Seeking A Pilates Coach


6 More Essential Characteristics of the Best Pilates Professionals

1) Genuine Warmth and Geniality: 

Venturing into an unfamiliar class even as a seasoned practitioner no less new comer can be a bit daunting, intimidating and even frightening. Empathic teachers can sense the discomfort and insecurity of new students and act to make them feel welcome and more at ease. Before class begins a simple smile and personal introduction with or without a handshake eases a new students obvious lack of confidence or self consciousness.  An accomplished teacher lets everyone know they are present for their own benefit and that it is wise to let go of any preconceived notions of good and bad.  A practice is just that, a practice that honors the exploratory process of learning and growth through positive personal channels, not a preexisting, overtly judgmental one that pits your talents up against the experts.

2) Personalized Guidance:

In a class, guidance generally comes by way of verbalized group instruction and more specific corrections geared toward individuals with personal directives accompanied by subtle touches and or more assertive maneuvers that speak loudly to the learner without being intrusive and or embarrassing.  As wellness practitioners our presence, intention and approach is about empowering the individual.  Encouraging effort and thwarting bad habits of poor form that can possibly lead to limitations and injury is essential if we truly hope to ensure a students empowerment versus his frustration or pain.  It could also mean the difference between a successful returning clientele and a very low retention rate.  Gifted leaders are able to move through the pilates environment making necessary adjustments and at the same time let everyone even those with no need of adjustment feel that they are being attended to with professionalism ensuring everyone present that their success is genuinely cared for.

3) Vision with Attention to Detail:

Having an overall vision for a particular lesson plan is essential to one’s pilates pedagogy, but success is in the details understood and implemented daily. In everyday practice it is the precise elements of the form that inspire you on your journey and move you forward on your path of broadening awareness.  It is in the particular details of effort and action that have the power to lift you up to new plateaus of accomplishment and direct you onward to the next level, enabling you to achieve insights about yourself you had never entertained before. Great teachers and leaders in pilates have studied the myriad details of particular movements and the many detailed options for tactile and descriptive guidance to help focus participant attention and effort so students can move deeper into their practice and benefit from all the pilates method has to offer.

4) Linguistic Clarity and Brevity:

A memorable leader of pilates practice has a talent for description and yet is conservative with her words, choosing her directives precisely in an expedient manner.  She does not deliver lengthy speeches imagining every word in her mind is of great significance nor does she endlessly ramble on hoping to serendipitously stumble upon a magic morsel of enlightenment that will prompt an avalanche of epiphanies for all her students.   Somatic practice is about experiential movement not endless analysis.  However, descriptive words have their place and verbal directives are powerful tools that should be used with explicit intensions to induce successful movement execution.  Successful communicators know that so much of what we say is lost or misinterpreted.  To be sure our words hold import and get intended results it is best to align them with specific exercise intentions. While details of every little movement are extremely helpful they should be tempered with pauses for rumination and punctuated with silences that enable the participants to own their own thoughts and contemplative processes.

5) Rhythm and Musicality:

Last but certainly not least is a sense of rhythm and musicality. Our every little breath has an innate rhythm all its own.  The ebb and flow of life can be sensed in the breath and infuses every movement we make as it does every pilates workout.  Musicality refers to a broader sentient quality, understanding of and or talent for not just rhythm but all the tones and shadings of music, music making and or appreciation, including an ability to create and or perceive differences in melody, rhythm, pitch, and harmony.  Dancers portray a sense of musicality through the choreography they embody as do other somatic practitioners who move and present lessons with an awareness of musical considerations. In pilates practice musicality can be understood and sensed as a fluidly melodic movement experience, a harmony of integrated gestural action, a contrast of rhythmic patterning and efficiency of movement whether the goal is a percussive dynamic or continuous flow of energy.  Pilates presenters with a strong sense of musicality facilitate flowing inspirational sessions with seamless transitions integrating diverse body actions with breath initiations, progressive sequencing, melodic cadences and uplifting climaxes.

6) Lighthearted Playfulness:

In our fast paced and edgy western world we often have a tendency to get too critical about our accomplishments or what we may perceive as a lack of them.  We let the competitive edge at the office seep into the studio and we get wrapped up striving toward greater achievement losing the essence and most important element of our practice which is our joy awakening and thriving on an enlightening path.  A wonderful teacher and leader can sense when there is too strong a commitment to the end result versus the way.  A gifted leader will break up an overtly serious effort with some lighter metaphors or anecdotes of personal experience hoping to evoke a smile or encourage laughter.  Having lifted the gloom and doom she will then zoom back into purpose encouraging non judgmental efforts that more effectively support self acceptance and nurture positive sensations of well being.

So now it is your turn.  What qualities or characteristics do you deem most worthy in an exceptional teacher or gifted leader of pilates? Add to the list contributing your own personal thoughts and experiences or create a new list of your own choosing.  Whatever you choose, do it with vision, focus, imagination and sound reasoning so it can serve your future well.

To learn more essential qualities of exceptional pilates mentors click here!

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