I discovered Pilates many years ago when I moved from London to Oxfordshire. I had always seen exercise as a necessary evil that enabled me to eat chocolate without getting too fat. I did my fair share of slogging it out at the gym but never really understood the feel good high that people spoke about. I read a couple of articles about Pilates and thought that it sounded interesting so I set about finding a class.
I remember my very first class. My teacher was amazing. An ex-dancer with a fantastic body, she was a lovely lady who radiated confidence and really inspired me. The exercises weren’t easy, but they made sense and made me feel great. My body became stronger and my muscles more toned. My posture improved to the point that my exaggerated lumbar curve (which had caused me significant lower back pain) disappeared as I realigned my spine and retrained my body to work properly.
I was hooked. Not long after I started Pilates, I knew that one day I wanted to be a Pilates Instructor.
Ten years later, on the recommendation of my Pilates teacher, I started my training with Stott Pilates, a Canadian based company that are internationally recognised. After hours of study, concentration on my personal practice, extensive supervised teaching practice and rigorous exams, I finally qualified as a Mat Work Certified Instructor in June 2006.
Immediately, I put my training to good use and started up a lunch time session at my place of work. When I moved to Devon later that same year, I set up classes around Torbay where I lived. Since that time I have got married and moved to just outside of Exeter. I still teach in Paignton, Torbay and at the beautiful Hen House Studio in Kingsbridge.
Around the same time I moved back to Devon, I rediscovered my love of yoga and started to train as an instructor. I knew that Joseph Pilates had traveled around the world and absorbed influences from many different exercise techniques. However, I was struck by the extent to which Pilates had drawn from yoga and began to understand better its emphasis on breathing, focus and control. It’s not just about keeping fit; it’s about being in tune with your body, understanding how it functions and being aware of how your mind connects with and controls your body. It is a holistic approach.
Now, I understand why I fell for Pilates all those years ago and why I enjoyed both Pilates and yoga so much. I continue to learn, taking workshops and short courses. I like creating new classes that stimulate the mind and strengthen the body. Exercise for me is not about being the strongest, the leanest or even the fittest. It is about total wellbeing; healthy in mind and body and being in tune with both so that I can make the most of what life has to offer.
Most of all, it is about enjoying staying healthy and keeping fit, having fun and still being able to eat chocolate.
“Karen’s tone and approach to teaching provides a great experience for every member of the class. Her directions are clear, she encourages and gives individual attention to each member during the exercises. She manages the class at a pace that suits varied levels of experience and ability and creates a relaxed and supportive environment. I always feel better after the class than when I started! She says, ‘Do what you can and rest when you need’ and we do….there is no competition. Never boring – there are always new challenges!”
Jackie Jardine, Kingsbridge
“I have been attending Karen’s pilates classes for seven years. She is an inspiring and thoughtful teacher, with a natural ability to communicate with a class of varying ages and capabilities. I continue to enjoy her sessions very much.”
Sue Edwards, Paignton
“Having attended Karen’s classes for three years I can’t believe the change in my mobility, strength and flexibility. Karen immediately puts you at ease and makes her class informative and enjoyable whist tailoring to individuals. Her calming voice and peaceful meditations are easy to follow and have a most desirable effect before and at the end of some of her classes. I am so grateful and pleased I came across Karen with her unique talent for inspiration and encouragement.”
Marian Boultbee Brooks, Kingsbridge
Piloga – “Love the combination of stretches and toning exercises. I am so much more flexible…and taller! Friends noticed an improvement in my posture after just a few months. After classes I always feel relaxed and more clear headed. When I overdo the gardening my lower back recovers faster My upper body is stronger. Pilates tones – taking off inches. There is such a sense of accomplishment when you make progress.”
Jackie Jardine, Kingsbridge
Karen has the following qualifications:
Certificate in Teaching Pilates Matwork from Stott Pilates. More
Certificate in Teaching Yoga from Yoga Professionals. More
Level 3 in Exercise & Fitness Knowledge (Anatomy & Physiology) from CYQ. More
Level 3 Certificate in Delivering Learning from City & Guilds More
Stott Pilates continued professional development workshops:
- Ultimate Back Care
- Mini Flexball Workout
- Total Body Sculpting
- Advanced Matwork
- Arm Chair Pilates
- Pilates for Men
- Pre & Post Natal Pilates
- Shoulder Stability
- Pelvic Girdle Flexibility
Karen is a full member of Fitness Professionals. www.fitpro.com