At Home is a portrait series by photographer Chloe Paul, documenting BodyMindLife’s teachers in the spaces they have created to play and practice. We take a glimpse into their lives, investigate how they hold space for the community both virtually and within the physical structure of the studios, and ask them about the silly things they are missing under the current restrictions.
Join us as we tune in with Pilates teacher Tali Phillips.
Who are you/What do you teach?
Hi! I’m Tali Phillips. I teach Reformer Pilates classes and Pilates Teacher Training at BodyMindLife.
Why were you originally drawn to Pilates?
Pilates was a way to calm my mind, more than anything else. It’s a beautiful form of movement that helps to strengthen the body and create stability. I always walked out of classes feeling light and bouncy – a pretty addictive feeling!
Has your relationship with the practice changed over time?
Teaching Pilates has definitely changed my relationship to the practice. I am now more aware and observant of the intricacies of the exercises and pay greater attention to positioning and correct functional movement. Becoming a teacher has taken away the meditative aspect that I used to get (escaping from my busy mind), but I’ve migrated to the BodyMindLife yoga studio for that!
Has your perception of home changed in the last few months?
My home is my safe place, where I can just be and relax. I’ve always enjoyed spending time at home, but having that forced upon me has made me really appreciate the beautiful space I’ve created for myself and my housemate – aka my 5 year old son, Finn. I’ve never appreciated sunshine through my windows as much as I have in the past few months.
What do you love about what you do?
Everything! I love teaching Pilates as a form of movement. Empowering students to move their bodies with ease, growing stronger and more confident with every class. It’s such a satisfying experience to watch a person’s journey and even more satisfying when they walk out with that light and bouncy feeling I first fell in love with.
You are a lead facilitator of BodyMindLife’s Pilates teacher training. Can you tell us about that?
Being involved in the BodyMindLife Pilates Teacher Training over the past 18 months has been an awesome experience. The other trainers and I get to spend time with each group downloading all that we have learned in our cumulative 30+ years of teaching. It’s wonderful to be able to share the joy of the practice with others who are so eager to learn.
What transformation do you see from the first to the last day of training?
Confidence! In their understanding of anatomy, movement, sequencing and how to actually teach a group of people. They get a vast amount of practice teaching during the training, then continue practicing during observation hours with their BodyMindLife mentors which really helps to solidify their knowledge.
What are you listening to/reading?
Watch: I binged every season of Schitt’s Creek while we were in isolation. The characters radiate love, hope and inclusivity which I think we all need in 2020.
Read: First We Make the Beast Beautiful by Sarah Wilson. For the second time.
Listen: So much music! In our house we alternate between 90s hip hop/70s disco, contemporary and meditation/chanting music. My go to for bedtime is Heart Chakra by Beautiful Chorus. I first heard it in yoga and it was breathtaking.
What does your home practice mean to you?
Movement is everything to me and is so important to my physical and mental health. It is such an important part of my life and I try to make time for it daily. I’m incredibly lucky to have a home studio with a reformer and wunda chair, so I was really able to keep moving and flowing while the studios were closed. As much as I could around a tiny, demanding human!
How do you feel when you’re in flow?
Smooth and winding. I know that sounds like a weird juxtaposition. I should explain… The movements themselves are smooth but the body winds and flows around the reformer. I like to go in to my personal practice without a plan and just follow wherever my body takes me. When you stop and listen, your body will tell you where it needs to go.
What insights have you had about yourself in isolation?
Something silly you’ve missed?
When we were in isolation I really missed the face to face time with my beautiful studio community. And I long to do hands-on adjustments again!
About Chloe Paul
Chloe Paul is a portrait and social photographer from Sydney, Australia. Over the last decade, she has created imagery for Prada, Dior, Moet&Chandon, Burberry and Christian Louboutin. Her work has featured in Harpers Bazaar, Vogue, Elle and Instyle. When not working with influential publications and high profile personalities, she can be found capturing the world on her Hassleblad.