Instructor Bios

Valya Karcher and her dog Bella
Valya Karcher, Studio Owner & Instructor

Valya was introduced to Pilates in 1996 by Mary-Jane Amrein, STOTT certified Pilates Instructor and Founder of The Pilates Center in Williamsburg, VA. Wanting to get the same impressive results as Mary-Jane, Valya began Pilates personal training. Over the next six months she was so excited about how her body shape had changed that she made the decision to commit to The Pilates Center Comprehensive Instructor Apprentice program.

In Fredericksburg Valya became the first Pilates instructor at Sport and Health, Highlander Health and Fitness, The Healing Arts Yoga Center and Paragon Gymnastics Training Center. In 2000, she opened Pure Pilates with one reformer in her home studio. Today Pure Pilates is still a home studio that has expanded to 5 Reformers, Towers and a Ballet Barre.
Valya has had the honor of studying under second-generation leaders in the field that has become her passion. She is proud to say that she will forever remain a student of Pilates!


(2002) PHI PILATES Foundations I & II; PowerHouse Plus Mat

(2004) STOTT Pilates for Specialty Populations: Pre-Natal; Maturing Populations; and Functional Fitness for Golf and Racquet Sports – PJ O’Clair

(2007) Balanced Body University:

  • “Lolita Shares” – First Generation Master Teacher Lolita San Miquel
  • “Biomechanics and Reality” – Rael Isacowitz, BASI Pilates
  • “Polstar Precision Focused Mat” – Dr. Brent Anderson, Polstar Pilates
  • “Integrated Tower” – Valentin
  • “Anatomy in Three Dimensions”

(2011) Pilates for Scoliosis – Madeline Black

(2013) Balanced Body Barre Certification – Zayna Gold and Portia Page

MEMBER: The Pilates Method Alliance since 2000.

Prior to Pilates, Valya was a Child Development Specialist with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service at Virginia State University. She received her BS and MS from Virginia Tech in Family and Child Services and Child Development and her PhD in Social Policy and Social Work Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Sarah Massey-Brisker
Sarah Massey-Brisker, Instructor

Sarah is a native of Richland, Michigan, where she enjoyed hiking, running, swimming and skiing. Sarah kept active in school by playing varsity basketball, soccer and track. She continued her studies at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan with a focus in Business Studies.

Training and Certifications

Physical fitness has always been a big part of Sarah’s life. This interest became a passion when she moved to Illinois and began work at Pilates Chicago. She obtained her certification through Pilates Chicago, which is recognized by the Pilates Method Alliance. Sarah has achieved certification for all Pilates apparatus, as well as Pilates Mat. She continues to educate herself by attending Pilates workshops and practicing what she has learned. Sarah has also worked with many first generation Pilates instructors.

Sarah is excited to be contributing her knowledge of the body with various populations, including knee, hip and back injuries. She believes in challenging clients with a good, tough full body Pilates workout designed to transform the body into an increasingly efficient and high-functioning system.

Sarah loves working with clients of diverse levels and creating unique and challenging workouts geared toward each individual. She enriches her Pilates sessions with warmth and sensitivity, providing clients with a full spectrum of spiritual, intellectual and physical enhancement.