My Story: How I Got Into Pilates

Mar 13, 2018

Hi! I’m Eleshia and I used to be a serial exercise class junkie. Until I found Pilates.

I’ve taken every kind of exercise class you can think of, and I owned every exercise video or DVD, from Jane Fonda, Cindy Crawford and Davina McCall, to Mel B, Tracy Anderson and Nell McAndrew. I was addicted.

I didn’t always have the ‘right body type’ (according to my ballet teacher when I was tiny), I wasn’t always great with choreography, but I did love staying fit.

I just hadn’t found the right fitness class for me. Until I found Pilates.

Today I’d like to share with you the story of how it all happened, how Pilates became such a big part of my life and how I became a Pilates teacher.  

Not just another fitness class…

I first heard about Pilates from a friend who had been raving about how amazing these Pilates Reformer classes she’d been taking were, and how they had helped strengthen her spine and core using resistance.

Her exact words were “I’m sick and tired of you complaining about your lower back pain why don’t you try Pilates?

I must admit she DID look fantastic. So off I went to try yet another exercise class!!! At the time of trying this first class, I didn’t even know what Pilates was. But I figured I was fit, I had no major injuries. 

Except for my lower back pain, a tight neck, my sore rounded shoulders and achy hips…. but other than that I was fine, lol!

Back then I thought it was OK to have all these problems with my body, it was the norm to me then. Now I know my body a lot better and I wouldn’t live through the pain I once had at all.

My first Pilates class

My worst nightmares came true when we arrived at my first Pilates class and everyone seemed to know each other. Then I was introduced as not having ever done Pilates before and asked to use one of the machines at the front!   

Now that I’m a teacher I know the instructor just wanted to keep me safe. However, to somebody who is just starting a new fitness class, this request felt quite intimidating. But despite the uncomfortable start, I fell in love with Pilates.

It was amazing. For the first time in a very long time, I left a fitness class thinking about how I’d moved my body. In previous classes, I’d just gone through the motions, not always paying attention to what I was doing.

I was fascinated with what I’d just learnt. I’d worked my whole body, and it left me feeling energised. I had to do more of this!!

That was around seven years ago, and I haven’t looked back since. Pilates has become a big part of my daily practice, I think because of the results I saw so quickly and the fact that it continues to keep me challenged constantly.

So I continued with the reformer classes with a passion, and if I’m honest, I did very few mat classes before I decided to train as a Pilates teacher.  

Becoming a Pilates teacher

You may think it’s bizarre that out of nowhere I wanted to become a Pilates teacher. After all, I enjoyed the corporate role I was doing at the time. But there was something about Pilates that excited me more. So I decided, why not?

Besides, I’ve never been satisfied with just having one career option. I think that comes from growing up in a single-parent household. My mum always had more than one job to provide for all of us. And to me this was normal. I was already qualified as a beauty and massage therapist and I was used to studying, so the new challenge didn’t scare me!

However, had I known what was around the corner I may not have signed up for the challenge.

I did my research and decided that I would go with a contemporary Pilates school.

At my assessment, I had a really lovely male Pilates teacher who was really honest with me and said my body didn’t move as fluidly as he would have liked to see. He recommended that I take some time to work on my body and said he would speak to his superiors and see what they thought before giving me a final decision.

I hated the wait.

I wanted to teach people what I’d learnt. It seemed like a secret that needed to be spread and I wanted to help that happen.

Luckily, the decision came the very next day. They instructed me to take some extra classes before commencing the Pilates teacher training, but I was good to start the next course. Hurrah! I started my Pilates teacher training journey the day after my birthday in April 2013.


Hit by the worst possible news

In January 2013, we got the news that would change our family forever…. my mum was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of cancer that has no cure!  We were devastated.

Depending on who you choose to believe, multiple myeloma is said to have a life expectancy of anywhere between two and fifteen years. But I never believed any of the numbers. I made sure I was at every hospital appointment and made sure I read every report.

Despite everything that she was going through, despite what this meant for our family, Mum told me NOT to postpone the course. She knew that if I did, I would never had followed through with the training later. She never wanted to feel like a burden.

So, I juggled it all.

Mum started treatment in February and I started my training in April. I was still working full-time in my corporate role at this point so you can imagine how crazy life was over these months!

Some would say I was barking mad but I just got my head down and handled it. I went into project management mode and project-planned my life around looking after mum, going to work and completing my Pilates training.  It was the most difficult eighteen months of my life.

But Pilates saved me. It gave me the strength, mindfulness, relaxation and the distraction I needed to stay strong and withstand everything my mum was going through whilst battling the evil disease named cancer.  

I’ll never forget how proud my mum was when I told her I’d qualified as a Level 3 Body Control Pilates teacher. It made me so happy that she saw me fulfill my dream before she sadly passed away.

Once qualified, I launched myself as a Pilates teacher, helping other people fall in love with it just as I have. I hope you’ll fall in love with it too.


Moving towards the future with Pilates

I know first-hand how difficult it can be to make the first steps when you’re trying a completely new fitness class. I’ve experienced the sniggers, the surprised ‘oh are you also taking this class?’ looks, the silent classes, the clicky classes…I’ve been through it all.

That’s why I make it my mission to help provide a safe and happy environment for people to practice Pilates.

And all the experiences I’ve had on my journey have reminded me of the importance of self belief. If you continue to let other people dictate to you what you can and cannot do, how will you grow as a person?

I believe in making small changes that will put you on the right path and help you gain your big achievements in the future. Pilates will help you do just that.

I hope this blog post inspires you to try something new and come try out my Pilates classes or Barre classes. I promise you that it will be fun and 100% free from those intimidating vibes.

Check out what some of my students have had to say about my classes....

“Eleshia is an amazing instructor, she is knowledgeable and patient and I really love her classes! X

“Thank you so much for all your help! You're the best!!

“For those Eagles looking for a studio based class, Bootybarre combines elements of pilates, dance and yoga. The exercises work on quads, hamstrings, glutes, hips and even toes (your up on your toes for many of the exercises). We also did a short arm session. All the problem areas for many runners. Equally suitable for both men and women and especially for anyone who wants a challenging but low impact session.”

“My first introductory barre session - an absolute delight. I believed I was fit in a sluggish kinda way ... and then I got taken through some poses and routine _ That's when it all came to light... how locked and blocked my body really is. Walked into session with the pain from varied muscular stresses at gluts, quads, hamstrings and calfs ... walked out feeling no pain at all.”



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