Instructor of the Month
Introducing Wendy Jardine
This September marks my eighth year as a Pilates Instructor. I started practising Pilates thirteen years ago. I should confess that the first Pilates class I ever did I thought was the most boring thing I’d ever done. I didn’t say this to my teacher, but I did say I preferred ballet. My Pilates teacher, Domini Winter, was also my ballet teacher and she suggested I persevere. Well, all I can say is within about six sessions I was hooked! I loved it, loved the flow of the class, the feel good factor of the stretches and enjoyed the muscle tone and control of my body. Domini one day suggested I became a teacher and cover her classes. She suggested I trained with Michael King of the Pilates Institute as she had done some years before. Eventually, after some persuasion, I took the plunge and have never looked back. Joanne Cobbe assessed me on the practical exam for Matwork 1. She was the nicest assessor in the world and I was delighted as she became more and more central at the Institute. The rest of course is history. Suffice to say, I always go to Jo at JPilates for training and CPD and I have recommended her to my students who have wanted to become Pilates Instructors.
Perhaps I should add that thirteen years ago I was told that I would be in a wheel chair within two years due to osteoporosis. I do not take medication or HRT. That year I started Pilates with Domini. Thirteen years on, I am glad to report that I am not in a wheelchair and not on medication for osteoporosis and following recent checks, my consultant doesn’t want to see me for another three years! I put this down and so does my consultant, to regular Pilates, eating fish, salad and olive oil!
How would you describe your style of teaching?
I like to think of Pilates as a way of life and so try to teach in a way that hopefully empowers students to practice. By practice, I mean having the knowledge to put it into everyday life, to stand and sit tall, to walk well and to keep their body strong and pain free. So, though the class flows through move after move, I also want the students to engage with their technique and feel their Pilates, from the inside out, of course! I hope to tell them why they’re doing a move and what purpose it serves in the real world so that through this muscle awareness, their posture, strength and daily activities will be enhanced.
My aim for each class is a sense of flow, fun and challenges, with time always for deep breaths, stretches and core stability work.
I teach over 150 students a week. My youngest student is nine and the oldest is eighty-five. I do ten group sessions a week and several 121s. My client base is local people of all ages from students to OAPs and I teach dancers and dance students at the Royal Academy of Dance. In truth, I teach anyone who wants to do Pilates.
What are you planning for the next 12 months?
I’ve recently completed the GP Referral Course, which also included a qualification as a Nutrition Advisor and so over the next 12 months, I plan to do something in the line of nutrition advisor for my students. I also plan to bring in a Pilates mini loop class from time to time, having been inspired by the loop session at Jo’s Pilates Convention. I’ve also bought new, thicker mats! I think this splash of newness and comfort will feel good for everyone. And, more than likely before the year’s up, I will have signed up for a Level 4 course with Jo!
What do you find most challenging about your work and how do you overcome this?
The most challenging thing about my work is having a holiday and finding cover for my classes! I feel very dedicated to my students and making sure they can always have Pilates in their lives. So I’d be happy to hear from anyone who is interested in covering when I’m away!
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a Pilates instructor?
For me, it is definitely seeing someone go from pain and sometimes bewilderment about their body, to strength, know-how and confidence.
If you could give one piece of advice to a new instructor what would it be?
Believe in Pilates and keep learning. I think a big part of successful Pilates teaching is in the cueing of the moves. So I would say, keep playing with cueing through your own practice and find what works for your students.
For more information on Wendy's classes visit www.pilates-instructor.net and you can contact Wendy at email@example.com.