"Take care of your body It's the only place you have to live in"
A team of highly skilled teachers, sharing their passion for movement and aiding rehabilitation, has arrived in the Cathedral city of Wells.
I can honestly say the opening of this place was the best thing to happen to me during the years I lived in this area. I struggled with health issues and a resultant loss of fitness, and it's no exaggeration to say, it's what turned it all around for me.
Zoisa Holder, an exceptional teacher who held popular classes at various fitness clubs and leisure centres when I first discovered her (which were always fully booked for good reason), opened her own studio, 'Pilates Body Aligned' in 2014, right in front of Wells bus station. Hop off a bus and straight into class!
The airy, spacious studio with a fully mirrored wall on one side is just as you would visualise a classic dance / yoga / pilates studio, with all the latest, state-of-the-art Pilates equipment and reformer machines. You'd never guess it was a car garage not so long ago!
Zoisa and her team run an impressive, ever-growing variety of pilates classes, including Arc, S.E.A.T., MOTR, private classes, over-60s - and other fitness classes such as Yoga and various forms of dance (Zumba, Bokwa, Adult ballet)...
There's also a private room for hire at the back, for complementary therapies: currently offering osteopathy, physiotherapy, massage, kinesiology, reiki and shiatsu. Zoisa is also a Raindrop Technique practitioner and her amazing Living Young oils collection has brought relief to me on many occasions. It's like, just about everything you need to take care of yourself under one roof!
About my discovery....
I had been into yoga for a long time and loved it, but I always knew there was something missing from my practice. Pilates had been recommended to me by my osteopath and I tried a few run-of-the-mill classes at my local gym, before discovering Zoisa's. They were pretty standard, and I wasn't overly impressed. I suspected I'd need some individual attention, but that anything like that would be terribly expensive.
Finally, I came across one of Zoisa's classes and was able to fully appreciate the benefits of pilates, because she tunes into individuals and gets them to do the exercises right, without overdoing them.
After attending her classes at the gym religiously for a few months, she opened her own studio and I was able to cancel my gym membership, because all of my particular needs were met there!
The ultimate answer to my prayers was a specialised pilates weight-bearing exercise machine, called the Reformer. Unlike machines at the gym, the Reformer is specially designed for rehabilitation: combining pilates moves with weights, to work on the small muscle groups around the joints and deeply strengthen, stretch, tone and realign from the core.
I highly recommend practicing pilates under proper supervision, with a combination of mat classes and individual Reformer sessions. This strategy quickly brought my muscular-skeletal system into alignment, strengthened and balanced me from my core, improved my posture, made me move gracefully and eliminated pain in my lower back and knees.
Zoisa is uniquely observant, insightful and attentive to the needs of each participant, knowing exactly how to adjust exercises so we don't exceed our own level, but progress from it quickly through proper practice and gaining the maximum benefit at that level. This was the 'edge' that made me get noticeable results within just a couple of classes.
After a couple of months of training, I achieved a new balance between strength and flexibility.
I was very fortunate to have such a proficient teacher locally who was able to intervene in a truly helpful way and give me such a thorough tune-up, at a price which was not out of reach.
The next challenge is how to maintain those results when I leave town…