Pilates: More than an exercise routine, it is a way of life
More than an exercise routine, it is a way of life: Pilates is suitable for all fitness levels, ages and gender. We talk to Devorah Al-Irimi, founder and owner of SimplyBePilates about fitness, pregnancy and rehabilitation Pilates as well as Massage and Structural Osteopathy, all of which are offered in her centre in Barcelona.
What made you leave London in 2009 and move to Barcelona?
I loved working and living in London, however, I realised that whenever possible I would be in some mountains hiking and skiing, traveling to a beautiful beach and generally looking for a slower, more relaxed and outdoor life style. One day I realised that that outdoor relaxed lifestyle was what I wanted as my life, not as an escape. I bought a one-way ticket to Spain. The best decision I have ever made!
How have your own experiences helped you shape the philosophy of Simplybepilates?
My experiences traveling as well as working for big corporate companies gave me a good idea of how I wanted Simplybepilates to be. Having experienced many faceless gyms, uninterested staff and soul-less classes I decided above all, Simplybepilates had to be a place where each client was to be treated like an individual, each class different and interesting, and the policies fair and flexible.
Simplybepilates is a fitness and rehabilitation centre. My classes focus on health management and I choose a set of rehabilitation exercises targeting a common problem I know many of the clients in that class suffer from. As a result, the classes are as close as possible to a personal training session for everyone in the class. Exercise correction and advising on modifications is key in my classes. Everyone gets corrected so that they get the most out of the class and everyone is encouraged to work at their own level, whether that means taking it up or down a notch.
At Simplybepilates I try to bring my character to class. My aim is to create a health studio where people are greeted by name, the studio space is clean, safe and beautiful. The atmosphere is friendly. I love that my clients hang around after class and chat or pop out for a drink together. I encourage this and often organise Pilates social nights, no obligation to attend but we always get a great turnout. I also set up groups for pregnancy women so that they can share experiences and information, as many are without the support network of their families and dealing with everything in a foreign language. All my clients have my personal telephone number and know that a WhatsApp on a Sunday or last thing at night is OK if they need to use it.
My Osteopathy and massage services are interlinked with the Pilates classes. I encourage the combination of the three therapies and most of my clients reap the benefit of having the same massage therapists or osteopath as Pilates instructor. Combining these therapies not only help with wellness progression but also give the clients a better understanding of how to manage their health and wellness. Osteopathy can discover “weak links” in our body that can be corrected on the massage table and our clients can get better than before by using the Pilates method on the mat or reformer.
What type of Pilates do you teach?
I teach Pilates mat, pregnancy and reformer. I was trained by Stott Pilates, one of the leading contemporary Pilates schools in the world and in my opinion the best. We are 67,000 Pilates instructors worldwide.
You also offer pregnancy and post-natal Pilates. What are the benefits of Pilates during pregnancy?
The benefits are huge! From stabilizing core muscles, improving flexibility, strengthen and toning (especially the back and glutes which are the areas that support the weight of the bump, and the nutation in the pelvis. Pilates also trains the pelvic floor which, anyone who has given birth knows, is not something you want to leave out of your pre-natal or postpartum exercise program. But most importantly our pregnancy classes give our mums to be the chance to exercise SAFELY, assured that an experienced teacher is on hand for questions, modifications and motivation. Worry free effective classes. Ideal!
What is Barre Pilates?
Barre Pilates is a type of Pilates that has been born out of a combo of Ballet and Pilates. A Barre is used and many of the exercises look like Ballet exercises. The fusion of these two methods is incredibly effective as a toning class as well as a pregnancy class the class adds a light cardio aspect and is taught to music. A bit of upbeat music distracts from the repetitions. Barre Pilates is particular effective for people who want to improve flexibility, tone and strengthen the legs and glutes. Barre Pilates is a fun class and at Simplybepilates we teach the class so that pregnant women can join in, offering slightly easier options depending on the size of the bump.
How can Pilates help with injury and rehabilitation?
Pilates was originally designed as a form of rehabilitation and can help will all sorts of issues from bad posture to injury recovery. Pilates helps rebalance the body and activates muscles that have been damaged or underused. Most people think about Pilates and rehabilitation and think about the spine. This is not true. Pilates can help restore functionality for the whole body.
What are the benefits of structural osteopathy?
Structural osteopathy increases balance, mobility and functionality of the muscular system as well as the joints. It reduces or eliminates pain by re-balancing using massage, mobilization and if necessary “impulse”. Once the body is realigned the nervous system and bio- mechanics of one’s body will work with minimal tension and stress. This efficiency enables us to live a happier life, pain free and emotionally more balanced.
Osteopathy is an alternative to traditional medicine and looks for a natural approach for healing. Advise on diet and exercises are often incorporated in an osteopathy session. Avoiding drug dependency and invasive procedures
How is massage therapy an effective treatment for overall wellbeing?
Massage is a great treatment from healing skeleto-muscular issues as well as a therapy used to de-stress, and relax. Massage uses a number of different manipulations to connect with the client and this hands-on approach not only treats any physical tension but also has a phycological effect of calming the mind and releasing emotional blockages.
We offer a wide range of massages from deep tissue and sports massages to relaxation and cellulite massage. One of our most popular massages is our chiro-massage which includes osteopathy techniques.
Is massage therapy safe during pregnancy?
Massage is safe during pregnancy from 20 weeks onwards and we recommend specialist pregnancy massages.
Why do Pilates, massage therapy and osteopathy work well together?
Massage, Osteopathy and Pilates are PERFECT together. They complement each other as they all treat the body holistically respecting that we are one rather than a knee or a hip. These treatments also require a sense of self-awareness, a consciousness of ourselves and how we are moving. Massage and osteopathy are passive but are accompanied with stretching or exercise programs to achieve fast and effective results. These stretches and exercises are where the Pilates come into play. Often a massage will tease out issues that Pilates would take longer to tease out so the combination means progress is made fast.
Do you offer any classes online?
Yes – only privates. I believe that it is important to correct my students and online group classes do not allow me to do that to a standard I am happy with.
What do you love most about your job?
My clients, they make the classes fun and make my job interesting because everyone offers something to me and the studio. That may be a happy disposition in a Pilates class, as we work through difficult or technical exercises, or a difficult and interesting case that challenges my therapeutic skills on the osteopathy table.
Can you describe yourself in 3 words?
Just go for it! Everyone who lives here says there is a certain magic about this place, we cannot put our finger on what that is exactly, but it is intoxicating! If you have a dream for something better and a beautiful place for your family to grow up in, I can’t think of anywhere else I would choose.
Describe your life in 3 words