When you're trying to decide if you should become a pilates instructor, the last thing that might occur to you is how the certification process will effect you mentally. However, it really does have a huge effect on your mind, and could really change your personality for the better!
Here are some situations that typically come up during the certification process that will have an effect on your dome:
This is a hard one to deal with. No one takes criticism well, and when you're learning to become an instructor, the master teachers running the program will be very demanding and critical of you, in constructive ways.
Its important to remember that any criticism you might receive is meant to teach you to be the best instructor you can be. Even if you've been taking pilates for years, or if you're already an instructor of something else, the teachers running your program will stop and correct you all the time.
Like I said, they're only trying to mold you into the best, most thorough, thoughtful, and intelligent instructor you can be. Be thankful for their critiques on your teaching, don't take it personally. Its stressful for sure, but try to look at it in the most positive way that you can, as a learning experience.
2. Teaching in front of other people
This is hard at first if you're not used to speaking or teaching in front of your peers. You think everything will be fine, unless you stand up in front of everyone for the first time and try to teach a mat class. Counting the hundreds out loud?! Cuing the movements and breathing for teaser?! Just the fact that you're standing up in front of everyone and your voice is the only sound in the whole room!?!?!!
Practice, practice, practice is the only way you're ever going to get over the fear and awkwardness of teaching in front of other people. I distinctly remember bursting into tears during my first mat class as an apprentice teacher! How embarrassing. But I knew that I needed to practice A LOT if I was ever going to be a teacher at all.
One thing that's helpful when you're learning to speak and teach publicly is to picture your favorite teacher in your mind. One who teaches with ease and grace, whose teaching really speaks to you and who you admire. Then, teach your class pretending to be her.
It sounds stalkerish but it does work! Fake confidence long enough and it will start to be more realistic over time!
3. You're becoming healthier while your friends are still unhealthy.
This is common anytime you embark on a mental, physical, or spiritual journey, when you try to better yourself or look outside yourself to help others. Hopefully, your friends are really excited and happy for you, but then again, they may not be all about your new ventures.
It hurts when friends become jealous, resentful, or feel left out of the "new you", but if you want to continue your friendships, you'll have to figure out ways to include them. Ask your friends to be your "guinea pig" clients so you can practice teaching. Invite them to your classes or ask if they want to take a class with you.
4. You're exhausted.
Like I wrote in the other posts about becoming an instructor, its an exhausting process, but worth it. Its not just tiring physically, but also very tiring mentally. When you first begin teaching, you might be surprised that you can't teach more than 3 hours a day without becoming totally mentally exhausted. This is normal, and you just have to build up your teaching stamina.
You have to be so mentally focused on what you're saying, what the client is doing, what you're about to teach next, questions they might have, injuries that could prevent them from doing certain movements, unexpected issues that come up during the session (they can't figure out an exercise, or they just want to talk about their problems).
Its a lot to juggle, and still keep your cool. Don't worry about it- like everything else in pilates and in life, practice will make things much easier. Don't be hard on yourself if it feels exhausting, and take care of yourself before and after teaching by eating enough healthy food, resting, and getting fresh air. You'll be fine by the end of the day, and you'll be a great teacher when its all over!
Most importantly, keep reminding yourself that this certification process will help you grow as a person, and always be open and ready to learn new things about yourself, other people, the body, and the MIND! Read more!
Saturday, May 31, 2008
When you're trying to decide if you should become a pilates instructor, the last thing that might occur to you is how the certification process will effect you mentally. However, it really does have a huge effect on your mind, and could really change your personality for the better!
Friday, May 30, 2008
Cravings: What are they and what do they mean?
“All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt”. Lucy Van Pelt from Peanuts Magazine by Charles Schultz.
Many of us view cravings as weaknesses. We should be able to assert our will over the “demons” in our lives that can take such a hold over us, shouldn’t we? We should be able to ignore the seduction of the Snickers Bar, shouldn’t we? If you look closely enough, you can almost see the devil horns sprouting out of the top of your potato chips, candy bar or Sid Slick chocolate ice cream. Well help is at hand, as I am going to put a whole new perspective on this “bad” behavior!
As with so many things in life, it’s all a matter of perspective. Instead of signs of weakness, in reality these are quite different indicators. Cravings are, in fact, important messages that your body is trying to communicate about getting itself back into balance. I know this takes a leap of faith, but we really do have to try and trust our bodies, as they are miraculous entities that hold great wisdom – if only we could listen.
Here are the 8 primary causes of cravings:
Dehydration: The first sign of dehydration is hunger. So 1st step is to drink a glass of water.
Dissatisfying aspects of your life: Look at your relationships, work, exercise program, social and spiritual life. Eating is often used to fill a void in one of these areas. Eg If you have had a satisfying and nurturing day at work you are less likely to fill the void with ice cream when you arrive home.
Biological imbalance: Eg eating too much sugar can have us craving too much salt. A tip here is to eat a well-balanced meal to put you back on track.
Looking back to childhood: Often we crave food that makes us feel safe and nurtured. Substitute these childhood treats with a healthier version. Eg My mum used to allow us one piece of chocolate a day around 4pm with afternoon tea – now I substitute the Cadbury’s Dairy Milk from my growing up in England for Black and Greens 70% organic chocolate.
Go with the seasons: Our bodies are smart and often give us cravings for foods that help us to balance out the elements. Eg salads in summer; hearty stew in the winter. Holiday time can often be accompanied by cravings for foods associated with the season, eg eggnog at Christmas, Pimms in July. Don’t be alarmed; such festive activities are part of the fun – but in moderation.
Poor nutrition: If our bodies do not receive the nutrients we need to function properly, we will suffer odd cravings. Eg we may crave salty food if we are deficient in minerals, we may crave caffeine if our energy levels are low.
We girls and our hormones: fluctuating hormone levels connected to our cycles, pregnancy or menopause can lead to very strange food cravings. I would love to hear from readers about some of these!
The Saboteur: When things are going well, we sometimes sabotage ourselves and crave foods that put us off balance and this can lead to craving after craving.
Try this experiment: When you get your next craving – stop and ask yourself, “What is really going on here?”
For more information on deconstructing cravings, healthy substitutes, balanced meals and “crowding out” the bad stuff: contact me:
Why not join me for your free Health Counseling Appointment and learn more about a Program to suit you. Getting healthier and happier has never been so much fun! You can visit my website http://www.carolinephipps.com/, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 845-677-4624. Read more!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Flying Eagle is an advanced tower exercise- its fun and feels great! It requires a strong ability to connect to the "core" while in spinal extension, which is not easy. Its also a great chest opener, hip flexor stretch, and spine lengthener.
The base of Flying Eagle is the beginner exercise and stretch, Push Through. Its so important to understand that, during Push Through, the bar is controlled and directed by the core muscles and shoulder girdle, not the arms. Push Through also involves spinal articulation and flexibility, as if the spine is snaking through the movements, not just going back and forth in "one piece".
Once you're able to do the Push Through exercise smoothly and with proper control, there are a few fun variations that can come with it. I've already posted about one stretchy variation on Push Through, if you want to check it out, see the link at the bottom of this post.
For Flying Eagle, do a few Push Throughs to warm up. After two or three, pause at the point when you're pushing up on the bar and stretching the spine upwards. Then, scoop the abs and round the spine back, bringing the bar with you, as if you're about to do another Push Through.
Begin to round so much that you actually slide under the bar and lay on your back on the mat.
Once you're on your back, you are ready for Water Skier. The balls of your feet are on the bars, but the heels are not. Connect your shoulders into your back so the collar bones are wide and your shoulder girdle can control the Push Through bar as you move into Water Skier.
Be sure to keep the arms straight the whole time, because the instinct may be to bend them. You may feel more secure if you hook your thumbs under the Push Through bar. Lift your back right up off the mat in one piece, with the legs extending, and float up into a plank position with your body. You're water skiing!
To come back down, bend the knees and sent the tailbone forward, so you can lay right back down on the mat in one piece with the spine, back in the position you were in just before you came up into Water Skier. Then, in one movement, push with the legs and come up to the seated position of Push Through. Once you're there, take one round of Push Through before your next Water Skier.
This is really just Water Skier with a back bend. Its nice to add in one Spread Eagle after a couple Water Skiers for an extra stretch.
Once you're up in Water Skier, bend the knees slightly, open the collar bones, and arch the upper back. The whole spine is in extension, and its important to keep the abdominals engaged so the low back has some support here.
Its also important to think of the length of the spine and your abs stretching long, as if both are stretching away from the tower. This focus on lengthening will counter-balance the shortness that could come into the low back.
There is another version with straight legs, which is more of just an upper back arch. In my opinion, its not really as good because it keeps the low back too rigid, but its nice for people who have the flexibility for it.
To come out of Spread Eagle, you have to return to Water Skier. Then, proceed to come down and finish the routine just as we did for Water Skier.
You can think of the whole sequence like this: Push up, scoop back to lay down, lift up to a plank (Water Skier), bend the knees and arch back (Spread Eagle), come back to the plank, bend the knees to lay down, sit up, Push Through.
Its not really as complicated to do as it sounds, and its really great fun :)
This is not a good exercise for someone with low back problems or problems gripping with the hands. This is definitely an advanced exercise.
I have heard a story about a tower coming out of the wall during this exercise, so its very important to know if your tower is properly secured into the wall and into the studs in the wall.
You can buy an accessory for the tower called the Spread Eagle Foot Plate, though its entirely not necessary to have one: http://www.peakpilates.com/store/prd_page_nt.cfm?ID=176&CATID=3
Here is another post I wrote on another variation of Push Through:
http://headsuponyourbody.blogspot.com/2008/03/great-variation-of-push-through.html Read more!
People in Sarah's Monday night classes have been asking for more, more more! So I am so happy to announce that Sarah is expanding her schedule to include Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as her regular Monday schedule!
Sarah is such a great instructor, its hard to believe she's an apprentice and not yet fully certified. She is fun, she listens to what clients have to say, and she know the exercises inside and out. Now is a great time to take advantage of her reduced rate sessions!
Sessions with Sarah are also a great way to combat the terrible gas prices. We are all looking for ways to cut back, without cutting into our fitness routine. So, this is a way to do pilates while remaining on a budget!
Here is a run-down of Sarah's rates:
$65 / five sessions
$600 / ten sessions
$35/per person 1 session
$300/per person 5 sessions
$30.00 or $125.00/ five sessions
Like I said, Sarah is available in the studio on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. For a more detailed schedule, and for Sarah's bio, see our website, http://www.rhinebeckpilates.com/
To book a session with Sarah, or for any questions you may have, please feel free to call or email me! Read more!
Monday, May 26, 2008
Most people immediately groan when I pass out the Magic Circle before class... well, they're either groaning or affectionately calling it the "Ring of Fire". Naturally I was surprised to find that there is someone, or somedog, who doesn't actually mind the Magic Circle.
Here is Friday remaining calm, cool, and collected with the Magic Circle. What a great dog! He always behaves so well during mat class when he could so easily jump all over everyone and create havoc. Besides loving the Magic Circle, he also enjoys Side Leg Heel Beats and Plank positions. Read more!
Monday, May 19, 2008
This is going to blow your Toe Socks off.
Here is a great way to sample a few classes from almost every major pilates studio in a city near you (NYC, Chicago, Houston, or LA, to be exact), become introduced to studios you never knew existed, and only have to pay one time, once. What am I talking about?.... its the fabulous Pilates Passbook, offered by the American Health and Fitness Alliance.
The Pilates Passbook, is filled with passes to pilates classes and studios in the city you live in. All you have to do is make your appointment, present your pass, and your classes or sessions are FREE!
Does that sound to good to be true? Well, it is true. They also have a Yoga Passbook Fitness Passbook, which is a book filled with free gym passes to gyms all over the city.
These passbooks also include passes to Gyrotonic studios, Alexander Technique sessions, swimming, dancing.... the list goes on and on. If you view the American Health and Fitness Alliance's website, you can see detailed lists of every participating studio and gym and what exactly they offer with the passes.
I love these books! I bought them and had a great time "touring" studios and gyms all over the city for a year with my friend who also bought the passbook. Its a thrifty way to try new classes and to spend time with a friend!
When I had my passbook, I discovered so many studios that I never knew of. I tried many different types of classes and different teaching styles- I kind of got a taste for everything out there. It was a really great experience. Its a perfect way to find out more about all the different types of pilates teaching styles and points of view, for anyone who wants to learn more about the different types of pilates that are out there today.
There are so many passes in these passbooks, that you might not even be able to go to every studio and gym listed. Even if that happens, the book basically pays for itself after just a few classes or sessions that you do use. And, if you end up with extra passes to places you will never go (for example, if the studio is totally out of your neighborhood), you can sell the extra passes on http://www.craigslist.org/.
Check out the American Health and Fitness Alliance website for yourself, and learn more about the passbooks:
http://www.health-fitness.org/index.html Read more!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Of course, I couldn't write a post on the physical aspects of becoming certified without mentioning physical benefits of certification. Number one, you'll get a killer bod! The other physical benefits of getting certified are all the benefits of doing pilates- you'll feel taller, leaner, stronger, and more connected to your breath.
With all the working out that is required of you, you can't help but get that "pilates body" we all want so bad! The key is to pace yourself. After all, pilates is really all about balance.
At the same time, any 600 hour certification process is intensely physically demanding. You are expected to practice all the exercises from beginner to advanced, usually both on your own and also in private sessions with the certifying instructor. The amount of time it takes to complete a certification is usually 6-18 months, depending on how much of a time commitment you make to the process.
If you've been doing pilates for years, this amount of pilates activity and the intensity may not have a huge effect on your energy level. But, if you're at an intermediate or beginner level and decide to become a teacher, you'll end up practicing advanced exercises sooner than you may have otherwise. Its all great, but its also intense, even if you're already in good physical condition.
Besides having to practice all the exercises and work out a lot, you are also expected to observe the certified teachers at the studio teaching classes and privates. In a way, this is the opposite of working out, because you're sitting for a few hours. But at the same, observing is physically exhausting! In most cases, you have to sit on the floor, or maybe you can sit on a ball or a piece of equipment in the studio, but you're still sitting. You might start to feel stiff in your back and hips, and just get plain tired! Of course, you can't zone out, because you need to take notes and be... observant.
Be sure to workout just once per day, don't overdo it, because you'll pay for it later with a pulled muscle. I even knew someone who had to drop out of her program because she hurt herself dancing (most likely, she was just doing way too much and her body was completely exhausted). Try to take a lunch break outside of the studio, go for a walk, and clear your head. Be sure to take a few days off from practicing per week to give your body a rest.
Try to get plenty of sleep each night and eat healthfully every day. I know its hard to remain balanced when your trying to become certified in a new thing, and you still have a job, family, apartment, pets, etc. Just remember, your message to everyone around you is only as strong as you are. Your message will never be more than just words unless you really do practice what you preach.
Finding balance... the hardest aspect of everything we do!
Many people familiar with yoga are curious about pilates. What are the differences between pilates and yoga? Is one better than the other? Here are some similarities and differences between the two methods!
First, I'd like to point out that neither pilates nor yoga is better than the other, they are just different from each other. Great benefits can be gained from doing one or the other, or both.
One big difference between pilates and yoga is the types of breathing. In yoga, there are a few different types of breating, depending on the style of yoga, the focus of the class or exercise, and the intentions of the teacher. One type of yogic breathing is audible and throaty, known as the ujjayi breath. It is a deep breathing that helps to focus and center the mind. Also in yoga, the belly is encouraged to rise and fall with the breath. All the yoga poses flow with the breath.
In pilates, exercises also flow with the breath, though the type of breathing is very different. During pilates, one goal is to stay connected into the center the whole time, which includes during inhalation. The belly is not to rise and fall with breath. Instead, the focus is more on breathing in and up into the upper back, while expanding the ribcage on the inhale, and "knitting" the ribs on the exhale.
In both yoga and pilates, a nice way to focus and connect to the movements is through the breath. However, unlike yoga breathing, in pilates, the breath is usually not as audible as it is in yoga.
The Spiritual Element
Yoga literally translates to, "One with God". Yoga is a spiritually based discipline. Classes usually include chanting, meditation, and passages read aloud by the teacher. Incense is sometimes burned during class, and there are spiritual statues found around the studio.
Pilates is not spiritually based in the ways that yoga is. Joseph Pilates did intend pilates to be "complete coordination of the mind, body, and spirit", and anyone who practices pilates knows that it does boost the spirit- the spirit soars along with the flow of exercises in a very invigorating way. However, pilates does not include any of the spiritual elements I listed above. Many people who feel uncomfortable with chanting in yoga, love pilates because there's no chanting!
The Focus of the Class
In both pilates and yoga, there is a focus on strengthening and stretching the whole body. In yoga, poses are often held for a period of time, while in pilates, the exercises are more rhythmical.
At the same time, a pilates mat class can flow and move in similar ways to a vinyasa yoga class.
Pilates and yoga also both focus on stretching while strengthening, as each movement is not only an exercise, but also a stretch.
In general, pilates classes are typically more "exercisey" than yoga classes, because of the emphasis on the core, and also because the equipment adds a strength training element. That's not to say that you'll never walk out of a yoga class in a sweat, though!
The Length of the Class
It seems like a small difference, but to many people, the length of the class is a really important factor when they're deciding whether or not to take a pilates or yoga class. Yoga classes are 1 1/2 hour long, though some studios do have lunchtime classes of just 1 hour. Pilates classes are just 1 hour, which is what Joseph Pilates intended as the length of time for his classes. A famous quote of Joe's is, "After an hour, get in the shower!". As a pilates instructor, I often hear people say they don't have time for a longer class, and enjoy coming to pilates because it is just one hour.
The Positions Your Body is In
In yoga classes, there are many more standing exercises, and more different types of movements in general. There are more exercises that focus on shoulder stability, standing balances, and of course there are also the head/hand stands.
In pilates, there are standing, kneeling, sidelying, sitting, supine, and prone exercises, but if you take a mat class, you will typically do most of the exercises laying on your back. This is seen as a plus to some people! If you're lucky, your pilates mat class teacher will include standing and kneeling exercises to spice things up a bit!
If you take a tower or reformer class, you're more likely to move your body in a wider range of positions than in a mat class.
As you can see from my post, it doesn't appear that pilates or yoga is "better" than the other. Of course I lean towards pilates because that's what I teach and practice more, but many of my pilates students practice both disciplines. There are similarities and differences, and you really have to choose which classes and teachers speak to you the most! Ideally, you can find a balance between pilates and yoga, so that all your needs are met. Read more!
Sunday, May 11, 2008
This seems like a silly question, but its one that actually comes up a lot. Many men assume they know what a pilates class is going to be like (a bunch of women) and what pilates is all about (like yoga, but for ballet dancers) and what the class is going to be like (a lot of deep breathing and stretching).
Hey, its not just some men who make those assumptions, some women make those assumptions, too! But this is a post about men and pilates... before we go any further, let me just take a moment to point out that:
Joseph Pilates himself WAS A MAN. So... of course men do pilates. They have been since the first day pilates was invented.
It might be true that there are usually more women than men in pilates classes, but that doesn't mean anything, really.
Over the years as a pilates instructor, I've taught many men pilates in group classes and private sessions. I even used to teach a class, Pilates For Men, at the local community college. I've seen pilates improve golf and tennis games, decrease stress, and increase flexibility so long commuter flights are less uncomfortable and sitting at a desk is less painful. Pilates is also a great way for couples to bond together healthfully.
If you're a man who wants to try pilates, but you think its too girly, you better get yourself into a pilates studio to learn something! Joseph Pilates was a boxer, who used weights in combination with his equipment in his original studio to train other athletes. Its best not to decide what pilates is like before taking a class, go see for yourself first.
Taking the time to notice how you feel before, during, and after an exercise, finding your mind-body connection, learning how to truly "work from your center"- all of these lessons can be translated into other areas of your life.
Check out this post I wrote about Pilates Myths, one is about men not doing pilates.
Daniel Lyon wrote the book, Pilates For Men. Read more!
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Hiking is one of the best ways to incorporate exercise into your life!
Hiking is enjoyable, beautiful, cardiovascular, not boring, free, a varied terrain, and a great way to bond with someone you know, or with your dog.
In a lot of ways, hiking is the perfect form of exercise!
These are photos of me and my dog at a local waterfall where there are trails and waterfalls to swim under, its so great. If you're looking for a way to add exercise into your life, try looking up a park like this near where you live.
If you look for a park near your home, it'll be easy to go there frequently. Its nice when you find a park with a few different types of trails, some easy and flat, and other steep with overlooks. That way, you can go hiking all the time as your cardio exercise, and choose which trail you feel like doing each time you go, depending on your energy and amount of time you have.
In a lot of ways, hiking is similar to pilates- even the same trail is really never exactly the same every time you hike it, just like a pilates class is really never the same class twice. Hiking unites your mind and body, and breath, just like pilates. They both give your spirit a huge boost, they can both be enjoyed with friends, and they both require practice to get better and better. In my opinion, hiking and pilates amazing forms of exercise!
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Hope you didn't miss the article, "You Walk Wrong", by Adam Sternbergh in the April 28, 2008 edition of New York Magazine! In case you couldn't tell by the title... the walk you walk is apparently all wrong. Having been through lessons in walking myself, I have had shocking moments when I realize that the way I've walked in the past was contributing to my aches and pains.
If you haven't read the article, check out the link at the bottom of this post. In the meantime, if you have some of these physical problems, it could be because you're walking wrong:
-pain in the front of the hips (at the top of the thigh)
-pain in the arch of the foot
-extreme tension in the groin
-low back pain
Pilates can help with all of these problems, and although there aren't any "walking" type exercises in pilates, a couple exercises in particular can help retrain your body how to carry itself with more ease when you walk.
First and foremost, learning how to have a neutral pelvis is key to walking properly. If you have any of the problems I've listed above associated with poor walking form, the habitual tilt of your pelvis while you try to walk your legs is a big factor.
The Pilates Side Kicks and Single Leg Circles are a great way to practice swinging and moving the legs free from the pelvis, the walking should also be.
Besides maintaining a neutral pelvis while walking, another important factor is the impact your feet make with the ground. You should maintain a slight spring in your step when walking, and rolling through your foot evenly- heel, ball, toe.
Running, on the reformer, is a really great truth-teller about how you walk when you're not on the reformer. When Running on the reformer, you should feel light and springy, as if you're prancing on the foot bar or trotting up a set of stairs. You should feel your core helping to lift the weight of your body up, up, up each time, so that its not just the feet moving the carriage in and out. If your focus is more on the lowering of the heel under the bar, that is a good sign that you are "down" in your body when walking. Instead of trotting up the stairs, perhaps you pound up the stairs?
Footwork on the reformer is also great for learning where your weight typically falls in your feet when walking. If you roll out to your pinkie toe on the footbar, if one foot turns out while the other stays parallel, or if you flex your toes back strongly instead of flexing your foot at your ankle, you most likely do these same habitual, non-beneficial movements while walking!
Keep in mind, too, if the above things happen when doing Footwork or Running on the reformer, the problem may not only be with your feet. A twist or imbalance in the hips, knees, or ankles could also cause these problems.
Another great exercise that reveals a lot about the way you walk is Chest Expansion on the Tower. You should use your core, drawn in and up, to steady your body as the arms press back. If, to steady yourself, your instinct is to thrust the hips forward and squeeze your sitz bones, you most likely do a similar thing when walking. "Leading with your hips" when walking, can cause hip pain, low back pain, and tightness in your leg muscles.
That's the good thing about pilates- you learn work and move your whole body correctly! So, physical problems associated with poor walking posture due to any number of issues can be greatly helped with pilates' full-body approach!
Here is the article, You Walk Wrong, from New York Magazine:
Here is another post I wrote with more information about neutral pelvis:
http://headsuponyourbody.blogspot.com/2008/03/neutral-pelvis.html Read more!
Monday, May 5, 2008
Do any of these scenerios sound familiar?
-You feel dissatisfied with your job right now and you need a change.
-You hate sitting at your desk all day, and wish you had a flexible schedule.
-Your kids are growing and you think it might be a good time to get back to work or start up a new career.
-Your graduating college and have no idea what you're going to do!
-You need a part-time job to make money so you can be a dancer/artist/actor/whatever.
If you're familiar with pilates, it may have crossed your mind to become a pilates instructor as a solution to these problems. But what kind of person does it take to be a pilates instructor, and more importantly, a successful instructor who makes money?
Anyone can decide to go through a certification program, but it takes a certain type of person to be a successful teacher. Could you be a pilates teacher? What kind of personality does it take? Why become a pilates instructor? Here are some of my opinions!
1. You're at least somewhat of a perfectionist!
I have to admit, this is sort of true about many pilates instructors, including myself and mostly every pilates instructor I know. To teach such a precise method of exercise, you have to be at least somewhat of a perfectist, in my opinion. Its not an "anything goes" type of thing. Even when someone feels as though they've mastered a movement, there is always something more that can be added or... perfected.
There are demands placed on a busy pilates instructor that require us to push ourselves and to succeed at what we do. As a pilates teacher, being a perfectionist is necessary in a lot of ways- you must always be on time, keep track of all appointments and classes, and remember everybody's name, know about at least 600 exercises, teach with flow, etc.
As a pilates instructor, you'll meet and teach many, many, MANY different types of people- its so great! Not only will you meet lots of different people, but you'll really learn a lot from all of them, if you're open to it.
If your personality is withdrawn, or if you have a phobia of public speaking, you may have a hard time attracting clients at first, but I know this is something that can be learned with time and experience. In fact, as teachers, we are always learning and growing with every class and student we teach. If you're open to learning from students, learning more about the method, and learning about yourself, being a pilates instructor would probably be a great move for you!
3. Pilates has changed your life or your view on exercise.
You don't have to have always been athletic or have been a dancer to teach pilates. You don't have to look a certain way, and it doesn't matter if you're male or female. In fact, I'll admit, I passionately hated exercise until I decided to try yoga and running at age 18.
If you feel pilates has changed your outlook on life and exercise, you'd make an excellent advertisement for the method! Your passionate will show through your teaching, and you could inspire other people who never thought they could do pilates, to try it.
4. You want to promote fitness and mind-body exercise, or you want to help people.
Let's face it, many people are stressed, eating unhealthfully, depressed, and busy. If you like helping people, there are a lot of people out there who need pilates! Its a noble thing to want to help people around you, and pilates is a great way to do it because it can be done anywhere and anyone of any age can do it. As far a bringing health to communities and reaching a wide variety of people, pilates can be done by everyone!
5. You want to love your job.
If you already love pilates, then you can tell that your teacher loves his/her job. If you hate your current path, and want to mix things up and start new, becoming a pilates instructor could change everything. Its not an easy job, but its so fulfilling, and fun. And I don't know a pilates instructor who doesn't love the job!
I am always asked the question, "What type of cardio activity do you recommend in addition to pilates?"
Personally, I love cardio exercise of (almost) any kind, so of course I think any type of cardio is good. But most of the time, I know the people who are asking me this question are busy, and come to pilates classes at least two or three times per week, which is an expense. In other words, joining a gym or joining a team sport is not always an option for busy people who are already spending a good amount of money on pilates each week.
If this sounds like you, I have this suggestion for incorporating cardio into your life- why not walk (or jog) to your pilates class, and home again?
A brisk walk to the studio will really get you warmed up and ready to move when the class starts. A walk home will help you savor that uplifted feeling from class just a little bit longer.
This is also a great solution if you're pressed for time in general. True, it might take you a half-hour to walk to the studio, and a half-hour back again. But it would take you just as long to carve time out of a different day to drive to the gym, get out of the car, venture into the locker room for a while, then jump on a treadmill, right?
You could even take it one step further and ask another person from class to walk for 45 minutes with you after class. Its motivating when you know someone is planning to walk with you, and you tend to walk faster when with another person. Talking, laughing, and bonding with a like-minded person is great, added pick-me-up to walking.
I realize that not everyone is able to walk to the studio, due to location and environment. However... I have to bet there is some way to incorporate walking on the way to and from pilates. You could try parking your car a 1/2 mile from the studio, and walking the rest of the way. You could drive to a nearby park, jump out, and walk for a bit before class, and then do the same on the way home.
To put it in perspective, here's the amount of calories burned while walking briskly, and the amount of calories burned in a pilates class, then the combined amount:
150 lb person walking for 30 mins (3.5 mph) = 173 calories
150 lb person doing 1 hour of pilates (intermediate level) = 360 calories
Walking home again after pilates = 173 calories
Total calories burned = 706!
Not that you should only focus on the number of calories you burn, but burning calories does play a huge part in weight loss, and most people exercise for weight loss! Hopefully, you also exercise because it makes you feel good, mentally and physically, too.
Some pilates studios with enough space are also equipped with cardio machines like bikes and treadmills. If you're lucky enough to have one of these "one stop shops" in your neighborhood, it can be a great alternative to a gym and will save you time and money in the process. Read more!