My April 2019 Member Spotlight is shining on Alison. I have known Alison for a number of years, i’m trying to remember how many, 6??  She used to take classes with me at my old studio space in Guildford before she moved to Canada to do her PhD. Alison is now enjoys my online videos and is a regular on the community FB page.

Alison is a huge Pilates advocate, she completely “gets” the benefits and has invested wholeheartedly in her practice for as long as i’ve known her.

Below Alison shares her experiences of how Pilates has helped her.

I came to Pilates in my mid-twenties, quite by accident: recovering from long-term injury and ill health, I decided to return to a childhood hobby and take ballet lessons! The ballet teacher, Sue Percy, also taught Pilates and I quickly became addicted. I realised that one session a week stopped my aches and pains worsening, and two sessions a week actually helped to improve my health. Caroline came highly recommended when I moved to Surrey in 2011 and, although ballet fell by the wayside, I was so glad to keep taking Pilates classes. In addition to the physical benefits, Caroline’s mat and equipment classes were always friendly and welcoming. No matter how stressful work was, getting to Pilates would help to lift my spirits and lower my shoulders.Another move in 2015 took me to Canada, at which point I started doing a lot more yoga: I actually enjoyed it so much that I’ve just completed yoga teacher training and plan to teach yoga part-time alongside my ‘day job’. Yet, while the two disciplines are complementary, Pilates provides some distinct physical benefits and so I was thrilled when Caroline launched her online classes last year. I begin most mornings by doing a five- or ten-minute Pilates session in my pyjamas while the tea brews. It’s a great way to check in with my body at the start of the day and notice what needs stretching or realigning. Caroline’s cueing in the videos is so useful: if I’m doing my own thing, I tend to rush through the exercises without much attention to core engagement and controlled movement. My favourite exercises are back extension and swimming, probably because my most hated exercise is hundreds. You can draw your own conclusions about my abdominal strength!I use the soft ball a lot in my home practice.Although I’m not doing equipment classes at the moment, I love working on the reformer for it’s help with balance and alignment.  I would definitely encourage people to take a mixture of mat and equipment classes if possible: good teaching on the equipment helps you understand how your body should feel on the mat – the two processes really build on one another.There are two reasons why I keep doing Pilates. Firstly, it consistently makes my body stronger and healthier, without the injury risks that many other exercise regimes pose. Secondly, excellent teaching. As a teacher myself, I really value the expertise that Caroline and other teachers who’ve trained to her level bring to their classes. There’s a clear sense of progression in her classes, with targeted advice on how to improve – and so much variety in terms of the actual exercises. I love that each of the videos on the website offers a different challenge. Nothing bores me more than going to a fitness class where an instructor ‘recites’ a routine with no accommodation made for the people in the room!