Awhile back I wrote about the importance of “maintaining your own Pilates practice.” When I first became a Pilates instructor my personal practice was necessary to help me be a better teacher. To feel how cues from my teacher felt in my own body. I would come early and watch her teach the person before me and if I could I would stay late. Many of us may find that we can continue taking Pilates from our teacher trainers. And, yet, there are still many teachers who find themselves off on their own, working hard to grow their Pilates business and due to location and time cannot get to their original Pilates instructors.The other day I was talking with a Pilates instructor from out of town. Where he lived there weren’t many instructors with more experience than him. He would take classes from the teachers who worked at his studio or online but he didn’t have an instructor that he regularly saw that was helping his own personal Pilates practice grow. He needed to find a Pilates instructor that would challenge him, a teacher for teachers.
So, how do you find a Pilates instructor for yourself?
Last week over at my Pilates teaching website I gave some tips for Pilates practitioners to find the best instructor for them. As well all know a quick Google search can give you more than you were looking for. And, while all those tips apply here for you. There are also some key things I think are important for a Pilates teacher looking for their own Pilates teacher.
- Get Referrals: Talk to your original Pilates teacher trainer and see if they have any advice for whom you should continue to learn from.
- Who trained whom: If you love the way your original teachers taught you Pilates who taught them? Do they have a Skype opportunity, workshop or master training you can take to continue to grow?
- Use the Online options: Binge out on PilatesAnytime.com classes (use LLOGAN for a 30-day free trial) and see what instructors really speak to you and your body. Then connect with them. Can you take a Pilates vacation and meet them, take a class or workshop?
- Get tech savvy: So the teacher doesn’t live near you? So what! A camera on your phone or laptop with some blue tooth earbuds will do just the trick! Sure, you miss the touch aspect of Pilates but, when you take away one sensory the other ones are enlightened. Seriously, if you are blindfolded your hearing and sense of smell begin to work harder. The clients and teachers I teach via skype/facetime all find that they are more focused during our sessions because they cannot just look at me and tell me about their day in footwork. They would have to turn their head awkwardly to see the camera and chit-chat. And, for me as their teacher, I have to watch more and be as creative as I can with my words to get them to feel what I want them to connect to our change.
- Go to Pilates conferences: Take workshops and sessions from as many different teachers as possible. You will find so many amazing instructors at the Pilates Method Alliance, Momentum Fest, and any other Pilates conference you can find. Sure, you have to travel to go to these but one, it’s a write off so do it! Two, continuing education is key for staying inspired and growing your skills to retain your clients. Three, networking is essential for feeling like you are not alone and for getting ideas on what to do or not to do in your Pilates business. I’ll be at both the PMA gathering in October and teaching at Momentum Fest in June (use momentumlesley to save $)! So, come and introduce yourself and share what teachers you want to try to get more Pilates in your body with.
- Get a coach: Contact me or another life coach to help you figure out what you need in choosing a teacher that is right for you. It’s essential that your Pilates instructor inspire you as much as they challenge you. That you are not just another hour in their day but someone they are passing the torch to. That they are dedicated to you growing as a teacher and a Pilates practitioner.
- Change is ok: Sometimes we find we are going in a different direction. Or, maybe you teach a special population of clients but you are not that population. You need a teacher whose niche is YOU! It’s ok to need a different set of skills. In my teaching journey after being an apprentice, I switched from the teacher who helped me learn all the exercises I needed to do my program to a woman who used to be a teacher trainer for the same program. Then from her due to our schedules not vibing I switched to the woman she was taking from, Sandy Shimoda. And now, I take from her and her team at Vintage.
When I talk about living part-time in one country and part-time in LA I’ll admit at first I was like “what am I going to do for my Pilates?!” And then I laughed out loud! I’ll do what I do now. Take from my teachers who challenge me via the web when I’m away and in person when I am not.
I know you are probably doing an amazing job teaching yourself, taking classes with others or even online with me and my mat classes. But, it’s so important that you have regular Pilates sessions that are just about YOU! Now that I have convinced you of that here are a few things to keep in mind when doing your search.
Tips on what to look for in a Pilates teacher for yourself:
- They challenge you
- The Pilates instructor is focused on you and not talking Pilates biz during your session
- They remember what cues work for you and where your weaknesses are
- They have a teacher who challenges them.
- They never stop learning
- They hold you accountable
- They don’t let you take yourself too seriously
Your Pilates practice not only helps you stay connected to your mind, body, and soul. It helps you move. You became a Pilates instructor because you loved the way you felt, you loved the movements and wanted to share them with everyone else. Maintaining your practice is always a challenge. It’s so easy to cancel our own Pilates workout to make room for another client. But, when you have a teacher who is expecting you to show up and workout you will not only do it you will continue to be able to hold your clients accountable, stay inspired and grow.
If you already have regular sessions with your own instructor congrats! I’d love to hear what it is you love about taking Pilates with them. You can comment below or simply send them a message letting them know how much they mean to you. If you are feeling blue because you don’t have a teacher yet that does what I said above then feel free to reach out. Let’s find out what you’re looking for and how we can find you the perfect teacher. I’m happy to be your Pilates teacher matchmaker!
But, no matter how busy your studio is, no matter how little time you think you have or how much money you think you don’t have your Pilates sessions will pay you back tenfold over and over again!