A word from our new team member Nicola Kuiper
By: Kerrie Murphy | 05/10/2022
I grew up in a busy house as the youngest of three. My sister and brother both trained in competitive swimming, and went on to compete at state championships. In their final year of high school, each was elected as the school swimming captain, and I have fond memories of them bringing home the giant school trophy after winning inter-school competitions.
I was wired a little differently to my sister and brother, and never looked forward to swimming training. I loved playing sport and tried almost every sport at school, but my skill base was more in the motivational side than the sportsman side. I have always loved being part of a team and cheering on my teammates. I loved being the house sport captain, organizing everyone into their events and making sure there was always loud cheering for our house. We even won the spirit cup! My love of cheering people on is very evident in my style as a Pilates instructor.
I started dancing when I was 6, and it will always be a big part of who I am. Up until my final years of school I would dance 5 or 6 days each week, and feel lots of gratitude for my mother who schlepped me around from school orchestra rehearsals to dancing each night and picked me up again 3 hours later. She even fed me dinner in the car on the way, and I’d usually have second dinner once I got home (thanks mum!). I developed a special love for ballet, due in part to being taught by John Byrne, former Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) in London. He always had me in fits of giggles in class, but also developed my desire to challenge myself to achieve very precise movement and clean technique without losing my artistic expression and freedom. I think what drew me to ballet was the mindfulness aspect – there was no way for my mind to wander through my giant to-do-list from school and music and sport and family and everything else when I had to concentrate all my attention on every single element of my body and my posture (and also try very hard to make it look easy)! This way the perfect challenge for a high achieving adolescent.
These same attributes led me to the Pilates world. The exception was that with ballet I was very aware that I didn’t have the natural affinity to be a dancer. I didn’t have the right level of turnout and my feet weren’t arched enough and I was too heavy. With Pilates, every session gives me an opportunity to find my perfect challenge. I have to focus mind and body for the full session and apply focus and concentration and am constantly challenged to do my best work, but I also get to leave feeling hugely accomplished. I am fascinated by the history of Pilates and am constantly in awe of Joe’s genius feat of engineering to design the equipment and create his system of “Contrology” as he called it at the time. The Pilates world is rich and dynamic and satisfies my need for constant learning and challenge
I studied a commerce degree with a double major in economics and accounting, and a diploma of music on double bass. My favourite thing about uni was joining the comedy club – never in my wildest dreams would I have envisioned becoming a comedian, but the friends I made there found my potential and developed the skills that I now use on stage. With my commerce degree in hand I started work as a graduate in audit. I stayed there for three years, in what was an immense challenge for my mental health. I regularly suffer from depression, anxiety and insomnia, and I would not have made it out the other side were it not for a regular practice of Pilates. Pilates anchors me in the present moment and in my body – the key vehicle with which I go through life.
I love my career as a Pilates instructor, and my favourite thing about it is my clients. They give me constant inspiration and I am always learning from them. These interactions get me out of bed every morning. I feel very lucky to have joined Kerrie’s team and the wonderful community at Infinity.
My favourite Pilates exercises
The spine corrector is one equipment is love to use before and after teach to balance out my spinal curves and mobilise my upper back. The overhead is one of my favourite exercises to integrate spinal control and mobility, whilst ensuring lower abdominals and in gear. I use the short pole to give me feedback for shoulder connection.
Side overs – what a beautiful exercise for lateral torso strength and stability! I love this exercise as it is a great way to challenge oblique strength and prepare the body for the more advanced version on the high barrel.