MY Journey to a Happy Life
Updated: Nov 11
How My Body My Pilates started.
My name is Helen, originally from Shanghai, the founder of My Body My Pilates. I started out in the corporate world after graduation and Pilates really only entered my life in my late 20s when my knees started giving me problems.
I had problems walking up and down the stairs. My physiotherapist recommended Pilates as part of my pain management plan. After doing Pilates for a month, the pain was gone. I couldn’t believe it. The relief and freedom I felt from having a healthy body was what made me seek professional training as a Pilates instructor.
I thought if I could achieve this change in my body, then others can too and I was really driven to make this available to many people out there who carry painful bodies. A healthy body can give a happy life. Change is possible with Pilates, and a happy life is also achievable!
After moving to Japan, I continue teaching with private clients, Most of them had issues with their bodies and they needed Pilates to retrain their body to move correctly and efficiently without pain. I had a small boutique studio then and it gave me the opportunity to really focus on each body and address each client’s unique issue.
Why wait till we have problems before starting Pilates?
What got me started thinking about growing my business was the thought - why wait till we have problems before we start doing Pilates?
My goal is to help clients make Pilates a natural way of life - not just Pilates for managing pain.
It's great that people are coming to Pilates to find a solution for their pain, but imagine if we did Pilates from young and we learnt early on to train our bodies to move correctly and efficiently, we could reduce or even prevent problems. Pilates also has the added bonus of building excellent posture and a lean toned body!
What matters to me as a Qualified Pilates Instructor
I noticed many of my clients had very common problems and many need help with managing pain in the knee, hip, leg, back and shoulder. Pilates is actually for the long term and while you can notice changes in your body quickly, you also need to maintain it with consistency.
I have been getting a lot out of seeing how my private clients were improving and I knew there was so much more we could do if we had more tools to work with. So last year, I decided to buy all the Pilates equipment we needed to start group classes. I brought in the Reformer, the Cadillac, the towers, the chairs etc. because each machine and equipment is designed for specific exercises to approach our body many different ways as the complexity of the human body. This was really exciting as I knew I could expand the variety of exercises in a group setting to help many more people to achieve a healthy and happy life. As I said before, this is for the long term and I wanted to give the clients life long-lasting results.
One thing I insisted on maintaining is the attention I give to each client. I limit the classes to 5 people so myself or my instructors can really focus on each person. Pilates is a mindful training, doing correct is very important. That is why we keep our setting more intimate and client-focused.
This is important because in Pilates, both instructors and clients need to be very mindful and aware - instructors need to watch the alignment constantly, to give corrections and clients have to be receptive in training their brain. Change only happens when the movement goes through the nervous system to the brain. The brain needs to connect the body to break the old movement patterns and replace with new correct movement patterns so it becomes your second nature. As our brain need to concentrate on our body during Pilates class, it is a great opportunity to release stress, to have better mental health.
Our goal is to help clients make Pilates a natural way of life rather than an isolated activity they do for an hour and then forget about it. We carry Pilates with us in our daily lives as second nature- when we are cleaning, lifting heavy things, playing sports and even in learning how to catch ourselves when we lose our balance.
Why My Body My Pilates is different from other studios
We are not a gym. I want to focus on prioritising each client's unique needs and their very personal journey towards building a happy body.
I keep the groups small in our studio, so 5 maximum, and it is divided by levels, from absolute beginners to advanced levels.
When you start Pilates, the physical focus is on the form and alignment while the mental focus is on being able to detach from the daily problems, prioritising self-care by spending time learning to be aware of your body and how it feels.
I love hearing beginner clients say to me ¨I didn’t know these muscles existed!¨ It is a common experience with beginners and a good sign they are becoming aware. The body is a sophisticated instrument and each muscle and bone has its unique purpose. We are here to learn how to get them all working well together.
I also enjoy working with clients at the intermediate and advanced levels where we build more flow into the classes to challenge clients' awareness and control of their bodies. It is a lot of fun and we get really excited about moving on to more challenging exercises.
For clients who need extra personal attention, private classes are also available. Some clients combine group and private classes to suit their personal progress. It is gratifying for me when I see clients start with us with certain issues and pain, and over time, their bodies start to look different, they move different and they absolutely feel different too! And it really shows - the body never lies and Pilates can bring about some amazing changes.
At My Body My Pilates, we like to keep things clean and simple, so we don’t charge entrance fees or membership fees or monthly fees. You only pay for the class and there are different packages available for those who want to take more classes and enjoy the cheaper rates.
As we collaborated with our business partner Mari Gish from Tokyo Clinic Rehabilitation Office to offer Clinical Pilates. That is quite a boost for us to help clients with pain management. It can be reimbursed by most international issuance companies.
What clients do is after going through a rehabilitation period, they continue with our group classes so they can keep practising and maintain their strength and alignment.
We have a very cosy and friendly atmosphere in the studio. It is ideal for families as we have pre and post natal Pilates and also Pilates for children, it is great for people who live and work in Tokyo and travel a lot, and now we have expanded to having online classes so you definitely won’t miss a single class, and our instructors speak a variety of languages so it is great for locals and expatriates. It is a very welcoming space we have here!
What I have achieved
I've just turned 42 and now I am surfing, skiing, hiking and practising jiujitsu. Unthinkable when I was in my late 20s struggling to just climb the stairs.
Pilates has helped me enjoy life so much more. It has given me a lean body and a happy life. And to be able to share this with so many people is really gratifying. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I want to continue helping clients optimize and strengthen their body’s natural abilities, to move efficiently, correctly and painfree. When you feel this freedom in your body, age is no longer an impediment to living the life you want.
Book now and experience it for yourself! My Body My Pilates is offering a ¥1000 discount for your first class. Start enjoying life more with us!
Let Pilates helps you enjoy life more.