The Team

Amanda Heath – Studio owner and Pilates Instructor


I chose to train with the Pilates Foundation with Master Trainer, Rachel Rafiefer who’s knowledge of Pilates is infinite.  The Pilates Foundation have the most intensive, thorough training programme in the UK and is the only Pilates body recognised by the NHS for it’s standards of training.  It covered various illnesses and medical conditions including Arthritis and other joint issues, Disk problems, Spinal conditions such as Spondylolythesis, Sciatica, MS, Hypermobility, Pregnancy, Postnatal, amongst others.   This initial training took over 18months to complete and now, with continued professional development I am qualified/trained in the following areas:

  • Pilates matwork (Pilates Foundation)
  • Pilates apparatus training (with Australian Pilates Physiotherapy Institute, inc. the Reformer, Trapeze, Ladder Barrel, Chair and Arc)
  • Stott Pilates Intensive Reformer
  • Balanced Body Apparatus 1 and 2
  • Pilates small equipment
  • Pilates for equestrians
  • Muscle testing
  • Muscle R.O.M
  • Proprioception and the dura
  • Pilates for the older population
  • Diploma in Myofascial Release

I love the fact that Pilates puts people in charge of their bodies so that when aches and pains arise they have the techniques to deal with them.

Samantha Ridings – Studio Owner and Pilates Instructor

I have been a physical education teacher for over 24 years I have always had a strong passion within the field of physiology, posture and psam pic 2erformance. In 2015 I completed Level 3 diploma in teaching Pilates, ‘Modern Pilates’, with Cherry Baker. This form of Pilates offers clinical forms of exercise that work on developing balance throughout the body and building strong stable muscles that are also flexible and correctly aligned. More recently I trained with Stott Pilates Reformer intermediate Level and thoroughly enjoy teaching using Pilates equipment. I have also completed workshops specialising in ‘specialist Pilates -Hip and knee’, ‘ Neuro-Lates -working with MS clients and clients that suffer from Parkinson’s disease.’ I recently completed my training to teach Barre Pilates. The Barre Pilates Method combines basic Ballet Barre exercises with Pilates, body conditioning moves and stretches. It offers a full body workout that overloads the muscles through full range of movement as well as smaller end range concentric and eccentric contractions.

Nicole Richards – Pilates Instructor

Like most young girls I did ballet from the age of 6. Unlike most, I continued until I was 18, choosing to go to university instead of ballet school.

Years later, I took it up again attending a local adult ballet class to keep fit. Then, mid 30’s I discovered Yoga and Yogalates. This eventually led me to Pilates, which I have been practising now for around 10 years.

I came to realise the benefit and importance of it a few years ago, when, on holiday in Turkey I ended up in hospital with a severely herniated disc, barely able to walk.
As my insurance company wouldn’t pay for the operation that I was told was necessary, I came home a week later with a variety of pills! Three weeks later I was back at work, much to the amazement of my consultant here, who could only put it down to the fact that my core was that strong ( from the yoga and Pilates) it had helped my back.

Following redundancy I decided to train to teach it and be able to help others in my situation. I trained with Stott Pilates and currently teach mat to Advanced level. I have also completed the Stott course for Injuries and Special Populations.

To this day I still haven’t had the operation and manage my condition with Pilates, which has become an essential part of my exercise regime.

Olivia Rigby – Yoga Therapist

oliviastaffpicI am a qualified Yoga Therapist through Robin Monroe and the Yoga Biomedical Trust in London, and have been a British Wheel of Yoga Teacher since 2004.

I have studied many aspects of Yoga Therapy, for a wide range of conditions, and I specialise in Yoga for the over 50s, Yoga for ME and also for MS. I have further qualifications for Yoga for Pregnancy and also, Yoga for Women’s issues.

My classes at Natural Balance Pilates are aimed at improving general health and wellbeing – physically, mentally and emotionally.  We focus specifically on releasing the joints and the spine and giving the body space and time to allow it to return to its natural alignment.  When the body comes back into alignment, so too does the breath, which in turn calms and focuses the mind. 

Every session begins with a centring down and joint release before developing stronger postures and routines.  We try to have a mix of flowing postures and routines, linking the breathing and the movement together; and holding postures, to strengthen.  We incorporate different breathing and relaxation techniques throughout the sessions, but we always end with a relaxation.   This allows you to re-charge your batteries and re-set the body clock for the week ahead. 

All my classes are drop-in sessions, so just come along when you can.  Equipment is available but come wearing warm comfortable clothing.  Come and find out for yourself what a great deal of research is starting to prove – that yoga can revitalise both the body and the mind.

Sara Quentin Lucarrelli – Astanga Vinyasa Yoga teacher

Sara is currently studying a 200hour Yoga Teacher Training Diploma with Yogacampus, and has had the privilege to have worked with teachers including Janine Hurley, Jane Craggs, Amanda Latchmore, Uma Dinsmore-Tuli, and Graham Burns. This summer she studied with Shiva Rea in London, as part of a Bhakti immersion of prana-vinyasa flow. Sara teaches vinyasa flow classes which integrate breath and movement, exploring the body as a whole in order to strengthen, mobilise and energise the body. Classes also involve pranayama (breathwork) intended to help still the mind and prepare us for meditation. As well as class settings, Sara offers private sessions tailored to the needs of individual students, be they beginners or experienced practitioners.

Sara is a fully trained and IYN accredited Yoga and Mindfulness practitioner for children; she delivers sessions through after school clubs, family yoga workshops and events around the North West for children and their families. She also brings children’s yoga to primary and secondary school settings, as well as for children with additional needs, be they physical, emotional, mental, or social. Sara has a longstanding background in children’s education and was previously a Head of Department for Religious Studies, PSHE and Citizenship in a secondary school in Manchester, as well as a school governor.