I am grateful every day that I can move freely, have a body that I can express myself through and a posture that suggests confidence and positivity. I feel this to be an enormous gift and one that I want to share with you. Of course our lives do not always go according to plan and we have to deal with things we would not wish for. Sometimes the benefits are not just in our bodies but in the confidence and emotional strengths that can be gained from a regular physical practise.
Why do Pilates? This is what people say…
For some years I suffered once or twice a month with tension headaches which at times verged on migraines. Within a month or so of starting Pilates classes with Jo, there were no headaches. It has been nine months now since attending Jo’s classes (and I haven’t missed one!) and during that time I’ve had just a few headaches. It was my osteopath who recommended Pilates and I haven’t had to visit him at all during this time.
Jo is a professional, friendly and caring teacher, always mindful of any injuries class members may have. As well as helping me understand how the body works, her classes have certainly strengthened my abdominal muscles and improved my flexibility – there were a few exercises which felt totally beyond my reach but now I can do them! I would feel distraught if I was deprived of Jo’s classes. (Kim)
Jo’s Pilates classes are incredible and the Yurt is a delight. She makes them fun but challenging and always seems to notice when you need a bit of adjustment or encouragement. She has transformed my flexibility and posture and my hip flexors must be at least 5cm longer! Even my husband has noticed that my body has changed. She is always thinking about how to make the exercises work better and stimulates your thinking as well as your body. She has seen me through a hysterectomy– I was back to classes after 12 weeks with no problems at all. My body is very glad that I started Pilates with Jo – even when I am sweating to make that extra reach or abdominal exercise. Thanks Jo! (JD)
I feel a new man after each Pilates lesson with Jo. Even though I try to swim regularly, I used to lie awake with lower back pain, caused mainly by slumping in front of my computer or leaning over to talk to shorter people, and I was unable to walk for any length of time through art galleries, for example. I finally admitted that I didn’t know what I should be doing to put this right. But now, six months and 15 private lessons on, if I get back pain I know what do about it. I am no longer daunted by the possibility that nothing will ever work. On the contrary, I feel I have regained some control. Jo doesn’t just run an exercise class: she explains how muscles and bones work together, by demonstration and instruction. For the first time in my life I can see why exercise works, which generates the motivation to keep going. Jo’s lessons always contain something new. She is never condescending or critical. (Tom VO)
I can wear heels again for the first time in seven years– which may sound like a frivolous reason to be delighted with pilates but it is probably my favourite. Having injured my lower back seriously seven years ago, I parted company with conventional medicine when the talk turned to fusing parts of my spine together. Over the years, many people sang the virtues of pilates, but having tried twice previously with different teachers, I must confess I never really got it and gave up. By the time I found Jo, keeping the pain under control was really at the expense of my flexibility.
I now see Jo each week and am more delighted with the results then I can ever put into words. What’s not to be pleased about? My flexibility is greatly improved, my episodes of flare-ups are decreasing and I can at last put on a dress and some heels – even if only for a little while – without the fear that the following day the pain will be unbearable. Jo explains very clearly through description and demonstration (and the aid of a full-body skeleton which always makes me laugh) what exactly I should be doing and importantly, what I should not be doing – which was always my initial worry, that I would do something wrong and make matters worse. I would highly recommend Jo as I think her approachable nature, positivity and ability to convey clearly what pilates is all about, would work for anyone. (Mary Walsh)
I am involved in many physical activities including, gym, golf, clay pigeon shooting,cycling. I have been suffering back problems for most of my adult life, last year I lost about three working weeks, unable to move and many months in agony. I lived in fear of the accidental slip or forgetting my back for a moment and lifting something I shouldn’t have.
I also spent a small fortune on a chiropractor who was very good but only resolved the problem in the short term. I have been doing pilates with Jo now for over six months, my life has changed and I am at last able to enjoy and active life without the fear that I’ll end up incapacitated for a week.
Like most good things in life, it takes commitment and work, however it is really worth the effort and Jo is an excellent teacher. Jo has this ability to care for each member of the group, no one can get away with an incorrect posture, she has my respect and trust. (James Bradley)
Jo Redfearn has taught me Pilates for nearly 2 years. Since I started I have had very few problems with my lower back, which previously had been causing me a lot of pain. In addition to helping me manage my back, Pilates has helped me keep weight off that I lost with Weight Watchers. My body is much more toned and in balance than before.
The classes are fun, to great music, challenging and very well taught. You always know that you are being taught to do the exercises correctly, rather than just rushing through a set of exercises without any instruction on the correct method. I am now 21 weeks pregnant and Jo adapts the class for me each week, depending on what is appropriate. (Tara Dalton)
Having suffered several slipped discs, with the inevitable accompanying back pain, I knew I really had to get to grips with the problem the day I couldn’t get out of bed to cuddle my 3-month-old son. Thousands of cuddles and 4 children later, I’ve found the answer: not just Pilates, but Jo.
Jo is a warm, funny, incredibly well-informed and inspiring teacher. Referred to her from my physiotherapist, also at the classes, I met Jo 6 years ago and have never looked back. Apart from visibly improving at the exercises, I have learnt to incorporate Pilates into my daily life – getting out of a shower, putting on tights on one leg, walking and even breathing will never be the same again! What’s more, I can’t remember the last time I suffered serious back pain – a truly glowing testimony to Jo’s effectiveness! (Alex)
I rate Pilates with Jo Redfearn as one of the best things that’s ever happened to me (and I’m no sad loser waiting around for a life). As someone who suffers continually from occupational tension I have found Pilates to be, perhaps literally, a life saver in the sense that it has become the means of my taking control of my body and avoiding injury and discomfort. Moreover the psychological benefits are clear and I would recommend Pilates to anyone suffering depression – no matter how feeble I felt when I arrived I become a totally overbearing advertisement for Pilates and life in general after every single class I attend. Jo is a truly brilliant teacher who is totally engaged with what she is teaching and is constantly refining and perfecting her technique so that week by week the various exercises become increasingly easy and effective. If you haven’t been to one of her classes yet stop dithering and sign up – you won’t look back. (Dorothy)
I was a keen adult ice dancer until I developed Rheumatoid Arthritis about three years ago. I have never been interested in exercise for its own sake, but I started Pilates because I thought it might be relevant to skating (which it is). I was very lucky to find Jo as a teacher. Her dance background makes her empathise with my frustration about not being able to dance, and her thorough knowledge of the way the body works fits in with my own wish to understand what I am doing. Most of all, she is really excellent at adapting the exercises, where necessary, to work around the limitations caused by my condition. What comes across is her commitment to helping each individual get as much as they can out of the class. As well as being deeply serious in this, she has a great sense of fun which makes the whole experience very enjoyable. I have recently been able to start skating again, just a little. On the ice and in everyday life, I find the muscle control developed through Pilates helps me protect my joints and make the most of what I can do. (Saki Hajnal)
How can I write this article without sounding like Jo is paying me vast amounts of money to do it? Well I can, and I can also absolutely vouch that the only bribery taking place is during Jo’s classes when she never fails to persuade us of the benefits of Pilates. I first met Jo just over two years ago, when I became one of her regulars in her remedial Pilates classes. I had been referred by my physiotherapist (compressed discs in my lower back and accompanying aches and pains). I confess that as I came under her tuition, I was already a lapsed Pilatic. Although I had already grasped the basic rules and breathing techniques, I was still a tad uninspired by the whole Pilates thing. All that doubt was swiftly swept away within a couple of classes with Jo. I remember thinking “this woman really knows her onions, and I’m learning too!” – about body awareness, relaxation techniques, muscle groups and their relationships with each other, and most importantly about the effect Pilates was having on my back problem and my sense of wellbeing.
Two years on, and no apologies for the cliché, I firmly believe that Pilates is for life and not just for Xmas etc … I have strengthened my “core” or deep abdominal muscles, vastly improved my flexibility and posture, and my back pain is minimal. During her classes, Jo combines her unquestionable wealth of knowledge of the body and Pilates technique with real energy and quirky humour. But what really makes her stand out is that she is completely committed to helping every one of her pupils make the best of themselves through Pilates.
Excuse me – time out for a group hug – I’m with this one for the long haul! (Sue Jacobsen)
Jo teaches Pilates with the enthusiasm and humour essential to encourage the stiff, damaged and bodily dysfunctional amongst her disciples. Most of us take up Pilates because of a back, shoulder, neck or postural problem and Jo is conscious of individual needs throughout her lessons. She adds pace and challenge as the group improves, and is utterly professional in her approach whilst always maintaining an element of fun. Of all the different therapies and techniques available, from acupuncture and Alexander to chiropracty and surgery, I have found Pilates to be the most effective and sustainable. Jo’s method of teaching it ensures she has an extremely loyal and increasingly fit clientele. (Hilary Tagg)
Previously I have tried a number of Pilates teachers, and must admit failed to see the point of many of the exercises. Having worked with Jo on a class basis and 1-1 I can now say that has all changed. With less effort (assuming you have a good teacher) you can really feel the effect the exercises are having on various parts of your body. For those of you who may be permanently stiff through excess running etc., pilates has really made a difference for me. I no longer get out of bed feeling 90 years old, which is a great feeling.
On a personal note, Jo is really approachable, helpful and extremely knowledgeable. Try it what have you to lose. (Jacqui Miele)