I specialize in Pilates and Functional Movement for your rehabilitation from injury, illness, or post-surgery
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From my base in Westhill, Inverness, I specialize in teaching the rehabilitative, healing, and strengthening exercise system of Pilates, and other Functional Movement modalities, including Sports Yoga.
I completed my specialized Pilates training at The Physiotherapy & Pilates Rehabilitation Centre (PPRC) taught by Karen Pearce (Master Pilates Trainer) and Sarah Sessa (Physiotherapist and Lead Lecturer in Anatomy, Pathologies, and Conditions). Karen and Sarah are the joint authors of Rehabilitation through Pilates, A Guide to Recovery from Common Musculo-Skeletal Conditions (Aeon Books, 2022) and Pilates and Parkinson’s (Muswell Hill Press, 2016). I received my Sports Yoga training from Sarah Ramsden, renowned former Sports Yoga trainer to Manchester City and Manchester United Football Clubs for more than ten years, and individual Sports Yoga trainer to Ryan Giggs.
As my training would suggest, my main professional focus is on teaching studio-based apparatus and mat Pilates (combined, where helpful, with other movement methodologies) to help you remediate problems in your movement and/or posture that may have neurological, illness, injury, work-related, or life-style origins. I also offer formal postural assessment if you desire or require this. It would be my pleasure to work with you and to be of help.
As a background to my Pilates teaching, now based in Inverness, I have been passionately involved intensively in sport and exercise since childhood, and professionally in teaching exercise and fitness in the US and UK since my teens. I have found over the years that I thoroughly enjoy working with people of all ages and from all genders.
In addition to my certification as a Pilates Teacher specializing in remediation and rehabilitation, I hold an MSc (Distinction) in Health Education and Health Promotion from University of Kent and an MSc (Distinction) in Sport and Health Sciences from Exeter University. I also researched and wrote my doctoral thesis (PhD) with specialisation in exercise and fitness for older people. I completed my PhD in the Carnegie School of Sport, Leeds Beckett University, an institution with a serious focus on supporting students and athletes attain the highest levels of exercise and fitness understanding, and success in world record sporting achievement (graduates include gold medalist Paralympian Sarah Storey and Olympic gold medalist triathletes Alistair Brownlee and Jonny Brownlee).
I focus especially on:
* Rehabilitative exercises for various injuries including those which are sports or exercise related
* Rehabilitative work for physical damage to your body from lifestyle, sports, or work-related stiffness and restricted movement
* Rehabilitation from posture related pain with focus on core development as well as affected areas
* Post-operative rehabilitation after knee, hip, shoulder, spinal, or other types of surgery
* Rehabilitation following illnesses, such as osteoporosis, MS, stroke, Parkinson’s Disease
* Rehabilitative exercises for correcting joint stiffness stemming from lifestyle
* Continuous/long term intensive work to develop your core (stability and strength), along with balance, flexibility, agility, and muscular endurance
* Formal postural assessment
As I will explain in more detail below, Pilates is a complex exercise system which can be engaged with purely as a form of exercise, or Pilates can be instrumental as a form of rehabilitation, which I offer to you based in the Inverness and Great Glen area. As we work together on your rehabilitation, I will also choose exercises from Pilates to help you build and improve your core stability.
With respect to Pilates for work-related rehabilitation in the Inverness and Great Glen region, I have a strong interest in helping you to overcome or manage your stiffness or movement problems that are caused or exacerbated by your work spaces. This may include postural problems related to computer/office work, or aches and pains, especially in your lower back, associated with working in confined spaces by such individuals as electricians, marine engineers, security installation engineers, and plumbers.
Pilates is a complex exercise system originally designed by Joseph Pilates for rehabilitation. His work started with rehabilitation exercises for injured soldiers and later he worked with injured dancers and others from a variety of occupational backgrounds. His emphasis was always on improving or creating bodily alignment to allow an individual to increase their core stability, muscular strength, flexibility, and agility. Pilates can be engaged in for exercise and physical development, or, with more of an emphasis upon correcting problems which are the result of illness, injury, lifestyle, sports participation, or work.
Pilates is a fun and often challenging exercise system available for everyone who wants to engage with it. If you do, you will find numerous benefits which include improvements in your body awareness, in your pelvic and thoracic stability, and in your overall bodily alignment which in turn may help you to improve your posture. Through these improvements you will be able to increase your overall stamina because you are not wasting valuable energy compensating for your bodily misalignment.
In today’s Pilates you will find a range of apparatus that's nothing at all like the metal monsters found in gyms! Each piece of Pilates apparatus is a combination of engineering science, art and craft. They are constructed of precision metal springs, framed in highly crafted wood, padded flat surfaces, designed for gentle, carefully balanced movements which keep your body aligned and at the same time help you to activate your deep core muscles. The movements are so precise that they seem like you use very little effort or strength. However, each movement needs a great deal of concentration on your part.
Your core muscles lie within the group of muscles referred to in Pilates as the powerhouse muscles. The powerhouse muscles are all of those muscles which circle your body starting from just below your ribs and finishing at the end of your pelvis. When they are engaged by you, they act as a tight protective corset around your trunk providing support and stability to your back, hips, and pelvis, when you are moving or standing still. These muscles, as their name implies, also give you the power for dynamic movements. When all of these muscles are working together in harmony you have the foundation for moving and weight bearing. To activate and achieve the full benefit of your core/powerhouse muscles, you will need to be doing something very different than set after set of abdominal crunches and planks.
Before you engage in any Pilates exercise, apparatus or mat, you will learn how to activate your core/powerhouse muscles through lateral breathing. Lateral breathing helps you to lengthen your abdominal muscles thus expanding your ribcage to allow more space for air to flow into. Correct posture during your lateral breathing also allows your lungs to expand which helps in creating more air space. If you have a tendency towards rounding your shoulders or leaning forward from the top part of your body as you stand or perform an exercise, you are unintentionally reducing part of your available lung space. On your exhale, the abdominals shorten, the ribs move downwards, the upper ribs rotate slightly and the lower ribs move to the centre causing the chest to narrow from side to side and from back to front which forces more air out. Breathing correctly during your exercising gives your body the energy source it needs. On the other hand, diaphragmatic breathing (shallow breathing) does not engage the abdominal muscles and actually pushes them outwards, rather than inwards, which raises your susceptibility to injury in your back, hips or pelvis.
As you prepare to perform an exercise in Pilates, it is important that you bring your mental and physical focus to the centre of your body. You do this through your inhale which also starts the contraction of your core/powerhouse muscles. As you perform the particular movement you exhale. You will find that over time you will need to put less effort into each movement because your core muscles will become stronger and more efficient. You are thus able to do more with less effort as you are moving from a stable core/powerhouse base with strength, control, and dynamic energy.
Pilates mat exercises are very gentle resistance exercises designed to help build muscular strength and endurance. Using your own body weight allows you to reach these goals without struggling to lift heavy weights. Pilates, whether using apparatus or simply mat work, also helps build joint flexibility, agility, and muscular balance.
There is an endless range of Pilates apparatus and mat exercises and I teach these exercises combining both linear and non-linear movements which allow you to increase your personal flexibility throughout your body. However, no matter what the exercise is, and no matter what the difficulty level is, all Pilates exercises are to be performed in correct postural alignment for you to be able to gain the most physical benefit.
I specialize in Pilates for rehabilitation, and Pilates for core development, and I teach this on a one-to-one, or occasionally, a two-to-one basis. Rehabilitative Pilates is very individualized and a one-to-one session works best because it allows me to focus my entire attention on your individual needs. I offer these sessions based within the Inverness and Great Glen area, always working with you in a warm pleasant space. Having spent many years working out in cold gyms and studios, I am determined that all of my clients will be warm! Wear comfortable clothes that you can move freely in, whether it is your workout kit or Lycra, or whatever. You just need to feel comfortable in what you are wearing, and most importantly, able to move freely. Having said that, I do have two provisos. First, please do not wear anything with buckles or sharp objects on them as these can tear the pads on the Pilates equipment. And second, as shoes are not allowed in a Pilates environment, I will ask you please to wear socks.
Some other little extras I'd like to offer you! If you wish, at no extra cost to you, I can devise an exercise routine for you to do at home which will complement the work that you do when with me. And, I can also offer to you, as part of your regularly scheduled session, some exercise time based on other movement methodologies, or a sample cardio workout session, or a discussion / questions and answers on a health and fitness topic of your choosing. Stemming from my extensive background I have a lot of knowledge of health, exercise, and fitness, and I am always happy to share this with you and encourage you on your path to rehabilitation and fitness. If any of this appeals to you, and you feel that you would like more time to devote to any of these topics, I am happy for you to book a stand alone session with me. Please feel free to initially contact me by email (please see the Contact Information to the right) or by phone, if you’d like to find out more about working with me. We could then arrange a mutually convenient return phone call to discuss your requirements and needs. I look forward to hearing from you.
of the month
This section will offer you useful and interesting exercise and fitness
tips for your everyday use. These will be changed monthly.
Motivation to exercise needs to come from deep inside. It becomes short term if it is “because I ought to” or “because everyone else is” or “because I want to beat someone else’s record”.
Think of getting fit and healthy as a journey not as a destination. As a journey enjoy each step along the way and see how much more enjoyable life can become.
Pay attention to your thoughts. Are they positive or negative towards your decision to exercise? How are these thoughts affecting how you feel about your lifestyle choice?