Q and A with Lisa Jackson

The Studio recently caught up with Lisa Jackson, one of Australia’s leading Pilates Instructors, for an interview.   We uncovered her passion for Pilates and even discovered her post workout go-to fuel.  Join us as we get to know Lisa better ahead of her first series of Masterclasses at The Studio starting in July.

We know you have your own thriving studio Core Pilates, in Spring Hill Brisbane and that you are a teacher trainer with PITC. Tell us a little bit about your studio, your role with PITC as well as when and why you started your own Pilates practice.  We’re keen to know what drew you to carve out your career as a professional Pilates instructor?

I have a lovely boutique studio in Brisbane city where I teach studio sessions, mentor teachers and teach PITC Diploma students.  It is my hub for learning and the main centre for PITC QLD education.

It is hard to remember back so many years as to why I started my Pilates practice.  I do remember the first time I tried Pilates, I was instantly hooked, it felt very natural to me and I knew I had found something special.   I quickly became a Pilates devotee and of course when we become passionate about something could not get enough.  Once I had trained to become a teacher I just wanted to share my love of Pilates and it grew from there.

What other exercise do you do regularly to compliment your own Pilates?

I love to walk in nature and I have just found a love for indoor rock climbing.  It is kind of a love/hate relationship but I love that it challenges me physically and mentally in a different way to Pilates.

How has Pilates helped or changed the way you move?

Pilates completely changed the way I move and exercise my body.  I would like to say I am now a smart and efficient mover and at 49 can move better than I could at the age of 20.  It has been through self exploration and awareness that changed the way I looked at exercise and how I move through life.  I have always been lordotic and was completely unaware how this affected my overall strength. I seriously did not know hamstrings were meant to be toned muscle rather than flabby skin!!  I was also always a frustrated performer and never got to dance, so I now have Pilates to dance my own dance!!

Who are 3 of your most inspirational Mentors and their most valuable lessons?

Sally Anderson has to be one of my all-time inspirational mentors.  She was the reason I chose to continue my Pilates education in Australia.  There is just something about the way she looks at a body that makes sense.  She has pushed me to be the best version of myself and has always been there to support me no matter what.  Her own knowledge and experience is outstanding and I believe she is one of the best teachers in the world.  The most valuable lesson she teaches me is to value learning, questioning and never giving up on teaching with integrity.

My very first mentor was a lady named Laurie Walker and to this day will always remain an inspiration.  I originally trained under her in the US and it was her who taught me how to work with so many different bodies and issues.  We used to joke that if there were any broken people they would find their way to Laurie.  I am so blessed to have had the experience of watching and learning from somebody like her.  Her devotion to helping others was incredible.  She grounded me as a teacher and showed me so much beauty in the work that did not involve flat abs and a round butt!!

My third inspirational mentor is Lanette Gavran.  I completed my Advanced Diploma under Lanette and her knowledge, work ethic and encouragement were amazing.  She really taught me to believe in my abilities, she taught me the importance of continuing to learn and not be afraid of hard work.  She of course works way too hard.  There is also no better Pilates devotee than Lanette, it is life’s work and she does it proud.

We know you regularly teach in other countries, where is your favourite destination to travel to and why?

I love to head back to the US.  Probably because my best friend lives there!!  We began our Pilates journey together 17 years ago and love nothing more than to spend time together in the Pilates community.  I guess too, because I lived there for 6 years I feel a sense of attachment.

What tips do you have for pre and post travel and staying in shape while on the road?

I always try to drink lots of water, limit alcohol and do my best to get sleep.  The last few times I have been back to the US I have headed straight up to Pilates Anytime and done a class, that was a sure-fire way to get me going, and then collapsing in to a good sleep that night. I always walk in the fresh air, clear my head, get moving and do my usual Pilates workout in the hotel.

One of Lisa’s faves – the Wunda Chair

What is your favourite Pilates apparatus to work with?

I can’t say I have a favourite, as I love them all for different reasons.  It really depends on what mood I am in and how my body is feeling.  If I feel like flow I will often jump on the reformer, if I want a challenge and get good muscle load I will head to the Wunda Chair and if I feel like getting deep in to my hips I love the Cadi leg and footwork.

Favourite exercise to be taught?  To teach?

Again, I wouldn’t say I have a favourite exercise that I teach as I pretty much love them all for different reasons. To me it is about how you teach the body in front of you and the challenge of choosing an exercise sequence that excites the client and gets positive results.  I do however love a good Short Spine.

What do you think will change in the way Pilates is delivered over the next 10 years?

I believe that as an industry we must stay true to offering a professional service and this means maintaining educational standards, particularly if we want to be a part of the Allied Health system.  I would like to see further career opportunities develop within the Pilates industry and look forward to the day it may be offered through university as a movement and exercise specialist modality.

What does a day in the life of Lisa look like if you’re not at your studio or at a teacher training?

So funny!!  I don’t have any days that don’t have some form of Pilates in them.  Running a business, developing workshops and training, pretty much takes up the bulk of my time.  I do however like to keep a balance and will always spend time with my kids and dog when I am home.  I love cooking and reading and will also chill out with a good tv series. The  Handmaids Tale is my current splurge!

What would you say to someone looking to start Pilates sessions?

If you aren’t hooked in the first session, commit for at least 10.  It takes time to learn something new and once you catch on and really start to get it that is when the magic will begin.  Pilates is so much more than exercise, it is a mindset and a way of life and worth every penny.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

My dream is to create a wellness centre that offers people an opportunity to experience movement, mindfulness and general wellbeing.  I want to continue to inspire teachers to keep learning and understand the importance of understanding the body and how to apply this to the bodies in front of them.  I will no doubt be still be looking for answers!

What should people expect if they come to one of your masterclasses?

I hope that they walk away with a different perspective on how they view the body and certain movements.  I am a very kinaesthetic teacher and like to offer a movement experience.

If you could have dinner with any 3 people in History who would they be and why?

I would definitely love to sit with Joseph Pilates, just to hear it form the man himself.

John Lennon would be pretty amazing, I love people who are crazy smart, deep and a little weird.

Wayne Dyer is somebody who passed only a few years ago who would be amazing to be in the presence of.  He was a western spiritual leader who just embodied so much awareness, goodness and calm.  I aspire to be that way.

Best pre and best post workout foods?

I love a good green smoothie before a workout!  It gives me energy, nourishment, hydrates me and doesn’t fill me up too much.

I am usually fairly hungry after a good workout so head to lunch or dinner and enjoy my food guilt free!!

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