Practicing Pilates

There’s a conversation starting on a separate thread but rather than ‘split it’ unnaturally, I thought I would start a separate discussion on the fitness topic of Pilates.

Let me state it unequivocally, …


The reason is that I am fitter now at 45 than I was at 25 because of back pain. I damaged my back somehow, and then office work and bad habits like lounging on sofas combined to really hurt my back and make any activity painful.

A combination of Osteopathy and Pilates got me fit enough to cope with two growing kids and now I’m largely pain free.

It is an activity that looks a little odd, and needs a good teacher (and so is not cheap), but I highly recommend it. I suggest you do learn from a dedicated teacher and with the equipment first, and then decide if a matt class (exercises on the floor with little extra equipment) might be enough for you.

There are actually a couple of places I know about that you can practice it locally:

Studio One - a brand new dedicated studio on Dalmain Road - now on this site as @StudioOne
Sunflower Centre - not SE23 but close and good equipment & teachers

Energie Fitness
Forest Hill Pools

Let me know if you like it too. I know the new place in SE23 is about to open officially, (though I think some early adopters like @Gary_Brown may already be using it), but if we can coordinate, we might be able to schedule new 2-1 or 3-1 equipment classes.


Thanks for the information Rob. Lower back pain is my big thing at the moment, so keen to get it under control. Will be going to see the GP to make sure it’s nothing too nasty, and a friend gas referred me to her chiropractor to see what they can find and do.

But long term I know mobility of everything is what I need to focus on to recover from my other activities, so pilates seems a logical. Choice.
Now to learn a bit about it and start looking for the right place to go.

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Do go to the GP as you will need to have blood tests (for inflammation) and possibly a scan (for spine issues), but as usual they will probably find nothing.

I (personally) suggest you don’t go to a Chriopractor, but seek out an Osteopath. They are not that different, but the latter is more concerned with the soft tissue and muscle issues as well as ‘resetting’ skeletal issues.

I know, and see, a very good osteopath who practices in Forest Hill (in the treatment rooms at Canvas & Cream) called Andrew Fung, but there are other places locally too.

But Pilates is a great way to keep from getting injured, and to focus exercises that either target or avoid, any issues you have

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I started Pilates 15 years ago when my back completely went after my son was born. Could only move around on all fours, not ideal with a toddler and a newborn and a husband who travels for work.

I went to see an osteopath who pointed out that I have hyper mobile joints. Not to go into details, but it’s a condition that makes joints susceptible to injury and wear out more quickly. She recommended Pilates as it strengthens the deep internal muscles. I can safely say it has transformed my life. Back has only gone once in the past 15 years. When I got a bit slack about regular practice I got grinding hip and sciatic pain. Back to the Pilates and it’s under control. I don’t LOOK fit, but I am.

@anon64893700 I’d personally recommend an osteopath rather than a chiropractor. The latter are good at short term fixes to get you moving but not at identifying and addressing the underlying cause.

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snap :slight_smile:

Where do you do your Pilates @RachaelDunlop?

Pilates makes sense to me, but osteopathy and chiropractic ring huge alarm bells. First of all because there’s very little evidence to support it:

…and secondly, because the history behind it (particularly chiropractic) sounds rather suspicious:

I am lucky enough to have room at home for a home reformer machine which I used to learn on in the early years, when getting childfree time out of the house was almost impossible.

I now do mat work classes at the David Lloyd Gym in Beckenham. They have several really excellent and experienced instructors. However, I’d love to push myself to a more advanced level, which isn’t really possible in a general class.

@anon5422159 - I’d agree with you on both chiropractors and osteopaths, to be honest. Cranial osteopathy in particular seems akin to snake oil selling to me. But a skilled osteopath with physio qualifications can definitely help in the sort term if you have something like a spasming back.

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Thanks @thirstforwine I have to be honest I have very little understanding of these things, so your advise is well received. GP is a must and going to book up soon. Especially now the pain is starting to travel.
As for treatment, I am going for a multi pronged approach and will be trying a bit of everything. So am sure I will see an osteopath soon too. Thanks for the recommendation.

Taking on board what you say too @RachaelDunlop, mobility is my first port of call as I have a lot coming up soon, but am keen to get to the bottom of things asap too.

As I say it’s all a minefield to me, so will have to see what my best course of action is. If an osteopath can get me some relief, then maybe that is the way to go.

Getting back to pilates though, it certainly seems the right direction to head in once I have dealt with a bit of the discomfort. So watch out for me making a fool of myself in a pilates studio near you soon! Haha.

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Well, I’m waiting for the new place to open properly as this studio is pretty cool (this is Studio One)


That looks like a torture chamber! I like it!

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There’s also the Honor Oak Wellness rooms. I’ve not been yet, but have a voucher a friend bought me to use which I intend to use very soon.


Now THAT looks like the business. Excited now.


I am indeed going to the newly opened Studio One on Dalmain Road. I have been doing Pilates for about 16 years, 9 of those with Iovana, who owns the studio. @thirstforwine and I were in the same class at the Sunflower Centre in Brockley while Iovana was on maternity leave. Iovana is by far the best teacher I have had and works wonders. She gets to know all of your body’s weakest links and helps you keep problems in check. I’m not quite the physical specimen @thirstforwine is, but I think I’ve weathered the extra ten years I have on him fairly well with Iovana’s help. Rob, it’s fully open as far as I know–I think you might be going by the website, which is a lagging indicator. The schedule is filling up, as you can see here: If you can’t see Iovana herself for classes, she has an experienced staff from her other studio in Brixton who come to the SE23 studio to cover other slots.


That’s the equipment room, and you can see the large studio space through the soundproof glass where mat classes, etc., take place. There’s a kitchen, a quiet room, and (I think) a sun deck as well (but I might have dreamt that).


they DO call it a ‘reformer’ - take that however you wish :wink:


Just to say that I am not qualified to discuss the details of Pilates and its benefits, but I am very grateful that @iovana has joined this site who can answer your questions MUCH better than me



Hello anon64893700, It sounds to me like you have the right idea. From my experience as a Pilates teacher, in particular clients with chronic pain are better prepared for Pilates when they have first seen a Osteopath, Chiropractor or Physiotherapist. However, with anything short of really chronic pain Pilates is suitable from the beginning of the recovery process. I’m here if you need anything else.


There is also the pilates garden on forest hill road which offers equipment classes too.

My lovely friend Veronika is teaching ariel yoga at yours I think :slight_smile:

I’ve got a customer that does yoga classes elsewhere in FH, but shortly won’t be able too. Can I pass on your info please :+1:

I’ve never tried equipment Pilates, I’ve only ever done mat Pilates! Looks a bit scary! Thanks for the links, I am always on the look-out for drop-in morning classes. I have been doing some mat Pilates once a week but think I should be doing more.