First the good news – after many years of applying, Wicklow-based Anne Sexton Pilates is now approved by the PSAP, or the Pilates Schools Approval Program. This is a rigorous international standards body and only the very best get through. Anne laughs and says had she known how hard the accreditation was she might never have started. On a day that saw her upset over trivial matters, as only trivial matters can upset in this pandemic, the news of her accreditation was a lifesaver.

“This accreditation tells people who want to be instructors that we have the highest standards. To become a PMA school means going through many hoops – and so it means our Pilates students can get an accreditation that means something.”

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The second piece of good news is that Anne Sexton Pilates is offering free classes to leaving certificate students and college students sitting exams. Anne was prompted by her own family as she has a son doing his leaving cert and a daughter doing final year college exams.

“It is terrible to witness the amount of stress facing these students. The uncertainty is only adding to their stress. So I thought if I can teach breathing to students this would really help with their stress levels. I also reckoned they wouldn’t have any money to pay for extra courses at this time, so I decided to do the classes for free.”

The classes are available every Wednesday and Friday at 2 pm.

Anne again laughs at this point. She would not have believed it possible that she is now teaching over Zoom.

“It’s a very steep learning curve. I am not technical at all but luckily my son has helped me. We closed the studio on a Saturday and by the following Monday, he had helped me set up my first Zoom class.

“What I find lovely is that many of the same people from the physical class have followed me into the online class so there is real continuity. It is great to still be able to teach my clients even if online. It was a bit strange at first but now it really works well.”

The third piece of good news is that there is evidence Pilates can help ward off virus symptoms.

Anne explains her passion for Pilates too. She has never as felt as strong as she does now in her mid-50s. She attributes Pilates to that strength. Also to the breathing techniques inherent in the discipline.

“It’s all about getting that deep breath into your lungs and keeping them strong, especially in the context of COVID being a respiratory illness. If you have strong lungs then your chances of fighting the coronavirus much better.”

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The origins of Pilates hail from a German, Joseph Pilates. He was interned in the Isle of Man during the first World War. He taught his fellow inmates his breathing exercises and all the inmates in his wing survived the Spanish Influenza.

Originally the method was called Contrology but this was subsequently changed to his surname. However, as Anne points out, the original name made sense as one of the principles of the classes is control.

“Every move you make is controlled in Pilates, your muscles, your breathing, your movements. They knew back in 1918 this Contrology and the Pilates Breath could be instrumental in fighting a flu virus. It’s time we used it now.”

To listen to the podcast - click here or to watch the video: below

Anne Sexton Pilates can be found on her website where anyone can join her live classes from anywhere in the world. Fancy a Pilates class in Wicklow?

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