Jess The Bird: Pilates Touring + “thinking big”

HKI > RA > PAR > LDN > SYD > BALI

Six weeks, six cities and a blistering schedule: it reads like a Pilates rock tour (coincidentally, the trip was informally called “The Pilates Rockstar Tour”). But for PilatesITC Faculty Mentor Jessica Romano, it was all business assisting Anula Maiberg on her European tour.

We sat down with Jess to chat about her trip, “thinking big” and more:

Welcome back to Perth! How are you feeling after such a marathon trip?

Pretty good! It’s good to be home and reset for a minute*; see the family, catch up with Students, (my clients are my students) and the team.

It was an intense experience, super tightly scheduled and there wasn’t much time for rest but we had such good momentum so we just worked through it.

*Jess is off for an eight-week, US tour with Anula in early June.

What exactly did you get up to?

Worked hard! Travelled and assisted Anula with professional development workshops and masterclasses for Pilates Teachers. Drank a lot of coffee. Laughed heaps. Made new friends. Saw rad places. Every minute was full. It was a great time!

For those who aren’t across your friendship “origin story”; you and Anula met after her visit to Perth with Pilates Training Institute in February 2018 and started working together following this.

This was your second tour with Anula, how have you found your friendship and working relationship has evolved?

We speak between visits so when we get the opportunity to see each other in person we work well. Our friendship goes from strength to strength every trip.

I have worked hard to contribute to and be a part of sessions on this tour. Talking to and working with an international audience of Pilates Teachers is a big deal for me personally and for my career. It means a lot to be given the opportunity to travel and learn from someone who’s opinion I respect and care about.

The learning from Anula never stops. There’s always so much and then so much more. Touring with her has reminded me of the power of observation and how to be a student. Watching someone like Anula is quite a learning opportunity.

Participating myself is an added bonus. I’m always wide-eyed and ready to play ball. I was given the opportunity to teach a few exercises throughout the tour which culminated in teaching a full class during our time in Bali. It’s always a daunting experience when you’re putting your skills on the line, but it’s the only way to learn, reflect and improve.

 

Being in each other’s pocket all day every day for six weeks would be challenging for any strong relationship, did you ever fight or get sick of each other?

I think when you’re around someone 24/7 and within five inches of them at all times, you learn to respect each other’s space and when they (or you) need time out. We didn’t kill each other so I take that as a good sign!

Let’s play “thorn and rose”. What was the thorn of your trip?

This is a tough question! There wasn’t one stand out low light: every day had its own challenge. Anything from the travel logistics to scheduling, self-care or just navigating cultural differences in the Pilates Studio.

If you were following my or Anula’s social media during the trip you might have seen the clip of Vito – he’s a legend, on the Swedish Bars when we were in Italy and how difficult the language barrier could be.

However, as we are teachers of movement skills and a method of exercise, there is a universal non-verbal understanding of how to try to participate in what is being taught. Relying on a translator had difficult moments for everyone involved. Disruption of communication flow is inevitable but it also made it equally tough for the person doing Pilates. Laura, our translator, was such a good help!

Your rose?

If I was to summarise I would have to say that a trip like this is wholly positive because it challenges your perspective and makes you have to think a lot about why, what and how you are teaching. This kind of thinking applies equally to teaching in a small studio to a conference, and even the state of the industry. Lots of productive thinking and some not-so, but it’s all relevant in the end.

Actually, one stand out was teaching Pilates gymnastics on the Mat and apparatus. Swedish Legs, handstands and backbends all the way!

Biggest take away from the trip?

It has made me think deeply about what our job is. More specifically, where Pilates stands as a Method and in what context. What are we teaching people to do?

At the beginning of nearly every session Anula will ask a group of teachers “What is your job?” and for some people it is a tough question to answer. It’s ok to not have an answer straight away – but this should spark your curiosity to find out why you don’t have one!

I’m interested in the evolution of the Pilates Method from what Mr Pilates created to what we have today and where it will go from here.

What about two pieces of advice for PilatesITC Student Instructors?

  1. Self-practice. Do it. Do Pilates and be ready to move in other ways.

Pilates is an exercise methodology. The best way to learn and learn to teach is to try something out in your own body. Even if you try and potentially fail. It gives you something to work for. As Teachers, it is easy to become caught up in only teaching and participating in what we enjoy. Get uncomfortable sometimes and be ok with it.

  1. Ask questions and be curious: of yourself, peers and Mentors.

Challenge yourself in the process to find out why. After all, becoming a Teacher isn’t about teaching a bunch of Pilates-type exercises, anyone can do that. Quality education is about understanding the systems, knowing the Method and teaching with that in mind.

Thanks for your time Jess. Safe travels for the US leg, we can’t wait to see what you guys get up to!

We’ll keep you up to date on Jess’ travels via @pilatesitc. Or, follow Jess and Anula’s progress direct on Instagram @jessthebirdpilates and @anulamaiberg.

For more information on Pilates Instructor training with PilatesITC in your State or Territory, contact our Student Admin team on (08) 9330 4570 or drop us a line at info@pilatesitc.edu.au.

8 Blogs You Should Be Reading

8 Blogs You Should Be Reading

Pilates mastery is earned, not bought.

“Mastery” shouldn’t be confused with the practical “doing” of Pilates: learning choreography and pedagogy. There’s so much more to it. After all, just because you’ve got the moves, doesn’t mean you’ve mastered them.

Underneath professional delivery is mastery from years of (ongoing) study that comes only from investing in relationships (mentoring and community), learning the work in your body, honing skills over time, and seeking out knowledge.

We want you to always be learning, in all ways; and the importance of reading to this process cannot be understated.

Read, and read widely!

To help you on your way, we’ve compiled a list of eight blogs/bloggers you should be reading on your path to personal mastery:

  1. Madeline Black

The “teacher’s teacher”, Madeline Black is a go-to for PTI and PFI Instructors.

Madeline is known as the “synthesizer” for integrating movement science, osteopathic theory, manual therapy, and energy work to create a unique, interdisciplinary approach to Pilates, Yoga and Gyrotonic. A champion for quality education in our industry, Madeline is a must, especially for those interested in developing skills in clear instruction.

A prolific and articulate blogger, she touches on everything from “general” Pilates topics, to teaching; training specific body parts (shoulder, spine, pelvis etc); and niche topics like biomechanics and movement.

(Madeline’s book, Centered: Organizing the body through kinesiology, movement theory and Pilates techniques, is available for purchase from Myaree HQ.)

  1. Anula Maiberg

Philosophical, intelligent, and funny: we love Anula! There’s something transfixing about the way she brings together the traditional elements of Pilates method with modern approaches to movement, and challenges us to question everything about our practice and our bodies! She’s mythbusting and kicking asses all over the globe, literally, with her global tour schedule in full swing.

You can find Anula on the Balanced Body blog, and featured on sites like Pilates Glossy International, Pilates Style, and of course her own Sixth Street blog.

She’s a podcast regular too; catch her on What’s Going on With Dance & Stuff, Moving Well, Thinking Pilates Podcast and Pilates Unfiltered, to name a few. Search “Anula Maiberg” or “the potato method”, and there’s no shortage of great, engaging content to enjoy.

Better still, we will be welcoming Anula in the flesh, at PTI from 15 to 18 February on her first ever Australian tour. Tickets may still be* available, check online! (*hurry or tickets might be sold out!)

  1. Pilates Style

Pilates Style is the leading (and only) magazine dedicated to Pilates: their website is a wealth of information on all things Pilates: from teaching, to exercises and advice; as well as wellness and nutrition. There is no shortage of blogs, videos and other handy content to help keep you connected with industry and create your best Pilates life!

  1. Stop Chasing Pain

Two words: movement mojo. Stop Chasing Pain is led by Dr Perry Nickelston and looks at how fundamental movement patterns can restore your body’s strength and resilience. Dr Perry’s blog looks at performance, movement subsystems, inhibition, corrective exercises, gait, performance testing and so much more. His approach is fun and easily integrated into everyday life and teaching.

  1. Hannah Moves

Follow Nick Hannah! He is a Registered Physiotherapist practicing out of London, ON Canada, whose main platform is education on the myths and misconceptions common in health care, exercise and rehabilitative sciences. Through Facebook, Instagram and podcasts Nick provides a valuable insight into the complex world of pain and helping people navigate it. An asset to your learning, plus his content is super fun.

  1. Nutritious Movement – Katy Bowman

Nutritious Movement is all about helping you move better: Katy Bowman, “Part biomechanist, part science communicator, and full-time mover, Katy Bowman has educated hundreds of thousands of people on the role movement plays in the body and in the world.” Her blog (and website) is rich with content relating to exercises, alignment, adjustments and habitat changes to optimise quality in movement and life.

  1. Pilates Unfiltered

Available on Spotify and Apple podcasts, Pilates Unfiltered is a Podcast for Pilates people, by Pilates people. If you love a podcast, this one is for you! Pilates Professional, Jenna Zaffino is joined by industry leaders in spirited discussion on the Pilates culture and industry today. It’s funny, insightful, challenging and useful! “The pulse of the Pilates community!” Get on it!

  1. James Crader

James Crader is a Movement Coach specialising in Pilates and Myofascial Release Therapy, among many other things! His M.O is quality in movement, Pilates as a practice, and how we teach it. His blogs and podcasts on Thinking Pilates are engaging, current and edgy: enough to make any Instructor stop and reconsider “how they do what they do”.

Anula, Anula, Anula: Why we love her so

Anula, Anula, Anula: Why we love her so

Philosophical, intelligent, and funny: safe to say, we love Anula so we’re thrilled to be the first stop on her first ever visit down under, from 15 – 18 February.

While WA’s, nay Australia’s, Pilates community is buzzing from her imminent arrival, her visit isn’t to solely serve up professional development to WA pros: she’s here for everyone!

But who is Anula Maiberg and why is she so special?

Anula was born in Israel and relocated to New York City in 2001 to pursue photography, but soon experienced a change in professional trajectory, as her interest in and enthusiasm for Pilates morphed into something: a game changer.

Unlike many of those who have come before her, Anula’s Pilates CV reads like holy scripture for Pilates nerds. On paper and in person Anula’s professional experience is enviable and admirable in equal measure, as she’s trained in the most prestigious Pilates lineages (Kathy Grant) and under the biggest names in the business.

Anula graduated from the Kane School for Core Integration (Kinected) in NYC in 2009; the Kathy Grant Heritage Training Program in 2014 and has worked with American Pilates Masters and wisdom keepers, including but not limited to Cara Reeser, Kelly Kane and Deborah Lessen.

Nothing short of amazing.

But a couple of lines in a professional blurb doesn’t do Anula justice!

There’s something transfixing about the way she brings together the traditional elements of Pilates method with modern approaches to movement. She challenges us to question everything about our practice and our bodies, and wraps it all up in a lovely, inclusive package.

She’s of the people, for the people: and we love it. Pilates is, after all, for every body, and this is exactly how she approaches it: as a lifestyle, as a culture, and a method of movement.

Anula is myth-busting and coming in hot with all the big, loaded questions that we need to be asking in order to be better as an industry, as practitioners, and in our own practice:

Where should I be feeling it?

Let’s look at the language we use to discuss our bodies: pain, activation, harm, sensation.

How can we improve our delivery for our clients?

How can we tailor more to their needs so every body really benefits?

And more.

Over three days, Anula will be running workshops, some open to both Pilates Instructors and Clients (general population) including:

 

DAY ONE | Friday 16th Feb. 2017

SESSION ONE: Matwork Masterclass

Clientele: General population and Instructors.
SESSION TWO: Reformer Masterclass

Clientele: General population and Instructors.
SESSION THREE: Workshop

Topic: Where Should I Be Feeling This? Reformer class for uncertain times.

Clientele: Instructors only.

 

DAY TWO | Saturday 17th Feb. 2017

SESSION ONE: Marathon Matwork Masterclass
Clientele: General Population and Pilates Instructors
SESSION TWO: Workshop

Topic: Mythbusting Your Pilates Practice: how to gain or regain confidence on and off the Mat and apparatus. 

Clientele: Pilates Instructors only

 

DAY THREE | Sunday 18th Feb. 2017

SESSION ONE: Reformer Masterclass
Clientele: General Population and Pilates Instructors
SESSION TWO: Workshop

Topic: Thoroughly Modern Mat
Clientele: Pilates Instructors only.

Learn more about available sessions on the PTI website; but hurry, spaces are limited. Studio appointments and observations hours are sold out! Contact Jackie to be placed on the waitlist.

If you would like to learn more about Anula, you can find her work on the Balanced Body blog, and featured on sites like Pilates Glossy International, Pilates Style, and of course her own Sixth Street blog.

She’s a podcast regular too; catch her on What’s Going on With Dance & Stuff, Moving Well, Thinking Pilates Podcast and Pilates Unfiltered, to name a few. Search “Anula Maiberg” or “the potato method”, and there’s no shortage of great, engaging content to enjoy.

Want even more? Check out the following links:

Mr. Pilates:

https://www.facebook.com/orpresmanpilates/videos/1798079126886856/

Marth Graham:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFTNmGBKC2Y

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CA91fGV9LEo

Interview with Deborah Lessen:

https://www.pilatesanytime.com/workshop-view/3252/video/Pilates-Pilates-Industry-Questions-by-Deborah-Lessen

Skillful Teaching Podcast:

http://skillfulteaching.com/ep_43_where_history_art_and_potatoes_collide_a_lesson_anula_maiberg/

Kathy Grant and Ron Fletcher:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2BSt3zjdxs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNvOkoZ5D8o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NU75SbVOCYM

Letter to Eva Hesse from Sol LeWitt:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTGvbhqWoFI