Gentle Pilates

Pilates shell stretch

I have developed this class in response to what seems to be a growing number of individuals who wish to actively manage their physical health conditions but struggle to participate fully in mixed group classes due to specific limitations.

This physio-led Pilates class will provide a safe space to build confidence in movement and exercise without a feeling of overwhelm, or exclusion that can sometimes occur in mixed ability groups.

If you are recovering from illness or injury, or managing a longer term condition such as arthritis, or simply wish to participate in gentle, encouraging movement class without pressure to “achieve” more reps, more “burn”. If you are unsure about what your body is capable of following injury or in light of ongoing conditions and feel this is a barrier to you moving forward with positive health goals, this is the class for you.

To register your interest or find out more – contact me today.


5 Benefits of Pilates

Benefits of Pilates classes

1. Strength

Pilates is well known for it’s “core stability” training benefits, focussing as it does on movements from a stable ‘centre’ of deep abdominal and back muscles. It is also fantastic for developing strength in the gluteals, shoulders, and legs, through a variety of movements performed against your own body weight, in different positions eg. standing, quadruped, side lying. There is also the potential for more resistance, if we add in weights, or therabands.

2. Mobility

The Pilates matwork repertoire aims to mobilise joints and lengthen muscles, creating a fabulous feeling of suppleness, elasticity and energy. Pilates goes beyond simply stretching and aims to develop controlled mobility and a greater sense of awareness of movement. This can be particularly beneficial for people aiming to avoid overuse injuries or postural-related discomfort; those who live with hypermobility related conditions; and also during peri-natal months when hormonal changes cause increased laxity of joints.

3. Balance

Pilates will challenge your balance functionally, through a range of positions and tasks, which can help you develop better dynamic balance in both daily activities and sports.

Different types of muscles perform different roles in the production of movement. They have to function effectively as a team to create balanced movement. Sometimes, through work or training or just habitual movement patterns, the team goes awry slightly…!

Attention to good alignment in Pilates classes can help to re-educate the ‘team’ – easing tension in one area, while strengthening in another, thus restoring balanced movement.

Postural imbalance

4. Posture

A difficult element to quantify, but nonetheless, all of the benefits above will combine to influence the way you carry yourself day to day. A mobile and strong body and an awareness of how your particular body moves is a powerful thing! Plus, the verbal and visual cues we use in classes will quickly infiltrate your mind, as you find yourself telling your collarbones to smile whist walking down the high street!

5. Emotional Wellbeing

The concentration required for performing the precise movements in the correct form, is a form of mindful movement. Research is emerging about the effects of mindful practices on the brain, and their role in helping to reduce stress and manage anxiety and depression. My classes typically begin and / or end with a few moments of mindful awareness and possibly a guided relaxation.

Pilates for wellbeing

So, what are you waiting for? Contact me today to enquire about availability in classes or one-to-one tuition.

pilates, Uncategorized

Intro to Pilates

4 week course ideal for beginners or returners. Each week we will focus on a different aspect of Pilates:
Week 1 – The Fundamentals
Week 2 – Release and mobilise
Week 3 – Lengthen and strengthen
Week 4 – Balance and Integration
I hope that by the end of the course, you will have a tangible body-and-mind appreciation of the potential that Pilates can bring to your health and wellbeing.

I have wanted to do a course like this for a long time. Often at events, festivals and so on, “taster sessions” are offered to give people the chance to sample Pilates for the first time to see of they like it. I have done it myself and enjoyed taking part and sharing Pilates with new people.
But I think it is a missed opportunity.
The benefits of Pilates are realised over time. While 4 weeks will still only scratch the surface of what is achievable, I hope that it will give people a chance to sink into it a little bit more, to experiment with the sensations of movement; and, to feel invested in the principles from one week to the next and feel the change that that can bring to everyday life.
If you have ever wondered ‘what exactly IS Pilates?’
If you have read the articles about “5 reasons why Pilates is good for you” etc. and now you want to experience it in your body…
If you are simply wanting to kick start your exercise for the summer and start flexing some stiff joints and energise some tired muscles…
Get in touch today to find out more and reserve your place on the mat.
See you soon curious cats!
Pilates modified Teaser

Exercise or Movement…?

My name is Anna and I have a confession to make.

I’m not always in love with the idea of exercise. Exercise seems like too much effort, too much pressure, too much of a commitment. As a Mum, there is usually something else that I can prioritise higher than exercise. As somebody who struggles with low mood, there are days when even the start line seems out of reach.


I like to move my body. When I move my body, I feel good!

I have a few tricks up my sleeve, and they have mostly involved a shift in mindset about what exercise is. I know to some folk some of these may seem a bit flaky, or not intense enough. But, there is a thin end to every wedge…! Move a little and I guarantee you will feel inspired to move even more. Maybe even… shhhh…. exercise!!

1. I’ve already touched on this, but I think of it as moving my body! Doing what my body was built for. Exercise maybe reminds you of school cross country, or is something that other people do. On the telly. And are so brilliant at it they make living from it and what’s the point of you ever trying because right now walking up the stairs makes you a bit puffed? But we can all walk, stretch, breathe deeply. Start small and congratulate yourself for not doing nothing.

2. I like to imagine the muscles flexing and the heart and lungs adjusting without my saying so. I like to marvel at the physiology of me. This might not work for everybody – if you are not a physiology geek, for example. But give it a go. Get on the internet (or ask the nearest school-age child!) and learn a bit of basic biology about your body, and start to appreciate what an amazing bit of basic kit you have been blessed with – imperfections and all.

3. When I’m tired, I move my body while lying down. On a yoga mat. With a pillow. I hug my knees to my chest, I rock, I stretch my body out long on the mat. It’s nothing fancy. You couldn’t even classify it as yoga or pilates. If its the evening, I might even be in my pyjamas and have a glass of wine on the go. But I get up from the mat with a psychological advantage, that I did something to honour my body. It was a treat. I was good to myself. After stretching and moving little, I might find I can do a bit more, or go for a walk.

4. Leave your bag at home. When you step out of the door for a walk, just take the essentials. Head in the opposite direction of shops and cafes, and towards the trees and fields instead. Imagine you are on holiday and you are off for an explore or the local area. I have discovered some lovely spots very close to home that I never knew about until I began walking instead of cycling or driving. The walk becomes not about exercise, but about visiting those places, going to have a look and see what has changed or grown.

5. Don’t limit yourself. I used to think that if I had had a busy / active morning, I wasn’t allowed to do anything else the same night – I had to save it for another day. I know. Weird eh? But ask yourself if there are quirky ways that you might be limiting yourself too. Challenge yourself to THINK differently about movement. Think differently about your body.



There’s more to Pilates than the perfect bum…

… and, (sorry folks) – there’s more to a perfect derrière than Pilates. Pippa Middleton’s Pilates teacher is releasing a new DVD on Boxing day entitled ‘The Perfect Pilates Bum’. I’m sure Pilates teachers worldwide are grateful for Pippa’s fiscally stimulating tushy, but come now! There’s so much more to this than bums!!

This week I attended a brilliant class with Rachel Potter – she’s my original teacher – the woman who sorted out my hip pain, and inspired me to become an instructor myself. After the last few months of taking over and morphing Littlewolf Physio into Base Physio, I’ve spent hours at the computer, which is not my natural habitat. My shoulders and thoracic spine have been really playing up, and my breathing was all out of sync. The class was gentle – I was not sweating or begging for mercy – but by the end, my breath was calm and deep, and my shoulders were like butter.

Which brings me onto the next point. I love butter and all the delicacies it weaves it magic through, especially crumpets. I don’t gorge myself on it, but nor do I starve myself of it, which is why I don’t have a huge bottom. Yes, that’s right – I don’t hate my bottom. It’s just right for me and performs all its necessary functions (sitting, walking, running etc.) without showing me up too much. Yes, sometimes I wish it was a bit smaller because the cut of the skirt is ridiculous, but I’m more likely to blame the manufacturer of the skirt than myself. I’ve also got good genes. As has Pippa – have you seen her mother?

What Pilates does is make you stronger, it makes you stand taller and it makes you FEEL great and that my friends, is a very alluring combination whether your rump is bony or bumptious. Go on… give it a squeeze!

Outdoor Pilates with ball

New pencils and the whiff of wet grass.

Hurrah! I love summer, but despite the long hazy days, I have always felt the arrival of Autumn heralds more new possibilities than the new year. Do you remember the feeling of crisp new school uniform, a new pencil case filled with long, sharp pencils? The smell of wet muddy grass as you started the new school PE term with cross country? All right, maybe not that last one – running was never my forte. But new beginnings smell sweeter in Autumn, after the long hot-box of high summer has passed, but before the long dark icy nights have really taken hold.
So the new Pilates term is upon us, and I have spent the summer immersing myself in Mindfulness and meditation practices, and exploring movement. On holidays, I’ve hiked and biked and conquered Scafell – Yay! At home, as well as Pilates, I have been practicing some meditative, restorative yoga too, and currently I am on week two of the NHS Couch to 5k running program (muddy ankles after all – huzzah!) The yoga and Pilates has been interesting – Joseph Pilates himself studied Yoga (alongside zen meditation, and Greek and Roman exercise regimes) so it’s interesting to see how the two complement each other and where they differ. In my Pilates learning I am drawn increasingly towards slower, more mindful, exploratative practitioners as my influences. So classes this term will be encouraging you to feel and experience your own wonderful, amazing body. And then go out there and climb a mountain. Or the stairs. Or off the sofa! It doesn’t matter which – just move. Be alive.