Posts Tagged ‘pilates instructor’:

I’m happy to announce that I’ve joined forces with Andrea Speir, a talented and seasoned Pilates instructor, to bring you The Pilates Fix.  We know Pilates can be expensive, so we wanted to make it accessible to everyone. The workouts will be available on our Youtube channel, either with Andrea or myself.

Every week we will bring you classical Pilates workouts with a modern twist. Together we have almost 20 years of teaching experience, have worked in top Los Angeles gyms, and hold 600-hour classical Pilates certifications.  We will give you well rounded workouts and exercise tips to help you feel good and look good.

If you enjoy the workouts, please forward them on to your friends. And let us know what you would like to see on The Pilates Fix in the future.  Enjoy!



I didn’t realize how apropos the timing was for my recent trip to Jackson Hole, WY, until I was there.  I hadn’t been back since I moved a decade ago and memory upon memory came rushing back.  None were quite as strong as the morning of September 11th, 2001, the day that was planned for my going away party.  After a 6 month stint of living in Jackson turned into a 3 year one, I had made the decision to see what life would be like in New York City.  I went to bed on the 10th overwhelmed with a feeling of sadness for  leaving the breathtaking Tetons, but awoke to a much greater sadness,  that in retrospect affected me more than I realized.

At 6:50 am (mountain time) on the 11th I was awoken by the ringing of the house phone.  Assuming it was one of my roommates fishing buddies, I didn’t pick up.  Moments later I heard my name, my door opened, and my other roommate informed me I needed to turn the tv on.  Worry quickly set in and tears appeared before I could even see what was on the screen.  Immediately my worry was confirmed.  The call was from a friend working at the Jackson Hole airport, who remembered that my father worked in one of the twin towers.

It’s hard to explain exactly what I was feeling at that moment I saw smoke coming from the tower.  I do know that I was confused as to what was going on and couldn’t remember what building my father worked in.  Then the second building got hit, and suddenly what building he worked in didn’t matter.  Many calls were made to and from my house, but no one had heard from my father.  I remember thinking that he had to be in his office because on Tuesdays he had an early morning meeting.  Then I thought, okay if he was in the building it looked like the plane hit above where I thought I remembered his office to be, and it seemed likely he could have gotten out.  With that thought I found a sense of calm for a little bit.  Then I watched the first building fall, which at that point I knew was his building.  I went into shock and have to admit  I got a glimpse of the rest of my life without my father present.

Time was moving very slowly, and after what seemed like 4 hours but was probably only 2, I called my uncle, my father’s younger brother, as I wanted to hear a familiar voice.  My mother needed to keep her line open, and I couldn’t reach my brother or sister.  My uncle, in a very calm tone, informed me he had just gotten off the phone with my father, who was okay.  The gravity of the situation was still very much there, but I cried tears of happiness knowing my dad was alive.  And I couldn’t call him fast enough to hear his voice.

About a month after the tragedy, enough time to gain the courage to board a plane, I flew back east.  Life was moving forward again for people, and it was time for me to find a job.  However, my plan of moving into New York City didn’t seem as appealing anymore for many reasons.  Even with the feeling of unity, there was a darkness.  I went on numerous interviews, did a lot of temping, and much more soul searching, coming to the realization that New York City was not the place for me.  It was during this time I made the decision to become a Pilates instructor, because I wanted a job that I loved, not one I thought I should have.  The corporate world was one I thought I had to enter because I went to college, and that was the next step.  It wasn’t until after 9/11 that I realized how short life can be, and how important it is to make the most of it while you are on this earth.  I don’t want to have any regrets, and so far I don’t.


Single leg stretch

I made the decision to become a Pilates instructor because I wanted to help people. I fell in love with Pilates the moment I was introduced to it, and felt like I’d found the most ideal job when I made the decision to teach. I never could picture myself sitting behind a desk at a corporate job. With movement-based activities being a big part of my childhood, Pilates seemed to fit perfectly into my life. I truly felt that I had found my calling. What I didn’t expect were the thoughts that surfaced one day of “I’m only just a Pilates instructor.”

After eight years of teaching I found myself wanting more. I kept thinking to myself, “Am I doing enough?” “Am I making a difference?” After 20 sessions with a client who still was not able to set up for footwork, I would wonder, “Am I getting through?” “Are they learning anything from me?”

I took time to speak with instructors whom I respect to pick their brains on what it means to them to be a Pilates instructor. The talks helped momentarily, but in the end I still had the same feelings. I even toyed around with going back to school to get a master’s degree, but decided that I wouldn’t be going back for the right reasons.

Who knew that one comment from a student would change my outlook on what I do? Recently a client told me that teachers are teaching even when they don’t realize they are, and that I have been one of those teachers to her. She’s learning Pilates, yes, but because of my influence she’s also now getting massages, seeing a nutritionist and is very aware of changes she wants to make in her life. It was an “a-ha” moment for me as a Pilates instructor, realizing that what I do goes beyond the 60 minutes I spend with my clients. Our influence goes beyond the actual technique that we teach. By instilling the work of Joseph Pilates and his principles, we are instilling life-changing benefits in other ways as well.

Joseph Pilates wanted his work to be integrated into people’s lives, and it’s clear to me that he was talking about more than the actual act of doing the movements. We all know the benefits of having a strong core, as well as what to do to get the core strong. The principles that we use to guide our clients through a session can be applied to their day-to-day lives as well. In an hour we may teach them how to breathe, concentrate, get centered, find control, work on precision, or flow. Each and every one of these bleeds into life outside of their lesson. Think about the mom of three kids who comes for a lesson. The obvious reason she is exercising is to look good. But maybe she needs the hour for herself to get centered, to breathe or just flow. I strongly believe that when people take care of themselves they are better prepared to care for others. So maybe my client after 20 sessions has no idea how to set up for footwork. That’s OK because I do know that she feels great after an hour of Pilates.

There’s also the client who, because Pilates starts to make her feel so good, wants to continue down that path. She may seek out ways to do that and look to you as her teacher for guidance. This is what happened to my client, and how in turn she told me I was her teacher even when I didn’t realize I was. Because of the path I have chosen to go down, which has been very influenced by my experience as a Pilates instructor, I inadvertently helped guide her down a healthier path. I was very aware of the information I was giving her, but never thought what that actually meant.

I am very grateful for this “a-ha” moment and that I realized that we, as Pilates teachers, are in a position to pass along this amazing methodology and what goes along with it. I have made decisions in my life that propelled me down a path I didn’t necessarily see for myself, but I say this in the most positive way. I am very lucky to be in the position that I am as a teacher. I wouldn’t change it for anything.



Do you know the difference between Yoga and Pilates?  If your answer is no, you aren’t alone.  Over the years as a Pilates Instructor I’ve been asked by friends “how’s yoga going.”   Today that question makes sense as I’m in the middle of a yoga certification.  However, for the past 7 years while I’ve only been teaching Pilates, the question would make me laugh.  Then I sometimes get “what’s the difference between the two”?  My go to answer for years was “think of yoga as mind/body and Pilates as body/mind.”  It seems a little simplistic to me today, but until recently I didn’t really know how to give a more in depth answer.  Now many years into teaching Pilates, practicing yoga, and being immersed in a yoga certification, I feel I can answer with more substance.   Happily I’ve also come to realize that the two compliment one another quite nicely.

While there might be a few similarities between Pilates and yoga, like the obvious increased strength and flexibility, at the core they are quite different.  Pilates has only been around for about 100 years, while yoga with much more spiritual and meditative aspects dates back at least 5,000 years.  Pilates uses apparatus with springs to give bodies the resistance they are unable to find on their own when doing the mat work.  Yoga is all done on a mat, with props and walls used when needed.  I’m so grateful to those walls as they’ve saved me with my inversions on a number of occasions.  Peter Fiasca wrote in his book, Discovering Pure Classical Pilates, “Although some of the postures of yoga may resemble those found in Pure Classical Pilates, it is in the emphasis and execution that one discovers their distinct differences.”  The classical approach to Pilates keeps bodies moving from one exercise to the next with breath being important and core always a constant focus.   Where as yoga poses might be held for many minutes at a time while perfecting the alignment and focusing on breath.  The breath is also linked to movement.  Many  yoga teachers like to have students set an intention in a yoga class and carry that through until the end of class.  Pilates is an all over workout, but the strength starts at the core.  While yoga touches on the core in some of its poses, it definitely isn’t the main focus.

When I started doing Pilates it was because I thought it was similar to yoga but better.  I tried yoga when I was in college and I have the distinct memory of laughing my way through the class with my friends.  It’s funny to think about that now as yoga has become just as important to me as Pilates is.  Honestly I can’t imagine not having either modality in my life.  Pilates might have helped me get to yoga, but I wouldn’t be able to practice yoga the way I do without my Pilates background.  Anyone with experience in Pilates knows the core is the primary focus, but this is not the case with yoga.  Although, recently I have had some yoga teachers do ab work in their classes.  It seems they are beginning to realize the importance of core strength.  I’m convinced that my inversions, which at times are still tricky, haven’t been as hard for me in my yoga training as they have been for my fellow trainees, because of my core strength and understanding.  This goes both ways though.  My mid-back and shoulders tend to get tight and standing over people all day teaching doesn’t help.  I look forward to that first moment in yoga when I get to extend and twist my spine.  I can’t say I love the deep shoulder stretches we do, but I can completely appreciate what they’re doing for me.  There is plenty of extension work in Pilates, but yoga just goes that much deeper.

So for all you yogi’s out there wanting to move your practice forward, why not try Pilates.  And for all you hard core Pilates fanatics, take a stab at yoga and see if you can increase your extension or twists.  If you haven’t tried either, I hope you now have a better understanding of the differences between the two and will pick at least one to add into your workout routine.   I’m a firm believer of cross-training as muscles can be like people and get bored.  Mix it up and have fun!  Take note that there are many styles of yoga and Pilates out there  (another topic for another time) and finding the right style for you is important.

Kristen is currently going through Yogaposer’s 200-hour yoga certification.  You can follow Kristen on twitter or become a fan on facebook.