Pilates is Corrective Exercise-but are you covered?

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I recently read a fantastic quote by Joe Pilates via the wonderful Andrea Maida, “Sports are wonderful for the constitution generally, but they are of little value for correcting what’s wrong with you – and there's something wrong with almost everyone. ‘Corrective Exercise’ is the only way to build a beautiful, strong, youthful body.” ( Cutting a Fine Figure, Reader’s Digest, October 1934)

So many people discover Pilates when looking for help to recover and rehabilitate from an injury or to manage a pre-existing condition. Pilates is a fantastic work-out which also allows us to re-align, re-wire and re-connect with our bodies. It is the perfect exercise system to address habitual movement patterns and create positive movement experiences. This means that those with injuries, conditions or in pain are often directed to us. Having the correct insurance is an absolute must for any Pilates teacher, regardless of where and who we work with. Hopefully we will never need it but having peace of mind is essential.

One of the most important considerations for me when choosing an insurance policy is having  access to someone who can tell me exactly what and who my insurance level covers me to work with. I have used Fitpro for the past 19 years and this immediate response to any questions is something I highly value. 

There are so many different policies and companies to choose from and Darren from Fitpro answers some of the most important questions you should ask.

In which situations do I need insurance?

If you are self-employed or work as a contractor and pay rent for access to gym/health club facilities or train people in their home, place of work and/or outdoors, you need to have insurance to protect you from legal action in case of an accident to your client/s.

What types of insurance are available?

Insurance acts as a legal safety net designed to minimise your personal financial liability, should you be the subject of legal action. For example, if a client suffers an injury, he or she may make a claim against you for compensation and/or medical costs. Having insurance means that the financial liability of meeting these costs should be met by your insurance, minus any excess attached to the policy. The main type of insurance that is especially relevant to fitness professionals is:

Public and teacher liability insurance covers you in case of an injury occurring to a participant as a result of your instruction or damage to third-party property by you or your client.

Why is insurance so important?

Participation in exercise carries a certain risk, requiring fitness professionals to ensure that they are not only properly qualified, but also adequately insured in the event of a claim. Insufficient or complete lack of insurance could result in claims of tens of thousands or even millions of pounds made against you. 

How does this affect Pilates instructors working in a health club or leisure centre environment?

Employed trainers and instructors may be covered by their employer’s insurance – however, we recommend checking with your employer as this is not always the case. As a self-employed contractor, you will probably pay rent in return for access to the facilities and the responsibility for insurance lies with you.

Am I insured when giving advice to your clients?

Fitness professionals are often called upon to give advice to their clients, for example, in the areas of nutrition and dietary requirements. Providing such advice falls within the parameters of your qualifications. Insurance is important to cover you against any ill-effects suffered by the client following your advice, such as a dietary suggestion resulting in a severe allergic reaction.

What waivers and medical forms do I need to consider?

While insurance does provide an essential legal safety net, fitness professionals must also take steps to minimise the risk of a claim being made against them. Clients should always be made aware of the risks of exercise and given the opportunity to decide for themselves if they wish to participate by signing a waiver and agreeing to informed consent.

What are the requirements for Pilates instructors?

Pilates instructors should minimise medical risks by ensuring that all clients complete a screening form prior to exercise – in the form of a Pre-Activity Readiness Questionnaire or PAR-Q form. Instructors should also verbally pre-screen participants before each and every training session to make sure nothing has changed since the original PAR-Q was completed.

What should I look for in a policy?

As insurance policies can vary significantly, it is vital to read the small print to ensure that the cover provided is right for you. Details to consider include:

  • Liability – What is the financial amount for which you are covered in the event of a claim?

  • Exclusions – Are you covered to train outside of the gym or health club environment?

  • Excess – Will you have to make a contribution towards a claim?

It is also important to note that insurance generally only covers you for activities for which you are qualified. As a qualified fitness professional, if you taught a studio class outside of your area of training and someone was injured, you may be found liable since you were technically instructing participants in an area for which you were not certified.

Where can I find a policy that suits my needs?

FitPro provides flexible insurance protection designed specifically to meet the needs of fitness instructors whether operating in a gym, studio, leisure facility, home or outdoors. The insurance includes cover for personal training, gym instruction and group exercise classes where a corresponding fitness qualification is held and is underwritten by one of the UK’s leading insurers, Aviva. Fitness industry professionals trust the security and expert service of FitPro for their insurance needs – giving you peace of mind.

Instructor Public and Teacher Liability £10m insurance – £55.00

For more information, click here or contact Darren on 0208 586 8635

Posted on May 13, 2019 .

JPilates Retreat in Tarifa, Spain

Studio Tarifa

As I look out at the rain this morning, I find myself wishing I was back on last week’s JPilates retreat in Tarifa. It was simply the most wonderful experience to spend time with Pilates teachers in such a stunning environment.

I loved seeing everyone relax and de-stress, chat and share experiences with each other, ask any questions anytime. All in the knowledge that we had a week to simply focus on ourselves without all the “extras” that our lives bring.

The villa itself was so beautiful, situated in a nature reserve just 10 minutes walk to an unspoilt beach. The views and the grounds were breath-taking and to be able to teach outdoors, either in the gardens or by the pool, accompanied by birds was incredible.

We were completely spoilt by the wonderful staff at the villa. The food prepared by the two chefs was absolutely wonderful using locally sourced produce and the wine was of course, free-flowing!

JPilates Retreat Tarifa

It was such a pleasure to teach 18 classes over the week. We always began with a version of the 34 Mat repertoire-the perfect way to start the day. This was followed by a small equipment class. After lunch we gathered around the pool for a masterclass in correction techniques or session planning. The day finished with a sunset class in the gardens. Bliss!

Above all, the one thing I absolutely loved was to see everyone fall in love again with doing Pilates simply for the joy of their own movement. So often we feel we need to do things perfectly, or we lack time for our own practise, but over the week the progress everyone made was astonishing. I completely felt the over-whelming love of the Method and I know everyone else did too.

So…. next up Valencia in September! I can’t wait!!




Posted on May 8, 2019 .

Don't Say the C Word!

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I first recorded this webinar over 5 years ago in order to explain to teachers how cueing the core is ineffective, out-dated and detrimental to natural and spontaneous movement. In some Pilates training schools teaching core activation was and still is ingrained in the syllabus, clients are referred to us after being told to “strengthen” their core by medical professionals and core stability classes are taught in gyms and health clubs.

To really understand how this false interloper came to be so entrenched in the exercise and rehabilitation world, we need to look at where it came from and then consider the reasons why it should be banished and forgotten!

Please click on the link below to listen to “Don’t Say the C Word!” and I would love to hear your comments and thoughts.

References:

The Myth of Core Stability Eyal Lederman

Posted on December 11, 2018 .

#CrackOn

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A few weeks ago during the spell of wintry weather I posted this image on social media as a “tongue-in-cheek” joke. Many of you know that #CrackOn is very much at the centre of my teaching style and it is not just slightly callous and unsympathetic, but is based on a belief that in order to help and encourage our clients we need to give them a sense of empowerment, self responsibility and  fearlessness. This belief needs to be the bedrock of our teaching, especially with the many clients we have who suffer with back pain.

In a wonderful podcast with Raphael Bender, he states that in pulling together all the different guidelines for managing Low Back Pain across the world, the two largest influences are reassurance and movement

Reassurance 

As Pilates teachers we need to help clients feel confident, in control and ultimately epic every session they do with us! Obviously we screen our client thoroughly, but if you consider that approximately 95% of low back pain is non specific, i.e. has no actual pathology, and that they will recover relatively quickly, we need to encourage them to still move and continue with everyday tasks. 

We need to be incredibly careful in our language to ensure we do not create fear-based movement. For example, saying, “if your neck hurts, put your head down.” does not actually encourage the client to consider how to progress in the exercise but rather simply to avoid the move. Instead we could say “to help bring the head into a space which feels free, prop up the mid back with a mini ball” 

Often as teachers we are afraid of causing damage. It is essential to understand that if a client feels pain in the session,  it does not necessarily mean damage. After a class they may feel an increase in pain but this, more than likely, is nothing to do with the controlled movement you have done, but rather simply that pain naturally increases and decreases. So just as they may feel less pain after they may also feel more, it probably has nothing to do with the class!

Movement

This one is easy! Actually though, research shows that any exercise is good-not just Pilates! So it is not so much what you teach i.e. a shoulder bridge, a swan dive but rather how you teach, engendering the confidence, independence and assurance in positive movement experiences.

So saying  #CrackOn in a caring, warm, dynamic kind of way is exactly what we need to say!

 

 

 

Posted on April 20, 2018 .

The Art of Correction

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One of the most common conversations I have with teachers is about art of correction. I call it an art as I believe that correction requires creativity, intuition and thinking outside of the box as well as knowledge.  Often teachers say that they can see that something is not right but are not sure of how to “fix” or change it to help the client. So here are my top tips for correcting

Look for unwanted tension

Observe if the client holds unnecessary or undesired tension in certain areas or at specific points in the exercise. Are they gripping or fixing and therefore restricting movement? Or are they using an area incorrectly for stability, for example the neck and shoulders, to compensate for not controlling the movement elsewhere? You may notice a brittleness or fragility at certain times in the exercise, a place where they fear to move. Try to soften or release these areas during the movement. Focus on using breath to help the client to “let go”. The words and cues we use here are really vital to encouraging fluidity and equality of movement.

Observe the whole body

Sometimes we can fixate on a certain area that appears to be not doing as it should. Step back and allow yourself to look at the whole body. Think of the body as an integrated whole and see if the root of the movement pattern is actually somewhere else (it often is!!) For example, in shoulder bridge if the knees are flaring outwards, look to the feet- are they keeping even pressure through the foot tripod? Or the other end, the hip joint- is there outwards spiralling of the top of the thigh bone?

Be realistic

Remember perfection does not really exist! We can strive to get close but actually is the perfect execution of a Roll Up the reason your client comes to Pilates? Is it more for the joy of movement, the sense of health and well being, feeling strong and supple? So although we try to align, stabilise and move to our best ability, do not let too much correction stifle the enjoyment of the movements. Also consider how much dedication the client has to moving better, is it the same as yours? Do they take the Pilates ethos outside of their session? Do they do the homework you give them? If they just do an hour a week of Pilates how much progression is realistic? 

It’s a two way thing

Involve the client in their correction and movement. Ask them questions, do you feel the difference here? How does this feel? If we try this does it help and so on. Help the client to see the session as a work in progress where they actively participate and take responsibility of their movement.

Give yourself space and time

Find ways of allowing yourself time and space to process the movement questions you have. Do not worry if you can not “fix” something straight away. Just make a note and then allow yourself the time until the next session to consider and analyse how you could address the pattern. Think about ways to overcome the restrictions you see and then try them out. Never worry if something does not work, just try something else like a different cue or prop. Or just contact me and we can discuss what you are seeing and strategies to help!

As always I would love to hear your thoughts!

Posted on October 22, 2017 .

Keep the Trinity Strong!

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The Trinity in Pilates refers to the inner thighs, back of the hips and the abdominals and keeping them connected gives us an amazing column of strength in which to move from. Maintaining this connection is not only crucial as our clients progress to more advanced exercises but essential for our postural health.

Increasingly over the years, I have noticed clients turning out at the hip and foot either during exercises or when simply standing. This turn out can have a negative impact on our joints and posture. It can affect the ability of the foot to absorb shock, reduce ankle stability, place unnecessary strain through the knees, reduce the ability of the fabulously strong gluts to stabilise the pelvis and protect the low back, thwart the inner thigh connection and therefore the highly desirable Trinity is compromised or lost!

The reasons for this undesirable turn out are many. Although it could be due to a congenital condition, often it is habitual, a product of our modern lifestyle. In jobs that require prolonged standing such as a hairdresser, we often shift our weight onto one leg, bringing the strain into the IT band and the lateral ligaments of the leg. The type of shoe we wear, and it is not always high heels even running shoes have a heel, can cause tightening of the calf which leads to the turn out. Prolonged sitting causes imbalances and weaknesses around the hip which again lead to overuse of the IT band and lateral musculature to stabilise the pelvis in movement, leading to external rotation. This can be observed especially in Pilates exercises such as Shoulder Bridge or Swan Dive where the hip is extending and we see a drifting or pulling out into turn out.

Although we may cue good alignment through the feet and hips, we often need to help our clients rediscover the Trinity.The video below shows how to use a yoga block to help your client find and deepen this essential connection.

Thank you so much Keaton for being a wonderful body!!!

Posted on September 1, 2017 .

JPilates Convention 2017- Inspiration & Innovation

This summer we held our 5th JPilates Convention and it was just amazing!!! Each session was designed to give practical ideas, variations and adaptations which could be implemented immediately into Pilates sessions.

From Glide & Slide to Slave to the Rhythm we explored new challenges using gliders and choreographed sequences set to music. In the Cat Clinic  and Pilates for Breast Cancer Recovery we analysed how to promote better movement, strength and mobility.   The day finished with our Summer Party and it was such a treat to share strawberries and cream and a glass (or 2! )of Pimms with you all.

Sunday was dedicated to the Reformer and we delved deep into the Psoas Connection, built Bone Health and reached dizzy heights with our High Bridges, Front and Back Headstands, Snakes and Twists in the Advanced Moves.

Thank you so much to everyone who attended and we can not wait for next year!!!

Don’t Go Higher-Go Deeper!

The other day I was mentoring a wonderful teacher and she asked what she could do to add further intensity and challenge to her Mat programme to make sure her clients do not get bored. My answer was,

“You don’t need to go higher, you need to go deeper”

c33686553c74dfd8b1571643b5a12d48It struck me that this is the essence of Pilates which makes it so different from other forms of exercise. Understanding this is what differentiates a beginner from an intermediate practitioner

Let’s take the Roll Up. Initially we focus on the ability to flex through the spine sequentially as we roll up with control and fluidity. So any beginner with a fairly good level of spinal mobility can do this exercise, does that mean they fully understand the complexity of the move? For clients who have been attending our classes but are unable to perform this move, we may highlight restrictions in the lumbar spine or hip flexors and create a programme to enhance movement in these areas so that eventually they can Roll Up with success. But we shouldn’t leave it there! Now is the time to go deeper!

Understanding Points of Stability  

A fundamental element of all  Pilates exercises is the ability to anchor one area whilst moving another.

The greater the point of stability, the greater the potential for articulation.

In the Roll Up, the points of stability are the legs, giving us a large area to stabilise from to help create greater spinal articulation. So look deeper- does the client use the legs to create a strong base? Can the feet stay flexed with the little toe in line with the big toe? Can the legs stay together with the inner thighs connected? Do the hips open easily and the legs stay still?

Get The Two-Way Stretch

It’s all about oppositional pull

Now we are going into the intermediate realms! As the client rolls up can they reach with the fingertips and through the heels whilst drawing in the opposite direction with the navel to really create oppositional pull and space through the spine, further increasing the opening of the whole back line?

When these deeper elements are achieved in the client’s movement we see and feel the true magic! Now we are ready to higher or deeper still!!!

If you have enjoyed this please join us for The Moves workshop on 21st January where we will go deeper into the whole Mat Repertoire. For more information please click here.

The Danger Of Pilates

images-16Beware! There is something dangerous about Pilates. Could it be one of the moves that should never be taught? Is it a spinal position that should be avoided at all costs? Is it a certain condition which is contraindicated for all exercises? No, it is a  thankfully rare species of Pilates instructor known as the Underminer. The Underminer can be easily identified by several traits. They openly criticise of other instructors and constantly question other instructors' training history. They can be seen aggressively policing other instructors' posts on social media, seeking to belittle them. They badger you to join their groups and Associations and try to create elite gangs where entry requirements are years and years of training under their approval. Yet the most revealing aspect is their complete lack of professional respect and courtesy which is frankly jaw-dropping!

The Underminer can sometimes appear when you begin to teach a new class in what they perceive as their territory. This is where they may feel threatened and concerned that the competition may affect their business and so begin to question your reputation. Admittedly we all can feel this way when new classes open, but how we react is what identifies us. If you find yourself in this position, I would suggest meeting for a coffee and discuss how you can mutually help each other by referrals and cover classes.

Social media forums seem to be the breeding ground of the Underminers  where they feel it is their right to bully, badger and criticise other instructors.

In an attempt to better understand this species of instructor, I try to look at their motivation in behaving in this way. One reason is the feeling of being threatened by other instructors. Another reason is simply egotistical. They have embarked on a global dominance of the Pilates world and seek to turn all instructors to their elite beliefs and style of teaching. Or is it simply financial? They want to gain as much financial benefit from training instructors as possible by shrouding the study of Pilates in mystery.  Benjamin Degenhardt recently posted,

"I often struggle being part of an industry that is trying its very hardest to make more of this thing called "Pilates" than it was designed to be: an approach to physical fitness and health that is inherently and utterly... simple."

and I couldn't agree more. This is not to say we never stop learning and our understanding of this amazing Method is a constant journey with revelations unfolding with each client we teach and every workshop we attend. But rather that no instructor should be judged unworthy or not capable simply on the stage of the journey they are at.

So how should we  deal with the Underminer on social media forumsPersonally I strenuously avoid any contact with them wherever possible. I refuse to engage with them and I believe that clients and other Pilates instructors can clearly see their true nature. If it does become unavoidable, I ask them to have a direct, personal  chat with me to discuss their comments and questions and I generally find with a quietly muttered "There's no need, thank you" they tend to scurry away.

If you are not already a member of the Underminer-free JPilates Forum on Facebook we would love to welcome you. It is incredibly supportive and friendly and is open to Pilates instructors from all training backgrounds. To join please click here

Posted on November 26, 2015 and filed under Joseph Pilates Pilates..., Uncategorized.

Pilates and Stroke Survivors-An Inspiration

831f5e8ed5ac74cbf8fe5dee48d9fb5dThe ability of Pilates to completely change and improve someone's quality of life never ceases to amaze me. It is a true testament to the life-long dedication that Joe Pilates gave to his method that it can improve and enhance the ability to move and function regardless of limitations. In my job as a Pilates instructor, I have met some truly inspirational and courageous people. One of them is my client, Sam. I first met Sam, a 40-year-old stroke survivor at Akasha Wellness last November about 8 months following her stroke. I had received a short email from her neurological physiotherapist explaining that she had weakness in her right hip and trunk and Pilates would help improve her static and dynamic posture. As with all conditions and injuries, it is only when we actually meet and see the client that we can fully understand and consider their exercise programme as no written referral notes can fully detail the extent and effect on the individual.

Sam was driven to the studio by a friend as she was unable to drive herself. She walked with a stick as she suffered from a lack of strength and mobility in her right leg with paralysis in her right arm. Both her right foot and hand were tightly curled with a complete lack of sensation. Sam could not move either limb unaided. Due to the stroke, Sam found it difficult to speak and express herself. As Sam had led an incredibly active life, swimming, horse-riding, tennis and running, the limitations she now faced made her  feel extremely frustrated, angry and helpless.

Pilates was obviously going to be highly beneficial for Sam. Nobel prize recipient Dr Roger Sperry said that the spine is the motor that drives the brain. According to his research,

"90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by movement of the spine"

Not only would the moves stimulate the brain's function and improve her strength and mobility but just as importantly, Pilates would encourage her to trust and appreciate again her body and mind.

Using the Reformer and closed kinetic chain exercises has been excellent for Sam as it allows her to push and pull against the apparatus, giving her enhanced feedback and deeper connection with her body. Constant reassurance is needed as Sam has lost confidence in her body and its movement.

After just a few sessions, Sam's foot and toes began to uncurl. By the end of each session the foot would be glowing with warmth and blood flow whereas at the start it was white and cold. Over the months Sam  stopped using the stick and began to drive herself again, which was a huge step in her independence. She was able to now move the leg unaided into positions.

With increased confidence Sam's progress has been fantastic. Her speech is much more fluid and spontaneous and her gait more balanced. She is incredibly strong in her abdominals and back and each session I am continually inspired by her dedication and determination. I hope one day soon Sam will join in the group sessions.

Working with Sam has been a truly incredible experience for me as an instructor, further proving how Pilates can and does help everyone regardless of injury, age or medical conditions.

Posted on October 12, 2015 and filed under Uncategorized.

Be a little more serious and a lot less solemn!

This week I found myself flicking through a gardening images-15magazine in a waiting room, (not my usual reading material but there was not much else on offer!) and I came across an article which really struck a chord with me and my thoughts on some aspects of the Pilates industry. The writer, Monty Don, was proposing that gardeners should be more serious and much less solemn  and I could see how his thoughts could definitely be also applied to some Pilates instructors, especially those who are incredibly vocal on various social media sites and forums.

"Seriousness underpins any endeavour worth doing and every life worth living. But whereas seriousness can be worn lightly, with grace and wit, solemnity carries with it the dead hand of the pedant and killjoy"

This is no more true when reading some of the comments and criticisms of those instructors who see themselves as being superior either in their training or knowledge to other fellow instructors. Sometimes Pilates just takes itself far to solemnly!

As Monty says,

"There is a time and place for solemnity. It is appropriate for births, funerals and grand occasions of state."

whereas being serious in our work shows a mark of respect for the Method, our clients and each other. It  still encourages discussion, healthy debate and (fingers crossed) a little  humour without producing the fear of reprisal and ostracism from the very community which should inspire and encourage us.

It is important to remember that as human beings we live in pursuit of happiness, of enjoyment. For us as Pilates instructors, this means encouraging the joy in mindful movement, the sense of well-being and health in a vibrant yet serious environment not only in our classes but in the Pilates world we live in.

So the only question now is do I subscribe to Gardeners World!

The Pilates Bean Bag Roll-up Device

IMG_0053Joseph Pilates was undoubtedly an inventor and a genius! He was definitely at least 50 years ahead of his time as so many people say. How did he know to create a piece of equipment to alleviate stressed out wrists, fingers, elbows and the upper body from hand-held devices and everyday living? This simple piece of equipment is fantastic for targeting those issues from carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritic fingers, tennis elbow to frozen shoulder. Instructions on how to use the Bean Bag Roll-up Device

1. Stand in Pilates stance, heels pressed together, toes pointing slightly outward or parallel with big toe knuckles together, depending on the needs of your client.

2. Stand tall, lengthening through the spine, focusing on each body segment being lifted and correctly placed over the one below.

3. Roll up the bag so it hangs just below the dowel. Hold the dowel in both hands straight out in front of you at shoulder height. Do not lock your elbows. Relax through the shoulders having a sense of the arms originating from the mid back.

4. Open the fingers of one hand, and point them toward the ceiling, wrist flexed backward as far as you can. The opposite hand grasps the dowel, fingers wrapped around it, wrist fully extended with knuckles facing the floor.

5. Slowly unwind the bag toward the floor, alternating the hand grasp between (a) open fingers pointing upward with flexed wrist and (b) grasped hand reaching downward in full wrist extension. Maximize the full flexion and extension of each wrist, and maintain good whole-body form from head to toe. Don’t forget to breathe fully in and out.

6. Once your bag reaches the floor, reverse the process and rewind back to the start position. Maintain full wrist flexion and extension on each move, and also maintain the correct body stance.

Note: If the exercise is too difficult, reduce the starting weight, and/or limit the length of the cord, so you unwind and rewind over a smaller distance. Concentrate on perfect whole-body form.

To increase the challenge, stand on a stair or a stool so you have to unwind and rewind over a greater distance. Begin with one full repetition, and then gradually add more weight. Work up to three full repetitions over time.

Here is also a short video demonstrating its use.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S444tTQSzxo]

The JPilates Bean Bag Roll-up Devices are available to buy for £20 each (+postage). Please contact info@jpilates.co.uk for more details

Thoughts on a Workshop with Amy Taylor Alpers

Coach helping people with Pilates exercises.Last month I attended a workshop with Amy Taylor Alpers from The Pilates Center, Boulder, USA and I was absolutely blown away! The workshop was held at the beautiful Pepilates Studio near Clapham Common. On entering the studio, I braced myself for the usual greeting from many Pilates instructors of "So who did you train with?" and I was so pleasantly surprised to find that no one asked that question. In fact, throughout the whole workshop no one was judged or questioned about the authenticity or style of their training which I found so refreshing and respectful.

The day began with Amy giving a short bio about her own Pilates training and experience. From the outset the scale and depth of her training was apparent. She peppered the day with fantastic anecdotes of Joe Pilates that really helped to engage with his vision and the man himself. We were told to,

"Get your Joe on"

In other words to become Joe Pilates, to breathe like him, to be strong like him, to travel back in time where bodies were different due to a lack of sedentary living.

Although the title of the workshop suggested the day would be very anatomical and rather specific to one muscle, Accessing Your Psoas, the tagline, Creating True Integrated Movement, truely explained the content of the day. Looking back at the huge pile of notes I made I am astounded at all the material, exercises and concepts we covered.

I can honestly say that in the 6 hour workshop I learnt more than in any other workshop or course I have done. It was so inspiring and I highly recommend any Pilates instructor, when the opportunity comes again, to attend Amy's workshops. As I said I was blown away......!

How to encourage clients to practise Pilates at home.

"PATIENCE and PERSISTENCE are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavour"  So states Joe Pilates in Return to Life, yet how do we encourage this diligence in our clients? Joe Pilates insists on us never taking "the night off" and not succumbing to momentary weakness and Mary Bowen recalls how he required his clients to commit to a minimum of three sessions a week. We all know how such commitment to the system would produce incredible results but realistically many of our clients attend only one or two sessions due to financial, time or other restraints. So how can we encourage our clients to practise more in order to progress and address any issues? An easily accessible and effective way is to give them short videos to do at home and here is an example of the Swan Dive taught at a low level as a 3 minute fix.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HRkBdHLV9g]

It is simple to record, upload and edit on YouTube and even though I hate to see and hear myself on camera, clients love it-so lights, camera, ACTION!!

I would love to hear how you encourage your clients to practise more!

Never Stop Learning!

At the beginning of any of our courses or workshops I tell instructors that we never stop learning, to question everything and to ask anything! This is the most crucial founding principal of JPilates training- to constantly learn and enhance our teaching skills and knowledge and to realise that we can not know everything. When a client asks a question or has an injury or condition that you are unfamiliar with or unsure of, it is much more professional to admit that you need to further research the subject and to promise to get back to them once you have sought further advice or knowledge. (You would then email or phone us if you wish!!) Guidelines and research constantly develop, evolve and sometimes contradict and so it is imperative that we keep up to date with changes and have a reliable source to refer to.

Each year I allocate time and finances to attend courses and workshops to further my own knowledge. This year I am looking forward to a workshop from the fabulous Amy Taylor Alpers and the Pilates On Tour Convention. I'll definitely share with you my thoughts on both events after.

Continual professional development needn't be expensive. It could be attending our monthly Instructor Only Classes or another instructor's class in your area and evaluate (to yourself of course!) aspects you enjoyed and areas which could be improved. Webinars are a great way of developing your knowledge of specific areas such as Scoliosis and we are always open to new topics for us to present.

For more information on all our qualificationscourses and workshops please visit www.jpilates.co.uk or contact info@jpilates.co.uk.

The Legalities Of Having a Website-Who Knew??

law-guide_bookYou all know how much I love my job of running a Pilates Teacher Training company and we all know how it is incredibly rewarding and inspiring to be involved in something we are so passionate about. The actual teaching, creating and developing  courses, qualifications and workshops is the fun part, what I find most challenging is application of the legalities of running a business, making sure that I tick every box when it comes to website and social media lawful requirements. A few weeks ago I saw on Facebook a post by the fantastic Suzanne Dibble, reminding me of the law when using social media. Delving deeper into her posts and website, I realised that I was missing two important policies on my website that are a legal must, Website Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy. The guidelines seem to be that if you offering more than just a small information-only website then you will need to post "Terms & Conditions" somewhere on your website and if you are collecting any data, e.g. email information, then you will most certainly need a Privacy Policy.

Both policies will vary to small  degree depending on your business but please take a look at the Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy on the JPilates website to help write yours if you wish. I know some of you may be thinking "Well of course you need these policies!" but just in case some of you didn't know........!

References

http://www.suzannedibble.com

Thank you to Akasha Wellness for allowing me to use their documents as templates!

Image from emplaw.co.uk

How to teach a beginner class to an experienced exerciser

Recently I have been asked by several Pilates instructors how to teach beginner Pilates classes to experienced exercisers without boring them to death! Often these clients are used to training at high levels of intensity and it can be difficult to strike a balance between encouraging precision, integrity of movement and technique and maintain suitable intensity, focus and interest. First and foremost we need to understand and recognise the needs and goals of the client- why are they attending the class?

Since September I have been teaching at the beautiful, newly opened Reformer studio, Akasha Wellness. Almost all of the clients are new to Reformer and are attending in order to increase strength, flexibility and to be challenged!After ensuring that there are no injuries or conditions that may impact on their exercise programme, I teach fairly demanding classes, designed to enhance their strength, mobility and flexibility. Although I constantly embed and cue correct movement and technique, I see the achievement of precision as on-going task which can take weeks, months even years to attain. Perfect movement is not something that can be taught in the first few classes and in attempting to "over-correct" and "over-talk" we can restrict natural movement and reduce the sense of well-being. We need to allow clients to make mistakes without fear of failure. This is how we learn. Giving time to make mistakes and self correct teaches increased body awareness and self-responsibility for ones own practice.

Both instructors and clients should acknowledge that to achieve results, Pilates requires dedication and commitment. As Joe Pilates stated, “PATIENCE and PERSISTENCE are vital qualities in the ultimate accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavour” It is a long-term, lifestyle choice giving you time to strive for and achieve precision, control and flow.

For JPilates Associates, this month's Class Plan is a Matwork plan for the beginner but experienced exerciser. Contact info@jpilates.co.uk to request your copy.

Side note: We always need to have full understanding and knowledge of any injuries or conditions which may impact on exercise choice and intensity and seek medical consent if necessary.

You're hired! Top tips for success when auditioning for Pilates jobs.

alan-sugar-amstrad-and-the-apprenticeWith our Autumn Level 3 Diploma in Teaching Mat Pilates students due to sit their final assessments in a few weeks, we have been discussing the practicalities they will face once qualified and ready to launch themselves into our industry. One of the areas we have discussed is auditioning for jobs at Pilates studios-just what are studio owners looking for? Michelle Smith from the Pilates Pod, Hitchin has recently been interviewing for Pilates instructors to join their studio and here are her invaluable top tips!

  1. Arrive with at least 10 mins to spare. This will allow time for an introduction, to check out the studio, equipment and bodies participating. Arriving at the last minute or late makes me think you are unorganised and will be the same in the job. Saying “I didn’t have time to do that” just won’t cut it!
  2. Be confident but subtly so. We want to see you’ve got the confidence in your teaching, what you’re saying and having a good rapport with the bodies in the session and staff.
  3.  Be calm and prepared. Despite whatever stresses you’ve had in the day getting here, appear calm and in control. Plan your lesson in advance so you know what equipment you want, stay within the time limit and know what you want to get across.
  4. Treat the teaching as if it was a normal class. We want to see your style and personality, see you correct, modify and have fun  with the bodies in the session.
  5. Know your environment. What works for a gym style class with fitness adaptations, stretches and tone of language may not work for a  Pilates studio setting so remember to do your research in advance and plan accordingly.
  6. Swot up on the business you are applying for. The teaching part is one part but with a quick interview chat after we also want to see you know a bit about the company you are wanting to work for, and why you want to work for them.
  7. Impress us! This is your 15 minutes of fame so remember to show us the best bits about you and your teaching!

When looking for work at Pilates studios, I would strongly recommended offering to audition as often studios have cover lists.  Jo Webster from Akasha Wellness says "The key to a successful instructor audition is that they demonstrate a passion for Pilates, an ability to build a rapport with clients and a have a level of professionalism that will support the studio / brand"

So with all these fabulous tips success will be more or less guaranteed! Break a leg!

Pilates Pod are looking for instructors for full time positions and cover. For more information please contact info@thepilatespod.co.uk.

Just Love JPilates Associates!

I have to admit that JPilates Associates is the best thing I have ever created! The founding principle of JPilates has always been to constantly support and develop a friendly, vibrant Pilates teacher community where any question can be asked, any concept can be openly discussed and ideas can be shared so that we constantly learn and progress and creating JPilates Associates has completely fulfilled this.

One of the areas I most love in my work is creating new adaptations and variations of exercises and then choreographing classes to further inspire instructors. Being able to offer Instructor Only Classes and Daily Fixes to you means that I can help bring fresh ideas and also practically address any areas you wish specifically targeted such as Pre Natal Pilates. This month I am so excited to have added a slow motion video of The Boomerang so you can really analyse the different elements of this fantastically dynamic move.

Another really rewarding aspect for me is being able to have individual mentoring time with you. This can either be for your own personal development where we work on your Pilates practise or further developing, focusing and structuring your business and marketing plans and ideas.

The Associates Area ensures that you keep up with recent research and continual professional development through articles and updates. We also review books & DVDs for you to help expand and enhance your own Pilates library.

I love being a part of this amazing Pilates community and our Virtual Night’s Out have been so successful with us enjoying a glass (or two!) in the comfort of our own homes chatting about all things Pilates. I love to hear us being able to support each other and offer advice and experiences.

So thank you to everyone who is part of this special community!

For more information please click here