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Posted by on Jan 8, 2015 in Business & Education, Pilates | 0 comments

Background Music for Pilates Classes

Background Music for Pilates Classes

There are as many opinions as there are teachers when it comes to background music in classes.  Some like to teach without it.  I think in the end it comes to personal choice, however the subject keeps coming up on our forums.  The search for perfect tracks continues.

Here is a list so far:

1) Spotify (see comments below).  For a membership of £9.99 per month you have access to unlimited amount of music.  You don’t own it but as long as you maintain the membership you can keep your favourite music downloaded on and offline on your device.  You can let your clients choose the music! If you are not very good at creating playlist then you will love the ‘radio’ option, Spotify compiles a playlist for you based on an album you chose i.e if I choose Artist/Album or just a Track X and click on Radio icon, it will play my choice and a long list of similar music picked any the app. Very helpful.

2) License free music: there are sources out there that offer license free music

3) Music (extracts from out Pilatestree Forum on Facebook, I kept the comments as I think they add some good feedback):

  • There are plenty of albums specifically for Pilates, if you search Spotify for Pilates it will drop down a long list
  • One of my favourites is Relaxing Bossa Lounge, clients really enjoy it
  • Moby has a new album out. Hotel Ambient. Most of it is perfect in session – no lyrics. Dustin O’Hallaran also fantastic
  • I use a station on Pandora based on Weekend Players
  • Ultimae Records, Azura, Aes Dana
  • Now That’s What I Call Relaxing Music
  • I’m not a fan of the music designed and distributed specifically for yoga or Pilates. I’ve mixed it up a bit in the past with Royksopp, Chicane, Blue States, Bonobo, Nightmares on Wax & Four Tet. Seems to go down well with clients of all ages
  • Cinematic Orchestra, I found their music the least annoying! Not too rhythmical but has a beat if you know what I mean.
  • On occasion, I play some Buena Vista Social club but some tracks are waayy to rhythmical and clients tend to tune in to the music but it does have an uplifting effect on the room.
  • 1. Donny Hathaway– awesome!
    2. Gregory porter – amazing (but some of his jazz can be a bit too way out for a Pilates studio)
    3. The so soulful collection 
    4. Roberta Flack 
    5. Ty Causey
    6. Jo Sample and Laylah Hathaway 
  • Cafe del Mar


This is a great start, I will keep updating this list, whenever I find new recommendations.  If you have suggestions but are not on Facebook, please comment below or emails us on

Thank you to everyone who contributed so far.

Relating Article: Music in Pilates Classes

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Posted by on May 8, 2014 in Pilates, Reviews, Social, Workshops | 0 comments

Balanced Body Pilates on Tour 2014

Balanced Body Pilates on Tour 2014

balanced-body-logo-100904For the third year in the row PilatesTree attended Balanced Body Pilates on Tour, London.  This was the 67th PoT and 4th in the UK.  PoT is a great opportunity for teachers from many different countries and different schools to interact, mingle, play and work together and to expand our knowledge. Teachers from more than 37 different countries attended this year.  PoT is here for 5 days, the first two days are dedicated to teacher training in Core Align, Balanced Body Barre, MOTR and Pilates for a healthy back.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday are a variety of workshops presented by very well respected teachers from all over the world.

This years presenters included:

Valentin, MS; Pilates Body By ValentIn

Shari Berkowitz; The Vertical Workshop

Madeline Black; Passing the Torch Mentor; Studio M Pilates

Blossom Leilani Crawford; Owner, Bridge Pilates

Tom McCook; Passing the Torch Mentor; Center of Balance,

Portia Page; Balanced Body faculty

Joy Puleo; Body Wise StudIo

Erika Quest; Studio Q Pilates Conditioning

Chrissy Romani-Ruby PT; PHI Pilates

Lolita San Miguel, Passing the Torch Mentor; Pilates y Mas

Suzanne Scott; The Scott Studio

Anna Maria Vitali; Balanced Body faculty

Each day began with a morning class at 7.30am taught by one of the presenters or another specially invited teacher, this was followed by a delicious breakfast and chat.  There are two 3 hour sessions of workshops 9am – 12 noon and 2pm – 5 pm.  In between there was a good break for a lovely lunch, a spot of shopping, mini workshops and a quick talk and lottery draw from Nora St Jones, co-creator of PoT.

The mini workshops are a chance to try out pieces of equipment such as the MOTR and Core Align among others.

Friday evening, PoT hosted a free reception with drinks and nibbles. This is an opportunity to meet new friends, catch up with old friends and meet the creators & crew of Pilates on Tour including Nora St Jones, Al Harrison, Ken Endelman, Dave Littman (see interview last year).

PoT bring all the equipment with them including, Reformers, Cadillacs, Wunda chairs, Pilates arcs, Sitting Boxes, Orbits, Core Aligns, accessories, fascia release balls, Franklin balls, springs, foot correctors, pads, foam rollers. It takes an awful lot of organising but they have it down to a fine art.   Teachers also have the opportunity to buy some of the large equipment which is a special show price.

What do you get for you money other than the workshops? Morning workout, US style, super breakfast and lunch, endless coffees, teas, soft drinks and cakes, a thick BB mat, pen and a welcome pack, Ken’s history talk on Saturday after the workshops. You can gather many of your yearly requirement of CPD points too, all in one 5 day period.

Thank you to all the presenters and crew members who gave us their time (too many to mention individually) we hope to catch up with those we didn’t manage to talk to next year.

Thank you to Ken and Dave for facilitating our visit this and we look forward to the 5th Pilates on Tour in London, April 2015!


Coming up soon:-

Workshop with Lolita San Miguel

Interview with Shari Berkowitz

Interview with Nora and Al

Interview with Suzanne Scott (the only UK presenter)

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Posted by on Jun 22, 2013 in Becoming a Teacher, Body & Mind, Business & Education, Freelance, Owning a Studio, Stress | 0 comments

State of Mind – Still Busy

State of Mind – Still Busy

Since the last blog State of mind 2 fast I have taken the time to find solutions to slow down my life, be more efficient, less tired and have more time.  Impossible – right? well apparently not,  actually there are people out there who live like that ;).

I spoke to folks around me, reached out to a few professionals to seek advise and two words have repeated over and over: mindfulness and goal setting.

Mindfulness is (source Wikipedia)

bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis, it involves paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, and/or involves a kind of nonelaborative, nonjudgmental, present-centered awareness in which each thought, feeling, or sensation that arises in the attentional field is acknowledged and accepted as it is.

..but more on that in the next blog, today is all about goal setting.  The most important thing to remember is, that a bit like with practicing Pilates or any other regular activity, unless you are very motivated and goal orientated you you are unlikely to succeed by yourself, at least initially.   You will need outside help and possibly the support of your friends.   Join local classes (best doing it with a group of people with similar circumstances) or find a programme on the internet.  My sources are The Personal Success Academy and Be mindful online.


Armed with a handy tool like the goal wheel you set up your main goals and rate them from 1-10, where 1 is not good and 10 you are exactly were you want to be in that aspect.  Next, based on the result of the goal wheel you set up goals to improve on the low scoring aspects of your life.  The goal wheel can be used for many different sets of goals, it can be your life goals, work goals or project goals.  The best practice is to start global and then break them down.  Here are some helpful tips from the Personal Success Academy:

  1. Goals must be written down – A goal that is not written down can easily become a vague notion a fantasy or a dream. If you think it, ink it (or type is in this day and age!) and this will engrave them in your subconscious.
  2. Talk about your goals – make yourself accountable to not just yourself but your friends and family or anyone else who may be able to help keep you on track and keep you in a positive frame of mind.
  3. Goals must be measurable – how will you know when you’ve achieved your goal? To set a goal without at least one measure of its achievement is like planning a journey without a destination. Establish a way to measure the outcome.
  4. Assess and review your goals regularly – re-visit your goals regularly to make sure that you still have them in your sights and that you are indeed on track to achieving them. Make this a habit.
  5. Goals must be specific – break down your goal until they became actionable and achievable within the next 24 hours. You should be able to describe your goal in a sentence that is clear and specific. For example a goal of wanting to see the world is too vague.
  6. Goals should be positive – although the subconscious is amazingly powerful, it is unable to distinguish between positive and negative. Concentrate on positive thoughts to help you make the difference when setting out to achieve your goals. For example, focus on what you stand to gain so – “I want to give up smoking” becomes “I want to enjoy the health, freedom and wealth of being a non-smoker”. Avoid the negative use words like “I do not want to fail my French language test” as that keeps the notion of failure in your thoughts, positive language will help keep you on track. “I will pass my French language test with 70% or above”.
  7. Celebrate achieving your goals – when a goal is achieved remember to congratulate yourself and celebrate your achievement!

“Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.” – who said that??

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Posted by on May 13, 2013 in Featured, Interviews | 0 comments

Getting to Know Joanne Elphinston (JEMS)

Getting to Know Joanne Elphinston (JEMS)

Since we have published our review of Joanne’s workshop JEMS Functional Foundations for Pilates Teachers: Dynamic Movement Principles for Work, Sport and Life  we have received numerous inquiries for further information and workshop dates.  We decided to go to the source and ask:

Who is Joanne Elphinston?

That’s quite a tricky philosophical question to begin with!

I was born and raised in Australia, and after a wonderful five years working in Honolulu, transplanted to the UK in 1996.

414592_254257438015893_1581160628_o-150x150I am and always have been an educator. My first clear memory of teaching is at age 6 – other kids wanted to know how I drew people who weren’t stick figures. Very little has changed – I’m still compelled to share my discoveries and experiences, both with other professionals and with clients, so that same six year old is alive and well all these years later.

Funnily enough, as a therapist I now draw stick figures all the time.

I was a fitness instructor, a swimming teacher, a volleyball coach, and then a physiotherapist. The same theme ran through all of these activities for me – beautiful, effortless movement, expressed with joy, confidence and enthusiasm, whether the person was a five year old swimmer, an eighteen year old athlete or an eighty year old war veteran at the repatriation hospital where I held my first post as a young physiotherapist.

When I eventually crossed the threshold of a university again it was to study philosophy of music, which empowered me not with what to think, but how to think. That is one of the greatest gifts that education can impart.

In the ensuing years, I have explored movement optimisation for both rehabilitation and performance. I was an external tutor for London Contemporary Dance School for several years, developed musician injury prevention education for the Royal Welsh College of Music, and have spent more than a decade working with the National Dance Company of Wales on performance enhancement. I have been Head of Performance Movement for the British Olympic Association, while at the same time teaching fun applications for learning disabilities, pediatrics and falls prevention for the elderly. I consult to professional and world class athletes and sporting organisations, and work with chronic pain patients through holistic methods.

Who am I? I’m just an inquisitive person who is fascinated with our bodies and their amazing capacity, and who believes that with the right support we have a natural drive towards positive healthy movement.

What led you to transform from being a physiotherapist to physiotherapist who teaches through movement into the art of movement…?

This is easier. There has been no transformation – this is who I always was, well before I was ever a physiotherapist

I have always seen movement in quite a specific way, because in fact it was often all I could see. My exceptional short sightedness as a child went undetected because I compensated so well by recognising people’s movement instead of their faces.

Many of your readers will no doubt have experienced the sensations of movement in their bodies while viewing other people in motion, and this is something that I also have deeply felt since I was a child. It is the route through which I first understand what I am seeing – my body understands immediately, and then my brain articulates it through the framework of biomechanics, neurology and psychology.

The art of beautiful movement cannot help but include the mind and emotional landscape of a person. Separating our “selves” from our bodies leads to self-consciousness, however self-awareness arises from integration. This is as much a part of my movement journey as any physical aspect.

So rather than transformation, it was evolution that has brought me to this point, and the kindness and interest of a number of people for whom I have great respect and gratitude. Suzanne Scott, Andy Nice, Sharon Thompson and Monika Zarebska have all encouraged me to share my work with the Pilates community, and their enthusiasm and support has been fundamental to my decision to further develop education and resources to meet this interest.

What is JEMS and what is its purpose?

JEMS (Joanne Elphinston Movement Systems) is a movement enhancement approach for people of all ages, walks of life, occupations and interests. It is a systematic, effective method which targets a person’s efficiency and ease of motion, and addresses physical performance as well as injury prevention and rehabilitation.

Although based on the integration of neuroscience, biomechanics, motor control and psychology, JEMS is a holistic approach which teaches people to explore and uncover new movement possibilities and open new pathways. It is less cognitive and more sensory in its approach, using a variety of methods to access people’s movement potential in the simplest ways possible.

JEMS is about… engagement and exploration; warmth and accessibility; simplicity and clarity; science and art. It is about moving beautifully, no matter who you are.

How would Pilates Teachers benefit from attending a JEMS course?

The Pilates teachers who have attended courses that I have taught so far have been highly motivated, well informed, and really interested in finding links between their work to the functionality of normal movement.

JEMS brings a new perspective to the understanding of integrated, controlled but elastic dynamic movement.  It extends the concept of control beyond core stability, and into understanding the Pillars of Functional Stability, the collection of factors which work together as the human body moves. These include mobility, balance, neuromuscular responses and dynamic control.

Designed specifically for Pilates teachers, bodyworkers and health and fitness professionals, the JEMS Health, Fitness and Wellbeing course equips practitioners with expanded skills and a greater understanding of movement biomechanics and muscle function in practical, easy-to-understand and immediately relatable ways.

Extending body knowledge in this manner engages clients through optimising movement performance in meaningful ways, and in more accurately understanding, accommodating and addressing their common injury presentations.

With its philosophy of moving beautifully with enjoyment, self-awareness and efficiency, JEMS is ideal for those practitioners wishing to extend their skills into functional, natural movement.

Are you planning to create a certification course for Pilates Teachers?

The enthusiasm shown from participants after our last course has certainly pointed me in this direction. We are planning a JEMS pathway for Health, Fitness and Wellbeing Professionals which would be ideal for Pilates teachers. The JEMS for Pilates Teachers course in Bristol in June hosted by the Pilates Foundation, and our own London JEMS for Health, Fitness and Wellbeing Professionals course in July both represent the start point for this. I’ll certainly keep PilatesTree up to date with developments!

What does the future hold for JEMS?

Goodness, what doesn’t it hold?

The exciting and somewhat daunting aspect of JEMS is that it applies in so many contexts. This means that my “to do” list keeps expanding!

More and more people in different parts of the world are switching on to JEMS, so there is a need to train professionals to a high standard. Teaching, resource development and support for the growing JEMS community will continue to inspire me. Providing more pathways to certification, and more ways to access JEMS material is pressingly important as demand grows.

I love that more and more JEMS practitioners are doing beautiful things with their clients with heart and integrity, and then coming back to me shining with enthusiasm and stories. They inspire me, lift me up and keep me flowing forward!

For more information on JEMS, visit, Facebook atJEMSMovementART or Twitter on @JEMSMovement.

Dear Joanne we thank you for your generous answers. :)



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Posted by on May 12, 2013 in Business & Education, Featured, Pilates | 0 comments

15 Tips For Writing Great Blogs

15 Tips For Writing Great Blogs


Don’t let rules and regulations deter you from writing from your heart because those are the best blogs, written with love and passion! However, here are some guidelines to help you capture your audience more effectively:

  1. Subject: Pick a focus or a niche something you are ‘dying’ to express yourself about, write it in your own, unique ‘voice’ and be conversational.
  2. Title:  Choose an Eye-catching title, headlines matter most!
  3. Content:  Be relevant to your subject from top to bottom.
  4. Accuracy: Get your facts straight! Expressing your opinion is one thing but if you are including facts make sure they are accurate, it’s better than having to retract later on.
  5. Give due credit: Include in-text links to landing pages, if you are quoting someone else include links of your sources.
  6. Rating:  Keep it family friendly and inclusive.
  7. Word count:  K.I.S.S. – keep is short, silly! General recommendations are 250-800 words, 1000 max if subject demands it, otherwise break it up.
  8. Engage your readers: See if you can find a way to make you readers feel included, ask them to contribute i.e.: have I left anything out? would you add anything else? have you read this book too?
  9. Discussion: Use comments to continue discussion; go back to your posts, check for comments and reply to them to keep the dialogue going. Your readers will appreciate it.
  10. Language:  Use plain English! If you are using occupational slang consider an explanation for those who are not part of the industry.
  11. Accessories: Photos are great way to enhance your posts.
  12. Tools: Use spellcheck! Use bullet points and bold fonts to highlight your main objectives, make them POP at the readers.
  13. Develop a thick skin:  most comments on your blog will be awesome but there is an army of unkind people out there who will be ready to bring you down, those are mostly grumpy, sad people who are looking for attention and whose blogs are probably not doing so well, raise above it! However, be open to a constructive criticism, it’s a great pathway to an engaging conversation.
  14. It never hurts to be slightly controversial.
  15. If you make a mistake it’s not the end of the world, you are human too!

Have I left anything out?? ;)


My sources:
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