Pilates Teachers' Manual

Special Guest - Beth Sandlin

September 24, 2020 Olivia Bioni, Beth Sandlin Season 3 Episode 3
Pilates Teachers' Manual
Special Guest - Beth Sandlin
Chapters
0:00
Welcome
1:33
First Experiences with Pilates
5:40
Founding Trifecta Pilates
9:40
Trauma Informed Pilates
21:24
The Importance of a Trauma Informed Approach
25:27
Progress is Complicated
29:47
Advice for Teachers
Pilates Teachers' Manual
Special Guest - Beth Sandlin
Sep 24, 2020 Season 3 Episode 3
Olivia Bioni, Beth Sandlin

Beth Sandlin, founder of Trifecta Pilates and the Trifecta Training Institute, and I talk about her experience with Pilates, her journey toward understanding trauma for herself and as a Pilates teacher. She offers advice to new and experienced teachers, and shares how having a trauma informed approach to teaching Pilates has helped her become a better teacher. 

I want to hear from you! Share your thoughts and follow the podcast on Instagram and Facebook @pilatesteachersmanual. Full show notes, episode transcription, and chapter markers can be found on the podcast website here: http://bit.ly/pilatesteachersmanual. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast for updates, and rate and review wherever you listen!  Episodes now available on YouTube: *https://bit.ly/YouTubePTM

Email [email protected] with your feedback.

Show Notes:

Beth received her Pilates certification from Basi in 2004. Her online studio, Trifecta Pilates, can be be found on the web here: *https://trifectapilates.com/* with lots of free classes on YouTube here: *http://bit.ly/TrifectaYT* She offers continuing education in a trauma informed Pilates approach through the Trifecta Training Institute: *https://www.trifectatraininginstitute.com/* Follow her on Instagram @trifectapilates and @traumainformedpilates. She shares really fantastic resources, information, and workouts. 

Support the podcast:    

Visit https://links.oliviabioni.com/affiliates to take advantage of some sweet savings! 

Episode Music: 

This episode uses NCS music in compliance with https://ncs.io/usage-policy

Track: Tobu - Good Times [NCS Release]
Music provided by NoCopyrightSounds.
Watch: https://youtu.be/YHSH9k9ooZY
Free Download / Stream: http://ncs.io/goodtimes

Track: Tobu & Itro - Sunburst [NCS Release]
Music provided by NoCopyrightSounds.
Watch: https://youtu.be/4lXBHD5C8do

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/oliviapodcasts)

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Beth Sandlin, founder of Trifecta Pilates and the Trifecta Training Institute, and I talk about her experience with Pilates, her journey toward understanding trauma for herself and as a Pilates teacher. She offers advice to new and experienced teachers, and shares how having a trauma informed approach to teaching Pilates has helped her become a better teacher. 

I want to hear from you! Share your thoughts and follow the podcast on Instagram and Facebook @pilatesteachersmanual. Full show notes, episode transcription, and chapter markers can be found on the podcast website here: http://bit.ly/pilatesteachersmanual. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast for updates, and rate and review wherever you listen!  Episodes now available on YouTube: *https://bit.ly/YouTubePTM

Email [email protected] with your feedback.

Show Notes:

Beth received her Pilates certification from Basi in 2004. Her online studio, Trifecta Pilates, can be be found on the web here: *https://trifectapilates.com/* with lots of free classes on YouTube here: *http://bit.ly/TrifectaYT* She offers continuing education in a trauma informed Pilates approach through the Trifecta Training Institute: *https://www.trifectatraininginstitute.com/* Follow her on Instagram @trifectapilates and @traumainformedpilates. She shares really fantastic resources, information, and workouts. 

Support the podcast:    

Visit https://links.oliviabioni.com/affiliates to take advantage of some sweet savings! 

Episode Music: 

This episode uses NCS music in compliance with https://ncs.io/usage-policy

Track: Tobu - Good Times [NCS Release]
Music provided by NoCopyrightSounds.
Watch: https://youtu.be/YHSH9k9ooZY
Free Download / Stream: http://ncs.io/goodtimes

Track: Tobu & Itro - Sunburst [NCS Release]
Music provided by NoCopyrightSounds.
Watch: https://youtu.be/4lXBHD5C8do

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/oliviapodcasts)

Olivia: [00:00:00] Welcome to Pilates Teachers Manual, your guide to becoming a great Pilates teacher. I'm Olivia, and I'll be your host. Join the conversation and the Pilates community on Instagram @pilatesteachersmanual and visit buymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show. Today's chapter starts now.

Hello, hello everybody. Welcome back. Today on the [00:01:00] podcast I am joined by the fabulous Beth Sandlin, who is an incredible Basi trained Pilates teacher, who's been teaching Pilates since 2004. She's the founder of Trifecta Pilates, which is an online Pilates studio that meets you in your home, as well as the Trifecta Training Institute, where she offers continuing education around a trauma informed Pilates approach.

Let's dive in. Beth, thank you so much for being on the show. 

Beth: [00:01:28] Thank you so much for having me, Olivia. I really appreciate it. 

Olivia: [00:01:32] Of course. So the first thing I always like to ask teachers is what was your first experience with Pilates? 

Beth: [00:01:39] Yes. My first experience with Pilates, I was in college. I took an academic course called body conditioning. It wasn't called Pilates at the time. So I didn't even know that I was doing the Pilates method until I was enrolled in the course and started kind of working through it a little bit more. I started with a mat Pilates class. At the same time I started a [00:02:00] yoga class because I was undergoing some continuing treatment for cancer that I had just been in remission from and so I was told that yoga is really great for recovering from cancer. 

And my yoga experience was so horrible. I didn't go back for 10 years. And interestingly enough, now I'm also yoga teacher, like you are. 

But Pilates felt really good in my body and felt like the right path because it provided an opportunity for days when I had high energy, I could do a more challenging workout and days when the medication that I was on left me a little bit more drained, I could do a more restorative workout and it was really supportive. 

From there, I took a few other academic classes and transitioned to working on the equipment. And I remember my first experience working on the equipment with feet in straps. And it was, "what is going on? Like why are my legs being pulled back up by something? I'm not really controlling it. I don't know what I'm doing, but it's really intriguing." It was an academic class. So [00:03:00] I had to stick with it anyways, and I really enjoyed the experience.

Olivia: [00:03:03] It's so funny. I think that feet in straps feeling is almost universal because whenever I teach very beginning classes of people on the equipment, as soon as they get feet in straps, I like to tell them that that's why I became a Pilates instructor, because it was so amazing, but definitely the first time it's pretty weird.

So what inspired you to teach after having that experience with Pilates? 

Beth: [00:03:26] Yes. So about that same time, my main mentor in college was my Pilates teacher and she knew I was getting a degree in health education and right after I was to graduate, I was going to be moving out to Denver. And I was really concerned about finding what I wanted to do with health education, which is going into a school and being a health teacher. Because that's mainly a field absorbed by science teachers and I didn't want to be a science teacher. I wanted to be a health educator. And she knew I really enjoyed Pilates and from her viewpoint excelled in it. And she started collaborating a dance specialty with [00:04:00] Body Arts and Science International. And I decided that would be a, really a good fit for me and I would love teaching Pilates. 

Teaching health education, teaching Pilates, there's similarities there of course. I waited just a little bit longer. I waited the whole year before I took the course. So I was the second cohort that Rael and Karen co-taught together.

I just think that that experience really set me up for where I am right now, because one, I remember them having conversations about the best way to teach an exercise and that wasn't bickering, but it was just differing opinions and that opened the door to, okay. These two, what I felt like were master level teachers, right could have different opinions and still have very good outcomes with the people who they were working with. 

And Rael's parting words into the whole class were, "keep exploring and keep trying different ways to teach Pilates, you know, take with different people." And I just always kept that at heart. And I think that that really helped me step further into the method and eventually become really [00:05:00] authentic in the way that I approached teaching.

Olivia: [00:05:02] That's incredible. 

Beth: [00:05:03] It really was. And it was right at the time when he was actually putting together his manual. Now he has like a beautiful book, but I have the manual that's like first revision manual, of like students not professional pictures, and like the first iteration of it. So that I hold close to my heart and I also purchased what he has now in production. But it's just always a lesson learned that even where he's taken his program started off somewhere much different. 

Olivia: [00:05:32] With your studio as well, I wonder, I do want to ask how it's changed, but first, can you tell me a little bit about the studio that you founded, Trifecta Pilates? 

Beth: [00:05:40] For a years after I found my home studio in the Pilates, and I don't mean in my home, but like where I taught in Pilates, I quickly, well, seven years later decided to transition to college health, coordinating a program for mind, body fitness and still teaching Pilates. Because I really, really enjoyed bringing [00:06:00] Pilates to people who at that point in their lives could not make it to a Pilates studio.

I worked with nontraditional college students who not only went to school, but had a job, many of them had families as well. And so even making it to a Pilates studio was just not in the cards for them at that time. 

And so from that point, people kept encouraging me to do something a little bit more. Following the academic calendar, we only have session like fall semester, spring semester, a little bit in summer. And so there's these gaps when they couldn't work with me. They kept saying Beth, do YouTube, do YouTube, do YouTube. And I was like, ah, no, let me just find someone for you to go to on YouTube.

And at that time I had a really hard time, in fact, I couldn't find anyone who I would really entrust to like recommend. There was a lot of Pilates out there, and I just couldn't find anyone. Also, I was getting a little bit frustrated because I was able to find beautiful examples of what I felt like was authentic to yoga, but I wasn't able to find that for Pilates.

[00:07:00] And so I founded Trifecta Pilates which brings people Pilates in their own home, both on YouTube and that morphed into a membership. So it's like an online studio. What's interesting now is we're in a point where many studios are online because of COVID. Some are transitioning back. 

I always wanted to open up an in-person studio and there was something holding me back. And it wasn't until I was walking off the train from my job after an hour commute, and a mom comes running past me with her two kids trying to make the bus. And I just paused and thought, even if I opened up a studio right here, she's never going to come to it because she's too busy.

And I reflected back on my personal journey with Pilates and the moment that I had kids, I started doing just Pilates at home, even though I was working in a Pilates studio. And I re-read Joseph Pilates's book for like the seventh time, and he kept saying you can do Pilates at home. 

And just all the connections is like, I need to meet people where they are. And that's not in my city, [00:08:00] you know, it's where they are in their home. Making it more accessible in that way. So it's all online. I love it. And people who engage with me, both YouTube and membership, it's just a good fit for them. Some of them have never done Pilates before, some do in person classes with Trifecta Pilates, and I even have Pilates instructors who work with me. So it's really fun.

Olivia: [00:08:23] That's super cool. I will link to Beth's site in the show notes so that you can check it out. You're really looking at Pilates as Pilates for people, real people who aren't just doing Pilates, but have jobs and have families and have obligations. That you can make it so accessible that anytime you've got 10 minutes or 20 minutes or 30 minutes, you can do Pilates. I think that's so valuable. 

Beth: [00:08:46] Exactly. And, you know, I didn't quite realize when I was in Pilates studio space, even though I kept working out at home, like how challenging it is working full time and then trying to fit in workouts. [00:09:00] Even though, as a Pilates instructor, I would, if a client canceled or if I had like a 30 minute break, I'd squeeze in a short workout, but it wasn't until I was actually working 40 hours a week, commuting, and had a family, it was like, Oh, like I don't have time, I don't have the luxury anymore of the hour long workout consistently. 

And so I think if people can do an hour long workout, that's beautiful. You can go deeper into the work. But at 10 or 20 minute workout is just as valuable. 

Olivia: [00:09:27] You do offer an amazing course online, that is for continuing education credits if you're a teacher and that's something you're looking for, in trauma informed Pilates through the Trifecta Training Institute. Can you tell me about that? 

Beth: [00:09:40] This really stemmed from when I was in academia and I was coordinating the mind body fitness program. One of these teachers who worked with me also is the director of a nonprofit here in Denver for interpersonal violence and was talking to me about new project she was working on: a trauma informed yoga class. And at that very same [00:10:00] time was having conversations as an administrator with other offices at the university, LGBTQ student resource center, the counseling center, interpersonal violence office, about consent and what that means. 

I was starting to really evaluate not only what that means for me as an administrator at the university, but teaching Pilates as well. That's really what the ask was. How can we enfold consent into this? And what does that really mean? And so it was these two tandems that kind of pulled together, that I was really interested and then wanted to do a continuing education course, take one. So I turned to Google search and came up with zero results for a trauma informed Pilates approach.

But if I typed in trauma informed yoga, there was a plethora of resources and continuing education I could do. I don't know, yoga, Pilates, maybe they're like sister modalities. I would say they're similar. But I also knew from my experience with yoga years ago, there was a point in my life where I really didn't like yoga and I enjoyed Pilates much more. [00:11:00] And so couldn't there be an option for trauma informed Pilates? 

And I kept looking and I kept looking and came up with nothing. So I just dove deeper into what does it mean to be trauma informed, what are the professions that are incorporating this into their actual work/profession, and I realized that virtually any profession can.

Health educators do, school teachers at K through 12 are starting to embed this more into their practices, yoga community, doctors, dentists, the list goes on. And considering we work in a pretty intimate way with a lot of people, and we work with people. I have been trying to use the word people take Pilates, not my clients, because I think it just personalizes it a little bit more.

And we all have lived experience. And it was through diving in deeper into understanding what it means to be trauma informed, and what is trauma? I realized that my own personal trauma, which I didn't identify with having trauma because I had cancer, really helped me work [00:12:00] really well with some clients and was a barrier to working effectively with other clients.

So from that, I started just having more conversations with people and they were like, yes, you need to have a course so other people can start understanding the mind, body connection, the lived experience. And if we're going to say Pilates is mind, body connected, then we want to start understanding the mind and brain function a little bit more, just as much as we do taking continuing education for anatomy and knee joint or hip or whatever it is.

That we want to understand that the whole person comes to us and that interpersonal dynamics sometimes is just as important, if not more important than understanding the mechanics of the body. 

Olivia: [00:12:43] I think you've identified something that really isn't covered in teacher training. I know in my personal teacher training, we may have talked about things like, you know, you always want to ask before you give a touch cue and now we're not even doing touch cues, but back when we did, or [00:13:00] check with the person and be like, you know, is it all right? Or let them know, like, I'm going to take my hand between your shoulder blades or something so that there's like, there's some level of comfort. 

But I think that beyond that, that wasn't really covered in teacher training. And that's something that maybe as you're teaching more and more bodies, you kind of figure out for yourself that you're like, Oh, there's something else going on here besides them bending their knee. Like there's a whole world that I don't see. 

How do you see your program kind of changing or adding on to maybe teacher trainings or maybe to like, just the way that placed teachers as a whole interact with the people who work with them? 

Beth: [00:13:40] I think any continuing education course we do, it just adds another lens into which to view a client interaction, right, and adds another resource to our toolkit. 

For a trauma informed approach, it's really not just about the in person experience. It's the entire experience. So everything from the [00:14:00] website design, cause there's trauma informed design, to emails to yes, how we actually teach. 

That's one thing, as you mentioned, I wish I would've had more education when I was going through my Pilates certification. And I think that most of us experienced this, we are trained so well in understanding how to get people safely on the equipment and off, and making sure the spring weight is appropriate for that exercise for that individual person, and adjusting and continuing to make adjustments as we move with individual clients.

But then you get into the real world is like, Oh, well, there's so much more like safety and trust needed, even for someone to walk in the door and then for them to continue moving forward and progressing with the Pilates method. 

And so how I see it fitting is that it is a more, I would say, client centered approach rather than Pilates centered approach. Really allowing the client to work alongside you [00:15:00] rather than a power dynamic, because we want to address that. Even if we don't think we hold power as a Pilates teacher, we do because we know all the exercises we currently know. You're always adding to that bucket. 

But when the client comes in, right, they're putting us up here and we're trying to level that out so that we can give more power back to them of what exercise variation is best for them, because there's been plenty of times working with clients where I thought I knew, right? Like this variation is going to be it. And it really wasn't. And I can either try to push and like, no, this is really going to be good for you. Or just let it go and try different options. And then maybe circle back to that in the future. And maybe not. So it really embeds more support, I would say into a session. 

Olivia: [00:15:46] Something that I've been thinking about a lot kind of in my own Pilates-ing as a teacher, trying to get more comfortable saying, you know, I don't know, or saying that I don't have the answer.

Sometimes students are will come to you and they'll say, you know, like my back [00:16:00] hurts or my knee hurts. One of the things I try to tell them is like, you have the most experience in your body. Like if it doesn't feel right, then maybe that's not what we should be doing. I'm not inside your body, you know, I can't tell you what you're feeling and whether or not that's what you want to be feeling at that time.

I really love that you're addressing that power dynamic. I see that as a real barrier to people kind of coming into their own and being agents in their own lives and being able to change their lives if they're constantly looking to a teacher to have the answer for them and not really get into their own experience. 

Even the phrase that I feel a lot of teachers I know, or I've said before, things like listen to your body. If you don't have that experience of listening to your body, that's just like another weird thing, like feel the neutral spine and you're like, I don't know what that is, you know? So like creating a space where you're supported. I like the way you said that.

Beth: [00:16:55] Thank you and you bring up such a good point there. This movement now [00:17:00] to have people like really be in the moment and experience Pilates, and I think sometimes we can sense that clients just aren't connecting to it. 

And there's more like discussion that we want people to embody the work. And one of my concerns with having this discussion without understanding trauma and from a trauma informed perspective, that part of a trauma experience for some people is dissociation, which means they did that for a protective mechanism, right?

It's automatic. It's exactly what their body needed to do to survive, whether it was a onetime occurrence or multiple, how they integrated their personal experience. And so if people are to embody Pilates, they must embody the rest of their lives. Then maybe they're not ready to do that yet. We just want to be aware that the client leads their personal progression.

And that's another aspect like that I love talking about. What does it even mean to progress with Pilates? I think the more seasoned you are as a teacher, you start to understand like, well, some clients they're not going to get to whatever [00:18:00] level exercise and they don't want to, and maybe that's not the best thing for them anyways. 

One aspect of a trauma informed perspective, which you highlighted when you were talking about it's like, I don't know how this is supposed to feel like, I don't know. There's not a right or wrong often times. It's more understanding the nuances and you as a teacher, making the best educated decision with all the information you know, knowing you'll never know it all about the client because you don't know their past experience and how they're integrating now, to guide that session forward.

Olivia: [00:18:36] Another thing that I learned actually from your trauma handout that is on your website as well, is that trauma can also be, as you said, recovering from cancer, that like that can also be a trauma. It's not necessarily just violence or a natural disaster or something that might be more associated with the word trauma.

And working with clients who are breast cancer survivors, [00:19:00] the feeling isn't there, like you said, as a response to that trauma, that the nerves aren't giving feedback. So when we're saying things like, you know, listen to you, your body, like the body may not be ready to feel into those areas just yet as well.

Beth: [00:19:16] I totally agree. And I recently listened to a podcast on trauma and it was some trauma survivors and they were talking about a counseling session, right. And the person on the podcast was saying, "I hated the question: how do you feel today? Because I don't even know. At that time, I didn't even know how I feel. And it was another point that made me just feel stupid and that my abuser was right. That I was stupid." 

And that it was like another aha. And that's part of being a Pilates teacher, part being trauma informed, just like the new things are going to be added on to your awareness and then you have a choice whether you're going to continue saying that, and I still do sometimes, but when to let it go [00:20:00] and to add extra information for someone as well.

Olivia: [00:20:10] Hi there. I hope you're enjoying today's chapter so far. There's great stuff coming up after the break, to be sure to subscribe wherever you're listening and visit buymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show. 

There, you can make a one time donation or become a member for as little as $5 a month. Membership comes with some awesome perks, including a shout out in the next episode, a monthly newsletter, a monthly zoom call with me and more. You can also visit links.oliviabioni.com/affiliates to check out some sweet deals on products I use and love. Now back to the show.

[00:21:00] Where do you see the field of Pilates going in the future? Do you see trauma informed approach kind of being more widely adapted? Do you see other kind of shifts happening, especially, I mean, you've been teaching for a very long time, so you've seen Pilates kind of grow and change. What do you see happening?

Beth: [00:21:24] I do because of what I saw with yoga, like the lineage of it to where we are now with Pilates. So what I mean by lineage of trauma informed yoga is it started out in a clinical setting and they made adjustments and course corrections because they were getting such results with a trauma informed approach compared to a typical yoga approach. Like course correcting as the people who went through the program started giving like, "that really it was not right," and more awareness of the full breadth of trauma. 

It's sort of filtering into studios. Why? Because people walk into studios and we don't know why [00:22:00] they're coming into that space. And I'll also say that, as you mentioned for myself, when I first got into trying to understand a trauma informed approach, it was all from the interpersonal violence perspective because I was working very closely with the interpersonal violence office. I was working very closely as well with the person who was coordinating the trauma informed yoga, and that particular studio was about interpersonal violence and it wasn't until I researched it more. It's like just opened up this box. 

"Oh my gosh. People have come to me my entire time and they've had trauma. They don't identify as a trauma survivor." Like I did not identify as a trauma survivor because I had cancer and some other points in my life as well. However, I was triggered. Right. I had been triggered because of my cancer experience. 

And I'll give an example that the moment I went back into the hospital, I was part of a study, like why I was doing so well as a cancer survivor compared to other people. And I smelled the soap. I just instantly started crying. I didn't [00:23:00] understand why that happened, right. It had been about seven years since I stepped foot in the hospital and had cancer. Like why did I all of a sudden start crying because I smelled soap. Now I understand it was completely automatic and it triggered just me being back in that space as a cancer survivor. And I know people are triggered in sessions as well, because we can be triggered with so many different aspects. 

There's always early adopters to new trainings, right. And then there's middle of the road and later adopters. The people who are working with me now with the program, they have been wanting more information on trauma informed approach. They have maybe experienced trauma themselves, or they work with a lot of clients who have experienced trauma, or there's another camp of Pilates instructors who had an extremely negative experience going through their training and as a student of Pilates. And yet what's interesting is they continue to teach in that same way because they thought you had to teach in that way, right. You had to touch, you [00:24:00] had to use those cues, when you're at the foot bar- and I did this for years- that you had to stand over someone and look down at them. And there's all these little examples. 

And sometimes when I say trauma informed people are like, Oh, well, I'm always going to touch my clients. Well, touch as one aspect of it. And then they say, well, I always ask. And I say, "are you getting explicit or implicit consent?" Well, I don't know. Okay. Well, let's have a conversation about what the difference between that is. 

And then I'll say again, I wasn't always trauma informed. It wasn't that I was a bad Pilates teacher, I just wasn't trauma informed. And so now I feel like I'm a better, more authentic teacher because I'm honoring someone's journey a little bit more. 

And in the same vein, I'm taking the pressure off myself and I'll give you an example. When clients used to not progress, right. When they stayed at the same level for a long time, it was always like, What am I doing wrong? I don't understand,  like, how could I help them more? But when clients did like really well with the method and just took off for whatever reason, it was never [00:25:00] like, that's all me, it's all me a hundred percent. 

And I still see that in the groups that we feel really bad as instructors if clients aren't progressing, I don't know who says when they should progress, but we never take credit for someone who does takes off with it.

And so it's liberated me in a sense, and it's also liberated people who work with me because they can explore the system at their own pace. 

Olivia: [00:25:27] I think that's a great point. I've received questions as well, both from students saying, you know, how do I know I'm progressing? And also from teachers, like how do I know that they're getting it, that they're growing and it's really not so black and white. The episode that comes out the week before this is all about this kind of gray area of what progression is.

Because there's really easy ways to it'd be like, Oh, I got it. I wasn't able to do a plank and now I can. But then there's also gray areas that, you know, I came here to class [00:26:00] or I breathed through the exercise, you know. Progression itself is a nebulous thing to define, because it's going to be different for everybody.

Like a person you're working with who's in their eighties, maybe teaser is not on the table and that's okay. Like you said, like that doesn't mean that that's where they need to go or need to be, to be doing Pilates. 

Beth: [00:26:19] I totally agree. And it takes a while I think to just conceptually understand this, both if this is maybe someone's first time trying to digest what that means, and also for clients. So for a lot of people who I work with, they'll come in and be like, how do I do this? And I'm like, You're going to give it time, you're going to be consistent. Let's explore. 

And they're like, what's the best variation I'm like, here are your options. What one works now? And it just takes some time. And then I had someone say, Oh my gosh, I can't believe the questions I used to ask you seem so silly now. Like they aren't, because that's part of the path, right. It's just part of your personal journey with Pilates. 

[00:27:00] And I think what's beautiful is that people are with this more open approach, I'd say. They're starting to step into like other areas of health and wellness with this approach or other movement modalities as well.

Olivia: [00:27:12] I've definitely seen that from other teachers that I've talked with. I love the idea of the world opening up and getting a little bit bigger. There's more options. There's more ways to explore Pilates and then just being human. 

Beth: [00:27:25] Right. And especially where we are right now, I would say when COVID-19 and so much else going on in 2020, that pushing and progressing isn't always the best, you know. And we're heading to fall and I was thinking about this as well, that we need that rest and integration sometimes. It's just as valuable if not more for that continued growth.

And that's actually something that I'm embedding more. I mean, it's a huge part of a trauma informed approach, but I'm starting to teach it more as well, talking about support, how Pilates can support you. And [00:28:00] in the end, when Pilates can support someone, they can actually go deeper with the work, whether it's support from the equipment or support other ways in the Pilates method. They can find just a deeper nuance with the work. 

And I think that that also will open the door, like talking about support work, to people who don't want a push hard Pilates session. Cause that's often times what we see perpetuated with social media, right? Like the most extreme exercises. And that's off putting for some people. Someone in fact on YouTube recently said, You teach just like a mom and I love that you're real. Okay. I don't know how mom teaches, but I am a mom too. 

But that people want to see themselves reflected in the work. And I think what we're all looking for right now is connection. Cause we're so far apart and also just to feel more support that that would really tailor the message to a whole different group of people.

I'll say a little personal story. I didn't know how to answer the question [00:29:00] when people first came to me when I was brand new to teaching, like "I want a better body with Pilates." You know, it's like, Oh, well, you know, there's more to it than that. It's not just Pilates. That's a conversation that I think we can have as well, but it's also because that's how we're advertising and putting our messaging out oftentimes. 

And so I know this is going to continue to be advertised that way, but I have a choice with Trifecta Pilatess and Trifecta Training Institute through a trauma informed approach to tailor my message a different way. And you know what, as I've done that over the years, I'm gathering people who appreciate that approach and they understand that approach.

And maybe some people aren't ready for it now, they want that push hard or go home approach. And that's fine cause that's what they need, but I'll be here if they don't want that. Or if that doesn't fit for them in the future. 

Olivia: [00:29:47] What advice do you have for maybe yourself as a teacher or other experienced teachers?

Beth: [00:29:53] There's so much, right. A combination of self care, that we have all been pushed [00:30:00] into a new way of teaching that is very uncomfortable for some people, figuring out the tech and also trying to figure out how to make clients comfortable with that, right. And I've heard so many conversations about, like, I still have clients who like aren't comfortable seeing me via zoom.

It's like, well, let's talk about setting expectations for the class. What does a zoom session mean when we do Pilates? How does that experience look, do you have testimonials of other people have made the transition and it was positive? So taking time, not only for self care, but for continued education with Pilates clients and being really clear with what that experience looks like.

And I think also being open to exploration, that's something that when I was first started Pilates, like I was those like textbook Pilates, like cross the T's, dot the I's, just do what they say and then I'll be a good Pilates teacher. It never felt authentic. Like something always felt missing. It felt like I was always just an impostor, and it wasn't until I left the Pilates studio [00:31:00] got this additional training, collaborated with people outside of the Pilates world and then came back where I found my authentic and true voice.

And part of this was when I took my yoga certification. That was more recent, four years ago, maybe, but who I took the program with really wanted us to be like authentic in the way we teach. Yes, like know the poses and the postures and the breathing and safety and this and that, but embed yourself into your approach of teaching. And that's something that I had really never been encouraged to do. And through that, I was able to kind of blossom. 

And so I would say, just keep finding yourself. And it's challenging cause I remember like, how do I by myself, how do I find my authentic self? You keep experimenting. And if one thing really works, run with that for a while. And if one thing doesn't, I'll just leave it to the side. You can pick it back up later. It doesn't have to be so perfect. And like you said earlier, it's not so [00:32:00] linear. It not so black and white. 

Olivia: [00:32:02] What advice might you give teachers who are in their teacher training right now, or maybe brand new teachers?

Beth: [00:32:08] Gosh. I remember my very first, it was when I was going through not the student observation hours, but when I first started working with like real clients and not just like other people who were training to teach Pilatees, it's like, I can't teach them, you know. Because it was my first client, they had never done Pilates before and it was just a different experience. And so that actually helped me. 

Explain it like someone has never done this before, right. And that was not advice I was ever given because I was always, again, teaching other people who had moved with Pilates. So it was like, how can I explain this and make someone feel comfortable with something they've never, ever done before.

And just be open to starting. Someone in one of my Facebook groups says I'm certified to teach Pilates, but I haven't taught my first class yet because I'm just so nervous. It's like your first class is not going to [00:33:00] be your best class, I can guarantee you that. 

I remember I was camping and like writing out my first lesson plan. That was a mat class, like writing it out. I practice to over and over and then have my notes next to me. You know, and now people are like, how do you come up with your classes? And like, I just explore, like, if I'm doing it a movement, it's like, Oh, okay. How can I go in that deeper? But I couldn't do that at the beginning. So there's stages. It's just, you have to get out there. 

And be open to teaching anywhere. And really, I loved teaching in a university setting. I loved also teaching in rec centers because I was able to bring Pilates to people who would not come to a Pilates studio. And my intention with that is maybe one day they would go to a Pilates studio and work on the equipment.

And one other piece of advice is if you really love the equipment and I used to be like, I'm an equipment teacher, you know, I know, mat. [groans]. But now it's like, no, mat is my specialty. But I think there's great value in the [00:34:00] mat work in you can teach things on a really stable mat, or the Cadillac is more stable as well, and then you can take that back to the equipment. 

So an example is like front leg splits, right? On the equipment, that's incredibly challenging. And I remember like a lot of clients having a hard time with it. Well, obviously challenging exercise, but they were ready. It was just unstable. And so I started teaching it on the mat first and at least they got the mechanics of it. Now we're going to take it on the equipment and see how that is. 

And so that's what I try to infuse now and then my mat work is more equipment inspired classes as well. You can teach it in a stable place, which is really, I feel like what Pilates is all about, right? You can do teaser on the mat, reformer, on the Cadillac, the barrel. I mean, the list goes on. Sometimes just a matter of same exercise, pick it up, put it somewhere else. And the client like just takes off with it.

Olivia: [00:34:55] Is there anything else that you'd like to share or add on or anything [00:35:00] that you're working on that you can tell us about? 

Beth: [00:35:02] I'm still working on the trauma informed Pilates approach course, that's coming. It's going to be open for enrollment in October again. So I'm excited to welcome new Pilates teachers to the program. 

For anyone teaching, anyone moving with the system is to be open, to leaning in to conversations that feel uncomfortable, that maybe we haven't been trained in before, because when we understand the human experience, It can help us relate to our clients in a different way.

And at the same time, I want you to respect where you're at. What I mean by that is sometimes we'll be in a spot to lean in and learn. And other times like you need to back away from it. It's an ebb and flow. So it's just like with the Pilates exercises, like pushing in the wrong way with an exercise is not going to be ideal. And so sometimes you need to back away, try something else and then rework it. Same with [00:36:00] continuing education and especially with the trauma informed approach. 

Olivia: [00:36:03] That sounds very good. Once again, I'm including the link to all of Beth's amazing goodness in the show notes. So be sure to check it out. If you're interested in learning more about a trauma informed approach to Pilates, the information is all there on her site.

That thank you so much for taking the time and chatting with me. It's been absolutely amazing hearing your experience. Thank you so much. 

Beth: [00:36:23] You're welcome. Thanks for having me as well.

Olivia: [00:36:33] Thanks for listening to this week's chapter of Pilates Teachers' Manual, your guide to becoming a great Pilates teacher. Check out the podcast Instagram @pilatesteachersmanual, and be sure to subscribe wherever you listen. For more Pilates goodness, check out my other podcast Pilates Students' Manual, available everywhere you listen to podcasts.

The adventure continues. Until next time. [00:37:00]



Welcome
First Experiences with Pilates
Founding Trifecta Pilates
Trauma Informed Pilates
The Importance of a Trauma Informed Approach
Progress is Complicated
Advice for Teachers