Archive for the ‘pilates’ Category



What a wonderfully relaxing Pilates and Nordic Walking Retreat weekend everyone had!

The weather was glorious!  The company was welcoming and fun!  The vegan food was fulfilling and delicious!

4 people even immediately re-booked for the next Pilates and Nordic Walking Retreat weekend – 21st – 23rd September 2018.

Once everyone was settled in, the weekend began with a Yoga class taught by Jo De Rosa,  who lives in the house with her husband Dom, the Chef.

Dom cooks the vegan healthy food, with his team, which is served by Jo and her assistant.  Most of the vegetables are grown within the gardens of Inner Guidance Retreat centre, so the food is always fresh.

We truly experience how gluten, dairy, alcohol and sugar-free foods taste and feel so good!

Everyone enjoyed the food and all diet requirements were taken care of.  There were a variety of dishes served, and no-one realised they were on a vegan clean eating style retreat.

As well as morning smoothies and raw cacao drinks, brunches and afternoon cake, we were served 2 course vegan dinners, and as the weather was warm, we were able to enjoy meals outside.  This gave everyone the opportunity to get to know each other.  There was a relaxed atmosphere with lots of chatter and laughter.

4 different types of Pilates classes were taught within the retreat centre studio, whilst listening to the birds outside, as the doors were open looking out onto the gardens across the field of horses.

After brunch on Saturday, Caroline began the Nordic Walking session.  This started with a thorough warm up and technique session, then we walked to Lavenham village.

Some ladies who either had treatments booked or didn’t want to walk so far, turned back guided by me.  There was ample time to spend a couple of hours relaxing in the garden and have a dip in the small swimming pool or the hot tub.

Afternoon cake was left in the cooler as and when we wanted to eat it, which gave everyone the opportunity to relax and choose what they wanted to do.

The evenings were spent walking around the garden, where you will find hammocks and swings, and walk around Labyrinth where much laughter was heard! Stories were also shared around the fire and in the hot tub!

Sunday morning, we learnt about raw Cacao, and Dom gave us a Cacao ceremony which involved some meditation.

As well as the Pilates classes on Sunday, everyone had some time to relax in the garden, enjoy treatments or walk into Lavenham Village.

A variety of holistic treatments offered throughout the weekend by Carol, Angel Therapist, were from a choice of: Rheiki, Massage and Reflexology or the Inner Guidance Special, which incorporates some healing, to coinside well with the purpose of this thoroughly relaxing Retreat Weekend.

If you don’t want to miss out on the next Retreat which is the weekend of 21st-23rd September 2018, please email to book your place.


   Ant walking sticks

Ant green dress     DSC02343    Ant yellow dress


I started Pilates with Davina in 2011 after years of gaining weight whilst on Prednisolone and other medication for Dermatomyositis, a rare auto-immune disease affecting 8 in a 100,000 of the population in the UK. I also happen to have a severe form of the disease with a rare antibody found in only 3% of patients with Myositis.

The disease affects your skeletal muscles with severe weakness, pain and fatigue on the least exertion which means the most part of my day is spent in bed resting and this affects my ability to do many activities of daily living which people take for granted.

Patients with Myositis are encouraged to exercise as part of their therapy in order to halt or slow down muscle atrophy and the rapid disability associated with this. The difficulty for people with Myositis is that they get tired very easily and are unable to do any activities for a prolonged period of time.

The challenge Davina faced was helping me to do basic and varied routines without pushing me over the limit and adapting programmes on the spot which I could do with help from my support worker.

She encourage me to do some of the exercises sitting down in a chair as I tired easily. After a a year or so of this I lost some weight and she invited me to try the diet programme which kick started my weight loss.

I found the experience very supportive as Davina engaged with me on a one to one basis and really encouraged me to keep up with the programme. I was sometimes ill and discouraged but she is so passionate about what she does that she got me going to reach my goal. She went over and above what was expected by dropping in with home visits to measure and weigh me.

I am pleased to say I have been able to maintain the weight loss by having a raw vegetable and protein diet every 3 days and the Pilates programme. I can only say that without Davina’s input I wouldn’t have made it.

Davina is really so committed about her work and her passion and enthusiasm act as a catalyst to spur her clients on because she is genuinely interested in their welfare and not the money.  It is a vocation for Davina and not just a job.

I am truly grateful to have met Davina and for the support and  encouraging me and making me feel special and not self conscious.

It took me ages to come to terms with my illness and disability and believe me I was a trim 62.5 kg when first diagnosed so turning into an overweight and dependent person overnight was a shock to my system. For ages I felt too horrible to even step out of my house apart from my hospital visits and my carer would try so hard to push me out in the wheelchair and most times I would refuse point blank.

Davina made it ok for me to feel accepted in the group and with her home visits during the diet I just felt I couldn’t let her down.  With all the effort Davina put in me,  I needed to respond by engaging in the process. I never for once thought I would lose a significant amount because the odds were so great but here I am, not quite slender or trim but ok with a manageable dress size.


Please visit my Revitalise page to see what I have to offer you to help you reach your goals.

And please don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to know more how I can help you.


oilates powerhouse

The powerhouse is one of the most important concepts in Pilates training. In recent years, the term core strength, has become more well-known and is used somewhat interchangeably with powerhouse, but they are not exactly the same.

Students are taught to use their “powerhouse” throughout life’s daily activities. According to Joseph Pilates, the powerhouse is the centre of the body and if strengthened, it offers a solid foundation for any movement.

The powerhouse area of your body goes from the bottom of your ribs all the way to your hip line. It includes the abdominal, low back muscles, pelvic floor, muscles around the hips, and the glutes (butt muscles).

The core muscles are part of the powerhouse set, and using your core is part of using your powerhouse. The core muscles are the deep stabilizers like the pelvic floor, the psoas, the multifidus, and the transversus abdominis, among others. But the core muscles are not the big movers like the rectus abdomis or glutes, that we add to the group when we talk about the powerhouse.

The Powerhouse is activated effectively by hollowing of the deep abdominals, by drawing the navel back into the spine in a zipping-up motion, from the pubic bone to the breast bone.

Pilates beginners need to think in terms of using the powerhouse right away. It is the powerhouse that gives us the energy, stability, strength, and control to move into the intermediate and advanced Pilates exercises. Developing the powerhouse muscles in a balanced way will progress you toward true fitness the fastest.


joseph pilates

PILATES is a physical exercuse developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates.

The original six principles were concentration, control, center, flow, precision, and breathing.


“Contrology” was Joseph Pilates’ preferred name for his method and it is based on the idea of muscle control. “Nothing about the Pilates Method should be haphazard. The reason you need to concentrate so thoroughly is so you can maintain control of every aspect of every moment.”


Pilates demands intense focus: “You have to concentrate on what you’re doing all the time. And you must concentrate on your entire body for smooth movements.”   This is not easy, but in Pilates the way that exercises are done is more important than the exercises themselves.


In order for the practitioner to attain control of their body they must have a starting place: the center. The center is the focal point of the Pilates method.  Many Pilates teachers refer to the group of muscles in the center of the body— the abdomen, lower and upper back, hips, buttocks, and inner thighs—as the “powerhouse”.  All movements in Pilates should begin from the powerhouse and flow outward to the limbs.

Flow or efficiency of movement

Pilates aims for elegant sufficiency of movement, creating flow through the use of appropriate transitions. Once precision has been achieved, the exercises are intended to flow within and into each other in order to build strength and stamina. In other words, the Pilates technique asserts that physical energy exerted from the center should coordinate movements of the extremities: Pilates is flowing movement outward from a strong core.


Precision is essential to correct Pilates: “concentrate on the correct movements each time you exercise, lest you do them improperly and thus lose all the vital benefits of their value”The focus is on doing one precise and perfect movement, rather than many halfhearted ones. Pilates is here reflecting common physical culture wisdom: “You will gain more strength from a few energetic, concentrated efforts than from a thousand listless, sluggish movements”. The goal is for this precision to eventually become second nature, and carry over into everyday life as grace and economy of movement.


Breathing is important in the Pilates method.

Joseph Pilates  saw considerable value in increasing the intake of oxygen and the circulation of this oxygenated blood to every part of the body. This he saw as cleansing and invigorating. Proper full inhalation and complete exhalation were key to this. “Pilates saw forced exhalation as the key to full inhalation.” He advised people to squeeze out the lungs as they would wring a wet towel dry.

In Pilates exercises, the practitioner breathes out with the effort and in on the return.  In order to keep the lower abdominals close to the spine; the breathing needs to be directed laterally, into the lower rib cage.  Pilates breathing is described as a posterior lateral breathing, meaning that the practitioner is instructed to breathe deep into the back and sides of his or her rib cage. When practitioners exhale, they are instructed to note the engagement of their deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles and maintain this engagement as they inhale. Pilates attempts to properly coordinate this breathing practice with movement, including breathing instructions with every exercise. Above all, learn to breathe correctly.


Pilates is a body conditioning routine that may help build flexibility, muscle strength, and endurance in the legs, abdominals, arms, hips and back.  It puts emphasis on spinal and pelvic alignment, breathing, and developing a strong core or center, and improving coordination and balance.

Pilates’ system allows for different exercises to be modified in range of difficulty from beginning to advanced. Intensity can be increased over time as the body conditions and adapts to the exercises.

Anyone can do Pilates.  It is really beneficial to those suffering from injury and want to build up strength again.  Also just as important to strengthen the muscles we use  in everyday life.

Pilates improves muscle tone, balances musculature, supports correct posture, and teaches to move with ease and grace.