Rebecca gives all Pilates instructors some advice on going from a Pilates student to an instructor and how to successfully manage your Pilates journey. To find out more, read on.
What a start to an ‘ever-evolving and ever-lasting journey in my life! Commit and ready yourself for a consciously made phenomenon of a truly life-changing decision! And one, that only gets better! If you’re a Pilates enthusiast who has been practising what I like to call the ‘Art-Work’ of Pilates for some time and possibly considering becoming an instructor, there are some essential things you need to do to make the transition a successful one.
I’d like to share with you some of the pointers I personally pursued and executed CONSISTENTLY from the very beginning of my journey, still today, every day and most definitely throughout the years that lie ahead of me. I am to forever be evolving and growing with each movement I make and each breath that I take - heading into the bright future I foresee for myself in Pilates.
Below are 10 points to help any student become a Pilates instructor:
1. Find a reputable Pilates training program: Your training program will be the foundation of your knowledge and skills as a Pilates instructor. This is best done by researching different programs and choosing one that is accredited with a good reputation as well as one you think you will most enjoy. My advice would be to do BASI Pilates.
2. Practice, practice, practice!!! The more you practice Pilates, the better you'll be able to teach it. Take as many classes as you can and focus on refining your technique.
3. Observe other instructors - as many and as often as you can. Observe how other instructors teach and communicate. You must be able to cue and communicate properly using correct terminology with your clients. This is also a great way to learn and get inspired.
4. Learn how to modify exercises: As an instructor, you'll need to be able to modify exercises to accommodate your client's specific needs. Whether this is related to injuries, limitations, specific athletic needs or the like. Modifications can make exercises easier or harder - both of which can benefit your client's needs.
5. Develop your communication skills: Being able to communicate clearly and effectively with your clients is key to being a successful instructor. Practice your communication skills and work on your teaching voice.
6. Listen attentively: Pay attention to the instructor's cues and listen to their instructions carefully. Make sure to ask questions if you do not understand any of the movements. Also, listen to your client's needs and what they are wanting to achieve in a session, long term as well as any good “pains” or bad “pains” they are feeling. This will guide your session as well as what the client’s strengths and weaknesses are and what specific exercises you can choose around the client’s needs.
7. Be present: Arrive on time and make sure you are physically and mentally present during each and every session you take and or you join. This means that you should avoid distractions like your phone or other electronic devices.
8. Focus on your breath: Proper breathing is an essential component of Pilates. Listen to the instructor's breathing cues and focus on your breath to help you get the most out of each movement. Equally so, when taking a client, check in with their breathing and their body alignment. Breathe can tell you a lot about your client’s body as well as their state of mind.
9. Be patient: Pilates is not an easy discipline, and it takes time to see results. Be patient and stay committed to the practice. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! – PACE YOURSELF! You will need this skill, before learning to pace your client’s body, mind and individual needs.
10. Set realistic goals: Set achievable goals for yourself and track your progress over time. This will help you stay motivated and see the benefits of your practice. When starting with a client help them set realistic goals for them to feel a sense of achievement. We want our clients to walk out feeling good about themselves.
Perhaps lastly, but most importantly, enjoy the process! Going from student to instructor is an exciting place to be. Remember that Pilates is a journey, and it is important to enjoy the process. Have fun, stay curious, and keep learning!