Instructor of the Month
Introducing Silvan Aidasani, owner of Silvates Pilates
Silvan discovered Pilates whilst studying at university in London . Since then, he gained his qualification to teach Matwork in 2010 with the Pilates Institute. Following this, his interest grew and he completed his comprehensive teacher training.
Originally from Gibraltar, Silvan set up his own studio and worked closely with GPs, physiotherapists and osteopaths to deliver specialised sessions. Silvan has a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and is currently doing his Masters in Osteopathy. He appreciates the link between the mind and the body and the effect physical exercise and rehabilitation has on wellbeing.
What influenced you to become an instructor?
I have always been interested with how the mind and body work together and this led me to study Psychology as an undergraduate. During this time, I happened to stumble across a Pilates class at the University gym. Truth be told, I had no idea what I was getting myself in for. I had heard about celebrities in America swearing by Pilates, and so thought I would give it a go. As soon as I walked in I realised the class would be overrun with women (and my training later on too!), but the instructor was male and made me feel like Pilates was aimed at men as well. It was later that I found out about the origins of Pilates and the history that preceded it. After a year of practice, I looked into training, and found Jo at the Pilates Institute
Do you prefer equipment or mat?
Mat is where I started and where I will always come back to. Through the JPilates Instructor Only classes, I have a deeper appreciation of the original mat repertoire. There’s a flow and purpose to it which becomes apparent whilst performing them. It’s interesting because due to the demand in the studios where I work, I predominantly teach on the equipment. The equipment apparatus allows you to use the closed circuit chains to refine technique in which to take to Mat classes. Having said that, I’ve started teaching Tower classes and am enjoying how versatile the Tower can be.
What’s your favourite move and why?
Hands down, it has to be shoulder bridge. It is such a fundamental move that I always teach in every class. From the classical approach to the more contemporary variations mean that you can adapt it to suit the client, and the goal you are trying to achieve. For me, it always comes back to what you are trying to achieve with each move.
What’s your least favourite move?
Jo put this in because she knows how much I struggle with Leg Pull Supine (especially on the reformer)! It’s the one I avoid doing because it can be upper body inclusive. We all do the moves we love and avoid the ones we don’t like (but should probably do more of). It’s a move that will highlight where your weaknesses lie, be it upper body strength or hip extension. That is what makes Leg Pull Supine such a great move (which I will master, along with control balance).
You are training to be an Osteopath, how will this fit in with Pilates?
Pilates and Osteopathy complement each other so well. My Pilates background has given me the body awareness and understanding of anatomy, which has given me an understanding of how the body works. The tactile and verbal cueing we use as Pilates instructors has given me the confidence to guide patients in certain movements and assessments in the osteopathic clinic. As Pilates instructors, we see so many clients with physical difficulties, which I am able to pick up on quicker when in clinic. Similarly, my mental health and Pilates background has helped me communicate with patients when they express frustration from a lack of mobility due to pain.
At the same time, Osteopathy has informed the way I teach Pilates. It offers a new perspective in the way we see and approach the body. The level of understanding of anatomy is like nothing I have experienced before. Before the course, I always sought out more information on anatomy, and whilst Pilates was great at giving me the jump start, we only use what we need. Whilst studying osteopathy, I have to know about every bump, line and protrusion of every bone, what the relevance of these are on the muscles, and how it interacts with every tendon and ligament, its relationship on the organs and how the neuroanatomy governs it all. All this informs how we use muscle testing and assessments. On the course, anatomy is the heart of it.
Have you had any ‘eye-opening’ moments ?
Whilst being on the course, I’ve had the chance to see such amazing things. Every week I attend Dissection lectures, where we are able to use a cadaver. It puts the theory we learn into perspective as a whole. Fascia has become such an important way of looking at movement, and it was something that was emphasised during the anatomy workshops with JPilates. For the most part, it was the mythical thing I had no real concept of. But during dissection, I actually saw how fascia interweaves itself into the body and got to touch it! For a visual learner, the best form of learning is being able to hold something in your hands. I have been fortunate enough to attend guest lectures with leaders in the field of movement. Eyal Lederman gave us a lecture on the Myth of the Core and Liz Koch talked to us about the Importance of the Psoas.
Where are you hoping to be in 5 years?
I never imagined I would be going back to academia in my 30s, so looking ahead to the next 5 years is really exciting for me. I will have hoped to graduate from the Masters in Osteopathy degree by then, which will open so many doors for me in terms of what I can offer. I’d like to be working in a multi-disciplinary clinic where Pilates instructors, physiotherapists, psychologists and osteopaths can contribute to the wellbeing of our clients.
In terms of Pilates training, I’m really excited to be expanding it. Every year I look back and realise how differently I taught, and how my use of cueing and understanding has changed. That has all been down to continuing CPD, learning from other instructors and attending classes for myself (which we as instructors never get enough – those monthly instructor classes are amazing!)
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