Category Archives: Uncategorized

Pilates with Jackie Online

With the current lockdown in place it is even harder to get motivated to exercise. All our venues are now, quite rightly, closed  I have had to look at a new way to keep my pilates classes active. I have now moved Pilates with Jackie online. Classes are running most days for 40 minute sessions, or private one hour one-to-one classes.

Please contact me for details of class times, costs, log in details and availability, classes have limited numbers to keep it personal or for my one hour personal class 

Once you have the Meeting ID and password you can log in via the Zoom website or download the Zoom app for iPhone or Android.

Please keep active and get in touch for more details of Pilates with Jackie online.

Stay at home, stay safe

Re-align, Re-shape, Repair with Pilates with Jackie online

Spring into a new body……with Pilates

Well the spring is officially upon us, though I am quite sure the bad weather  is not done with us yet!  Looking out at all the blossom and having seen such a fantastic display of daffodils this year maybe I am wrong.  However with the spring comes the urge to purge…….bad habits, weight, clutter and lazy muscles!!  Well,  good news, Pilates can help with some of those.

Spring is an ideal opportunity to find a new fitness regime and what better way than to ease into it with a one-to-one session Pilates session in the comfort of your own home.  I can come a long at a convenient time and discuss what you think your problems are regarding exercise and your body.  I can run through  all your questions and fears and we can check out your strengths and weakness’s so we can get you moving in the right direction and strart re-aligning and re-shaping your muscles.

Spring time gives me a determination to get as fit as possible for those lighter evenings and the promise of some sunshine. The unburdening of all those winter jumpers  is like shedding your winter coat and becoming “leaner”.  Pilates helps with toning the muscles to become leaner and stronger, ready for the summer months when I can spend more time out doors………yes, even when the good old British weather doesn’t play fair.

Spring also is an invitation to start eating more healthily again.  I always struggle in the winter months because I feel I need to eat more to keep warm……a myth I’m sure, but my excuse and I’m sticking to it!!  I have my juicer out again and have really cut out a lot of sugar from my diet.  A difficult one for me as a real sugar-holic!!  I am also trying to increase my water intake and decrease the coffee, tea and …….gingerbeer!  I knew it was sugary but whoa, not that much!  Tying to add fresh ginger to my juicing and lemon to my water, great for internal cleansing and digestion.  And soon it will be salad season, and I can resist the pasta/potatoe urge for some greenery.  Love it!

So, hoping Spring is an incentive to you all too.  To get fit, ditch the sugar, and join a Pilates class!Downward facing Dog with Jackie Brealey


2015, last post …………

Well, it has been a hectic month or two.  I have been very remiss again with my updates.

Star Pilates with Jackie Brealey

We had our lovely American friend staying all November, consequently all our spare time was spent shopping and sightseeing with Marilyn.  And a great time was had by all!  I have spent more time shopping in November than in the the last 5 years……phew, the lady can shop, I was on my knees.  Talk about last post, last legs I think.  We did have a fantastic month though so i’m not complaining. We went for cocktails and a fab meal up the Shard.  The Christmas decorations were stunning and the food delicious, and we decided two sweets were probably enough between the three of us (we all have small appetites!).  Fell about laughing when they turned up and they weren’t big enough to feed a sparrow!!

December was equally busy, have to admit there was quite a bit of partying as well as working!  I had some great fun in the classes on the run up to Christmas despite quite a few being off poorly.  And I was lucky enough to be covering quite a few classes at Pennyhill and the Berystede.  2015, has been great year workwise, the cover classes and all my own clients. This is my last post for 2015 and I want to thank everyone for their support and attendance in this last year.  Love you guys.

Wishing everyone a great new year, and may 2016 bring you all the health and happiness………..and Pilates you could wish for. 🙂

Endings and fresh starts!

Well, it has sure been a rollercoaster year with highs and lows, excitement and dissapointment!  Hopefully coming up to the festive season we can we can forget about all the crap and stress ONE woman caused us for nearly nine months over our hopes to move house and truely move on!

It has been like a year in limbo, waiting for something that we eventually realised was never going to happen.  Why put your house on the market, spend 8 months going through the motions and then going to ground at the last hurdle!  Finally 4 days after our supposed exchange date she emailed to say she was withdrawing……no reason, no apology, no consience and no manners.  There really should be a change of law and practice in this country with house sales.  I guess I am naive enough to believe there is some good in everyone, I have amazing family, friends and clients and they all have the same values and morals as me and therefore I was shocked she could have been so aweful.  And so………

We have found another house, resold ours, everything is moving forward (hopefuly with no hiccups this time!)  Endings and fresh starts!

Pilates classes are all going fabulously……..that is mostly due to my great and lovely hardworking clients.  There have been some pretty horrible things going on in other people’s lives and my problems pale by comparison.  I am humbled by the strength and determination of some of my peeps to keep going when things appear so hopeless…..they know who they are and I I hope they are out of the worst and moving forward on more posotive notes.   It is very difficult not to be moved by other people’s plght’s knowing what they face and I hope in some tiny part I have been able to help with a shoulder, an ear and an exercise or two!  Love you guys, you do inspire me……..Endings and fresh starts!  Keep possitive!

Floating Arms with Jackie Brealey

It has been a pleasure to teach not only my own classes but so many cover classes at the Berystede and Penyhill Park.   And now due to a moving on of one of the instructors at the Berystede I am very privaliged to now have one of my own classes to teach there on a Friday morning.  I will still be available for cover here and elsewhere but it is great to be a permanant part of the team there.  Best of luck Gary for your future classes.  Endings and fresh starts!

And finally some Pilates news…….. I have had a suprise call from a certain local radio station about being part of their Christmas promotion.  Very excited about that, great advertising for me and I love the music they play!  Will let you know more soon……….Watch this space…….No endings but could be some fresh starts!!!

Keep up the good work Pilates peeps!!


Pilates in the Press

Well hello everyone.

Hope you are all enjoying this August Bank Holiday weekend despite the weather which is only good for ducks!!

I would love to have been out and about on the Harley or in the garden but this dingy low pressure has really put paid to the summer hasn’t it!  So instead I have worked!  I have been covering classes at Pennyhill Spa and The Berystede over the weekend, and not minded one iota as we couldn’t ride out!  Love covering these classes, I get to meet lots of lovely new people ……and teach a few I already know.  They have really worked hard over the last four days and I have to say, “very proud of them”!

Classes have been quiet over August with so many away on their holidays (and a few”injured”).  Loking forward to seeing most people back a regular classes this week and I believe most people have returned from their travels.  For those who have been reguarly attending classes in August, it was business as usual and a lot of hard work………as always! Thank you for not making me Billy no mates in the the last few classes!

There have been a few articles in the press recently about Pilates.  Pilates to help the menaupause, Pilates to help back pain in the over 40’s  and Pilates for balance.  Always great to be endorsed by the press for Pilates exercise, particularly as practioners and knowing how much it has helped with so many body issues.  We have to remember how many Footballers, Rugby players and Tennis players who regularly practice the Pilates methodology and how it can help with alignment and repair in the body.

Side leg lifts with Jackie Brealey







Here is a copy of one of the articles in Press written by Lisa Rapaport.

(Reuters Health) – Older women with lower back pain who add pilates to their physical therapy routine may see improvements in balance and reductions in fear of falling that don’t result from other types of exercise, a Spanish study suggests.

Researchers followed about 100 women aged 65 and older, offering all of them physiotherapy twice a week with 40 minutes of nerve stimulation and 20 minutes of massage and stretching exercises. Half the women also received hour-long pilates sessions twice a week.

After six weeks, the women who did pilates reported a reduced fear of falling, while the other women didn’t. Pilates was also linked to greater improvements in balance and reductions in back pain.

“Pilates exercises focus not only on physical but also on psychological development, and mind-body interaction is the main principal of the method,” lead author Dr. Fidel Hita-Contreras of the University of Jaen in Spain said by email.

Millions of people worldwide suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lives, and the risk increases with age. Symptoms can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden sharp pain that makes it difficult to move.

Fear of falling is a major health problem among the elderly, associated not only with actual risk of falling but also with less physical activity, avoidance of daily activities, and lower quality of life, Hita-Contreras and colleagues note in the journal Maturitas.

Pilates uses a series of controlled movements to improve core strength, posture and balance. The exercises concentrate on strengthening muscles in the lower and upper back, hips, buttocks and inner thighs.

Although pilates is widely recommended by doctors and physical therapists as a tool to improve balance and reduce falls, few studies have evaluated its effectiveness in women over 65 living with back pain, the researchers note.

At the start of the study, the women were about 71 years old on average and generally within a healthy weight range. Most were married, almost half had at least some college education, and slightly less than a third were still working.

Researchers used a questionnaire to assess fear of falling at the start and end of the study.

To detect changes in balance, researchers gave the women a timed test requiring them to stand up from a chair, walk three meters, turn around, and sit down again. They also questioned women about pain associated with these activities.

The study is small, and the results may not apply to younger women, the researchers acknowledge. More studies are also needed to evaluate the long-term effects of pilates, the authors note.

Still, the results add to evidence that pilates can have a positive impact on balance after less than two months of workouts, said Cherie Wells, a physiotherapy researcher at the University of Canberra in Australia who wasn’t involved in the study.

“While improvements may be even greater with a longer pilates exercise program, women may find improvements as early as six weeks,” Wells said by email. “I would think, though, that it is important to maintain strength and fitness with ongoing exercise to prevent decline in the future.”

SOURCE: Maturitas, published online August 3, 2015.


Gently does it……..

Well, we eased back into the Pilates swing of things slowly.  Very slowly on my part after mislaying the key to the hall of my first class!  That is one of the problems of having a partly packed up house for moving!  Will this this house move ever, well…..MOVE!

My classes were all back to normal though some of my venues were swapped about a bit!  August is always a funny month,  both with clients and the school children on holidays.  School holidays always affect my lovely people with children as they sometimes can’t make daytime classes, and affects some of my Pilates venues as one is in  a Children’s Club hall and another does maintenance ALL August!  Very inconvenient!  I do try and remind my ladies and gents of the venue changes, however I still have people occasionally turning up in the wrong place!  Always sorted by a quick text or phonecall.  Brains always go on holiday in August too, and sometimes mine!!

I did say I would be lenient with them all and ease them in gently with slightly easier exercises, however I didn’t make it too easy.  Gotta keep them on their toes, and I did get a few text’s saying certain ‘things’ ached.  However One or two this morning said they felt fine after last week’s class…….so I soon fixed that.  Had them surrepticiously clock watching and wishing for after class coffee ‘rewards’.   That’ll teach you!!

It wasn’t all tough stuff though, this week.  I have been doing some foot and leg alignment work with the therabands, which I also ‘took’ with me to the classes I covered at the Berystede.  I like covering the Berystede,  the ladies and gents are so welcoming and always open to the challenges set by a slightly different set of exercises from a different teacher.  I have a lot of cover classes there this week and a lot more for the rest of the month.  I love my own clients but it is always great to meet new Pilates people and help with their particular body problems too.  Re-align, re-shape, repair really does apply to everyone in one form or another.  As tough or as gentle as you need it to be with your body.

high spine curl with arms extended and single leg extension

And……..Gently does it, doesn’t really apply to the rest of the week, hey people, you have had enough time for “gently”, so from now on, for those who want the challenge, it’s gonna be hard!

See you soon!

Transverse versus six pack!

Well, after a short week after Easter everything was back to normal this week and i had a week concentrating on flexion and the Transverse abdominus!.

After the last few months of starting classes with standing and the hunter gatherer squat, I thought i would get back to some classic flexion exercises.  If you ask  people what part of the body they would most like to work on, they will say the tummy,  the muffin tops, beer bellies, post natal flab and just general overeating part!.  I have no problem with this as Pilates exercise is invariably concentated on the tummy muscles.  To be exact the ‘Transverse abdominus’ muscle, which has been  nicknamed the ‘girdle of strength’.  And yes it is true to say, this muscle is helpful in strenghening the core.  The muscle is fairly large and acts a little like a girdle,  wrapping round the lower torso and attaching to the spine.  An underused Transverse abdominus can mean a  weak core and can ultimately lead to lower back problems. So exercising can indeed help strengthen the muscle and tighten the tummy…..but, it has to be done properly to reap the full benefit.

So many people doing, a sit up or hundreds will engage the wrong set of muscles by lifting the tailbone and planting the lumbar spine into the mat.  This, although not ‘wrong’, uses the rectus muscle….which is a more ‘cosmetic’ muscle and yes, no doubt it can look good,  but it doesn’t use the lower deeper core stabialising muscle of the Trasverse abdominus.  To use this muscle correctly, the ‘tailbone’ should be lenghthened away rather than lifted, so the lumbar is just off the mat.  The feet should feel light on the floor and the pelvis heavy.  The back of ribcage should be down on the mat, the neck lenghenend away from the tailbone with the chin tucked in slightly.

In a sit up the fingers are linked and the head (not neck) cradled in the hands, the elbows are where you can see them just in your peripheral vision at all times, even when NOT curled up.  Look down the body before you curl up and keep the feet light on the floor…….don’t lift the tail bone, stay heavy in the sacrum.  Feel the difference between doing a sit up with and without lifting the tailbone, the work is in the lower transverse abs, and strenthening the deeper core muscle when not lifting!

The classic Hundred exercise also lengthening through the tailbone, not lifting it, using the transverse muscle.

Hundreds with Jackie Brealey

Have a go at home using your transverse muscle.  Don’t forget to use the pelvic floor muscle too!


Back to basics

Well, the end of a pretty hectic week! Did some back to basic stuff with my clients…….two or three did ask if i had done something to upset them as i had worked them so hard! It was really just going back to basics but more repetitions and flowing from one exercise to another (less time for rest and talking!)  But hey everyone did just fine!

It was great to actually have a client at Fullbrook in New Haw, yaay, welcome Claire, looking forward to seeing you again next week with class re-enforcements! I know these things take time to get going but i was a tad worried i was going to be billy no mates for a little while longer!!

Had a lovely lady return today after a break, great to have you back Joy.

A bit of reading up this weekend, maybe……..what can i find that is different for next week? Hmmmm, think you all may be safe as i have a lot of to-ing and fro-ing this weekend, not sure i’ll have time for reading up on anything!!  Think i will stick to basics for a week or two but rack up the pace!!

And with that in mind have a great weekend everyone!


Well, this is the hunter gatherer squat done at it’s best!  Pure childsplay.  Something we lose as we get older, but not to say that we can’t retrieve with a little effort in our Pilates classes.!  Knees permitting!  Been trying to incorporate this in my Pilates classes in Bisley and New Haw,  with some success and a lot of hard work!
Go squat ladies and gents!

Pilate’s ‘child’………grace versus strength!

Pilates is not just for the “graceful”.

It is a misconception that Pilates is just for slender,  balletic types that need to increase their strength and flexibility.   Joseph Hubertus (yes, really!) Pilates was determined to overcome his own “fragility” as a child and experimented with many different approaches to exercise including  Yoga, dance and gymnastics.  However he also used elements from Skiing,  weight training and self-defence.  Even circus training!  The combination of all these different aspects he was able to come up with a comprehensive and balanced work-out to challenge the weakest and the strongest of clients to combine strength and flexibility!

He was actually training detectives at Scotland Yard in physical exercise before he was interned when war broke out due to his nationality.  It didn’t stop his quest for training though,  he kept on developing his techniques on fellow internees’s,  some of whom were badly wounded war veterans and amputee’s who he helped with their rehabilitation!

When he set up his studio in New York after the war, he attracted boxer’s and athlete’s as well as gymnasts and dancers!

So don’t be put off by any rumours you may have heard (OR choose to believe) that Pilates is just for the fit and flexible.  They have indeed discovered how much a good well balanced programme of strength and flexibility can benefit you body,  but strengthening the ‘core’ muscles and increasing the flexibility is good for ALL of us!  We can adapt exercises to suit your body,  however it may feel!  We can work out an exercise program to help you to gain maximum benefits in your core,  whether you are a dancer,  athlete,  golfer, horse rider,  stay at home parent or career person.  Thursday’s child doesn’t have to be full of grace,  just enthusiasm for a better me!

Join up for an assessment with me and I will show you how you can build a better “you”!