Hi, my name is Rachael Taylor.
I help active people train more effectively and avoid injuries so that they can enjoy the longevity of their chosen sport.
I have worked with clients from various walks of life, from famous actors, pop stars, dancers, golfers, marathon runners, to amputees competing in the Commonwealth Games. I have taught people with conditions such as MS, Parkinson’s Disease, brain tumors, breast cancer, spinal disorders, hip and knee replacement, and lots of mechanical issues resulting from hypermobility disorders. I have helped them become stronger, increase their flexibility, be free of pain, and able to return to their chosen sport with more vigour and in the best possible shape.
I first discovered Pilates in 1999 and quickly fell in love with it. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before! Not only did I love how I felt after every class, but I loved how my own body transformed. Pilates changed my shape, increased my strength, and helped improve my overall joint mobility and flexibility.
Growing up, I loved athletics, swimming, tennis, and horse riding. I was extremely sporty and very competitive and there wasn’t one sports day I didn’t win! Whilst working as a nurse at age 18, I sustained a lower back injury, and a few years later at 26, I was then diagnosed with osteoarthritis affecting my spine and hips, and at 38 years old I tore a lumbar disc. Despite and during all of that, my love of sport and fitness subsequently led me into a career in the sports and fitness industry. But the accumulation of all the competitive sports, together with teaching hundreds of high impact classes such as Step, Body Pump, Spinning and Aqua Aerobics had a really negative effect on my own body.
Without prioritising the importance of stretching and flexibility in my own training, I had become extremely tight and way too muscle-bound. I might have looked good, but boy I could NOT move without looking like a shuffling penguin, especially first thing in the morning!
Despite all my medical and fitness qualifications, I felt I lacked the required knowledge to treat and train clients with specific conditions. I had heard many good things about Pilates, so in 1999, I embarked on my Pilates Teacher Training qualification with Anne Marie Zulkahari from The Pilates and Yoga Movement Studio.
Anne Marie was one of the founding and foremost teachers of authorities on Pilates in the UK. She boasts an impeccable professional lineage having learned her craft under the tutelage of Robert Fitzgerald, a Pilates elder. Under Anne Marie’s expertise and guidance, I quickly discovered how far superior this ’method’ called ’Pilates’ was over any other training modality I had ever come across.
I was fortunate that my training also included teaching and observing the young ballet dancers at The Royal Ballet School in Hammersmith. Surprised by the lack of muscle strength of the male dancers, I set about implementing its first upper body strength training programme for the male dancers aged 16-18 years.
I gained my Pilates certification in 2001 and two years later I opened my first studio from my home. By 2004 I expanded to a much larger studio in Golders Green which I ran for 15 successful years. In 2018 I opened my beautiful studio in leafy Bushey, Hertfordshire.
Unlike many Pilates teachers, I don’t come from a dance background, so moving with grace did not initially come easy. I have learnt my craft the hard way and I can totally relate to how frustrating being injured or in pain can be. I know first hand what it’s like to have a back injury, knee issues, and arthritic joints. I have experienced the effects of pregnancy on a woman’s body.
Prior to becoming a Pilates teacher, I trained at two presitigous hospitals (The Middlesex Hospital and University College Hospital) to be a Registered General Nurse in 1988. I qualified in 1991 and specialised in HIV/ AIDS, which I loved!!
In 1994 I became a Senior Staff Nurse and Team Leader and helped set up London’s first District Hospital (Ealing) to have a dedicated HIV unit. Whilst on this unit, I helped set up a gym on the ward to improve the patients strength as they had suffered with severe muscle wasting from being bed bound.
In 1997 I gained a Diploma in Health and Fitness with the YMCA. This led me to setting up a ‘GP Exercise on Prescription Scheme’ in Hampstead, London which I ran for 2 years. My experience included working as an Exercise Practitioner for The Royal Free Hospital teaching Seated Exercise Classes to those with Dementia and Depression and I was also involved with a big ‘Falls Prevention’ research project in 1998 led by Dr Dawn Skelton and Susie Dinan.
When I’m not teaching, I can be found walking my gorgeous dog Ernie, being mum to my beautiful daughter Amelee, and wife to my lovely husband Rob. You should also know that I’m a vegan and I’m forever in search of the perfect tofu recipe!
If you’re an active person with a fear or history of (re)-injury, you can feel reassured knowing that you are in very safe hands. I will help you return to your favourite activity with a carefully selected personalised Pilates program.