The Art of Teaching Pilates

Is Teaching Pilates an Artform? I am venturing to say yes, obviously, as it is the premise of this post, and the name of my blog. I am also going to go out on a limb and say that, as Pilates teachers, we do a helluvah lot more than just lifting butts for a living.

Mastering the skill of lifting butts may be the first thing that we learn in our teacher trainings (physical fitness is, afterall, the premise of Joseph Pilates’ method of exercise he named Contrology) however, as any Pilates teacher who has ever been thrown to the wolves fresh outta teacher training can attest to, there’s quite a bit more to it than just delivering a workout.

To get to my point quickly, I’m going to make a list in the form of a run-on sentence.

Skill sets also required for teaching Pilates: customer service, some biomechanics/anatomy/physiology knowledge, sales training doesn’t hurt, time management and scheduling skills, some business savvy, especially if you want to go it alone and be an independent instructor, and one of the most important- the ability to see a moving body and all its misalignment and imbalances and determine what exercises will best benefit that body based on what you see, hello critical thinking!

...and then there’s the people skills. The ability to make someone that you’ve never met like you and want to do Pilates with you 2x per week indefinitely in 55 minutes or less, creating a professional relationship with good rapport, being able to find creative ways to get information out of your clients about their movement experience beyond face reading and mind reading so you can help give them what they need, nay, what they want out of their sessions.

Pilates teachers are wizards. And witches. Magical. Anyway, I digress.

Starting out I had an idea that a little bit of all of the above was going to be involved, but when I first started teaching Pilates, it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. It came together though. I was lucky to have the right mentors and co-workers in my corner, along with the perfectionist tendencies and my infinite goal mentioned in my previous post. I am making it work.

The information is the same: movement. Meant to strengthen and stretch the body, coming from trained eyes and perfectly rehearsed cues.

How we impart that information onto our clients and to our classes is where the magic happens. That is where artist meets canvas. I’m not trying to wax poetic about teaching Pilates. What  I am trying to say, that no matter what school of thought you come from, even if you don’t think you have an ounce of creativity in you, your teaching is an art form. It is a craft worth perfecting.

There is no one secret to being a great Pilates teacher. Like any art form, It’s all about learning and practice, honing your craft, and applying what you have learned.

What are some things you have learned about the Art of Teaching Pilates since your initial teacher training? Reply in the comments below.