I believe that Pilates is underrated and often misunderstood. I know many people prefer high intensity training such as heavy weights, high inclines and fast speed. However, Pilates’ main focus is on core strength more about connecting the mind to the body, it will help you get stronger, more sculpted muscles and improve flexibility. I absolutely love Pilates and have seen great benefits, especially when it comes to my running posture. I was fortunate to get to know the owner of the best Pilates studio in Durban. She is an inspiring woman with an amazing story and I was lucky to get her to share it with us.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m a wife, mother and a people lover. I grew up in the Free State, a small little town called Virginia. After I matriculated I headed off to Pretoria to study dance, that’s when I became qualified as an associate ballet teacher as well modern dance teacher. I am so thankful that my parents allowed me to step out of a small town environment and into the big world. “
I was later introduced to Pilates by a friend – this became a major focus in my life. In my early twenties, I had the opportunity to go teach BASI Pilates in London. Through Pilates I had a lot of opportunities come my way, such a teaching Pilates in Dubai and Austria. I met my husband while living in the U.K and before we came back home to South Africa we ended up having the opportunity to live in Hong Kong. It was such an incredible experience for us and we loved every moment. When we decided to finally come back to South Africa, I decided to open up my own Pilates studio in Ballito and that was ten years ago. Not many people knew about Pilates at the time. We had to educate the little community about what Pilates is and the amazing benefits it would have on your body. It makes me so happy that my TashB Pilates team and I get to help people live a healthier lifestyle, by connecting their minds and bodies.
How did your passion for “Pilates” originate?
After I did my ballet and modern dance associate exams, a friend introduced me to BASI Pilates. I had no idea at the time that my life would be so fulfilled through my Pilates journey and I’m so thankful to have discovered my true passion.
What motivates you to keep working/following your passion?
What motivates me the most is people’s feedback and the impact we have on our clients’ lives – our holistic approach at TashB is focused on driving lifestyle change. I love seeing the students who I teach the BASI Pilates course find their purpose in life.
Tell us a little more about Pilates and why you chose to become a BASI Pilates instructor?
BASI is an internationally recognized Pilates body and this allows me the opportunity to teach in various countries throughout the world. I was blessed to be able to complete my studies directly under Rael Isacowitz in 2001.
Is it possible to lose weight by doing Pilates?
What I have noticed with my 17 years’ experience with clients is that people come to Pilates with either high expectations or no expectations at all. It is through learning to use the mind to control the body that encourages clients to make healthier choices around their overall lifestyle. Although it is not necessarily the Pilates that helps people lose weight, it’s the actual lifestyle change that allows them to shed the extra weight. Pilates is great for strength, toning, flexibility and so on, however like Joseph Pilates said – “The mind when housed within in a healthful body, possesses a glorious sense of power”.
What are your three favorite strengthening movements? Describe how each movement makes you feel or any special memories you associate with these moves.
This is such a tough question because I just love it all, from the basic exercises all the way through to the most challenging exercises. Most people fail to understand that you cannot perform the advanced moves if you have not ingrained and dissected the most basic and fundamental movements, which will be the progression into the beautiful poses that people see on Instagram.
The most random question you have been asked as Pilate’s instructor?
“Where am I supposed to feel this?” sigh!
Describe your dream holiday.
I’m a beach holiday type of girl, Hawaii is my dream holiday destination. It would be with my husband and children, with lots cartwheels on the beach, stand up paddling and Mojitos!
If you were stranded in a desert or an island, what three items would you want to have with you?
A sarong, a pair of flip-flops and a knife so I can cut those coconuts open and get some kind of nourishment.
Your absolute worst habit?
My worst habit according to my husband is that I’m on my phone all the time! Personally, I think it’s the fact that I am such a neat freak, I like things to be aligned, straight, organized and colour coded.
Name the last movie you watched.
I watched LION on a flight to Bali and I ugly cried on the plane, it was just too much and too real for me. A must watch for anyone reading this blog post.
What is your current favorite meal?
I am obsessed with Asian food! The fresh combinations of the ginger, lime, chilies, garlic and the clean eating vibe that Asian food offers. On my recent trip to Japan, I just fell in love with their cuisine.
What is your secret to networking and growing your business?
It is to ensure that whoever is part of our team at TashB Pilates team understands our mission and that our values are aligned. It’s also important that my clients feel safe and loved when they walk into our studio. I believe that is part of the reason why I have clients that have been with us for so long, some even since we opened ten years ago. Everyone who is part of our team has a humble approach and understands the vision: “To walk the talk”.
Current favorite mantra?
“Can you believe we are alive at a time as such and that we get to do this?” This helps me to have a grateful heart for the life I’m living right now, with the amazing people around me.
What would be your advice or parting thoughts to Pilate’s instructors/entrepreneurs/working moms?
Firstly, never forget your roots, never forget to honor and praise the people who have been instrumental along the journey, and always be thankful. I don’t know if we as working moms can ever find the perfect balance, but what has helped me is aligning myself with like-minded people and a good team. I have an incredible family and team that I can rely on and who understand me. Lastly, just trust the moment, trust the story, find your God-given purpose, pray and be around people who inspire and uplift you. Surround yourself with people whose opinions you know you can trust, even when it’s not always going to be what you want to hear. My favorite scripture is Proverbs 11:25 “The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” I truly believe if we do good for others, then the blessings come.
Where can we find you?
Facebook: Natasja Tash Barnard