Tennis Injuries Lead Second-Generation Palisadian on a Mission of Healing

The Pilates Instructor is Creating a Place ‘Where People Can Really Connect Their Mind[s] and Their Bodies.’

By EMILY SAWICKI | Reporter

When you discover a passion for a new sport as a teenager, it can be easy to get carried away.

Weekly practices quickly turn into daily practices, which can turn into two-a-days, especially if you’re as talented and devoted as tennis star Ryan Schindler was when he was a teen, training five to six hours per day at the Palisades Recreation Center.

But all that training took its toll.

After a short but notable tennis career—Schindler, captain of the Palisades Charter High School tennis team for two years, led his squad to win two city championships and earned a national ranking—the hard work led to numerous injuries.

After suffering wrist tendinitis, a herniated disc and a torn hamstring, Schindler said he was in physical therapy for a whole slate of painful ailments.

“I totally ran my body into the ground. Lifting weights, doing conditioning, playing tennis all day every day—it’s all I wanted, all I thought about, the only thing on my mind,” Schindler recalled. “Over those four or five years, from [ages] 13 to 18, I had all the right intentions and efforts, and I certainly worked hard enough, but not smart enough.”

So, when Schindler started thinking about college, he set his athletic aspirations aside and focused on finance, marketing and advertising.

“The injuries were definitely devastating, but I think it drove me to, really, the clear realization about what I’m doing now,” Schindler said. All the work he did securing internships, joining student government and heading up clubs in college gave him experience to find his true calling as a Pilates instructor.

“I had all these experiences I wouldn’t have had if I weren’t an athlete, but what it did was make clear it wasn’t for me,” he said. Now, he is a classically certified Pilates instructor hoping to bring thoughtful, rehabilitative exercise to the Palisades community.

“I want to bring a space where people can really connect to their mind[s] and their bodies, and can feel really comfortable with wherever they are and whatever injuries or physical abilities they have,” Schindler said.

Schindler’s mom—who also grew up in Pacific Palisades—was a Pilates instructor while he was growing up. Now, he has begun offering his own lessons, alongside continuing to work at the Palisades Tennis Center.

“I decided what I was really passionate about—and also serious about—was the body and being active and figuring out how to heal myself, and kind of connecting back into that which I felt like I kind of lost,” the second-generation Palisadian described. “I decided to get certified in Pilates because I knew about Pilates; my mom was a Pilates instructor [when I was] growing up.”

Now, the passion is a new business, operating out of White Lotus Gyrotonic, “in the heart of the Palisades.”

“I love working with people and I love making a difference in how they feel in their bodies,” he described. And, what better place than here in the Palisades?

“I want to establish my business in the Palisades because this is where I love to be and I loved growing up,” he said, later adding, “I think the people in the Palisades are really active and really into self-improvement and health and wellness.

“I think my background of working at [Palisades Tennis Center] since I was 18 is big—I get kind of what Palisadians are looking for out of the hours they spend,” he described. “A lot of people are looking to push themselves and grow and become stronger in the things they’re passionate about. People in the Palisades have a lot of hobbies; I’m really excited to set goals of that nature.”