What finding that Pilates Mentor did for my Pilates teaching and life.
Did you ever feel a little lost in your Pilates teaching? Did you ever want to take your Pilates teaching to another level or maybe open up a new journey for you and your Pilates clients? Did you get out of your Pilates Teacher Training and think later something was missing? Have the Pilates workshops you have taken not really gone as deep or given you what you are searching for in your Pilates teaching? Have you just felt that you were going through the motions of Pilates teaching but, that passion or something was just not there?
I can tell you for me, I sure did. I couldn’t even really put my finger on it to even figure out those were the questions that I was wanting to find answers for myself. I just was feeling a bit on automatic pilot at times. I would have moments of recharge after workshops or taking intensive sessions with other teachers but, after a bit, it was back to that feeling that I really couldn’t figure out. I soon realized I needed to know why? Why was I planning this for a client? What was the true purpose of it? How could I find my way for myself in terms of my teaching skill? On that note, I also questioned sometimes my teaching when around other teachers who seemed to almost be Doctor’s in the use of their anatomy. It was not the way I was comfortable teaching and seemed to not come naturally for me to connect for the client.
I continued to search for what I felt was missing for me. Then one day I knew I had found what I was looking for. First off, for those that know me then you know that for me a positive, supportive environment is key. It is what I built my whole teaching practice, teacher training program and studio on, that philosophy. I don’t do well with “you can’t” “no” or “that is wrong, you are doing that wrong” especially in teaching and making people confident in what they can do.
So back to this day! I saw that a friend and fellow Teacher was starting a program that dug deeply into the work of Joseph Pilates. Looking at the exercises in a way that I knew was exactly what I needed. You may wonder well, how did you know this was the answer for you? It came down to the person who was leading this program and delivering that information. That is what I was truly looking at for me.
To me, I needed that same positive, supportive environment that I gave to my studio. Someone who would guide in a safe way that made you feel “that is ok” “you are doing great”. I knew this was it for me as I had done a workshop in the past with this Teacher. The workshop was on the Cadillac and that day it was soon time for swan. Volunteers were asked for and I said: “I am not great at swan”. This was the cue that sent this Teacher into “yes, let’s see what is happening here” I was told, “hop on, let's see”. Not in a “hmm..let’s see what is wrong with your swan” but in a ‘let’s figure this out for you”. So I got on and showed my tight shoulders, my bendy low back that wanted to go there before anything else. I was guided gently with hands to move where I could. When I there where my body could go I heard “there you are! There is your swan”. That was a moment. My swan. It wasn’t a big beautiful elegant swan as I was told always this is where you need to be but, to me, it felt that way. So, it was not what others “wanted” or said it should look like but, mine. The gift of that one sentence for me was huge!
So, I knew that this friend would give me that gift with the work. I knew that as in other workshops or with other teachers it wouldn’t be “it has to be this” or “your body won’t do that so just skip it”. I would be told this was what my body would do, how it moved and be able to find my journey in the work.
I was right! Not only had the environment they created attracted the same teachers as me but, it filtered back for me to my studio and my life. It weeded out those that didn’t have that same vision and created a more positive studio than had been before. I realized I had been on the right path and was a good teacher, to trust in myself and know what I could do in terms of my abilities. I realized just letting my clients do the same was ok.
In terms of the word Mentor, the description is “ an experienced and trusted adviser”. To me, it is a bit different. For me, it is that person who gives you guidance, support, lifts you up and shows you what you are capable of and your gifts. It doesn’t have to be someone older or in years more experienced. It is that person who has something to teach you that you need or want. That is there with you not just for that moment but, for the journey and beyond.
Now as I lead my own Mentorship Program and have teachers that are from all styles of teaching I want to give them that same gift. To know they are on the right path for them. To inspire them, to lift them up, to show them the deep work and how they can move, how they can guide their clients in that same way. To share the passion for Pilates and continuing their journey and seeing where we can go together.