I recently had the pleasure of visiting Charnock Farm Studios for a second bout of fitness fun. I’d never tried Yogalates before, let alone on a exercise ball – see how I got on below.
Nicola Charnock – the titular own of Charnock Farm Studios led the session. The studio itself – located in the centre of Manchester in the gorgeous Royal Exchange building – is an incredibly welcoming place. Full of inviting woody tones, great warm lighting, and always immaculately presented. Straight away it leaves you feeling at ease and ready to focus on simply giving your best performance in the class.
The class began with a warmup with us all on our backs, being taught simple pilates moves that we’d be using later on. This introduction was really helpful for me as a total beginner, and knowing how to do these moves safely gave me the confidence to do the rest of the class with a clear mind and just have fun with it. It’s taking steps like these that distinguishes great teachers – making sure everyone in the class is safe and comfortable is crucial to customer satisfaction.
Next came the introduction of the exercise ball. This was the part I had been dreading since I agreed to do the class. I have a notoriously bad sense of balance, as any of my friends will attest. In fact when I told some of my pals I was going to be doing this class they unanimously laughed in my face. Well that joke is on them because I loved it.
We were led through a series of movements accompanied by helpful explanation about which muscles were being worked at any given time. Nicole always had adjustments ready for people who were struggling, as well as those who wanted to push themselves even harder. This lent a great quality to the session where you could feel like you were working as part of a group, but also getting a personalised session to meet your needs.
Whether balancing the ball between our legs, using it as a squat support against the wall, and try to balance our entire weight on it (no hands or legs!) Nicola led the session with such humour and care that I always felt supported, safe, and more than a bit sweaty. I went from being slightly afraid of the class to being so confident by the end I didn’t even mind falling off and embarrassing myself. That’s a testament to the skill of the teaching on offer at Charnock Farm Studios, as well as the atmosphere the space creates for their well designed classes.
Thank you Nicola for the amazing session, and I hope to be returning soon.
You can find this class, as well as the other classes on offer at Charnock Farm Studios on the MagnaPass timetable here.