Claire Embarks on her Final Master Mentorship Week with Lolita San Miguel

As we look forward to welcoming First Generation Pilates teacher Lolita San Miguel to Leeds for two very special events at the end of this month here Claire discusses her Master Mentorship Program with this incredible First Generation Teacher.

Claire's Story

A year ago I embarked on this journey, excited about the opportunity, but anxious about the many unknowns that would follow.

I had never travelled alone or left my family for this amount of time. I hadn’t left the studio and delegated my teaching. It had been almost 20 years since I did my first Pilates class, but now the real journey had begun.

People laugh when I say we did Pilates in Scotland, but it was never called Pilates, it was body conditioning for dancers. From there I went to Bretton Hall and met Diane and all those funny looking machines which I wasn’t so sure about! However, this would be the moment, at Bretton, that I understood the true power of Pilates under the watchful eye of a nurturing and knowledgeable teacher who got me through a knee injury that had stopped my dancing. After almost two terms of no dancing, but lots of Pilates practice, I eventually danced better than I ever had! Very interesting! I knew then I needed to explore and pursue this further.

Move to Canada

My plan was to move to Canada, however, the main training in Canada that I was aware of at that time was with STOTT. I researched the costs and accessibility, but with university loans and no work to speak of, the cost was simply out of the question. The result was the move didn’t happen and the training went on hold. It wasn’t until I was teaching dance at Leeds College that I recognised from the very beginning that these young dancers needed Pilates and I realised that I was the women for the job! Yes honestly, at 22 I was that sure of myself! However, it didn’t last!

Fitness Industry

My journey to training in Pilates involved completing several fitness industry trainings which helped me realise

that my experience at Bretton had been much more than the fitness industry could offer me. I found Michael King then eventually STOTT and many others in between before I found my home and landed at Polestar. Polestar was like coming home. I am a people first kind of person! People make the world go round, their approach meets people where they are and supports them to achieve incredible things, improving their quality of life and preventing injury. This approach worked so well for me because it was creative, but still based strongly on the philosophy and kept the integrity of the method, while understanding the bodies we see today applying current scientific understandings.

Anatomy and Movement

In 2015 to aid my understanding of the anatomy of movement and all that influences human movement I took myself on Gary Carter’s Natural Bodies Anatomy course. A course that gives you the underpinned theory of movement anatomy allowing you to be creative and apply it to what ever movement modality you teach. A perfect marriage with the Polestar Pilates approach. After attending the course once I repeated it again and expect I will do it again in the future.

High Quality Training in the North

There are so many layers to what influences the movers we work with, and often one sitting isn’t enough. It encouraged me to get back to my method re-focus on the routes and heritage of it. I could see so many other influences coming through, but for me I wanted to know more of the historical perspective, so my decisions were informed from current science, the people I work with and also the origins of the method. I had previously met Lolita San Miguel when I was fortunate enough to host her in Leeds in 2008. I encouraged Elizabeth Anderson of the PMA and at the time Pilates Umbrella UK to bring events out of London and to the North. It has always been a passion for me that high quality provision should be available in the North and not exclusive to London.

Lolita San Miguel

Lots of people don’t pursue their passion or choose a more accessible option because the cost of travel and training in London is so prohibitive. I have always wanted to change that and it began with Lolita in Leeds 2008. Elizabeth was kind enough to follow my passion and we successfully hosted Lolita, Alan Herdman and the amazing late Julian Littleford. I knew then that Lolita was my elder, my mentor and my friend. Fast forward to January 2018 and I decided it was time look up Lolita again. It made so much sense as I was stepping forward to educate on behalf of Polestar. Lolita is such an influence to us, so much so that she even certified herself through Polestar and the Pilates Method Alliance.

What an awesome lady that in her 70’s, Lolita San Miguel, having been trained and certified by Joseph Pilates then retrained with a school she believed in! That’s testament to Pilates provision delivered by Polestar and to the integrity of this amazing women.

End of the Journey

I am now at the end of my year with Lolita. What a year it has been. I have done more Pilates than I have ever have, travelled more than I ever have, found myself and that inner confidence to ask for what I want, juts like my 22 year old self again.

I am thrilled that I can share my journey with you, but not only my journey, that I am able to share Lolita with you. Lolita actually chose to come to Leeds. We haven't spent months going back and forth asking and begging for her to travel, she asked me whether I would like her to come! The answer, of course was a resounding YES! I knew people in the North would love to meet her, to hear what she has to say and to support the continuation of sharing Pilates with a wider audience for years to come.

We should all want to share this method and there are very few chances to hear from a Pilates elder, a person who Jospeh Pilates taught directly and shared his vision and philosophy with. I am proud and excited for this opportunity!

To book one of our upcoming events with Lolita please click the links below:

An Evening with Lolita San Miguel, Monday 29th April - Book here

Historical Mat Day, Tuesday 30th April - Book here

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