Renee Watson ownes Renee Watson Pilates Studio at THE SOURCE. The Source is based in Cape Town South Africa and you can find more information at www.thesourcecapetown.co.za
Renee Watson began her Pilates training in 1990 while dancing in Vancouver, Canada. Renee has a strong background in health including American Council of Exercise (ACE) Personal Trainer and a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from the University of British Columbia, Canada. After moving to Cape Town in 1997, she completed her Pilates qualification with Body Technology. Renee subsequently studied further with Dianne Miller in Vancouver, Rael Isacowitz in California and in Toronto with Stott Pilates. In 2004, Renee qualified with Body Arts & Science International and completed Dance Conditioning at Cal State University, Long Beach. She also completed her Injuries and Special Populations training with Stott Pilates in 2004.In 2007, Renee qualified as a GYROKINESIS® instructor and also attended the GYROTONIC® course. Renee is a Pilates Method Alliance® Certified Pilates Trainer and her Conscious Movement Education Pilates Certificate Courses are listed on the PMA® Registry of Schools. Renee is on the board of the PMA Southern Africa Chapter.
When and why did you start practicing Pilates?
I started doing Pilates while dancing with PTI in Vancouver Canada. It was part of our company repertoire and we had the chance to work with the amazing Dianne Miller! I’ve studied with various bodies including BASI, Stott Pilates, and Dianne Miller. I’ve learned so much from each of them and have evolved CME courses to embody what I’ve learned. I just love moving and understanding the human body. It feels like I was born to do Pilates! I will keep on practicing Pilates; it’s part of my life.
Do you participate in workshops on a regular basis?
Defintely! It’s so important to keep learning! I organize the Conscious Movement Conference in Cape Town every two years and in February, Alan Herdman was our guest speaker.
Do you own a studio?
I had my studio in a beautiful old barn for almost 13 years and we recently moved into new premises this January. It’s called The Source and we now offer both Pilates mat / equipment plus Yoga and Hot Yoga. We have reformers, barrels, chairs and the cadillac in our studio, so it’s well-equipped. I started small 13 years ago and it’s built over time and we’ve developed a good reputation. It’s mostly been word of mouth over the years and we can see this taking hold now with our new studio too.
What Pilatesapparatus or exercise is your favorite?
I tend to have different favorites at different times but if I had to choose one piece of equipment it would be the reformer. It’s so versatile, it’s appropriate for rehabilitation to advanced work, and it’s FUN! I was originally trained on Balanced Body and they’ve remained my favorite.
Do you experience difficulties keeping your clients because of the current crisis?
Actually no. We were anticipating we might lose clients but we’ve actually attracted more! The studio is so busy! There is a theory that with tough economic times, people become more introspective and start to take care of themselves physically, emotionally and mentally. Hence the upswing in Pilates and Yoga!
Did you start your own educational program?
Yes, I founded Conscious Movement Education in 2001. In that time, we have expanded to offer courses throughout South Africa, Namibia, Malawi, Mauritius, Maldives, UAE, Italy, UK, and we’ll be teaching our first courses in Netherlands next month!
How many lessons do you give each week? Do you have a target audience?
I personally teach about 12 sessions per week and it’s a mix of mat classes, reformer classes and private sessions. The rest of my time is taken up with dreaded admin! We have attracted such a wide variety of clients from men, women, pregnant, rehabilitation, elite athletes, dancers, children, elderly… I really can’t say we’ve got a target per se.
What is your purpose in giving workshops?
I love to teach and I love teacher training. I learn something new on every course and workshop that I offer. And I love that I’m giving people a means to earn a living in an industry that they’re passionate about.
Did you solve body issues or do you keep them under control with Pilates?
I’ve had various minor injuries over the years from dancing but I’ve been incredibly lucky that it’s never been major. Or perhaps my Pilates practice has kept them at bay!?
Who is your favorite person that you would love to teach Pilates?
Wow! It would be quite a challenge to Joseph himself 🙂
In Europe there are more female Pilates trainers than male. How is that in your country and more specific in your area?
The same. At one point there were 4 male trainers at my studio out of 14, but now we only have 1.
What is your opinion about the future of Pilates?
Many people have asked me if Pilates is a fad, but I explain to them that it’s been around since the early 1900’s and it’s here to stay! I’ve had some clients at my studio for over 12 years and they love it. It’s become a lifestyle for all of us and part of our routine where our bodies and minds feel great.
What is your own vision of Pilates?
I feel that every trainer brings their own unique experience and flavor to the Pilates Method. I find myself drawing on my background in dance, my training in Gyrokinesis, my understanding of my own injuries, and my enjoyment of massage and Feldenkrais. These all come together in my version and vision of Pilates.
What is your opinion about the classical, authentic Pilates and the contemporary approach?
I believe that each person will find their niche in the Pilates world as either a trainer or a client. I personally have a contemporary approach.
Who is your biggest example and who would you love to meet (again) in the Pilates field?
I’ve had the chance to work with amazing teachers such as Rael Isocowitz, Julian Littleford, Alan Herdman, Deborah Lessen, Dianne Miller, Elizabeth Larkam… it would be a tough choice.
Are you familiar with Pilates over the world e.g. Europe, Asia, Australia?
The common thread worldwide is seeing instructors from well-known bodies such at Stott Pilates, Body Control Pilates, BASI, etc.
If you are traveling abroad for Pilates, what would be your goals?
To establish CME! And right now, get CME in Netherlands! We are so excited about the upcoming courses and we hope to have a great turn out and lots of fun.
Did you ever meet an “Elder”?
Several including Mary Bowen and Kathy Grant. It amazes me how agile and well all the ‘Elders’ are and it’s a great attribution to Pilates.
Do you have a favorite story about Joe?
I just love the saying ‘In de air, out de air’.
What is your Pilatesdream?
I’m living it already! I have a beautiful studio, an amazing team of trainers, fantastic clients, a great business partner, and I get to travel and teach.
Are you available for bookings in the Netherlands?
Yes! I’ll be in The Hague from 4 to 8 June to offer an anatomy course, a reformer course, chair course, a mat class and private sessions. See the event on Pilatesglossy.
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