We caught up with hugely popular Frame Instructor Catherine Riding to find out how she got here, why Pilates is pure magic and how her and her two miniature schnauzers are in training for mountain holiday in the Pyrenees this summer.
What was your journey to becoming a Pilates instructor?
I was teaching 35 plus high energy fitness classes a week, cycling 100+ mile sportives at the weekends as my hobby, and scaling the world’s highest mountains whenever possible…. Unsurprisingly I was physically and mentally exhausted and suffering from adrenal fatigue. I needed a way to keep my body on the road and performing optimally. I also urgently needed to find a way to relax and feel more connected to my body and soul. Someone suggested I try Pilates. I went from hating my first Pilates class to learning from some of the world’s best teachers at Stott Pilates in Canada. I stayed out there for 8 months immersing myself in the practice, proudly obtaining the highest qualifications and, well as they say the rest is history.
Your favourite thing about Pilates
Dare I say a long, lean and really strong body – hell we all want to look good right! But also Pilates has helped me to nurture and respect my body. When you are doing Pilates you are present in the moment and you learn to tap into what your body needs and honour its wishes. Unlike in my high energy days when I was constantly feeling exhausted and my body ached, Pilates makes me feel invigorated, supple and functionally strong.
Describe your teaching style in 3 words
Challenging. Intelligent. Fun. Plus supportive/inclusive – I am here for you! I always modify everything so you can work at your level.
Best feedback/review you’ve ever received
Catherine has been the best teacher in terms of her technical understanding of the practice, her ability to translate across different skill levels and most importantly her ability to empower the student to progress through various sequences and difficulty levels. She will bring you to places you didn’t think possible, and under her watch you will see your strength and mobility transform. I can’t recommend Catherine highly enough, and hope you to have the opportunity to benefit from her tutelage.
What’s your go-to Reformer move?
Everyone loves a ‘mermaid/sidebend’ combo on the short box, myself included. It is one of my most requested exercises in class. I also love ‘Tree’ on the short box and semi circle – they are just delicious for stretching out the whole front body and mobilising the spine.
What other forms of exercise are good to compliment a Reformer practice?
Absolutely everything complements Pilates or perhaps I should say Pilates should be the foundation for everything else that you do! Pilates challenges you from the inside out in a way no other exercise modality can. You will functionally strengthen, lengthen and mobilise every muscle and joint in your body, optimising quality and ease of movement, helping you stay injury and pain free and ultimately feeling a much stronger connection to yourself.
What do you get up to when you’re not teaching Pilates?
Free time.. what’s that? I eat, sleep, drink all things Pilates and wellness… I love living an active, healthily lifestyle but even more, I thrive on empowering, supporting and inspiring people to live their best life. And so, I’m currently completing further training as a Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach. I am also running Pilates Reformer Retreats in Toulouse this year, which I am super excited about. I also have my beautiful little ‘girls, ‘Lulu & Grace’, (adorable miniature schnauzers) . We go out on long distance hiking in the countryside most weekends. I am happiest up on the hills surrounded by nature.
The one thing you wish people knew about Pilates…
If you take the time to really embody the practice you will realise that Pilates is more than simply creating ‘shapes’ .It is about learning to understand your body and with that comes a deeper understanding of yourself.
Best piece of advice you’ve been given
When you have daily gratitude for all that you have, you have everything you need to be happy.