UP THE STAIRS AND BACK TO THE FUTURE
An Interview with JANET WOOD of MI PILATES
By M. Wilson
A few passers-by may find inspiration in one of York’s more worn-looking historic buildings but to Janet Wood, owner of MI Pilates and the driving force behind the curiously names Salubrious Consortium, the old Railway Institute next to York Railway Station represented the opportunity to realize a long-standing dream.
MW: Why did you choose the York RI?
JW: “I’d always loved looking at the old black and white photographs and film clips of Joe Pilate’s demonstrating workouts in his mid-century Pilates Gymnasium. Dressed in his boxing shorts and barefooted Joe Pilates influenced the world of fitness and rehabilitation long before the modern gymnasium or physiotherapy was mainstreamed in the West. I knew when I launched my own studio that I wanted it ideally to reflect some of that pioneering atmosphere and when I stumbled on this place, I felt as if old Joe was touching me on the shoulder.”
MW: I notice that some of the pieces of equipment furnishing the studio have a shiny, state-of-the-art appeal to them and others do have the slightly heavier, solid wood and steel look of a previous generation. A generation not long forgot when you look at pictures on the walls reflecting what was then has evolved into what the practitioners know today. They machines haven’t really changed have they?
JW: “Yes and no, some of the machines are updated models of Joe’s original design, but they have stood the test of time and are as functional today as ever before. Some of the newer models may look more 21st century with their slick and sophisticated designs but looking back over a century, the basic principles haven’t changed. They are all a testament to Joe’s genius.”
MW: They look daunting…
JW: “Some people jest that the equipment looks like something out of a torcher chamber”, Janet Chuckles, “but it really isn’t at all, as a matter of fact the most daunting one, the Pilates Trapeze Table is the industries number one piece of rehabilitative equipment. If you are prepared to put in the effort in your training or exercise, the rewards are tremendous. Pilates is whole body strength conditioning. As a Movement Practitioner, I work with a wide variety of clientele. Problem solving is my game. From spine care to sports performance, my aim is to provide an uncompromised level of service to each client or student of Pilates.”
MW: What kind of training do you offer?
JW: “MI Pilates offers a full range of opportunities to do Pilates and Somatics Training. From mat and reformer classes, to group studio circuits, 1-1 private or semi-private tuition as well as mentoring support for Pilates Student Trainees. I aim to have a One Stop Workshop for Movement Integration. I have had clients from age 15 to 95 with all sorts of mild to incapacitating physiological and neurological challenges as well as professional sports people who are looking to improve their general condition or to work through specific injury-related issues.”
The Institute itself is a sport and leisure icon in York and has grown as a hub for social activities ever since the General Manager of North Eastern Railway formally opened it in 1889. Now moving into the 21st century the new General Manager Colin Weir has a vision to revitalize the institute and make it the home for Leisure sport and activities in York.
For Janet Wood and MI Pilates…”I want this to feel like the Pilates place everyone has been looking for. Quality instructors, state of the art equipment and uncompromised outrageous service! Come and see for yourself.
By M Wilson