On moving to Brighton in 2010, Carolyn Bailey, Rambert Dance Company physiotherapist and long standing Pilates teacher, founded Pilates in Brighton – the first studio of its kind in the seaside city.
Three years on and the studio is now a thriving sanctuary for wellbeing with a team of expert teachers. The wide variety of daily classes and one-to-one offerings include: Pilates for rehabilitation, for teenagers, for weight loss, for pregnancy, for back pain (taught by a physiotherapist) and most recently, the new and popular class, Pilates for runners.
The studio also has a dedicated room housing an impressive range of specialist equipment that Carolyn shipped over from America. Never having exercised with a Pilates machine before, I was initially intimidated by the Cadillac, a kind of sizeable adult climbing frame with metal bars and a trapeze. However, with around 80 possible exercises designed to increase spinal flexibility, tone the shoulders, work the core abdominal muscles and develop a greater postural awareness, I have since come to see the real benefits of training with it.
Certainly, my first machine session with experienced teacher Max Lobatto was a memorable one. After a quick chat about my weekly schedule hours at a desk, lots of cycling around the city and a couple of dynamic yoga classes Max designed a personalised sequence of Pilates machine exercises to support my individual needs. Within the hour he (and the Cadillac) had soothed my aching lumbar, unwound my tight hamstrings and left me basking in the lovely feeling that all is well with the world!
Instead of questioning whether yoga or Pilates is better for me, both practices seem to naturally support one another. Having said that, I believe my increasing depth of physical movement, and growing core strength could not have been achieved on the yoga mat alone.