I often get asked about how I got involved with Pilates. So I thought you would enjoy reading about my humble beginnings.
I grew up in rural Queensland and moved to Sydney at age 15 where I began my full-time ballet journey with Marilyn Jones and Garth Welch. I danced professionally contracting roles with Australian Opera Ballet company.
Due to injury, I chose to leave the world of ballet, but the world of ballet has always stayed a part of my soul. When I was dancing full time, I had my first experience of Pilates with a Pilates studio that was working out of the McDonald College. I would never have thought at that time that Pilates was going to become my new world.
In 1994, I enrolled into Southern Cross University studying Sports Science and also completed a Diploma of Nutrition at the Australian Natural Therapies College whilst doing these courses. I was working full time as a Personal trainer/Aerobics/Cycle and Pump instructor and it was in this time that I was given a Pilates Video and asked to teach it. WOW have we come so far since then.
Obediently I learnt the videos and was teaching Mat Pilates and the success of the classes grew as did my hunger for knowledge.
In 1997, I did my official first Pilates Instructor certification for Mat and then the studio. I did these intense courses whilst pregnant and then with a little baby alongside my mum who was also completing her Pilates Practitioner qualification with me. Yes I convinced my mum to start a new career and she has never looked back.
I continued to teach in the gyms and we started our own Pilates Mat classes in local halls and the success of the classes took us by surprise. We had massive wait lists for the classes and we had an absolute ball teaching our new found passion, but I continued to crave more knowledge and better understanding of the Pilates history and the human body responses to the Pilates method.
In 2000, I opened a business called Knowledge for Balance, focusing on changing nutrition and lifestyle habits and began motivational speaking with a company called Unlimited Potential. This was an amazing platform that had me travelling the world, sharing my passion for healthy mind and body. I continued working with Warren Birmingham for about 10 years and this enabled me to share not only life coaching and nutrition knowledge, but now Pilates for a healthy spine. We were changing peoples’ attitude to movement. It was exciting to see resistance mellow when they felt immediate responses from the simplest of Pilates movements.
In 2002, The University of Technology was offering the Pilates Practitioner Qualification and I was very excited to be accepted and begin another level of learning this phenomenal vocation. It was in this time that I was offered the opportunity to run a reformer studio in a Healthlands Gym in Mosman. We had 6 reformers and we had an amazing response to the classes. They became a popular part of the timetable and in this time I was given the privilege to work with some experts of my field. Shelly Powers was one of them and she was, and is to this day, one of my role models and mentors within my industry. I was starting to now be invited to run Pilates teacher training programs for the fit and able bodies with gyms so again with mum by my side, kids in tow and an extremely supportive husband, I wrote and delivered courses all around Australia, this is where the name ‘Pilates Room’ began.
Whilst completing the Uni Practitioner Pilates Course, Polestar Pilates came to Australia to run its first course in 2003. I had just had my third child and with my mum by my side again, we delved into another qualification of Pilates, I could not get enough of this stuff.
This course changed my life, I had by this stage done not only the ones mentioned but other certifications of Pilates along with Massage, Bioenergetics, Chi Gong and was also teaching ballet. I was craving knowledge and Polestar Pilates Delivered.
Life was certainly busy, with 3 little girls study and working but life was opening so many doors that I couldn’t refuse, so I just jumped in. We now had an opportunity to open a brand new studio, thanks to Adam (my husband) fitting it out with the support of Fitness First in Bondi Junction. Brand new equipment and staff of my choice with me providing their training. What a blessing, it both lit my fire and dampened it as the candle was starting to burn at both ends and I ended up with glandular fever. I managed minimal work, but put my head back to drawing table and we opened a studio close to home in Belrose. Adam again fitting out a beautiful small space that we filled with amazing clients and staff.
Having the support of mum, I should mention her full name is Heather Roudenko, and a highly regarded, much loved Pilates Practitioner today at 74 teaching about 15-20 hours a week, has been a very special part of this journey.
I was so inspired again after Polestar Pilates training with Brent Anderson, Shelley Powers, and Dav Cohen I couldn’t wait to share my new found knowledge and I was then ecstatic to be approached by Cat Gianitto and Brent Anderston to be one of their educators and have been so since 2004. I have had the privilege to travel the world as guest presenter and educator and I continue to love sharing my passion and knowledge to the next generation of teachers.
In 2010, we moved to Northern Rivers as a family and I started working at Gaia and running Pilates classes from the Channon Hall, working at Karen Ireland Dance Centre and travelling back and forth to Sydney to keep the Belrose studio active.
In 2011, I sold the business in Sydney and we opened Northern Rivers Pilates. Adam again performed his magic to create another fabulous Pilates space for us and mum (Heather Roudenko) who had moved to the Gold Coast, was still an integral part of my team and a much loved practitioner at the NRP studio until we developed our new team and she no longer enjoyed the travel, HA.
Today we have a staff of 5 at the studio in Lismore one of them being my daughter Maddison. It feels very special to have 3 generations love our industry as much as we do. Pilates changes people lives and I am humbled each day by the comments of gratitude by our clients for their new found self, through access to movement thanks to The Pilates Method and Joseph Pilates himself. I continue to fill my brain and body with knowledge to share with our clients and I promise myself to remain NOW in our industry with the ever changing information to deliver the highest of quality of Pilates to our clients.
Always grateful to do what I do.