Instructor in Focus – Meredith Brooks

Meredith Brooks

Meredith Brooks

Wellcentred Pilates, North Sydney NSW

Instructor Name: Meredith Brooks
Studio(s) you work at: Wellcentred Pilates
Location: North Sydney
Instructor training: 10867NAT Diploma in Pilates Movement Therapy
PAA Level: Professional Level 2

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

I started 30 years ago with Lesley Ackland London, working in the finance industry but doing classical ballet regularly. I subluxed each SIJ separately and one of my ballet friends suggested Lesley and Pilates, which was quite unknown then. It was a revelation – doing ballet in open adult classes is very self directed and I discovered so much more about how to move from Pilates. Or, more importantly for me, who is hypermobile, how to stabilise. I’m still working on that.

Fast forward 15 years and I returned from a stint in New York (where I didn’t actually do any Pilates funnily enough) and started back with Penny Latey as a client. I was picking up non-executive board roles but decided I wanted to understand more about Pilates. The only real study possible was the teacher training, but I didn’t intend to teach. I did studio-based training through the APMA and had to do 200 hours of supervised teaching and I found I loved it, and just never stopped.

What did you eat for breakfast?

I start every day with hot water with lemon and fruit. After some cardio, coffee then muesli in summer, porridge in winter. I teach lunchtimes and evenings so mornings are mine.

In one word, describe your first Pilates experience?

Shaky. Even though my motivation was my SI/pelvic stability issue, Lesley started me with some supine shoulder abduction and flexion with light weights. My chest and arms fibrillated like crazy, I was quite shocked.

What impact has the recent COVID-19 virus had on your world?

Firstly, the whole business pivot from in studio to online in 2020 and all the practicalities involved in that – it was a big project with so many angles – financial of course, client comms, technology etc. Secondly, learning to teach on Zoom – new observation and teaching skills.

Eventually, it’s led to me closing my studio and going into a solo practice so I can focus on my own teaching and not on trying to recruit teachers…..

Outside Pilates, of course the worry about vulnerable friends and family, the lack of real world contact with friends and family for prolonged periods, no travel, no theatre etc etc! But I’ve been very lucky really.

How have you handled your Pilates teaching with COVID-19, any advice to other teachers?

I think I partly answered that above… advice, hmmm. I think anything that’s a shock to the system can help you clarify your priorities and values. I’ve found I’ve been able to adapt well enough but I recognise that other people are in a different place and may not have the resources to do so. I’m a bit wary of offering generic advice.

What’s the best thing about your job?

I feel I help people have a better quality of life (don’t we all answer this question like that?). Working with a client to help them discover how to move easily, without pain, without fear – you know that’s transformational for them, body and soul.

I also like solving complex problems and there is nothing more complex than human beings and their minds and bodies.

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

For Pilates repertoire and ideas, Pilates Anytime. But I’m often googling into medical, physiotherapy, kinesiology, neuroscience websites to unpick a particular problem.

The best advice you’ve ever had?

The only behaviour you can change is your own
(Head of HR at my former company)

An indulgence you can’t live without?

Cheese

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

3 years. I went to the 2019 and 2019 conferences and thought they were brilliant – I think a colleague mentioned the conference originally

Do you have a motto?

No

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?

There’s never enough time to really think through each client’s scenario and never enough opportunity to fully experiment different options with them. I feel I can get good solutions but the unexplored territory seems boundless.

How do you use PAA?

Now I’m on the committee so I think they’ll be using me!

But really: they’ve been fabulous during Covid for advocacy and keeping us informed and for sources of continuing education, which I think is essential for any teacher.

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

I’d like to know more about Eve Gentry. Her work is the basis for most of my original experience and training and I think expanded the scope of Pilates work (but I love Classical too)

What do you appreciate most about your body?

Even though my hypermobility can be really annoying, I do like being mobile.

The book you’re currently reading?

Understanding the Human Foot by James Earls

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