The Holistic Health Coach and Pilates Teacher we're Zooming in on.
Zoe-Maia is a holistic health coach, and founder of MAIA well co. - a team of wellbeing practitioners that offer bespoke classes to their clients on - you guessed it - everything. From Yoga and Pilates to nutrition, mindfulness and Postural Alignment Therapy. This week we’re zooming in on Zoe-Maia to discuss building and sustaining a happier and healthier lifestyle and talking the art of following your own path.
Hey Zoe, can you tell us a bit about your role as founder of MAIA Well Co.?
When I began creating MAIA well co., I wanted to create a business around something I felt passionate about, so that I’d find joy in every day. I wanted to create a business that would allow freedom to travel, flexibility in my working life and knowing that every day would be different. And I am incredibly grateful to have been able to create just that. Every day at MAIA well co. looks different. The days including teaching private clients, corporate clients or my online group classes. In between this, I may be researching or planning our retreats around the world, meeting with brands or business owners to discuss collaborations, filming Pilates videos for our members or speaking to my business partner about an exciting new project we were working on that was put on hold due to Covid. There’s always the unglamorous admin side of the business, but luckily I’ve brought on a new Assistant to help with this so that I can put my energy towards the projects that I truly enjoy!
How are your Pilates classes different to other Pilates programs?
There are many different styles of Pilates classes out there and there is something for everyone. Some classes are more mindful, some more dynamic and others more classical. I have used the education from both contemporary Pilates training and classical Pilates training to create our MAIA Well co. style. All our classes are low impact, but focus upon strengthening, toning and lengthening from head to toe, whilst feeling the Pilates burn we all know (and secretly love!). We have a mixture of live and on demand classes, so that everyone feels part of a class environment, all whilst being in the comfort of your own home. You’ll just have to come and try it out to see for yourself!
The history of Pilates is all about connecting the mind and body - how does this work in your pilates classes?
In my classes, there’s an emphasis on the breath and this is incorporated throughout the class. Linking breath with the exercises facilitates the movements. There are different theories for breathing in Pilates - contemporary methods of teaching encourage you to breathe in through the nose and breathe out through the mouth, whilst classical methods encourage you to breathe in through the nose and breathe out through the nose. The main thing I emphasise in class is to make sure you’re breathing, rather than worrying whether you are breathing correctly. The simple act of linking the breath to movement promotes concentration and allows us to connect the mind and body as one.
Obviously, consistency plays a big role in seeing benefits from most workouts, how many times a week should we do Pilates to see a mental and physical benefit?
We’re all so unique that it really depends on the person and various other lifestyle factors. I personally like to think of Pilates as a daily habit, in the same way you brush your teeth or have your morning coffee. A little bit of Pilates a day keeps the doctor at bay. If you can, try to incorporate 2-3 sessions per week and you will undoubtedly notice the difference. Before lockdown my client hadn’t tried Pilates, she now does 2-3 sessions per week and says it has “changed her life” and nothing makes me happier than hearing that!
Everyone has a different approach to mindfulness - how do you build mindfulness into your day? Are there any habits you have started or stopped?
I used to think if I wasn’t meditating daily, I wasn’t incorporating mindfulness into my day. I prefer walking meditations, a quiet walk along the river, listening to the sound of the birds in the morning. It’s something I try to do as often as possible, but with some early morning clients, it might switch to the afternoon. I started these walks at the beginning of lockdown and they are staying with me forever.
How do you get into the right mind-set to bring a positive and connected environment to your classes?
Teaching Pilates truly is my happy place. Before teaching, as often as I can, I will flow through ideas for the class on my own mat which really helps me to connect from one session to the next. I love the personal interaction of teaching clients online too and seeing their faces through the screen, so will always have a quick catch up with everyone before we get started. Knowing that these classes are helping people to feel better in their bodies continues to motivate me every single day.
How do you think your teaching has grown since you started being independent?
I've always tried to remain true to myself and my style of teaching, however some studios have a certain style of Pilates which they encourage you to teach (e.g. dynamic pilates / mindful pilates etc). What I love the most about being independent is that I can teach my classes in my own style and adapt to whatever my clients are looking for. I've become more confident to stand by my style and my way of teaching, knowing that it might not be for everyone, but it will be for many.
Are there any new things in Pilates you are most interested in learning about?
I love learning more about pre and post natal Pilates. I find the human body fascinating and absolutely adore supporting my clients on their journey from pre pregnancy, during pregnancy and post pregnancy. There’s always more to learn around this topic and hopefully one day I’ll be fortunate enough to experience it first hand myself.
We know you've been teaching a lot of online workouts - how has this worked for you? Are there more benefits to the studio over online?
Before Covid, I would have never thought about teaching Pilates online. I was forced out of my comfort zone and now love it more than ever! Of course, there are benefits of teaching in person, seeing people’s bodies in real life and supporting them with physical modifications is something I miss, but the flexibility of online classes has been so wonderful and allowed me to teach new clients, friends and family across the world who I’d have never been able to teach before and I am incredibly grateful for that!
You had a long career at in Fashion Editorial – what did you learn about yourself and your style during your time there?
Yes, I used to work at Stylist Magazine which was an experience I’ll never forget. I worked there in my early 20’s, learnt so much and had lots of fun. One thing I did learn though was that I didn’t feel truly fulfilled. I knew I was meant to do something else. I was young and still unsure which direction I would go in, but I would spend all my spare time brainstorming ideas, writing up healthy recipes and researching travel destinations. I knew I wanted to work in wellness, but it took a lot of time, thought and discovery work to figure out exactly what I wanted to do. I always say, if you have that itch, keep exploring. The idea might not come overnight and the process definitely won't happen overnight, but if I can do it, anyone can.
Which SILOU-ettes do you turn to for a great workout?
You can ask all my clients and class members… there’s not a week that goes by without me wearing my SILOU. I absolutely adore teaching in them, especially the bodysuits. We do a lot of moving around in various positions during Pilates (prone, supine, side lying, standing, seated etc) and it’s so nice to not worry about leggings coming down or tops rolling up, not to mention they are beautiful, fantastic quality and super comfy too.