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Chi's Pilates Journey

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

I was almost 7 when my Mom, Ashley Ritchie, embarked on her Pilates journey. Throughout my school career, both my brother and I would pop in and out of Pilates classes at our leisure. We used to love “rolling-like-a-ball” while getting a head start on our BASI Pilates observation hours! My Mom can full a room with passion, love, and often much laughter. I’ve always admired her way to get the best out of her clients, students (and perhaps her children too!).

Our entire family has always loved being active - especially if that means being outdoors. Having a triathlete as my second/other Dad we all lived in our running shoes, cycling gear and swimming cossies. And if he could have got us to live in all three and once, he would have!

It wasn’t long after I left home to go to Rhodes University that I realized I could live in all three outfits at once. These avid sports fanatics, triathletes, call them “tri-suits”. To pay for this passion, and like all students, I needed a vast amount of party money - known to most as “pocket money”. And so, with no convincing, my brother and I were enrolled (during our school holidays I might add!) on the next 2012 BASI Mat Course. We were leaning that giving us the tools to be the masters of our own party money was rewarding. We are also learned just how much fun having our Mom as our lecturer was. “Rolling-like-a-ball” seemed a whole lot more complicated, and no longer looked quite like it ought to! We were always taught to follow our passion and make it happen. Having been brought up in a home where health and wellness is the pivotal point of lifestyle, the Pilates journey becoming an integral part of who I am. While I was at University my realization in the difference that Pilates was making in so many people's lives motivated me to explore Pilates further. I was working with a vast range of clients: my youngest being 3 and the oldest being 87.

After completing a year of Education at a top Private School in the Eastern Cape, I returned home in 2015 to follow my passion and pursue teaching in the world in which I was so familiar. I was once again, the student, and knew that in this journey I would forever be a student.

Working within the studio under my Mother’s “shadow” came with its own set of challenges for us both. I now laugh at the thought: my Mom has been my boss, lecturer, examiner, mentor, landlord, business partner, and still plays the role of Mother. Mom says she was tougher on me than anyone else to make sure that I reached more than my full potential.

My deep desire to spread my wings and to earn my stripes was encouraged and supported. I’ve enjoyed my traveling, working, and learning opportunities in several studios abroad - Dubai, France, Italy, and the USA. Equally, I’ve had the privilege of working locally with Theo van der Riet-Botha for half of 2017 attending the "Mentor Program" and redoing the "Comprehensive Teacher Trainer Course" (CTTC). Following that I did certifications with international lecturers at “Learn for the Leaders” in South Africa. In 2019 I redid part of the course again with Natasha Barnard, as well as traveled to America for “Learn for the Leaders”. In 2017-2020 I worked under Monique Martinengo’s guidance who quietly played the role of mentorship. I have also been honored to have learned from BASI founder Rael Isacowitz in Italy in 2018 and in the USA in 2019 where I redid the "Mentor Program", "The F2 System Workshop", "Powerhouse of the Upper Girdle", and "The Symbiotic Relationship of Movement and Equipment". An additional privilege has been learning from Joseph Pilate’s second-generation lecturers: Karen Clippinger and Brett Howard. In the USA I attended Karen Clippinger lecture on "Hollowing and Bracing in Pilates", and "The Foot Matters" and Brett Howard’s lecture on "The Right Touch".

I’ve humbly immersed myself into the BASI world as a Pilates client - learning from as many different wonderful instructors - each giving me a deeper mind-body connection, greater awareness of the body, and enriching my overall knowledge and understanding.

More than 20 years later, tagging along on my Mom’s Pilates career and I can truly say that I’m living my dreams! I am currently working with my Mom at "Body Mechanix Wellness Centre", at "340 on Main Health and Wellness Centre", and the two "Virgin Active Collection Clubs". Along with this I am teaching Pilates and doing sport/training coaching ONLINE. A great platform to save my clients time, and reach clients globally. I will forever be a student in my element, soaking up all that there is to learn. As an instructor, I am still integrating my passion for sport into my Pilates journey. I absolutely love my job! What better career can I be in than making people feel good about themselves?



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