Feel Good

The Pilates Studio on why their classes could be key to living our best lives

We caught up with the owner of the Gosforth-based Pilates studio, Maddie Rourke, and teacher Lesley Henderson to see how Pilates could be the secret to becoming the best version of ourselves.

Written by Rachael Nichol
Published 16.09.2021

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‘Take care of your body – it’s the only place you have to live in!’ – Joseph Pilates. 

We only live once, so why don’t we spend more time looking after the precious temple that we live in? The Pilates Studio’s mission is to do just that – but with a personal touch. 

After suffering from chronic back pain owner Maddie Rourke began Pilates classes to help ease her pain and teacher Lesley Henderson, who had a sedentary lifestyle, found that Pilates was the perfect antidote to her muscle aches. And the pair have never looked back since. 

Now channelling their personal experience into helping others, this determined duo wants to empower us to get moving too and live our best life. From improved posture and balance to toning and strengthening joints and giving us an overall feeling of wellbeing, Pilates has become the core ingredient in many women’s fitness Bibles which helps them not only survive but thrive throughout their busy working weeks. 

It sounds like just the mental and physical TLC we need. So we caught up with Maddie and Lesley to find out why we all need a little Pilates in our lives to become the best version of ourselves… 

What’s The Pilates Studio all about?  

Maddie: We’re an independent studio based in Gosforth which specialises in small classes, (a maximum of three in the Reformer Studio and six in the Mat studio). This enables us to focus better on technique and observation and offer our clients’ individual feedback and correction. 

We offer a full range of Pilates classes, including Mat (beginners, intermediate and advanced), Reformer, and various specialised classes and workshops. We’re a team of Body Control qualified teachers who have years of experience. Body Control is a world-renowned teaching organisation who encourage their teachers to follow a path of continuous professional self-development to ensure that their knowledge is always up to date and that they’re forever learning new skills.

That personal touch is key. By giving our clients that individual attention, they can get the maximum benefit out of each and every class. We discuss each client’s goals with them and work to ensure that they’re making their desired progress.

Tell us more about what a Reformer is and how can it help us? 

Lesley: A Reformer is a specialised piece of equipment unique to Pilates and offers the opportunity to add variable resistance to our client’s movements. It can add or reduce the physical challenge of an exercise, enabling them to focus on technique and alignment first and foremost.

It’s proven to be safe and effective and is used globally by many high-profile figures and elite sports people, including Olympians and Paralympians, as part of their training. The Reformer is ideal for everyone, as the variety of settings make it easily adjustable to accommodate an individual’s body proportions and suit their physical and technical ability.

What made you both get into this line of work?

Maddie: I used to suffer from chronic back pain for years, so I decided to start Pilates at this very same studio, and after several months my pain disappeared – I was a total convert. Having been that ‘evangelical’ client, I decided to train as a Pilates teacher and then had the amazingly good fortune to buy the business from my (then) teacher. So The Pilates Studio has been my Pilates ‘home’ as a client, trainee teacher and now owner, and I have loved every minute of the journey!  

Lesley: After years spent on long haul flights and sitting in an office – both of which played havoc with my body – I followed advice from a chiropractor on a trip to the US and took up Pilates. It had such a positive effect on my body, posture and overall movement that I decided to focus my energy on helping others. So I enrolled on the Body Control intense teaching programme and I’ve never looked back!

What benefits can we get from Pilates? 

Lesley: It helps to strengthen, tone, mobilise and stabilise joints, improve posture and balance and teaches you to engage and strengthen deep intrinsic muscles. It’s a great way of improving our bone health too, which is key as we get older. In practising Pilates, clients can get that much needed ‘me’ time, leading to an improved feeling of overall wellbeing, helping rebalance and energise our minds.

Pilates is fundamentally about movement. As teachers of movement, we focus on helping our client’s bodies function to their optimum efficiency, which helps alleviate aches and pains caused by today’s sedentary lifestyles. Our ultimate goal is to help clients move and perform better in their day to day lives – be it at work, rest or play.

What advice would you give anyone who hasn’t tried a Pilates class before?

Maddie: Come and talk to us and give it a try. You’ll be amazed at how good your body feels after just a few Pilates classes. As Joseph Pilates once said: ‘In 10 sessions you will feel the difference, in 20 you will see the difference, and in 30 you’ll have a whole new body.’

Pilates is for everyone, regardless of age, sex or fitness levels. We’ll work closely with you to achieve your goals and become a better version of you.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Lesley: Working with our clients and watching them develop and progress. We work with some fantastic people and, although our classes are focused, there’s always an opportunity for fun and camaraderie. There’s no better feeling than when a client tells you how much better they’re feeling or moving after attending some of your classes.  


What’s next for The Pilates Studio?

Maddie: The past 18 months have been very challenging and we’re only now starting to get back to normal. Since lockdown, we’ve only recently opened our doors to welcome our clients back to classes after we’ve been teaching via Zoom.

We have some exciting new classes to offer going into Autumn, including a high-intensity Pilates course – a dynamic, faster-paced class aimed at raising the heart rate whilst offering the benefits of a traditional Pilates class. We’ll also be offering a Pilates course for women experiencing perimenopause, menopause, or postmenopause symptoms.  

For more information about the classes and courses available at The Pilates Studio, visit their website. 

If you want to continue to follow Maddie and Lesley’s progress, follow their Instagram or visit their Facebook page.

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