Derry women leave busy Dubin lives to open Pilates studio at home

Laurie Schneider and Louise Carey left their busy lives in Dublin to open their own Pilates studio in Derry.

Louise and Laurie both call Derry home, although Laurie was born in Tullamore but regularly visited relatives in Derry growing up. The pair worked together in a Pilates studio in Dublin before deciding to take the plunge and move north.

Laurie said: “Life in Dublin was a bit crazy so, I decided that I would move to Derry and work in a Pilates studio. I phoned Louise to talk it through and she told me that she had been thinking about opening her own place years ago and had the plans written out already. I was preparing to move by myself when Louise called me and said she was going to come too.

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"We decided that this move wasn’t just about opening a studio; we looked at what kind of life we wanted for ourselves here. Dublin was crazy and expensive so, here, we wanted to create a better quality of life for ourselves and for our clients coming in.”

Laurie Schneider and Louise Carey, who run Embodied Pilates Studio on Clarendon Street.

Louise said: "When we decided to come here, there was probably more excitement than nervousness. I’ve never thought that we wouldn’t succeed but it has been a struggle at times, particularly with the war in Ukraine and the effect it has had on people’s disposable incomes. Small businesses have really struggled in the past year, ourselves included.”

"Pilates is a bit of a mystery for most people,” said Laurie. “They hear about it from their doctor or physio and but don’t really know what it is. So, part of our work is educating people and de-mystifying Pilates. Most people who come here are a little bit nervous at first and don’t really know what to expect. When they’re finished, they say that, although it was challenging, they immediately feel a difference in how they feel and move.

“We tend to work with a lot of women who have had children or are going through peri-menopause or menopause,” said Louise. “So, working with the pelvic floor is a large part of what we teach. People may think that it’s only relevant to women but men have pelvic floors also and can struggle with incontinence and other issues associated with pelvic floor dysfunction which we can help with.

Louise said: "Thankfully, more and more doctors are prescribing Pilates, yoga and physios for people who are suffering from muscle pain, particularly back pain. It’s about finding a consistent practice where you’re going at least once a week - ideally twice a week - to a class and you start to become aware of your body and strengthening it. This awareness and strength translates into doing all the things you want to do outside of the studio without pain and discomfort.

Laurie Schneider and Louise Carey, who run Embodied Pilates Studio.

"When people come in here, we always suggest starting with an Explore Session. That’s a one-to-one with myself or Laurie and we can talk about the basics of Pilates, about their goals, and any pain or issues they have with their bodies. We can then tell them which level would be best for them or what modifications they should make to certain exercises. Wherever your starting position is, that’s where we start – whether you’re an 85 year old woman or 30 year old athlete and everything in between!”

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Louise and Laurie teach contemporary Pilates, which means they keep up to date with the latest research and developments and incorporate that into their teaching.

“We run small group mat classes, private sessions, duets, and studio classes which have a maximum of 4 people,” said Laurie. “In our private and semi-private classes, we can incorporate all the large apparatus that Joseph Pilates created – Cadillac, Reformer, Wunda Chair, Ladder Barrel and Step Barrel to assist or add challenge to our clients in their Pilates training. All private and semi-private classes can be done online or in person, and we have a few classes that are online also.”

Louise said: "We programme our classes as six-week courses. This is to make sure that people are consistent and they can see the difference between week one and week six. Once you buy a pass with us, our courses are flexible within the expiry of your pass, regardless of when we start a new programme of exercises. Our next 6-week courses begin on January16.”

For more information on Embodied Pilates Studio or to book a session, visit or email [email protected]