Hello! I am Miguel Bengoa. I am the teacher in and owner of your Pilates studio.
I first discovered Pilates after working with Dr. Joaquin Farías some ten years ago. I was a semi-professional musician suffering from Task Specific Focal Dystonia. The cause? I have to admit: hours and hours of mindless practice. I was practising as if I was training to be an athlete. Ironically, I later learned that current research shows that athletes should always train “mindfully”.
Joaquín gave me an introduction into plasticity of the brain and how movement literally shapes us. Years later, when I started Pilates, I saw a direct parallel with Joaquin’s work.
I became more and more interested in the neurology of learning, anatomy and biomechanics. I was a language teacher in higher education and as I was getting older and as I looked at my peers, I realised that I needed to look after my body more – I was quickly becoming an expert at sitting down and not moving!
I began to realise that in regards to “learning to learn” I found the academic literature of the movement disciplines stimulating. I began to seriously question why we didn’t ask how people learn new skills as much in language learning.
I went to the gym, took up running and determined to learn how to run a marathon. It was at this point when a colleague introduced me to a little Pilates. I was instantly hooked – the things I had learned with Joaquin all those years ago came to mind. Joaquin had really struck a deep chord!
I bought books, watched videos, found a proper teacher and started on a year of private lessons 4-5 times weekly. I also participated in countless half marathons, marathons, ultra marathons and in half ironman distance triathlons.
I started studying with Taha Erpulat and the Balanced Body 500 hr. apprenticeship programme. I left my full time job and set up my own satudio in Izmir, Turkey.
A cycling accident broke my left elbow, wrist and separated my right acromioclavicular joint. I needed surgery but I was leaving Turkey and returning to the UK at the time. I saw several physios and osteopaths in the UK, all of whom recommended surgery. I did the rehab myself. I learned so much about shoulders over the past year …
I’m running again, cycling and now my shoulder now supports swimming. It’s wonderful to be back.
I know how tough it is – as my friend Andrea Maida says: “The Struggle is Real!”. But with patience and persistence, you will be amazed at what you can do!
Pilates helped my recovery, strength and concentration whilst I was doing these sports. Not only was the body satisfied, but the study of how we learn and “anatomy in movement” satisfied my mind!
I am a firm believer in goals and objectives – of lifelong learning. It’s an incredibly fantastic time to be in one of the movement disciplines! Recent advances in our knowledge as to how anatomy works is revolutionising how we see Pilates, Yoga, Personal Training and physiotherapy.
Gone is the “lever and pulley” model of muscle and bone, we now look at how whole systems work, most notably, the fascia. It is in contact with every part of our body from individual cells upwards. It has more nerve endings than any other part of our body. It can adhere and get “stuck” – and this can literally change our shape. Similarly, we can manipulate it and restore lost shape. Understanding how this works is one objective. That’ll be an ongoing process as there’s no end in sight.
I’ve always wanted to be the best I can be both as an educator and practitioner. So, professionally this year I’ll take the Method Alliance Certification exam and slightly longer term I’m aiming to get accepted into Balanced Body Faculty as a Trainer to pass on all I’m learning. That will mean making an original contribution to our knowledge of movement within the discipline of Pilates.
1.9km swim + 90km bike + 21km run – under 6 hours.
The 140km Iznik Ultra Marathon Start