We had the opportunity to chat with Mav Wynn, the founder of Soul Power Pilates. Mav used to work within Investor Relations in London, but made a career switch and moved to Costa Rica where she opened up her own Pilates studio. We were curious to hear more about her story.
Have you ever dreamt about living in the jungle, next to the ocean or just make a complete switch in your career? Mav is born in South Africa and moved to London in 2003 to pursue a career in Investor Relations, but after a few years in London she felt the need to make changes in her life and moved to Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is known for its beaches, volcanoes, and biodiversity. Roughly a quarter of its area is made up of protected jungle and wildlife.
Many of us day dream about making radical changes in our life's, but few of us actually realize our dreams. You actually went for your dream. Tell us more about that:
For some time I had felt that I needed to make a change in my life. I was craving more movement, to own my time, live next to the ocean and be healthier. And so it was during one of my career breaks that I took a diploma in physical training and soon thereafter signed up for a STOTT Mat Pilates course at One KX in London. I was learning and teaching part-time and increasingly felt the need to dedicate all my time to hone my craft.
After a successful 20-year career in Investor Relations, mostly in the City of London, a mid-life opportunity arose which allowed me to share my love of Pilates and continue with my studies. I have the great privilege of teaching one-to-one and small groups at Florblanca Pilates in Costa Rica and continuing my own education at Merrithew training centres around the world.
I love what I do, I love that I work with an international community and most of all, I love seeing others fall in love with Pilates. I am originally from South Africa and moved to the United Kingdom in 2003 to pursue love and my career in Investor Relations. In London I also found another love - Pilates of course!
I was training for a half marathon, struggling with injuries when my personal trainer suggested I start practise Pilates to complement my exercise regime. I was not convinced and it took some gentle encouragement before I relented and joined a Pilates studio near my office. And that was it – love at first practise!
You found Pilates due to your Personal Trainer and after an injury from running. Would you say Pilates is specifically for athletes and people who are used to train hard?
I became devoted to my Pilates practise after seeing the benefits: improved running performance, alignment and posture as well as muscle definition and tone I had never had before.
Pilates is usually my solution to just about every physical and mental challenge. Feel tired? Practise focusing more on breathing. Feel happy? Practise with a smile on my face. Feel sad? Practise more until I have a smile on my face. Injured? Practise more carefully and deliberately.
I have seen how Pilates has helped people across the board (age, sex, size, injured etc etc) and I believe that everyone can find joy in this practise. Mind, Body - CONNECT! To experience the benefits of Pilates there is no other way than to connect the mind with the body. Your entire focus is your practise, whatever is going on in the world is shut out. This is a true gift to ourselves.
Can you share one thing that you are extra curious about, in your work right now?
Perimenopause, natural remedies to deal with the symptoms as well as including healthy habits for the mind and body (exercise and meditation).
You went from training Pilates yourself to get certified and teach others. What can one expect when practicing Pilates for you?
I ensure that every class is tailored to each person, even in a small group (so many awesome modifications and props are available to us) so I like to understand each persons specific needs.
As I have a background as dancer I also like to incorporate flow & creativity - I like to programme classes in such a way that there is a natural flow from one movement to the next.
Connection is also important to me - I have a genuine interest in people (back to questions!!) and many students have turned into friends over the years
If you were to chose your favorite Pilates move which one would that be?
Ohhhh this is hard… I love extension work so Swan Dive on any of the apparatus is great.
What is power to you?
Knowledge allows me to take ownership of my actions and this to me is power or, feeling powerful.
What is a beautiful body according to you?
A confident body is always beautiful to me.
What is the perfect Pilates outfit?
Sportswear that is comfortable, allows me to move and breathe with ease. It is simple, clean lines, easy to wash and of course, looks good!
Last thing, what is your life motto that you always go back to?
Always back yourself.
Thank you Mav Wynn. Your story moves us!