Who am I and what I do?
I am the creator of Holistic Pilates which reflects the principles that health, fitness and wellbeing depend on mind (healthy attitude, positive mindset, mindfulness and relaxation) body (postural awareness, being active and moving well) and good nutrition (we really are what we eat). It is also an apt way of describing how my aim is to teach Pilates with respect to Joseph Pilates’ founding principles of training the mind and body together, and the body as a whole.
I work with men and women who want to get rid of pain and stiffness, improve their posture, be more flexible and feel more relaxed and energised. I help people to become fitter, stronger and healthier allowing them to keep doing the things they love.
What makes me different from many Pilates teachers is I really want to work with my clients to get them out of pain and improve their lives and their health now and into the future. I adapt my programmes to suit my clients’ needs, and try to give them an understanding of what they are doing and why in order to make a difference to their movement and posture in their daily lives and not just in class.
My style of teaching is encouraging and supportive. To progress in any area of life we have to move out of our comfort zone, so I do like to challenge my clients in order for them to achieve progress and change their bodies, but always in a safe and non pushy or critical way. My priority is my client’s well being at all times.
I know from personal experience that what I’m asking my clients to do actually works. As a long term back sufferer I teach from a place of understanding which means I can draw on my own experience and knowledge and pass that on to my clients. Pilates has helped me to overcome my own back pain flare ups and injuries over the years.
My clients have had such amazing results since starting Pilates with me. Many have either conquered their pain, or at least have it under control and lead much fuller, more active lives than they could have imagined. Some have transformed their bodies.
Why did I choose Pilates?
Unlike many Pilates teachers, I didn’t decide to teach because Pilates was helping me with my back problems. For me it was the other way around. I decided to teach Pilates and then realised how much it could help with my back issues. I was stuck in an office job, sitting at a desk for hours every day, working for a company whose ethics did not match my own and just feeling stressed, miserable and like something somewhere had gone terribly wrong! I wasn’t fulfilled and had no worthwhile purpose. After all, all I’d ever wanted to do from being a little girl was acting and performing! ‘How did I end up here?’ I asked myself.
Having given up on the acting dream (that’s a whole other story!!) I needed a new goal, a new purpose and something more fulfilling and rewarding than what I was doing. So I decided to find that something! During my search, I toyed with the idea of yoga, with homeopathy, massage therapy and numerous other body therapies. I was obviously drawn to helping people, to making them feel better in some way.
Then I came across something called ‘Pilates’ – I’d never heard of it, but as someone who enjoyed exercise and a being a regular attendee of group classes at my local gym it sparked an interest. In fact I remember just having a gut feeling, and without knowing anything about it, I decided that was it – Pilates was what I was going to do. It just felt right. I like to think, in fact, that Pilates chose me. I researched Pilates Teacher Training Schools and liked the sound of Body Control Pilates, where the training course seemed very thorough and comprehensive and included supervised teaching hours out in the real world, which many schools did not offer. To qualify to join the course, I had to attend classes with a Body Control Pilates Teacher for a while.
Coincidentally, at this time I was suffering with a terrible back from all the hours sitting at my desk, my high stress levels (don’t underestimate how much stress can increase your pain), poor posture (although I didn’t realise it at the time!) and throwing myself around in ‘Step’ classes and ‘Bums and Tums’. I used to wonder – ‘Why do I always get back pain after my ‘Bums and Tums’ class?’ Knowing what I do now, I understand it was poor technique in the exercises with no respect to the alignment of the spine and joints. I was exercising a lot, but not very well!
Why do I want to help people improve their lives?
As a result of starting my Pilates classes, I started to notice my back was getting much better. I hadn’t really expected this. I now realise this was because I was learning about good alignment and control, and my body awareness and posture were changing. I fell in love with the controlled, focussed movement of Pilates and I was so excited about starting my training. I was sure this was the right choice for me and I was so eager to share what I was learning with others. I came to realise that helping others was the fulfilment I was looking for and that finally I had found something worthwhile.
That was about 13 years ago now and since then Pilates has transformed my body and my life. Over those years, for me Pilates has changed from being simply a form of exercise that I enjoy and a way out of my unfulfilling office work, to becoming a true vocation and a way of life. Even if I wasn’t teaching Pilates, I would still be an enthusiastic practitioner as it’s different to any other exercise discipline out there, and I’ve tried a lot of them! My back pain is rarely an issue now, and on the odd occasion it does flare up, it is always the exercises and my awareness of how to sit, stand and move well that set me back on track. My clients say the same of themselves too. Through Pilates they have the tools to make themselves feel better.
I am passionate about helping people feel fitter, stronger and healthier. I want my clients to get rid of their aches, to get out of pain, to improve their posture and be more flexible, and to feel less stressed. Our daily lives certainly take their toll on us whatever our situation, whether you’re in a sedentary job sitting or standing too long, a keen gardener, a busy mum, a walking enthusiast, or have a passion for golf or dancing. My job involves a lot of bending over clients and lugging around equipment so even Pilates teachers are victims of their job! Having been that person with poor posture, stuck at a desk in a stressful job, plagued with aches and pains, but trying my best to keep fit by thrashing around the gym, I know how bad it can be for the body and mind.
I also know there’s a way to feel better, and that Pilates truly is a miracle worker.