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One of the country’s most established Pilates studios – Pilates Unlimited in Northcroft Street Takapuna – celebrates its 15th anniversary this month. Its longest standing client, publishing and communications specialist Belinda Cooke, explains what has kept her faithful to the practice and the studio for so long.

“Pilates was in its infancy in New Zealand in 2000 and as an ex-dancer I had been reading with interest about the particular style of rehabilitative and strength exercises Joseph Pilates had developed in Europe and used to assist dancers recover from and prevent injuries,” says Belinda. “So when in the same week I noticed a flyer at my local organics store IE Produce for a new studio opening nearby, I called the then owner right away to find out more, and I’ve been attending classes ever since.

What has always impressed me about Pilates Unlimited is their commitment to investing in the best equipment and the ongoing training of their instructors. Sure, you can probably attend a Pilates mat class in almost every gym these days, but right from the start the studio imported the numerous ‘contraptions’, some of them quite intimidating to encounter, that were core to Joseph Pilates’ method. And it’s these that really set the practice apart from other exercise regimes.

I had also practiced yoga for years, and this combined with my dance background had kept me very supple, but as I grew older I was nervous that I might over-stretch and stress my muscles and joints. Pilates particularly strengthens the all-important core area, which then provides stability to the rest of your body while you are exercising. It’s helped me improve my yoga practice and even seen me return to the dance studio.

I’ve worked with several instructors at Pilates Unlimited over the years, and they are constantly developing themselves. Owner for the past 10 years Carole Fraser regularly brings in overseas trainers or assists instructors to travel abroad to broaden their knowledge.”

I’m hoping that in 15 years I’ll still be attending classes regularly, and having seen some of the other longtime clients still working strongly, I know that is entirely possible.

Belinda Cook

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