Patricia Kabalaoui has a string of credits to her name. In addition to being a professional dancer, teacher and fitness instructor, she is trained in pre- and post-natal Pilates.
Patricia has recently completed a Fascia Release Workshop in Dubai. She is about to host the second BASI Pilates Teacher Training course, which covers Mat and Equipment-based exercises. She will assist the teachers with the aim of adding yet another qualification under her belt.
After a 10-year stint in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, Patricia moved to Bahrain in 2004 and opened her fitness centre, Equilibrium, in 2011. Walking into one of the studios at Equilibrium feels like you’ve entered a rehabilitation centre. The rows of equipment look technical, but Patricia hastens to highlight the fact that the machinery can open you up to a new physical and spiritual outlook.
Woman This Month (WTM): When did you get into Pilates?
Patricia Kabalaoui (PK): I got into Pilates in 2000 when I did a course in Austin, Texas.
At the time Pilates was getting very popular in the US and still being discovered n the Middle East. It was not allowed to be called Pilates so I use to call my classes “Mat Science”.
WTM: Did you get involved due to injury?
PK: No, but I found that after years of dancing my body was filled with imbalances. Pilates really restored my balance, stability and core strength. I also noticed a lot of the principles of dance, in terms of the way you use your body, are applied to Pilates which includes precision, flow, breath, length and core strength.
WTM: What is BASI Pilates all about?
PK: BASI style is about passion, precision, flow, mindful movement with beauty and grace. The founder, Rael Isacowitz, is very passionate. He comes from the dance world too. His movements are always precise, beautiful and graceful.
WTM: Who is Pilates for?
PK: From golf players and hardcore fitness goers to those who hardly exercise at all! Pilates is suitable for someone who is recovering from cancer or an operation because the equipment can be adapted to your optimum resistance. It’s about lengthening the body.
WTM: Does Pilates make you sweat?
PK: If you perform the exercises correctly and precisely it can be very challenging — you’ll leave drenched. You can lose weight too. But we don’t call it that; it’s all about shrinking. Pilates will give you a new body shape. You’ll look taller and leaner.
WTM: We’re all slouchers aren’t we?
PK: Computers and cars are a disease of the 21st century. We’re all hunched over the keyboard or the steering wheel. Everyone is always forward and tense. Therefore, Pilates is not just about the body, it’s also about the mind.
WTM: Why do you think there is a demand for this new Pilates?
PK: People get inspired when they see changes in their body. They feel better, look better and have happier lives. It’s a life changer. If you want to develop strength and overcome flexibility issues, Pilates is great!