There has been a lot of talk about core stability lately, prompted in part by the publication of Professor Eyal Lederman’s paper The Myth of Core Stability and other rumblings in the media about the validity and safety of core training.
On Aug. 10, Peta Bee wrote an article in the London Times (requires payment) stating that the founding principles of Pilates are flawed. Glenn Withers, founder of the Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute, followed up four days later by posting an excellent, detailed response on the APPI website. All of these are worth reading to educate yourself on the arguments.
But what does this all mean to you? As a Pilates instructor, you instinctively know that the work is incredibly valuable if taught correctly. But clients who have read these articles may have questions. Nuala Coombs, a founding director of the Pilates Institute UK and owner of The Pilates Consultant, tackles this issue below. We also invite your ideas on how to talk to clients about this issue in the comments section.
Following the publication of the article by Peta Bee, I received several emails from teachers wondering how they would respond to their clients should they refer to the article. My advice was simple. If they don’t mention it, there is no point in bringing it to their attention. For those clients who did not read the article, it will only create confusion. Of course for those clients who have questions, we need to be able to give them clear, satisfactory answers.
by Jonathan Urla, MFA, CPT-PMA
It seems that I hear about a “new” fitness term or trend every week. These words usually come from the scientific community, but they often take on new meanings when the media and general public start using them. I started noticing that most of these words could be used to describe Pilates exercise, so I decided to dig a little deeper.
I compiled a list of the terms that are currently in fashion in the fitness world and media and looked at the relevance that each has to Pilates training. I hope the result is as illuminating to you as it was to me. This exercise reiterated to me that the techniques of Joseph and Clara Pilates are still proving to be years ahead of their time. As instructors in the health and wellness field, it is important for us to be aware of these trends and be able to explain to students how they relate to Pilates.
Continuing education is such an important piece of your Pilates career. That’s why we have a Pilates Workshop calendar that lists Pilates training programs, workshops and conferences around the world. It’s a great place to start when you’re looking for something new to learn, or when you have your own workshop to promote.
We’ve just streamlined the listing submission process, dropped our prices for multiple listings, and we’re including more info with every listing. So if you’re hosting or teaching upcoming programs, consider listing with Pilates-Pro.com. Your workshop also might get mentioned in our active Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn streams!
On Monday, September 27, a memorial service will be held in honor of Kathleen Stanford Grant at the Ailey Citigroup Theater in New York City. Kathy, a first-generation Pilates teacher who taught for more than 50 years, passed away in May 2010.
The organizers of the memorial, Blossom Leilani Crawford, Cara Reeser, Keith Sabado and Sarita Allen, cordially invite the Pilates community to join them in celebrating and remembering Kathy Grant. If you would like to share a memory, they will be creating an album for Kathy’s family. At the memorial they will be collecting any copies of photos or written memories you would like to contribute.
Monday, Sept. 27
The Ailey Citigroup Theater
405 West 55th Street
New York, NY 10019
1, A, C, B, and D trains to 59th St - Columbus Circle
If you’re a student of movement, a parent or just baby crazy, you’ll love this video montage of baby Liv as she learns how to use her body. Without even realizing it, you’ve also just watched what you would do in a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement Lesson. The video is part of The Next 25 Years, a video project that aims to demonstrate and explain the Feldenkrais Method in a simple, effective way. Moshe Feldenkrais, like Joseph Pilates, studied how babies develop and move and used those observations as a foundation for his method.
Even more so than Pilates, Feldenkrais is difficult to explain to the uninitiated, and it suffers from a “strange” name. Irene Gutteridge, producer of The Next 25 Years and a Feldenkrais practitioner in British Columbia, Canada, is trying to make it more accessible and bring more recognition to the method. If Baby Liv’s video is any indication, she may succeed. It’s been on YouTube for just over two weeks and already has over 10,000 views. We’ll be keeping our eye on this project - maybe she can take on Pilates next?
By Lara Dalch
When I made the transition from corporate media executive to health/fitness professional, one of the first things I had to adjust to was the more relaxed work environment. This is a great thing on many levels: It creates a welcoming and healing space for clients to escape their busy lives. It fosters community and friendships. It encourages focus on self-care, something many clients aren’t able to do outside of the studio. And, for those of us who work in the industry, it allows for a more relaxed and comfortable dress code!
The downside to this more relaxed approach is a tendency – for some – to skimp on customer service, forgetting that even regular clients have a choice about where to go regardless of how long they’ve been with you. In many markets (like New York City) – where Pilates studios and instructors are a dime a dozen – treating clients like the valued business partners they are will put you ahead of the curve with your competition.
Here are some things I try to do without fail in dealing with clients, whether they come to me for Pilates, health counseling, or marketing:
How many of your clients have shoulder tension? All of them? It was certainly Pilates instructor Rachael Maddalena’s most common complaint from clients. “They would tell me they worked at a computer all day, they had a long commute, and their posture at their computer or in their car would cause them tension that lingered,” says the Bellingham, Wash., instructor.
Rachael went beyond recommending a good masseuse and set out to invent a solution that would really work. She came up with the Pressure Pillow, a clever take on the common practice of rolling out shoulder and back tension on a rubber ball. She’s made the process easier and prettier by packaging two hard balls in padding and covering them with attractive fabric. A strap helps you change positions and control the placement.
Rachael based the pillow design on a combination of Thai massage, Pilates and dance medicine therapies. It targets the trapezius muscles specifically, and she uses it to help her clients get a better understanding of a relaxed and supported shoulder girdle. To use it, place it behind the shoulders using the straps to place it where you’d like the pressure. Then lean back on the floor, a bed or a chair, relax and breathe deeply. Rachael lists more ideas on her website.
Rachael sells the Pressure Pillow through her site for $20 and takes wholesale orders in sets of 10 for $149.95. It comes in at least eight colors and patterns, even a “Route 66” version.
Enter the Giveaway!
Rachael has offered one Pressure Pillow as a giveaway to Pilates-Pro.com readers. To enter, tell us here or on our Facebook page how you would use the Pressure Pillow. We’ll draw one winner on Monday, July 26.
By Anne Samoilov
I’m passionate about supporting my fellow Pilates instructors and passing on the nuggets of advice that I receive from my own Pilates mentors. We can all learn a lot by observing other successful businesses and applying what is relevant to our own. So, today, I am peeking under the hood of Lynda Lippin’s Pilates in Paradise practice. Lynda works on the Caribbean private resort island of Parrot Cay, where she is the Pilates and Fitness Teacher at COMO Shambhala Retreat. With 20 years of Pilates teaching under her belt, Lynda also sees clients in New York City, works as a Usui Reiki Master, has several blogs and is very active in social media.
Anne: I know you are a respected fitness professional in Pilates, reiki and personal training. After being in this service-based industry for several years, I’m wondering if you have established other income streams which are more automated?
Lynda: I think it is extremely important for Pilates instructors to create multiple income streams for themselves. The internet is a great place to facilitate this. I give away a couple of Pilates ebooks for neck and back pain, and sell inexpensive Pilates audio [content] as well. Plus I have paid advertising on my blogs that brings me a small regular income. In addition, you can sell products to your clients for profit (small props, books, dvds, supplements that you believe in, clothing, etc.). But the internet is key. I created my audios two years ago and they are still selling and receiving great reviews. And I recorded them directly on my Mac using Garage Band - quick, easy and lucrative!
We’ve all had moments where we’ve wished that extra belly “pooch” would just go away already. It happens to the best of us. Fortunately, we have Pilates, but what if your clothing could give you a little help? That idea seems to be a new fitness-apparel trend—of late we’ve noticed some brands are making workout clothes with fabrics that support and smooth strategic areas.
Marika, a brand of fitness apparel that we’ve always liked, has joined the trend with a new line of “shape-enhancing activewear” called Miracles. Miracles features pants and capris with “butt-boosting” and “tummy-control” components along with waist-cinching tank tops and “uplifting” bras. That’s a lot to promise, and admittedly, we were skeptical. But when we handed over samples to our crack team of clothing testers, they liked what they found.
Marika sent over samples of its Miraculous Uplift Sport Bra and its Miraculous Butt Booster Capri with Tummy Control. The Uplift Sport Bra is designed to enhance the shape of the bustline and comes with removable foam cutlet inserts. It’s most suitable for those with small to medium cup sizes, who might want a more defined shape or added volume. It’s a racerback style with skinny, adjustable straps, and a wide strip of Marika’s Power Mesh down the middle of the back for optimal ventilation. We were unable to find a reviewer who was interested in wearing the inserts, but we did get a report that the bra alone had solid, movable support and was comfortable without being compressive. It’s made from the Miracles signature fabric, called Elasta-Tight™, which contrary to images the name might conjure, is breathable and soft to the touch. Our tester reported that the bra ventilated nicely and felt good on the skin. The Uplift retails for about $30 and, for the quality of its construction, is a nice value compared to other brands.
The tummy control that the Miracles capris promised appealed to a new mom we know, who, at six months post-partum, was looking for some extra support in her workout wear. She had tried fitness “shapewear” previously and found it too constricting, and was thus impressed with the quality of the fabric, which supported but didn’t feel tight or give her “muffin top” over the waist. A layer of Power Mesh in the belly provides the extra support. She reported that the pants were well-constructed, and the seams in the rear indeed had a “butt-boosting” effect. The capris got her through her Pilates equipment session comfortably, held up to sweat, and gave a boost not only to her bum but to her confidence as well. They retail for $45, also a value for the quality of fabric and construction.
By Kristen Matthews
I made the decision to become a Pilates instructor because I wanted to help people. I fell in love with Pilates the moment I was introduced to it, and felt like I’d found the most ideal job when I made the decision to teach. I never could picture myself sitting behind a desk at a corporate job. With movement-based activities being a big part of my childhood, Pilates seemed to fit perfectly into my life. I truly felt that I had found my calling. What I didn’t expect were the thoughts that surfaced one day of “I’m only just a Pilates instructor.”
After eight years of teaching I found myself wanting more. I kept thinking to myself, “Am I doing enough?” “Am I making a difference?” After 20 sessions with a client who still was not able to set up for footwork, I would wonder, “Am I getting through?” “Are they learning anything from me?”