Lesley Ackland has a BA in English and History, plus a post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).
It was whilst teaching at a North London comprehensive in the 1980s, and operating as Head of Department to a group of 14-18 year old students, that she first became interested in fitness.
She initially attended – and then later trained – in body conditioning classes at the Dance Centre in Covent Garden. She became one of the inaugural teachers at the newly-opened Pineapple Dance Studios, teaching matwork classes for several years, before setting up her Body Maintenance Studio in 1988 – also based at Pineapple.
The Body Maintenance Studio was a fully equipped machine-based Pilates studio and remained at the Pineapple Dance Studios for 25 years, before moving to its current site in the Crypt of St George’s Church, Bloomsbury Way, WC1, and being rebranded as Lesley Ackland’s Pilates in the Crypt.
Lesley trained in Pilates with Alan Herdman and also at several studios in New York with some of Joseph Pilates’ original teachers, including Romana Kryzanowska.
Teaching her style of Pilates-based exercise has seen her become remedial exercise consultant to Birmingham Royal Ballet for a period of five years, as well as selling 100,000 copies of her best-selling Pilates books, bringing the studio into the home.
Lesley has more than 30 years’ experience utilising her unique Pilates-based method to offer her clients specialist rehabilitation and recovery after spinal surgery, hip replacement and knee surgery. She also has a great deal of experience in managing various auto-immune issues.
Lesley has a solid academic background, as well as an intuitive understanding of the psychology behind teaching and group dynamics, all of which underpins her approach to Pilates and its constantly evolving techniques, based on sound anatomical principles.
Lesley is also co-Director – alongside Martin Witts – of the London International Arts Theatre Limited, incorporating Leicester Square Theatre, The Museum of Comedy and The Great Yorkshire Fringe.