Our Team of Pilates Teachers

A serious back injury 26 years ago, while I was living in South East Asia led me to begin practising yoga and the beginnings of recovery. When I eventually discovered Pilates, and the profound changes that I experienced in my own body, I knew very quickly that this was where I wanted to invest my time and my energies. 

In 15 years of working as a yoga teacher, a massage therapist and a Pilates teacher, I have come to understand that really being able to feel what is happening in our own bodies, helps us to develop better relationships with and a better understanding of ourselves, our physical challenges and limitations. With a greater ability to feel and understand, we are empowered to help ourselves in a more informed way.
My personal challenges with pain, disability, and subsequent rehabilitation have only served to inform my teaching style and fuel my compassion to be able to support and encourage you to be the best you and your body possibly can be. I have been fortunate enough to be able to learn and study with two of the foremost Pilates teacher training providers in the world; Body Control Pilates and Polestar Pilates. I am now working with, a unique method of retraining the body to restore natural, normal movement. This is the perfect way for me to be able to help you, and ultimately (and most importantly!) for you to be able to help yourself.

I established Pilates South West in 2011, teaching Pilates mat classes in Totnes. We are busier teaching mat classes (13+ per week) than ever before and if you are interested in mat classes, please see our 'sister' company at www.pilates-southwest.co.uk. I have been teaching and studying Pilates full time for the past 7 years, and it just keeps getting more and more interesting! As a fully qualified Polestar Comprehensive Studio and Rehabilitation teacher, I opened The Pilates Studio Totnes in Setember 2016. The studio has been received so fantastically well, and we continue to expand our timetable (30+ classes per week now), with our great team of teachers.

A Pilates studio environment offers a totally different Pilates experience, and whether you are looking to facilitate recovery from injury, are an athlete looking to improve your performance, or somewhere inbetween, our experience, attention to detail and highly specialised equipment, will ensure you get the very best Pilates experience. 'Teaching the body in front of me', is where I feel my teaching strength is, and with our individual and small group classes in the studio, I feel here that I can be my very best for you.

I am a fully accredited member of the Body Control Pilates Association (BCPA). This is Europe's foremost professional Pilates organisation. All members of this association are bound by a code of practice which includes many hours of ongoing professional development each year! I am also a member of the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPS). It is important when you are looking for a new Pilates teacher, that you ensure he/she is a member of an accredited organisation. For now at least, there is no regulation for Pilates teachers, therefore this is your only way of ensuring you are choosing a fully and professionally trained teacher.

I encourage you to contact me, or one of our team, and we can talk about which classes/sessions are most suitable for you. There is a Pilates way for anybody who wants it, and it's our job to find the way that is right for you!

Jill comes from a background in theatre and education. She has worked in the fitness Industry for over twenty years, teaching in many of the top London health clubs. She went on to study mat Pilates with Stott Pilates, then became a qualified Pilates equipment practitioner with Polestar Pilates and managed the Pilates Studio at a health club in Fulham. She then ran her own studio where she specialised in teaching Reformer classes and one to one Pilates Personal Training. Jill has qualified in ante/postnatal Pilates through The Pilates Foundation and also trained in Barre Pilates with both Stott and Balanced Body Pilates. Jill believes that Pilates is an intelligent form of fitness which can be applied to and enhance any sporting/fitness activity and lifestyle.




Emma Manning

Originally a dancer from the age of 3, I was classically trained in ballet, modern and tap then later contemporary dance. Whilst living in India during my twenties I discovered yoga and suffered a dislocated shoulder after a trekking accident. I returned to the UK and was attracted to a new course in Dance Movement Therapy that further developed and broadened my interest in making dance accessible to all. I then qualified as a Dance Leader and a teacher in further education delivering a wide range of education and community based projects, working with a variety of ages & abilities within many different settings.

I began attending Body Control Pilates classes in 2002 to strengthen my body protecting against injuries whilst I was teaching dance and I have trained with many teachers from different organisations and backgrounds – all of which I incorporate into my teaching style.

I felt so much benefit from the exercises, regaining full range of movement in my shoulder that a natural progression for me was to go on to train to Level 3 in mat work at the Polestar Pilates UK studios in London in autumn of 2007, qualifying in June 2008.

I opened my own Pilates studio in Cornwall, in May 2011, teaching mat and began my 460 hours of training for my Comprehensive Studio course with Polestar Pilates UK, qualifying in 2013. The depth of the Polestar Comprehensive training allowed me to work with those wanting to compliment their sports and dance to those in rehabilitation. It has given me the knowledge to effectively assess the bodies of my clients and to safely work with special populations and those with injuries. Through my love of dance and Pilates I have been able to empower and enable people to move more efficiently and without pain ‘impacting the world through intelligent movement’, I’m excited to continue, bringing my enthusiasm & experience to the Pilates South West team.

Grace Best
My interest in Pilates began during my ballet training in my teens. I attended classes regularly and after a few stints dancing professionally I decided to become a Pilates instructor as well - one of the best decisions I have ever made. I was delighted to be in the business of building people’s appreciation for their bodies and encouraging their body confidence. After certification in mat work and reformer with STOTT PILATES® in Boston, USA in 2003, Pilates soon become my full-time profession. I worked with a wonderful group of instructors in New Hampshire, USA where I continued learning and growing through mentorship, various workshops, and becoming a certified Movement Training Specialist.

After moving to England in 2013, I worked at several studios in the Greater Manchester region before joining an excellent team of instructors at the Pilates Reformer Studio in Warrington, Cheshire. I have worked with clients from all types of movement backgrounds from sports professionals to people with severe movement limitations. My training has delved into rehab-level Pilates and functional movement patterning, and I am committed to assisting people in their journey to reduce pain and recover from injuries.

Since May 2017, we call the South Hams our home, and I am glad to have connected with Annita and The Pilates Studio, Totnes, as we share many similar views and mindsets in our Pilates teaching.