About Your Instructor, Karen Mirlenbrink
I have always described myself as a total beach bunny who can’t keep her toes out of the sand. Growing up on the beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast, my idea of the perfect day involves being in or on the water learning from my greatest teacher. “The ocean has taught me about life. I’ve learned that sometimes I can’t change things, but I can go with the flow. I’ve learned to harness nature’s energy and use it to my advantage. I’ve learned not to get in Mother Nature’s way. I’ve learned to listen when she speaks. I’ve learned to respect, love, and celebrate nature and her ocean.” Movement has always been a necessity for me, thanks to my mom, a physical education teacher who instilled an active lifestyle from day one. Finding me always drawn to the water, she enrolled me in synchronized swimming lessons, and the obsession began. While competing nationally as a young girl, I learned the meaning of hard work, drive and commitment.
As an adult, I substituted paddling for swimming and have enjoyed participating and competing in many different paddlesports ever since. I’m an accomplished surf skier (open ocean racing kayak), Hawaiian outrigger canoeist, and stand up paddler with about 15 years of paddling experience. My proudest competitive paddling moments include: breaking the record in the 2010 Water Tribe Ultra Marathon with my husband, Rob, in our double surf ski; a 70-mile challenge paddling down Florida’s west coast; and competing in the Na Wahine O Ke Kai; the women’s outrigger canoe Molokai crossing; in 2013.
I have found a love for helping others as a certified Pilates instructor, yoga teacher, and wellness coach. I believe a person’s path to wellness is easier than they want to believe, and that small changes in daily life can create big results. My straightforward, simple approach makes me a successful and inspiring fitness professional. In addition to owning and operating the Dunedin Pilates Studio, I organize charity races and events, teach regular Pilates and yoga classes on stand up paddleboards (SUPilates.com), lead Pilates teacher training courses to help new instructors become confident and successful, and present corporate wellness workshops all over Florida.
My home is in in delightful Dunedin, Florida with my husband, Rob, our two pugs, Caesar and Peanut, and our parrot, Peaches.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS & CREDENTIALS
- YOLO Board Elite Team Rider, Garden of Life Ambassador, iThlete Team Member
- 2013 Athleta Featured Athlete
- Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science from the University of South Florida
- ACE Certified Medical Fitness Specialist
- NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
- PMA-Certified Pilates Teacher and Master Trainer/Master Teacher for the Pilates Academy International
- Certified Core Power Yoga Instructor & Wellcoach Certified Wellness and Fitness Coach
- World Paddle Association (WPA) Class III Instructor and Presenter
- GYROTONIC® Level I Instructor
- SSI Level II Freediver & Level I Instructor
- International Fitness Presenter, beginning with Professional Pilates for Golfers Workshops in Seoul, South Korea in 2005 and progressing to a Pilates and Culinary Retreat in Italy in 2014.
- Started paddling in 1997, Competing in paddlesports in 2000. Experience includes: SUP, outrigger canoeing, surfski paddling, prone paddleboarding, flat water marathon k1 & c2, whitewater and surf kayaking.
- Began coaching outrigger canoe teams in 2006, and currently paddle with Hui Kai Wa’a OCC
- One of the only local chicas to go downwind with the boys on her EPIC surfski – big water is my favorite.
- Traveled all over the globe for SUP events and races, taking top 5 in most regional competitions.
- Current course record holder with husband for the Water Tribe Ultra Marathon – 70 miles completed in 10 hours and 40 minutes (2010). Other notable races include NYC Mayor’s Cup 2008 & 2010, Chattajack 31 2012 (2nd place), Na Wahine O Ke Kai – Women’s OC6 Molokai Crossing in 2013.
- Contributing writer for Stand Up Journal, the Active Network, and the Athleta Chi Blog, as well as Featured in Magazines including Pilates Style, Extraordinary Health, and Origin.
- Creator and Presenter of SUPilates™, and present SUPilates™ all over the U.S., including Hawaii.
- Director of the Florida Chapter of Achilles International Ocean Sports – a non-profit organization that supports disabled athletes participate in mainstream sporting events.
- Organize local charity events that benefit the American Cancer Society, Movember, and the Friends of the Island Parks. Race organization experience includes the Shark Bite Challenge, Clearwater Beach Classic, and the WPA Championships (2014).
What We've Achieved
- We founded SUPilates in 2010
- SUPilates has been featured in Pilates Style Magazine twice.
- We received Pilates Method Alliance and ACE Fitness CEC Approval in 2013
- Our workshops include a WPA Level I SUP Instructor Certification
- We have taught workshops all over the world!