Paula Harris came to an active lifestyle a little later than most – after a book-wormish couch-potato life, it wasn't until her mid 20s that she began exercising, motivated by the desire to counter the bone-weakening effects of the corticosteroids she was on for Crohn's Disease. From this beginning, fitness has become a constant in her life; this includes grading green in Muay Thai kickboxing, and exploring various strength, cardio and flexibility training methods.
In 2011 she found a passion for Pilates (having dabbled with it several times over the years), in large part thanks to finding a teacher who helped her connect with finding the precision of each movement. This has helped her to develop strength she never thought would be possible with an ileostomy (after surgery in 2000). It seemed a natural progression that she decided to train as an instructor and share her love for movement with others; she completed certification as a Pilates mat instructor through Heart and Bones Pilates in Wellington under well-respected teacher Tania Huddart, before continuing on to train in using the Pilates studio equipment. She completed her Comprehensive Pilates Instructor Certificate (a PMA registered course) in 2015.
She has been fortunate to have the opportunity to train with second-generation Pilates teacher Blossom Leilani Crawford (Brooklyn, New York, USA), including the first heritage training Blossom taught on Reformer work, looking at how Joseph Pilates and his student Kathy Grant (Blossom's mentor) used the Reformer with clients. Paula's own teaching reflects Blossom's fun but focused style.
In late 2011 Paula discovered THEGROOVE, and instantly felt she'd found "home": as a fitness method it reminded her of the sheer joy of movement she'd had as a teenager, when she danced without caring what anyone else thought; while the philosophies and the teaching pedagogy all gelled with her beliefs. In February 2012 Paula trained as a GROOVE facilitator (training with Australian Master Trainer Miranda Rudegeair), so that she could share that joy of movement with others. In March 2013 Paula upgraded her training as a GROOVE facilitator under Misty Tripoli, creator of THEGROOVE. Paula was the first New Zealand facilitator in THEGROOVE, and is the New Zealand ambassador for THEGROOVE.
Paula is a qualified naturopath and aromatherapist, with over 14 years' experience working from her own clinic, Elements Natural Therapy, where she specialises in preconception, fertility and pregnancy care. Her massage work is focused on relaxation, Hawaiian lomilomi, Pohaku hot stone massage and pregnancy massage. She also dances and teaches Argentine tango (along with DJing tango social dances) as part of Tango Abrazo.
She is constantly grateful for having a strong body that keeps her going through her busy life, and which loves to GROOVE...
If you'd like more details on Paula's Pilates training, you can find them here.
Many thanks to all the hana studio clients of various shapes, sizes and ages who model for our photographs. We love our hana studio community!