Lynne Robinson; Pilates Control Founder;
Lynne Robinson photo: Dvora @Fashionistable

Compared to Lynne Robinson, I’m a bit of a Johnny-come-lately when it comes to Pilates. It’s been about five years since I did my back in, lifting without bending my knees, and discovered that Pilates is the new clubbing. Together with blogging, it’s one of the best ways to meet like-minded people of a certain vintage. I am determined to strengthen my core muscles, improve my posture  and avoid ‘croning’ (technical term for the hunched over posture associated with osteoporosis). Lynne has been practising for 25 years. The former history teacher discovered the art of Pilates when living in Australia and suffering from a herniated disc. Walking into what she thought was a yoga class at a studio in the North Shore, to discover that it was, in fact, Pilates. Lynne was hooked. On returning to England, she co-founded Body Control Pilates and over the last quarter of a century has built up a family business. Today the 62-year-old spends most of her time training pilates instructors (Lynne has trained approx 1500 people), and writing books. My favourite is Pilates For Life: How to improve strength flexibility and health over 40; written in collaboration with fellow Pilates instructor Carmela Trapp and physiotherapist Jenny Hawke. I was lucky enough to work with Lynne on a project last year and she invited me over to her Body Control Pilates studio in Bloomsbury for a chat:

 

Lynne Robinson; Pilates Control Founder;
Photo: Dvora @Fashionistable

TNMA: Why is Pilates so important as you get older?

LR:  In terms of posture, health and wellbeing there’s nothing like it. I see it as an insurance. When you get older, you can’t get away with slouching – I’m 62 now and I intend to be doing Pilates when I’m 90.

TNMA: It’s taken me years and I still feel like I have a lot to learn – is it something you need to really work at?

LR: I have lessons twice a week, but little and often is enough of an investment. It’s important to build Pilates into everyday life. Every time I pick up my granddaughter Amy I think, ‘ Thank god I’ve got the strength and flexibility to do this.’

TNMA: Someone teaches you Pilates?!

LR: I know! It has to be someone brave who will tell me if I’m doing something wrong but I see it as investing in my future health and how I look. I couldn’t live without it.

TNMA: Is there anything else you do to invest in your appearance?

LR: I like to do things as naturally as possible, I’d never have surgery, I’d rather use exercise. I do look after my hair – Graham at Martyn Maxey has done it for years – I love a good blow dry.

TNMA: You travel a lot with work and are always on the go – how would you describe your wardrobe?

LR: Because of my job, I’m always quite relaxed. I might go from a training class, to picking up my granddaughter, to catching a train to London. Being too try-hard doesn’t look right, I always feel a bit awkward when I’m dressed up – and I think it can age you if you’re not careful. I love bright colours, particularly orange, I’ve built a whole wardrobe around this pair of orange Prada pumps.

TNMA: Can you recommend any good Pilates labels?

LR: I like Asquith Clothing which is simple and colourful and doesn’t have loads of patterns and logos. It’s eco-friendly and made from bamboo. And Pilates Nerd is fun. For everyday, I wear a lot of T by Alexander Wang, Acne Studios and I live in Paige and J Brand jeans. I like to have a bit of an edge.

TNMA: And finally, do you have any advice for my readers?

LR: Do first what you should – and then what you would! This applies to diet, exercise, clothing, work, beauty and hair care. We all know what we ought to be doing/eating/applying, get the fundamentals right and then you can indulge yourself, guilt-free.

6 thoughts on “Meet the Queen of Pilates: Lynne Robinson

  1. I’ve been practicing pilates for four years three times per week. I can’t think of any other form of exercise that has kept me in such great shape and is never ever boring. When I went for a bone density scan last year (at age 63) the technician said I had not lost any bone density (some previous loss prior to pilates) AND I had GROWN three quarters of an inch––absolutely unheard of for anyone my age. And, at five foot two––three quarters of an inch matters! The technician and my doctor both attributed the lack of further bone loss and gain in height (meaning my spine had not compressed, but lengthened) directly to pilates.

  2. What a lovely strong woman, and what sensible advice. I love “Do first what you should- and then what you would!”
    I’m off to check out her rec for bamboo clothing. Most of what I’ve bought has been too sheer when you stretch (a pet peeve of mine)(one of many!).

    What I love most about Pilates is that you see progress with every class you do, if you go regularly. Unlike running, which for me seems to take a long time before there are any noticeable results, one looks and feels better and stronger quickly with Pilates.

  3. I’ve just discovered pilates having been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my lower back. Have been prescribed all sorts of treatments by my french doctor without success, but a friend suggested pilates. I contacted the wife of one of my husband’s golf buddies as she is a pilates instructor and she came to my house to develop a program for my particular problem and taking into account other issues I have. I do these exercises 5 or 6 times a week now on my own and the first sign of improvement is that I can now stand up straight. It’s a slow progression but it is an improvement. I can see why so many people are so positive about the benefits if pilates and I intend to keep this up for life. Lynne is so lucky to have discovered this much earlier in her life than I did.

  4. Another Pilates fan here….I’ve been going to a private trainer twice a week for about three years. When I miss a few sessions because of travel or other reasons, I feel more achy and my neck hurts. I started Pilates (again; I first went 15 years ago but stopped due to financial & time constraints) because I was diagnosed with arthritis & bone spurs & bulgy discs in my neck. I did physical therapy for 6 weeks but when that was over, I figured I’d better start doing something to keep it all in check.

    My neck is manageable now, and I also have core strength I never had when I was younger (I’m 59). My husband has just started Pilates as well, following back surgery, to work on his core strength & flexibility. Between the two of us, it’s expensive; but I really look at it as an investment in our health. My trainer once told me he got a new client who was in her late seventies. He asked her what she wanted to get out of Pilates, and she told him, “I want to be able to carry my own suitcase through the Rome airport on my 80th birthday!” That’s what we’re working toward!

  5. I too am HOOKED on the PiLATES REFORMER classes………I see we use the same CARRIAGES!
    I am entering my third year this summer………and hopefully will never STOP!
    I have seen change!!!

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