Dance Stories | Kate Boyle: Mind & Movement Pilates, and living her best Mum Life.
With Mother’s Day just around the corner we thought it was the perfect time to shine a little spotlight of appreciation on the incredible multi-tasking, multi-talented, movement-loving mums out there who do extraordinary things all day every day. Without the Dance Mums who introduced us to dance, ferried us to and from classes, sewed ribbons, made costumes, took on the role of hairstylist/makeup artist for every performance, sat through countless classes, rehearsals, comps and concerts over the years, as well as providing infinite love, support and encouragement, many of us would not be the dancers we are today. So in honour of the Mums that wear all these different hats and so many more, we’re chatting to the inspiring Kate Boyle, a Melbourne-based Studio Owner, Pilates Instructor, Nutritionist, Dance Teacher and mother of two about her passion for Pilates and dance, and how she balances mum-life with running her own thriving business.
Kate first came to our attention late last year when she began sharing some heart-melting photos of herself with gorgeous daughters Ava and Charlotte all decked out in their matching mum and daughter Kaleidoscope outfits, and we simply had to know more about this gorgeous trio! See our interview with the lovely Kate below.
E: Hi Kate, firstly can you tell us about your background and how you got involved with Pilates?
KB: Well initially I was a dancer. And growing up, all through my teenage years I had a lot of injuries; everything from torn hamstrings to ligaments in my ankle. I did my meniscus in my knee and suffered from chronic back pain as well. So I went to physios and a whole bunch of different people, but I kept getting injured. It wasn’t until I started doing pilates that I felt that I was getting stronger, and that I could handle my injuries, and do something about them. When I hit my late teenage years I had so many injuries that I couldn’t go down a dance pathway, so I went to uni to study nutrition, and I was teaching dance as well, and a girlfriend said to me, ‘why don’t you do the pilates course?’. And I went ‘Oh, I hadn’t actually thought of doing that’. She said ‘You’ve taught movement, you know dance, you know bodies.’ And I thought you know this might be great to do some work in the meantime until I graduate, so I did the pilates course and finished my uni degree, and I ended up loving it so much that I’ve spent the majority of my career to date teaching pilates rather than doing nutrition! I still do nutrition work but pilates really became my first love. And delving into it enabled me to help other people with their injuries. That’s what I tend to specialise in now, you know, working with dancers; it might be to get better turnout, or stop the ankle that continually rolls, but also working with people that have had hip replacements and terrible back pain that stops them moving and things like that. So it’s that healing effect of pilates that I found first for myself that I’ve now been able to give to other people, that’s really what got me into it.
E: What a journey! Do you think having that dance background helped with practising and teaching pilates?
KB: Yes, it was a huge benefit. I think being surrounded by movement, and then also being cued my whole life to correct things within my own body, knowing how a body moves from having to feel that in myself, and being surrounded by it in classes for years was really advantageous. It came really naturally for me to be able to talk to people and help them to improve their movement and connect with their bodies.
E: And how did your Mind and Movement business develop?
KB: I was working in the area locally, and teaching at local community centres and building relationships with my clients and they were keen to experience the pilates machines. I had a reformer at home, but hadn’t delved into teaching that in the area yet, and then I got a job opportunity to go and teach pilates in Europe. So I ended up spending six months in Switzerland and six months in Spain teaching. After that I thought ‘if I can live overseas teaching and be independent then I’m definitely ready to run my own business now’! So that was about six years into teaching pilates and gaining experience through working for other studios.
E: What was the experience of teaching pilates overseas like, did you find there was much variation in styles and technique?
KB: It was very different in some respects. In Switzerland they are very precise, so that was great, they’re very well trained. But they definitely sought instructors from England, Australia and Canada because as they say, we are the best trained instructors in the world! So it’s quite common to see other Aussie instructors overseas, because they do seek us out because we’re so well qualified. When I was in Spain I was on a small island called Mallorca, so it was a much quieter studio with less pilates influence. In many respects they were ten or fifteen years behind our pilates, as they hadn’t experienced pilates like we have in Australia. It was almost two different ends of the spectrum in terms of pilates teaching! Which was such a good experience because I got to see lots of different bodies, from beginners to advanced, and I got to work through many different injuries, and even explain the pilates method to some who had never come across it before. It was a really great experience to prepare me for starting my own studio when I came home.
E: What style of Pilates do you focus on as an instructor?
KB: I teach what they call contemporary pilates, which is where I look at a person’s body and assess their injuries and such, and then I base their program off that. I’m actually delving back in to the classical method of pilates now, back to Joseph Pilates original exercises and how he taught them, so as an instructor I’m continually learning and revisiting the work. And the further I delve into it the more I find I can help my clients explore as well. So there’s always something new to learn!
E: And you have two gorgeous little girls, Ava and Charlotte, do they like to do pilates with you too?
KB: They love it! Ava is five, and Charlotte is three, and they are in here any chance that they can get. They’re constantly coming in before class to say hello to clients and asking if they can teach as well. And just the other weekend, over Easter, I said ‘I’m going in to the studio to do a workout’ and they just came in, all dressed up in their Energetiks outfits, ready to go! And I told them ‘it’s ok, I’m just doing a workout, you didn’t have to get ready’ but they were like ‘No we’re ready to do our workout too!’ So yeah they love it. It’s so lovely that they enjoy what I do and they can always come in and be a part of it, it’s not a closed of situation where they don’t know what mum does. And the clients love seeing them, they think it’s amazing when they come in. As you saw when you met Ava, she’s so eloquent. Always saying ‘Hello how are you going?’ and being friendly with the clients, so it works out so well.
E: You’re also launching a new series of online workouts this May we hear, tell us about that!
KB: Yes I’m launching ten home workouts on Vimeo, nine exercise workouts, and one stretch session. I’m always getting clients coming in and asking me ‘What can I do at home?’ and I work with a lot of mums who just want quick workouts that they can fit in between picking their kids up or little ones having a nap, so I’ve worked with my clients to develop the series and they’re all fifteen to twenty minutes in length. And they’re mat-based pilates, so you don’t need any extra equipment and you can do them any time and anywhere since they’re streamable, which it makes it really easy.
E: That sounds amazing! Who would you recommend the series to?
KB: I’ve got workouts from beginner level to more advanced, I definitely made the series with someone who might not have done pilates before in mind, and helping them build on that throughout the series. I also have some clients who have been coming to me for ten years though, that have been doing the workouts and say to me ‘I just loved that workout, I could feel my butt for the next two days! That was fantastic’, so I’ve had some really wonderful feedback from beginners to advanced. And within the series I give various modifications as well, if someone’s not familiar with the harder work there’s a modification they can make that will suit them. I’ve really tried to make it friendly for everyone who enjoys pilates.
They’ll be launching on Saturday May 25th, so you can find them on Vimeo if you search ‘Mind and Movement Pilates home workouts’, and you can also stay up to date on the facebook page and my Instagram.
E: What’s a typical day look like for you?
KB: It’s a bit of a mix of everything. I might start the morning in the studio at around 7am. My husband will do the school drop-off. Then I’ll usually finish around 11am, and have a break for lunch and take my little one to dance class if she’s home with me that day. At that point I’ll run all the daily errands before picking my five year old up from school. Then in the afternoons I’m usually juggling making dinner and shooting off a few emails with playing memory with the girls and reading books! I don’t normally teach in the evening if I’ve taught in the mornings, so that’s our family time for reading a book together and things like that.
E: You seem to have found a really beautiful balance between work and life, and having time for yourself as well as plenty of time for your girls: what would your advice be to other mums hoping to find that balance for themselves?
KB: Don’t’ be afraid to ask for help. I think that’s a really big one, because as mums I feel that sometimes we think we have to do it all, and that we should be able to do it all, but in reality it’s very hard to find that balance by yourself. And asking for help might make us feel a bit vulnerable, but they say it takes a village to raise a kid and it’s true. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do if I didn’t have my husband for support, and my mother in law helps look after the kids too. So I would say try building in time for yourself where you can, but don’t be afraid to turn to friends and family to get a little help where you need it, because it is tough finding that balance.
E: And what about if someone out there is wanting to try pilates but has never tried it before, any tips?
KB: WeIl it’s best if they can either visit a studio (so they get the training of how to engage their deep core muscles), or find something online where they do go into the pilates breathing. You definitely can do it at home, but it does (like everything!) take a bit of practice to get the technique side of things. But definitely just give it a go.
E: And your girls are following in your footsteps, what dancing do they do?
KB: Ava does ballet and tumbling, and Charlotte does a little combo class that’s a mix of ballet and jazz, so they’re just starting their dance journeys. I very much decided I wasn’t going to push them towards it at all, so it’s funny that they naturally gravitated towards dance without my input which is great… but then I guess I’m always dancing around the kitchen! So they’ve probably always seen that and thought it looks like fun!
E: And we saw your gorgeous matching Kaleidoscope outfits on Instagram, such cute photos! What made you pick those matching pieces?
KB: Oh the girls loved the colours! And when we were looking for clothing I thought that those outfits were perfect for us because we really do like having fun and dancing around together, so Kaleidoscope really sung out to us. We saw the collection and were like ‘that’s just right for us’, it was great.
Kate with Ava and Charlotte in their Energetiks Kaleidoscope outfits. Photography by Bec Gordan Photography.
E: What is the most rewarding part about being a mother for you?
KB: I guess… oh that’s such a hard question! Because there’s so many things! I guess for me, being a mum bringing up two girls, it’s being able to raise them with the mentality that women can do anything, and everything. That they can be strong, they can be kind, and they don’t have to be pigeon-holed by any one thing. I think we live in an age now where women are really coming through and it’s all about equality, and that’s amazing. So instilling that in my girls is the most rewarding thing I could do; showing them that they really can do anything they set their minds to.
And I want them to see that mum does work, but she can still be home to read us a book, you know? It doesn’t have to be all one role in life, they shouldn’t have to sacrifice anything. Whatever they want to try in life, they can achieve it if they really go for it.
E: That’s such a beautiful sentiment. Just one final question: How are you planning on spending this Mothers Day?
KB: Well hopefully surrounded by my lovely girls and my husband! We haven’t decided exactly what we’re doing this year, but we usually do a little bit of a day trip. Last year we went to the zoo, so we might go to the museum or somewhere like that, but most importantly we’ll just spend the day together, as a family.
Learn more about Kate and her pilates training at www.mindandmovementpilates.com.au and follow her on instagram at @mindmovementhealthandpilates.
As a special celebration of Mother’s Day, we’re giving away two $150 Energetiks Gift Vouchers, along with two Mind and Movement Pilates Home Workout Series (comprised of 10 x 15-20 minute Pilates workouts you can do anywhere, anytime!), which have been kindly donated by Kate. These pilates sessions are perfect for any busy mum! Each series is valued at $79.95, and is hosted on Vimeo, meaning our two lucky winners will have life-time access. To enter the competition, simply leave a comment with ‘Mothers Day Giveaway’ and your contact email down below, then simply make sure you’re following @mindmovementhealthandpilates and @energetiks on instagram to be in the running. Competition closes May 17th, 2019. Winners will be notified via email. Good luck!
Thank you to all the amazing Dance Mums out there, wishing you all a very lovely Mother’s Day from Energetiks.
Article and photography by Elly Ford.