I’d done a handful of Pilates classes, trying to deal with a debilitating back problem, when a teacher suggested I’d benefit from one-to-one Reformer lessons. I chafed at this at first, worried about the expense and commitment. Then I discovered that Francesca, my most regular teacher, happened to offer one of the best rates in town.
I signed up for an initial 10 sessions – and immediately realised the point of doing Reformer. With one-to-one guidance, you learn the nuances of exercises that look simple but are actually quite hard to do properly. It means you get so much more out of a group Pilates class when you know what you’re meant to be doing.
Four years on, Pilates has become a way of life for me. I still go to Francesca every week, and I get a real kick out of the fact that my body continues to get more flexible and co-ordinated, so that I can now do stuff the very prospect of which filled me with horror two years ago.
It helps that Francesca and I get on like a house on fire, but she’s still not above giving me a slap if I breathe into my stomach or hunch my shoulders. And, with the help of occasional osteopathy and some home stretching which Francesca recommends, my back problem has receded almost totally into the background, so much so that I was able to Samba non-stop for many hours in Rio Carnival a couple of years ago.
Simon Edge, journalist
Due to my work as a choreographer and dance lecturer incurring injuries is often unavoidable, so finding an exercise programme that rehabilitates and reduces the risk of further injury is very important to me. I suffered a hip-flexor strain over 3 years ago and, while physiotherapy helped, my recovery rate was slow.
A couple of years ago a friend told me about Francesca’s Action Pilates sessions and her Pilates Holiday in Nice. Since then she has helped me to discover the wonders and benefits of Pilates with classes and private sessions. I went to Nice in 2010 and was amazed by how quickly my injury disappeared after the 7 days, 2.5 hours daily Pilates sessions. Not only did the sessions help me with the injured area but they also improved my body alignment by building my awareness of the effects movements have throughout my body.
Francesca’s method of teaching emphasises breathing control, muscle control and mental concentration. This mind-body connection is the way to focus and perform precise detailed movements which are just what I need for my professional role as dance teacher and choreographer but also what we all need in our everyday lives.
Many of my dance students ask me if Pilates will help with their with their technique. The answer is YES!!!! People who do Pilates regularly feel they have better posture, are less prone to injury and experience better overall health. I thoroughly recommend Francesca’s one-on-one sessions.
David Lee, choreographer / dance lecturer
I’ve been having one-to-one sessions with Francesca for over 2 years and it has made a huge difference to my body. Beforehand my posture was terrible and I couldn’t walk for more than 10 minutes without my lower back becoming stiff and painful. I was always suffering from some ache or pain in my knees, back, shoulders or neck and every few months I would need to visit a physiotherapist. I finally decided a long term solution was needed and started sessions with Francesca and within 2 months, I no longer had problems with my back when walking. Now 2 years later, my posture is vastly improved and it’s rare that I suffer any other back and knee pains – and if I do, then I usually find that a Pilates session or two resolves it.
Francesca is a great instructor and I really enjoy our weekly sessions. Sessions are always interesting, engaging and well-paced, combining Reformer, Springboard and Barre work. I’m very pleased with the progress I’ve made and like how Francesca intersperses consolidation and technique improvement with learning new exercises. I always feel challenged but never beyond what I’m capable of and Francesca is great at encouraging me.
Francesca’s home studio is well equipped and conveniently located. The 75 minute one to one sessions are fantastic value for money and work well to give me enough time to switch off from a day at work and to really get immersed in the session.
Katie Topliss, IT business analyst