Our Teaching Team

ANNITA COLE

My own interest and passion for bodywork started 27 years ago while I was living in Asia. A serious back injury led me to my first yoga class, and over time it made such a dramatic difference to my body and therefore the rest of my life, that continuing to practice and study the body and how it moves, has been something I have immersed myself in ever since! 

In 16 years of working as a yoga teacher, a massage therapist and a Pilates teacher, I have come to understand that really being able to feel what is happening in our own bodies, helps us to develop better relationships with and a better understanding of ourselves, our physical challenges and limitations. With a greater ability to feel and understand, we are empowered to help ourselves in a more informed way.

My personal challenges with pain, disability, and subsequent rehabilitation have only served to inform my teaching style and fuel my compassion to be able to support and encourage you to be the best you and your body possibly can be. I have been fortunate enough to be able to learn and study with two of the foremost Pilates teacher training providers in the world; Body Control Pilates and Polestar Pilates. I am now working with, a unique method of retraining the body to restore natural, normal movement. This is the perfect way for me to be able to help you, and ultimately (and most importantly!) for you to be able to help yourself.

I established Pilates South West in 2011, and  have been teaching and studying Pilates fulltime for the past 6 years now, and it just keeps getting more and more interesting! I have spent the past 3 years training to teach on the Pilates Studio equipment. My most recent qualification is that of The Polestar Comprehensive Studio and Rehabilitation! With at least 14 mat work classes a week at the Chapel House Studio, our new fully equipped Pilates Studio, opened in September 2016. The studio has been received so fantastically well, with all classes during this first year, absolutely full with waiting lists! Additional classes are planned now for September 2017.

A Pilates studio environment offers a totally different Pilates experience, and whether you are looking to facilitate recovery from injury, are an athlete looking to improve your performance, or somewhere inbetween, our experience, attention to detail and highly specialised equipment, will ensure you get the very best Pilates experience. 

I am a fully accredited member of the Body Control Pilates Association (BCPA). This is Europe's foremost professional Pilates organisation. All members of this association are bound by a code of practice which includes many hours of ongoing professional development each year! I am also a member of the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPS). It is important when you are looking for a new pilates teacher, that you ensure he/she is a member of an accredited organisation. For now at least, there is no regulation for pilates teachers, therefore this is your only way of ensuring you are choosing a fully and professionally trained teacher.

I encourage you to contact me, or one of our team, and we can talk about which classes/sessions are suitable for you. There is a Pilates way for anybody who wants it, and it's my job to find the way that is right for you!

 

ELISE YUILL

Elise has been teaching with the Pilates South West team since 2015. She is a STOTT PILATES® Level 2 (advanced) Matwork Pilates Instructor, an IYN Register Yoga Teacher. When not busy teaching Pilates or Yoga, Elise also fills her time as a singer, songwriter and musician.

Elise has developed a broad understanding of body awareness and control from a decade’s worth of teaching experience, over 12 years personal practice in various methods of Pilates, and over 20 years of training in ballet and other forms of dance.

Incorporating both the STOTT Pilates and Body Control Pilates methods, Elise’s Pilates classes offer you a dynamic yet relaxing, flowing approach to Pilates.

 


GRACE BEST


My interest in Pilates began during my ballet training in my teens. I attended classes regularly and after a few stints dancing professionally I decided to become a Pilates instructor as well - one of the best decisions I have ever made. I was delighted to be in the business of building people’s appreciation for their bodies and encouraging their body confidence. After certification in mat work and reformer with STOTT PILATES® in Boston, USA in 2003, Pilates soon become my full-time profession. I worked with a wonderful group of instructors in New Hampshire, USA where I continued learning and growing through mentorship, various workshops, and becoming a certified Movement Training Specialist.

After moving to England in 2013, I worked at several studios in the Greater Manchester region before joining an excellent team of instructors at the Pilates Reformer Studio in Warrington, Cheshire. I have worked with clients from all types of movement backgrounds from sports professionals to people with severe movement limitations. My training has delved into rehab-level Pilates and functional movement patterning, and I am committed to assisting people in their journey to reduce pain and recover from injuries.

Since May 2017, we call the South Hams our home, and I am glad to have connected with Annita and Pilates South West as we share many similar views and mindsets in our Pilates teaching.

 


JILL HOLDING

Jill comes from a background in theatre and education. She has worked in the fitness Industry for over twenty years teaching, in many of the top London health clubs. She went on to study mat Pilates with Stott Pilates, then became a qualified Pilates equipment practitioner with Polestar Pilates and managed the Pilates Studio at a health club in Fulham. She then ran her own studio where she specialised in teaching Reformer classes and one to one Pilates Personal Training. Jill has qualified in ante/postnatal Pilates through The Pilates Foundation and also trained in Barre Pilates with both Stott and Balanced Body Pilates. Jill believes that Pilates is an intelligent form of fitness which can be applied to and enhance any sporting/fitness activity and lifestyle.

 


JUSTINE BESCH

Living in Sydney and gaining inspiration from the Sydney Fitness Expo and then Yoga retreats in South East Asia, Justine decided it was time for a career change and embarked on extensive further training as a stepping stone into the wellbeing industry.  In 2010 she qualified as a Stott Pilates Level 2 Mat instructor, adding Pre and Post Natal Matwork, stability ball and band workshops to her qualifications. She worked for a major private healthcare provider for 11 years within a corporate wellbeing centre  and then ran her own successful personal training and freelance fitness instructor business, training people for general fitness, marathons, sailing challenges, weight management to pre and post-natal programmes and classes.

Justine has over 12 years teaching experience both in large groups and one-to-one training. She enjoys sharing her expertise and helping you make a difference to your life with Pilates.


 Alex Mavrocordatos 

Alex initially trained as a performing artist in the sixties and seventies, specialising in dance and movement and what is now known as 'Physical Theatre'. His dance training was in the LABAN system through the Joos/Leeder method (they are the ones who trained Pina Bausch). In subsequent years this was augmented by a growing awareness and involvement with the Alexander technique which kept feeding body awareness and control into his performance work as well as his teaching.

Mind/Body Awareness and Control are key principles of Pilates’ technique and they are the starting point of Alex’s classes, some (but not all) of which are targeted towards the young at heart but no-longer-youthful.  Others are more energetic and cater to active persons whose aim is for core power and energy – while still addressing issues of alignment, balanced movement, strength and stability.

Alex is a certified Body Control Pilates matwork coach at REPS levels 3 and 4. His Pilates for Lower Back Pain qualification is at level 4 and he is a registered Back4Good practitioner and BackCare professional. He is currently studying and researching towards his full level 4 certification.

Further specialised training at BCP has included Intermediate Matwork; work with Older Persons (Pilates for Life, 'All Ages'); Bone Health (and Osteo-porosis/penia); Pre/Post-Op Hip Replacement; Gait, Anatomy Trains and Fascial Efficiency (with James Earls) and the Conscious Embodiment series: Breathing; The Spine; The Pelvis and The Shoulder (with Zachery Dacuk), in addition to a range of courses working with small equipment such as toning balls (weights), triad balls and training circles.