I’m Ali, the person behind Resolve Health and Wellbeing.
My background is teaching, but I’ve worked in health and wellbeing for almost 30 years, first as an exercise teacher, then in health promotion and public health and now mostly as a Pilates teacher and wellbeing coach. I use my experiences from my past work to inform what I do today, so I’m very much about education, not just instruction. I like to work with you within the context of your real life, so our sessions are relevant, fun and personal.
I have always had an interest in people, health, wellbeing, how the body works. I am fascinated by the choices we make; why someone chooses one course of action and another person chooses a different path; how these choices, our life events and circumstances affect us physically and emotionally.
I suppose it was only natural I wanted to work with people, so after a bit of a hiatus in accountancy and financial services, I trained to be a primary school teacher. Whilst I enjoyed helping children shape their lives, I found the constraints of the education system frustrating, and the bit I was really interested in was the health and wellbeing of these young people. So, I detoured from schools and did a Masters degree in health education and health promotion.
Once I gained my Masters, much of the work I did still involved schools, but I also worked with other organisations, workplaces and in community settings. I was fortunate to work in a really progressive environment where we looked at the wider context of health and wellbeing and how our circumstances influence the choices available to us. I was involved with community development work and changing systems and processes, rather than simply telling people what to do. I loved this work, and developed my teaching skills, knowledge of lifestyle and behaviour change, and understanding of human beings in general.
At this point I had been, for some years, a gym junkie and an exercise instructor who ran and swam most days, as well a teaching a variety of exercise classes. In fact I met my husband at the gym (you wouldn’t know it if you saw us now!). Pilates was far from my thoughts, I hadn’t even heard of it, though I had been persuaded to add yoga to my repertoire and found I was pretty good at it - but more about that later.
Then came a series of unexplained injuries and low back pain and, following a referral by my physio, Pilates entered my life. After a fair bit of work to rehab my poor body, I was back up and running, literally, but continued with a weekly Pilates class.
Fast forward a few years and two fairly awful pregnancies (but two beautiful children!). I suffered with hyperemesis and symphysis pubis dysfunction (now known as Pelvic Girdle Pain, I’ve never known pain like it!). I was too often at the hospital, on crutches and finally in a wheelchair. I dread to think how bad it would have been if I hadn’t had Pilates!
Postpartum, I was slow to improve and suffered repeated episodes of pain and disability. Then my son was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a hereditary condition causing tissue laxity due to a collagen deficiency. If he had it, so must I. Here was the explanation for the awful pregnancies, frequent periods of pain throughout my life, assorted sprains to various joints, numerous undiagnosed systemic issues, oh, and my ability to do yoga!
With the help of a great teacher, Pilates literally glued me back together and I fell in love with it! I wanted to share this wonderful exercise form with everyone and decided to train as a Pilates teacher.
I chose to train with the Pilates Foundation, a demanding course requiring 450 hours of apprenticeship alongside the taught element. The full course took almost 18 months, but allowed me to think and apply my teaching skills in the Pilates setting, (many courses simply equip instructors to, well, instruct a set repertoire of exercises). It was the right course for me and has allowed me to competently work with a wide range of clients who have differing levels of fitness, health (and ill health) and challenges.
Fast forward again and all was going well. My children were that bit older and my business was running nicely alongside two days a week teaching in school (once a teacher, always a teacher??).
Then I became ill and was admitted to hospital with a suspected stroke. There followed the longest weekend of my life, and plenty of opportunity to re-think things, whist we waited for various tests and scans that eventually confirmed I had not had a stroke. I was discharged from hospital with a diagnosis of vestibular disorder.
However, my symptoms continued, as did the feeling that things needed to change. After numerous visits to different neurologists, many investigations, several attempts at diagnosis (I’m still undiagnosed) and a lot of adapting to a new way of being, including giving up teaching in school, we arrive at the present day.
I now have my own studio and, having qualified in the use of Pilates studio equipment, am lucky to have my own equipment, which brings a real sense of variety and challenge to sessions. I’m also qualified in Pilates Therapy, a course which was at least as demanding as my initial Pilates training. This allows me to use my skills as a Pilates teacher alongside the use of objective evaluation screens and a variety of other tools aimed at helping you to effectively progress.
I’m able to bring my experiences of fitness, ill health, pain and living with a chronic condition to support you in your experiences. I know first hand what it’s like, and the different tools which have helped me.
As someone with a real thirst for learning, I will continue to explore the world of Pilates, health and wellbeing so I can bring more to my practice. I am constantly looking for new opportunities to learn, formally and informally, expanding the range of tools in my toolbox so I can work in a more effective way.
When I'm not working on my business, I love spending time with my family and friends, reading, being creative, and walking (especially when there is a café and cake involved!).