Jen and Lara have been combining Pilates and Physiotherapy since 2013. Their meeting in 2012 filled in a blank both of them were searching to explain in each of their respective fields. Lara and Jen found that Pilates and Physiotherapy perfectly complemented each other in a person’s journey to develop, heal or strengthen their own body.
Following a passion to work with athletes and understand the mechanics of the body, Jen began training as a physiotherapist at the University of Alberta. After graduating with her degree in 2005, Jen went straight into private practice. Her passion to understand how the body works led to her completing a diploma in manual therapy and receive the Fellowship of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy. Jen loved figuring out how her client’s bodies compensated to support injuries and how to unlock how their body worked so it could heal. She found though that while she could show them where their body needed to be supported, she wanted more tools to integrate the new movements into their body on a more permanent basis.
During the same period of time, Lara moved to Vancouver to pursue higher education. She was an avid athlete and was offered an opportunity to play college-level volleyball. A career in film took precedence so she chose to attend film school and took up other sports. It was an injury from a rollerblading accident that changed the course of her life. Her doctor encouraged her to attend Pilates classes to rehabilitate her injuries and her posture. While practicing Pilates, Lara found she could achieve a place of calm and connectedness, even if she came into the session in a place of chaos and stress. Lara decided to leave film school and pursue Pilates as a career. Her training began with Stott. Lara completed Mat, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, Barrels, Fitness Circle and ISP (Injury and Special Populations) under Stott’s program. After an internship with PoleStar, Lara returned to her hometown of Salmon Arm to teach Pilates. After a short start-up period working out of her Mom’s house, she started The Shuswap Core Pilates. Lara is drawn to teaching and immediately began mentoring other Pilates instructors. As she grew, she partnered with a friend, Kate Watson and they grew the studio. Feeling there was more they could do, Kate and Lara partnered with another friend and started a new studio in Vernon, The Pilates Connection. Jen and Lara were now in the same town.
Lara found that as her experience in Pilates increased, there were still motions in a client’s body that she couldn’t explain or build exercises to suit. Another injury led her to seek out a physiotherapist. Jen. While in her sessions with Jen, Lara found Jen giving her explanations for some of the mechanics of the body that Pilates didn’t explain, and Jen found that Lara could create exercises to complement the manipulation she used as a physiotherapist. Each of Lara and Jen found that the other could explain the body in ways that linked pieces that they were searching to connect. Soon Lara and Jen found each other about other issues that came up with clients. After a few emails, Lara knew that she and Jen could help each other but the language of physiotherapy differed from Pilates, so she invited Jen to observe some classes at the studio. Jen agreed and came and watched for a couple of hours and was fascinated by how healing Pilates was for the body.
Jen and Lara began meeting with friends and family and testing how Pilates and Physiotherapy could be combined. These sessions would last hours while Jen and Lara worked out how the methods complemented each and the “clients” were seeing amazing breakthroughs that could not be experienced by Physiotherapy or Pilates alone. In 2013, both Lara and Jen agreed to take the leap and combine their passions and disciplines and see what they could create. NEUmovement, when it opened, offered a unique service to their clients. They called it the Integration appointment. At first, Lara and Jen worked together to integrate Pilates and Physiotherapy but as they learned and began to trust each other, they realized that it was as effective for Jen to treat a client and for Lara to then reinforce that work with Pilates movements.
Eric, Lara’s husband, had supported Lara and the studios by offering support in building the clinics and acting as a model and a client for the new Integration appointments. In 2014, after the birth of his and Lara’s first son, Eric jumped into the business as a manager and has worked to support NEUmovement to develop this new form of Pilates as well as create a safe space for clients, trainers and physiotherapists to work and learn.
The Pilates/Physiotherapy appointments worked wonderfully but the language that Jen and Lara developed between the two of them had to be taught to the physiotherapists and Pilates instructors who worked with them. They started offering in studio seminars to train their Pilates instructors in anatomy and some relevant physiotherapy terms. Eventually, they realized that this new method of Pilates could be taught as the first training a person took to become a Pilates instructor rather than only as continuing education. So in 2018, they launched their NEU Pilates Teacher Training Program. Lara and Jen developed and taught live classes at their studios in Vernon and Kelowna for a number of years before the pandemic gave them the opportunity to find other options to reach those who want to learn more about Pilates and Physiotherapy.
They are now incredibly excited to begin to offer these classes online.