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Instructor Spotlight: Ariel Lim

Instructor Spotlight - Ariel Lim

Ariel Lim, Merrithew Instructor Trainer

Merrithew Certifications & Qualifications:
STOTT PILATES® Matwork & Reformer, Cadillac, Chair & Barrels; Total Barre® & Halo® Training Qualified

Additional credentials: Gyrotonic

Ariel Lim

Founder: With Pilates Studio

After a back injury ended her dance career, Merrithew Instructor Trainer and STOTT PILATES® Certified Instructor Ariel Lim turned to Pilates to regain her strength and endurance. It put her on a new career path and introduced her to a worldwide community. Now she’s a living example of what Pilates can help one overcome and achieve.

As a child, Ariel Lim had a singular focus: to become a professional dancer. While she loved everything from jazz to tango to Korean national dance, her main focus was ballet. But when she injured her back as a teen, her dream of becoming a dancer was shattered, so she decided to focus on choreography instead.

While studying in the United States, Ariel discovered Pilates. It strengthened her back, improved her posture and reduced her pain dramatically.

When she returned to Korea to work as a choreographer and dance instructor she met a young student who had sustained significant injuries while trying to master the splits. While in the pose, another instructor had forcibly pushed the student into position, causing tearing and bruising in her inner thighs.

“I felt terrible for her. She was in a lot of pain and couldn't do anything," Ariel says. "I really wanted to help her get better, so I looked online for a rehabilitation workout like the approach that had worked for me, and that's when I found STOTT PILATES."

What she learned to help that student ended up changing the trajectory of her career; she returned to the US to train with Merrithew, becoming a STOTT PILATES Certified Instructor.

In 2008, Ariel opened her own studio, With Pilates, a Merrithew Host Training Center in Korea, starting with a single Reformer. Today she's an accomplished instructor and Instructor Trainer with a busy eight-reformer studio. Ariel is Certified in STOTT PILATES, and Qualified in Halo Training, Total Barre and other modalities, and has trained hundreds of instructors.

A great reputation helps her compete

Like many small business owners, Ariel’s biggest challenge is rising above the competition, especially in a market like Seoul where there are more than 40 Pilates studios all vying for clients.

Ariel working with student

So how does With Pilates stay successful?

Ariel says it all comes down to having a great reputation in the industry, practicing diligently to maintain a high level of skill and finding people who can provide regular mentorship, advice and guidance.

She credits Merrithew's Instructor Trainers in Toronto for doing just that. By constantly innovating its programming and continuing education opportunities, she’s just as passionate and excited about Pilates now as she was when she first started.

“I did Pilates for many years," Ariel says. "When Merrithew came out with ZEN•GA®, it offered an exciting alternative for clients who might find Pilates a bit too challenging physically. Then they introduced Total Barre, which gave my students a fun cardio experience with great music and lots of energy — they love the Ed Sheeran tracks!”

“And Halo Training came in, helping build core strength. Before Halo Training, I thought I was strong. Turns out I wasn't, and it really changed my perspective."

Thanks to her strong foothold in the fitness community, cultivated through her instructing, writing about Pilates for a fitness magazine and appearing regularly on a TV show, she also landed a coveted position as a Lululemon ambassador when the company expanded to Korea. That helped her gain widespread recognition for her years of experience as a Pilates instructor.

Ariel instructing with the Halo Trainer

Coming back from injury

Living the "Pilates life" hasn't just helped Ariel professionally — she's seen great benefits physically as well. The back injury she sustained as a teen? Not a problem anymore, thanks to daily practice.

"Now nobody can even see I have a back issue; I can do everything," she says. "My physiotherapist, who I first started seeing 20 years ago, is astounded with what I can do. He really believes Pilates helped me get here. That's pretty amazing."

Ariel is all about trying new things and having new experiences — it's who she is, both in and out of the studio. She's an avid traveller who has hiked the Italian coast, surfed in Bali and even tried her hand at samurai sword fighting in Japan. Her partnership with Merrithew is part of that grand adventure. It lets her do what she loves: helping people stay active and healthy, and live better lives.

Want to see Ariel in action?

Follow her on Instagram @withpilates where she posts a lot of inspiring clips and tips for great Pilates practice.