Yasmine Say is a long-term Yoga West member. She is also an experienced Pilates teacher and personal trainer. We’re delighted that from September she will take her first regular Pilates class at the studio every Saturday from 15:30 to 16:45. Read below to find out a little more about her.

How did you get into Pilates?

I actually developed an interest in Pilates long before I found my love for Yoga. I was a long-distance runner throughout my twenties and started to pick up a few injuries as I increased my distances to marathons. Pilates aided my rehabilitation as it was always recommended by my physiotherapists. After I attended my first few Mat Pilates classes I was hooked! Pilates helped keep me mobile, flexible and strong when I couldn’t do any other forms of high-impact training. I also believe that through the combination of my Pilates and Yoga practise, I have never felt as strong and healthy as I do now.

Was there a moment when you realized you wanted to pursue Pilates seriously?

I had a career change over 3 years ago and re-qualified as a Personal Trainer to work in the fitness industry. Previously I had worked for 10 years in Brand and Marketing — a job I loved, but I was desk-bound like all my colleagues. I started to see that many of my clients would come to me with weaknesses and injuries related to the sedentary lifestyle. As my interest in Pilates developed, I figured I could add another string to my bow as a Personal Trainer and help my clients through Pilates-based exercises in order to alleviate those issues. Studying Pilates was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my new career.

How has Pilates changed you?

Pilates has completely transformed my mind-body connection, in particular through the most important Pilates principle of all — the breathing. Pilates has taught me balance, control, flexibility and strength in so many aspects of my life, and not just physically.

What’s your approach to teaching?

There’s a reason why my clients nickname me ‘Miss Technique’! I wholeheartedly believe in strong technique and form, and this is fundamental when teaching Pilates. Whether I’m training a client 1-1 or teaching a class, I want everyone to leave with an education and feel more in tune with their bodies. That’s why when you come to one of my classes I take time explaining the setup all the way through to the benefits of an exercise. I encourage my clients to listen to their bodies and leave any egos at the door. Pilates is not a competitive workout where you should ever feel you are comparing yourself to your neighbour. I cater for all abilities in my classes (simply because I believe Pilates is for everyone — especially Yogis!) and this is why I always offer modifications for exercises so that everyone can leave my classes feeling like they’ve had a strong workout.

What advice would you give to people considering taking up Pilates?

It’s not Yoga! A lot of students assume Pilates will be similar to Yoga and they’ll pick it up very quickly. The benefits of both practices are similar, yes, but the principles of Pilates are different. That’s why I always say be patient when you first start. If you don’t quite pick up the Basic Principles at first, then let me just leave you with this quote from the original Pilates Master and Creator, Joseph Pilates:
“In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you’ll see a difference, and in 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body”.

Do you have a favourite Pilates quote?

“If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old; if it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.” Joseph Pilates.