It is true many Pilates instructors do come from a dance background as its a logical segue from dance with both disciplines being about body awareness and movement. However there are many of us like myself that don't fall into this stereotype.
I came from a Fine Arts background and while studying I accrued a great deal of professional experience in the hospitality industry. So much so by the time I finished my Post graduate degree in Visual Arts I was a restaurant manager and working on Art commissions on the side.
I came to Pilates as a client — it was borne out of a need to try something new. I was always slim and active but I was never one for exercise. Yet in some abstract logic, I equated ‘slim and active’ to ‘fit and strong’ — this was until my first Pilates class. At the time I was 30 years old and unawares of how this day was to forever shape and transform me and change my life.
I remember the day like it was yesterday… I was lying on the mat stuck and reaching for my toes - unable to pull myself forward to sit/ roll up . I was shocked at how I had no strength in my body to execute such a simple task. It was a rude awakening and since this day, I was committed to my Pilates training.
It wasn’t an easy feat to get my body into shape, I lost count of the number of days of waking up with muscle aches and pains as I ‘broke’ my body into shape during my Pilates apprenticeship. In all modesty, to say “I have come a long way” — is an understatement. As time passed — I felt stronger, I stood taller, I moved better — I felt empowered and was inspired by Pilates.
People often ask “what drew me to Pilates?” and if I were to sum up my elevator speech in three words… it would be the ‘Focus, Strength and Spirit. My Mind was focused, my body was strong and my Spirit was lifted. Joseph Pilates always said, “Pilates is about Mind, Body and Spirit”, and for me it was Pilates was/ is exactly that.
I have had many wonderful Pilates teachers over the years, all of which have inspired me in more ways than one. I’ll never forget one what of my teachers (Master trainer - Cynthia Lochard) said when I first started as an apprentice, “you may not be a dancer, but I’m going to teach you to move like one” and to her credit she followed through on her promise.