Archive for January, 2012:

inspire_1006a

Do you find it challenging to be inspired as a Pilates teacher? When I was going through my Pilates certification program, I wasn’t sure I’d make it out the other end successfully. There were moments that I totally doubted my ability, especially after a lesson with a teacher who I admired and respected. Each one was unique, yet the same. As they say in Thailand, “same same but different”. They were all knowledgeable, challenging, present, and passionate about Pilates. In those moments of doubt, I couldn’t imagine being like them. However, they became my inspiration for the teacher I would strive to be.

In order to get there, I realized a few things. To increase my knowledge, I would have to take lessons on a regular basis because if you don’t know how an exercise feels in your body, it’s very challenging to teach it successfully to someone else. A co-worker told me that Romana used to say “you teach a body from you own body.”

Along with lessons I knew I’d need to seek out continuing education courses as you can only learn so much in 9 months. And I began to teach as much as I could for practice. Bob Liekens, one of my mentors, says that the real learning begins once your certified. There is no better way to become familiar with bodies than working with them. Studying anatomy won’t hurt either.

My teachers all managed to challenge me in a different way. Some moved me at a quick pace, while others were a bit more deliberate. They all had the ability to make slight adjustments that would drastically change how an exercise felt. No matter how they chose to teach the exercises, they were all very present. Nothing seemed to distract them, no chit chat was allowed, and there was always a plan. Most of all, it was so apparent to me how passionate they all were about what they did. I always left with a deeper appreciation of the method.

While my passion for Pilates has never gone away, my love for it has slipped at times. But like any relationship, I’m always able to find my way back. It takes work, and effort though. I can’t stress enough the importance of keeping up with your own Pilates lessons. Make appointments and put them in your calendar. One lesson will give you ideas that could last weeks. If you think your clients are bored, it’s usually because you are bored. After your lesson, jot down some notes about new things you did. I have pages of notes I’ve taken since my certification 9 years ago. Even as a teacher trainer, I still do it.

Inspiration is all around you, in the teachers you take lessons from, and even the clients you work with. On days you feel less inspired, think about the teachers who helped lead you to Pilates. You chose this path for a reason. Remember that inspiration is endless.

 

watched-pot

Be Patient. This is something that has always been extremely hard for me. I’ve heard it my whole life. I must admit I’m envious of those who have the ability to be patient. At least for me with impatience, comes anxiety. And with anxiety, comes an inability to get things done. It’s not a very attractive characteristic. I have spent so much of my energy wanting more in my career, more clients, more money, more, more, more. In those moments of wanting, I forgot that effort needed to be made, and time needed to pass.

Until I moved to Los Angeles, over 4 years ago, I had bounced around almost every year for 4 years from Connecticut, to Boston, back to Connecticut. I never gave myself the time needed to build my clientele or reputation in one place. Instead of realizing I needed to make a commitment to stay in one place in order to grow, I would doubt my teaching. That’s never a good place to go.

When I finally made the decision to move to LA, it was at the end of 2007, and our economy was on its way down. Once again, I found myself wanting more, more clients, more money, more, more, more. I was frustrated, and at times felt defeated. So last year around this time I decided I needed to focus less on what I didn’t have, and more on what I needed to do to break past the plateau I’d been sitting at.

I’m not sure where I stand on the whole “Secret” stuff, however I do strongly believe in like attracting like. Positive attracting positive. It’s a shift that needs not only be made, but also believed. For changes to happen though, effort does need to be made. I had to start working more, and at times I really didn’t want to work. I started writing for my website, and at first I found it extremely difficult. I put classes into my schedule and waited through months of them not being very full. And I waited my turn to teach for the Equinox Pilates teacher training program.

Here we are, January 2012, a year later, and I’m happy to say I’ve pushed past that plateau. While I believe it’s important to always have something to reach towards, it’s nice to not have to sit with an extreme wanting. Being busier now than I’ve ever been in my 8 plus years of teaching, I’ve come to realize that it’s true, a watched pot never boils. Instead of sitting on the sidelines waiting for things to change, I jumped in and kept myself busy, leaving no time for me to be impatient.  And while I was teaching a full class the other day I realized that the advice, be patient, had finally sank in.

 

mzlyobgxtdk175x175-75

I love January, the beginning of a new year, and a time for reflection. While I’ll forever live in the world of semesters where September is the start of a new year, January is always the time I look at my life, make resolutions, and feel excited about it all. I’ve learned to make my resolutions very specific, and I try to cover different areas of my life like work, health, and relationships. However, even with all my good intentions, I let life get in the way. One day goes by then another, and all of a sudden months have passed without me working towards most of my goals. It happens every year.

In my quest to break this pattern, a friend suggested I check out Livifi, an i-phone app (also available on the web) that helps people set and track goals related to mind, body, and relationships. My curiosity was peaked, first because it sounded exactly like something that could help me, and second because the CEO & Co-founder Lowell Winer, came up with the idea while fighting cancer. I’m always motivated by inspirational stories. With endless questions bouncing around in my head, I decided to call up Lowell and get the 411, not only about the company, but also about his story

In 2006 Lowell was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease, a type of blood cancer. Treatments like chemo, stem cell transplants, radiation, and multiple drug trials failed to show positive results. When told he may have only 2 years to live he made the decision that he wasn’t going to accept the status quo, and wanted to be proactive about how he chose to live, which was as healthy and happy as possible. This path helped him discover yoga, become a vegetarian, start meditating, and stop drinking, and also to eat better, get more sleep, and spend more time with family and friends.

Then in 2010 he began taking a drug that on average was giving people 6-7 months of remission. 18 months later he is still in remission himself, and contributes this greatly to the lifestyle changes he made along the way. While Lowell is slowly recovering from his treatments, he has learned to live with the uncertainty about whether the cancer will return, however he says, “I’m not sure I would change anything—cancer has been my guru.”

On Lowell’s path to become a healthier and happier person it wasn’t enough for him to accept that all he had done was good for him. He wanted to know the how and why. And he wanted other people to as well. What came from all his research was the idea of a science based life coach in your hands, to help you take strides to healthy living. Something to keep you accountable, help to create healthy habits, and improve your health and well-being. In his quest to help himself and other people, Livifi was born.

If you’re an i-phone user you can get the app for $4.99. I recommend checking out the reviews on i-tunes. For such a new company, they’re very impressive. The web version is in beta (for the computer illiterate like me that means it’s new and still in testing, and free for now). The site is easy to use with plenty of instructions. There are 40 plus science-based healthy behaviors to choose from for your body, mind, and relationships. Each behavior has a summary of how to achieve your goal, why it’s important, and references. The goals will default to daily or weekly based on scientific research, however you have the ability to change them depending on your needs.

Remember to set realistic goals for yourself so as not to get too overwhelmed or feel defeated. Livifi has plans to add a social feature down the road because according to Lowell, we are social creatures and enjoy the encouragement and support of others as well as the ability to collaborate with one another. While I don’t have an i-phone yet, I’m excited to use the web version to help me track my goals. This is my first step in breaking my pattern of giving up. I highly recommend getting online to read more about Lowell, the company, and all it has to offer. Make yourself a priority this year.