"I have also ‘found my voice’ during this time, and started writing about what I do and why and also giving interviews both locally and internationally. I have always been a reserved shy individual but my journey in Sweden has helped me become something more, being now more direct in nature and certain that I have a huge contribution to make to this society."
I moved to Skåne in 2006, Österlen to live near to family to be exact. It was February and it was -20. I was travelling daily to Copenhagen by train from Ystad – life was tough. I arrived daily at the office with so many woolen clothes on I would almost suffocate with the heat all day, ready for my expedition home again late afternoon.
There were no people anywhere in Österlen, even the local “Gästis” in Hammenhög was deserted. I wondered what an earth I had landed in. ‘You can’t go out in jeans’ I heard, you can’t do this and you can’t do that….!!!! As a confident successful finance individual aged 36 I was taken aback – was this culture really so backward and lacking in people skills?
As time went on I discovered it was the country folk who had perhaps some resentment from a confident ‘outsider’ landing in their village life creating a stir…. I really didn’t fit in one could say. I travelled my daily journey to and from Copenhagen and enjoyed the challenges of my work.
During late 2008 I lost my job as many others did, there were no jobs around so I took an equally well paid job in Gibraltar and moved lock stock 2 cats, 1 horse and a dog down south. Fast forward 3 years later and I returned to the quality of Swedish style and landscape, midway through a rather taxing divorce with no home and no job I spent 9 months as a native English teacher in the schools in Österlen. Both the children and parents appreciated my spontaneous style of teaching, it felt good but it was an extremely tough period in my life.
My true British determination and fighting spirit carried me through and I used my time well to ground my self for 9 months until I found my dream job again in Copenhagen, I had returned to civilisation once again. This time everyone at the company had high self leadership skills (and high educations too …), the British mother company had a rather positive influence on this Danish company I must say!!
In 2013 I was plagued by chronic back pain that gradually made my job as an international financial and risk management consultant more and more difficult. Sitting for long hours every day became too painful to bear.
Lucky for me at the same time I met my present “sambo” (thank heavens for Match.com, we were not destined to meet in the middle of the countryside) and he installed me in the comforts of Limhamn where I could start to find my health again.
I began educating myself about my condition and came across Pilates. The stories of rehabilitation and Joseph's accounts of how much the technique benefited him and his clients made me very curious.
Now I don't do things half-heartedly, and I have this need to know everything 100%, so I started a comprehensive education in Pilates.
That was 5 years ago and I have not looked back. After I passed the examinations I realised I had the skills to begin teaching. I had also become extremely passionate about the technique and so grateful that it allowed me to regain my quality of life, I really wanted others to experience the same transformation and get relief from similar problems.
I had built a whole Pilates studio in my home in Limhamn for my rehabilitation, so all I needed to do was to found Limhamn Pilates Förening. Pilates was gaining popularity in Sweden at that time, as people became more aware that in order to help their back pain, for example, it required movement, not rest and immobilisation.
Fast forward to 2020 and I am getting stronger in my body all the time and completing my second comprehensive instructor education. Most importantly I have built a lovely Pilates community around me; people who have become as passionate about Pilates as I am because they have witnessed their own tightness and stress melting away. They notice improved posture, less exhaustion and more strength and resilience in their daily activities. Two of my clients have now progressed to become trainers in my studios themselves.
I now train people from across the spectrum. Traditionally men have kept away from Pilates, but they are now understanding just how hard it is and how much they really need it. We have football and rugby players, dancers, mothers, old and young, executives and those recovering from injury and illness.
In 2017 I worked with the charity We Act Sweden, working with immigrants in Malmö. Many of them have suffered extreme stress and trauma, and Pilates helped provide a safe sanctuary for the mind and body to rest with some gentle functional movement.
During the Corona Virus period, I have had the time to reflect on how I do what I do. As part of my training and acute own experience I have had to work a lot on my breathing and internal health, so it felt only natural that I could focus more on this with my clients these past months. It’s a very special gift when you find a deep alignment with your purpose and your see the positive results to someone’s health.
I have also ‘found my voice’ during this time, and started writing about what I do and why and also giving interviews both locally and internationally. I have always been a reserved shy individual but my journey in Sweden has helped me become something more, being now more direct in nature and certain that I have a huge contribution to make to this society.
For me it has been a real journey of inspiration and I continue be motivated and inspired by the Swedish culture and how I can contribute to my community.
/ Faith Clements