Instructor of the Month

Introducing Rhian Coward, owner of Pilates Essence

Rhian Coward.jpg

Introducing Rhian

I started practicing Pilates in 2008 following a recommendation by my Back Consultant.  I have scoliosis and following the birth of my first child I suffered with terrible back pain.

I initially started attending 1 class a week and then progressed to 2 classes a week. Very soon I not only noticed a vast improvement in my day to day back pain, I also noticed a big change in my posture and body shape.

I am passionate about the benefits of Pilates on your body, mind and overall wellbeing, and would like to share this passion with you in one of my classes.

Q & A Session:

How would you describe your style of teaching?

I do like to focus on technique and always encourage my clients to focus more on control and alignment rather than on how many reps they are doing.  I joke that I can be a bit of a nag encouraging my clients throughout the class to focus on moving with their breath and keeping their alignment, using visualisations to assist them with this.  I remind them to not carry tension in the muscles we are not recruiting, and when I see a whole class relax their shoulders during spine twist, makes me a happy instructor.  That aside we do have a laugh, and I love those moments when we have to pause the class while everyone recovers from a fit of the giggles.

What is your client base like?

I run 3 classes a week and have 3 Private sessions.  My client base is varied, I have a few hairdressers who struggle with their posture, ‘Yummy Mummy’s’ with a focus on pelvic floor and core strength, runners and footballers recovering from injuries, office workers, and those from the older generation, focusing more on mobility and stretching. 

I have also recently qualified in level 3 pre and post natal with JPilates and hope to be adding some pregnant ladies to the mix.

Rhian's spine.

After your level 3 training what other training have you done?

Moving forward I am keen to do my level 4 certificate in lower back pain and also the Pink Ribbon training programme. My journey into Pilates was through my own pain management; I have scoliosis and at the age of 32 was having monthly injections in my lumber spine for pain management and following 6 months of practicing Pilates twice a week I stopped having these injections, and because of this I am passionate about the benefits of Pilates, and love it when I see results with my clients.  I am constantly reminded when I read Jo’s forum and when I do research for new and current clients how much more I have to learn in my Pilates Journey.

What are you planning for 2013?

I am 12 months into my Pilates teaching journey and I am currently at the tipping point where I am ready to give up my ‘day’ job in order to open up more time for my Pilates teaching.  My goal for 2013 is for Pilates to be my full-time job, in addition to being a wife and a mother of two gorgeous girls under 6.

I am starting a pregnancy class at the end of April and am really excited about this new journey. There is something very magical about travelling through a pregnancy with someone.

 Without wanting to sound completely cheesy I love everything about my Pilates ‘job’, I love teaching, I love the research I do for each client, planning my lessons, and keeping my website and Facebook page up to date. 

What is the most rewarding aspect of being a pilates instructor?

For me there are many rewards to being a Pilates instructor; when you see your client progress each week and when they tell you that they find themselves calling upon their Pilates in everyday life, when sitting at their desk, and picking up their children. These are great moments.

I feel chuffed to bits when a client tells me that usually a day spent in the garden used to result in a visit to the osteopath but now following her participation in my classes she doesn’t get her usual back pain.  When a client tells me that he hasn’t run for 3 years following knee reconstruction but went for his first run after 5 months of Pilates, and felt that his posture awareness and strengthen from Pilates helped him reach this milestone, and very recently an amazing teenage client who I have been working with since her scoliosis diagnosis, recently went to see her consultant and not only has her curvature stopped it has reduced by 4 degrees. 

If you could give one piece of advice to a new instructor what would it be?

My advice to any new instructor is to continue on your learning journey even though you have qualified as a teacher, whether that be from attending classes by fellow instructor or attending training courses.  Knowledge is your tool for helping your clients.  Be part of the Pilates community, share and learn with other instructors.  As a body of professionals everyone I have met has been so supportive and encouraging and all have the same focus ‘the client’.

Most of all enjoy and believe in what you do and your clients will pick up on this.