Meet Joanne - one of our favourite Pilates Nerds
Joanne Bezzina - or some of you may know her as Jo, is our newest Pilates Nerd Down Under Ambassador, we recently caught up with Jo to talk all things Pilates and life.
Jo is an accomplished Pilates Instructor, owning and running Sydney Centred Pilates in the Sydney CBD, a Polestar Educator and most recently, the 2017 Pilates Anytime Next Instructor competition winner.
What is great about what you do? I love that I get to work with the Pilates Method in a number of ways. I love how teaching clients at the studio inspires my teaching of teachers and vice versa. It feels incredibly fulfilling. I love seeing the connection deepen with those I teach too. Whether it is a deeper connection with their own body, as a teacher, or with the repertoire and equipment. I also get to put on my business hat- I’m passionate about creating a warm safe space where all who visit are inspired to move.
Where do you live: I live in a suburb called Newtown in the Inner West of Sydney.
What is great about where you live? Newtown is a diverse and always entertaining location. There are interesting buskers greeting me when I get off the train, lots of street art (check out my instagram to see what I mean), amazing coffee and lots of dogs! The array of food choices is so eclectic within five minutes from home I can choose from Thai, Italian, Indian, Egyptian, West African, Venezuelan, Vietnamese and my personal favourite- a place dedicated to cheese! It is really close to the city and people are friendly. I also have a few amazing Pilates studios quite close to home as well as an amazing park where I get to take long walks.
Jo in her studio - Sydney Centred Pilates
How are you a Pilates Nerd? It is my favourite thing to do. I talk about, teach, do and dream about Pilates most days. I love talking to other Pilates teachers about Pilates.
When and where did you start Pilates: I started Pilates back in November 2000 in a studio in the Western Suburbs of Sydney called Pilates in Parramatta. I had read an article about Pilates in the Sunday paper and I was astounded that I had access to a studio so close to home.
WHY did you start Pilates? Give us your story behind finding the Pilates Method:
I had heard about Pilates and that it was good for dancers throughout the year 2000 but it sounded too niche for me to think that I could access it close to home. I wasn’t doing much exercise after finishing school having given up my regular dance classes that I had been attending since I was 7. I was looking for something to fill that void. My few experiences at the gym just didn’t do it for me. I was very surprised that there was a studio super close to home. I still remember my initial consultation, I was astounded by ‘feet in straps’ and especially that the frog variation was so much harder than I was expecting. It was love from day one and I thought about it all the time. When I did attend casual dance classes after starting Pilates I was amazed at how much more efficient I was.
Give us three of your favourite Pilates exercises and why: Cleopatra is definitely up there. It is an under appreciated exercise in my opinion. I love how it creates openness in the chest and teaches you about the side body. Kneeling Cat on the cadillac/trapeze table because I adore the feeling of spine articulation and also because of the stretch into full shoulder flexion. Side Pull Up on the chair because it’s tricky to get right but once you’re in the groove you feel like you’re slicing through the air.
What about your least favourites, and why: Really anything that shows up my lack of hamstring flexibility… leg pull front, climb a tree etc. Criss cross because it’s unrelenting.
If you really had to choose, what is your favourite Pilates apparatus? trapeze table/ cadillac for sure.
Who do you live with? My husband Ben, cat Miffy and Italian Greyhound Teddy
Tell us a bit about your hobbies. I love to read but it feels like such a long time since I’ve been able to get really engrossed in an amazing book. I enjoy taking my little dog out for long walks, having weekend breakfast out with my husband, travelling especially to new cities where I can talk to the local shopkeepers about what is best about their town. I have a small circle of extremely close friends that I can be myself with- catching up with them fantastic when we can make it happen.
Your last holiday? A quick getaway to the Barossa Valley in South Australia. It was a great opportunity to relax, enjoy some amazing wine and book some accomodation for our next holiday…
Your next holiday plans? A combined work and break. I’m off to Pilates Anytime to film in October before the PMA conference in Las Vegas. We’re really excited to visit Yosemite National Park and San Francisco after those events.
Filming for Pilates Anytime - photo credit Pilates Anytime
Your hopes and plans for next year? I would really love to do more presenting next year. It is the next skill set that I’d like to develop further. I would also love to do some more writing but hopefully I’ll get that started this year!
Who inspires you and why? Many of my clients inspire me. They are such smart driven individuals- they make me want to be the best teacher I can be for them. In the Pilates realm in Australia Dav Cohen and Sally Anderson are pretty hard to go past. Generally, strong entrepreneurial women that think outside the box inspire me. Anyone who has battled an inner voice telling them it’s all too hard yet surges forward is inspiring to me. Ultimately I want to be remembered as someone that moved through life with integrity, joy and ‘spontaneous zest’ for life.
Follow Jo on Instagram and Facebook - Joanne Bezzina Pilates, or check out her website for more joannebezzina.com
Photos courtesy of Pilates Anytime and Ben Nicholls.
Jo wears Pink Cadillac Muscle Tee, and Rock and Roll Tee.