Being the first of its kind, in August of this year The Pilates Education’s founder, Matthew Atwell, moved his equipment Pilates studio to West Norwood. Set within the grounds of Access Self Storage, in a room within a listed building that has large windows and high ceilings, this fully equipped Pilates studio houses all main pieces of Pilates equipment, including a Reformer, Cadillac and Wunda Chair.
By way of introduction, we thought we’d interview Matthew to get a better idea of what really is on offer, and how the first few months in the space have gone.
So, Matthew, how did the studio move go?
To be honest, moving is never an enjoyable experience as there are so many variables for things to clash within your planned timeframe, and this was no exception for us. With one large new piece of equipment being shipped over from America, as well as the move of our existing pieces, there was a lot to consider. Plus, the hardest part was probably trying to co-ordinate the changes in class times for current equipment students during the move. Not to mention paintwork issues, cleaning floors and so on. It was a tough few weeks really.
That certainly paints the more stressful side of moving for us. Are you happy with the outcome?
I am very happy with the initial move, yes, but see it as just the beginning.
I am pleased with the space and am finding it really enjoyable to work in, but I have already started considering which other pieces of new equipment might work in the space. I have also been looking into purchasing some beautiful images for the walls, taken in the original New York Pilates studio in the 1960s, and then want to install mirrors along one of the studio walls. But it is a bit like a house move where some settling in time helps you to know what you really need.
At this stage though, I am holding off on getting a new set of photos taken, as I want the room to be more in its finished state, but envisage this happening by the end of the year.
Why did you choose the venue at Access?
Well that was the easy part - the room just seemed to open itself up for the taking. Being already resident there with all mat classes which take place in one of West Norwood Therapies existing rooms, it was an amazing opportunity to bring our complete offering under one roof. There are certainly challenges with people getting to know where we are, but the venue has a lot to offer. Being set off the main high street, there is a tranquil feel to it, while still being accessible. Plus the parking available at Access is great too. And with the West Norwood Therapies practitioners and their clients there too, the move has further developed a wellbeing community feel.
So, for people who don’t know, what is a Pilates equipment studio?
Joseph Pilates, who initially created 34 mat exercises in the early 1900s, went on to invent large pieces of equipment using the resistance of springs. He translated and developed his initial mat repertoire using these to find deeper and more varied options for harnessing the development of the body and mind.
Who is a Pilates equipment session likely to suit?
Well, really people need to try to know, and it can take a few sessions to really get a feel for it in your body.
Equipment sessions are bespoke to the person though, so they can be of benefit to anyone really. If someone likes to work at a harder pace they can, and if people prefer something more gentle, that can work too. The real benefit is how the repertoire and the session can accompany you through the various life changes that you might face.
The sessions are excellent for people wanting to avoid or work through injury, as well as for people preparing for an athletic goal like running a marathon. Prenatal and postnatal women can join sessions at any stage in their pregnancy journey too, as a person’s programme will develop as the persons needs change, so it is a really flexible way to work.
What is significant about the way that you teach equipment sessions?
We teach equipment classes in the same original way that Joseph Pilates taught his long term students. Once someone does their enrolment sessions with us, (consisting of 3 individual classes) they enter a small semi-private group with a maximum of four people who each work through their personalised programme with the guidance of the teacher.
It is a more independent approach, which reinforces a value that Pilates held, whilst maintaining a strong focus on the individual needs of each person in the session.
Thanks, Matthew. That really highlights more about the move and the sessions available at the studio.
Equipment classes run in conjunction with our already established mat class provision, also based at Access Self Storage. Plus this wellbeing haven is also home to our good friends at West Norwood Therapies, who bring yoga, massage, acupuncture, osteopathy, nutritional therapy and hypnobirthing to the mix.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info about these classes, or to register interest in taking the initial enrolment sessions.