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3658 Mt Diablo Bl. Ground Floor
Lafayette, CA 94549


Personalized Movement Center in Lafayette, Ca. offering Pilates, Fitness, Barre, Yoga, CoreAlign and more.  Classes, Private and Group instruction in a comfortable setting.  We offer Instructor Training from industry leaders in Movement education in Pilates, CoreAlign, Anatomy, Barre, Suspension training and more.

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SCI Recovery

The Absolute ENDEAVOR Program


The AbsoluteENDEAVOR program integrates traditional Pilates, developmental movement patterns, and the NeuroKinetic Pilates Method developed by Alejandra Monsalve, to help individuals suffering from traumatic spinal cord and peripheral nervous system injury re-gain function and strength.

Our program challenges the entire body as an integrated system, first calling on the brain to initiate re-wiring of the neuromuscular system. With basic principles of neuroplasticity (meaning the nervous system regeneration) and a strong emphasis on learning movement patterns in proper body alignment, we can re-train the nervous system to make new connections throughout the body.

We are honored to be involved with helping those who are living with Spinal Cord Injuries and other peripheral neurological conditions.  If you are interested in learning more about our work, please contact for more information.

Read our feature article from Balanced Body below.


1.) What is Pilates and how does it pertain to neurological rehabilitation?
Pilates was originally developed in the early 19th century by Joseph Pilates as a way to rehabilitate and maintain the health of soldiers in prisoner of war camps. The practice of Pilates incorporates several principles which are integrated to help achieve a healthy, functioning body: 

  • Breathing
  • Mind body connection
  • Trunk and pelvic stability
  • Body Alignment
  • Neuromuscular re-education
  • Neuromuscular coordination
  • Functional strength
  • Mobility

When we think about training the body after a neurological injury, we need to think about efficiencyHow can we get the best movement with minimal effort while still preserving our joints?  Ultimately, the Pilates approach to mindful movement leads to a stronger, more efficient body in postures and movement for the long run.

We prioritize stability and proper alignment in movement before progressing to larger, more dynamic movements, keeping in mind that joints need to be strong enough to sustain these larger movements to avoid injury. This steady progression from small to big movements leads to good postural habits while moving.

2) What can I expect from participating in a Pilates-based neuro rehabilitation program?

The trunk is the main focus of our work, as it serves as the foundation for efficient movement. Postural re-education, trunk mobility, core and hip stability and pelvic positioning all lead to better body positioning in sitting, quadruped (hands and knees), kneeling, and standing. 

  • Stronger postures help the body be more efficient in everyday movements, such as transferring, seated balance, reaching for things, and standing/walking. 
  • A program with an emphasis on core strength will also decrease neck and back pain because the spine becomes more supported.

The ENDEAVOR Program follows a distinct progression, where methodical challenges are only applied once the client has demonstrated a certain level of connection and strength. The equipment used offers these progressions yielding to easily recognizable progress felt by both the client and trainer. Although the methods and exercises used in the program are widely applied, programs are designed specifically for each individual, depending on needs and goals. 

3) What makes this work different from traditional physical therapy and/or other exercise-based therapy programs? 

With neurological injury, function and sensation in the trunk and extremities can return after some time though natural healing of the spinal cord. However, some function does not return this way, and we need to find new neural pathways to access these dormant muscles in our body. 

When re-wiring the nervous system, we must first make connections to the areas we are currently having a challenge with. The NeuroKinetic Pilates Method draws from the idea that the body is interconnected with connective tissue call fascia. Specific fascial lines that run throughout the body gives us access to muscles of the legs and core by way of working the neck and arms in certain positions and exercises. Our program works to find connections through this fascial system and strengthen these connections through Pilates exercises.

The method also uses exercises progressions that follow the developmental stages of motor learning, much like how babies learn their fundamental movements of sitting, rolling, crawling, pulling to stand and learning to walk. Within each session, each stage is visited, targeting relevant fascial lines in each position. 

To learn more about the NeuroKinetic Pilates Method developed by Alejandra Monsalve, visit click here. To learn more about fascial lines and the Myofascial Meridian Theory, click here. 

4) What kind of equipment is used at Absolute Center? 

Balanced Body Pilates equipment is used to assist or challenge clients in stability, mobility and strength. The versatility of the equipment allows our trainers to adapt exercises to the needs of each client, allowing for greater control, fluidity, and independence in the exercise. The use of springs as assistance and/or resistance creates unique vibrational stimulation for the neuromuscular system to respond to.

Trapeze Table —  Originally designed for injury rehabilitation, the "Trap Table" is an adaptable piece of equipment that can offer spring support or resistance from a variety of angles from the metal frame. Most work in the program starts here, as the table to easy to transfer to and serves as a great place to connect to the body and fascial lines. 

Studio Reformer — This dynamic piece of equipment offers a wide range of exercises to be performed with the resistance or assistance of springs on a movable carriage. Dynamic stability can be challenged in all positions on the moving surface. 


Combo Chair — The Chair was originally designed as the “strength” equipment in the Pilates world. The chair can be used in several ways to almost every part of the body.

Core Align — This modern piece of Pilates equipment trains core and hip stability while isolating different phases of the gait cycle.  Two sliding carts anchored with resistance bands challenge clients in multiple planes and fascial lines at the same time. The ladder bolted to the wall provides a safe working environment for the client to hold onto during seated and standing exercises.


5.) Who are our Neuro Exercise Specialists and what qualifies them to work with SCI? 

We currently have several trainers working with SCI and clients with traumatic neurological challenges:  

  • Stephanie Behrendt
  • Rachel Kahn
  • Michaela Lien
  • Jennifer Jeha-LMT

Each have a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, a Pilates certification from Balanced Body, have completed the Neuro Kinetic Pilates Method Basic & SCI Recovery Course with Alejandra Monsalve and have been trained by Physical Therapists on how to safely work with individuals with spinal cord injuries. You can read their bios here.

6.) What is the cost of working with a Neuro Pilates Specialist?

You can view and purchase sessions with our Senior trainers with this link: 

7.) How can I pay for my sessions at Absolute Center?

Unfortunately, sessions are not covered by insurance. However, we can provide you with receipts to submit for reimbursement from a third party account or trust, such as HelpHopeLive. For more information on setting up an account for your medical and therapy expenses, visit

Read about the life experiences of some of our ENDEAVOR clients on their blogs and donate if you can!