Bronco Profile

Range of motion

Range of motion
Photo courtesy Misha Patel Bechtolsheim
by Patricia Yollin |
Misha Patel Bechtolsheim ’05 studied business and dance at SCU but assumed they were mutually exclusive. She soon learned otherwise.

Misha Patel Studio in San Jose is a place where one Santa Clara grad has fused her knowledge of marketing and movement into a light-drenched haven with wood floors, muted blues, and a view of the downtown skyline. Her clients, about 150 at the moment, have ranged from professional athletes, including a few San Jose Sharks, to a recent amputee and people with rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

“My father gave me the best advice I’ve ever gotten,” says 30-year-old Misha Patel Bechtolsheim ’05. “He said, ‘Do what you’re passionate about. You’ll work hard and success will follow.’”

That was in 2005, after she had graduated with degrees in commerce and arts and was pursuing brand management jobs in fashion. But her father detected a lack of spark. She moved home to Southern California, became a certified Pilates instructor, started a company where she worked with competitive figure skaters—she’d been one until college—and returned north in 2007.

After two years with Club One Fitness, she opened her own studio in April 2009. Seven months later, she relocated to a bigger space in the same building and married her college boyfriend, Sebastian Bechtolsheim ’04, M.S. ’08, MBA ’09. Misha works 60 to 70 hours a week, broken up by walks with her Welsh terrier, Jax.

The reformer

Studio portrait: Her place. Photo by Charles Barry

The ninth-floor studio offers fitness sessions such as Pilates, yoga and TRX training, massage, nutrition counseling, and culinary classes. At 5-foot-3 and 110 pounds, Misha is especially fond of the Reformer, a machine that helped her recover from a knee injury.

As she takes a pair of clients through an hour-long Pilates workout, two Reformers glide back and forth. She scrutinizes every move, snaps her fingers as she counts, and is firm but not merciless.

“Squeeze your inner thighs like you have a winning Lotto ticket between those knees,” she urges.

Valerie Forney, 49, heeds every word. “Misha is sensitive to my physical needs,” she says.

Misha’s parents, who trace their roots to India, grew up in Nairobi and own a company that makes fireplace screens. They went to college in England and prize education—which meant that their daughter felt guilty for “prancing around” when she became smitten with dance and choreography at SCU.

Her mentor, Kristin Kusanovich ’88, helped her see the larger value of theatre arts. “I applauded after one marketing class and everyone stared at me,” Misha says. “Part of me felt awkward, but part wondered why appreciation and respect are not instilled in all classes.”

Kusanovich, a senior lecturer in theatre and dance as well as liberal studies, lauds how “Misha found a way of integrating two pretty disparate fields. She has approached her business as an artist and has a completely different outlook. The performing arts teach leadership, discipline, follow-through, and collaboration.”

Spring/Summer 2013

Table of contents


Walk Across California

An epic journey whereby one foot is put in front of the other to discover, up close and personal, who and what and where is the Golden State.

Miller's Tale

To tell the story of Bob Miller ’67 is to tell the coming-of-age tale of Las Vegas itself. And it’s the chronicle of a man who served a decade as governor of Nevada. Quite a journey for the son of an illegal bookie from Chicago.

Blood. Sweat. Tears. Repeat.

Nina Acosta ’82 was a tough enough cop to pass the test for the LAPD’s SWAT team. Then she learned the hard way about gender discrimination. So how did she do on Survivor?

Mission Matters

When justice is kidnapped

The 2013 Alexander Law Prize honors Chen Guangcheng, a Chinese civil-rights activist and attorney who protested government abuses—including excessive enforcement of the one-child policy—then escaped house arrest to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

Double trouble

Growing up tennis with Kelly Lamble ’13 and John Lamble ’14. And Bronco teams that are a force to be reckoned with nationally.

Keep the door open

For teaching and advising and a ministry that’s blessed this place for 48 years—paying tribute to Charles Phipps, S.J.