What inspired you to start pilates?
A physiotherapist recommended it to me after I suffered a minor but annoying shoulder injury. Also some of my beautiful nieces were ballet dancers and they practised it and loved it, so I was keen to try it. I’d heard that it was about strength, balance and flexibility, and I’ve loved it since my first ever class.
How long have you been practising pilates?
I went regularly to some gym-based classes in Sydney when I lived there about four years ago, and I was so pleased when Ellissa started up Mountains Pilates with classes every week, just over two years ago. I’ve barely missed a class in that time.
What areas were you looking to improve by committing to weekly classes?
Definitely abdominal strength and general flexibility. As I get older I’m very much aware of needing to maintain flexibility and good posture so I can hopefully be a sprightly old lady one day!
What kind of benefits have you experienced?
I feel stronger and more flexible, and firmer! I am also much more aware of my core - my abdominal muscles and pelvic floor - and recognise how important they are in daily movement. I try to think about engaging them and using them whenever I have to physically exert myself at home and at work.
It takes a lot of commitment to come every week at 7.30am! Can you describe why you keep coming?
It’s a really great way to start the morning, and you really feel virtuous for the whole day afterwards. Also it’s a really nice class, there’s a lot of camaraderie and we have a good time together!
Is there anyone that does Pilates that inspires or motivates you to continue?
Yes a few people, in different ways... There’s my buddy who’s been coming with me since the beginning, I hate to let her down by not coming! And of course there’s Ellissa our instructor - I know and can see what Pilates has done for her, and she is so encouraging and supportive.
What is the most challenging area for you? (Concentration, flexibility, endurance, abs, gluteal work etc...)
I’d say it’s a combination of concentration and abs. Over the course of the hour-long lesson it can be tricky to remember to keep that core engaged, luckily Ellissa keeps reminding us periodically!
What are some of your favourite exercises or stretches?
I love the Clam, and Clam extension, and even the Bicycle! These side floor exercises really seem to bring everything together for me, because everything’s working at once - also when your glutes ache you really know you’ve been working hard! The same goes for your arms with planks and the tricep curl. Oh, and everybody loves Rolling Like A Ball!
Do you have anything to say to anyone thinking about joining a pilates class?
I thoroughly recommend it. I’ve been feeling stronger, more balanced and flexible, and even taller* since starting. I can especially recommend Mountains Pilates with Ellissa - this is a relaxed, friendly and welcoming class for beginners, and a thorough workout no matter what your level!
*Feeling taller is an immediate and transitory after-class euphoric effect, caused by all that lovely stretching!
Australians are now sitting at desks longer each day, travelling long hours and developing 'text neck' from living a social life through mobile phones. While embracing the digital age, we must also recognise the negative affect that this can have on our bodies.