Teaching the Teacher!
This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago and attend a Pilates workshop with Carrie Pages at Tensile Strength Studio. I've met Carrie before and we follow each other on Instagram. She's truly a delightful person to be around and has been teaching Pilates for almost two decades.
Each year I attend Pilates trainings and I look for an area of study that interests me or that I think will benefit me and my students. Carrie's workshop was titled Classical Pilates Intensive Workshop. It was three days of deep diving back into the Classical Pilates work. During my training and certification, I learned the classical exercises but our focus was more contemporary. The continuing education I have sought out in the past few years has been more condition specific such as prenatal Pilates, Pilates for chronic conditions/rehab and Pilates for runners. I've enjoyed broadening my scope and finding new and inventive ways to reach and help students with Pilates. But I've also felt, maybe it was time to take a step back and do a refresher in the classical work.
As Carrie described the workshop, she explained it was a judgement free zone and all were welcome regardless of their training or approach to Pilates. I love that. That's how it should be ... but it's not always that way. Her goal was to take us back to the roots of Pilates and the classical exercises just as Joe Pilates taught them. I think there is lot that can be learned from going back to the source again. When I studied these exercises the first go around, I did so from a very limited scope of knowledge and experience. Now, with nine years of Pilates under my belt, I re-examined these classical exercises from a whole new place. This was one of deeper understanding and connection.
I tell my students this and I saw it play out for me this weekend... the better you get at Pilates, the more you feel and the more connections you make. Simple exercises become more challenging over time simply by how deep you can take the work in your body. This was so true for me this weekend. Carrie said to us several times as she was explaining a movement or the rational behind a movement, "If you don't understand it now, that's ok, you will in five years when it is really in your body." Pilates takes time and practice. That is one of the many wonderful aspects about it that can be hard to explain to a new student.
In this workshop I realized as we went back through the classical work, I had been avoiding several exercises in my practice. By default, my practice focused on what I was better at and where I had success. Trying the difficult moves, I felt length my body was craving. I felt openness in spine and hips that I had been missing by avoiding these exercises. One can not progress by doing the same thing over and over again. We must challenge ourselves beyond what is comfortable. We must work at it and learn from the work. I have my homework cut out for me from this workshop. I am encouraged and motivated to take my practice further and see the progress in my body. I loved how my body felt after three days of really stretching my limits and explore the work.
What a gift it was for me to take this time to reconnect, feel deeper, explore more and do it among Pilates friends like Carrie and our hosts at Tensile Strength Jo Ann and Jessica. And as a special treat Jenna Zaffino, the Pilates Unicorn, stopped by and joined us our last day of this three day workshop! You know you have found your right place in life when you can spend 18 hours working on a weekend, enjoy every minute of it, wishing it was more, and loving the company you are in!