Instructor in Focus: Catherine Nicholas

Catherine Nicholas

Catherine Nicholas

PAA Principal and owner of Embody Pilates Castlemaine, VIC

Instructor Name: Catherine Nicholas

PAA level: Principal

Instructor training: 2003 Pilates International – Sally Anderson (Diploma), 2013 National Pilates Training – Katrina Edwards (Advanced Diploma)

Studio(s) you work at: Owner of Embody Pilates Castlemaine

Location: The Mill Castlemaine, Victoria

What originally motivated you to try Pilates and then go on to train as an instructor?

I was a fashion designer with a boutique clothing label and shop and I was suffering back and neck pain from hours sitting at a sewing machine. I had a background in dance and ballet teaching and had known of the benefits of Pilates for many years. The classes were effective and fascinating. I was instantly inspired to complete instructor training. I wanted to know more!

What did you eat for breakfast?

Scrambled eggs with silver beet, cherry tomatoes and avocado.

In one word, describe your first Pilates experience?

Inspirational

What’s the best thing about your job?

I am endlessly inspired and curious about the body. Bodies are always changing and I find endless possibilities for learning and growth as well as personal development in this career. I’m really lucky living in Castlemaine, it’s a vibrant country town in Central Victoria and my clients are really interesting and diverse.

Your ‘go to’ website for all things Pilates (other than PAA)?

I have recently discovered ‘thinkingpilates.com’, I love Blossom’s work and she was a guest on the podcast. Having small kids it’s great to be able to listen to something whist multitasking. As a rural instructor I also find Pilates Anytime useful.

The best advice you’ve ever had?

Keep it simple. It’s easy to get caught up in teaching repertoire and choreography. The Pilates Method is intelligent, progression is step by step. Having a simple, effective programme empowers clients to be more self-directed and gives me more time to help them understand and deepen the work in their body.

An indulgence you can’t live without?

Alter Eco 70% chocolate.

How long have you been a member of PAA and how did you hear about PAA?

Since 2006. I heard about PAA during my training with Sally Anderson in Melbourne (Pilates International) in 2003. Once qualified, I moved to England and joined the PMA, but when I returned to Australia I joined the PAA. I value the importance of an independent regulatory body for our industry.

Do you have a motto?

On the wall above my desk I’ve written ‘The Freedom and wisdom that comes with letting go’. This is a quote from my yoga teacher about Dhumavati (the older wise woman goddess who doesn’t let small nonsense distract her). I also have a quote from the Dalai Lama in the studio which begins ‘Never give up…’

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?

Administration and deskwork, I much prefer teaching.

How do you use PAA?

I often use the resources and document uploads on the PAA website. My career has progressed as I gained teaching hours and upgraded through the instructor Levels to Principal Level. Instructors at the studio are required to become PAA members as this fosters a community of educated and accredited instructors and promotes quality within our industry.

Who is your Pilates idol or would love to meet, and why?

Katrina Edwards has been my teacher for almost 20 years, her depth of knowledge, focus, and ability to mould the body in front of her is incredible. I always learn so much from any training or observation I do with her. Elizabeth Larkam was in a poster at a studio in London where I worked, and I always wanted to meet her. In 2007 I went to a 3 day workshop with her in Hawaii which was life changing. And Blossom Leilani Crawford, she is so personable and the detail and accessibility she brings is really inspiring and very easy to integrate into my teaching. These instructors are very different but I really appreciate and admire them both and they have shaped the way I work.

What do you appreciate most about your body?

My body created and birthed two children (9 & 4), it’s almost incomprehensible how amazing that is. My body has always been with me, it’s changed over my 44 years on this planet and yet it’s been my constant home. More and more I’m realising that, for me, it is through my body that I can calm my mind, heal, and connect to the universe. We are very lucky as instructors to have the privilege to work with other people’s bodies. Such vehicles for change and evolution!

The book you’re currently reading?

Madeline Black ‘Centered’ and Bessel Van Der Kolk ‘The body keeps the score’.

Will you be our next Instructor in Focus?

We’d like to get to know you and how Pilates fits into your life. Each newsletter we’ll highlight a PAA member as our Instructor in Focus on our website and on social media channels.

To be a featured member answer a few simple questions and submit a headshot and/or a photo of yourself doing Pilates.

We look forward to getting to know more about our PAA community!

Please provide us with:
Instructor Name:
Instructor training and level:
Studio(s) you work at:
Location:

Questions
1. What originally motivated you to try Pilates and then go on to train as an instructor?
2. What did you eat for breakfast?
3. In one word, describe your first Pilates experience?
4. What’s the best thing about your job?
5. Your ‘go to’ website for all things Pilates (other than PAA)?
6. The best advice you’ve ever had?
7. An indulgence you can’t live without?
8. How long have you been a member of PAA and how did you hear about PAA?
9. Do you have a motto?
10. What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
11. How do you use PAA?
12. Who is your Pilates idol or would love to meet, and why?
13. What do you appreciate most about your body?
14. The book you’re currently reading?

When you’ve answered the questions and gathered the photos, email them to info@pilates.org.au