Pilates Foundation member Susan Nash has happily settled in West Auckland from London where she trained Pilates teachers, managed two Pilates Studios and taught more than 20 classes each week. We caught up with Sue to find out more about her extraordinary background, moving to New Zealand and what keeps her ticking.
What is your background and what brought you to Pilates?
My background is theatre. I have worked mainly as a choreographer in theatre and in opera. I have been lucky enough to work with some amazing creative and talented people and travel to some great places with my work. I trained in performing arts, so Dance, Drama and Music with a strong bias towards dance. I have always taught around my theatre work, training young performers mostly.
I started looking for new ways to keep fit in my late 30’s as Dance class was getting so hard for me and I wanted something I could carry with me (or would support me) for the rest of my life. I found Pilates to be the perfect fit. I did the mat work training for my own pleasure and ended up with 2 evening classes to teach. I very quickly realised I had barely scraped the surface of the method so I found my way to Comprehensive training with The Pilates Foundation. My teacher was Kelly Goulon, who shared the power to heal through Pilates. My ongoing teachers in London were those wonderful inspiring teachers at Pilates off the Square, as was.
Can you talk a little about your London days? What was it like to manage two busy studios and run training courses?
I loved the variety of working in my own studio based at our home ( Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda Chair and Ladder barrel ) and the busy and inspiring Studio 74 where we had Gyrokinesis Method and Pilates in a shared space. The people you meet teaching Pilates and running a studio are mostly wonderful, as you will all know. We also had a good team of experienced teachers at studio 74, so matching the client to the teacher was usually plain sailing too. I loved the teacher training and it made me re-evaluate the foundations of my own teaching. I don’t want to work that hard again though!
What led you to move to NZ? What was that shift like for you?
I’m married to a Kiwi and we started talking about the possibility of moving to NZ about 5 years before we actually moved. We were looking for a different kind of life with more connection to nature and less commuting. I figured that Pilates was very portable so when we fell in love with a location here in a national park only 45mins from central city /Auckland CBD, the dream looked possible.
The shift was harder than we thought it could be, as Brexit happened and the sale of our London home fell through more than once ! Now though, we have a beautiful home at the beach and I have a fantastic studio, Turning Tide Pilates, in a great suburb nearby known for its healing / alternative practitioners and its artists.
What is your current practice?
I have a movement meditation practice every morning where I explore things I’m curious about. I also have some daily self care and mindfulness practices to keep me happy, healthy and well. I take 2 classes a week, one with a wonderful Basi trained teacher and one with a fantastic Balanced Body trained teacher. I do teaching swaps with other teachers every other month and quite often share my Yamuna knowledge and Gyrokinesis method with other teachers as there are only 2 of us with Yamuna qualifications here and less than 6 of us with Gyrotonic or Gyrokinesis Method.
What advice do you have for other teachers?
Stay curious and stay close to your joy. Remember Pilates is a conversation of the mind and the body that you share with your clients. Teach people not exercises.
Find out more about Sue at www.turningtidepilates.co.nz