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beginners classes

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On the 1 Sept some class timings will change...

There will be no 3:15 - 5.00pm class on the...

Companies such as Microsoft and Google have...

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Taster classes

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A PBA Class in Action

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Sumptuous food for lunch at a Pilates Day


"Hocking is a brilliant teacher... [in] a
different league"

(Evening Standard)

Have a look at what
our students say about us, and also at some of our
press reviews

We have been delivering exceptionally high quality Pilates classes in London for over 25 years.

We run Pilates classes from Beginners up to Advanced, as
well as a wide range of Pilates workshops, intensives,
and other special Pilates classes

Our regular London weekly classes are in Islington on
weekday evenings and Saturdays.

Since 1987 we have always been at the forefront of
the UK Pilates explosion
. We teach the original,
minimal form of Pilates
, a series of deceptively
simple matwork exercises, and avoid the special
machines that were introduced later in the
technique's development.

PBA's founder, director and main instructor
Chris Hocking.


Pilates Body Awareness Pilates classes

Beginners classes are a place to start to get a sense of what Pilates, and Chris's teaching in particular, can do for you.

The man who started it all off, Joseph Pilates, liked to say "In 10 sessions you'll feel a difference". Whilst PBA beginners classes, entirely coincidentally, happen to be delivered in blocks of 10 classes, we don't think it will take anywhere near that long for you to know whether something good is happening.

We think one class is all you'll need...


A Taster class is your chance to find out for yourself what our Pilates classes are like, and costs £15.

It lasts 1 hour, is in the Angel, Islington, London, and can be booked online any week in termtime for either -

7.00pm Wednesday, or
4.00pm Saturday.

You just need to book by 5pm on the Monday afternoon of the week you want to come...


Most people will progress straight on to a First Course. In the 2014 Summer Term over 90% of people who came to a Taster class did so. As the best deal for buying this is at the end of your Taster class by cash/cheque only, it's a good idea to come to the Taster prepared!

However, if for any reason it's difficult for you to commit immediately to weekly classes, we have a new Drop-In Option meant just for you!


This is a block of 10 weekly classes, and is best booked at the end of your Taster class. The class times and venues are the same as listed for Taster classes above.

You don't have to stick to any one class, but can mix and match them from week to week as convenient. You can even catch up 2 classes in one week if you've missed one the week before.

Detail of Pilates Body Awareness beginners classes

First Courses obviously only take place in term but they don't have to start at the beginning, they can be started in any termtime week. The best time to start is right after your Taster class, taking the Taster as the first class of the course...


For those whose work schedule or other circumstances make the weekly classes of a First Course daunting, this option allows you to take beginners classes in a completely flexible way!

Available to anyone who has done a Taster class, this option allows you to come to any beginners class you like, without any booking at all, simply by bringing with you a Drop-In Voucher and £10 cash.

PBA Drop-In Voucher


Chris teaching a Level 2 Pilates class at the Urdang Academy, London...


"I love Chris Hocking's teaching and my classes with Pilates Body Awareness" (Liz P).

What do our other students think? Twenty-four of them tell it like it is...


Gwyneth Paltrow ...recovering my waist

"I somehow lost my waist... but with stretching and Pilates exercises I hit form again."
Gwyneth Paltrow

Joan Bakewell ..a sense of wellbeing

"I emerge with a tremendous sense of wellbeing...[and] remain active and relatively agile"
Joan Bakewell

Madonna ...recovering from injury

" I had to do a lot of Pilates to rehabilitate my shoulder joint and get the use of my arm back."
[After a serious accident]

Mike Atherton ...ending back pain

"After persistent back problems... I found Pilates exercises enormously beneficial... [They] are now a daily routine for me..."
Mike Atherton

PILATES... fantastic for back pain great for posture

...develops a unique fitness

...keeps you active and agile brilliant for injury recovery practised by millions of people a routine for many celebrities

PBA LEVEL 5 STUDENT for people of all ages and fitness levels a simple system of stretches and exercises

...combines the best of East and West

...develops a lean, toned, graceful body

...restores your natural strength and balance

...counteracts sitting at a desk all day

...helps massively with all sport

...will make you feel better gentle and safe


Joseph Pilates The technique was conceived by the remarkable Joseph Pilates, who before the First World War became adept at every exercise system he could find, from yoga, tai chi and martial arts to body-building, gymnastics and Graeco Roman wrestling.

A remarkable athlete, professional boxer, self-defence instructor, expert skier and diver, by the end of the war he'd put the best of everything he'd learnt into one coherent stretching and exercise discipline.

On moving to New York, his technique became massively popular in the modern dance community, from where the word about The Pilates Technique started to spread...

Collage of Pilates Body Awareness Pilates classesTHE PILATES TECHNIQUE

The Pilates Technique shares with yoga an emphasis on stretching and flexibility, and with the Alexander technique a keen awareness of postural alignment, but it is uniquely distinct from either in it's concern with the body's core musculature as the cradle of our strength, co-ordination and balance.

A powerful body-conditioning method, healing technique, mood enhancer and fitness training, Pilates has helped hundreds of thousands of people worldwide to maintain and develop their bodies' natural flexibility, dynamism and vitality to an advanced age. Pilates will develop a longer, leaner and more toned body, improve posture and relieve stress and tension. It is as ideal for athletes looking to improve performance and avoid injury as it is for those with back pain or who wish to prevent the physical effects of a sedentary lifestyle creeping up on them.

Precise and controlled, Pilates is one of the safest forms of exercise and in fact plays a key role in many injury rehabilitation programmes in dance, sport and general practice.

Although sometimes seen as being more relevant for women, Pilates created his technique originally for men - and Joe himself was something of a "man's man", a lover of boxing, whisky, women and fine cigars. He once remarked, "In 10 sessions you will feel the difference, in 20 you will see a new body, and in 30 you will have a new body."

He believed the Pilates Technique "develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong posture, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind and elevates the spirit". There are now millions who would agree with him.


PBA teaches Pilates classes in London at 5 distinct levels, all the way from Beginners on a First Course at Level 1, through Second Course students at Level 2 all the way up to Level 5 students, who are engaging with the highest international standards of Classical Pilates.

Students will of course move through these levels at their own pace...

Collage of Pilates Body Awareness Pilates classes EXTENSION CLASSES

These classes are for PBA students who would like to keep their momentum going through the Xmas and Easter breaks.

Extension Classes are open to any student past their first term...


These 2-hour workshops give Chris a chance to explore a subject in some depth. They start with a physiologically sound warm-up, and move on to themes such as Toning up for Summer, Pilates on a Chair, Partnered Stretching, Introduction to Classical Pilates and Handstands...


Fabulous food at a previous Pilates Day
Moving on from Epping and the wonderful Simon, we are offering two London Pilates Days in 2014. Featuring morning and afternoon Pilates classes, which frame a truly sumptuous lunch, these are now at the remarkable, and much more local, Clerkenwellbeing. This is an extremely elegantly converted period building with dining, social and library areas, as well as an excellent studio with natural daylight, and is moreover a mere 10 minutes walk from the Urdang Academy...


This training for Pilates teachers, Pilates trained professional dancers,and advanced PBA students covers the really tough stuff - the 35 original matwork exercises created by Joseph Pilates.

Highly trained body workers and PBA students at Level 5, together with some appropriate Level 4 students, are welcome to apply for this class...


Private classes are only available during termtime, as shown below -

Mondays 8.00 - 9.00pm in Islington, London
Available to both PBA students and the public, this one hour class costs £70.00 for one person, £80.00 for two people, and £90.00 for either three or four people...


For between 10 and 20 students at the venue you select and feel comfortable in anywhere in London, the fee for this special class is £130.00 for 70 minutes.

Venues situated outside London zones 1 & 2 but still within zone 5 will incur an additional transport charge of £30.00...


Jennifer Aniston Chronic Back Solved

"I had a chronic back, a pinched nerve and a hip problem and it's completely solved all of it. I love it. It makes me feel like I'm taller."
Jennifer Aniston

With our unique upright posture, and increasingly sedentary lifestyles, it is little wonder that the miraculous and complex balance of our spine can sometimes depart from the optimum enough to cause painful back problems.

The good news is that Pilates exercises quickly start to restore the body's innate core strength and stability, re-introducing natural support and balance to the spine. This starts a smooth process of radically reducing, and frequently completely eliminating, all back pain.

Former English cricket captain Mike Atherton and TV/movie star Jennifer Aniston are not the only ones to have radically helped, or completely eliminated, their back pain with Pilates. Far from it...


There is a big gulf between the professional sportsperson, already highly trained and looking for that slight extra edge over their competitors, and the rest of us with our frequently sedentary lifestyles. What we all have in common, however, is an ability to benefit from the growing awareness that Pilates gives a unique kind of fitness that no other discipline can quite replace.

Increased fitness, core strength and flexibility help massively whether we are sitting at a desk, running for a bus, or playing sport for enjoyment at amateur level...


Martin Amis I Stopped Groaning

"I was 50 and... feeling 1,000 years old. [After starting Pilates] I stopped groaning. When I get out of the car now, I don't go arrggghhh."
Martin Amis

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- reduce aches and pains
- strengthen muscles and improve flexibility


Only those who die young never age, but the rest of us move on.

As the years gather about us, flexibility and strength can easily fade as an under-used body gives in all too easily to rigidity and weakness. In this era of increasingly sedentary lifestyles, that's the gloomy news about ageing.

The flip side, however, is the good news - that muscles regularly worked and stretched in the right ways, as Pilates does, will not just retain their strength and flexibility far longer than we imagine is possible, but will have them increased. Ligaments, tendons and joints that regularly go through their full range of movement in Pilates sessions will stay flexible and responsive to a surprising age...


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"The best thing you can
do for your posture"


In an increasingly sedentary world, hunched over our computer screens and sitting still for hours at a time, it is easy to find ourselves slipping involuntarily into unhelpful bodily patterns.

At best, poor posture will not flatter our appearance or impression on other people, but at worst it can lead to chronic back pain, headaches and other distressing physical symptoms.

Pilates, with its strong focus on restoring our body's natural core strength and balance, will immediately start to break down these poor postural patterns and build a strong central support for our body, causing it to lengthen and straighten naturally...


Madonna Rehabilitate My Shoulder

"I had to do a lot of Pilates to rehabilitate my shoulder joint and get the use of my arm back."
[After a serious accident]

When we sustain any significant physical injury, the muscular balance of our body will be disrupted. Depending on the extent of the injury, this imbalance may become significant in itself and lead, in turn, to further injuries.

Pilates, being an exercise and stretching discipline entirely aimed at keeping our bodies balanced, can have a crucial role to play in helping any injured muscles and tendons re-acquire their original strength and function as rapidly as their healing allows...


"Pilates-based exercise will leave you feeling energised... the benefits can be very far-reaching" (Cosmopolitan).

Read some of our other reviews...


Celebrating 25 years of 'brilliant' matwork

To consistently teach Pilates matwork to the highest of standards, the PBA standard
To help and inspire every student who comes into class
To create a safe, friendly and uplifting environment in which all can achieve
To educate, encourage and give strength

Celebrating 25 successful years at the cutting edge of London Pilates in 2012, Chris Hocking released Pilates Body Awareness's Mission Statement...


Joseph Pilates originally developed the Pilates technique in England, but when he died his method, although established to some degree in the USA, was still almost unheard of in the land of its birth. It was Alan Herdman who, having trained extensively with several of Pilates' closest disciples in New York, brought the precious knowledge back to the UK, and London, in the 1970s.

One of the earliest students at his London studio was the young ballerina and choreographer Chris Hocking, whose enthusiasm for the Pilates technique quickly took over her promising professional dance career. As her own precise and inspirational teaching became more and more in demand, she went on to found the UK's first, and arguably most influential, group matwork school, Pilates Body Awareness in 1987.

The Central London school has been at the forefront of the explosion of interest in Pilates in the UK ever since.

Chris Hocking