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By West Norwood Therapies Team, Feb 15 2017 09:00AM

The first in a series of blogs by our Pilates instructor, Matthew Atwell, exploring his particular, focussed approach to teaching Pilates

This is the first in a series of blogs where I will explore my ethos, looking at some of the personal and professional values that inform how I teach Pilates in my work at The Pilates Education at West Norwood Therapies.

The essence of the Pilates encounter

Each Pilates practitioner has different influences that affect how they experience and pass on the method. So what is unique about my approach?

We shall begin this series by looking at what I believe to be the essence of the Pilates encounter; the learning dynamic and collaboration between the Pilates practitioner and the person they teach.

Redefining the learning dynamic

I became aware of the Pilates learning dynamic when I began to establish the company in early 2015. It was then that a subtle yet significant trait emerged when I began to define my relationship with those I taught by the titles, 'teacher and student'. In fact, this is so subtle that perhaps no one has even noticed its meaning.

This decision was certainly informed by my previous work as a performing arts school teacher, but I was most struck by the concept when reading two books written by Joseph Pilates, the founder of the movement technique. In them, his description of the relationship between himself and those he taught was not like I often see in the Pilates industry today, where it is usual to use the word, 'client' when referring to those whom we teach.

While this is a common term throughout the health and wellbeing industry, I feel that with Pilates we lose the idea that one who has studied the art form passes it on. I have often seen a tendency in Pilates studios that undermines this dynamic, where the journey is more biased towards being client led.

Of course, there is collaboration in all learning though.

The Pilates student is always the expert on how their body feels, and on how the practice is impacting their daily life, while the Pilates teacher should be the student's authority on the method, safely leading them through the vast repertoire of exercises.

Considering the learning collaboration

Also at the company's formation, I looked around and saw instances of ineffective collaboration between the two parties, which I believe affects the Pilates outcome. I suppose my time as a school teacher taught me the importance of engaging the learner in their own process, and each person understanding their part in the relationship. We will look at this briefly now and go into more detail as the series unfolds.

Personally, I realised that one of my main responsibilities as the teacher was to create an optimal environment for the student to absorb the most benefit from the practice of Pilates.

Furthermore, I perceived an equally crucial commitment to my continued growth in the practice and study of Pilates, which would allow me to effectively guide people who want to learn from me. While I have seen some excellent examples of this in others, many practitioners seem to tread water in this area, watering down the potential outcome.

Pilates is a deep and vast movement method which I anticipate being a lifelong journey of exploration. Plus I believe that engagement in my own wider wellbeing journey is vital if I am to genuinely impact my students.

Of course, for a successful Pilates outcome, there are also the responsibilities of the student to consider, which have taken me much longer to grasp and facilitate.

Join me for subsequent blogs where I will expand further on these ideas, as well as sharing other aspects unique to my approach in my work at The Pilates Education.

Matthew established The Pilates Education in early 2015 with the aim of promoting, through Pilates, the wellbeing and health of people in the local area. The Pilates Education provides mat and equipment Pilates classes to people in South East London.

Find out more by visiting www.thepilateseducation.com.

By West Norwood Therapies Team, Feb 1 2017 09:00AM

Osteopath and yoga teacher, Yinka Fabusuyi, shares her top tips for keeping your mattress in tip top condition to help support a healthy spine

I hope that you have had a good festive season and wish you a happy and prosperous New Year. As part of your goal for a healthy year, which includes keeping your spine in tip top condition, do not overlook the importance of a good mattress. After a busy day there is nothing quite like getting into bed and feeling comfortable, relaxing and waking up feeling refreshed. If this is not the case might your mattress.

Top tips

1. Use a washable mattress (and pillow) cover to protect your mattress from stains. Buy them in a purpose-made ‘barrier’ fabric if you have a dust allergy.

2. Throw back bedclothes in the morning and leave the bed to air for 20 minutes to allow body moisture to evaporate.

3. Turn your mattress over and end to end every three or four months. For new mattresses do this every week for the first three months, to help upholstery fillings settle down more evenly. Mind your back when doing this and don't do it on your own.

4. To keep your mattress at its best, do not let children bounce on it.

5. Do not sit on the edge of the mattress.

6. Try to avoid your mattress getting wet. If it does air dry it. If necessary use gentle detergent and water to spot clean. Do not use solvent based cleaners on visco-elastic foam mattresses.

7. A good quality mattress that is used regularly will last about 8-10 years. Poorly cared for mattresses will not last as long. High quality mattresses may last longer.

Yinka is at West Norwood Therapies on Wednesdays and ad-hoc www.westnorwoodtherapies.com/yinka-fabusuyi

Osteopath and Yoga teacher

By West Norwood Therapies Team, Nov 16 2016 11:00AM

Our osteopath and yoga teacher, Yinka Fabusuyi, explains the importance of choosing a good bra and some care tips to maximise their efficacy and life span

If you choose to wear a bra the right fit may make a huge difference to comfort and possibly posture. A good fit can make all the difference in the world to a painful mid or upper back, pain across the top of the shoulders or sore ribs. If you notice your bra strap digs into your shoulders or is leaving a deep mark, the fit may be wrong, larger breasts are heavier and may require more support and so a wider strap may be necessary. It is not unusual for your bra size to change if you lose or gain any weight, and also consider a new bra if you have just come to the end of breast feeding. Post birth and feeding breast tissue may require a different style of bra and your width fitting may have increased due to changes in the rib cage following pregnancy. The correct fit is paramount, and I think the only way to achieve this is to go and be fitted. Once you have the perfect bra, look after it. Here are some basic pointers:

1. If possible hand wash your bra. Alternatively and possibly more realistically use a delicate machine wash cycle.

2. Do not tumble dry your bra, the heat can have a negative effect on the elastic.

3. Get refitted if your clothing size changes.

4. If you use a different bra for the gym, yoga or to run in, and try to wash it as soon as you can after exercise.

5. See your bra as an important part of your wardrobe and invest in a good one.

6. Once you are happy with your bra brand, design and size you can always look for a better deal online.

By West Norwood Therapies Team, Nov 8 2016 09:00AM

There are spaces on some upcoming pilates classes with our awesome new team member, Matthew.


Our new pilates teacher Matthew is taking enrolment for his next blocks of foundations classes. This is a six week introductory course which enrols students into regular mat classes.

There are 2 courses launching:

On: Saturdays 10:30am

Starting: December 3rd

(only a couple of spaces left)


On: Thursdays 8pm

Starting: January 12th (or thereabouts)

The course costs £65 for the six sessions and covers approximately 16 Pilates exercises as well as some basic anatomy relating to the movements. There are a maximum of 7 students in each group.


There are currently 2 or 3 spaces in Matthew's prenatal group classes which take place on Tuesday evenings from 7-8pm. Each new student takes a brief enrolment session to support their integration into the group. Whilst offering a balanced workout the classes also focus on pelvic floor health, breathing patterns, relaxation techniques, and stretches that support the pregnancy, labour and postpartum recovery.

For more information on these courses please visit www.thepilateseducation.com or contact Matthew on info@thepilateseducation.com www.westnorwoodtherapies.com/matthew-atwell

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