Pilates teacher and massage therapist Jana Shirley has been on a roller coaster ride ensuring that her clients have been able to maintain a pain free lifestyle without physical contact through the lockdowns.
Here is an abridged version of our conversation from 20th April 2021.
Deby: Tell me a little bit about your business in Feb 2020.
Jana: We were going all guns blazing here in Vitality Centre doing multiple classes a week – in house, in person and massaging as well. I’d say the majority of people that I was seeing then were female, a lot of work I do is with pelvic floor and core restoration, as well as people that are in chronic pain, or conditions like fibromyalgia. Maybe a handful of my clients knew what Facebook was and absolutely none of them knew what Zoom was.
Deby: Throughout lockdown, how have you managed to provide services?
Jana: It was a challenge, my clients were in the middle of their journeys of easing out their pain and getting really strong cores so we didn’t want to drop all of that work. I simply said, shall we all get ourselves onto Facebook? We quickly made a private Facebook group and carried on the classes that way for for the next couple of weeks. We thought, gosh, actually, I might even do something long term here and I need to be able to see their bodies and techniques. I think Pilates can look very serene and very subtle from the outside, but actually just being able to ease open someone’s posture and be able to just have a little look at their technique can make the world of difference in getting somebody out of pain, or really helping them to properly connect with their core. One of my clients said let’s try Zoom.
let's try zoom
Now everyone just knows where to put their cameras so I can see that their body is at the best angle. I’ve got a massive huge TV on the wall in the studio now where the mirrors used to be. I’ve got all of the lighting rigs, the microphones, the webcams and everything, so that they can see me and hear me as best as possible.
Deby: How did you cope with clients not having some of the kit for exercises?
One of the great things about Pilates is that you can do it with no equipment whatsoever and get a really good work out. But for some exercises we were improvising – a pair of tights to replace a resistance band, as they’re easy to stretch, baked bean tins instead of little weights. Honestly, it made us laugh so much.
It’s just about that mindset. We can do it! Let’s make it as accessible as possible. You don’t need to buy loads of fancy kit. The fancy kit is fun but don’t let it hold you back from joining in.
Deby: Where was the business at the end of the last lockdown?
I was doing six live streamed classes each week. I revamped the entire website so that I could get videos into the portal and we could delve a bit deeper into different people’s concerns. Shoulder rehab, core rehab, or lower back pain, clients could login at any time of the day. I would go so far as to say that my clients have never been as strong as they are now. It’s in part because they tapped into doing their rehab and their Pilates everyday and sometimes even twice daily.
Deby: If you could give anyone sat at a desk job a top tip to impove their posture what you this be?
Jana: Try to change your posture every 20th minute, that would not only improve the quality of life, and life expectancy, but actually keep them out of pain as well. Set a little alarm or something just to remind them to just look away from the screen, or just ease out their posture. Maybe just turn your neck, it doesn’t actually have to be much more than 30 seconds or a minute.
the sooner you start the sooner you are going to feel better
Deby: If people are thinking about starting Pilates, what would you recommend?
Jana: Start where you are at. I think Pilates instructors and people in the wellness industry, each and every one of us, we want our clients to thrive, we literally have got their back. Call a couple of instructors and have a good conversation, because you’re gut will tell you if it’s the right place and the right person. But don’t wait till tomorrow, don’t wait till next week, don’t do extensive research, pick up the phone and get something booked in. Because the sooner you start the sooner you’re going to be feeling better.