Meet the Team
We employ a range of highly trained and experienced Pilates Practitioners who have all undertaken a fully comprehensive training course on the specialized Pilates equipment. Our team have worked with established training bodies and professional practices from all over the world and we encourage them to continue their training develop their own practice.
We asked our teachers the following questions about their Pilates experience:
- What was your first experience in the Pilates Method?
- Please tell us a little about your training.
- We are sure you love all the repertoire, but if you had to choose just one Pilates move, which is your favorite and why?
Whilst training as a contemporary dancer at LABAN, London in 1990, I was introduced to Pilates as a good supporting practice to help avoid common injuries and learn about my body.
I was skeptical at first and wasn’t sure that I connected to the breathing cues and really understood the small movements. My Ballet teacher recommended I tried a session on the Pilates Equipment, got me to stretch my Glutes (bottom muscles) for what seemed like an eternity, it changed the way I stood and was instantly a changed person!
I went on to dance professionally both in the UK and Europe, later returning to Derby to be part of Derby Dance Development (Deda),but continued to practice Pilates to support my body.
Taking a sabbatical in 2002, I undertook my fully comprehensive training in Pilates at the Pilates Institute of Australasia, under the tuition of Allan Menezies, working with a range of international tutors and clients from different disciplines. This gave me not only the passion for the amazing repertoire of Joseph Pilates, but also the appreciation of how the method can be adapted and developed to accommodate anybody’s needs.
Oooh…this question is like Desert Island Discs. If I had to choose just one (it still ought to be the Glute Stretch all these years later!) Pilates exercise it would have to be the Small Pelvic Tilt. It’s such a simple looking exercise that pretty much everyone has the capacity to do, but with such great benefits: lower abdominal and pelvic floor connection, hamstring and glute strength, pelvic stability and spinal mobility. Great control – can be done almost anywhere!
I first came across Pilates as a dance student at Middlesex University in 1988, and it kept me strong enough to complete my degree after injury in my second year. I was sidetracked for a few years into teaching dance, creative movement and choreography as well as backstage theatre and equipment work.
I moved to Derby in 1999 and discovered the teacher training studio in Derby Dance Centre as it was then; where Rachel Rafiefar, a Pilates Foundation trainer, returned me to full health and strength, following illness and major abdominal surgery. I have been teaching at Body in Mind Pilates since finishing the two-year comprehensive training in 2002.
I love that Pilates gives participants, of any level, the tools to release tension, create stronger muscles in a long, lean way and maintain a healthier moving body.
If I was only allowed to do one Pilates exercise, it would probably be the Mermaid, as it transfers from the floor onto nearly every piece of studio equipment. It stretches the spine, waist, arms, neck, glutes, and helps to open the hips. There are also adaptations to stretch the lower back, behind the shoulders, between the shoulder blades and to open the hip flexors a little. It works the waist muscles and can be loaded to strengthen the arms too. Mermaid is a very adaptable, whole body work-out and stretch.
I first discovered Pilates back in the 90’s whilst working in London as a Producer for an advertising agency. Long hours sat behind a desk or in an edit suite left little room for exercise and a dodgy back. My sister was a Pilates teacher and persuaded me to give it a go. I organised myself and made time to attend classes on a weekly basis. I was amazed at the difference in my posture and how energised I felt after class, my back pain eased. I was hooked!
It had become such an integral part of my life that after having a career break to bring up my children I made the decision to completely change career path and qualify as a Pilates teacher with Body Control Pilates®. As well as completing their matwork course I have recently qualified as a low back pain practitioner and also attended courses on bone health, Pilates for Runners and Pilates for the Older Person. I am now part way through my reformer training and looking forward to working in Studio 1 when qualified.
I feel extremely lucky and am thankful to now be in the position to share the many benefits and magic of Pilates with others.
It’s very tough to pick a favorite exercise but if I could only choose one it would be the Bridge/Long Pelvic Tilt, it’s brilliant for stabilising and strengthening the pelvis and hips, it works the backs of the legs and buttocks whilst lengthening the front of the thighs. It can be mellow and mindful by focusing on sequentially lifting the spine or you can make it more dynamic adding in arms and legs. It always seems to be a class favorite!
My introduction to Pilates Matwork was 17 years ago when I moved to Derbyshire from London after having my children and having developed lower back pain.
I practised Pilates every week in a class and whilst doing many other forms of exercise it became increasingly more apparent that this was the one form of exercise that made me feel energised, stronger and more flexible and it made the most sense for longevity.
In 2016 I qualified as a fully comprehensive instructor having completed my training at the Pilates Clinic in Wimbledon where I trained with BASI (Body Arts and Science International).
I think it is fair to say my favourite exercise in the matwork repertoire is the Roll-up because I have seen many people struggle with this at the outset but with commitment, dedication and increasing abdominal strength I see people reach their goals and feel an immense sense of achievement.
Teaching at the Body in Mind Studio in Darley Abbey, throughout Derbyshire and also at 3 annual Pilates and Mindfulness Retreats in Marrakech, Morocco has given me a great insight into the benefits of regular Pilates practice for overall wellbeing and continued health and happiness. Pilates is a form of exercise that is accessible for anyone, no matter what age or fitness level. It makes being an instructor a very rewarding job. I continue with my learning and have also recently trained to teach Face Yoga.
I fell in love with Pilates when I attended a Beginners Workshop, not long after having my first child 17 years ago. I loved the headspace it gave me and the freedom of movement. I quickly started to regain my strength and regain my pre-natal posture after attending regular classes.
My teacher, a contemporary dancer, encouraged me to train as a Pilates teacher and as my background was as a health educator, it was a natural progression.
I trained with Body Control Pilates, London and have been teaching for nearly 11 years as a Matwork and Fully Comprehensive Equipment teacher.
Exceeding people’s expectations about how they will feel after experiencing the Pilates method is my favourite thing about teaching. It always gives me a sense of great satisfaction to see a physical and mental change in a new client.
My all-time favourite mat-based exercise is Open Leg Rocker. It’s a movement I find that gives me everything in one: it mobilises the spine, lengthens the hamstrings and above all is a challenge. It’s also a good movement to demonstrate to clients what they can achieve with consistency. Plus, it makes most people fall about laughing when trying for the first time!