top of page

Our Instructors

Our team of skilled instructors is committed to supporting your well-being. Whether you're seeking post-injury recovery and rehabilitation or aiming to advance your fitness aspirations, we're here to assist you on your journey.


Alison Palic, MPT, MSEd, Founder

Physical Therapy and Pilates Rehabilitation

I enjoy teaching people how to move efficiently through life and through their athletic activities.

I discovered Pilates after a traumatic snowboarding injury 20 years ago, leaving me with spinal instability and frequent migraines.  After much research, I discovered the Pilates Method. Pilates is a more creative approach to rehabilitation and working on the equipment was fun! Pilates rehabilitation has a specific progression for stabilization, with emphasis on alignment. Working on the Pilates equipment provided support to allow me to perform exercises that were normally painful. After 6 months, I was able to safely exercise and minimize the migraines. Through this experience, I can now understand and appreciate each patients' journey to finally move efficiently and without pain.

Credentials & Expertise

  • 1991 BS, Exercise Physiology, West Virginia University 

  • 1991-1995 Intercollegiate Crew, Women's eight

  • 1993 MS Exercise Physiology, Old Dominion University

  • 1996 MSEd Physical Therapy Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia

  • 2000 Manual therapy training program with Kaiser 

  • 2001 Maitland Australian manual therapy program

  • 2002 Craniosacral therapy training, Upledger Inst.

  • 2003 Certified Pilates Rehabilitation instructor, Polestar Education 

  • 2004 Founded Synergy: Pilates Meets Physical Therapy

Training Also Includes:

National Posture institute, Pilates for Scoliosis (Schroth Method), Pilates for Osteoporosis, Gait analysis and training, Visceral manipulation I & II Barral inst. , and sport-specific training including golf and surfing.


Alison lives on the west side of Santa Cruz, married with 2 teenagers and 2 Yorkshire terriers.  She loves the ocean, surfing, mountain biking, snowboarding, Yoga, Pilates, shopping and visiting our amazing local restaurants and wineries.

Tel: 831-818-0866


Image 11-14-22 at 7.13 PM.jpg

Natalia Aguero Tinsey, PT, DPT, NCPT (she/her)

Physical Therapy and Pilates Rehabilitation, Doctor of Physical Therapy

Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher

Originally from Miami, Florida, Natalia has been practicing physical therapy in the Santa Cruz area since February 2018. She graduated with her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the George Washington University and completed the comprehensive pilates teacher training for rehab professionals through Polestar Pilates Education. Her clinical background spans both the inpatient and outpatient settings, working with patients who have orthopedic, cardiopulmonary, and neurological dysfunction. She specializes in the treatment of older adults with balance disorders or dizziness, vestibular therapy, and those with complex neurological conditions. As a mountain athlete having recovered from her fair share of injuries, she also excels at working with active individuals looking to return to or improve their performance in their sport. She strives to help her clients instill confidence in themselves, establish a joyful relationship with movement, and facilitate a safe progression toward healing. She strongly believes that the process toward recovery from an injury can oftentimes simply be the beginning of a journey into lifelong positive movement with your body.

When she’s not practicing Pilates or PT, you can find her rock-climbing with her partner at our local Pacific Edge Climbing Gym or out in the Sierras, trail running at Wilder or Nisene Marks State Parks, enjoying a sunset stroll to the Walton Lighthouse, or playing music.

Visit Natalia's Website:

p: (831) 216-6450
f: (833) 536-1572

Image 11-14-22 at 7.04 PM.jpg

Shan Escarra, PT, DPT, Certified Yoga Instructor

Physical Therapy and Pilates Rehabilitation

Growing up in a suburb of Atlanta, I spent my summers playing in the pines, practicing yoga and pilates with my mom, and dancing under each full moon.


Being a competitive gymnast throughout high school led me to battle through four elbow fractures. I spent countless months in the clinic with my mom, a physical therapist assistant, rehabbing my injuries for the next season. I later went on to compete in college for Seattle Pacific University. I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Applied Human Biology, a minor in Exercise Sciences, and three All-Americans. 

 After my undergraduate degree, I finished my yoga certification and also obtained a certification from Polestar Pilates, a… “Pilates international authority, focused on whole body wellness, healing through movement modalities and mind-body-spirit connectivity.” Through my training at Polestar, I was given the opportunity to train with the reputable Sherri Betz and Karyn Staples. Working as a pilates and yoga instructor, I decided I wanted to expand my understanding of the human body. I then went on to obtain a doctorate in physical therapy from Georgia State University. I began my career as a traveling physical therapist, exploring the United States and combining my preoccupation with travel with my career as a physical therapist while continuing to teach at various yoga studios across the country. 

Working in a number of clinics and hospitals around the country, I noticed how today’s current approach to treatment focused solely on physical impairments without acknowledging the whole person. I began working with a spiritual teacher to dive deeper into the mind and internal Self and develop a better understanding of the physical, mental, and emotional bodies.

Visit Shan's Website: Beyond Physical Therapy

"Beyond Physical Therapy was created to be a catalyst to help others in their journey to healing, to help discover balance in the body, and to create community."



Abby Zwierchowski, PT, DPT

Physical Therapy and Pilates Rehabilitation

Abby is from Buffalo, NY and has been practicing Physical Therapy in California since 2017. She graduated from Duquesne University with Bachelors Degrees in Biology, Health Sciences and her Doctorate of Physical Therapy. Abby landed in the Santa Cruz area through travel physical therapy. Her background includes work in outpatient orthopedic and home health settings, and she currently specializes in pediatrics. Abby discovered Pilates later in life, while looking for alternative options for fun workouts and functional strengthening. She has completed Pilates education through

Balance Body. 


Abby loves spending time with friends and family, camping, traveling, and searching for the

perfect burrito.  

To book private sessions, please email

Dark Green Minimalist Aesthetic Modern Paper Texture Business Brand Fashion Logo.png

Micaela Gardner

Mat Pilates Instructor

I was born in Tucson, Arizona and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I started Ballet training at the age of seven. Dance became one of my life's loves. I settled on Modern Dance after studying classically and many other forms.


In my late 20's, I developed chronic tendonitis in my hip flexors. A pathway through physical therapy to Pilates rescued both my pelvis alignment and my dance life! Pilates pointed out some dangerous alignment habits and taught me a new approach to moving safely and with power. 


I was certified to teach the mat work not long after my rehabilitation and have enjoyed teaching and sharing Pilates for many years since. 


My mat classes are a blend of the classical mat work with a developed hybrid approach and many variations to keep it interesting. Healthy alignment and building awareness about it concerns me and features in my group sessions. The exercises are accessible with easily available modifications. My goal is that all feel welcome and appropriately challenged.


In addition to the group classes I teach, I am happily available for private mat sessions. I really enjoy tailoring the work to support an individual's particular needs. It is a happiness to help create recovery, core power, more fluid mobility and improved posture and well being.


I enjoy cooking, gardening, going to the beach and art work. I am grateful to be in beautiful Santa Cruz!

To book private sessions, please email


"Who looks outside, dreams

 Who looks inside, awakes…" 

                                      Carl Jung

4bb2d3_68e07f5b69c54d8caadcee4108c94494~mv2 copy_edited.png
bottom of page