Ann van Messel, InstructorMy Story

Movement has always been an integral part of my life. A gymnast and a dancer as a child, I was diagnosed with scoliosis at 12. Debilitating back pain would not deter me from becoming an avid skier, cyclist and rock climber. This led to a passion for the outdoors and experiential education. I’ve been a Trip Leader and Guide to groups on multi day excursions, teaching ropes courses and white water canoeing in Canada and class IV white water rafting and rappelling in Turkey and Israel.

Yoga became my personal practice to ensure my ability to move. Living abroad became addictive, even with the ongoing bouts of crippling back pain (one would think I would listen to my body at some point…). That point finally arrived after two children and multiple international moves (Asia, America and Europe). Living in Amsterdam I was finally fed up (yoga would alternately heal and hurt…) and decided to give Pilates a real chance.

I enjoyed my first Pilates session with a woman who turned out to be a true healer. What started as a weekly apparatus practice soon became bi-weekly and then almost daily ever since. Bringing my family back to my home town of Vancouver allowed me to begin my journey toward instructing. I sought out my teacher’s teacher in California and continue to hone my skills daily. I have learned from visiting or teaching at studios in this area as well as in Toronto and Washington State — each space unique and able to bring attention, new focus and deeper understanding into my own teaching.

I love to watch people’s “ah-ha” moments with Pilates; it is always something unexpected when it comes, profound and deep. I continue to experience these myself and grow through my daily practice. These insights help bring life to my classes, where I hope to share and inspire a sense of both seeking and finding.