What is my job as a Pilates teacher?
On the weekend I went to a continuing education workshop with a Pilates teacher from New York.
As a Pilates teacher I’m always looking for ways to fill my cup so that I keep my teaching fresh and up to date. After teaching now for eighteen years it is so important that I keep getting out there to see what’s new and have my thoughts provoked and disrupted. This weekend certainly did that and this email is the first about this weekend.
Anula (the presenter) started by asking us what our job as a Pilates teacher is. It actually stopped us all in our tracks as there are so many ways to describe what we do. Anula’s was to make the best old people she can. I just love this!
You see there is no definition of what Pilates is and sadly there is controversy within our industry about the different methods that are out there. It’s all still very vague and most people think its stretching and it strengthens your core….or something.
Is Pilates like Yoga?
When I first started teaching, and I met someone new, the inevitable question of “What do you do?” would come up. First I’d squirm then I’d say “I’m a Pilates teacher” and then they would stutter a bit and say “Oh, your a Pilot”? Hahaha. I got this a lot. I would then go on this long and protracted explanation about what Pilates is, and what Pilates does for you. They would then say, “So is it like yoga”? To which I’d answer there are similarities but there is no spiritual undertone and that there is a breathing technique but it’s different to the yoga style of breathing, and that some of Joseph Pilates work was inspired by yoga but it’s different.
Boy! That poor person must of left the conversation feeling very confused and no closer to understanding what Pilates is. I believe that one of the reasons Pilates does not have definition is because it’s named after him, Joseph Pilates, so this in itself makes it unclear. Mr Pilates called it “Contrology” and actually I think it’s much closer to what it really is.
Joseph Pilates said
“The Pilates method teaches you to be in control of your body and not at its mercy”.
He also said
“Contrology develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind and elevates the spirit”.
I would have to agree for certain with both statements.
I know what Pilates is and what Pilates does because I see it and experience it everyday. But until the weekend it has been so hard to put it into words in a way that was clear and concise for the person that hasn’t experienced a Pilates session.
My definition and job description
- Pilates improves your present and future movement capabilities and maximises your physical longevity and quality of life.
- As Pilates teacher I teach you how to reach your full movement potential and improve the quality of your life through practicing Pilates.
I’m still working on it, but I think this is very close. What are your thoughts?