I’m Laura Chandler, a qualified group exercise and Fitness Pilates instructor on a mission to make Pilates the enjoyable, accessible and welcoming exercise it should be. I live in Wooburn Green, Bucks, with my husband Rob and Labrador Dave.
I discovered Pilates when trying to cope with the stress of a pressurised career in Marketing. I found the focus on breathing and the deep mind-body connection of Pilates gave me renewed energy and focus; I felt toned and supple and brought calm to my busy brain and body. My hobby became my passion and I trained as an instructor to share the Pilates bug with others…
I love how adaptable and accessible Pilates is as a style of exercise; sequences can be flowed together dynamically with an emphasis on strength and mobility to energise, or the tempo can be slowed to a gentle pace with a focus on stretching, lengthening and unfurling.
My own journey has led to an emphasis on Zen Pilates for people who want to work holistically with their minds and bodies to restore calm and energy – but I also run higher-impact Energy Pilates for people who want to get more blood pumping and endorphins flowing.
What actually is Fitness Pilates and what is Zen Pilates?
Fitness Pilates is an inclusive, intelligent form of exercise: it’s gentle enough for anyone to try it – you don’t have to work up a sweat – but when done correctly it’s incredibly effective, leaving you feeling lengthened, unwound, toned and relaxed in both mind and body, even after just one session. Each week is different from the last targeting a different set of muscles each time. It’s mat-based using our own body weight for resistance along with some fun equipment including balls, bands and blocks.
It’s about using deliberate, low-impact movements to work on flexibility, muscular strength and endurance – controlled movement for a purpose rather than just pounding away at a treadmill. From slow deep core workouts to small postural muscle exercises, you soon develop a real mind-body connection by deliberately activating individual muscles and understanding what each movement will achieve for your body and mind. As a result, you end up in peak physical and mental condition; with better posture, muscle tone, joint mobility, balance, and a lot less stress.
Fitness Pilates is a great complement to other sports as you can work on your strength and flexibility while avoiding risk of injury; and its slow, controlled pace makes it ideal exercise for people who don’t like exercise! It’s often used on injury rehabilitation programmes, and recommended for people suffering from chronic back pain, sports injuries, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, RSI and stress related illnesses. But at my sessions it’s also a great way to socialise and have fun.
Zen Pilates is unique to ZenergyActive; a blissfully relaxed form of Fitness Pilates – it’s not about chanting and humming, but cutting through the noise of the everyday to achieve a wonderful stillness of mind and body. Using calming breathing techniques for a real mind-body connection, and conducted in a heavenly ambience of tealights, aromatherapy scents and restful (but funky) music, you can unwind and utterly relax. We swap practical, science-driven self-care techniques over a herbal tea then float away from class for a deeply restorative night’s sleep.