Originally from New York, she launched the premium Flex Studio in Hong Kong in 2005 – it currently has two locations in Southside and Central – and had long been interested in expanding to Singapore. The pandemic delayed her plans but now that the Singapore studio has been established, she is based here to oversee its day-to-day operations and returns to Hong Kong every six to eight weeks.

“The Singapore market is becoming a lot more mature and has a well-travelled population. They want the best in luxury and fashion and dining, why should it be any different when it comes to being knowledgeable about this kind of movement,” said Thomas, who is also a lead educator for Real Pilates Teacher Training, a globally recognised classical pilates education centre based in New York City.

“Flex Studio ensures Singaporeans get the best of the best and  take their knowledge of pilates confidently across the globe to practise elsewhere with ease and sophistication.”

While there are many pilates studios in Singapore, most of them focus on contemporary styles, which tend to be more trend- and fitness-based. “A lot of contemporary classes are more like a workout where you sweat and then it is over,” she said.

On the other hand, classical pilates, which is based on Pilates’ original teachings, features “consistent foundational components” that Thomas likens to baseline exercises and movements that are what the body needs.

The difference can be subtle since some of the exercises and movements are the same, but she noticed how her clients began making significant improvements when she transitioned from teaching contemporary to classical pilates.

“As a result of our commitment to the classical method, we saw bodies getting stronger and people understanding how this could be therapeutic and beneficial to their bodies,” she observed.

“People have moved in the direction of ‘I just want to sweat’ so classes have gotten shorter, faster and harder. But Joseph Pilates belonged to the traditional school of repeating certain movements to get better as a benchmark.”


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