Biomechanics Screenings with Gillian Smart

What’s it about?

As a Biomechanics Coach, Gillian will apply an evidence based measuring system and simple corrective techniques in order to regain balance and function, working towards optimal performance and reducing the risk of injury.

Who’s it for?

Biomechanics screenings are aimed at all people who want to get the most from their body and those who already fit and active will have much to gain as well as those who are on their way to being more active. It is important to note that it's not a therapeutic or treatment process, however those with some current discomfort may find symptoms improve.

A 3 week programme at £120 comprises:

  • an initial and two further review screens at weekly intervals
  • a straightforward, tailored home exercise programme based on your screen results
  • documentation of your results and progress for you to keep and refer back to

What will happen?

An initial screen lasts for approximately 1 hour and a record is made of your current physical function and range, focusing firstly on the spine and pelvis. Areas of possible dysfunction are identified and you will be shown exercises for home practice that encourage those areas to become uninhibited.

What next?

A programme of strengthening exercises specific to your needs can be created once the foundations of your body are fully working, ensuring that the risk of injury is reduced as far as possible, and maximising your intrinsic biomechanical efficiency.

How can I book?

Please make your initial enquiries directly to the Enlightened Body studio via or in person at the studio.

Screenings are then by appointment directly with Gillian and will begin from April 3rd.

What's this Pilates Apparatus about then?

You may have noticed we're getting a bit excited about our specialist Pilates apparatus at the moment, so what's it all about then?

The Pilates apparatus, or equipment, is not to be confused with the small props used in mat classes (such as small and large balls, Magic Circles, stretch bands and the rest). This LARGE apparatus is how Joseph Pilates originally created his method, coming up for 100 years ago. The Matwork series was something he intended his clients to do at home between their regular apparatus-based studio sessions. We love the Matwork here, but adding the apparatus work to your practice will really take you to the next level.


Let us introduce you to a few bits - it's got some fairly surprising names:

The Reformer
(Joe called it his Universal Reformer)

The Cadillac (aka the Trapeze Table)

The Cadillac
(aka the Trapeze Table)

The Wunda Chair
(we also have 'combi chairs' shown here, which are an evolution of the original design)

The unique thing about the Pilates apparatus is the use of springs. Opening and recoiling the springs with your body gives you sensory feedback which teaches you how to move with control and precision. Far from being just a set of resistance devices, Joe Pilates is said to have intended this lot to act as a second teacher, you learn in a very visceral way from the physical experience of moving on and with the equipment. If you don't control the recoil of the spring, the Reformer's moving carriage will tell you so in no uncertain terms. As you learn to control the action, you will feel the physical engagement required.

The apparatus studio is great for absolutely everyone, whether you're right at the beginning of your Pilates journey or a seasoned Matwork practitioner. We can tailor your session to your needs if you are pregnant, training for your first marathon or recuperating from injury. The number of choices we have in tailoring your programme is staggering.

More and more of our clients who started with us in the Matwork studio are adding regular equipment-based training to their programmes, and I think without exception, are revelling in the results.


So why are we so excited right now?

Because we have more! More of us teaching on the equipment, more sessions available including sought after evening sessions and more equipment in two separate studios so that we can run two sessions simultaneously, effectively doubling up the timetable.

Are you ready to move a little outside your realm of experience?

Come and join us, we'd love to work with you!

See the apparatus studio timetable and package prices and drop us a line to reserve your space.

The Pilates family tree: Joe, Clara and the Pilates Elders

Because Pilates has only fairly recently been the focus of media attention, many people don’t realise how long the method has been around and what a rich history it has. Joseph Pilates, who was devising his method back as early as WW1, wanted the whole world to practise his method of ‘Contrology’ as he called it. But in his later years he is said to have descended into black moods, feeling he had failed in his life’s mission. Nearly 50 years after his death, his dream is getting closer to being fulfilled.

The eventual spread of the Pilates Method is largely thanks to the first generation of students – people who trained with Joe and his wife Clara in the early days in their New York studio and then went on to become teachers in their own right. This generation became affectionately known as the ‘Pilates Elders’ and as they themselves have reached old age, I have joined the many in the Pilates community who are eager to meet and work with them whist we still can.

I had the good fortune earlier in the year to spend two days studying with the inspirational Lolita San Miguel, who has just this week turned 80 with fabulous grace. Lolita worked us HARD – and she set the bar pretty high when she started the first morning showing us a perfect Teaser. And then another few just to be clear. Most of us, 40 or 50 years her junior, felt pretty humble at that point.

Over the two days, Lolita put us through our paces with an incredible variety of sequences on the Cadillac (or Trapeze Table) and on the mat. She recalled vividly not only how she had been taught the sequences by Joe, but how other people had been taught differently, and how each of the first generation Elders also put their own stamp on the work as it was passed on.

The more I hear what the Pilates Elders say about their own experiences with Joe, the more it becomes clear to me how his method was adapted to suit each individual. Kathleen Stanford Grant, another of the Elders, who died in 2010, passed on a great deal of wisdom to her protégé Blossom Leilani Crawford. Kathy arrived at Joe’s studio after comprehensive knee surgery, and so her experience of the Pilates work was all focused on the Wunda Chair, with a plethora of exercises to strengthen and restore function to the knees.

Working with Blossom was a great insight into this branch of the work, handed down directly from Kathy. It’s from her that I learned some of the Wunda Chair exercises that bear out the notion (often repeated by my clients) that if something looks really simple and easy and almost nothing, it’s probably going to work your muscles like hell!

Always there is a sense of the passion and drive from each of the Elders, all of them with their own tales to tell and their own unique point of view. And that’s how the method is still spreading - a family tree passing on knowledge from one generation to the next. Not without its familial feuds either, but that’s another story. Lolita referred many times to Joe and Clara Pilates as our ‘professional parents’, and it is ultimately to their dedication and vision that we as Pilates teachers now owe our passions and our livelihoods.

Katharine Moran

Welcome to our beautiful new Pilates studio

We are absolutely thrilled to be expanding into the whole of our beautiful grade II listed barn conversion in the Stable Yard at Woodhayes.

Only 16 months after setting up the first Pilates equipment studio and Matwork studio upstairs in the Stable Yard, we’ve grown enough to take on a bigger equipment studio, significantly increase the size of the group Matwork studio and add reception and changing facilities. Now that we are two teachers (Gillian joined Katharine teaching at the studio in September this year), we have even more choice on the timetable and lots of plans afoot for the coming months.

The former Matwork studio upstairs is destined to become a private teaching and treatment space in the new year, making us a busy hub dedicated to helping you feel, look and move the best you can.

A huge thank you to everyone who has helped in the metamorphosis that’s taken place over the last few weeks, and also to every one of our clients – without you the studio would be a pretty boring place to be. It’s you who bring it all to life. Thank you, and we hope you’re all as excited as we are!

Katharine Moran