This is the first of the Sunday Strategies blog series and I thought we’d kick it off with a bang! In my experience working with many Pilates professionals, I’ve found that the teachers of this work generally desire the following when they teach:
They want their teaching to work for their clients. They want to help them reach their goals, while at the same time exposing them to the gifts that come with a body that moves freely, with strength and ease.
They want to teach from a place of deep knowledge and proficiency. This is the opposite of insecurity but is not an inflated ego. Simply put by Kathy Grant, “it’s knowing what is happening in this moment but also knowing what has to happen in the moments that follow.”
They want to find the place where they can develop their own voice within the method. Whether it’s through continuing their education, growing their business or teaching others to teach, growth is a theme that shows up repeatedly in the life-cycle of the Pilates Teacher.
I believe that these general themes can either provide a driving force to keep you working at the art of teaching Pilates or a severe platform for self-criticism and insecurity.
So what’s the secret to becoming a better teacher while avoiding the pitfalls of insecurity?
Self-support is not the most sexy subject yet, it when you have it, it works for you. I’ve created three writing exercises for you to tap into each of the above categories. They are short and sweet and will help you to start your week with a strong intention and the support you need to step into the role of the teacher who you desire to be! Be sure to leave me a comment below to let me know about your discoveries. I look forward to hearing from you!
Becoming a Better Pilates Teacher Writing Exercises
This week, spend some time asking your clients how they measure their success in their movement sessions. Ask them to be as specific as they can be – more than just “I feel great afterwards!” Be sure to take some time after each session to jot down your clients’ answers. Later, take some time to write about the ways that you measure the success of your sessions. Compare your list with your client’s. What is similar? What differs? Where is there room to bridge the gap? Take some time to write about your findings, considering how you may better meet both sets of measurements in your sessions to come. Pilates is not being scored. Unless you are taking part in a concentrated study and as long as no pain or injury is being experienced, you can set the stage for hours and hours of subjective success – this is the best part about working with human beings! You get to be creative about what makes a great session. Give yourself permission to strategize some new ways of visualizing success and efficacy – when you get to set the rules of engagement, your sessions become a playground for growth!
One of the most important aspects of teaching is self-assurance. The ability to boost your own confidence from a grounded, curious mindset will always set the stage for strength in your teaching. The voice of the self-critic is a handmaiden of the ego. It will rear it’s nasty head when you are faced with a new challenge or unfamiliar material. My favorite tool to battle the inner critic is the use of affirmations and/or mantra. Mantra is a word or chant that is repeated to aid concentration in meditation. In kundalini yoga, it is used to shift energy. When I repeat an affirming phrase over and over again, not only do I shut out the voice of doubt, but I also encourage a belief system that I have the all tools that I need to teach well that day. Some of my favorites are:
- I am grateful for the lessons I am able to teach, as well as the lessons I am able to learn.
- I am a competent teacher of movement.
- I am here.
- I will discover something new today.
- I am growing.
- I am teaching movement today.
- I am loved.
These statements need not be fancy. Take some time to write out your own list of personal affirmations. Set a mid-day alarm with the affirmation of your choice in the label section and practice repeating it for at least one minute in between clients (the bathroom is a great place to do this!) You’ll find that the more you tell yourself what to think, the more your thoughts will shift!
If there is one element that can’t be rushed or faked, it’s growth. When someone desires to be at a place on their journey that is farther along the path then they are currently, the voice of the ego can often take over the conversation. They might list their entire resume to you upon first meeting. There will be a lot of “I” statements. There might lack of curiosity about your story or anyone elses. I find that the movement teachers who have experienced the greatest deal of growth within their craft are those who have the most to say, using the least amount of words. The writing assignment for growth is simple: Write the story of your teaching journey up until today. Start at the beginning and include feelings and experiences, rather than achievements and accolades. You’ll soon be able to recognize the richness of your journey thus far, celebrate the present moment and also look forward to the chapters that are to come!
The career of the Pilates Professional is RICH with potential for fulfillment and longevity. That said, it takes more than knowing all of the exercises to develop your teaching. I believe that when you attend to the needs of your personal development within your teaching roll, you will more readily be able to transform your client’s experience with movement into a moving experience!
The Sunday Strategies blog posts are designed to put a spark into your teaching practice. Want more? Schedule a discovery coaching session with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out my ONLINE CLASSES.