Mind Body Stories

Clare: pain, posture and positive results

I first came to the MindBodyStudio suffering with a painful lower back. At the age of 43, the combination of working at a desk and not really getting chance to exercise had left me in a vicious circle of pain and loss of fitness. I had also noticed that, because of increasingly poor posture, clothes were no longer hanging properly, even though they were the correct size. I began my first experience of Pilates with a detailed assessment, followed by a series of 1:2 sessions of matwork exercises. Six months on, I understood much more about how my body worked and had made noticeable improvements in strength, fitness and posture. Seeing Pilates as a long-term investment in my health, I continue to attend weekly classes.

Jean: Enjoying playing with the grandchildren

About 15 years ago I began to feel I was stiffening up – and since I wanted to be able to play on the floor with my first grandchild, I thought I’d try some exercise classes. When a friend recommended Efuah Bonney as a good Pilates teacher, I tried some one-to-one sessions as an introduction and quickly felt the benefits. I moved on to mat classes with Efuah, from Redland Church Hall to her own studio. Now, seven more grandchildren later, I’ve graduated to one-to-three sessions and occasional luxurious massages. I still enjoy playing on the floor with my grandchildren, and give credit to Efuah and her staff for my continuing strength and flexibility.

Will: Pilates helps with other sports

I am a 42 year old doctor and I enjoy running, which I have been doing for about 12 years. Last year I developed a problem with my hip, which was diagnosed by a physiotherapist as a tightening of iliotibial band. A friend suggested that I give Pilates a go, and although I was sceptical, I went along to the MindBodyStudio. I began with 1:2 sessions and then joined a matwork class, which I now do every week. Pilates has helped me to improve my core stability and it makes me think about how I move when I run. Since doing Pilates, I have not had a recurrence of my injury.

Alan: the joy of movement

I came to Pilates by a circuitous route. I had been sailing for many years but was increasingly taking part in offshore racing. Working on the foredeck of a yacht in heavy seas uses all muscles in unusual ways. Wondering how I could train for that on land I thought of climbing – something I had not considered before due to fear of heights. Surprisingly I enjoyed it but was using loads of brute strength without making much progress. Someone suggested Pilates which is how I met Efuah. I enjoy that too in its own right and came to the realisation that what I was seeking was graceful movement. Pilates has helped me hugely with that. There is sheer joy in being able to make a difficult movement dynamically and smoothly with a minimum of effort.

Helen: Better Singing Technique with Pilates

I sing in a choir, and have been taking singing lessons to try to improve my singing technique. One of the most important aspects of good singing is breath control, and someone told me that Pilates is really good for this. Since I have been doing Pilates at the MindBodyStudio, I have really learned how to use my body to control my breath, and my ability to sing has been transformed by this.

Grace: Back on my feet

Following a car accident, I was plagued with back problems and over time the “flare-ups” became progressively more debilitating; until I discovered Pilates!  I now manage these problems, keep mobile and control pain with a couple of classes a week, structured exercise is great when you’re busy and not particularly disciplined.  The teachers understand problems, the sessions are interesting and challenging, but safe.

Anna: Life after children

Two pregnancies had left me with a hernia, back problems and concerns about whether my pelvic floor would ever recover! Upon recommendation from a friend I started pilates at the Mind Body Studio. Over the course of a year not only were these problems resolving, but improved core strength made me feel better about my body generally. At the same time I started running on a regular basis and found the pilates to be complementary.Over the three and a half years I have been attending the Mind Body Studio, I’ve enjoyed the combination of challenge and support. There’s always something new to learn or a potential to improve my technique. At the same time, Efuah and her team take a personal interest in what I’m working on and I get one-to-one attention tailored to my needs.

I now have a third child, am running further and faster than ever, with my first marathon planned. I feel fitter and stronger than I ever have and regularly recommend Mind Body Studio to my friends. Pilates is now an integral part of my life and I cannot imagine giving it up.

Don: Future-proofing his body

Having to lie on the floor before you can go into a meeting is not fun. In 1999 I had spent far too many hours on my computer, running financial models to advise on a legal case. My back was agonising by the time I went to London for the big meeting with the QC and his team. Despite all the pain-killers, my first act was to lie on the plush carpet when I got to the barristers’ chambers.Visits to a physiotherapist and an osteopath put my slipped disc on the path to recovery. Then my osteopath recommended Pilates and told me Efuah Bonney was starting some classes. So I joined Efuah’s first class in 2000 and I have been an enthusiast ever since.

Pilates has to be experienced to be believed. It doesn’t give instant results, but the benefits accumulate over the weeks. My back problems are now just a memory and the overall improvement in my posture, health and wellbeing has been tremendous. At 77 I am now fitter than I was a decade ago. Since 2000 Efuah has developed her Mind Body Studio as a welcoming place that offers a range of therapies in addition to the original Pilates ‘mat’ classes, and I look forward to my regular visits. The progression is very carefully done, and teaching is very supportive of the individual needs of each member of the class. I find that the classes encourage me to exercise at home, and are essential to avoid the bad habits that can develop from just following a book or video.