Hitchin–based pilates studio offering ‘Lockdown Live’ classes to keep nation fit

Michelle, the owner of The Pilates Pod in Hitchin. Picture: Supplied

Michelle, the owner of The Pilates Pod in Hitchin. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

A Hitchin–based pilates studio has been joining forces with celebrity clients to deliver live lockdown classes on Instagram to keep the country fit during the coronavirus crisis.

Michelle and her celebrity clients have been keeping people fit during lockdown. Picture: Supplied

Michelle and her celebrity clients have been keeping people fit during lockdown. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

Michelle Smith, founder of The Pilates Pod in Bancroft, has been joined by three of her celebrity clients to give a sneak peek into how classical pilates works for them, while encouraging and inspiring others through the lockdown.

Holby City actress, Amy Lennox was the first celebrity to join the Lockdown Live mini-series, which focused on the challenges of hypermobility as Amy herself is hypermobile.

It also showed how lively a pilates workout should be, focusing on flow, strength, stretch and control.

West End star Kerry Ellis was the second celebrity client to join Michelle for ‘Lockdown Live’ and took part in a Pilates workout that was all about improving your respiratory system, expanding your lung capacity and controlling your breath for better performance.

Kerry relies heavily on the strength of her diaphragm to hold those high notes, but is also something that we all need to strengthen right now to keep our lungs and respiratory system healthy during the COVID–19 pandemic.

Last week, Michelle was joined by Spanish journalist and author Guillem Balague, for a workout that focused on back pain and disc issues.

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Speaking on the ‘Lockdown Live’ series and why she wanted to create them, Michelle said: “Once we started to feel the impact of coronavirus we knew that we needed to pivot the business and create an online aspect that would help us continue to deliver our popular sessions to our much loved and valued clients.

“The celebrity live sessions are much more than just a workout.

“They are a ‘Pilates Geek Out’ to help instructors expand their learning with continuing professional development, to help people directly who have the issues we are discussing, and to give people a workout for mind and body.

“The great thing about our online classes is that absolutely anyone can join us, wherever they are.

Michelle added: “Many people have heard about our reputation in Pilates but live too far away to physically come to the studio in Hitchin but are now being able to benefit from our expertise and our way of teaching.

“It allows us to open our doors virtually to a whole new audience that’s outside of our Hertfordshire location.

“Our ethos has always been to support everybody in building a stronger body, whether they’re fit as a fiddle or working with mobility or health issues. We have a very inclusive and body positive attitude.

“Our teachers have gone through fully comprehensive classical pilates training that is world class and we are delighted that our deep knowledge of genuine pilates, injury help, breath work and mental well-being is deep rooted in what we do and is beneficial to so many people.

“With the help of Amy, Kerry and Guillem, we are able to take that education to reach a wider level. They are real people, with real challenges that a lot of us can relate to.”

The Pilates Pod is still offering classical pilates online to help keep the nation moving and ensure their mental and physical health is in tip–top condition during the lockdown.

“Since the luxury of freedom has been taken away from us, there has definitely been an increase in feeling stressed, anxious and worried,” Michelle said.

“People are now working from home without a proper office desk and chair to keep their body supported, while others are spending much more time being sedentary.

“With our pilates classes, we focus on guiding people through a workout that suits their specific needs: whether that’s unwinding after a stressful day, taking their mind off of the COVID–19 situation, or simply helping them to stretch and move at a pace that is challenging but works for them.”

To find out more about the classic pilates method and what benefits it could offer you, and to book online classes, visit thepilatespod.co.uk.

The Pilates Pod, which first opened to clients in the summer of 2011, offers small classes from their Bancroft–based studio or online. Owner and teacher Michelle has 15 years of experience, with fully comprehensive qualifications in contemporary (Stott) pilates and classical pilates.

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