About



At Hummingbird we believe that being positive and keeping your body and mind healthy are the secrets to a happy life. We’ve found that yoga, meditation and Pilates have helped us to achieve our own balance and have equipped us to deal with anything that life chooses to send our way. We have a truly holistic approach and are passionate about promoting a healthy lifestyle, helping others and an ethical way of living. We’re advocates of regular meditation, yoga and Pilates practices but also enjoy a burger and a glass of wine, giving us a realistic approach to life.

When you come to our studio we aim to make you feel good from the moment that you step through our door. Although we are serious about our practice, Hummingbird is a place where you’ll hear laughter emanating from the studios; after all our greatest ambition is that you feel welcome and amazing, and laughter is part of that!

Ellie Searle

Ellie was one of the founders of Hummingbird Pilates & Yoga and remains one of the Partners. She is proud of how the business has developed over the years. She hopes that with the team's help it will continue to develop, while staying true to its original ethos of being a space that people enjoy being in; that helps them to thrive; with expert teachers providing small group Pilates and yoga classes.

Ellie is a mum and caring and talented Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor. Ellie trained as a Physiotherapist at the University of East Anglia, achieving a first class degree. She went on to specialize in Musculoskeletal physiotherapy and has completed a Masters degree in Advanced Neuromusculoskeletal Physiotherapy Practice. She gained a distinction for her Dissertation and enjoys being involved in research. Ellie was recently one of the clinical team chosen to be part of some ground- breaking research in the use of cognitive functional therapy in those with non-specific low back pain. Her training in this modern and highly effective technique has revolutionized her practice and given her a framework for treating all musculoskeletal conditions. She feels that it is a very holistic approach, which suits her own style of physiotherapy that she has developed over the years. The 2018 research papers that were written as part of this trial, are likely to shape the profession for years to come and is something that she is grateful to have been involved in.

Ellie is passionate about the benefits of exercise, helping her patients to rehabilitate faster and to stay fit and healthy in the long term. She has written for a number of local and glossy magazines and is keen to promote the benefits of good health and wellbeing, rather than just helping people to find a solution when problems arise.

Before going to university, Ellie ran a gym in London where she taught exercise classes and worked as a personal trainer. It was here that Ellie learned how to run a successful fitness business. She also worked as a Strength Conditioning Coach to a London based swimming club, training national level swimmers, which has inspired her work as a physiotherapist, working with those involved in elite sport. The first of many post graduate courses that Ellie completed was with the Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute (APPI) where she qualified as a Pilates Instructor. Ellie's Pilates training enabled her to combine her love of fitness and physio skills. It was here that she learned the specific benefits of Pilates exercises for those with back and pelvic pain. Although she has come a long way since then and adapted much of what she originally learned, it was an excellent grounding in the benefits of exercise for those with health problems, teaching her how to modify exercises successfully and to progress exercise levels at a rate that’s appropriate for the individual. She also finds that it is a wonderful way of helping people who are in pain to reduce their fear of movement and increase their confidence with exercise in general, encouraging them to live without being limited by pain. She feels that between our Yoga and Pilates classes, everybody should be able to find something at Hummingbird that works for them.

More recently, Ellie has become interested in yoga and has found it particularly beneficial in helping her patients manage chronic pain, stress and anxiety. Ellie hopes that through Hummingbird Pilates and Yoga, she and Steve have created a relaxed, safe, place to enjoy the benefits of Pilates, Yoga and meditation.

Steve Johansen

Steve was a house husband for 20 years, working part time in jobs that didn’t necessary fulfill him but were flexible around looking after the kids. He found yoga at the point where the children were growing up and he needed something for himself. Steve used to run as his physical outlet but when a calf strain put paid to that needed something kinder on body and mind. He didn’t know at the time that this would be the beginning of an amazing journey of self discovery that would see him x years later becoming a partner in Hummingbird Pilates and Yoga.

Steve undertook teacher training to deepen his own practice but soon found that he had a natural affinity for teaching. However, he sees himself as some one who’s guiding you through your own practice. Steve is dyslexic and found that teaching yoga let him play to his strengths and let go of the aspects of dyslexia that had previously been in his way of finding fulfillment in his work life.

Steve was initially drawn to Ashtanga due to its strong physical practice, however found his own balance through his experience of Hatha, which he teaches here at Hummingbird. His classes are always sold out due to his accessible, fun and open minded approach. His ability to break down and teach complex poses, particularly to students who are finding them overwhelming, is a great gift. He believes that Hatha provides everyone with a great all round yoga experience.

After qualifying, Steve dreamed of running his own yoga studio. He wished to open a positive studio where people could truly experience yoga. He feels that yoga changes how you think and view the world and is far more than just physical exercise. His journey has shown him that yoga changes how you view yourself in that moment in terms of mind, body and sprit. His practice has shown him that in order to understand where you’ve got to in your journey, you have to first reflect and understand where you started from, accepting yourself and letting go of anything that is holding you back. It is his wish that our studio helps to get more people involved in yoga, as he believes that it is such a strong and positive practice. He hopes to open up yoga to a wider community of people than he could as a self employed teacher.

Steve has always had a love for art and design and is probably the only student ever to have been caught bunking off school in the National Gallery! His love of art and design has been a blessing to our studio, as much of its interior décor is down to Steve’s flare for design.

For Steve this Buddha quote resonates “Every journey starts with one small step,” which is Steve’s philosophy on yoga and life in general, as such he looks forward to greeting you when you step through our door!

Mandy Haynes

Mandy is a popular, dynamic and intuitive yoga teacher, who has been practicing yoga since she was 18. Mandy has been developing her own practice for years but in 2015, decided that she was ready for a new challenge and wished to turn her passion for yoga into a career. Thus, she embarked on her yoga teacher training. She went on to complete her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training with CamYoga and has been teaching some of our most popular yoga classes ever since.

Mandy teaches Vinyasa Flow classes at Hummingbird; she loves to plan classes that are varied and creative. Her classes often draw to a close with a guided meditation during Savasana. Her guided meditations are loved by our clients, as they find that they help them to focus on the present moment during relaxation, leaving them totally chilled out.

Mandy brought the first early morning class to Hummingbird, with her Saturday 8:00 Vinyasa flow class. Her class offers a great start to the weekend and has become a “must have” start to the weekend for many of our clients.

She also runs a beautiful candelit yoga class on a Wednesday evening that is just awe inpiring and a must try for all those that wish for a flowing yoga class and some deep relaxation.

Mandy had a lead role in creating Hummingbird yoga retreats. She is a real advocate of the benefits of retreats to health and wellbeing and designs the most inspiring, energising and relaxing retreats, based on ones that she would love to attend.

She is a keen yoga writer and has her own column in the Chelmsford City Times. She also regularly posts on our social media pages and her inspriational posts have developed a loyal following. She is friendly and looks forward to introducing people to yoga, through her writing, classes and retreats.

Mandy is always looking to extend her learning and deepen her practice so when she found out that she was pregnant with her daughter, Hope, a natural progression was to complete her Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga with Yoga Mama. Mandy felt her yoga practice was so beneficial during her pregnancy and she loved sharing it with other mums-to-be.

Mandy has gone on to do courses in Assisting & Adjusting Yoga Asana and is currently studying Yoga Nidra, which she will use to enhance her current classes and retreats.

Sarah Walsh

Sarah has over 20 years experience in teaching exercise rehabilitation, starting with her career as a PE teacher. Sarah uses her vast knowledge and teaching skills to design interesting and varied Pilates classes for our clients. She is one of our most experienced teachers and loves to use Pilates equipment to add challenge to her classes.

Sarah’s road to Pilates began a severe back injury, sustained while working as a Sports and Fitness teacher in further education. Her immobilising injury caused her to seek help from her GP, who fortunately recommended Pilates. After her first-hand experience of the the benefits of Pilates rehabilitation, Sarah was keen to learn more. Her research into Pilates ignited a real passion for the Pilates method and resulted in her embarking on a Pilates teacher training course. On qualifying, Sarah transformed all her fitness classes to Pilates classes, such was her love of this profound method of wellbeing and rehabilitation.

With an ever-growing passion for Pilates, she continued to expand her skill set, undertaking diplomas in the Pilates Reformer and GP Referral and Sports Injury Rehabilitation. Sarah is a really experienced and highly trained teacher; she constantly strives to ensure that her clients get the best possible care through her constant research, training and self development.

She brought Reformer Pilates Classes to Hummingbird, which have been a huge success: places on her “fast track” Pilates courses are highly sort after. Sarah’s Pilates Reformer course enables our clients to enhance their rehabilitation, progress their Pilates practice, or just get the Pilates body that they’ve always wanted in the fastest time by adding resistance to their Pilates workout. Sarah looks forward to seeing you in class soon and would love you to join her for a reformer course.

Erica Foulds

Erica aspired to be like Darcy Bussel as a child; graceful, strong and always wearing a tutu, she danced until her early teens. During university she discovered the joys of fitness classes, aerobics and spinning and found that the endorphins released during these high-energy workouts were quite addictive!

At 21 she qualified as a personal trainer and was delighted to have landed her dream job in the city! She hit the ground running, working in some of London’s biggest and busiest corporate institutes and fitness sites. After nearly 10 years, working the long hours and at the fast, unrelenting pace demanded by the fitness industry in London, she decided that she needed reevaluate her career. She realized that she needed something that would enable her to keep sharing her love for health and fitness but in a way that was kinder to her body. Erica found Pilates and hasn’t looked back since! She loves the way that it is such a mindful repertoire of exercises that teach you to listen to your body, with great results; a breath of fresh air after years of punishing fitness exercises.

She started her Pilates journey with Reformer Pilates, at TEN Physiotherapy and Pilates, in the heart of central London. Here Erica taught a great mix of classes ranging from: energetic Pilates based workouts; slower paced physio rehab exercises and lots of one-to-one Pilates sessions. At TEN, she also, learned the benefits of ante and postnatal exercise, an area that she then went on to study further. Erica became one of TEN’s leading teachers and ultimately went on to be Head of Department for 8 studios.

Erica subsequently went on to train as a Level 3 Pilates Tutor, enabling her to train aspiring Pilates teachers and pass down her love of Pilates.

Erica enjoys learning new skills and recently trained in sports massage, something that she will use along side her Pilates teaching at our studios to help you to stay fit, healthy and injury free.

Erica joined our team in 2018, a move which was part of her living the life that she wants to lead, having recently moved to Great Notley from East London and setting up home with her finance. She loves her new home, the fresh air, green fields and a sense of peace that she has recently discovered here. She has felt whole heartedly welcomed by the Hummingbird team and loves being at our studios. She writes for the Chelmsford City Times and has a regular blog on our website, where you can learn more about Pilates.

Erica has become a really popular teacher, with beautifully taught exercises, which are broken down to ensure that you feel the true benefits of Pilates. Her classes offer the perfect balance of challenging exercises and relaxation. She loves to add in lots of freeing spinal movements, perfect if you’re feeling a bit stressed or tense. Her classes promise to leave you feeling revitalized and probably an inch taller!

Vikki Stevenson

Vikki is a long-time practitioner of yoga, having first discovered its powerful benefits at university over twenty years ago. After spending time travelling and living abroad in Thailand, it was during her first pregnancy that yoga truly consolidated as consistent and supportive daily practice in her own life.

Vikki is an experienced teacher who has been teaching yoga classes and one-to-ones full time for over ten years, having completed her initial training with Simon Low at the Yoga Academy in Kent. As well as teaching weekly classes at Hummingbird, Vikki hosts yoga and mindfulness retreats worldwide, holding retreats in India, Morocco and Croatia as well as closer to home in Norfolk.

Vikki has a particular interest in the therapeutic benefits yoga and mindfulness can bring and specialises in pregnancy and postnatal yoga, yoga nidra, restorative yoga, yoga therapy for women’s health and yoga for those with cancer.

Vikki is passionate about furthering her own yoga journey and has studied extensively with master teachers Françoise Freedman (Birthlight), Uma Dinsmore-Tuli (yoga nidra and yoga therapy for women’s health) and Judith Hanson Lasater (Restorative Yoga). Vikki plans to continue to expand her extensive yoga knowledge with the two-year Yoga Therapy course, which will further support the work she already does working with those with a variety of illnesses and health conditions.

Vikki is a welcoming, informed and caring teacher who is skilled in creating a calm and nurturing environment for her students who leave her classes relaxed and smiling!

Lisa Walker

Lisa has always been interested in fitness and exercise. However, she it wasn’t until her early twenties that she discovered her love for Pilates whilst at university in Brighton. After practicing Pilates, she loved the way that her body and mind felt and how she was able to move more effectively and pain free, a break-through, after suffering with a lifetime of back problems. Lisa has learned that she has to really listen to her body and Pilates taught her the skill of connecting mind and body. For Lisa, practicing Pilates is where she feels truly mindful, as she concentrates on the precision of the exercises and her breathing.

Lisa started her professional career as a teacher, teaching secondary school pupils for 13 years. The transition from classroom to studio seemed natural and she completed her Pilates instructor qualification in May 2018. She is a level 3 Qualified Mat Pilates instructor through the YMCA. She completed her Pilates training through the guidance of a Yoga and Pilates Studio in Leigh on Sea, where the focus was on traditional mat based Pilates.

Lisa loves teaching and working with people. She finds it deeply rewarding to see clients discover their capabilities and progress with their personal Pilates journeys. She enjoys being a part of the experience that challenges both their minds and their bodies to feel better and stronger. Lisa is a really supportive and nurturing teacher and enjoys supporting her clients to feel the benefits of Pilates that she herself enjoys. She loves to see the positive changes that it can make to her clients’ day to day lives.

Lisa is a mum to two beautiful young children. She also works with trainee teachers in secondary education.

Lisa loves to work with those who have not tried Pilates before or who need a gentle Pilates class or one-to-one session. She runs both gentle classes and absolute beginners workshops to help clients ease into Pilates practice at their own pace.

Her sessions are never the same, as she strives to introduce new exercises and challenges. Her goals are to help you to feel stronger, more flexible and relaxed. Her teaching style is gentle but challenging and fun. She aims to share her Pilates knowledge in a way that is accessible to all. Lisa looks forward to helping you to start your Pilates journey and hopes that you’ll join her for one of her Wednesday classes or workshops.

Yana

Yana has been doing Pilates and yoga for about 30 years. In 2003, she qualified as a Bikram Yoga teacher and taught in a hot yoga studio in Dalston for 3 years prior to moving to Essex when she was pregnant. After her daughter's birth, she started doing regular Pilates classes and then decided to train as a Pilates teacher. She qualified in 2016 with Polestar Pilates, as a studio equipment teacher. Yana is trained to use all the large Pilates equipment: the reformer, chair, trapeze table and barrel, enabling her to add increasing challenge to your Pilates workouts. She now teaches mat classes and reformer one-to-one sessions at our studios. Her one-to-one clients have really benefitted from her knowledge of the reformer, enabling her to add diversity and resistance to their workouts. Yana can use the reformer to help you to achieve your goals whatever your age, ability or lifestyle. She is passionate about Pilates and believes that it is truly for everybody - no matter your age, size or injuries. Yana’s moto is that there is always something that you can do in Pilates to make you feel and move better.

Jessie-may Cable

Jessie qualified as a 200 hour UK Alliance Yoga teacher in May 2018. Jessie was first drawn to yoga in 2012. She was experiencing panic attacks and her mum suggested that she tried yoga to help with her anxiety. From the very first class, she was amazed with the effects it had on both her body and mind. From this point yoga was her passion! Jessie continued to practice regularly and with each year her love for yoga grew, along with the wish for a deeper knowledge and understanding of yoga.

Jessie believes that yoga and breathing can give you the tools to keep you healthy and well, both in mind and body. Through yoga we learn to step out of our thinking patterns and step in to each and every present moment. We discover strength and stability in the body and build emotional resilience.

Jessie has worked in the financial industry for the last 12 years. In 2016 she had her daughter Flo and whilst on maternity leave took the opportunity to embark on her Yoga Teacher Training. Here she studied Ashtanga with Mark Ansari and Raquel Salvador. Jessie teaches Ashtanga, Ashtanga Vinyasa and Restorative Yoga. She will also be embarking on some further training throughout 2019 with Yoga Campus.

Ashtanga yoga involves synchronizing the breath with a progressive series of postures, creating internal heat and Prana. This will detoxify muscles and organs and improve circulation. Jessie enjoys the physical and fun aspects of Astanga but is very connected to pranayama, breathing techniques, mindfulness and mediation. Jessie has a deep passion for Ashtanga yoga and wants you to learn with her. In her classes, expect to re-energize and have fun. You will reconnect with yourself, breathe and body, and leave feeling nourished and relaxed. Jessie’s Sunday morning Ashtanga yoga class is a wonderful way to start your Sunday; she has regular clients, who come week after week for their Sunday morning yoga boost.