28 Feb Finding the uniqueness in your Pilates Instructor
It’s such a wonderful thing that every person in this universe is totally unique! We are all individuals with our own inimitable Mind, Body and Spirit connections. Part of what makes us who we are is from what we see, hear and feel — its individual and personal. When you translate this to Pilates and Pilates instructors it is clear to see that all instructors/ teachers are their own person as they determine the focus and approach to a body.
Our Academy prides itself to have a team of teachers who are diverse in our approach and teaching. We each bring a different dimension and goal in a class, but yet we all have the same foundation and ground work in our teachings. As Classical Pilates instructors we all went through rigorous training while being apprentices before being certified. This is how we practise at Pilates Centre Malta. Our new instructors follow the same principles and training procedures to ensure they follow the standards.
The basic requirements for our training are:
- Completing a detailed Functional Anatomy Course (to give us a better understanding of the human body so we can apply it to our sessions)
- Minimum of 600 hours practical hours of training, teaching, observation and assisting teacher in the Pilates Studio
- Passing 3 stages of exams and assessment (both practical and written)
The goals or objectives are to ensure:
- New instructors are physically able to execute exercises and thus be able to teach them
- Be able to intellectualize the work in terms of exercises, flow and relevance to clients
- Uniformity and purity within the training for generations to come
After certifying, my own rude awakening came when I realized everything that had come to pass only served to set the foundation. And to effect, thereafter was the ‘grassroots’ to becoming a Pilates teacher. All my prior teaching experience was simulated with either teaching other apprentices/ or friends and working case studies.
It was only at this grassroots stage with teaching real clients that I felt my true learning experience begin. Now after many years as a Pilates teacher and teacher trainer, after building on the ‘prescribed’ foundation of knowledge with my own experience – the way in how I see, listen and feel each body dictates the flow, tone, energy and goal of each lesson.
I have personally trained with many fabulous Master teachers through the years and each were different in their approach. And being true Masters teachers they always had you walking away feeling inspired in the trinity of Mind, Body and Spirit.
Continuing on the topic of foundation, there are three requirements I feel strongly about with all Instructors;
- All Pilates instructors should be continuously building on their foundation of Pilates — refreshing the work in their mind and body. In my experience, continued training is the only way to stay inspired and maintain the spirit of the work while teaching to inspire others. I have personally attended and hosted numerous workshops and conferences to enable me to gain more knowledge and experience in the method.
- Leading on from the previous point — instructors must be able to execute the exercises they instruct. For example, if teaching advance work — the instructor should be able to do the advance work proficiently. As the old adage goes “you need to practice what you preach” …and then practice some more…
- The method grows with you. This is not a case of restricted or limited movement as we age. As Joseph Pilates himself said ‘You are only as old as your spine is flexible’ and from my part, I work hard to make sure that my spine remains flexible…
All this to say when teaching Pilates, all instructors are individualistic but it is paramount they have a good foundation of knowledge to which one continually builds with learning from bodies and one’s own practice.
When looking for a Pilates teacher, make sure you do your homework right; ask for their certification; which school did they certify with; are they comprehensive trained on studio equipment, ie. Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda Chair, Ladder Barrel, etc.. How many years experience do they have? Remember, you are investing in your health and the least you can do to your own body is to ensure that the person you are trusting with your own body is qualified and experienced enough to help you achieve your goals. Your wellness should never be compromised, as you might unfortunately find out if you work out with unqualified or inexperienced so called ‘professionals’. Shop around, do your homework and make an informed and very valuable decision to invest in the right people. After all, you only have one body; it is a duty you owe yourself to look after it!