Known for its ability to improve posture, pilates is the red-carpet goers’ secret weapon and is perfect for both bridal fitness and stress busting. Jenny Cottrell of bePilates gives her tips for improving posture and general wellbeing
Pilates has always been popular with dancers – giving that enviable lean-limbed look. But Jenny Cottrell, teacher at bePilates in Marylebone, says it’s also hugely popular among celebrities. She says: “When you see celebrities standing with impeccable poise on the red carpet, very often you’ll find that they are pilates devotees”.
And this is where it can help the bride to be – about to undergo their own red-carpet moment – because if you talk to any bridal designer they will tell you how important posture can be to the line and fit of a wedding gown. So standing tall is one sure-fire way to improve your confidence and poise on your wedding day.
Jenny says that pilates literally changed her life. Like bePilates’ founder Dawne Likhodedova, she took it up after a serious injury and it not only helped her regain fitness but also find a new calling as a teacher. She says: “Pilates is all about smart, precise movements that help to build strong body foundations – like building a house. As Joseph Pilates said, we learn through movement and movement heals”.
The bePilates Marylebone studio is equipped with a dizzying array of exercise kit – from the simple floormat to barre, jumpboard and Reformer equipment – but Jenny is quick to point out that pilates is an exercise that you take at your own pace. Clients are all ages and the studio team give one-to-one support: “Most of us have a few kinks in our bodies and exercises can be adapted to ensure they are safe, rewarding and ideal for you. Pilates is never about punishing the body!”
Sessions can be in small groups or one-to-one, and often clients combine the two. Some include elements such as yoga and dance, but the most popular session at bePilates is the Reformer Full Body Flow, a class where you focus on muscle tone, balance and posture. Jenny says that even one session of pilates will make you feel more body aware, and it doesn’t take long before you feel the difference in strengthened abdominals, muscle tone and stance – even feet and lower legs get a boost.
If you have three or more months to go before the wedding, then she recommends one or two sessions a week to improve poise and body confidence. With one or two months to the wedding – three or four sessions a week will be transformative. “Many of our clients have busy lives and when they get to our studio they are away from that, with time to clear their minds. Joseph Pilates designed exercises that make us focus on one thing at a time. That can be a great way to reduce stress and just enjoy the simple pleasure of movement,” says Jenny.