Cody Jussel joins me on the podcast today! She shares her Pilates journey, the incredible work she's doing with adaptive athletes, and how to get comfortable with the lifelong process of learning and changing your beliefs when new knowledge is presented. She also gives us the inside scoop on her upcoming Anatomy of Pilates intensive aimed at helping Pilates teachers get more comfortable applying anatomy knowledge to real world situations and being part of the movement science conversation. Tune in!
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Cody is the owner of Santa Cruz Body Mechanics in Santa Cruz, California, USA. Take a class with her or learn more about her Anatomy of Pilates intensive at https://link.tree/sc.bodymechanics. You can find her on Instagram at @scbmpilates and @anatomyofpilates
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[00:00:00] Welcome to Pilate's 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 at @pilatesteachersmanual and visit buymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show. Today's chapter starts now.
[00:00:56] Hello. Hello everyone. Welcome back to the podcast. I am [00:01:00] really thrilled today to be joined by Cody Jussel, who is a superhero of sorts in the Pilates world and fitness and nutrition world, and pretty much all the good stuff I think Cody has a finger in that pie because, uh, she does so many cool things.
[00:01:16] Uh, she's the owner of Santa Cruz Body Mechanics out in California. You should definitely check her out. And she's just launched Anatomy of Pilates and she's gonna be sharing a little bit about her intensive, which is really filling in some gaps about how to apply the anatomy knowledge you kind of have and kind of get clearer about that anatomy knowledge and then how to apply it in a rehab situation. It's nifty. I'm excited to hear about it as well. So Cody, thank you so much for taking the time and coming on today.
[00:01:48] Thanks for having me. I'm really excited to be here.
[00:01:52] Yeah, I always wanna know because especially as someone who's been in the fitness space for quite a while in the Pilate space for [00:02:00] quite a while, how did you first get introduced to Pilates? What was your first Pilates experience?
[00:02:06] Yeah, that's a great question. Um, I had to think about that for a while cause I was like, what was my first Pilates experience? Because I feel like, so I danced for a really long time and I didn't do classical dance. Like I didn't do modern or ballet. I tried, but ballet class in college was at 8:00 AM in the morning. And I went to one class and I was like, uh, F this. I'm don't think I'm gonna come back to this one . And in my later dance career, I was like, man, I wish I would've stuck that out. But anyway, I did - I did a different kinds of dance for a long time. And a lot of my dance co dancers, coworkers, I don't know, friends, I could call them friends, started to do Pilates. Some of them started to go through Pilates training programs, right?
[00:02:56] Like as most dancers come out of their dance career, [00:03:00] because it is kind of that rainbow career, right? Where it's like there's definitely an end and then it's like, what do you transition into? And so a lot of people were transitioning into teaching Pilates, but I can't actually recall ever having taken a Pilates class or like really actually done Pilates before I had my daughter.
[00:03:19] So my daughter was, I was, I was teaching dance at a gym. I had my daughter, my gym had daycare, and they had this kick ass Pilates class. And I don't know, it was at like the right time, it was the right length of time. I went to one class and was totally hooked.
[00:03:41] And, you know, I don't know, after having my daughter, um, I felt like I had a completely different body, , like a physical body that was really foreign to me. And I was like, I didn't really know what to do with it. And Pilates really helped me find my way back to [00:04:00] feeling good in my body. And it was like, it was really the magical thing that I needed that I didn't know I needed. And it was just an obvious step to be like, okay, this is what I'm gonna do. , like, this works for me.
[00:04:13] And there was a teacher training program in the city I was living in. I was living in Madison, Wisconsin. And there was a teacher training program there, and I was like, okay, I'm, I'm gonna do this, I guess. Cool. , that's, that was like my introduction to Pilates.
[00:04:26] It was Power Pilates that I was introduced to. So it was like Power Pilates. Ha. They do the same, they do the, the repertoire, the classical repertoire every single time. And maybe I'm misstating this cuz this was like 16 years ago , but it was, I mean the class that I took, it was a mat class. It was the same, it was the entire classical repertoire. Every single time.
[00:04:49] So it was like boom, boom, boom, boom. No time to breathe. No. Like, it wasn't like rehab slow. Fuck. It was like, like do that roll up like [00:05:00] more, do it like harder . And I don't know. I guess that's my jam cuz I totally loved it.
[00:05:08] I think that, um, Pilates always finds us at the right time. So I'm glad that you found like a style that meshed with you. Cuz like you said, um, there are huge variety in Pilates classes. You could have like a very slow moving, very gentle kind of Pilates. You could have that really upbeat sort of super speed, we're doing the whole repertoire and we got 45 minutes, so let's go. So I'm glad you found the, the right Pilates for you.
[00:05:36] What was the teacher training like for you as you made this transition?
[00:05:41] Yeah. Um, so my teacher training was not through Power Pilates, um, cuz they did not have a training that was close to me, or the closest one was in Chicago, I think. I know and you're in Chicago. Would've been cool. Maybe we would've met each other 16 years ago.
[00:05:59] I was not here [00:06:00] 16 years ago. So you were not, you would've, yeah. No, you would've been on your own .
[00:06:05] Chicago's like one of the coolest cities on the planet. I love Chicago. So my teacher training program was based in Madison, um, and it was called, it was newly branded, the Midwest Pilates Institute. And they had been a teacher training program, like satellite, um, teacher training program for, oh my God, I'm totally spacing the name of it now. Um, it was Eve Gentry's Lineage. Um, they're based outta Santa Fe.
[00:06:40] Um, I wish I could help you, but I don't actually know what Eve Gentry's School is called. I could have told you Santa Fe, but that's as much as I have .
[00:06:48] I'm gonna look it up. Um, just because now I need to know. But yeah, so I did this teacher training. It was basically the same teacher training, [00:07:00] um, that was happening before through the , this other school that I'm still not knowing the name of. Anyway, um, it was great. It was just like Eve Gentry. Her lineage, I guess is, um, it's a little bit more like, like she did a lot of the pre Pilates stuff. What we now know is pre Pilates. Um, so it was potentially a little bit more like rehab focused, or it was a little bit slower than what I had been exposed to, to previously. Um, but it was classical. Like my training was classical. It wasn't like hardcore Contrology. But yeah, my, my training was classical. Um, I was a new mom. Um, it was again, kind of like what I needed at the moment.
[00:07:57] It was, it was a really like [00:08:00] old style I think of, of teacher training potentially where it was like at a studio. Um, and it was more than just the training. It was like an, an apprentice ship. So we were expected to, you know, hang out at the studio and like sweep the floors, which in retrospect I was like, uh, that's a little shady. Like, I feel like you were just, didn't wanna pay a cleaning person, so you had your apprentices do the work. But it was cool.
[00:08:34] It just meant that I was like hanging out at the studio a lot. So, you know, you weren't just there to do your weekend training. You were there like every day you were there, you were watching instructors teach, you were asking questions, um, you were maybe teaching little snippets here and there, and at the end of the training it was like, You have a job, you can start teaching if that's what you wanna do.
[00:08:54] And so that was my first kind of like introduction from [00:09:00] my teacher training into actual teaching. And I stayed teaching there for a while. For a couple years. For a few years.
[00:09:09] Can you remember what you were like as a new teacher and maybe potentially how your teaching has changed? I know it's changed, but I always think it's fun to reflect and be like, oh my gosh, I couldn't remember right and left in spring settings and oh my gosh. And it's just kind of fun to reflect.
[00:09:24] Oh, totally. I mean, when I was pretty shitty , sorry if I'm swearing and I'm not supposed to swear, but , I remember this one moment in my test out where, you know, you're, you're, I can't remember if I was given guidance about like, you know, teach a beginner's class or if it was just like, teach this person.
[00:09:45] But I remember that I had this client in my test out doing teaser on the reformer on the box and like, she just couldn't do it cuz it was clearly way too difficult for [00:10:00] her. And I was just like, I don't know what to do. . You know, and, uh, my like one, one point of comment or feedback after my test out was like, yeah, you probably shouldn't have your, you know, beginner client to teaser on the box cuz it's maybe the hardest version of teaser and this and that.
[00:10:21] And I was just like, okay. Like I didn't know that. But you know, I mean it's just, it's a little bit like you just kind of get thrown into the, the fire and you do whatever to survive. It's like, I don't know, I'm making this person move. So I guess it's good.
[00:10:39] I mean, I see it like throwing spaghetti at the wall and you're like, something's gonna stick. We'll just do exercises until you do them and then, you know, yay.
[00:10:49] Mission accomplished. Yay. You get better. You get better at throwing spaghetti, I think.
[00:10:53] Yeah, totally. Yeah, for sure. And the only way you get better at throwing spaghetti is by throwing spaghetti. Like a lot. Like your wall [00:11:00] is covered in spaghetti
[00:11:03] So yeah, lots of spaghetti throwing in the beginning. Um, and honestly like still lots of spaghetti throwing. That's kind of what teaching is. I think. Um, you just get more skilled at being like, I know, I know what the best thing for you is going to be, but really it's just like throwing spaghetti on the wall.
[00:11:24] I think you get better at guessing and you look cooler while you're guessing, and then you can kind of . I think that's part of it. And then you can also like include your client in the guessing game. So it's like we're, we're in this together, like we're figuring this out together.
[00:11:41] Um, but yeah, definitely cuz I think every time you do a new client intake, every time you work with someone new, every time you work with someone you've worked with a bunch of times, but something's going on with them, you're just like, you know, I don't know how this is gonna land, but we'll give it a go.
[00:11:57] And Right.
[00:11:58] See if it does .
[00:11:59] [00:12:00] Totally. And I think that as you grow as a teacher, you just get more comfortable with that process. I think that process feels highly uncomfortable as a new teacher because there's this mystique, at least like when I would walk into a room or studio or whatever, when I had like somebody teaching me who I was like, oh, you've been teaching a lot longer. You must know a lot more. Like you think that they are like effortlessly confident and that they know all the things and that they have a plan and that, you know, like, it's like when you're looking at an Instagram profile, you're like, oh my gosh, this person is like doing everything that I wanna do. And we just really don't know what's happening behind the scenes.
[00:12:37] Right. And I think that, you know, as a new teacher, you assume that every other teacher has it together and they have a plan and they know what they're doing. But, um, you know, it's, I think not necessarily the case and you just figure that out as you're a new instructor and you're like, oh yeah, I, I don't totally know what I'm doing right now. Um, and that's a really uncomfortable [00:13:00] feeling when people who walk through your door kind of expect you to know what you're doing to some extent, and of course you do to some extent know what you're doing, but it's a lot of learning on the job, I think doing any kind of teaching.
[00:13:16] Right. Yeah.
[00:13:17] What, uh, do you have any moments in your teaching journey? You said that you taught, um, at that studio in Madison, and I know that sometime in the past 16 years you moved to California. Were there any sort of, uh, stops on your Pilates adventure that kind of informed your teaching style or shaped you a little bit, shaped your philosophy as you taught more and more?
[00:13:42] Yeah, so I ended up teaching at a few different places in Madison, and there was definitely. A moment, or you know, longer than a moment, but the, I remember the first time that I was [00:14:00] really exposed to kind of what I felt like was this deeper understanding of the body through Pilates. So more of an anatomy focused class or like way of teaching Pilates.
[00:14:13] That made me ju I, I was like, oh my gosh, this is like, this is it. This is amazing. And this is probably like two or three years into my teaching, a woman named Kathleen Conlan, who still teaches in Madison. She's brilliant. She is like one of the most brilliant instructors I know. Like she got me to visualize things in my body and movement and like this, this like deep and interception of like picture your organs moving, which doesn't work for everybody. Right. It's like . That's I think, a lot to ask of a [00:15:00] mover who, especially a mover who might just walk in your door and they just wanna move. They're like, I wanna sweat or I wanna like feel the burn or whatever. Like everybody has a different reason for why they're moving. Um, but when , when she kind of like guided me through this really deep interception and was really diving deep into anatomy and it just totally lit me up.
[00:15:30] That was definitely an inflection point in my, uh, I don't even know if it was really my teaching career, but it definitely in my learning for sure. Also taught me or gave me a vision of the type of teacher that I really wanted to be and what part of Pilates, and not even just Pilates, but like movement in general. What part of movement really, um, inspired me. And so she was, I think, [00:16:00] super pivotal in my, my learning and my teaching. And it inspired me to continue to focus on anatomy and really wanna learn anatomy. It also, I think, in retrospect, really guided me towards wanting to understand pain and painful problems that people would come into the studio.
[00:16:27] Because at some point that seems to be everybody, like all of our clients at some point are gonna go from feeling like great to waking up and being like, oh my back really hurts today or something. And hopefully they're still gonna come to see you. And we want them to continue to come see us through those, those painful arcs in, in life. And so, you know, feeling really, really uncomfortable with those clients initially drove me to really want to learn rehab [00:17:00] and anatomy and kind of find this deeper understanding of what Pilates could be for people.
[00:17:08] I don't know if you wanna share a little bit about the work that you're doing now in your studio, but I know one of the things that's super cool that you do, and again you do lots of super cool things, is the work you do with adaptive athletes as well.
[00:17:20] And when you talk about expanding sort of what Pilates can be for people and how Pilates can help people, that is another population that I could imagine as a new teacher, or even right now as someone who hadn't worked with adaptive athletes, that if someone came in I'd be like, oh gosh, I don't know how to work with that body.
[00:17:40] Like, eh, you know, that same way that you just feel uncertain cuz you haven't done it before, if you wanna share a little about that.
[00:17:47] Yeah, totally. So I was also like very just kind of unaware of the adaptive. Adaptive is just another word for a [00:18:00] disabled mover. So adaptive mover, adaptive athlete. We, we, um, call them adaptive athletes because I think everybody is an athlete. Anybody who moves their body is an athlete, right? Um, but adaptive movement, adaptive athlete.
[00:18:16] So certainly as a new teacher, um, I was not like, adaptive movement was not really on my radar. And so in like trying to pursue more of an anatomy and a, a rehab angle to Pilates, that really drove me into, um, applying for physical therapy school, which I did. And I was like ready and set to go. And I just realized, or it kind of came to this late decision that like, this was not the path for me. Um, ,
[00:18:57] That's so much work, Cody to be like, [00:19:00] yeah, this isn't it.
[00:19:02] Yeah, I know dude. I prepared for, I mean, I, yeah, I went back to school and basically did like another BA but with all of the science requirements for application to physical therapy school, I went through the application process. I did over 500 hours of observation in physical therapy clinics. Like so much, it was so much work, . And then I was like, what are you thinking? Like, what makes you think that you can go to physical therapy school, sit in a classroom for eight hours a day and you know, like, I have an eight year old daughter by this point, and my husband. I need to make money. Like, it just, I, I just didn't, you know, I don't. Valuable experience.
[00:19:49] hindsight is always 2020 .
[00:19:51] Totally. I guess I, you know, I like, I never really thought about it that way, , but now that I'm thinking about it, I'm like, [00:20:00] yeah, that was a lot of work.
[00:20:02] But, you know, I'm sure that it also informs, you know, the work that you do now and now you have even more of a picture in your head of, you know, what you're working with. Like I'm sure you're now very qualified, uh, too qualified. Be less qualified. .
[00:20:19] It was definitely, I mean, I don't regret it, I guess, at all because it was like the most valuable part of that whole experience was learning that actually really loved science. Like physics was probably one of my favorite, um, classes in my second college, , uh, um, my second AA that I did, um, I learned that I really loved science. And I also ha I spent so much time with physical therapists in clinics just doing observation hours. Um, I doing like all kinds, [00:21:00] like pediatric physical therapy, acute care, physical therapy, like just, I was exposed to so much that's very much still relevant for what I do every day. And so one of the places that I did, um, observation hours at was the VA, which if you're listening from outside of the United States, the VA is uh, a veteran's hospital.
[00:21:26] So anybody coming back from war, you get taken care of at uh, VA. Every state has VAs. Um, and so I was exposed to a lot of adaptive athletes at the va. So that was kind of my first exposure and I was like, oh, like this is a whole population of people that has been so off my radar. And I think that's the case for a lot of, not just Pilates people, but a lot of trainers, a lot of [00:22:00] just like coaches at gyms, you know, we say that we want to open our door to anybody and everybody, at least I think that most of us do. I think this is what most of us strive for. And yet I think the, the population that gets left out of that equation a lot, or the one that we just don't really think about very much is adaptive movers. Right? Until somebody comes into our studio and we're like, oh, right. Like how do I be prepared for this population?
[00:22:31] And it's tough, right? Because it is not a monolithic population. And even folks who have a similar. Injury will have extremely different needs. But, uh, so I, I did all those hours of observation and then after I decided to scrap going to physical therapy school, I decided to pursue a Master's because I know I, yeah. [00:23:00] And as soon as I finished my master's, I was like, I found this other master's program that's so amazing. I wanna do that now. And my family was like, no, you are not gonna do that. what are you like? No, just like do the work. Stop being in school. ,
[00:23:15] Could you pick one thing please? And just do that?
[00:23:18] I know seriously. There's so much cool stuff out there. Like, yeah, if I could be a professional student, I would be, but I'm pretty sure that's just avoiding like actual real life. So , I decided, I decided to get my master's. My master's, um, was, uh, at the school that I went to offered a, um, adaptive sports track. And so I was like, which is one of the reasons why I picked this particular program.
[00:23:48] I was like, oh my gosh, this is so cool. Like a program that focuses specifically on the needs of adaptive athletes. And I mean, my, the, the program was specifically in like adaptive [00:24:00] competitive sports. So it was a lot about like the Paralympics and um, other para sports. But through that, you know, we also got a lot of like, how do you train adaptive athletes?
[00:24:13] And it was a dual program in, um, orthopedic rehab as well. So I got orthopedic rehab and adaptive, uh, sports and, um, Started kind of like very specifically and vocally opening my studio to adaptive athletes. You know, there was, I mean I'm still learning all the time, , as with everybody, I think your clients are your biggest teachers.
[00:24:40] But I think really with that population, just because there, there's not a lot of like evidence-based recommendations or clinical guidelines out there for adaptive athletes because, you know, I mean, exercise science in general is a really, really new [00:25:00] form of science. So it's just like little baby right now.
[00:25:03] We don't know a lot about a lot and um, you know, research on adaptive athletes is even less, you know, it's a lot of like, okay, like, let's see what works and what doesn't work. And you know, it, it's, I think like the biggest thing for, or one of the biggest things for, um, studios and instructors to feel like they want to be prepared for that population is just to make sure that your space, like your physical studio space is accessible.
[00:25:34] Which is not something that we maybe think about in setting up our studios. Right. It's like, you know, do you, do you have like wheelchair access to your studio? Is somebody able to, to like actually physically access your studio? Do you have space enough between your equipment for people who use mobility devices like wheelchairs or walkers?
[00:25:59] Do [00:26:00] you have, you know, like a room that could be. , uh, low sensory for people who may be overstimulated by, you know, a lot of lights or a lot of noise. Um, and these are just, you know, it's like, it, I don't think anybody is like trying to not be accessible. It's just that we don't, this isn't taught in teacher training programs
[00:26:23] And I think that it's a potentially a big gap in, um, you know, the populations that we think about, especially when we say like, our studio is open to everybody, which we all want our studios to be open to everybody. But there is some considerations I think, that we just don't necessarily like, think about when we see that.
[00:26:45] I mean, even parking, I think about parking in Chicago, like, how are people even gonna get to your studio in terms of parking? Like they can't even get to it sometimes. It's, it's bigger than [00:27:00] just like your studio space too. It's also just like access to the space and uh, even being able to get there, the parking thing's a really sore point for me and I don't also drive, so it's like, not prefer me personally, but I think the further west you go, the better situated things are in terms of being able to get to them.
[00:27:22] There's like more space and Chicago's, everything's parallel parking and pay parking, and it's just not accessible in ways that, uh, we say it is when we say, yeah, you're welcome to come. And it's like, good luck getting here. . Right?
[00:27:36] Totally. Yeah. It's, I mean, especially in like older cities like Chicago, because we have the ADA, the, um, American Disability Act, which is pretty new, and so buildings that were built before the nineties, Maybe are not as accessible as buildings that were built post ADA and so Yeah, in California or like the further west you go, I think the more newer [00:28:00] buildings we have.
[00:28:00] But yeah, like New York and Chicago and some of those older cities, like access is hard. It's hard, right? And unless the building has been retrofitted, um, yeah, you might not have like parallel parking or even, you know, like access in other ways, like up to your studio if it's on the fifth floor. Elevators.
[00:28:22] Yep. Yep. Mm-hmm. , I was gonna say, my college was founded in 1819 and the building I lived in my first year was a four floor walkup. And so good luck moving in and out, friends, you know?
[00:28:36] Right. . Totally. Yeah. It's, it's definitely a thing. And I think that, you know, um, there could be. In our industry just because, you know, in this is where we are in the world, um, is we are Pilates teachers, we're movement instructors.
[00:28:54] Um, and I think that we could do a little bit more. There are people doing great things out there for adaptive [00:29:00] populations in Pilates. Um, Zebra Fish Neuro is doing like amazing things and wrote a book called the ground- From The Ground Up. That's a really, really awesome resource. Just if you're like, I don't even know where to start training somebody who is in a wheelchair.
[00:29:16] So Zebra Fish Neuro, they, um, specifically focus on spinal cord injury athletes. And so From The Ground Up is a great resource in giving you the tools on maybe, maybe where you can start with some of those athletes if you have them in your studio. So that's, yeah, that's a really great resource. I just, you know, I think there could be more, right?
[00:29:42] I think that. It should be part of teacher training programs. And I know that, you know, there's like, there's so much information that, uh, you know, you, you do have to decide what you want to focus on, I think in your teacher training. Um, but I think like some things [00:30:00] that just get left out a lot are that, number one, understand that you are starting your own business if you're deciding to be a Pilates instructor.
[00:30:09] Like this was not something, this was something that I realized like long after I was done with my teacher training. I was like, I never wanted to be a business owner. You know, and then all of a sudden I'm like, but you are, so you better like start being one. And it just came as a total surprise to me.
[00:30:30] That was filing my taxes like the first year. I was like, holy moly, like this is actually a thing. It's like a full-time job trying to figure out how to get all these 1099s in order. Good lord.
[00:30:42] Oh my goodness. Seriously? Like nightmares. My nightmares. Yeah. I think that we could talk a little bit more about like business and I know there's a ton of people doing that now in the Pilates industry, which is great, but um, also just, yeah, adaptive movers, like it is a huge [00:31:00] population of people.
[00:31:02] you know, and not all disability is visible and so there are gonna be a lot of people, maybe people that you teach right now who identify as having a disability or identify as an adaptive athlete, and it's not a visible thing that, um, comes out every day. So like, yeah, like Mariska Breland is, she does amazing things with the neuro studio, specifically, like focusing on MS and Parkinson's and those more neuro diseases. Um, It's, it's wide and varied that population, so you're probably as an instructor, already working with adaptive athletes and so I think that we should just bring more awareness to that in general.
[00:31:55] Hi there. I hope you're enjoying today's chapter so far. There's great stuff [00:32:00] coming up after the break too. 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.
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[00:32:52] Well, I definitely, uh, am hearing from you what you're passionate about. And I know from your studio space that, uh, this is, you [00:33:00] know, really your niche and what you found as, you know, where you want to work with that population.
[00:33:05] In particular, what advice do you have maybe for new teachers? It could be about business or finding their niche, or, um, what do you think or what do you, even better than, what advice do you have? It's like, what else do you wish you knew when you were a new teacher?
[00:33:24] Oh, what else did I wish I knew when I was a new teacher? Probably so many things . Um, but you know, when I, when I was like very much first starting out as a new teacher, um, I think I really felt like I had to be something specific. Like, I would see teachers who I admired and I'd be like, oh, I gotta be like them.
[00:33:49] Right? And I remember subbing for a really popular instructor one time at the studio I was teaching at. And I was so [00:34:00] nervous. I was so nervous because I was like, people aren't gonna like me, this other instructor, she's so good. And like, I wanna try to teach like her. And, you know, I was like really, really paranoid that I wasn't like, I was gonna be disappointing, I guess to, to the clients.
[00:34:16] And then I just had this moment of, you know what, like you can only be who you are, so why are you tripping about trying to be somebody else? ? And it was just like a moment of like, oh yeah, right? Like, just be you and be really clear with people that you are not this other person. And so I remember at the beginning of class I was like, Hey, I'm subbing for so-and-so today.
[00:34:43] Um, I'm not her. She's so super great, but I'm just gonna do the best that I can. . And it just like lifted this huge weight off my shoulders about needing to like, fit into a box that I didn't, I didn't even really know what the box was like. I [00:35:00] just knew that I needed to like fit into that box somehow. And as soon as I kind of took that away, I was like, oh, like such a sense of relief.
[00:35:07] Like I gave my myself permission to like mess up. I gave myself permission to say the wrong thing. I gave myself permission to just be me as a teacher. Um, and I think that was a real turning point in that like, feeling nervous getting up and teaching people who I thought were really expecting something specific.
[00:35:28] And I don't know that people are really expecting anything specific. I think they're just like, either they really like you and they like your personality and they, you know, they like your energy or whatever. Or they're just coming to move and your class is at a good time, , and they really don't care who's teaching it.
[00:35:46] Right. Like, I don't, I think we get, we can get really in our head, of course, as individuals about everything because, you know, we're humans. Um, and so we, I mean, I am also an only child, so [00:36:00] I often suffer from the, like, everything is about me, . And I've had to work really hard as an adult to be like, yeah, not everything is about you though,
[00:36:10] But that was reflected in my teaching, I think, where it was like, oh, every problem, it's about me. Every, you know, like, I would take things personally and the more I taught, um, and the further away I got from that concept, I was like, oh yeah, not everything's about you. Like they're here to do their own thing.
[00:36:27] Like they really don't care if, you know, you said the kneecap was the patella or the kneecap, or you know, whatever. Like people are just there to move or they're there because they like you. I'm glad that I realized that at some point, but I wish I had realized that sooner. And also that it, it's just a constant learning journey.
[00:36:47] Like you're never done learning. You're never like, you're never at the point where you're like, I know everything and I could teach. You know? I don't know. I mean, that probably seems really obvious , like, [00:37:00] of course you don't know everything, but I think with something, um, like Pilates where people have goals, right? And like a goal is often met when we achieve the goal or something. And it's not necessarily thought of as this continual, lifelong process.
[00:37:21] But the more I started learning, like specifically the more I started learning about anatomy, the more I dove into, um, my master's program, uh, the more I was like, oh yeah, okay. Like you have to be okay with the fact that like we, we don't really know very much, especially about movement science and that you want to be open to learning new things all the time. You wanna be open to having your mind changed. a lot, right? Like [00:38:00] be date, your beliefs. Don't marry your beliefs. . Somebody said to me one time and I was like, yeah, that's a great one.
[00:38:09] Like, don't, like if you hold fast to those beliefs about like, oh, pelvis must be neutral, or, you know, um, only, uh, deadlift with a braced core and I can totally see your perfect alignment with my eyeballs. Like you should probably, you know, I, it's okay to have those thoughts in your head and to be like, this is what I believe, but if somebody presents new information to you, you should be like very willing to change those beliefs.
[00:38:43] And I think that's what I got real more comfortable with. The more I, um, the further I got along in my teaching career was like, yeah, okay. Like it's okay to think this one thing right now, and then it's okay to think something totally different when you have new information like two months from [00:39:00] now, or two weeks from now, or two days.
[00:39:04] Something that you shared that really resonated with me is this, and you said, you even said, you're like, well, it's really obvious that of course it's a learning process and you don't have to know everything. But I don't know, there's something about the test out in your training manual and feeling like it has to be memorized and you have to have all the answers.
[00:39:23] And someone comes in your class and they're like, my knee hurts, and you have to have seven knee exercises to fix their knee pain immediately. And it's ludicrous the amount of pressure that teachers, I think, put on themselves to have all the answers, know exactly what to do, know exactly what to say, and the faster you can let that go and just be like, you know, I do know things and I'm gonna apply what I know in the best way that I can with the tools I have and the knowledge I have. But [00:40:00] also, you know, there's not only like do I not have to know everything, like even people who are doing the research don't know everything.
[00:40:08] They're learning stuff too and they're sharing that with us. Like there isn't a, well if you just read this book then you'll know and then you're done . Like it really is, it really is lifelong. And I don't know, cuz it is hard to be comfortable in uncertainty. And you've talked about it several times and I just wanna come back to it because it's not easy. It's not, and it's not that you don't care and you're just like, yeah, whatever. But just recognizing that it is a process and we're gonna work together. And you're how you have teacher friends you can talk with and you may have relationships with physical therapists or just a close enough relationship with your client that you can ask them, Hey, you know, we did this new thing. How is it feeling for you? And be open to what they say, you know, that really felt better. Ooh, that felt nothing like what I wanted it to feel like, you know? Right. [00:41:00]
[00:41:00] Yeah, totally. I mean, I think that you hit the nail on the head, right? Like we, we, because of the nature of, you know, needing to learn information and then like somebody has to assess you whether you learn that information or not. Like we need to like learn the things we need to take a test. Like there's a right answer, there's a wrong answer. And then to come out of that and have it be so much more, like there's so much more gray area than the learning process gives credit for, especially in our industry. Right. And I think that's just the nature of like, the process of learning and like learning and assessment is that yeah, we need to like learn information and then be tested on whether we know that information or whether we learned it or not.
[00:41:47] And then, um, and then we have to come out of that and apply it in a real world, world setting, which is so like we live in the gray area, in the real world, right? It is not a textbook. Like when I [00:42:00] came outta my master's program, it's like, you know, orthopedic rehab. So we're learning rehab protocols, we're, we're like, we are being tested on, you know, right answers and wrong answers.
[00:42:14] And of course in that process there's a lot of like nuanced discussion and, you know, reading research papers. But, what was I gonna say? I kinda lost my train of thought. Um, it, it, well even in the master's program, like it's, it you, there's like right answers and wrong answers. And then you come out and you're like, oh crap. There's like, that textbook didn't tell me what to do with this person in front of me, right?
[00:42:45] Because not only do you feel like you have to have seven knee exercises for the person who has knee pain, you feel like you have to have the correct seven knee exercises and one of those knee exercises don't relieve the person's pain. Like, oh [00:43:00] crap, I did something wrong. Or when you get really cynical, you're like, that person did something wrong. And then you get like, and I have gone through all of these with my clients, right? Where I'm like, I didn't pick the seven right exercises for this person. And so they're still in pain. And um, I like, I feel like a failure.
[00:43:24] And then, you know, on the flip side of that, I'll go my seven exercises were the shit. And I know they were right and you did something wrong. I'm blaming you for not doing them correctly. Right. Neither of those things are awesome or, or great. Like, that's not where you wanna be. Right? And so living in that, um, and I think realizing that, that it didn't have to be either I fucked up or the other person fucked up, right?
[00:43:59] It [00:44:00] was really just like, oh no, a hu- every human body is different. Like we know that lots of things, um, contribute to pain, even mechanical pain. Like something where we're like, oh yeah, that knee is swollen. And you know, you had imaging done 20 years ago and you know the doctor told you some stuff about the structure of your knee and made you feel this certain way about your knee. And like, we now know a little bit, at least that pain is very much multifactorial, right? And, and that, you know, it's not that you didn't pick the seven right exercises or that the person did them wrong. It's that, you know, there could be a whole host of other things that are happening in that person's life because they are a whole person , right? It's not, we're not like just dealing with the, the mechanics, the biomechanics of a knee joint. We're not just dealing with, you know, whether [00:45:00] they squatted with their knees in perfect alignment or, you know, like there's just, is just so much variability in a real world situation.
[00:45:13] Um, that as soon as I kind of got more comfortable with that process, The better of a teacher I became, and also the more satisfied in my work I became.
[00:45:28] I think because if you're, if you go forward with a client and you're like, okay, there, there's like right and wrong here. I feel like you're just setting yourself up for dissatisfaction, right? You're setting yourself up for feeling like a failure , um, and, and not developing this like really rich relationship with your work. You're, you're developing this like kind of frustrated like unfulfilling [00:46:00] relationship with teaching people or, or, you know, developing a relationship with the person who's in your studio who's experiencing this painful sensation. And so, as you know, I don't know. Yeah.
[00:46:15] As soon as I started to realize that, like the more satisfied I became with my teaching, the more satisfied I became with the fact that I had decided to be a Pilates instructor and not a physical therapist or something like that, that I thought was more like legit.
[00:46:31] You know, it took a long time for me to fully step into being a Pilates teacher with two feet. I felt like, you know, probably up until after I graduated from my master's program that I was kind of like always one foot out the door. Like, yeah, I teach Pilates right now, but I'm really trying to do this other thing that I deemed as like more legit than teaching [00:47:00] Pilates and that, you know, I just had kind of a, a revelation in, um, my personal relationship with Pilates, and I was like, you know what?
[00:47:08] Like. F all those people who think that Pilates is stupid or like not a real thing. And I was just like, uh, this is what I am. Like, I'm not gonna be anything different. I'm not gonna be anything else. And, and I make it what I want to make it. Um, and I focus on the things that I am super jazzed about. Um, but I am a Pilates instructor.
[00:47:32] I no longer say I am like a movement specialist or, uh, you know, all of these other words that I came up with to describe what I do. No, if people ask me what I do, I'm a Pilates instructor. And then they're like, oh, cool. What's that? Like, like don't, I don't know. It's , it's like moving people's bodies. It's like another form of exercise. It's just exercise. It's exercise with equipment that doesn't exist outside of [00:48:00] Pilates, basically. That's what I tell them, you know? So, yeah, that's, that's where I'm at right now.
[00:48:08] No, I love that and I love hearing that you've really stepped into being a Pilates teacher, as a Pilates teacher because I don't know, like I feel like I've also had that feeling where it's like, you know, am I doing enough? Like should I be doing more things and like, does this count? And it totally does. Like you are doing incredible work as a Pilates teacher and you don't- if you want to add to it and I don't know, get another master's degree, you're welcome to. But what you have in the skills you have and the work that you do is totally valid as it is. You don't need to put sparkly sequined pants on it or anything. It's fine as is. Sequins are itchy.
[00:48:54] Um, but I also, I also wanna hear about, um, your [00:49:00] Anatomy of Pilates adventure. And as someone who both loves anatomy and is deeply confused by anatomy at the same time, I love that you're throwing your hat into the ring and kind of demystifying some stuff. So tell me about your intensive that's coming up. Yeah.
[00:49:16] Um, this is really exciting and really nerve-wracking for me, all at the same time. And, you know, 50% of the time I'm like, what are you even doing? Like, and then the other 50% of the time, I'm super excited about it. I mean, a hundred percent of the time I'm super excited about it. But there's also that, that little bit of nervousness just because it's new and it's challenging for me. Um, so Anatomy of Pilates is, I guess, I feel like, not just from my own experience, but from what other people have said in the Pilates industry that um, they have taken anatomy because a lot of us have, um, but either, you know, they [00:50:00] don't like, they don't really get it or they don't know how to apply it or they don't know how it's relevant or, um, yeah, they just don't necessarily understand it in the most functional or useful way.
[00:50:14] And I have to say that I've taken like, I don't know how many anatomy classes, like maybe 10. And it honestly took me so many class. Like it wasn't maybe until the 10th class that I was like, oh, that's how that works. It's so simple, right? So, um, this is Anatomy of Pilates is an anatomy course intensive over the course of 12 weeks that is meant or, or aimed specifically at Pilates instructors and how to take this anatomy that we're gonna be learning in the course, um, how to take that anatomy knowledge [00:51:00] and how to apply it to the person who's in front of you, like to take the textbook and how to apply it to the gray area of an actual human being.
[00:51:10] Um, so part of the course is really like dedicated to actually learning anatomy. Like this is your, you know, vmo or this is your rectus femoris and this is what it does and these are the actions and this is where it attaches. But more than that, like I'm, I am, you know, not trying to get people to memorize a bunch of random information. Like the goal is really to get people to be able to like, go in and, and look at the specific information, but then zoom out. And be like, okay, well how does that apply to what I do every day? So that's one aspect of it.
[00:51:49] And another aspect is, you know, we as Pilates instructors, um, especially if we work in kind of more of the rehab space, are one part [00:52:00] of somebody's whole kind of healthcare team, right? So maybe they saw a physical therapist before us and um, you know, then they come to see us after they're done with physical therapy or maybe they have an ongoing relationship with an orthopedic doctor and, you know, they, we are part of a larger picture.
[00:52:21] And, um, you know, in Pilates, I think sometimes we're, we're either think of ourselves as separate from circle of people or that circle of people thinks that we're separate because, you know, we still perpetuate myths like, don't squat with your knees over your toes, or something like that. And there are a lot of these not just running around in Pilates, but in all sorts of fitness circles about like, what is the right thing and what's the wrong thing?
[00:52:50] And a lot of it is total bs. And so part of the goal here is to help instructors understand what the [00:53:00] scientific conversation is around a lot of pathologies that people come in with so that we can be a part of that healthcare team and not be like, well, but um, you know, she needs to be doing footwork with a neutral pelvis because that is really super important.
[00:53:16] And you know, like we need to be part of the conversation that is currently happening around movement science. And so, part of the course is learning how to read research, learning how to look up clinical guidelines, um, and these, this is a skill, right? Understanding these things is a skill, and I think we just need to practice it as Pilates people because it's not something that is generally a part of our training programs, right? It's like we just learn what our teachers said generally with, and like, I have to say that I'm saying this and I have not peeked inside a lot of instructor training, like certification courses recently. And so, you know, if, if you're like, oh no, mine was totally [00:54:00] evidence-based and we used research and we discussed and debated like, awesome. You picked a good one. But my suspicion is that a lot of instructor training programs still kind of just rely on like, oh, my teacher said this, and so this is how it is.
[00:54:19] So, you know, we're, we're trying to like zoom out a little bit and be like, okay, no, but we're just part of, we're Pilates, right? Just like some, a CrossFit instructor does CrossFit. We do Pilates, but we all do exercise, right? And this is the thing that most people are gonna spend the most time with. Most people are not gonna spend the most time with a physical therapist. Most people are gonna spend the most time with us. So how are we positioning ourselves to be a part of that conversation? Um, where, you know, we're not telling somebody, um, something totally different than their physical therapist did. Or at least we're like aware of the conversation and can participate in the [00:55:00] conversation between the physical therapist and their other healthcare providers.
[00:55:04] Yeah. So that's, you know, that's, that's a part of, that's a big part of my goal with this course is to take the textbook stuff and like the research, oh, this is what the clinical guidelines say. Okay, well how do we apply this to the person in front of us? Do the clinical guidelines fit the person in front of us? You know, so how does that like cut and dry of black and white fit into the gray area of actually teaching people? Yeah. Exciting and totally scary. this, this first run or this first year essentially, uh, all of 2023 is like a beta run.
[00:55:45] Um, which just means that like I'm being really open and honest about the fact that I am not totally sure that I know what I'm doing as far as like delivering this material. I'm pretty confident in my ability to like, look at the material and, [00:56:00] and teach you something that's relevant. Uh, but there's a lot of other stuff that goes into delivering a course. So it's, you know, me being really open and honest about, like, I'm gonna learn as much from the students taking it as much as they're gonna learn from me. And so it's very much this give and take. Like I really want super honest feedbacks that I can make the course better. And yeah, I mean, yeah, that's, that's kind of it. That's, that's what's happening right now.
[00:56:30] It sounds so awesome and I just know that you are contributing something so worthwhile to the industry because it is, um, kind of a missing piece that you have identified. I feel like every teacher that I talk with and I'm like, you've identified a really great gap to fill because, you know, there's only so much you can do in a training program.
[00:56:52] And just like you've said, you know, you have to learn a certain amount of information. You are tested on that information. You have to deliver that [00:57:00] information. But, there is so much more. And so to have programs like yours that really are useful, like in, as a Pilates teacher, but also in terms of elevating the Pilates industry and making sure that Pilates teachers are part of the conversation and not this kind of like, I don't know, sometimes people still call Pilates a cult, you know, that's just like way out in left field in teaching absolute ridiculous nonsense that no one believes, like to really bring us in and, uh, make us a better, uh, healthcare provider, member of a healthcare team. That's so cool.
[00:57:36] Yeah. Totally. That and yeah. You, you like fully hit the nail on the head, right? It's just like, how, how do we make ourselves part of that conversation so we're not like yeah, the kooks over there teaching the stuff that the guy who taught in his underwear taught people, you know, like from the outside,
[00:57:56] it's like- we love you, Joe. We love you, Joe. But [00:58:00] objectively a choice. But objectively put on some pants.
[00:58:04] Yeah, totally. There'd be nothing wrong with some pants. Uh,
[00:58:09] What Pilates needs is more pants. That's what I think.
[00:58:12] More pants, less cigars, you know.
[00:58:18] Um, before I let you go, is there anything else that you wanna chime in or add or share? Get off your chest. You've shared so many awesome things.
[00:58:28] I mean, other than that it was like so fun talking to you and seeing your face. Um, yeah, I've just been smiling this whole time. It's, I, whenever I am doing something like this, I'm like, man, I talk a lot and I feel like I'm usually a pretty quiet person in my everything.
[00:58:46] I mean, that's your job. I love doing conversations on the podcast cuz I get to like not talk for a bit. I'm like, oh yeah, I get to listen to this cool person. Amazing. Drink some tea.
[00:58:58] Yes. Sip your tea. [00:59:00] Yeah. No, I'm, I, this is so fun. I, it was just awesome to like, I love being able to, talk about what we, we all do with an audience that, um, wants to hear it. Cuz you know, I don't think my husband and my daughter really want to hear me talk about Pilates. They just don't really care. They're like, yeah, cool. Whatever. We support you and let's talk about something else.
[00:59:24] Well, thank you so, so much for coming on Cody. You are brilliant and I can't wait to, uh, hear more about your Anatomy of Pilates intensive because it sounds so, so cool. Thank you. Thank you.
[00:59:38] Thanks Olivia.
[00:59:48] Thanks for listening to this week's chapter of Pilates Teachers' Manual. Your guide to becoming a great Pilates teacher.
[00:59:58] Check out the podcast Instagram at [01:00:00] @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.
[01:00:11] The adventure continues. Until next time.