Our serene studio in Bishops Stortford offers a safe and peaceful environment to learn and practice Pilates.
Our intimate sessions consist of just six people, ensuring that you feel comfortable and at ease. We offer classes for beginners and experienced practitioners alike, with options for Mixed Ability, Intermediate, or Higher Intermediate.
Our studio is equipped with state-of-the-art apparatus that adds an element of adventure. For those who require more attention or have specific health concerns, we offer personalized 1-2-1 sessions tailored to your unique requirements. Our classes are available in our studio or at your home online via Zoom.
Wendy has over 10 years experience in teaching Body Control Pilates. She also combines her FEET-NESS expertise into every class.
Body Control Pilates is renowned as a world-leading education provider for Pilates teaching.
Our education curriculum is internationally renowned and our membership body for Body Control Pilates teachers is the largest professional Pilates organisation outside the USA.
Body Control Pilates offers a comprehensive programme of exercises for both mat and machine work. They are adapted from the ‘classical’ exercises developed by Joseph Pilates. We believe that many of these classical exercises are often not suitable for the average person and the average body. In order for someone to work safely and effectively and to gain the full benefits of Pilates, these classical exercises should be broken down to establish good movement skills thus building the best possible foundation upon which to progress towards the classical, more advanced work. This is the essence of the Body Control Pilates Method.
Body Control Pilates is remarkably effective – and medically-approved. It is of an holistic nature, being based upon a well-constructed philosophical foundation. Central to the Method is ‘awareness of your own body’ and each and every exercise is built around its eight basic principles.
By working on the deep architectural structure of the body, ‘core stability’ is achieved, and then maintained, through increasingly complex movement sequences. Specific problem-areas can be targeted by an exercise, but always in relation to the rest of one’s body.
Your body awareness is heightened by bringing together mind and body – Body Control Pilates literally teaches you to be in control of your body, allowing you to handle stress more effectively and achieve relaxation more easily.
The Body Control Pilates Method can work for everyone, regardless of fitness level! Exercises can be mat or machine-based, but matwork exercises have a great attraction in that they need no special equipment, and are particularly safe for those with back problems (and don’t forget that 95% of the UK population has, or has had, backache). Its consistent success rate in solving such problems has brought it to the attention of osteopaths, chiropractors, physiotherapists and homeopathic doctors, many of whom have either set up Pilates studios as part of their practices or established a close working partnership with their local Body Control Pilates teachers.
Body Control Pilates teachers enjoy an excellent reputation for the effectiveness and quality of their teaching. Key reasons for this are:
In order to practise Pilates effectively, you will need to grasp the basic philosophy behind the method. At Body Control Pilates, we list eight principles that underpin our approach to the teaching and practise of Pilates.
Pilates exercises are usually performed only for a low number of repetitions as the focus is always on quality, not quantity. As you master each exercise, you will be learning a new movement skill. When ready, you can then add more challenging exercises to your programme. These will build muscular endurance and stamina into your body.
Pilates movements are controlled, graceful and flowing, lengthening outwards from a strong centre. Efficiency and fluidity are pivotal to performing the exercises correctly. You will be taught how to articulate your spine through flexion, extension, side flexion and rotation, learning how to move the spine bone by bone. Similarly, you will be mobilising your joints, taking them through their normal ranges of movement. The end result is longer, leaner muscles that are stronger through their entire range.
Each movement involved in a Pilates exercise should be performed purposefully with control. Through focusing on the quality and detail of each movement that makes up an exercise, coordination, control, mobility, strength and the overall efficiency of the whole body are improved more effectively.
Depending on your school of Pilates, this may be referred to as ‘core stability’ or ‘using the powerhouse’. Pilates focuses on maintaining support and control of the body as movement takes place. It does so by encouraging the recruitment of deep core muscles that help to control and stabilise movement. Staying centred involves using appropriate muscles to stabilise your core. All Pilates movements stem from a strong centre. The recruitment of the muscles involved in the centring process should be both dynamic and responsive, reflecting the demands of the movement being performed.
Breath is the essence of life itself. It is a movement process in its own right and therefore has great bearing on the efficiency of each movement performed. Synchronising the breath to movements is a key part of Pilates. Like any other movement in Pilates, we are looking for precision and efficiency. Breathing is no different; learning how to breathe more effectively within movement helps both the mind and the body to relax, recharge and focus.
Correct alignment at the start of and throughout the movement is absolutely essential. By correctly aligning the body and bringing the joints and soft tissue into their natural neutral zones, sound recruitment patterns are encouraged and the joints remain healthy. This precision of movement is the key to good Pilates practice.
Relaxation of the mind and the body is an essential part of any Pilates session. Focusing on releasing areas of tension within the body before, and during, each exercise is important as it allows constructive change to occur. As you focus completely on your movements, your mind feels relaxed and free from stress. It is vital to try to release unwanted tension from the body before and during the exercises. If you still hold tension, the overactive muscles that tend to dominate your movements will continue to do so. This is why you need to take time to release areas of tension at the start of your workouts.
Thoughtful awareness of your whole body while you are performing the movements is key. In order to bring about change to the way you move, the body and mind need to work together. Pilates will help you to develop greater body awareness and control, through concentration and focus on the detail and precision of the exercises performed. When you are aware of the movements within each exercise, this way of moving will ultimately become automatic, bringing about unconscious improvement to the way the body moves in everyday life.
The Pilates Method of exercise has its origins in the work of the late Joseph Pilates, who was born in 1880 near Düsseldorf, Germany. He was a frail child and turned to physical fitness programmes to improve his body image, becoming a keen sportsman, developing talents in sports as varied as diving, gymnastics and boxing.
Interned in the war years because of his nationality, he developed a fitness programme for his fellow internees in order to maintain their health and fitness levels whilst being held in confinement – he always claimed that his regime was the reason why not one of these internees died from the influenza epidemic that killed thousands in 1918!
Returning to Germany, he came into contact with the world of dance, in particular through contact with Rudoph von Laban, the originator of ‘Labanotation’, which is the most widely used form of dance notation. Hanya Holm included many of his exercises in her programme and, to this day, they are still part of the celebrated ‘Holm Technique’. At the same time as working with dancers, Joseph Pilates was also instructing the Hamburg police force in self-defence!
He was, in fact, asked to train the new German army, but declined and decided to emigrate to the United States of America. On the boat trip, he met a nursery teacher, Clara, whom he later married – and with whom he set up his first fitness studio in New York, at an address he shared with the New York City Ballet.
His studio soon began to attract the ‘elite’ of New York with leading ballet dancers coming to him because his exercises perfected and complemented their traditional exercise programme. Actors and actresses, sportspersons, the rich and the famous were all attracted to a workout that built strength without adding bulk, balancing that strength with flexibility, and achieving the perfect harmony between mind and muscle.
In the past, screen legends such as Gregory Peck and Katharine Hepburn used the Pilates Method and, today, it is the preferred work-out regime for leading personalities from the worlds of entertainment and sport. Yet, until the late 1990’s, Pilates remained essentially unknown to the general public – how things have changed in that short space of time as an estimated 25 million people now take regular Pilates classes in the USA and some one million in the UK.
Pilates today is taught in several forms, directly reflecting the legacy of Joseph Pilates, who developed the method some 80 years ago. He did not lay down a formal training programme, with the result that, on his death, his ‘disciples’ continued teaching by adding their own variations to the core philosophy and exercises. This flexibility in approach is one of the reasons why Pilates has been so successful over this time period.
A Brief History of Pilates, sourced from the BCP website.
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