When you are a new teacher starting out things can be a little blurry with all the Pilates exercises. There is still so much to learn, to process and to feel in your own body before teaching it to clients. Even experienced teachers can feel this at times in the studio, feeling a pressure to teach out of that comfort zone with exercises that for them are not ones they have really felt within themselves to teach or understand in their own body.
I remember as a new teacher for me it was the Rowing series on the Reformer. The choreography was like Latin to me, My arms seemed to have a mind of their own and didn’t know where to go and when to get there. Add in the body movement and for some reason, this series just sent me into a tizzy. If I tried to teach it the client would look at me as if I was actually speaking Latin to them. They didn’t understand, did not “get it”, what was the purpose of this? I found that I was getting frustrated just like the client.
I would also find myself in workshops and immediately want to teach what I learned (in 2-4 hours) to my clients. Why didn’t they “get it”? I found again I wasn’t teaching from my truth here! I was just spouting off what I had heard but, I didn’t really understand what I was doing and why. I once heard a fellow teacher say “ Enjoy this work for you right now, don’t share with your clients. Let it be for you, for you to feel and understand”. I remember thinking how wonderful that advice was and how wise to do as a Teacher.
Now, as for the Rowing? It took practice and understanding of the Rowing before I truly felt comfortable teaching it. Once I got to that point the frustration and confusion stopped for the client. They understood it, they “got it” and they knew why they were doing it. I was teaching from my truth! What is that? It is exactly as that fellow teacher had said. I took it out of my tool belt for a while and just worked it for myself.
Teaching from your Truth is teaching from where you are! Teaching from what you know and understand, truly get in the work, in your client’s body and knowing why you are doing what you are doing. This will give you that confidence that the client will see and know that yes, you know what you are doing!
Here are 5 tips on Teaching from your Truth:
Studying details: Once you are out of Teacher Training and into the studio world don’t let that Teacher Training manual gather dust. Pull it out and go over exercises again. See the details. The pressure of learning, passing test are gone and now you may see and understand things in a new and different way.
Continued Education: Even if you don’t need CEC’s do the workshops! Do them for you and your self. Sit with the material, work with it for you and your own body and practice. When you are ready share it with your clients if you like.
Practice never stops: Just as you do Tip 1 then take it to the studio. Get on the apparatus as you did in your Teacher Training. Run through the Manual and exercises. Move and pay attention to what is going on for you and your body. What are you feeling, what is maybe not connecting for you? You are free to really explore without the pressure of passing a test, enjoy the work and see how things change for you each week or monthly.
Find a Mentor: Find someone who you connect with in your Pilates practice or personally. Someone who can guide you along the way to give you what you feel you need in your teaching truth. It could be in the exercises, in your connection to clients or confidence or just to have someone with more experience to bounce your thoughts off to them.
Be the Client: This is very important and I tell all those in my Teacher Training Program and Mentorship, be the client. Take your own weekly lesson that you schedule with another teacher. Show up and do the work for you and your body. The minute you stop being the client then you lose that connection in your work with your own client.
On your Pilates path your Truth will change and grow but, it is so important to teach from where you are, what you understand and teaching from your truth will be seen by your clients!