Our Pilates Trainers

Ashley Kim Ritchie

Ashley Ritchie. Globally recognised Pilates aficionado. Co-founder of Body Mechanix Wellness Centre.

Ashley Ritchie has been on her toes from the age of 4.  Her career went on to embody 23 years of Royal Academy of Dance ballet training, 7 years of dance instruction and 20 years as a Pilates Practitioner - all encapsulated by the natural body intuition and enthusiasm she brings to her teaching. 

“I love what I do and I do what I love”

Ashley initially entered the Pilates world studying the New York Method. In 2000 Ashley met her mentor Rael Isacowitz and immediately fell in love with the BASI Pilates Method. She re-did her entire Pilates training under Rael and started teaching as a BASI Pilates instructor in 2001. Ashley is also qualified to teach Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis.

In 2004 Body Mechanix Wellness Centre became a host studio for BASI Comprehensive and Mat Courses in Johannesburg. Ashley became faculty and began lecturing for BASI in 2005. In 2007 she first presented the Pre and Postnatal programme she developed, “Pilates Through Pregnancy and Beyond”, which has become one of the most popular and well attended workshops in South Africa – and is now part of the international BASI Advanced Continued Education Program.  

It was not only her Pilates training that focused Ashley’s deep interest in her work on pregnancy. It was also her life.  She celebrated her first baby in her 20’s, her second in her 30’s and her third in her 40’s.  Providing her with unique insights and understanding of pregnancy and childbirth and its effects on the body, spanning three very different adult life phases.

Transform How You Perform

Pilates has become part of Ashley’s family’s DNA.  When Ashley saw how Pilates as Cross-Training transformed her husband Mark Ritchie’s triathlete performance (Mark has been an Iron Man gold medalist several times) she was inspired to develop a series of workshops that cover Cycling, Running and Swimming. Much to the advantage of both her family and clients.

 Wherever she is the world, Ashley Ritchie remains true to her mantra:  "I do what I love and love what I do. What a blessing it is to be in a career that gives me the opportunity to share my passion and to make a difference in someone's life."

 Ashley was appointed as a faculty member for BASI and presents BASI Pilates courses globally, from South Africa to Bahrain, from Greece to Indonesia and as far afield as Japan. All Ashley’s expertise is yours through her hand-picked trainers at Body Mechanix.

“Let’s make it happen”

As BASI Facilitator, Ashley continues presenting the Comprehensive Teachers Training Course (CTTC) and Mat Teachers Training Course (MTTC) across the world, in many countries including

The United Kingdom  2016
Bahrain  2013
Indonesia  2013
Italy  2016
Greece   2014, 2015, 2016
Japan   2014, 2016
South Korea   2010
Namibia   2014, 2016
South Africa   from 2005 to date

She has taught Pre and Postnatal courses in:

USA   2014, 2015, 2016 x 2, 2018
The United Kingdom   2016, 2018
Spain   2016, 2018
Greece   2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Italy   2016, 2018
Japan  2014, 2016, 2018
South Africa (annually x 6)
South Korea  2010
Turkey  2017
Indonesia 2014
Ireland  2018
Bahrain  2015, 2017
Namibia  2017

Ashley’s schedule for 2018-9 includes:

New Zealand
South Korea
The Netherlands
South Africa

Other courses Ashley has added to her portfolio are:

Pilates for the Elderly
Spice Up Your Mat Work – Pole/Glider Disc/Thera Band/Magic Circle/Foam/Big Ball/Small Ball
Art of Cueing
F2 System – Classic Armchair and Spine Correction
Transform How You Perform – Pilates for Triathletes
Pilates for Osteoporosis
Rotata discs and Gliders

Ashley has also presented at:

Learn From The Leaders South Africa   2007, 2009, 2018
Learn From The Leaders USA   2014, 2016, 2019
ProBridge Canada 2015 (attended and presented alongside Rael Isacowitz)
Mentor Programme South Africa and USA  2016 (assisted Rael)

Wherever she is the world, whether it relates to work, home or play, Ashley Ritchie remains true to her mantra:  "I do what I love and love what I do. What a blessing it is to be in a career that gives me the opportunity to share my passion and to make a difference in someone's life."

Our Pilates Trainers

All Ashley’s expertise is yours through her hand-picked team of Pilates instructors at Body Mechanix.

Hilde McCullough

Hilde’s warm and engaging personality makes the challenging and demanding classes she offers a pleasure. Coming from a strong athletic background, Hilde became a certified BASI Pilates instructor in 2005. She joined Ashley at Body Mechanix in 2007 and is one of the Senior Instructors at the studio.

Her clients range from athletes to mothers-to-be, from men and women wanting improved muscle tone, to sportspeople working through injuries. Hilde is renowned for her ability to read a body. Her expertise in muscle activation as well as her training in identifying uncontrolled movement patterns adds to her personal intuition of the human body. Hilde’s expertise encompasses the art of muscle activation, as well as pre- and post-pregnancy training. 

Hilde also offers Ozone therapy at Body Mechanix.  A deeply relaxing, detoxing and healing process everyone owes themselves.

Zayn du Plessis

Zayn is a senior instructor at Body Mechanix and specialises in the rehabilitation of spinal injuries.

Zayn’s passion for life has taken him on a body-and-mind journey of exploration across the world. His life experiences have driven him to explore the power of the mind in influencing the wellbeing of the physical body. From playing professional ice hockey to studying Qigong, from an interest in meditation and alternative health practices, Zayn has focused all his life-knowledge on enhancing his teaching.

Since his introduction to Pilates in 2006, Zayn has become a certified BASI Pilates, Gyrotonic, Gyrokinesis and Yuan Gong Qigong level 5 teacher. Combined with a compassionate and patient nature, all Zayn’s experience is dedicated to bringing alive the best in you.

 Zayn’s Qigong classes are a new and special addition to the Body Mechanix repertoire.

Melanie Eisenberg

From both a career and personal perspective, Melanie (Mel) has always been extremely passionate about developing people. Her caring nature and commitment to her clients’ progress is focused on helping them achieve their potential through movement and exercise. She concentrates specifically on improving posture, spinal flexibility and muscle strength.

To advance her understanding and the application of her knowledge, Mel attained her certificate from the American Council  on Exercise in 1990, while studying Microbiology, Zoology and PR.  After graduating from the BASI Comprehensive Teacher Training Course, she achieved further accreditation in Pilates Through Pregnancy and Beyond, Movement Anatomy and Low-Pressure Fitness Level 1 Trainer.

Mel is a devoted instructor who finds joy and fulfilment in Pilates, both in her own practice as well as in her work with her clients. Her infectious smile says it all.

Chelsea-Ann Ingledew

(BA Honours)

Chelsea-Ann, known as Chi, graduated with a BA Honours in psychology, drama and education. She specialized in physical theatre and choreography. It was during her time at University that she qualified as a BASI Pilates instructor, as well as completing the Gyrokinesis course.

With a passion for movement and for teaching, Chi loves the creativity required for working with children and offers a special Pilates for Kids class.

As an enthusiastic triathlete, it is her knowledge of the inter-relationship of body and mind that allows her to incorporate the most applicable exercises and movements to enhance your physical capabilities. Chi feels that nothing is more rewarding than seeing you on your way to reach your goals.

Dagmar Delmarco

Dagmar’s career in mental and physical health and wellbeing commenced in London in 2002 when studying gym instruction and personal training. This extended into therapeutic and chair massage, Tai-Chi and Advaita Verdanta meditation. These disciplines provided her with an improved understanding and appreciation of the body on a holistic level.

Back home in SA she did her BASI Pilates (Mat), Anatomy & Physiology and Pilates For The Elderly courses.

Dagmar is a compassionate, energetic and well-articulated trainer who strives to help others attain a mind-body connection. Reconnecting with one’s body is a gift she strives to help her clients achieve

Melissa Schafer

Melissa’s interest in Pilates began as a young girl studying ballet. During her years of dancing, she often found herself working through injuries. It was then that she began to learn the benefits of Pilates in posture, movement, flexibility and, most important of all, injury prevention. As a result, the purpose of Pilates to build a strong and stable body lies close to her heart.

She began her teaching career with Body Mechanix Wellness Centre in July 2017 after completing her Comprehensive Teacher Training Course at the studio that same year. Combined with her love of dance and love of people she finds Pilates the perfect platform to combine her passion with her career. 

Melissa Schafer Body Mechanix BASI Pilates Trainer

Candice Rinkwest

Candice is a dedicated Pilates practitioner, certified BASI Pilates instructor and retired ballroom dancer. Candice’s interest in Pilates and functional movement stemmed from her own injuries during her dancing career.

Having personally suffered injury as well as undergoing hip arthroscopic surgery, her sensitivity and commitment to help her clients achieve their goals is central to her teaching philosophy.

Chloe van Schalkwyk

Ballet and modern dancing are just some of her passions.  She surfs and swims competitively. But her first love is Pilates.  From the day she started her Pilates Mat course, Chloe knew this was her career. She was enamoured with everything about it, from the anatomy and physiology behind it, to the joy of movement and strength it gives the body. And Body Mechanix was the place she wanted to be.

Chloe has a BA degree from Stellenbosch University and is currently studying Communication Sciences through UNISA. She is Pilates Mat certified and is doing her Comprehensive Teacher Training course with Body Mechanix.

Irem Ferreira

Irem is our instructor all the way from Istanbul, Turkey adding a multicultural taste to our studio environment. She has graduated with a BSc degree in Business Administration and has spent almost 15 years as a corporate kid and finally found her passion in life and she has qualified as a BASI Pilates instructor after comlpeting her Comprehensive Teacher Training Course with BASI. She is very enthusiastic in movement and teaching as well as learning continiously and helping people connect with their bodies through Pilates. She has started her career at Body Mechanix as a Pilates instructor as well as the Social Media and Projects Manager in September 2018.

“The more committed you are, the better I am as a teacher”


Kim Trezona – Body Mechanix Administrator

Kim is the go-to girl for any queries or bookings. She joined the Body Mechanix Team as the Studio Manager and Ashley’s PA at the start of June 2015.

No stranger to the health and fitness world, Kim has been teaching Aquasize for over nine years now and fits right in with the studio family. She plays an integral role in the studio and always has a gorgeous bright smile whilst assisting the clients and instructors.



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