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Instructor Spotlight: Jo-Anne Bunbury

Instructor Spotlight: Jo-Anne Bunbury

Thanks to our Community

This month we’re celebrating our mindful movement community with stories highlighting your accomplishments and experiences bringing fitness and joy to people around the world. Healthy communities are happy communities. Thank you!


Merrithew Lead Instructor Trainer
Merrithew Certifications & Qualifications:

STOTT PILATES® Certified Instructor: Matwork & Reformer, Cadillac, Chair & Barrels; Injuries & Special Populations (ISP); ZENGA®; Total Barre®; Merrithew Fascial Movement

Additional credentials: MA; Diploma in Osteopathic Manual Therapy candidate

Mind-body exercise touches almost every part of Jo-Anne Bunbury’s day. Like many mind-body instructors, she often notices dysfunctional movement patterns and injuries among people outside the studio – from an inability to engage certain muscles to increasingly common struggles such as 'tech neck'.

Jo-Anne, a Merrithew Lead Instructor Trainer and owner of Licensed Training Center, Calgary Pilates, shares her experience helping clients recover and regain strength post-injury.

A keen eye for movement

For the past 15 years, Jo-Anne has trained clients and STOTT PILATES instructors at her downtown Calgary studio. Her fascination with movement, sparked by her study of dance, inspired her to enroll in a master’s at New York University. After seeing the detail Jo-Anne applied to an assignment analyzing posture, a professor encouraged her to focus on anatomical movement analysis for a research paper.

While working on her master’s, Jo-Anne discovered Pilates and began training in the STOTT PILATES method.

In 2003, her studio, Calgary Pilates, became a Merrithew Licensed Training Center, allowing her to pass on her knowledge and expertise to a whole new generation of teachers.

Jo-Anne instructing student on Reformer

Movement habits, big problems

Jo-Anne’s clients range from professional athletes – including players from the Calgary Flames to dancers with the Alberta Ballet, acrobats from the Cirque du Soleil and skiers from Alpine Canada. Jo-Anne is also a sessional instructor at the University of Calgary Faculty of Arts, teaching Anatomy for Dancers in the dance program.

Jo-Anne believes STOTT PILATES training has enabled her to quickly identify clients’ physical imbalances and support their correction.

“I’m fascinated by how people move,” she says. “I’m even curious about the motor development of my three-year-old twins. There are so many movement patterns we develop as children that can affect how we move for the rest of our lives.”

“For example, learning to crawl is an important developmental leap that supports cross-lateral movement.”

“Cross-lateral movement is present in daily functional activities such as walking, running, going up stairs. It enables better balance as well as the transmission of impact and forces through the body. If we lack cross-lateral movement, we can’t transition those forces as fluidly. Our body then develops movement compensations which can lead to more injury and chronic pain.”

‘Tech neck’, an increasingly common physical ailment

One of the most problematic movement patterns Jo-Anne notices among adults, called ‘tech neck,’ is even prevalent among her dance kinesiology students at the University of Calgary.

Jo-Anne assisting student

“I often see students walking with their heads down to look at their phones. The weight of the head will thrust forward which can contribute to unresolved neck pain. This has a residual effect all the way down to the feet,” she says.

“You lose the alignment and rhythm between the rib cage and the pelvis. …The absence of this can cause digestive issues because the massaging of the abdominal organs is decreased.”

Key ingredients of optimal health

Jo-Anne is a strong proponent of Pilates as a method for correcting dysfunctional movement patterns and rebalancing the body.

“I enjoy educating my clients on optimal movement and proper movement patterns,” she says.

“They often have to relearn how to move. I serve as a bridge between the rehab phase to complete function.”

Between running a studio, teaching, training and parenting, Jo-Anne is also studying Osteopathic Manual Therapy— a holistic and systemic approach to patients as a whole, working to remove disruptions in the body that block its inherent healing process.

Jo-Anne believes osteopathy and Pilates can be complementary, helping clients achieve optimal health and minimal pain.

“There is more to health than movement, and more to being healthy than fitness,” she says.

Career bonus

Jo-Anne stretching with students

After more than a decade as a successful business owner, Jo-Anne says she’s grateful to be continuously learning. She believes she learns as much from teaching students as they may learn from her.

Jo-Anne encourages others to remain open to the perspectives of others: “I like to remain aware that there can be another perspective from which to see a movement. Or, for example, in how a student interprets information. I’m always learning from other people. I always try to learn as much from my students as from my mentors.”

For more information on Jo-Anne and her Licensed Training Center, visit Calgary Pilates.

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