WHAT PILATES CAN DO TO TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE
Michelle Markey Pilates
Did you know that there are more benefits to Pilates than just becoming more physically healthy? We got all the inside info in our interview with Michelle Markey, a Pilates Instructor with over a decade of experience and a long time fan of Amaterasu! Michelle loves her job and always wants everyone to leave their sessions feeling more empowered and better than when they arrived.
Sara: How did you first learn about Pilates?
Michelle: I started doing Pilates in high school when an ankle injury sidelined me from volleyball. Originally my personal use for Pilates was rehabilitative, however, I quickly realized that Pilates was a rich and varied practice all on it’s own. What started as ankle and foot rehabilitation grew into a full body practice supporting not just my body in other athletic endeavours, but also my mind.
Sara: What made you want to go into teaching Pilates?
Michelle: After university, I was set, ready, and registered for law school. I had continued with my Pilates practice all throughout my undergrad and it really helped me deal with my stress and anxiety during school, not to mention how it helped my body feel strong, mobile and toned. I was having second thoughts about law school and the trajectory that law would take my life in. I deferred my enrollment and registered in a Pilates teacher training course and then, over the years, an advanced therapeutic teacher training course, and then took courses in special populations, as a pre/post natal specialist, for senior’s fitness, joint replacement, advanced neurological Pilates, young athletes, the list goes on. I wanted to help and connect with people. I wanted to have a purpose in my life that could grow and change as I did, over time and with grace. I want, to this day, after thirteen years of teaching, my students to leave our sessions feeling better and more empowered than when they arrived. I want to provide them with tools to use not just with me, but on their own, to take control of their own body and health. Everyone, at every age, is capable of feeling comfortable in their body, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally; Pilates is a practice that is able to connect and embody all of a person.
Sara: What sort of psychological transformations have you witnessed with your students, aside from a much more toned and healthy body?
Michelle: My approach focuses more on functionality of movement and functional muscle sequencing/firing, thus providing not only a workout to students, but also repatterning work that supports their body in all facets of their lives. I think that the strength in a regular Pilates practice lies in the student’s feeling of power and capability when they leave class. They can work on their posture so their back doesn’t hurt during the day at work. They can rehab their diastasis and pelvic floor after birth and be stronger than ever. They can regain motor functionality after a stroke. They can lessen the effects of MS. They can have double knee replacement surgery and be skiing next year. They can add 10 km/hour onto their slap shot. These feelings of personal commitment, empowerment, and self worth become visible in other areas of their lives. Once a person realizes that they are capable of challenging physical feats, they crack open limitless potential. Suddenly, “I can’t do that” turns into “I can’t do that yet” and this is a powerful place to be. When we have confidence and are willing to fail, knowing that we are supported and will learn, we can accomplish really beautiful and fulfilling things.
Sara: Do you have a self care ritual that you think other women might benefit from?
Michelle: With three small children, self care would be easy to throw to the wayside, but I get into the forest every day. Forest Bathing is the real deal. We are fortunate enough to live on the North Shore, right by beautiful hiking trails and rivers. The forest is my happy place. The second I start hiking, listening to the river and the trees, I feel an immediate sense of calm. It is my meditation. It is where I connect with myself and contemplate my reality.
Sara: You have been a long time fan of Amaterasu Beauty. Please share how you found us and what you love most about our makeup? What are your favourite must-haves?
Michelle: One of my best girlfriends introduced me to Amaterasu Beauty. What I love about Amaterasu products is that they are so easy to apply and look amazing! The Massive Length Mascara was my gateway product. It stays put like a waterproof mascara, but can be taken off with warm water and gentle rubbing. This boggled my mind and was a game changer for me. Next, I tried the Kabuki Brush, but my very favourite is the Liquid Brow Liner. I have always been intimidated by brow liners, as they can be fussy and difficult, but this one is not. It is amazingly easy to apply and I love that it will stay on all day even if I sweat! I feel put together if I do nothing more than line my brows (and after three kids, these brows have seen better days).
Sara: Why do you think it is important for women to receive support from other women?
Michelle: Women are amazing. We are strong, capable, and ready to realize our full potential. Nothing can unlock that potential more than a champion in your corner. We can be this for each other. We can lift each other up, support one another, and not be threatened by others' achievements and skills, but celebrate one another for our differences. I have two daughters and I want them to grow up embracing their talents and celebrating those of their girlfriends. We are stronger together and making a fellow woman/human feel smarter, more capable, more resilient, or more beautiful on the inside-out, lifts us all up. Beauty shines from within and there is nothing more amazing than sharing your beauty with a fellow woman. I always tell my eldest daughter, “If it’s not kind, true, and necessary, don’t say it.” Be the bright light and share that light with others.
For classes, Michelle is currently offering private in-person sessions at her home studio as well as group and private zoom classes. You can reach Michelle for additional info on her classes via: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her home studio (fully equipped with a wide open garage door) is in Edgemont Village, in North Vancouver. Pre-pandemic, Michelle was teaching at the wonderful Sweat Co. Studios for the past 11 years, as well as working with seniors at Amica West Vancouver and Amica North Vancouver. She offers teacher training bi-annually in topics ranging from functional anatomy, sequencing, special populations, etc. She is passionate in all things Pilates, movement, and functional anatomy.
Thanks to Michelle for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions. Be sure to check out her Instagram @michelle.markey.pilates for more Pilates info and action!