My journey to become a Pilates Instructor

Pilates Class

I’m thrilled to say that this year I have qualified as Pilates Polestar Mat teacher.

6 years ago I started my journey into greater movement, and standing taller. I had found a system that would enable me to finally undo a life time of dealing with my kyphotic spinem and am so excited to be able to offer this to others. In much the same way that a doctor gets sick and psychiatrists have their own
demons to battle, I had struggled with chronic movement problems myself for years. When I began Pilates, a consistent practice each week which worked on fixing these issues through accessible movement which strengthened the body and helped rewire neurological function in the right way, it was a game changer.

I soon realised this could be the same for patients in my practice. I pointed them in the direction of various classes, until I was asked one day why I couldn’t create a movement plan for them myself. It was an excellent point!

From there I enrolled myself in the Polestar Pilates Mat Teachers programme, which this year I completed. Whilst training I was able to offer classes as a trainee and the results have already been fantastic – I’ve seen it help a wide variety of problems.

One of the most significant areas we have worked on is the lumber spine, looking at dysfunction and injury that causes chronic back pain. I’ve seen Pilates help by create natural rotational movement through the thoracic spine, allowing the lumber spine to function fully within its own role, to bear weight for the body, aiding in flexion, extension, and lateral movement. It’s incredibly satisfying to have seen how this reduces back pain significantly and without causing further problems, as gentle movement ensures the spine is not overworked.

My classes are quite unique. I’ve been working as a physiotherapist for over 25 years, and the way which Pilates allows you to create movement in the body speaks to me in an exceptional way that is really practical and functional. When I started practicing it, and learning to teach it, everything slotted
into place in the map of the human body that is hardwired into my brain. The Pilates I offer reflects this.

We not only focus on conditioning and improving flexibility and suppleness, which is an essential part of Pilates, but also on working the body in the right way to enable greater, even life-changing, levels of mobility.

As a physiotherapist, I feel uniquely positioned, and privileged, to be able to offer these classes. Whether you’re simply looking for a way to test your body each week, strengthen a certain aspect to aid a sport or hobby, or want to aid the recovery of an injury, these Pilates sessions will be able to help you.

I teach two class groups a week, or 121 sessions with in the clinic. If you’d like to find out more about them, just give me a ring and we can see what works for you.

I can’t wait to start the journey with you – here’s to a more mobile future!

Who inspires you?

I have just finished making my way through Jenni Murray’s A History of Britain in 21 Women, a rather fitting read given the fact that incredible women are dominating our news currently, moving and shaking a sadly still unequal world.

Murray chooses twenty one women who changed the world with their extraordinary achievements.

The first two in the book are Boadicea and Queen Elizabeth, which made me smile as these women were my inspiration as a 10 – 12 year old young girl.  They had determination in spite of life’s circumstances, and they stood for what they believed in, in spite of what would have been easier for them.  They dug deep within themselves so that even when people around them chose not to believe in them, there they were anyway, standing strong and staying true to what they believed in.

The women in Jenni Murray’s book were ‘change makers’ and the thing they all have in common is that none of it came easy – but they knew it was their right to be full and true versions of themselves. I always wanted that for myself, so I modelled those qualities – in many ways I pretended that I was who I wanted to be already, which made me believe it could come true.

When studying with Judith Lowe on a NLP Practitioner Course, I realized that I have used ‘modelling’ all my life. In Joseph O’Connor & John Seymour’s book Introducing NLP, they say ‘Modelling can be simply defined as the process of replicating human excellence’. They go on further to state ‘By using our mind and body in the same way as a peak performer, we can immediately increase the quality of our actions and our results.  NLP models what is possible because real human beings have actually done it’.

Modelling is a way of practicing success by imagining it; by holding it in your mind’s eye, it becomes so much easier to reach your aims and achieve what you want. Life is to be lived, and being brave in the face of long-term pain or a sport injury that stops you from reaching your pinnacle isn’t always easy.

We often ask people when they visit the practice ‘Who inspires you’?  Could you imagine those qualities in yourself? Sometimes, if this feels too difficult, we ask simply what makes you feel good? Can you ‘dance it out’ to lift your mood, or walk your dog, listen to music? Next time it feels your doubts are defeating you, have a go at imagining how brilliant and brave you actually are – start by making one step on the right direction.

We can all get to where we want to be with the right kind of support, and that’s what we aim to give at Flexible Healing.



Taking a ‘buffer day’

A quick post for you at a busy time of the year.

I have been treating an older couple for a number of years, who have taught me so much about growing wiser with the passing years. Often in the therapeutic world we are taught that we need the teach our patients all about ‘leading and pacing’, but I have often found that for most people with long term pain, it just makes them feel worse to be told this, slightly patronizing and limiting .

Well my wise older couple don’t pace and lead. Insead they have what they call a ‘buffer day’ – these days are for regrouping and relaxing, catching up on anything that’s been neglected recently, to make themselves more ready for the other things in life which make them smile, whether that’s a longer walk, trip shopping, or off on an aeroplane to some sunshine. I have shared the buffer day theory with many of my patients, who totally take it on board; it has stopped them trying to cram too much in, as they plan in their buffer day rather than crashing or burning out. They find it empowering and has helped them manage their pain states much better – I hope it helps you too.


Leaning into the ‘pause’

Autumn, I truly enjoy the changing leaves, the rich colour that comes, so varied in shade, I love just this time ofyear. For me it brings reflection, reminds me that nothing is set in stone. There is always the possibility that nothing has to stay the same, we can be inspired to be brave. It’s also nature’s way demonstrating renewal and rest.

We find in the practice that the hardest challenge for most people is the take a moment for themselves, checking in with ‘efforting’, inner dialogue of ‘well I just have to’ and ‘I don’t like to so no’ even if they are tired over worked. What stops us from just ‘taking a pause’ this could be just a little sit down with a cuppa, and tune into your own breathing, or in a window space and view the world whatever that is. Giving time for gathering, reflection. We have read this spring   Shondra Rhimes , ‘A Year of Saying Yes’,

We have been recommending the chapter on saying YES! to saying NO!, Shondra invites us always ask ‘is this good for me’. So in this season of change and chance, we can be brave, step a toe into putting ourselves first. As we are kinder to ourselves,  we often find we have the energy to give to others without it feeling draining, or feeling resentful both can be unhelpful to our nervous system.

Our Stories inform our work as body work therapists

As I was preparing for the upcoming, Introduction to the Hendrickson Method, there a number participants who are fairly new to body work. It caused a deal of reflection within me, wondering when body work and movement became embedded with myself.

I believe we have to know our own story before we can hear another’s, its understanding where we are from.

I am from Bradford born on the 21st August 1959, on a hot summer’s night, disappointing my parents deeply as I was born a girl, with as I am told ‘twisted legs’. For the next four and a half months my Mum took me the physiotherapy department each day, where the therapist would massage my whole body starting at my big toe, up the front of my body down the back of my body. Then they would place my legs on splints and bind, them after 4 months they were straight. Then it is told I was walking by the time I was 9 months old.

I grew up in a very emotionally, at times violent abusive household, took the form in many ways. I learnt to watch how my parents and extended family moved, I soon worked how what movements meant danger, how to keep myself safe and ‘head them off at the pass.

I never did academically achieve or shone at school. I did notice that I had a huge curiosity for the world how it worked and the people with in it. My thoughts as a 12 year old what we were all just kind, and listened to people the world would be an easier place to be my senior school headmaster asked of us what did we want to be, he said he had great expectation of all of us not just the bright ones !! I knew deeply heart felt on my part I was here to help people.

These early life stories shape us, inform us as we walk through life for better or worse, we chose how and what we learn. Certainly as therapist I believe they inform the treatment’s we offer.