St Andrews’ secret pilates heaven, says Maggie Nunley
Two weeks ago, my flatmates excitedly returned from an afternoon of shopping in St Andrews. They could not wait to tell me about the new gift shop they found on South Street, called Fred’s Emporium. Distracted by the adorable (and affordable) knick-knacks, cards, accessories, and small gifts throughout the shop, my friends didn’t notice that Fred’s Emporium is more than just another gift shop. In fact, Fred’s Emporium offers pilates and yoga training through classes as well as through personal training sessions.
Having done some pilates and yoga before, I was intrigued at the thought of having a pilates and yoga studio only steps away from my front door, so I dropped by and organized a ‘taster’ session with the shop’s wonderful owner, Fred Jamieson, a lovely woman from Glasgow. Last Friday, I showed up in my comfortable clothing, as I was instructed, only to be faced with the pilates machine, called a reformer. Having only ever done pilates on a mat before, I was slightly suspicious. I thought the machine looked strikingly similar to ones used to stretch out and torture prisoners at the Tower of London, but I was determined to give it a go!
Rather than a torturous experience, I was surprised by how easy it was to use the reformer, especially with Fred’s constant attention and guidance. We went through a series of movements concentrating on my legs, arms, and core. The reformer helped guide my movements, making sure everything was stable and safe, and it made all of the movements very fluid. Fred informed me that the gentle moves would improve overall fitness and strength levels, but that they would especially help improve posture, which is great for us students who are always huddled over desks in the library! Each movement is meant to strengthen muscles in the core while also increasing flexibility and range of motion.
After my short session was over (mine was about 30 minutes, however private lessons usually go for an hour) I felt very loosened up and calm, but also like I had done a pretty good workout as well. I had gone into the session with a sore back, and came out feeling very refreshed. While this session was more relaxed and laid back, it’s definitely possible to break a sweat during pilates (how else would Gwyneth Paltrow stay so toned!?). Pilates is a great way to complement other athletic activities, such as running, and also a fantastic way to get a set of killer abs! The classes and private lessons at Fred’s Emporium are great because the exercises can be tailored to skill and fitness level—there is nothing worse than being in a class that is beyond your capabilities (cue my entire experience with bikram yoga two summers ago!). Because the classes are small, it’s easy for the instructor to correct posture and movements, and this advantage is even greater in a private session on the reformer.
I would encourage anyone and everyone to drop into Fred’s Emporium, not only to browse the great items in their store, but also to experience a pilates or yoga class in their lovely, cozy studios. In May, Fred’s Emporium is offering Saturday pay-as-you-go classes for £10.00, and if you’re here for a longer period of time, consider booking a block of classes through their website.
About the Owner:
Winifred Jamieson, who prefers to go by Fred, is a trained dancer, which is how she was introduced to pilates in the first place, and has had many years of experience in practicing as well as in teaching pilates. She told me she always had a dream of opening up her own pilates studio after teaching it for several years, and finally the opportunity arose to open a studio as well as a small shop here in St Andrews.
About the Classes:
Fred’s Emporium offers pilates and yoga matwork classes as well as one-to-one reformer lessons. You can find out more about Fred’s Emporium by visiting their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/FredsEmporium and you can also view timetables and book classes through their website: http://www.freds-emporium.co.uk/
Image Credits: Fred’s Emporium