Instructor in Focus: Helen Fletcher

Helen Fletcher

Helen Fletcher

Equipoise Pilates & Movement Education. Empathy Pilates Studio, Armadale VIC

Instructor Name: Helen Fletcher
Studio(s) you work at: Equipoise Pilates & Movement Education. Empathy Pilates Studio.
Location: 743 High Street Armadale, Victoria
Instructor training: APMA
PAA Level: Professional Principal Instructor

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

I first learned about Pilates from my mother whilst living in the UK in 1989. I was instantly curious and as I follow my curiosities, I made it a mission to find Pilates when I moved to Melbourne in 1990. It took a year to find, but I landed on my feet in the capable hands of Kim and Andrew Baxter.

I stayed practising with Kim, and then Andrew, until I started my teacher training in 2005 at The Intelligent Body with Rachel Wilson, and at that time, Paul Higgins.

I decided to pursue the training for a number of reasons. Primarily my love of the method, my idea that I could structure this type of work around my son who was five years old at the time, and also the dream of combining Pilates with my other passion, horse riding. In particular, Dressage. I began riding at the age of five and by the time I was 11 years old I was training in classical dressage.

What did you eat for breakfast?

I have a two part breakfast, it’s my favourite meal of the day!

I always start with fruit – today it was orange and kiwi fruit. Followed a couple of hours later by steel cut oats, banana and homemade LSA. (blended almonds, sunflower seeds and linseeds). Very hearty!

In one word, describe your first Pilates experience?


What’s the best thing about your job?

There is so much I love about my job that it is difficult to choose the one best thing.

The ongoing learning that is available to all of us from all corners of the world, as well as our wonderful local, further educational opportunities. The variety in every day, this is the only job that has captivated my attention for so many years.

My wonderful clients and colleagues, and the friendships and relationships that develop between us.

Unique to my equestrian business, I am lucky to spend time in the company of horses!

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

As I am currently studying Slings Myofascial Training I am often on the Art Of Motion Academy Youtube page, another favourite is for all things anatomy.

What’s your favourite Pilates podcast? Why do you recommend it?

David Lesondak’s Body Talk Podcast is not actually Pilates, but if you are an anatomy nerd and like to learn, he has fantastic guests talking about integrative medicine, anatomy, physiology and all things human body and human movement.

The best advice you’ve ever had?

When I was doing my training I was concerned that out of my group of trainee instructors I was the quietest, and probably the most nervous and shy at the time. I didn’t know if I would be a very good teacher. A dear, older friend said to me that I should just be myself, quieter and more sensitive, to not try to change myself in any way to fit what I thought would make me a more acceptable type of teacher.

She said that the right students would find me, and that they would become my most loyal and committed clients. She was 100% correct! I am still teaching many of the clients I met in my first couple of years of teaching. I am happy to say I am also much more confident!

There is room for all of us in this industry, we need to just be ourselves.

An indulgence you can’t live without?

Carob Kitchen Banjo Bears!

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

I am a new member, having come across from the APMA. I have known of the PAA for many years though, and am very happy to now be a member.

Do you have a motto?

‘Everything always works out for the best in the end.’

I am not sure if that is actually true, but it helps at the time! 🙂

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?

Taking the time to do my own practice takes discipline and commitment, especially at the end of a busy day’s teaching. I have learnt to do something every morning at home before I teach, no matter how early I have to get up to do that, then if I don’t make it onto the equipment at the studio that day, I have at least done something.

How do you use PAA?

Because I am still quite new I am just discovering what the PAA has to offer. I have signed up for my first Masterclass and am looking forward to the conference in August.

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

Tom McCook. I love his style of teaching, his depth of knowledge, and his ongoing commitment to learning and adding to his craft.

What do you appreciate most about your body?

At 60, everything!
Despite a huge injury in 2020 from which I rehabilitated myself in lockdown, I feel that my body never lets me down.
What I appreciate most is it’s resilience and adaptability.

The book you’re currently reading?

Body by Breath: The Science and Practice of Physical and Emotional Resilience. Jill Miller


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