Pain free for the first time in weeks!” … that’s some claim, but a genuine one from our very own Cosima Sempill-Lewis after a visit to Thurloe Street Pilates. We take a look at how the South Kensington studio is connected to the very founder of this physical fitness phenomenon. Cosima took time out to meet studio owner, Kelly Lynne Goulon, and experience this unique studio to the full …

Pilates was developed by German, Joseph Pilates, during the first half of the twentieth century. He created a system of exercises designed to strengthen the human mind and body believing that mental and physical health are interrelated.

His teachings soon spanned the globe. One of his pupils was the American dancer and choreographer, Ron Fletcher (1921-2011) who studied with the Pilates founder for almost 20 years before opening his own Pilates studio. His classes attracted, among others, Ali MacGraw and Barbara Streisand. Ron also taught Kelly Lynne, the owner at Thurloe Street Pilates. Cosima met up with Kelly Lynne to try out Thurloe Street for the first time.


Thurloe Street Pilates is on the second floor of a beautiful stucco terrace, which bears the same name. This serene stretch of white in South Kensington, sits directly opposite the tube station is also home to some of the areas’ newest art galleries and a well known Spa. Making it a regular one-stop-shop for a body and mind make over!


It’s central location and generous Georgian proportions are two aspects of the studio that appealed to Pilates instructor Kelly Lynne Goulon.

“On my first visit to meet with Kelly and observe a group class, I was greeted by the soulful sound of Patsy Cline echoing from the studio stereo. As you enter her calm, restful and sunlit space all the hustle and bustle of the outside world is left at the door. A jovial and friendly atmosphere presided as Kelly introduced me to three clients and her latest student, all of whom were dotted around the room happily engaged in various stretches under her watchful guidance.”

“What was instantly apparent was the relaxed and kindred mood of the group; it felt more like a gathering of friends than a rigorous exercise class. This is most likely a direct result of Kelly’s natural, calm demeanour and partly due to the longevity of her clients. Some have been with her for over a decade, moving with Kelly when she relocated from Queen’s Gate Mews to South Kensington eight years ago.

Such is their devotion that upon hearing classes may cease temporarily due to Kelly being between studios, a client offered up her own house as a base so that they could all continue to get their weekly fix. However, do not let the presence of the great American songbook or gentle chatter fool you; Kelly gives each attendee her expert attention and your ninety-minute session is an intense one.

She tailors the class to the specific needs of each client, moving them onto different apparatus and into precise stretches continuously. As a classically trained dancer, Kelly’s understanding of Pilates and how the body behaves is an instinctive one.

Most recently Kelly has been working with and attending workshops by master teacher, Yamuna Zake, who is renowned for her simplistic yet profound body sustainability techniques. Yamuna believes in working with clients to reorganise and realign their muscles. Her aim is to build a healthy, pain free body by using her unique bodyrolling technique.”

“During my session with Kelly we worked with a Yamuna ball to release tension in my back. By the time we reached my neck I could have fallen into a deep, contented sleep. The process of breathing into the ball (which is placed under various points of your back) teamed with its gentle traction was immensely relaxing and I would have happily continued to bodyroll for the rest of the morning.

Kelly then positioned me on the High Bed. Several people at once can achieve different things using this Pilates contraption, complete with pulleys, balance bars and handles. I lay on the bed and worked on releasing my intercostal muscles, this time using a Yamuna ball as a gentle counter weight. After this we concentrated on opening up my shoulders by doing some rotator cuff exercises. By the end of the class I genuinely felt lighter and taller. My back, both the upper and lower had a greater range of movement and were pain free for the first time in weeks!

It has been over seven days since my Prenatal Pilates class at Thurloe Street Pilates and I can feel the palpable disappointment within my muscles at not returning there this morning. Now in the third trimester of my pregnancy, my desire for exercise is beginning to wane, especially as I am suffering from sporadic, pelvic girdle pain. However, prior to commencing our class Kelly put me instantly at ease by thoroughly discussing any twinges or pregnancy complaints.

I had that feeling of being professionally observed, similar to that of dentist or dermatologist but much more comforting and with less over-head lighting. It became apparent that she had ‘read’ my body as I entered the studio and could already see the areas that needed attention. As a teacher of teachers, Kelly is well respected within the industry and continues to expand her own knowledge base as well as tutoring others. With a wide and comprehensive range of classes available at Thurloe Street Pilates, you can be sure to find the right one for you. Her clients range – male, female, from fourteen years old to late eighties and despite their disparate age groups, the common thread that unites each of them is their appreciation of Kelly and her calibre of teaching.

So why not discover Pilates perfection for yourself? And I’ll see you in her South Kensington studio next Wednesday morning!”


For upcoming classes and more information, please check this link.