Instructor of the Month
Introducing Virginia McGowan-Brown, owner of Acclaim Pilates
As a child I enjoyed dancing lessons, this led me to do a degree in Dance and Education. I subsequently taught Contemporary Dance in Secondary and Primary Schools for 26 years culminating as Head of Dance at a Performing Arts status School in Essex.
I joined a Pilates class 17 years ago as a last resort following an injury to my neck that gave me constant low level pain for 8 years. Pilates enabled me to overcome the pain and I regained the ability to exercise and dance again with confidence
In 2008 I qualified as a Pilates instructor and I left school teaching to establish my own community based Pilates classes in January 2009 and to pass on the benefits of Pilates to others.
How would you describe your style of teaching?
I like to focus on technique to ensure everyone is safe and benefiting fully from their Pilates sessions. I run classes for different levels and as 6 week blocks booked in advance so that I can plan progression and adaptations to suit individual’s needs within classes. Clients clamour for their relaxation at the end of class, for many this is a key element for their sense of wellbeing.
What is your client base like?
My clients are mostly mature women looking to maintain tone, strength and flexibility or looking for ways to manage pain following injury or caused by poor posture. I am increasingly focusing on functional exercises with my more mature clients but I also have an advanced class and some experienced 1-2-1 clients where I can get tough and they challenge my creativity in a different way, so I have a varied weekly time table which keeps me fresh and motivated.
After completing your Level 3 Pilates training, what other training have you done?
I have just achieved my Level 4 Back Care with JPilates which has given me much more confidence to support clients with LBP. I have booked my place on the JPilates Convention on 12th July as it was fab last year, and also The Moves/ 3D workshop on 25th May. I am looking forward to picking up lots more creative ideas to implement in my classes and with 1-2-1 clients.
What are you planning for the next 12 months?
In the next year I will be adding to my portable small equipment and have plans to establish regular Pilates circuit classes so clients can experience Pilates in a different format from their regular mat based session. I also have an opportunity to offer Pilates for pregnancy at a Healing Sanctuary so I will want a refresher course to inspire me for that.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a Pilates teacher?
The most rewarding thing about teaching Pilates for me has been the appreciation of clients when they notice desired improvements in their health and wellbeing. It is a joy to teach groups who love their class and recommend friends, colleagues and family to come to my classes.
If you could give one piece of advice to a newly qualified instructor what would it be?
Start small, stay focused on delivering quality, listen and learn from your clients, they will be your best teachers!
Virginia can be contacted at: