Madeleine Backlund, founder of Backlund Pilates, began her teaching career in 1992. She has been at the forefront of Teacher training under the Pilates Foundation UK since 1997. She was born in northern Sweden and has lived here in the UK since 1972
We got the chance to meet Madeleine at her Pilates studio in Fulham, West London. He is what she had to say!
How did you discover Pilates?
I suffered from SI-joint dysfunction back in the early 80’s. I was living in New York at the time and got invited to try a Pilates class. I went to a fantastic trainer who had this equipment, Reformer, Cadillac and chair and by taking classes with him we manage to sort my back out and strengthen my core. I came back in 1984 and I was totally sold on Pilates and I didn’t think there was anything like this in London. Then I found and advert in Harper’s and Queen about the Pilates instructor Dreyas Reyneke. This led me to Alan Herdman who continued teaching me Pilates for the next 5 years. I decided to train with Trevor Blount in 1989. After my training at Trevor’s Studio I worked for him for 2 years and then I opened my first studio in Harley Street in 1993- 98 then Hampstead 1998 -99. Then, from 1999 onwards here in Fulham, SW London
What did you do before Pilates?
Well, I’m a qualified nurse but I never worked as a nurse here, only in Sweden. I did all kinds of jobs when the children were small, I worked as a receptionist, I worked in Phase Eight. I worked as a rep. I was a full time mum for many years; building a home and bringing up my children
Who inspires you?
At the beginning of my career Julian Littleford, Rael Isacowitz, Romana in New York, Gold’s Gym and a girl called Cathy Murakhami and of course Alan Herdman as my first teacher here in London. These people made a mark on me. Not to forget the many amazing instructors that have had the pleasure and fortune to work with over the past 20 years.
What about the future?
For the last 3 years I have been working towards providing my teacher training course. This has now been endorsed by Skills Active. I am running my studio with 2 staff and also managing my Treatment Room here at the Studio where we offer alternative treatments; Massage, Osteopathy, Cranio-Sacral therapy, Reike etc..It is a full time job and more.
What do you to do keep in such great shape?
Obviously I do my Pilates, not every day. Strict half an hour before my morning shift, 3 times a week. Then I do one good long session on a Thursday or Friday afternoon. I do lots of walking but apart from that, I’m not a swimmer, I don’t play tennis. I don’t have a car so I walk or march everywhere!.. I am also in love with ball room dancing…….
I used to go to to this really amazing advanced mat work class up in Covent Garden run by Miranda Bass, who is a great energetic teacher and it was fun to be taught by a different instructor. Nowadays I don’t seem to have time venture out of Fulham during my busy week. I like to go find interesting work shops to go to that aren’t necessarily Pilates based, but always to do with healthy living and movement. I thrive on studying and further educate myself…
What is your favorite Mat work exercise?
Hmm… Roll Over as well as Jack-Knife, I like the challenge to the spinal flexibility and the stretch in hamstrings and lumbar area… just love stretching the spine plus the focus of the ‘lifting’ of the ‘tush’, really gets those lower abs.
What is your favorite on the equipment?
Favourite equipment exercise is The Cadillac ; Springs and Trapeze…And the Push through bar…All the lovely stretches that this offers you…Cat, sitting, kneeling, standing..etc Roll downs …Bottom loaded sit ups and top loaded sit ups..etc..
What about food?
I’m have a very healthy diet, low calories, high fibre. I spend a lot of time in South East Asia so I am totally addicted to that cuisine.. I am quite good at Thai stir fries and am pretty much a veg and salad lover.. Plus fish once a week and meat once a fortnight.
What do you do to relax?
Entertaining, being with friends, dancing, reading, travelling, film and theatre,
That’s my chill out time.
What is your astrological birth sign?
Scorpio with a Leo ascendant!