ABOUT FORMA PILATES STUDIO
Located in Cobourg, Ontario, Forma Pilates Studio offers private one-on-one instruction for all levels of Pilates, along with other services by owner Alaria Ritchie.
WEBSITES: formapilates.ca / alariaritchie.com
This feature is written by Alaria Ritchie.
The benefits of The Pilates Method are many: increase circulation, improved flexibility, gain mobility, greater core stability, balanced muscular strength on both sides of the body, enhanced muscular control of your back and limbs. Pilates helps to build body awareness and learning how to find your ideal alignment, Pilates is very structured and consistent. The alignment aspect is key, in order to achieve ideal posture, you need to be aware of your posture and how to amend it, Pilates is postural correction and muscle balancing at its finest. The challenges of Pilates are: it is physically demanding, requires precise control, and can feel frustrating at first, like the breath, learning to breathe in coordination with movement can be quite challenging in the beginning!
My first exposure to Pilates was through my Tae Kwon Do and Kick Boxing instructor, whom added Pilates into our kick boxing class as a form of calisthenics, I enjoyed the movements and the strength required to perform them. When I broke my foot kick-boxing in 2003 I was not able to keep up with any of my usual fitness so I started doing some Pilates on my own, I bought a book (The Pilates Body by Brooke Siler) and then practiced as best I could at home. I really loved doing Pilates, it made sense to me. Most people when they start Pilates are amazed by how well it works.
I decided to pursue Pilates as a career after feeling dissatisfied with my job. I took a leave of absence to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. I knew that I loved movement, as when I was dancing and waitressing (as I did for many years as a side job), I felt free and really enjoyed having movement be a part of my daily activities. I just could not do my desk job anymore, after many years being in an office I decided, as much as I love admin I wanted to have more fun and be more active. I took a Pilates on The Ball course with Colleen Craig a well-known Pilates Instructor, dancer and writer in Toronto. This was the icing on the cake, I knew 100% after taking that course, this was the right direction for me. Thus, I decided to become a Pilates instructor. Not a moment has gone by since then have I regretted my decision, I absolutely love what I do and love to share Pilates with others. I knew it was something I could do and wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I completed the Full STOTT PILATES Comprehensive Certification: this includes all pieces of Pilates equipment; Essential, Intermediate and Advanced Mat and Reformer, Cadillac, Chair and Barrels. A strong anatomy component, as well as an injuries and special populations module. It involved about 8 months of full time study, including approx. 100 hrs of practice teaching, 100 hours of observation, 100 hrs of logged self practice hours. Hands down, the most challenging program I have taken in the movement industry. I also take continuing education course requirements annually to maintain my certification. Becoming a Pilates instructor also led me into post-rehabilitation work which is my specialty. This led me to work as a physiotherapy assistant for many years, aiding the injured helped me understand what types of actions to avoid with different injuries and physical problems. My goal is to keep an open dialogue with registered health professionals and alternative health professionals in the holistic treatment of individuals.
ALARIA’S PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
Pilates has made me a stronger (physically and mentally) and a more confident person, I have grown immensely as a Pilates Instructor over the last 10 years. Helping others better understand and use their bodies, seeing people able to move and get out and enjoy life is truly the greatest reward in what I do. Teaching Pilates in Switzerland was one of the most amazing learning experiences and challenges I have had as a Pilates Instructor, working at Pilates Studio Gstaad helped me truly believe in myself. One of my goals is to travel and teach Pilates and Yoga all around the world, and this is one of the places that I was able to fulfill that dream. I was literally on top of the world, I’ll never forget it!