South Oxford Community Centre

Lake Street, Oxford, OX1 4RP 01865 242666


The founder of the Pilates exercise regime was the German born Joseph Pilates who started life as an unlikely example of the future inventor of a hugely popular form of exercise. Born in 1880, as a child Pilates suffered from rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever. But as often happens, and one of the things that makes Pilates so convincing, is that out of his adversity grew determination and application.

In a bid to improve his own health he developed a range of physical activities based on diving, gymnastics, skiing, boxing, self-defence, martial arts, yoga and Zen meditation. He came to England in 1912 to work as a boxer, circus performer and self-defence instructor and was interned during the First World War as an enemy alien and set up a training regime in his camp which he shared with other members. He also devised a rehabilitation programme for those injured during the War. He used the bed springs from his camp bed to create resistance apparatus for exercise and these were the early forerunners of the Cadillac and Reformer Pilates machines.

In 1926 he went to America and founded a studio in New York where he developed ‘Contrology’ as he called it, writing up his formal set of 34 exercises and his philosophy. His New York studio was near a number of ballet schools, hence his famed connection with dancers. He trained a number of apprentices who continued and developed his work after his death in 1967.

The original Pilates exercises are a bit extreme for most people – maybe an Olympic gymnast would be comfortable with the neck pull which is as uncomfortable and potentially dangerous as it sounds – but over the years, the exercises have been adapted to suit a wider range of physical types.

Regular practice of Pilates is designed to give you postural symmetry and core strength. Specific exercises will strengthen muscle groups and joints across the whole body, challenging the body’s core abdominal strength by using the legs and arms as levers.>

I have been studying Pilates for 17 years and, like many practitioners, I took it up on the advice of a physiotherapist, to try and find a solution for chronic lower back pain. I haven’t looked back (every pun intended) since, and have now trained to teach others.

I am a Level 4 Mat-Based Pilates teacher, with specialism in lower back pain and a member of the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPS) which provides a system of regulation for instructors and trainers to ensure that they meet the health and fitness industry’s agreed National Occupational Standards. I have also recently achieved the Exercise Referrals qualification, enabling me to work with sufferers from a number of common conditions.

I offer mat-based Pilates’ classes aimed at all ages and all levels of fitness. Mat-based classes are £12.00 each drop in or £10.00 Block Booking. I limit my class sizes as I like to work with my clients on a personal level, so do book early to avoid disappointment.


Beverly Chandler
07771 682467
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