West Vancouver. Being a lifelong student, power walker, freestyle dancer, foodie and travel enthusiast make for an adventure filled and abundant life!

Mary Sayers CoreAlign

Lisa Parish

My Story

Lisa ParishI feel blessed to have grown up in West Van and to now live in North Van and to have parents as active role models.

Throughout school and university, I was a competitive runner as well as participating in every other sport you can think of!  My interest in optimal performance as an athlete led me to pursue a BSc in Dietetics from UBC.

Before settling down to a career, I chose to satisfy my adventurous side by living in Europe for a year where I travelled around and worked as a ski guide in the French Alps.

One of the best times of my life was when I lived in Africa for 2 years, at a time when I had no responsibilities and could go where the wind carried me.

My wellness career started in 1994 as a Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. Mary Sayers was a colleague and so it was natural for me to become one of her Pilates trainers when she opened her studio.

I absolutely love to teach Pilates and CoreAlign.  It inspires me to see the improvements in my clients, in their strength, flexibility, balance and their overall feeling of well-being.  I have seen the benefits of Pilates/ CoreAlign to everyone from athletes to seniors.

When I’m not teaching Pilates, I’m counseling people on improving their health through diet or running my dog through the beautiful North Shore trails. I’m kept busy at home with 2 very active teenagers.

I’m also passionate about learning and am always taking courses; whether it be business, health/fitness– related, parenting or personal growth.

If you haven’t tried Pilates/ CoreAlign, I encourage you to come and try a class for yourself. You’ll love the studio and you’ll love how your body feels after even 1 class!

Lisa Parish pilates

Ann van Messel

Ann van Messel, InstructorMy Story

Movement has always been an integral part of my life. A gymnast and a dancer as a child, I was diagnosed with scoliosis at 12. Debilitating back pain would not deter me from becoming an avid skier, cyclist and rock climber. This led to a passion for the outdoors and experiential education. I’ve been a Trip Leader and Guide to groups on multi day excursions, teaching ropes courses and white water canoeing in Canada and class IV white water rafting and rappelling in Turkey and Israel.

Yoga became my personal practice to ensure my ability to move. Living abroad became addictive, even with the ongoing bouts of crippling back pain (one would think I would listen to my body at some point…). That point finally arrived after two children and multiple international moves (Asia, America and Europe). Living in Amsterdam I was finally fed up (yoga would alternately heal and hurt…) and decided to give Pilates a real chance.

I enjoyed my first Pilates session with a woman who turned out to be a true healer. What started as a weekly apparatus practice soon became bi-weekly and then almost daily ever since. Bringing my family back to my home town of Vancouver allowed me to begin my journey toward instructing. I sought out my teacher’s teacher in California and continue to hone my skills daily. I have learned from visiting or teaching at studios in this area as well as in Toronto and Washington State — each space unique and able to bring attention, new focus and deeper understanding into my own teaching.

I love to watch people’s “ah-ha” moments with Pilates; it is always something unexpected when it comes, profound and deep. I continue to experience these myself and grow through my daily practice. These insights help bring life to my classes, where I hope to share and inspire a sense of both seeking and finding.


Stephanie Parent

My story

Stephanie ParentI was born and raised in the beautiful province of Quebec, where my interest in the moving body was sparked.  The contemporary and ballet classes I was taking at the time soon turned into more than a hobby; they became a passion. I followed this new path and made it into a full-time career. This was when I relocated to Vancouver to complete a 3-year professional dance program. During this time I was introduced to Pilates.

Through Pilates, there was a transformation in my body, my breath and my mind. Joseph Pilates famously said that “In 10 sessions, you feel better, 20 sessions you look better, 30 sessions you have a completely new body” and this was certainly true for me.

I now have over a decade of teaching experience and cannot truly express how life-changing Pilates is. Better posture, better energy, better breath and yes, better prowess. I teach Pilates for the love of it, knowing that it helps each of my clients feel a new sense of mental and physical well-being. My classes are very creative, challenging and mindful. Feedback from my clients indicates that they feel strong, long, lean and powerful, and look forward to their next session.

Having a degree in Behavioral Neurosciences and a Master’s in Public Health allows my nerdy side to come out every now and then. Newcomers and complete beginners will benefit from my enthusiasm and unique skills. Whether you have participated in Pilates for many years or have never been in a class, welcome!

I look forward teaching you.

  • In 10 sessions, you feel better, 20 sessions you look better, 30 sessions you have a completely new body.

    Joseph Pilates

Stephanie Parent CoreAlign

Joan Littlejohn

My story

Joan LittlejohnI have a framed picture on my wall of a little red headed girl wearing a tutu doing an impressive arabesque. I drew it when I was five and recently rediscovered it while going through old photos and memorabilia.  While I didn’t come close to finding a career as a ballet dancer, I spent many years in the dance world (contemporary) achieving a Minor in dance and a Degree in PE and Recreation. I am still involved in the dance community and sit on the board for a local dance company.

Despite some enlightening starts in other areas I believe my life plan was somehow connected to creativity and movement.  Like many of my peers, I started teaching “aerobics” when I was 16 with minimal training but lots of enthusiasm! After extensive training I continued on my journey in the fitness industry teaching, presenting, opening fitness clubs and teaching courses to certify fitness, aqua and personal trainers. During that time I competed in body building and competitive aerobics and triathlons.   Pursuits that were, in hindsight, poor choices for the longevity of my joints. I am currently waiting for a new knee but am working hard to hang on to the one I have – I am kind of attached to it and will hate to see it go!

I found a calling for Pilates in the 80’s after giving up my legwarmers and pursued training and teaching in a variety of schools of Pilates. Having been exposed to the classical approach to Pilates and respectful of the principles, I chose to add education and training that I found to be more user friendly and functionally useful to my participants. I believe our evolving lifestyles of sitting too much, computers and lack of exercise requires a more broadened approach to Pilates training. Incorporating my expertise in Yoga Therapy and a variety of other disciplines ensures my clients are offered a well-rounded and unique movement and flexibility experience.

Joan Littlejohn pilatesIn my fitness career I have lived and taught in just about every municipality in Vancouver, from Hope to Tsawwassen. More recently I decided to move to Calgary and pursue a teenage dream of becoming the world’s oldest flight attendant. The lesson learned there was that my heart and passion was truly into teaching fitness. My current home is West Vancouver, where I’m often seen with my two furry companions in the dog park. My grown son is now living in Toronto.

I look forward to sharing my many years of teaching skills and helping you find a passion that supports a healthy lifestyle.

Lisa Hostman

My story:

Lisa HostmanMy journey into the wonders of the human form started very early in life. Leaving the idyllic town of Bella Coola at 12 years old to pursue a professional dance career put me on a crash course with many things. As a very driven youngster I threw myself wholeheartedly into the task of becoming both a dancer and an academic. And while dance was truly my passion, it was not without its costs! Numerous injuries, a mild scoliosis and associated muscular imbalances brought me to the door of a Vancouver Pilates studio in my early 30’s. But at that time I wasn’t quite ready to listen to what my body was trying to tell me. It was only after a long battle with chronic injury and pain that I retired from performing in 2007 and began to explore the power of Pilates in assisting with the rehabilitation process.

This was a turning point for me in so many ways, one from which I’ve happily, never looked back. I started to listen- to myself, to others, and inspired by the dedication and amazing skills of my Pilates mentor I interned at the studio while completing their rigorous certification process alongside an MA in Counselling.

While I acknowledge the purely athletic benefits of the Pilates Method, my primary interest is in its rehabilitative, pain management and self-empowering applications. I’ve remained an avid learner, and in addition to numerous rehab- based courses, I have pursued advanced training in and am passionate about adapting the Pilates repertoire for scoliosis.

It is my firm belief that the body does the very best it can in spite of the chronic stresses we inflict upon it! Creating desired change requires many things, including awareness, time, presence and energy. And I find huge satisfaction in using what I’ve learned over many years  to assist others in finding optimal ways of experiencing and living in their own bodies on all levels- wherever that is, today

Lisa Hostman Pilates

Ian Grant

My Story

Ian GrantI grew up in South London, UK. Running was my life. I joined my local athletics club at the age of 10 and raced competitively until the age of 30 achieving many athletic awards along the way.

When you train the body at a high level in your chosen sport your body becomes prone to injury and unfortunately mine was no exception. The daily repetitive movement of intense track sessions took a serious toll on my back and hips which eventually forced me to retire.

In 1987, I moved from South London to Southsea, Hampshire where I became an avid user of the local gym. It was here I first got interested in instructing. I soon realized teaching and participating are two completely different disciplines, the former being much harder!

My body was still craving high intensity, so I proceeded to certify in disciplines like Circuit Training, high impact aerobics and step training. However I was still dogged with injury problems.

In 1995 my “real” job as a Fingerprint Officer took me to Bermuda where I spent six fabulous years. During this period I married my wife Karen and was blessed with two beautiful children. It was here that I was introduced to yoga. After I was certified in 1998, I started practicing and teaching Vinyasa yoga and amazingly my back problems started to diminish.

In 2001, we moved to Vancouver and I decided to switch my profession from working with “dead” bodies to working with “live” ones.  It’s much more rewarding believe me!

In 2003 I was introduced to Pilates by Mary Sayers. I loved it and I have never looked back.

Life is a journey, our bodies are under stress every day. We need the freedom of movement and good nutrition to live a fulfilled life. I believe what I have learnt through great teachers and my own life experiences has provided me with a way to give back.

  • “Take care of your body it’s the only place you have to live.”

    – Jim Rohn

Ian Grant CoreAlign