Anita chats to MoveActive about life and studio ownership

Anita recently spoke to one of our favourite suppliers, MoveActive about all things Pilates. MoveActive’s practical and comfortable grip socks are a favourite amongst our clients and staff alike! We know you love their colourful designs and we always get excited when a new shipment arrives (New designs just arrived this week! Check them out in the studios now!)

Read the interview below and visit their blog to read more about their featured studios.  Don’t forget to follow @moveactive on instagram – they love it when you tag them and your fancy toes too!

Tell us about Movement Principle Pilates, where did it all begin?

Cat and I (Anita) first began working together over 10 years ago at a well established and innovative Pilates studio in Brisbane, with me completing my training with Cat as one of my mentors. Having had previous business experience and with Cat looking for some flexibility and control in her scheduling around her new bub we had had discussions around opening and dreaming about our own individual studio spaces. Then we thought, why not open something together 50/50? Movement Principle was born from these brief discussions.

We both had a really strong vision of what we did and didn’t want a studio space to be and also what kind of environment we wanted to create for the teachers working with us. We are lucky that we both bring very different skills to the table and very different personalities so we tend to cover most (not all) bases and are really good at being a sounding board or playing devils advocate for ideas. It wasn’t the smoothest start with the Brisbane flood of 2011 damaging our new shiny studio just two days after we opened, but we mopped ourselves off and re-opened within two weeks, which was really about determination and positivity and productivity of us and the team of family, friends and tradies around us.

We have always felt that we have paid attention to and developed a really client focused business that celebrated outcomes and achievements as a community. Our vision included ideals about positive movement experiences, where no-one’s needs or wants were more important than anyone else’s and that’s when our brand really became what we had intended it to be.


Do you have a team that you work with? Tell us about them.

We have the best team! A hand picked and curated bunch of Brisbane’s best if you ask us (we are a little bias and proud of them all though). Our team of 8 are massive movement nerds, all fully comprehensively qualified instructors which makes them experts in their craft. They are so supportive to our clients and each other so it makes it a pleasure to be their teeny tiny bosses (what our team affectionately calls as we both clock in at just on 5 foot tall). They continue to up-skill and continually re-educate them selves. They are also self motivated and always look for ways they can be helpful to us and each other, and that is so motivating as leaders who sometimes get stuck with the boring jobs that can come along with owning a studio.

We are lucky to have true Pilates professionals working on our team. Positivity and professionalism is key to joining the team at Movement Principle Pilates.

What’s the biggest reward in running your own studio?

Building a community of happy and healthy movers is the biggest reward hands down. We consider ourselves to be so fortunate to do the work we do. Working with people can be amazing because they let you in to become a part of their life and their journey.It is rewarding and fun to see people feel better about moving better. Facilitating the space for amazing movement! it’s a pretty great way to spend your working life!


How is your studio different to other Studios in your area?

Although we have two studios that have slightly different vibes we have always focussed on the power of the clients as individuals and us being the facilitators of good, confident and challenging movement. We are lucky enough to have spaces that don’t feel clinical so even when clients are injured or unwell they feel comfortable and not like they are “broken” and need to be “fixed”. So much can be said for how our studio spaces and staff make people feel.

We thoroughly believe that at the centre of our studio and what makes us different is the power we give the client, we don’t fix them, they fix them! We have the knowledge to share and give the clients the guidance and feedback they need but they as individuals do the work. They show up and they do the exercises and our studios provide the excellent and caring instruction and the gorgeous and calming spaces. We know that Pilates is just one piece of the puzzle and we make sure we don’t claim to be the only ones doing it right. We also don’t try and be a “one stop shop” we work together with other allied health practitioners to help the clients to achieve their best outcome. It’s amazing what can be achieved when you collaborate with other modalities and therapies outside of your own four walls it broadens everyone’s community, development, trust and professionalism. We have a great wealth of knowledge that we share but are also very honest about where our scope of practice ends and have such a great bunch of experts to refer to when we hit a roadblock in someone’s progression.


You offer ‘Trio Studio classes’ – Tell us about these.

Our trio classes are by far our most popular classes as they are a very affordable way to get targeted and specific instruction from our teachers. Each client is one of only three in the class and the instructor during these sessions is able to specifically program to the individuals’ needs and goals.

Want stronger glutes? We got you. Recovering from injury? We got you. Pregnant?  nothing but perfect posture and support for our mums to be. Plus you get the added bonus of working along side other clients so there is always good chats to be heard #overheardatpilates


Do you have any special offers for new members?

We sure do! Whether a new client is looking to go into Privates and Trio classes, or wants to join our group Reformer, TRX and floor classes, we have a $59 new client offer to suit.

$59 for an initial consultation which is the gateway to personalised instruction in Privates and trios or $59 to try 4 of our CBD group classes. Sometimes the high cost of starting something new like pilates can put people off from beginning their journey. We make it affordable so everyone can get the benefits of movement. The more cost effective the more people that can infuse pilates into their lives. That’s a win win!


How many different classes do you have and which one is the most popular?

Apart from our studio based classes (Privates and Trios) that are availiable at both studios, we run 5 different group class styles in our CBD studio: Reformer, Cardio Reformer to get the heart going, Advanced Reformer for our die hard and dedicated clients, Floor Tone which is a barre, dance and pilates inspired mat based class and our TRX which integrates full body movements and challenges in a safe and structured way. Most popular is for sure the reformer classes, because even a lot of our clients who attend trios or privates during the week make time to also attend the general reformer class as part of their workout routine. Consistency is key when you’re trying to strengthen your mind and body connection which is what the pilates method is all about.

What’s your favourite class that you offer and why?

Both of us naturally gravitate to Trio classes for our personal practice as you get to play with all of the equipment (even the quirky old school  classical pieces of equipment like the toe gizmo’s) and the tailored programming really helps stay on top of our old sport and dance injuries.

If we are talking about group sessions then for me (Anita) I would say the TRX. Although it can be really challenging (insert sweat and and a strong beating heart) the challenge coupled with the fact that you can keep pressure and loading off your joints really means that it is the perfect exercise to challenge the whole body without undoing any of the hard work of my Pilates practice. Catherine’s group class pick will be advanced reformer any day of the week. Her dance background means that anything where the choreography is a little complicated will give her all the happy vibes.


Do you have one on one classes as well as group classes?

Yep private pilates sessions are a big part of our business and it allows us to work with a full range of clients from elite and professional dancers and athletes, Advanced Pilates clients (those die hard and dedicated ones I mentioned earlier) as well as clients coming back from injury and illness. It also is the perfect exercise and way to assist in the management of chronic illnesses like chronic fatigue, autoimmune diseases and cancer recovery. We love using private sessions to get clients back to their best and feeling better.


Do you have plans to expand Movement Principle Pilates in the future?

Depends on which one of us you’re speaking with and on which day! We often joke that we could open a studio down south as a few of our past instructors have left the Sunshine State for the cooler climates. But in all honesty we are probably just too satisfied with all the sunshine and warm vibes that we have in Brisbane.

Plus there is 2 of us and 2 studios it seems like a good ratio. Saying that we are never say never kinda girls and we often look at where Movement Principle could go or grow to next.

Brisbane is a growing Pilates community with new instructors and studios joining the scene every year. We have been a part of the teaching landscape up here for over a decade each and we plan on being here for a long time more in one capacity or another, helping build the Brisbane pilates landscape for all the people that love it clients and instructors alike.

At the heart of it Movement Principle Pilates is all about the people that love the method and we couldn’t be  happier that we play our role in supporting them.


Being Teeny Tiny Boss Ladies

A nickname we were given a few years back from a slightly more vertically blessed employee.

It fits. We wear it.

Over the last few months we’ve had to make some tough decisions, making changes and sacrifices that feel like the ‘Boss Ladies’ part of our title has been more present than ever.  We’ve had to put our business hats on and put the health and growth of our small and cherished business, first.

Above our personal love of teaching.

Above the personal desire to please everyone.

For the strength and security of our team and the future of our business in an industry that is rapidly changing. Here’s a bit of what’s going on for us.

As a bold step in our role as studio owners, we have made the decision to take a step back (or up?) in our duties at the studio from June 30th this year. This is a vital step in becoming an  efficient and effective business that creates a positive in-studio experience for all of the clients that Movement Principle supports. There is not one client, one shift or one teacher that is more valuable than another but rather a growing system of people supporting people that needs to be nurtured to survive and flourish.

The community that was created inside the walls of our studio spaces is one that needs to be supported and valued and part of that experience relies on the behind the scenes mechanism being truly functional and adaptive. (Much like our bodies! The philosophies  of pilates apply to more than just movement!)

A studio owners our role is day to day: the boring numbers, paying the tax man, managing staff, cleaning the toilet and so much more. But more importantly it is to be adaptive to the community needs alongside staying viable and relevant in the industry. We’re not great with change, particularly ones that can cause disappointment. Quite often we give hope and promise to situations with not much chance of recovery. A “just in case” attitude has seen us keep some classes on the timetable well past when they should have been changed. Well past what was viable and well past the “long hard look” we should have been taking. But we know these decisions have to be made sometimes, and we are as committed to the long term health of this business as we are to the long term health of our clients.

In our new role, we will be able to:

  • provide better management to support the day-to-day runnings of the studio
  • be more available for client enquiries and questions, and support staff with administration and deal with problems as soon as they arise
  • to work on some of the great ideas we’ve had for extra opportunities for all of our clients, our community and the development of our team (think workshops! retreats! research! community and charity classes!)
  • confidently provide cover for our teachers when they are away on holidays or sick.

One of the main values that we are dedicated to is providing teachers for all of our classes that are professional, dedicated, well trained and reliable. There is a lot of variety out there as far as pilates qualifications and we have made a point to always employ teachers who have educated themselves in the most comprehensive and professional courses in the industry. In turn, we strive to provide our teachers with a good work-life balance, a supportive environment to grow and learn, and as much consistency in their work and their income as is possible. Our new schedule and systems are just one more step towards improving things for all of our team.

We are very excited and inspired by what the next little instalment of Movement Principle will become, and we are buzzing with ideas. New ways of doing things and new experiences to bring you. Watch this space as we evolve, yet again, in this crazy world of business and pilates.

Catherine & Anita


The pro’s and con’s of working with a new teacher

There’s something comforting about working with the same teacher for your pilates sessions, week in, week out.  They get to know your body and you as a person. Plus it’s a fairly personal situation, and getting to check in with someone regularly and debrief on the ups and downs, can be a wonderfully supportive element to your physical routine.

A consistent teacher-client relationship can grow to be a very valuable one, with a shared history and a ‘shorthand’ in communication. “Can I do the thing…? You know, the thing?”……… Sound familiar? Also, from the teacher’s perspective – “Let’s do the diamond necklace next” (aka. downstretch) or “It’s time for the one that works your butt” (aka. skating). It can be reassuring, and have a lot of value, to have a teacher who you’ve worked a long time with, and not just because they often remember every injury, ache and muscle strain you’ve ever had.

However, there’s also so much to be gained from a fresh set of eyes! We notice this all the time, that the change to a new teacher can bring an unexpected energy and focus. It can help you redefine your goals as your teacher notices different elements of your movement and introduces new variations of the exercises for you to try and master. Every teacher has their own weird and wonderful set of cues, both verbal and tactile, that they find most effective in their teaching, and the excitement of an ‘ah ha!’ moment, when the simplicity of a new way of explaining things helps an exercise ‘click’, is thrilling for teacher and mover alike. Plain and simple, each one of us sees and interprets movement differently.

Every teacher has found their way to pilates through a unique and rich background, sometimes through injury, or sport, through dancing or via a family member, and each teachers’ history gives them a deep and entirely unique perspective on what they see. Their pre-pilates training can be just as fundamental to their skills as a teacher as their pilates training! Training courses are very comprehensive and ensure every teacher is well equipped to manage a wide variety of clients from the get-go, from all ends of the beginner-advanced spectrum and with all manner of personal and physical history, in a safe and authentic manner. It’s what they bring to it that makes each teacher special. Throw in a personality mix, each one of us is different and each day you turn up to the studio is a chance at a different perspective, a different challenge and a different achievement.

So next time you teacher is away and you have a fill-in, or your schedule changes and you have to find a new regular time, don’t despair! There are lots of pros to the cons of getting to know someone new, and we honestly believe that you can learn something from every teacher you work with.

Summer Special Weekend Classes

Why wait til January to start a new fitness routine?


We’re supplying lovers of pilates with some extra opportunities to get strong for the silly season. Join us at both studios on the weekends until Christmas, with extra Reformer & TRX classes, combo classes and we’ve even added yoga! Experience how yoga can complement your pilates training with an invigorating class to finish your weekend.

Read more here



Get the most out of your Spring fitness routine


We all know Spring is the best time for getting in shape. The sun is up earlier, the sky is blue, the promise of summer holidays, entertaining and relaxing is just around the corner. And Pilates instructors are full of inspiration! Having made it through the early starts in the dark, it’s so rewarding seeing our dedicated regulars come through the other side of winter and start to step up their fitness routines. Plus, we welcome enthusiastic new faces into our studio which brings a buzz of excitement.

So, how can you harness all that is great about Spring to get maximum benefits??

Here’s our top tips:

  1. Commit to a routine, and book in advance. You are way more likely to turn up to a class that you’ve booked, and classes quickly fill up at this time of the year.
  2. Challenge yourself with something new. If you’ve been doing Reformer classes, try TRX. If you attend trio sessions, pick a new goal to work towards. A change is as good as a holiday and attempting something challenging will get you motivated to conquer it.
  3. Workout with a friend. We love hearing your weekly routines of TRX followed by smoothies! Or lunch break debriefs on Reformers. Exercise is a healthier way to catch up with a mate, and you can never underestimate the power of not wanting to be the one to cancel.
  4. Pick your personal driving force and watch for results. A toned, lean and stronger body might be the aim of your fitness game, or you might be more focused on the health and wellbeing benefits of better concentration, better energy, and a guaranteed endorphin rush. Whatever your goal, keep track and watch for changes. In 10 weeks, when Summer hits you’ll be glad you started now.

There’s no excuse for not feeling motivated at this time of the year, so jump on that feeling and reap the rewards!

Pilates vs. Pilates – how to choose the right type of class for you

With so many Pilates options out there these days, it can be tricky to choose which is best for you. Do you get more benefit from the personal attention of a Private class? Or do you work harder with the energy and flow of a group atmsophere?


Both are right and each style has its benefits. The trick is finding which is the best class for you, depending on your personality, your body and your schedule.

For example, if you are new to pilates but have regularly exercised before and are fairly in touch with your body, you might find the flow and structure of a group class gets you right on track. You are used to listening and watching for instructions and you know when to stop if something doesn’t feel right. As always, the more feedback you can get from a teacher, the better your form (and therefore the benefits) so choose a class with a well-trained instructor and a small class size (less than 10 is perfect).


If you are new to pilates but have a sore back (or knee, or neck, or shoulder, or little toe…….we’ve seen everything!) then a group class may not be your best choice. Some Pilates exercises can be harmful if you’ve not yet learned how to manage your injury in different positions.  This is where the studio work is for you! You can work just as hard, on all parts of the body, but your knowledgable instructor will know how to choose and modify exercises so they are safe and effective in a personalised way.

Conditions such as a weakened pelvic floor, or a lower back disc injury or joint strain, don’t cope well with some of the common positions and challenges in the Pilates floor repertoire. In the studio environment, a private class is always going to give you top results (it’s like a personal trainer, a physical therapist and a boot camp teacher all in one) but semi-private sessions make this individualized approach to pilates more affordable and allow you to attend more regularly. Look for groups of no more than 3 or 4 and individually directed sessions where the teacher is with you the whole time.

So, here’s a few pointers……

– the smaller the class the more individual correction you’ll get

– the better your form, the more you’ll benefit

– your enjoyment factor is important! Stick to groups if you love the atmosphere of working in a group. Stick to privates if you love, love, love having that one-on-one attention

– respect your body. If you are recovering from an injury or managing a condition, stick to classes where your current limits are respected and accommodated

– consistency is the key! Finding a balance of classes that suit your timetable and budget will give you the best results over time

There are many teachers, studios and classes out there so if you’re still confused, ask for advice. Any teacher should be able to advise a class or combination that works for you and your budget.



Conference photos

October 22-25 was our escape to the wonderful world of non-stop Pilates at the Pilates Alliance Austalasia conference 2015. We always work hard, think hard (and ok, let’s be honest – party a little bit too). It’s a great chance for us to hang out as instructors and friends and to reenergise ourself with the fabulosity energy of Pilates enthusiasts from all over the country. Not to mention the Pilates experts from all over the world! This year the   leading presenters were Chris Robinson from San Diego, New Yorker Brooke Siler, Dr. Joseh Muscolino and Sean Gallagher. All from a Classical Pilates background, and with direct links to Joe Pilates and his first generation of teachers, the presenters were inspiring and informative. We teasered, we jackknifed, we horsebacked, we swanned and we 100s-ed. Oh, did we 100s-ed. Here’s a few photos of what we got up to!