Friday. Waking up with the alarm, making sure everybody is dressed in the right kit, bags are packed, breakfast is served, school run is done, a few work emails sent, it was both surprising and lovely to find myself lying down on the floor of the reCentre on Balham High Road by 9.30am. Not a bad way to begin my day. Especially a Friday. I was full of that #FridayFeeling.
Through work, I had been invited to join in on one of Jo Redfearn’s Pilates classes. It’s tough, but someone’s got to do it. Having lived in these parts for quite some years, I’d passed the building countless times, but had only ever been to their podiatrist a little further up the road (I’ll spare you the details), and had never set foot in the main reCentre.
It feels like you’ve arrived in a haven. Shut the door on the world and it’s warm and toasty, friendly and inviting; a cross between a set of treatment rooms and a small gym, or a very calm and clean doctor’s waiting room and spa. The receptionist gave me a quick tour. Somewhere to help yourself to filtered water and coffee, a room in which to leave your coat and trainers, a few staff milling about chatting easily and someone else popping over the road for some fresh milk. Homely and relaxed, I felt immediately at ease.
The room for the class was fresh, bright, warm and spacious. There are mats and other Pilates equipment provided, including soft balls and elastic bands, blocks and so on. The small class gathered quickly. We numbered only seven, so we had plenty of room to manoeuvre and were blissfully removed from the world outside by opaque glass, so passers-by on Balham High Road (previously me), would have no idea of the peace and calm that lies within.
I found Jo to be an excellent teacher. I would say I am at an intermediate Pilates level, having done it for a couple of years. She was clear, concise and friendly though extremely professional, with no unnecessary chit-chat and hitting just the right note by knowing everyone’s name and their individual abilities and limits too. You felt in reassuringly safe hands. As an ex-Royal Ballet School dancer and teacher, I’m sure her core is somewhat more hardcore than mine, and sure enough, when the time came to pull myself up and forwards to sitting from the lying down position, her gentle but sure hand applied steadily to my flailing leg/ankle, helped me to manage it calmly and with no fuss.
The focus on breathing, so important in Pilates, was key, and Jo helped us along with concise rhythms and instruction so that we were reminded of the breathing patterns almost subconsciously while we managed the more physical exertions of limbs and core. Multi-tasking at its best. I worked hard and got a great deal out of the hour. My body felt stretched and exerted, my mind, relaxed.
As I headed off, I picked up the weekly timetable. This lovely studio on my doorstep is surely too good to be true. You don’t even have to be a member, but for a very reasonable annual membership, studio classes are just £11 if bought in a block, which strikes me as very good value. There’s a huge array of sessions on offer with a variety of teachers, from Ante-Natal Yoga and Pilates with your Baby to Pilates Foundations or Pilates Improvers, Yoga and Tai Chi, both during the day and in the evenings.
I walked home a few centimetres taller (the stretching) and with a spring in my step. That #FridayFeeling had well and truly taken over. Pilates, done. Coffee and chocolate, here I come.
Charlotte attended Jo Redfearn’s Pilates Improvers class at the reCentre, Fridays 9.30 to 10.30am.
Membership is £90 for the year or £9 per month.
Members are entitled to discounts on classes as well as a 10% discount on sports/remedial massages.
For more details and the class timetable,
please visit: www.recentre-health.co.uk or call 020 8672 4455
Next week, Charlotte heads back for the second part of her review – a Hatha Yoga class.