This Month’s HQer of the Month is Monika Graham!!!!
Monika has been coming to Pilates HQ for almost one year now and what an incredible journey it has been. She originally started because she wanted to improve her mobility after having a Horse Riding accident 3 years ago, and so she found Pilates HQ.
Read on to find out why Monika loves PIlates, how she makes sure she fits Pilates into her busy schedule and her favourite place to ride her horse.
Tell us a little bit about you. What makes you, you? what do you get up to when you are not working and pilates-ing?
Yes, well I work part-time at the hospital as a Medical Workforce officer – desk-bound and google-eyed, looking at the computer all day. I normally get up around 5 am, starting with a coffee to wake me up. Get dressed and walk Shadow my kelpie for half an hour before I generally ride my horses on the arena for 45minutes.
My horsey discipline is dressage and we are working hard to form a partnership and compete. Other pleasures are getting out on my motorbike, to work and to Pilates and travelling with my husband. Oh, we also have a miniature horse and I am helping Geoff competing with him with showing and in hand competition.
Pilates is right up there in my pleasure list – though at times I struggle and don’t feel elegant. Love the movies and catching up with great friends
What are your favourite places in and around Buninyong to go for a walk or to go for a horse ride?
I walk around the uni, union jack, Desoza park, the golf course and surrounds.
I generally ride on my arena at home but go trail riding out Ross Creek/Smythesdale area We love living near Buninyong, it has such a nice village atmosphere.
Why did you decide to try Pilates and what made you choose Pilates HQ?
I have done pilates before and really enjoyed it. It was mat pilates and I felt that I had a lot more mobility and flexibility doing it on a regular basis.
3 years ago, I shattered my leg in a horse riding accident (of course). Getting my mobility back was on top of my list. I felt Pilates would help me with that but was struggling to find the right place to join. I knew there was Pilates HQ in Buninyong and it was only speaking to a couple of ladies I knew found out that you can attend on a casual basis. Both ladies had really good things to say about Pilates HQ and living in Mt Helen, it was perfect to make contact.
You started out doing beginner classes and then stepped it up to an intermediate class as well as a group rehab class! (And killing it by the way)
What have you liked about the intermediate classes?
I like a challenge and intermediate classes certainly do that. I like is the different exercises that work on different parts of the body. No one class is the same and there is a great variety. Everyone is at different levels and no one is made to feel inadequate or awkward. The age group varies and it is really great when you see a male participating in Pilates
Have you noticed any benefits from doing 2 classes a week rather than just 1?
2 classes a week is perfect – If I had more time every second day would be even better. I do 1 reformer and 1 Group Rehab which means, I am pushed at reformer, trying to keep up with the session and working different muscles and then any specific challenges I have can be addressed at the Group Rehab Class.
Were you nervous about coming to your first class at Pilates HQ?
Yes – I was a little nervous coming back to Pilates and joining. Although the email correspondence with the staff was very positive, I was curious what was behind that glass window, as the set up inside had all this equipment which I never used before. However, Jess took my first class and was very encouraging, ensuring that the reformer was friendly and reasonably easy to use. Not having used this type of equipment before was fun and just added to the positive atmosphere and vibe when I came in.
Do you have any advice for anyone for someone that might be wanting to start Pilates but is nervous about coming to their first class?
As Nike’s logo states – Just do it.
Pilates is a great way to use parts of your body individually and together. Pilates HQ is well supported by staff and is a very friendly environment. No matter what your age or your physical abilities are, commencing at the beginners level, lets you start to see what you can do with your body. It is a great workout without the physical requirements of a gym or running and you do build up strength. Everyone is nervous when they start out, but really it is your own journey you should be concerned about.
Have you noticed any benefits or improvements since starting Pilates at Pilates HQ?
Although it has not made me any younger, I believe my benefits are improved in my dressage riding – I am able to isolate parts of my body and use my core better to ride one with my horse. My balance has improved and I believe my flexibility has too. I don’t have to go to the chiropractor any more with stiffness in my neck
What is your favourite part of your Pilates Classes?
Favourite part of Pilates – knowing that I did a great workout to the best of my ability. Having a discussion with my instructors if I have doubts and getting the encouragement to continue. Looking back on when I began and acknowledging that I have improved. Pushing myself to look just as good as everyone else.
You are very busy with your horse riding, and many people in the same situation wouldn't make time for extra activity, like Pilates so What would your advice to these people be?
If you are looking at doing some activity and do not know what you want to do, give Pilates a go. You just need to have the mindset that you can do. Just start at the beginning and gently push yourself. You do not know what you can achieve unless you try. Doing pilates at Pilates HQ, everyone is friendly and encouraging. There are many people that are doing pilates here of various ages, genders and body types. The instructors are encouraging and the members friendly
How do you find/make the time for your pilates and horse riding? What are your secrets to making these activities part of your daily/weekly routine?
I get up at 5 am to walk Shadow my dog and ride before I go to work. I plan my pilates for straight after work before I get home and cook dinner and walk Shadow again before the night ends. It is what I do and what I believe is good for my well being. Let's face it, we are not getting any younger. If we can improve our flexibility, mobility and everything else about us, why not.