From stressed out chef to stretched out instructor – Meet Ben Rashleigh

Accumulating years of 75-plus hour weeks being hunched over a bench, Ben Rashleigh developed chronic lower back pain and was forced to wear a brace on a daily basis just to accomplish simple daily tasks.

Benjamin’s physiotherapist recommended he take up Pilates to combat the damage that had been done and he quickly developed a passion for the discipline, which in turn prompted him to become a pilates instructor.

“I had a really bad back and a notoriously rigid body so started to get into pilates”

“I call this the 1 leg in strap exercise”

If you want to connect with Ben or to find out more about Aligned for Life Pilates and National Pilates training email today!

From Accomplished Accountant to Graceful Swan – Meet Kellie Brearley

With over 10 years personal experience in Pilates, including training through two pregnancies, Kellie has developed a passion for Pilates and a strong appreciation for the strength and stability Pilates brings to the body and everyday life.

A strong belief in the effectiveness of The Pilates Method and a desire to inspire others led Kellie to embark on a career change after 20 years of being a Chartered Accountant in corporate business.

This week we interviewed Kellie to find out more…

“What I love about pilates is that it continuously challenges and inspires me”


“The Swan has always been a challenging range of movement,
particularly because I have spent 20 years sitting at a desk in that forward flex position”

Kellie takes regular classes with Kath Banks (owner of Aligned for Life Moonee Ponds) and participates in continuing education workshops to continue to learn and further develop as a Pilates instructor.

If you want to connect with Kellie or to find out more about Aligned for Life Pilates and National Pilates training email today!

From the United Kingdom to Moonee Ponds… Meet our valued team member Danielle Jones!

Danielle is all about caring for people, as you would imagine from a nurse of over 10 years. Danielle first started participating in Pilates in 2003 and she was so inspired by the benefits of The Pilates Method that after returning from working in the UK, she went on to train as an instructor.

Danielle commenced her Certificate IV in Pilates Instruction in 2009, and went on to study the Diploma of Professional Pilates Instruction in 2010. She now works as a Pilates Instructor Level 1 at our Moonee Ponds studio helping clients to live better, healthier lives.

“One of the things I love about The Pilates Method is it’s such an adaptive form of  exercise”

“Tendon Stretch is a very challenging exercise both physically and mentally”

If you want to connect with Danielle or to find out more about Aligned for Life Pilates and National Pilates training email today!

Sneak a peek at Chris this week…he’s our newest team member!

This week we wanted to introduce you to our newest team member Chris Kelly. Instead of writing about our interview, we thought we could let Chris talk to you directly through some videos he created just for you!


“For me The Pilates Method is a form of movement

and we use this form of movement to help heal our clients”

“I use my past experiences from massage and in Chinese medicine

to provide a more holistic view of the situation”

Watch this space for some videos down the track of Chris doing his favourite warm up exercises.

If you want to connect with Chris or to find out more about Aligned for Life Pilates and National Pilates training email today!

Up at 5am, asleep at Midnight… What Makes Katrina Edwards tick?

“I am still trying to figure out who I am…as soon as I think I know who I am, something occurs in my day and I realise how much further I have to go. Accepting that is something that took me years to acknowledge and be ok with. I think I can finally say at 49 that I have accepted that and the not knowing excites me.

My day is full, sometimes spilling over but always rich and varied. I feel privileged. I have created work opportunities for myself and I have designed my career. I am surrounded by clever people, more knowledgeable than myself and therefore I am constantly learning, growing and developing.

Each day I learn a little more and each day I realise life is so much more fun when you share it with others.”

“Life is a game of participation”


If you want to connect with Katrina or to find out more about Aligned for Life Pilates and National Pilates training email Katrina on today!

Who is the new owner of Aligned for Life Pilates – Richmond?

With some exciting new changes in the Richmond studio, we decided to do an interview with the new owner Wendy Turner. Wendy has a wealth of knowledge, experience and passion for pilates. Here’s what Wendy had to say.


Can you share with us a bit about your pilates journey?

“I’m the new owner of Aligned for life Pilates in Richmond. I’ve been practising Pilates for the last 14 years and decided in 2009 that I wanted to have a career change and teach Pilates to others. I qualified with National Pilates Training at the end of 2010. I’m balancing teaching Pilates and running a studio with golf, hopefully twice a week to maintain my skills, caring for my two whippets, and with my husband Warwick looking after two gardens and houses. ”


I hear you’ve made a recovery from serious illness. Can you tell us about your illness and what you did to get yourself on the road recovery?

“I was successfully treated for cancer one year ago. Due to my twice weekly Pilates classes with Katrina Edwards and a focus on leading a healthy life, I felt very strong going into my treatment regime. I listened to my body and started Pilates again when I felt that I had enough strength to physically cope with that level of exercise. It didn’t take long to start to see positive changes. I’m a great believer in listening to your body.”



One of your hobbies is golf, can tell me a bit about that?

“In 2013 I started playing golf. Pilates has really benefited my golf game and I wanted to share that with other women at my club, the Box Hill Golf Club.”


What are your preactivation tips before golfing and where can we find your videos?

“Because torso rotation is such a significant part of a golf swing, I start with standing wall rotations and then move to flat back twists with a golf club held across my shoulders. Single leg standing leg bends on each leg are beneficial in building strength in the hips to anchor the body and provide some power behind the swing. I’ve recently made some pre activation videos which are on the Aligned for Life Pilates you tube channel for all to see”



You can connect with Wendy on and come see her at Aligned For Life Pilates in Richmond today!

International Pilates Day Proudly Supporting the Butterfly Foundation for Eating Disorders

Matwork Masterclass “The Maggie Story Workshop – Returning to Life” Presented by Maggie Macgill

Saturday 6th May is International Pilates Day and Aligned for Life Pilates is offering this amazing heartfelt workshop to everyone for simply a gold coin donation.

Gain a rich sense of the healing potential of the Pilates Method, as well as a deeper connection to your own body, by participating in this memorable Matwork masterclass, led by Maggie Macgill – as part of Aligned for Life Pilates’ celebration of International Pilates Day.


Anorexia is a serious mental illness with devastating physical consequences. Pilates is a potent practice that can make a significant contribution to a successful recovery from Anorexia. With awareness and understanding of this commonly misunderstood illness, we can apply the Pilates Method to specifically address some of the key physical and psychological effects of Anorexia.

Book your place for this masterclass online and let us know you’re coming!

Download the flyer for more details.

Matwork Masterclass

Returning to Life – The Maggie Story

with Maggie Macgill

Where: Aligned for Life studios, L 4, 370 Lt Bourke Street,

When: Saturday 6 May 2017 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Cost: Gold coin donation

Book now via the studio booking website

and see you on the day to join in the fun!

How Pilates saved Chantel from invasive and painful surgery – Who is Chantel Roulston and what is her story?

Chantel started Pilates while studying at The Australian Ballet School under the guidance of Andrew Baxter. With a 15 year career as a ballerina with the Hong Kong Ballet and English National Ballet, she danced the lead roles in Swan Lake, the Nutcracker and many George Balanchine works, as well as dancing for the Queen at Buckingham Palace, on the main stage at Glastonbury music festival and in the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games. This week we interviewed Chantel to find out more about her pilates journey and how pilates saved her from invasive and painful surgery.


Why did you start Pilates?

“I started Pilates while training as a ballet dancer at the Australian Ballet School. It was part of the curriculum but I also did extra classes to gain more strength and control of my body. The teacher I started with, Andrew Baxter, was amazing and it made a huge difference to my posture, spinal control and leg alignment. After graduating I moved to Hong Kong and joined the Hong Kong Ballet as a professional ballet dancer. There wasn’t a Pilates studio where I could go that fitted into my schedule, but I knew enough to get by and was able to continue with self practice. I did it every day and used it as a warm up at the start of my day, to get ready for rehearsals, to prepare for performances and for injury prevention and rehab. There are always injuries as a dancer. I didn’t have any major ones at the time, only a few minor ones, and always used Pilates to get back on track and to prevent them from getting worse. After 9 and a half years in Hong Kong I moved to London and joined English National Ballet. The rehearsal and performance schedule was very tough mentally and physically, but there was a Pilates studio onsite and this became my safe haven to find mental calmness and the physical strength I needed for the demanding job of a professional ballerina.”


Why did you become a pilates teacher?

“I’m a forward planning type of person and so I wanted a plan of what I would do after ballet, even before it was time to retire. I’d considered becoming a Pilates instructor, especially after the years of training with Andrew Baxter. He had become a mentor to me, and even though I lived overseas for 16 years, I continued to train with him whenever I was back in Melbourne visiting my family. I loved his endless knowledge of Pilates and the body and how it could help with every physical challenge that came my way. In 2010 I sustained a hip tear which was my first severe injury. I could barely walk for the first few weeks and I was in so much pain. Usually surgery is required at that stage and the rehab is really long, around 12 months. I was almost 31 and I didn’t want to take a year off so I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I worked with the Pilates teacher at English National Ballet and did loads and loads of Pilates to strengthen the muscles around my pelvis and hip socket to support the tear. Within about 6 weeks I had gotten rid of most of the inflammation and was able to go back to performing! I continued my intense Pilates training and within 3-4 months I was back with full hip mobility range, and dancing with no pain. A follow up appointment with the hip surgeon revealed there was no longer any need for surgery. I had managed to avoid a major surgery that would have had me out for 12 months or more. After that it was confirmed in me that I was going to be a Pilates teacher post-ballerina! I knew if it could help me avoid surgery then imagine how it could help so many other people.”


What do you love most about The Pilates Method?

“I loved it when I was a dancer as it mentally and physically prepared me for rehearsals and performances. I love it now as I am still a dancer at heart and I can continue to push my limits and find new ways to challenge myself and be creative in the studio and on the equipment.”


What’s your favourite exercise?

“Reformer jumpboard work!”


How do you use The Pilates Method in your day and in your week?

“I do sessions every day, I even have a reformer in my home. I use it to prepare for my teaching days. I either do a full session or at least a warm up every day before I teach my clients, and then possibly another one if I need an energy boost during or at the end of a long day.”


Tell us about your role at National Pilates Training and Aligned For Life Pilates.

“I am an assessor for National Pilates Training and also taking on a new role this year as Faculty Educator. For Aligned For Life Pilates I am a Pilates instructor for the CBD and Moonee Ponds studios.”


What makes you get out of bed in the morning?

“I guess I have always been quite driven and set goals for myself, especially as a dancer to perform the steps perfectly and have amazing shows. As a Pilates teacher and educator, I want to keep myself in a healthy and happy condition so I continue to set myself goals and look to how I can achieve them. Now I can also help my clients and students to do the same.”


Contact Chantel and come see her in an Aligned For Life studio today.

Pilates helped me to live a better life with my family and on the tennis court!

Tas Tzikas was suffering from lower back pain and poor flexibility. This was not just a physical issue, as it was affecting the quality of his life including his ability to be able to play games and sports with his sons. Tas was looking for something to help improve his back pain, his flexibility and to get him back into the game of life. That’s where Aligned for Life and The Pilates Method comes in. We spoke to Tas to find out more.


Why did you start learning The Pilates Method?

“It was recommended by my chiropractor to sort out my lower back pain and to increase my flexibility. This was an alternative to a more drastic measure of having surgery. I have a lot of friends that are doing The Pilates Method with Aligned For Life Pilates and they were and still are getting wonderful results. I also had a friend that is doing it to help after his surgery and he swears by it.”


What was your physical health like before you started at Aligned for Life Pilates?

“It was average. I had constant back pain and a real lack of flexibility. With 2 boys at 8 & 6 years old something had to change. Now I can happily play with the boys. What Chantel has done for me this year has been amazing. She always gives 110%. I’ve done different types of pilates before but nothing compares to the expertise and care given by Chantel and The Pilates Method of training. It really was chalk and cheese. She is so knowledgeable, caring and nurturing and guides me through the whole process. I do the one on one sessions with Chantel and it is great!


What are some of the results you have achieved with The Pilates Method so far?

“I can now manage my back pain and my flexibility is so much better I am able to play tennis again which I hadn’t done in such a long time. Being able to play tennis again is wonderful. It’s had a huge impact on my lifestyle in such a positive way. I’m able to play with my kids like never before. Now we’re constantly moving on scooters, playing sports and things like that.”

What is it like to train with Aligned For Life Pilates?

“They are great. I have some friends that I know who also go to Aligned For Life Pilates and they both say the same thing. One friend has been going there since AFL started. It is always a great experience, very positive and everyone is very helpful. I look forward to going to my sessions which is a bit opposite to when I have to go to the gym that’s for sure!



What would you say to anyone who was suffering from pain or discomfort and was considering starting The Pilates Method?

“Take it on. Don’t hesitate. I always happy to recommend starting with Aligned for Life Pilates to anyone.”

AFL Xmas Voucher


Contact Kath or Chantel today to enquire about a voucher for yourself or someone you care about.

633a Mt Alexander Rd
Moonee Ponds

You Too Can Help Someone You Know – The Story of Marilena


Marilena Joannides was a very sporty child loving a range of activities with Basketball being one of them. Then at the age of 13, during a basketball match, Marilena tore the meniscus in her knee. The thing is that “in those days” Marilena explained, the way to fix this was to remove the meniscus all together! Needless to say this caused a a lot of issues for Marilena including pain, discomfort and osteoarthritis. Marilena was looking for something to help with her chronic pain and to enable her to have a better quality of life. Luckily, Marilena found The Pilates Method and has never looked back. We spoke to her to find out more.


Why did you start learning The Pilates Method?

“At the age of 13 I tore the meniscus on my right knee. In those days to ‘fix’ this they took the meniscus out all together. So I ended up with a range of issues with movement and chronic pain plus osteoarthritis. In 2000, at the age of 34 my knee was so bad it was recommended to me to start The Pilates Method. In 2005 I ended up having a femoral osteotomy – this would buy me 5 years before I would have to have a knee replacement. Then in 2010 I had a total replacement. Pilates is what’s kept me going. I’ve been doing pilates for almost 17 years. If I had not done Pilates I don’t think I would be walking right now. It has kept me strong mentally and physically.”


What was your physical health like before you started at Aligned for Life Pilates?

“I was pretty unfit because I had pain all the time. I was overweight. Often when pain takes over your whole mental state suffers and you don’t think clearly. I also had a 3 year old and a 6 year old when I started pilates. I wasn’t very fit at all but something had to change.”


What are some of the results you have achieved with The Pilates Method so far?

“I feel that the things I learn in Pilates transfer to my day to day life. I have quite a physical job so it helps me when I think of the things I learn in The Pilates Method for the physical parts of my job. I think about my core in my work and also when I am in the gym doing other exercises like weights, and cycling. Mentally it has been really great for me too. The knee replacement is due for a resurfacing operation soon as one of the parts has worn out. Yesterday I went into do a session with Kath in Moonee Ponds and I was in a LOT of pain, especially in my back, because when one part of the body is out of alignment it affects other parts. By the end of the session I walked out almost pain free, this is pretty astounding!”


Marilena Splits

What is it like to train with Aligned For Life Pilates?

“I always find the team are very accommodating and flexible. I do most of my training with Kath Banks and she is wonderful. Even though you are given a program, Kath is always able to adapt my sessions to suit what’s going on for me in that particular day. It is a very calming environment too. I always feel at peace when I am doing my pilates, it’s a bit like meditation really”




Image: Marilena Performing the Upside Down Splits on the Cadillac 



Marinela Hand Stand


What would you say to anyone who was suffering from pain or discomfort and was considering starting The Pilates Method?

“I have recommended it to so many people and I have a lot of friends and family that are doing The Pilates Method now because they have seen my results. A lot of people don’t understand the benefits or what it is and that they have to be patient when they go as it does take a bit of time to understand what it all means. It’s not simple but if you can master the breathing techniques and getting to know your body you will get there. I am very in-tune with my body now and that’s really important. I am always recommending it to people. I don’t think people realise how beneficial it can be. It has helped me through the recovery period of every single one of my operations and I have had 9 operations! I can’t recommend it highly enough.”



Image: Marilena Performing a Hand Stand


AFL Xmas Voucher


Contact Kath today to enquire about a voucher for yourself or someone you care about.

633a Mt Alexander Rd
Moonee Ponds