I started pilates in November 2000. I was 19 and had given up my regular dance classes at my suburban dance studio, embraced partying with my friends and chilli cheese fries and had gotten a little chubby- I didn’t know how this had happened (although glaringly obvious now!) but I knew it wasn’t quite right for me and that I needed to get moving. In my quest to figure myself out, I started pilates. I had only heard about pilates while reading dance magazines and online but I loved it as soon as I got started.
I thought my instructors were amazing. Their knowledge of the human body astounded me and I trusted them implicitly. I looked up to one of my instructors Robyn in particular. She had a bird like quality about her- delicate looking but strong. She seemed so wise and when she stopped teaching at the studio I was devastated! Thankfully, I soon realised that all of the instructors had something different yet equally valuable to offer (something I wish all clients would discover).
After dropping out of my university course and knowing that my job at a mortgage company was not where I wanted my future to lie, I decided to enrol into my pilates studio’s in house instructors programme. The idea was that this would be a time filler (for some reason, I didn’t think I would be able to have a career as a pilates instructor at that time) until the naturopathy course I was interested in would commence the following year.
I find this scenario completely laughable in hindsight as the prospect of me doing anything other than teach pilates for a living seems ridiculous- I LOVED pilates! I was that annoying person correcting my colleagues seated posture and suggesting that continuously gripping their butt was a bad idea. Completely uninvited commentary from someone who was still just a client!
So July 2003 was my turning point. Each Wednesday morning I would turn up to the studio to be introduced to more repertoire while during the rest of the week I was either working on my own practice or chipping away at my 500 hours of observation and assisting. I was so at home. In 2004 I began teaching mat classes and in 2005 I was teaching 3-4 clients on the apparatus in a studio- WOW!
As the years rolled on I shifted between being over-confident, enrolling in endless continuing education workshops, nervous of my abilities, excited about new repertoire, energised, fatigued- you name it! In 2009 I decided to re-certify with Polestar Pilates. It was the best decision of my career. Not only did it provide me with the structured learning I craved but also the most wonderful sense of community. In 2010 I was invited to join their mentoring programme and I was thrilled!
What soon became clear was the my desire to guide and empower people is actually where my passion lies. Pilates is the amazing tool I use to achieve this. Mentoring has been the most fulfilling extension of teaching. I love the questions that get thrown my way and really challenge the reasons I do things around the studio, it keeps me accountable to myself and to the students and has improved the way I teach profoundly.
What I hope to achieve from this blog is a sense of community. To create a space where pilates instructors from every training school, new or teaching for many years have resources and a space to be nurtured, be listened to and be supported.
Pilates instructors can’t help but talk about their clients, new and preferred variations of exercises and the work in general- so there will be a place for this. But for the most part, this blog isn’t about what you need to give to your clients. It is about looking after ourselves and each other. I’m open to suggestions and feedback about what everybody else needs to get off their chest. This isn’t a place for judgement in either direction (I hope!) but support for the members of a beautiful community.