I Was An Actress. Then I Discovered Pilates

Posted on March 5, 2024

If you love Pilates and want some serious inspiration, look no further than Andrea Maida. US-based Andrea – coming to Flex soon – describes herself as “a 40-something devotee of the original Pilates method of exercise, living in beautiful Solana Beach, just north of San Diego in Southern California”. A highly respected member of the Pilates community and recognized as a true devotee to the most pure form of ‘corrective’ Pilates worldwide, Andrea has been immersed in this system of exercise since taking her first class nearly 15 years ago.

Luckily for us, Andrea is soon in our Hong Kong studios. And you do not want to miss out on her master class sessions (mat, allegro and small barrel sessions), being held in One Island South and Central from March 9-12. Everyone from beginners to teachers can take part.

We spoke with Andrea from California this week, and found out how Pilates changed her life for good.

Andrea Maida

I Was Determined

I was working as an actress in Washington, DC. I was in rehearsal and found out my costume was to be very tight and revealing. I knew I would need to have confidence in my body and my movement to portray my character effectively. A friend recommended the classes at a local studio, Excel Pilates. I signed up for a 6-week Basic Mat class course. I had heard the name Pilates, but I didn’t know what it was. I thought if it was just you and a mat it would be like yoga, which I had done for years as my primary method of fitness.

Moments into my very first Mat class, I learned I had a stiff back. I couldn’t do the Roll Up at all. My 20-something ego could not reconcile this failure at literally the second exercise. I often think I persisted in my Pilates classes because I am stubborn. I kept thinking, “Why can’t I roll up?” I was convinced this was a skill I needed to master. And why hadn’t I noticed this before?

Across the studio from my mat classes, another teacher was working out on the Reformer. I saw the exercise ‘Control Balance Stepping Off’ for the first time. In this exercise, one must roll off the Reformer and stand up and then roll back onto the Reformer with control. Wow! As a child I had done gymnastics and I love all the upside- down exercises we have in Pilates. If I had to stay over on the mat forever to master the Roll Up in a bid to eventually be able to do the Control Balance, then that sounded like a good deal. And then my obsession began…

I just loved everything about the incredible Pilates Method. I loved the precision of the exercises themselves and how there was a specific order to learn. I loved how I felt after my lessons and classes. I was amazed at the steady change in my body. I always wanted to know more. It took me a long time to decide to become a teacher, but once I started I fell in love all over again.

But I had tried it before….I just didn’t realize it

I had actually experienced Pilates exercises well before taking classes and lessons at a proper Pilates studio. In the early nineties I lived in New York City to attend acting school. Every morning we had a class called Body Alignment. We were all so crazy in love with this class. Our teacher would record her instructions for us so we could do the exercises at home too. Only years later in my first Pilates Mat class did I discover I had been doing Pilates. Fast forward to the year 2000.

Andrea Maida


My Workshops Will Demystify Your Practice

Students and teachers who attend my workshops will get to workout and experience the exercises as much as they are able. I love to work through the exercises with discussion and then get a chance at them in a real time workout too. Bring your questions or Pilates problem exercises and we’ll discuss. The Pilates Method keeps us learning. As your body changes, your experience of the exercises will change as well. I strive to demystify and simplify the concepts in the method. And yes, be prepared to think, but also be prepared to move!

You Have To Try It To Fully Understand It

I believe Pilates is underestimated by those who have never tried it. Before I tried it, I underestimated it as well. Sometimes I still do. Pilates is experiential. Intellectually, it is possible to understand what Pilates is, but to fully understand it, the body must feel and experience the exercises. Pilates looks at the body in a holistic way, which is a different point of view from mainstream health and fitness models and medical anatomy.

Pilates ideally enables all the muscle systems of the body to work in a balanced and harmonious way: no one muscle group overworking or taking a holiday.Romana Kryzanowska used to say: “If you are true to Pilates, Pilates will be true to you”. Pilates is accessible to everybody and when you apply yourself to the method, it’s amazing what changes can occur.

Andrea Maida

I Love Decadent French Cuisine

I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the northeast of the US. Currently I live in Solana Beach, California, just north of San Diego. I usually start my day reading while I have my coffee. Often I start my workday on the Small Barrel and Foot Corrector. Those apparatus are the bomb.

I usually love all the food I encounter. I love sushi and Korean food. And decadent French cuisine… and healthy things like quinoa, salads. Gosh I love it all. Pilates is a nice balance if you enjoy eating. Although this is still somewhat ‘doing Pilates’, I started my blog because I have always enjoyed writing. I’ve always been an avid reader as well. I enjoy the theater and the opera and I love to travel and visit new cities.

Since moving to California, I have learned to surf a little bit and I love being at the beach and watching the ocean and the really good surfers.

You Will Make Connections

Pilates students and teachers of all levels can benefit from my workshops. Beginners may find themselves doing exercises they’ve not done before and workshops are a great place to learn. When I was a beginner Pilates student, I loved to see what I’ll call ‘The Big Picture’. You’ll make connections between our basic exercises and the complex versions of them we encounter later in our Pilates learning.

I enjoy watching my Pilates colleagues because we all have different strengths and weaknesses. We excel at some exercises and we get beat down by others that play to our weak spots. Viewing the exercises on all different bodies can be very educational. And it will be fun!


Join Andrea on the below dates. For more info, visit wwwflexhk.com or to book, email info@flexhk.com

Friday 9th March 

Island South
Mat Master Class 11.30AM – 12.30PM

Saturday 10th March 
Allegro Master Class 12PM – 1PM
Mat Master Class 2.15PM – 3.15PM

Monday 12th March 
Island South
Allegro Master Class 11.30AM – 12.30PM
Small Barrel Master Class 3PM – 4PM

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