I just watched the amazing documentary about Eve Gentry: The Power of Pilates. Eve Gentry is considered a Pilates elder as she is a first generation Pilates instructor who trained with Joseph and Clara Pilates. Her story is quite amazing and inspiring and if you get the chance- watch the documentary. There were so many take-aways for me from her story but probably most profound was hearing her say, “Pilates is a concept”. We teach concepts and not exercises. If you are just teaching exercises than you are merely a conveyor belt.”
I couldn’t agree more and find that as I help train future Pilates instructors that this is one of the most important concepts I pass on. Teaching Pilates isn’t just about memorizing all the exercises, or doing all the exercises. Teaching Pilates is about teaching the Pilates concepts of efficient movement to our clients bodies so that they can actually have a Pilates practice. As a teacher it is just as important that you know why you are doing an exercise or movement as it is that you know the choreography of the exercise.
To teach the Pilates concepts you have to know how to adapt them to your own body and your client’s bodies. You need to be able to put yourself in a client’s body and help them find what they need to do to get to the next step. Sometimes this means not doing traditional Pilates exercises at all. Sometimes this means changing or adapting an exercise so they can learn the Pilates concept you are trying to teach them. Often times this means practicing the fundamental movements that make up the exercise before actually progressing to the traditional exercise.
As instructors our jobs go well beyond just knowing the exercises and a few modifications. Learning to teach Pilates concepts to each different body is a skill that takes lots of practice and experience seeing different bodies move. This is one of the many reasons that a quality, comprehensive Pilates training program requires not just workshop hours but also hands on practice and observation designed to help instructors fine tune this skill of teaching concepts.
Contact us today to learn more about Pilates instructor training programs at Rivercity Pilates and mentoring opportunities.