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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 email@example.com today!
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org today!
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.
“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 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.”
“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.”
“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”
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!
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!
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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Reformer jumpboard work!”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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.
“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.”
“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!“
“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.”
“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!“
“Take it on. Don’t hesitate. I always happy to recommend starting with Aligned for Life Pilates to anyone.”
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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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!”
“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”
“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.”
Farah Beaini was a very active and physically fit young woman, but after a series of injuries and subsequently suffering from chronic pain issues for 2 years, Farah was looking for something to help with her pain and to enable her to get back to doing the things she loved. Luckily, Farah found the answer. We spoke to her to find out more.
“I was recommended Pilates by both my GP and a physio as a way to deal with chronic pain issues that I’d been experiencing for 2 years without much improvement.”
“Prior to my injury, I was very active, going for regular walks, dancing and rockclimbing. As a result of my injury, I was unable to stand for more than 5 minutes and experienced extreme difficulty and pain in walking more than 10 minutes. My sleep was greatly affected, and over time I experienced weight loss, chronic fatigue and persistent dizziness.”
“When I first started, I could barely do a half hour session once a week. Now I attend one hour sessions twice a week. Not only have I been able to go back to doing pre-injury activities, but I am now a stronger, happier and healthier person. I have all the tools I need to cope when I do experience a (rare) flare-up, am more conscious of taking care of my body, and have strengthened my core and coordination.”
“If Aligned for Life starts selling ‘I love Pilates’ t-shirts, I’ll be your first buyer! Both of my instructors (Minh Le and Benjamin Rashleigh) have been fantastic. They were supportive, patient and extremely flexible in developing a program that accommodated and challenged my body. The space is also great and very accessible. With the wonderful people who attend, it feels like a small community.”
“I can only speak from my experience, as I know that everyone is different. For me, the hardest battle in improving from my injury was mental, not physical. Pilates absolutely helped me overcome my injury, but the real first steps on the road to recovery were: accepting the need to change my lifestyle, persisting through countless setbacks, taking the time to acknowledge even the smallest wins and listening to my body when it needed rest. My advice, if you’d like it, is to give Pilates a go, surround yourself with positive and supportive influences, and believe in yourself anyway, until you believe in yourself all the way.”
“Adventure! I love navigating my path through remote wilderness. Rising to the physical challenge of a long steep climb that unfolds into an incredible view. Marvelling at the beauty of snow covered mountains as I fly down the hill on my snowboard. Running through the Forrest and feeling at one with nature.
In my every day life I seek out and enjoy adventure. Each time I see a client and dialogue with them about what it is they need today a new question arises. The question is related to how specifically to use Pilates to help my client move forward in their life with greater ease flow and happiness.
Every body is different so as a Pilates teacher I need to be ready to step into the unknown in every session I teach. I take my knowledge of and trust in Pilates with me and together we set out on an adventure.
I also love music, dancing, singing and connection.”
When Maggie was 16 her mum first came ill with breast cancer. It was around the same time that Maggie started losing weight. By the time she was 18 she was thin – very, very thin. Here is an account of Maggie’s story from an interview we did with this brave courageous woman. An inspiring young woman who has overcome adversities and is now living a healthy life and helping others on a daily basis to do the same. Maggie’s mantra says it all “Be free! Free of disease, tension, limitation, limiting self belief. Be free to move forward with passion and purpose and follow your heart.
“I’ve never had scales, but I was very thin. I was never hospitalised but I went through lengthy periods where I was clearly anorexic. This coincided with the sickness of my mother. My anorexia developed during a time when my mother became very ill with breast cancer. It was as a reaction to the sadness of seeing her in so much pain and to the fear of losing her. It was an unconscious strategy that I developed at the age of 16 to try to take control of my life.
My mum was ill for many years. When I was 22 she passed. When I was 23 I started to train in The Pilates Method and I started to gain some weight. I was quite well for a period of time but I still had this knack of losing a lot of weight very quickly whenever I hit a stressful point in my life. I now give a workshop on anorexia where I look at this in detail to reveal why I spiralled down and how I came back up again. Pilates had a huge role to play in this and still does. My studies at the pilates center of Boulder were a deeply healing time for me. When I started the program I was way too thin. By the end I felt so much more energised and capable of living the life of adventure that I love…True to the philosophy of Joseph Pilates!”
“Pilates has always healed me from a disease I didn’t realise that I had. People would always say ‘You are really underweight’ but I didn’t think that meant I had anorexia. At the beginning of 2013 I lost 10kg. That’s a long way from my current and healthy weight of 50kg. I was really sick. There were life threatening blood chemistry imbalances associated with my sudden weight loss. To get out of this life threatening situation and get well again, I did a lot of personal development work – not the traditional work, (though I did see a medical doctor also), but with The Pilates Method and through a special Life Coaching course I attended with my brother. Learning to love my body played a big part of my recovery. Pilates has always helped to pick me up again and has been such a strong part of my recovery.”
“As part of my recovery this time, I also did my life coaching certification through Real Education in Queensland. It was half way through the life coaching program when something happened that changed my life it was ‘That Defining Moment’…
In 2015 I was significantly better. My weight was up by 5 kg which was 50% up from the initial weight loss of 10kg. I still didn’t know that I had anorexia though. I had known that I was underweight and very unwell but I saw anorexia as a label, a stigma and a stereotype. And then something happened that made me look at it from the outside in. One day, the head trainer Murry said to me “Maggie, there is this things called anorexia. Then he turned to our class of 25 trainee coaches, and he said “Has anyone here ever thought that Maggie may have anorexia?” and all of the students put their hand up. Oh wow I thought – holy crap! They are right. It came as a huge shock to have that revelation in front of all the other coaches. Luckily we were all very close by this stage so it was a very supportive environment, yet an extremely firm way to communicate with me as to what I was doing to myself. But once I got used to the fact that I actually did have anorexia, I was able to use this new insight to take ownership of my situation, it somehow made it so much easier to get on with getting better. Murry had hinted to it a few times but I always resisted. This was a defining moment because Murry made me see it from the outside in. I finally had to surrender to the truth.”
“So yes, I’ve had anorexic phases since I was 16 where I was super thin and I didn’t realise that it was anorexia. Anorexia comes in all shapes, sizes, styles and forms. Every case is unique but there are some key things that make it what it is. One of them is extreme denial that you are too thin. I have always been guilty of that one. Now that I am well I am loving being seen for my health instead of my thinness.
Pilates always picked me up and put me in a place of self love and respect. Pilates has helped me so much deeper than just on a physical level. It’s more than what the mainstream know, it heals on many levels from physical to emotional and spiritual. And for that I am eternally grateful”
To be continued…
Keep an eye out for Part 2 of the Who is Maggie MacGill series coming soon.
Alex Andrews graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2010 as the Valedictorian of her class. Throughout her time at VCA, Alexandra was exposed to both nationally and internationally renowned artists.
Since graduating, Alex has performed in Tasdance’s ‘Artery’ season in Melbourne, traveled to Europe for creative developments and created works.
Alex was the recipient of the Friends Encouragement Award (2008), winner of the Splash Dance Choreographic Competition (2009), The Joy Nicholls award (2009), and the winner of the Short and Sweet dance festival, choreographic award (2014).
In 2011, Alex broke her ankle requiring two surgeries and years of rehabilitation. Alex then turned to Pilates and was so inspired by the method that she went on to do her Diploma in professional Pilates teaching in 2014.
Alex now combines her love for dance and Pilates together to discover a more efficient and safer way of moving. Alex’s passion for the method is growing each day and plans on developing her skills through continuing education and personal development.
This week we did an interview with Alex asking her to tell us what she loves the most about The Pilates Method, what it’s like to work at Aligned for Life Richmond and and more!
Location of Studio:
204 Bridge Road Richmond
Principle Instructor Name: Alex Andrews
“I love the way it makes me feel physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s a pretty special form of exercise. Coming form a dance background, it’s probably the most holistic form of exercise that I can do that supports all aspects of my life. I love that it’s a full body workout and that I get pushed each week to new levels. For example, last week I was doing an exercise that I had never done before and I didn’t think I would be able to do it, but I could! I am constantly surprised by my body, it makes me feel incredible. I walk out feeling so amazing each time I leave the studio. Also having just 1 hour that is 100% for me is another thing I love. Sometimes in this busy world it is hard to just stop and check in and ask myself these questions…how am I feeling now, how am I breathing, where am I holding tension? This check in time throughout the week just really makes me stop and focus on me and that’s another thing I really love about it.”
“The exercise that gets me the most excited and that also makes me the most nervous is the ‘Candlestick on the Cadillac’. This is because you are hanging upside down and trying to keep balance at the same time. It’s so exciting and challenging that I have to find the right balance while up side down. All the hard work from the entire session comes together at that moment. It is a very athletic exercise and I love to be challenged by the full body expression. When you see it it’s amazing, it’s just like “ta da”. And that’s why I love this exercise so much.”
“Teaching and instructing is such a wonderful wonderful wonderful career! To be able to work with people and help them achieve goals that they would never ever have thought they would be able to succeed in is amazing. To be able to see the structure of their body change, their body tissue adjust to the challenge, the excitement in their eyes when they realise they were able to push themselves harder is absolutely amazing. I am really blessed to be able to work with the clients that I work with. I have the best clients in the world. I have a lot of fun with the Pilates Method. I am always always learning something new. The continued education and constant adjusting and thinking on my toes is just perfect for me and someone with my personality type. I just absolutely love it.”
“There’s some pretty incredibly intelligent and inspiring ‘elders’ at Aligned For Life. Many years ago, I came in and saw one of the instructors after I had sustained an injury and and I was blown away by them and The Pilates Method. I then came and did the course 5 years later. The entire team at AFL is incredibly inspiring!”