Confessions of a ‘course whore’.

I have always believed I can improve, grow and continue to learn. Why? To help me ‘fix’ more people, be a better Pilates teacher and improve my client’s experience of their Pilates exercises during their sessions. Now, I am not a perfect Pilates teacher and Pilates isn’t a perfect exercise system. I never feel I know enough and it has taken me years to accept that I cannot ‘fix’ everyone (personally and professionally and I am actually ok with all of this.

But I’m lucky. It’s possibly annoying to read that, but I am. I’m not bragging just stating a fact. If you are still reading, thank you! I say this because in my years of experience, of being insecure and second guessing myself, I’ve now reached a stage where I am grounded in who I am and where I am.

And you may ask yourself, well, How did I get here? I trained as a dancer from the age of three. I love moving. I didn’t have a professional career as a dancer but trained until the age of eighteen when I had a tantrum, gave up dancing and went to university to play with food and fabric. Pilates, however, had gotten under my skin as a dance student in NY and in the late 1990’s fate threw me back into Pilates and movement when I trained with Body Control in London. I was back in my body, moving, and didn’t think anyone would want to take any classes with me but I was wrong. I’m lucky, remember?

Teach me more, teach me more. My need to know more has guided me to train with most of the Pilates Organisations in the UK and a few in the USA too so I am entitled to call myself a qualified Classical or Contemporary Pilates teacher. I have acquired additional manual and assessment skills by attending courses taught by physiotherapists, osteopaths, and massage therapists. All these wonderful tools have supported my ability to help improve my client’s ability to get more out of their Pilates sessions and move better, feel better and more quickly than when I only included Pilates choreography in their sessions. I am lucky to be able to indulge my addiction to learning and satisfy my need to attend new courses and continue to add ‘tools’ to my ‘toolbox’ to use with my clients during their sessions.

Now I call myself a Pilates Therapist. I made the title up as I was struggling with my elevator pitch at parties in an attempt to define what I do. People now at least think they know what Pilates is when you tell them. Introduce yourself as a Pilates teacher and you get a knowing ‘oh’, maybe followed with ‘I tried Pilates’, or ‘I’ve been told I should start taking Pilates lessons’. But I don’t just teach Pilates to my clients. I integrate all sorts of other skills into my sessions, I’m stopping them mid-exercise to screen them, doing some massage, or MET’s, playing with some imagery while they squat and stand to explore the ‘movement’ of their pelvic bones to free up their hips or understand how their sacrum belongs to their spine and just lives in their pelvis, maybe re-screening them and then getting them back on the equipment to do their exercise again and see if they find it easier, harder, better. Not sure if others will think this is a good or a bad thing, I won’t lie, part of me cares a little bit what others think so I am hoping it’s seen as a good thing. Hey, at least my clients are happy and they are the most important people in this story.

Time to pay it forward. Our courses include the skills myself and my fellow ‘course whore’ Bonnie Southgate has found the most useful to integrate into our sessions with our clients. Bonnie and I want to pass on our combined 40 plus years of experience to so other Pilates teachers so they too can add more ‘tools’ to their ‘toolbox’. if they too find they want to know more. Be a rebel with us and step outside the Pilates box and join our tribe of fellow skill seekers. We both continue to attend courses and as we find great new skills we will share them with those other Pilates therapists so they too can help more clients move better, with more ease and less pain. Now, I’m off for a little medication to calm down my inner critic who is freaking out that she may be judged by the Pilates police in daring to say this is who she is…a lucky course whore who calls herself a Pilates Therapist.

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