The Instructor Body: Self-Care

“Self-care”: it’s so much more than a buzzword bandied around by marketers as a way to sell wellness products.

At its core, self-care is any activity undertaken with the intention to improve and or maintain our mental, emotional and physical health. We see this very concept in the Workplace Health and Safety unit (HLTWHS001) of our Diploma of Professional Pilates Instruction (10537NAT) and associated Instruction Pathways. Here we explore the importance of self-care for Instructors, in an operational context, and ask you to identify activities, practices and consider strategies for supporting your wellbeing as a professional.

It is best practice for Pilates Instructors to develop a personal self-care plan to enhance health, manage stress and sustain positive mental and physical health in the long term.

It all begins and ends with Pilates: but it’s about more than what you do in the Studio.

Joseph Pilates was “Physical Culturalist”; influential in the three-wave Physical Culture Movement originating in Europe in the 19th Century and including European Gymnast- (Germany, 1800s), Strongman- (England, 1914), and Somatic Physical Culturalists (New York, 1926 onward).

Physical Culturalists were the ultimate teachers of self-care, and we see many of their ideas threaded through the Pilates Method. You only have to read Return to Life Through Contrology to see the common themes!

  1. Proper diet and sleep must accompany exercise.

“Always have food on hand, but only refuel when nutrients are needed.” Pilates Instructors spend all day taking care of clients, it is important to nourish your body to ward off fatigue and keep you going.

Tips:

  • Pre-prepare meals and snacks.
  • Have healthy, wholesome foods handy at home and work.
  • See an accredited Dietician for dietary advice if needed.

Pilates said “guide your eating habits with all due respect to the required amount of food you need to keep yourself physically fit…” (Return to Life Through Contrology, p37.)

(The original mindful eating movement!)

With tightly scheduled and long, physical days Instructing, restorative sleep is of the utmost importance for body and mind.

  • How many hours do you sleep each night? Are you getting enough?
  • Evaluate your sleep routine: how can it be improved?
  1. Fresh air and sunshine daily.

Pilates tells us to breathe fresh air to free your blood of the “debris” of fatigue: what a powerful image!

But it’s about more than the physiological act: Pilates talks about letting the skin breathe through exposure to the outdoors and sunshine.

“By all means never fail to get all the sunshine and fresh air that you can. Remember too, that your body also “breathes” through the pores of your skin as well as through your mouth, nose, and lungs” (p18).

Take breaks whenever you can and:

  • Go outside! Take a walk around the block.
  • Sit in the sunshine: “embrace the sun’s rays”
  • Fill your lungs with air.

Pilates also talked about wearing loose fitting clothing. Archival footage and photographs suggest he didn’t wear much of anything, but this was never about ego, but health – allowing the skin to breathe.

While workplace standards today might not allow for Jo’s style of get-up, fashion choices are something worth questioning. Modern activewear is typically form fitting which is great for Pilates because it allows us to see the body in motion and assess alignment in our clients: however, wearing tight leggings day-in day-out Instructing can be oppressive and negatively impact digestive health and reproductive hygiene (particularly in women!)

Tips:

  • Incorporate some looser fitting (workplace appropriate) fashion choices into your teaching wardrobe.
  • Bring an alternative outfit to work so you have the option to change into something looser during the day.

  1. Good hygiene

Pilates was a frequent bath-guy: cold for a tonic, hot for cleanliness, and he loved daily dry brushing with the open hands, brush or towel to “bend, stretch and refresh” the skin.

Cleanliness is again linked to “breathing”: bathe to stimulate circulation, and keep your pores open and free of toxins.

Beyond the therapeutic benefits, personal hygiene is an important feature of workplace health and safety in a public-facing industry, especially one where we engage physically and closely with other people. While not everyone loves a bath as much as Jo did, it is undeniable that keeping clean will keep you healthy!

Tips:

  • Bathe or shower regularly.
  • Have a bath at the end of your working week to relax.
  • Try dry brushing!
  • Treat yourself to new bath/shower products.
  1. Move your body

Students often assume that working Instructors do Pilates themselves, all the time. The reality is rosters and client load means most Instructors struggle to find the time or opportunity to schedule their own work outs!

Instructors spend all day making clients feel good, it is essential they “make” time to put themselves back together with Pilates! Sometimes this is easier said than done, but it is a priority.

(Doing Pilates isn’t only important for Instructors’ health and wellbeing, it is also self-mastery. We are always learning, in all ways, and commitment to self-mastery and professional development is at the heart of this.)

Pilates stressed the importance of consistently doing exercise that worked the complete musculature of the body, aka “full-body work outs”, and encouraged people to seek this out in all formats: at the gym and on the athletic field, in addition to the Studio.

Tips:

  • Schedule your self-mastery: non-negotiable!
  • Aim to complete three classes or sessions each week as a minimum.
  • Put yourself “back together” at the end of every shift: find three exercises to release and realign your body and complete before you go home.
  • Do other things! Take up other fitness formats and sports. Diversity in movement makes you a better mover; and time away from the Method is sometimes well spent!
  • Listen to your body: seek exercise that makes you feel good and gives you what you need.
  1. Mind/Body

Thinking is a powerful factor in health and can be constructive or destructive in equal measure: it can build you up or tear you down. Taking care of your mental health care is important! What form this takes is up to the individual, but:

Tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professional!
  • Confide in your colleagues and Pilates community.
  • Set boundaries and be realistic: don’t over-extend yourself!

“Work-life balance” is a misnomer: it doesn’t exist. All we can realistically hope for is to find a state of being where work and personal life are in relative harmony, and our bodies and minds are in good health.

Self-care isn’t self-ish. It is not only about considering our needs; but rather it’s about knowing what we need to do in order to take care of ourselves, and as a result being able to take care of others as well.

Without self-care, we can’t give our best in our professional or personal lives!

Just ask: What Would Jo Do? (WWJD?) Have you written yourself a personal self-care plan?

Links:

https://www.movementhealth.com.au/news/physical-culture-movement/

https://www.movementhealth.com.au/news/joseph-pilates-and-the-physical-culture-movement/

 

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

The Balancing Act: Gender in Pilates

The Balancing Act: Gender in Pilates

The misconception that Pilates is somehow a feminine discipline perhaps comes from the fact it was adopted early, in the mainstream, by the dance community: a traditionally female industry.

In actual fact, Joseph Pilates used the method to train army troops, interned prisoners and men from all walks of life, as much if not more than he trained women and dancers. And nowhere in his books does he state or even allude to the discipline supporting a gender bias.

Joseph’s fitness empire is built on creating the perfect balance of body and mind to create health and happiness, for all!

Today, attitudes are shifting and many training institutions, like PTI, prioritise inclusivity in their recruitment and training models; and we’re pleased to report that interest from men is on the rise.

In fact, Founder and Director of PilatesITC (and mentor to PTI Directors Suzanne and Frances), Sally Anderson wrote a blog for Body and Soul this month detailing 5 reasons why men do Pilates.

Overwhelmingly it seems men are increasingly recognising that the discipline’s health benefits are not exclusive to the female population, and are embracing Pilates as an effective way to supplement fitness and conditioning:

  • Increase flexibility
  • Improve functional strength
  • Prevent and rehab (non-acute) injuries
  • Address muscular imbalance
  • Improve posture
  • Build a strong core from the inside-out (hello, six-pack!)

A growing number of professional and elite level athletes have recognised Pilates can play a pivotal role in performance.

The likes of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, Andy Murray, James Magnussen, David Beckham, Venus and Serena Williams, have adopted the practice. Pilates has well and truly found a place in modern training regimens across codes and around the world, including: NBA, NFL, AFL, Rugby League and Union.

Joseph said it best: “You will develop muscular power with corresponding endurance, ability to perform arduous duties, to play strenuous games, to walk, run or travel for long distances without undue body fatigue or mental strain.”

‘Real men do Pilates’ is an increasingly common buzz phrase these days, but we want to bring it back a notch (what is a ‘real man’ anyway?!).

Men do Pilates. Mean teach Pilates. Men are an essential part of our Pilates community.

Our industry is at a pivotal point in its history: Pilates is exploding in popularity, we’re visible, accessible and investment is steady. We are also in our most inclusive state, as a culture and discipline, to date.

At PTI we want more men through our doors for Instructor training; we want more men leading classes, we want more men to be active in driving our industry forward!

In a discipline that values balance in all forms literal and figurative, let’s strive for more of it between the sexes! After all, Pilates knows no gender.

The final training intake for 2017 kicks off in September. For more information or to enrol, contact Katie on hello@pti.wa.edu.au.

Course dates for 2018 will be released shortly.

Welcome to PTI: New Look, Same Family

Welcome to PTI: New Look, Same Family

Pilates Fitness Institute (PFI) has been the ‘mother brand’ for a diverse selection of specialist Pilates services including studio and rehabilitative methods, and accredited Instructor training programs (formerly registered as ‘PFI Training’).

While PFI has served us extremely well, the Training arm of the business had outgrown the brand and needed its own in order to really exercise its potential.

So, we bring you: Pilates Training Institute (PTI).

This new brand allows us to evolve our training offering and consolidate our reputation as the leading Registered Training Organisation in Western Australia.

 

NEW LOOK

PTI’s new logo was inspired by the Alocasia or Elephant’s Ear: ‘the tree that grows up to the heavens’, a remarkable plant with eastern and western symbolism for seizing opportunities and taking risk.

An explosion of greenery, its elegant and airy leaves are punctuated with thick, white veins that to us, mirror the structure of the human ribcage; a source of structure and protection: hard but soft, supportive yet flexible.

It all comes together to embody hope, renewal and growth: personal and professional, through Pilates.

 

SAME MENTORS

The PTI family is led by Directors, Pilates Instructors and Training Faculty, Frances Cahill and Suzanne Newby.

Under Frances and Suzanne’s direction, PFI now PTI has developed a reputation for delivering high quality training programs that produce the best and brightest Pilates Instructors in the state. It is the winning combination of business acumen, passion for Pilates, style of practice and a commitment to culture that makes PTI one of the most coveted and inimitable Institutes in WA.

A testament to the quality of our instruction, PFI has been sought out by Cirque de Soleil to train performance athletes in the 2017 Perth season of Kooza; and previously for seasons of Totem.

Our culture draws heavily from traditional Pilates values that prioritise quality and consistency in learning, delivered with care, for a community of people.

PTI approaches Pilates as an intelligent discipline and we empower students, Instructors and Faculty alike to seek out growth opportunities, personally and professionally, through mentorship and ongoing education.

Of course, a culture like this begins and ends with passion, and the PTI family will bend over backward, literally and figuratively, to help you get where you need to be.

 

INTRODUCING FRANCES CAHILL AND SUZANNE NEWBY

Frances has been teaching Pilates since 2005 and completed her Advanced Diploma of the Pilates Method, and Diploma of Professional Pilates Instruction through the Pilates International Training Centre (PITC) under the mentorship of the legendary Sally Anderson.

She also has a Bachelor of Science (Nutrition) and a Postgraduate Diploma of Dietetics through Curtin University. Frances has a dance background, and loves the Pilates method for its technical focus and transformative power.

 

Suzanne has a long history in the fitness industry and has been active in Instructor training for over 10 years. She is passionate about holistic biomechanical movement, and has been strongly influenced in this field by Karen Clippinger and Sally Anderson. Suzanne has an Advanced Diploma of the Pilates Method from PITC where she too was under the direction of Sally Anderson.

Known as a real pacesetter in WA’s Pilates scene, Suzanne has served on the Pilates Alliance Australasia (PAA) committee and instructs across all training courses offered at PTI.

A dynamic duo, Frances and Suzanne are passionate about training, be it moulding the new generation of Instructors or leading professional development for PFI’s team of professionals.

 

TRAINING WITH PTI

Pilates Training Institute is a Registered Training Organisation and delivers only specialist Pilates courses with accredited outcomes.

The highest level of Pilates training available in WA today, our Diploma is compatible with higher levels of study (tertiary), meaning our graduates are typically more employable at home and abroad.

Courses include:

  • Diploma of Professional Pilates Instruction
  • Certificate in Pilates Matwork Instruction
  • Certificate in Pilates Matwork and Reformer Instruction
  • Basic Anatomy and Physiology

PTI has a reputation for delivering world-class Instructor training, with some of the highest exacting standards in the market today. PTI believes that to honour the nature of the discipline and achieve optimal learning outcomes, training should be physically interactive and delivered in a community environment that prioritises a mentorship.

At PTI students learn from the best in a studio environment which allows for greater ‘hands-on’ engagement with theory. It also provides greater exposure to and awareness of the physical-intelligence aspects of the discipline (how to “do” Pilates), and opportunities for students to commit to self-mastery; a crucial element of being an effective Instructor.

The PTI community plays a huge role in keeping our students motivated and on-track with study. We also coordinate students’ work experience hours through Pilates Fitness Institute (PFI), and are well positioned to help graduates secure jobs once accredited.

PTI STYLE

Our style of Pilates goes a long way to informing what prospective Instructors can reasonably expect from training with us. PTI’s style is defined by:

  • Dynamics: we favour well-rounded workouts that build on natural dynamics by prioritising active and sustained movement. To this, dynamics like pace, types of muscle contractions and breathing techniques can be added to challenge and progress practice.
  • Progression: technique and progression are key to performance. PTI ensures the learning environment is matched to skill and fitness level to produce best results for the whole community.
  • Function: an emphasis on technique. Our style is very specific, all programming approaches are chosen to facilitate precise function.
  • Flow: flow informs enjoyment. It describes fluidity of movement that ensures protection of joints, comfort and prolonged muscle connections.
  • Communication: our delivery style is unique because it revolves around the ‘why’ and ‘how’. Honed communication skills create Instructors who make their clients feel confident and can progress their practice in a safe and enjoyable way.
  • Creativity: ‘think outside the box’; evolving programs ensures ongoing, positive engagement.
  • Blend of traditional and contemporary methods: our offering is built on a foundation of traditional Pilates principles, applied in combination with contemporary methodologies, health and lifestyle advice to keep our Instructors at the cutting edge of the industry.

Pilates Training Institute provides the highest quality instruction available today, for more information about training with PTI or to join our family, contact Katie at studentsupport@pti.wa.edu.au or call 9330 8900.

Final intake for the year is set for September, with 2018 dates to be released soon!