Pilates Teachers' Manual

Special Guest - Rachel Reis

January 13, 2022 Olivia Bioni, Rachel Reis Season 5 Episode 16
Pilates Teachers' Manual
Special Guest - Rachel Reis
Show Notes Transcript

Rachel Reis, Pilates teacher, joyful movement explorer and all around nifty human joins me on the podcast today. We talk about finding Pilates at the perfect time, making a career change to become a Pilates teacher, letting clients find the best expression of Pilates for their body, discovering your place in the Pilates field and more. Tune in!

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:

Rachel is a Balanced Body certified Pilates teacher based in California. They offer weekly virtual group and private Pilates  classes at RAD Pilates. Check it out here: https://radpilatesclasses.as.me/schedule.php

Sign up for their newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/a80bd2f5773e/leave-your-email

Connect with them on Instagram: @RadPilates

Tune into Martin Reid's Core Conversations show here.



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[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 at @pilatesteachersmanual and visit buymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show. Today's chapter starts now.

[00:00:56] Hello, hello everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. I am [00:01:00] so jazzed today to share a conversation with you with Rachel Reis. They are such a nifty individual. And I am really glad to chat with them because I met them on Instagram and thought they were so cool with their tie dye and all of the things that I love about Pilates, from emphasizing a joyful movement, exploration about emphasizing a client's body autonomy, their ability to make choices for themselves. Those are things that I love. Their handle on Instagram is @radpilates. And that is very apt because they are the raddest person that I know. So thanks so much for coming on today, Rachel. 

[00:01:39] Wow. Oh my gosh. Best intro ever. Thank you for having me. This is, I don't know. You feel so joy, just being asked to talk about something that you love and you're passionate about, and that's part of your life and something you gravitate towards that might even have not been something you necessarily seen for yourself. So for me, I [00:02:00] just, even more excited to talk to you because I'm like, you really want to talk to me about the Pilates? What?

[00:02:04] Heck yes, I do. I want to talk to everyone about Pilates, but also you in particular. 

[00:02:10] Please talk to everybody about it because it's so great to see this unique lens that everyone has. You know, when you work in the Pilates field, you get to bring yourself to what you do a hundred percent.

[00:02:23] Yes. So tell me, how did you make your way to the Pilates field? What was your first experience with Pilates?

[00:02:31] Well, mine's very left field or just like far scattered field. I was, um, an undergraduate at the University of Washington in Seattle in the sociology department. I was just doing lots of research, focusing really on the criminal justice field. And I, um, lived above a Pilates studio and I would walk by this Pilates studio going home, going to school, going to work, going home. And I would peek in the windows like, oh, like [00:03:00] a strange human, after hours. No one was in there. And I looked at the contraptions and I was like, what the heck? And I didn't go in, but I was, I lived near it and I lived above it for a couple of years.

[00:03:13] And then I moved to San Francisco to go to grad school. And I was in a Master's of Public Affairs program. I was really focused on community organizing and politics, and I was like interning at city hall. I was in a completely different world than Pilates. Ended up on the same block as a Pilates studio that had just burned down. So there was literally a burned down building two houses down from where I lived. And it said the location where they're at, which was around the corner in a church, like a redone church that interestingly enough, fitness studios usually ended up renting and they were temporarily housed. And I was like, okay, well, I'm going to go because if you're living by a Pilates studio twice in your life, like right smack dab above it, and then like next [00:04:00] door. But one over, I think that's a sign that you should just go do Pilates. Cause it was just like, so in my face. 

[00:04:08] And the last thing I was doing at that moment in life was taking care of myself, doing any regular movement. I was all go, go, go. I was just work, work, work study, study, study, focus on my end goal. And I had tunnel vision and I didn't feel great in my body. And after I graduated, I did a campaign job where I worked like 60, 70 hours a week. Nonstop worked at like 10, 11:00 PM at night, started super early in the morning, ran crew uh, crews of people doing canvassing. I loved it. I loved managing big groups of people. It's like one of my favorite things. And afterwards I was so depleted. 

[00:04:47] I remember the last day my partner found me on the couch, fully clothed tipped over just like drooling, and was like, you can't continue to live like this. And I'm like, well, the campaign's over. I'm going to [00:05:00] start another campaign in a month. I mean, what? Why would you go back to that life? You didn't eat, you didn't sleep, you didn't function. And I knew I needed something. 

[00:05:09] So I went to the gym. Terrible place to go when you already, like, I almost failed high school because of PE. I've never been happy in a gymnasium. And so I go to the gym, not a good idea. I get a personal trainer. I don't go to the Pilates studio, I go to the gym. Like literally the universe is like, go do Pilates, but I'm like, I'm going to go to a big box gym and ask some person who's like super ripped what they think. And they completely were like, your body's terrible. Everything about you is terrible. You eat bad, you know, you're misshapen, you're all these things. And I was like, what? I am? I'm pretty happy with myself. Like I just want to feel stronger. Like I can stand up and I can keep my body up when I walk into these massive hills in San Francisco and I'm talking to people and I'm just being a networker [00:06:00] and volunteering and doing all of my extra stuff. I want to be able to work through that. 

[00:06:04] And they're like, you need to eat powder protein. You need to do this. I'm like, you're not listening to what I need. So I did like a little series of a program cause I paid for it and I'm going to go cause I paid for it. And then I think I injured something. My shoulder, my hip didn't feel good. I didn't feel great. So I left feeling worse about myself. 

[00:06:24] And I finally decided to go to the Pilates studio. I took a class at the Pilates studio. I didn't know what was going on. It was so A type. It was so smart and challenging and it had sequences. And I had to think, and all of a sudden I had to use my brain, my body. What are you talking about? I fall walking upstairs. And it was so awesome in a very intense way that I knew I would have to come back, but I didn't know what I was doing. And I had to talk to the teacher and I was like, I have no idea. I'm a very like person who's up here in my head. I [00:07:00] need to learn more about what these cues aren't. So, so I can come to class and feel like I know what's happening and not feel overwhelmed and anxious. And, and like, I can't really get into it. And she told me to read Pilates for dummies. 

[00:07:12] So I was super offended. I was like Pilates for dummies. I'm not dumb. And then I realized the book was written by the person who originally created the studio in the mission who is Ellie Herman Pilates, who had sold it. And it was EHS Pilates and wonderful place to go. They have some of the best master Balanced Body teachers, and then other master teachers and who were trained by Ellie and then many went over to Balanced Body and became master trainers. And so it's just, you know, an amazing group of individuals and they were like, read this book and I read the book and you know, it's a great place to start. I think it's a place to start. 

[00:07:53] I think what's really important for me and it's going to dabble in advice, but just because something's been said for all this [00:08:00] time, doesn't mean we have to continue to follow exactly that, especially with new information. And, you know, scientific research plus personal preferences and lived experiences. So that's really that framework that's important for me when I'm teaching. And, you know, it was really great to have your first class at EHS because there's an assortment of stuff to do. There was different classes you could end up in and I ended up really liking springboard the rollback bar. I mean, if you're doing anything with learning how to articulate your spine for the first few times is probably one of the most like epic experience of my life because it changed. I remember feeling so emotional that I didn't know, I could lift my head up and I didn't know I could feel good. 

[00:08:48] And yeah, it took awhile. I think Pilates didn't feel that great at first, cause like, You know, had things going on and I still do, you know, and I have chronic pain issues and that sort of thing. [00:09:00] So it didn't always feel like great right away. But I remember after a year into doing Pilates, so I kept coming because I was just hooked. I was like, this is so smart. I have to figure this out. What is this? Where do I put my foot? What happens when I move this other way? You know, and really trying to recreate shapes I was seeing before figuring out what worked best for myself. And I think that that's how I ended up, you know, really figuring out how to work with my own personal injuries over time.

[00:09:30] So what was the jump for you to become a teacher? What really inspired you to be like, all right, so I've done all of this political work. It is burning me out. Where, how did you become a Pilates teacher? 

[00:09:43] So I feel like I was a secret squirrel Pilates teacher for years. I was working a full-time job. I was like a city commissioner. I was running a democratic club and then I on the weekends, took Pilates [00:10:00] teacher training and did the entire comprehensive. So when I was still in this go, go, go mode from college. Like if I don't have five extra curriculars, if I don't- and I'm a first generation college student, that's why. You know, I'm the very first person in my family to go to college. And I got a master's degree. I felt like I just needed to do it all and prove it to everyone that I was capable of doing anything. I don't recommend doing that because the only thing you really have to prove anything to is yourself, and you don't even have to do that. You just have to exist and figure out what works for you and what lights you up.

[00:10:29] And, and me that will still be understanding politics and being an advocate in those realms. But I don't want to be a paid advocate anymore or anything like that, but how did I make that jump? Well, I didn't at first, I just wanted to do the teacher training because I'm a type personality who was like, well, I can get even more out of this if I do the teacher training, my practice will be even more of a personal practice if I know everything. And then [00:11:00] I was sort of tricked into teaching by a really amazing teachers who were, well, I need a sub and I was just like, ah, no, I'm busy. You know, and if I had to do it, I would have to do it at this slot. And they're like, well, that slots open. So, you know, I pretty much got tricked into it. 

[00:11:18] And then I subbed a class and it was on after that, I felt like I was leading an orchestra or something. And it was more intense than when I ran canvassing crews or when I would do any outreach in the community to try to build coalition, anything. I've never felt that kind of effervescence. And I was in this room and I was literally like, push the carriage out. Something literally hit me. And it was just like, this is so fun. This is so fun. I started walking like in between two reformers. And I was like doing light, tactile cues, but asking for permission first, Hey, may I give you a tactile cue?

[00:11:57] You know, and then going in there and I was just [00:12:00] adding some cues, especially for certain people. And I felt like we were moving and I could see things working in their bodies and it all hit me like a ton of, you know, just hit me in my entire body, like a wave crashing over me that this is. Fun. And it's more rewarding than just doing Pilates. Doing Pilates is fun. It's rewarding, but getting to talk to somebody about something that's changed my life radically is even better. 

[00:12:31] And so I taught in the evenings and weekends, whenever I could kind of fit it into my schedule. And I just didn't tell anybody because some, a job that I had, I couldn't quote unquote moonlight. So I couldn't tell anyone. I couldn't be like, Hey, I'm leaving to go teach a6:30 reformer. My boss would be like, excuse me, you know, you need to be working on this. You know what I mean? Or you should be out at this event this evening meeting so-and-so. You should be doing something [00:13:00] else. You should just always be doing something else. No pleasure for yourself. And that was really the mind frame. 

[00:13:06] I think the space that I was working in it was like work yourself to the ends of your ability to cope and existence, and then do nothing for yourself. And then that's prestigious. That's success. And that's what I was seeing all around me who were like, see, this is so good. You do these things. And I was falling apart. Literally my hair was coming out. Like everything was falling apart. And my very last job that I had in the arena, I decided I wanted to take my expertise, work a nonprofit. I was going to help with a ballot measure, starting to build the groundwork for that.

[00:13:38] And. I was raising money for the public library, which is a really great thing. And we need to be doing that. And I did it for like 11 months. Raised way more money than they expected me to raise, which I can rep that. I can't say that I never thought I would be a fundraiser, raise money, but I went into that field for a little bit and I did a really good job.

[00:13:58] And then I, I put in my [00:14:00] notice and I left and it was literally like two months before the pandemic started. And I just had this gut feeling in me that I'm more important right now than anything else around me. And I can't give myself to another campaign or another organization or anything else until I rebuild myself from the inside out and in, not in any specific way, like a transformation, but more that I wanted to feel like I could get enough sleep and I understood the word no and boundaries and rebuilding how much I'm going to give to the outside world in myself. And, you know, Pilates has been that reassessment, that refocus back, and it was there in the background for the last, you know, six years still, um, enticing me, keeping me going, you know. 

[00:14:56] I worked at different studios. And I [00:15:00] even worked in the UC system for a little bit, and I just would work at different places when I could around whatever schedule I had and I made it work. And, you know, people say that like I was working with somebody who's a Pilates student and teacher, and they were saying they're frustrated because they can't practice all the time and they take breaks. And I was just like, I took so many. I taught as an apprentice for five years before I even tested out. Five years because it wasn't my primary job. And I was a apprentice and I just rode on that. I was like, I'm a student, even though I had done so much more continuing ed, I had looked and I had like, I, I did a you know, 588 hour training.

[00:15:45] And then I did like another thousand or 1500 more other trainings in that five years, like just constantly was like, oh, mentorship. Oh, this, oh, I should learn about. And I did everything that I could at every chance that I could any weekend. I was like weekend [00:16:00] warrior-ing this workshop, you know, because I love Pilates so much. And I think all that was really important. 

[00:16:07] So when I tested out, it was just like kind of a joke. The person who tested me out was the person I took my class with, who gave me the book Pilates for dummies. It was the same person, which is so freaking mind boggling and cool. Right. That this person ultimately got to test me out and they're such an amazing teacher and it's just, I'm so grateful, you know?

[00:16:32] Cause I didn't want to do it. I didn't want to test out. Cause it felt like testing out was meant that I was an actual Pilates teacher and then- I know weird cause it was like I was teaching for years and, but I didn't want to share that to the world as my primary job, because I had went to school for seven years for something else. And I felt like I was letting everybody down and I was like doing, [00:17:00] and then Pilates really helped me a lot come to terms with the fact that this life is really about me. And I'm 37 now realizing that. And now that my life is about me, I got to do what I really want. 

[00:17:13] And I hate to say this. Politics and nonprofit is not where I'm supposed to be. I am supposed to be teaching Pilates and advocating for people to move their bodies in the ways that work best for them so they can find relief and, you know, and to not make it, like I have to do this five days. I have to do it for an hour, five days a week. It's like when you come to it, you come to it and it's okay.

[00:17:40] And let's, de-stigmatize how often we do it and all of these things. Yes. I understand that consistency is how you get quote, unquote results, blah, blah, blah. But that's not what works for a lot of people's lives. That's not work works for my life. And if I feel so overwhelmed and I- that's probably why it took me so long to fully commit to [00:18:00] Pilates, because I seen everybody was like, you have to teach like 25, 30 hours a week. You have to do this. I heard all these have tos and I already lived in a world of have to. So I had to unlearn have tos and reconnect with myself and the vehicle for reconnecting to who I was through Pilates. 

[00:18:24] A lot of people are really curious about the teacher training process. And I know that you were balancing a career and then doing teacher training on top of that, but can you share a little bit about what the Balanced Body training program was like for you as you worked through?

[00:18:42] So I know the training has changed a lot. At least there's an extra module than there was before in the mat series. I think there's a, there used to be just two and then, yeah, there's three now. So, but I still um- because of who I am, I went back and [00:19:00] just took the module. So I'm really trying to get myself to just be like, you don't need to take every workshop there is on the planet. Even though I do believe we need to do lots of continuing ed and then we should also be doing other professional development, but within reason. 

[00:19:16] So the teacher training through Balanced Body, I think is going to be very different depending on a studio you're at, it's going to be vastly different. I was in a studio with multiple master trainers, which I don't think is normal. So, uh, it just, it's not, right? Usually you have one to two people that teaches you the entire. I had a different person for every module, except for one person taught two or something like that. So I had a new teacher for every module and they were all just like the most amazing people, who've been doing this for like, you know, a long time, but they're also people who are still learning, you know?

[00:19:52] So I really liked the different teacher styles and seeing [00:20:00] how their approach was to learning. I didn't have the best time in the program, at least the beginning. I really felt like I was out of place. There were ballerinas, there were PTs in the program. There were just an- I came from like a campaign and I have no experience other than going to the studio, you know? And I think that's a good thing. And I don't think that that's necessarily celebrated. I don't think it's not celebrated either. I don't think anybody was mean about it, but I do get the sense that it's like people have these huge movement backgrounds and you're in a room and you don't have a movement background and you're like, I'm starting here, you know. 

[00:20:40] Like that anatomy class was the first anatomy class that I took since like eighth grade or something, or, you know, I avoided, um, body anatomy in college. I was like, politics, sociology, anything that had it, I didn't want to learn about anatomy. And then now I'm obsessed with learning about anatomy and stuff. It's so weird how things [00:21:00] change in life. We definitely change. We- that's why we shouldn't have tunnel vision. 

[00:21:04] But the teacher training, I think you can get a lot out of it. The more you ask questions and the less that you're in your own head thinking, oh, should I be in this? Am I worthy to be in this program? Do I have, you know, these feelings, like I'm an imposter in this situation? And those are extremely hard to fight back on because they're rudimentary, they're in our brain, you know, but it's something that I wish that I would've got out of my head a little bit more and ask more questions right away. I didn't get, I'll ask a lot of questions til mentorships and stuff like that. 

[00:21:36] Cause I felt like, who am I to ask a question? I need to wait for the PT and the program to ask a question, you know? And so I would say, ask as many questions as you get. There's no people like to say that they're quoting less smart questions, but I disagree with that. I think all questions are imperative. Someone in the room is thinking it too. So [00:22:00] that's a big one. I actually wrote this one down because I was like, I know there's something that I want to say that I might forget. 

[00:22:08] So the other thing is doing the practice teaching and taking it serious. I think that's a big thing. When I was in there, I was doing, oh, I need to teach exactly like how the teacher just taught. You know, when you're getting tested out, they're not looking at, you spoke verbatim from the test. They're making sure that you can keep people safe. You're moving them through the exercise and you're showing them the exercise. It's fine. If you use slightly different words, it's fine. If you cue breathing slightly different, depending on the movement, you're not going to be graded for that. I mean, I hope that your studio, you won't be. Double-check your people before you test out. I don't want to say that then somebody who doesn't, you know, but at least where I was at, they weren't like holding the book and were like, did you say the exact same thing?

[00:22:56] I think make it more fun, make it more lighthearted, [00:23:00] be in the experience. Take every time you get in your head and you're like, should I even be in this place and be like, yeah, I'm should be in this place. I'm going to take up all the space. I'm going to do, rocking on the reformer. You know, just go, go for it.

[00:23:15] And it's such a weird thing for me to say, cause I'm definitely someone who some, when I'm in a room, sometimes I retreat. So even though I'm kind of outgoing, I can still retreat sometimes. So that was a big thing for me. I didn't feel like I should be in that space and I retreated a little bit, but I do think the Balanced Body training is getting some changes. I think they're willing to look at the text and go, oh yeah, this shouldn't be written like this. And if you're somebody who's doing the Balanced Body training and you find an edit in a manual, email them. Get ahold of Balanced Body, create some dialogue. I think that's really important in talking about it on Instagram.

[00:23:53] So we know to, you know, I don't, I don't teach from my manuals. So one of the first things I was told [00:24:00] once I finished. Once I tested out was now you can do whatever you want. 

[00:24:05] I mean, yeah. Yes and no. I mean, I was actually for unrelated reasons, um, I went back and looked at my, uh, teacher training manual and I was like, oh, you know what? I haven't thought about extended frog in like probably four years, you know, because you- like different things interest you. And I don't think that that's necessarily a bad thing, but it is nice to look back. 

[00:24:29] I do want to point out one thing that when you said it's so funny, how things have changed. I was a super science nerd in high school and college. Um, and then I replaced that with being a theater nerd. But even in all of my science nerding, when I got to anatomy, I knew that the teacher dropped your lowest test score. And I thought muscles were boring because they all do the same thing. They just attach and insert in different places. And so I was like, all right, well, they're going to drop it anyway. And I got like a C, um, and now I'm like, oh my [00:25:00] gosh, what was I doing? I should've been taking better. But that happens, you know, it changes.

[00:25:11] Hi there. I hope you're enjoying today's chapter so far. There's great stuff 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.

[00:25:30] 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.[00:26:00] 

[00:26:07] So how has your teaching changed as you've gone through, not only, I would say the longest teacher training process that you could draw out. Five years, Rachel really? Yeah, that's wild. Um, so how did your teaching change maybe over the course of those five years or even from then to now, what happened? 

[00:26:28] So much, so much. I do want to say yes, always review and look back at your manuals because there's something in there you're going to forget. There's some cool variation. There's just something that you're going to forget, but you don't have to verbatim speak from it. And I do think that's hilarious too, about the notes thing. It's like, oh, this isn't important, and then later on you're like, this is so important. Wow. Retrospect.

[00:26:51] I've changed a lot in so many ways. When I first started teaching, I was very much like I have to learn the exact exercises, the specific way. I have to do all the [00:27:00] variations and I wanted to build up and I wanted to go through the exercises constantly. I love teaching chair a lot. Chair, reformer, springboard. Anytime I could get someone on the trapeze just all about apparatus, apparatus. 

[00:27:14] If I did a mat class, it would have springboard involved in it. It would have a foam roller involved. It would have a Girdy, there would be some sort of prop. I was just really into like adding something else in the mat work.

[00:27:24] So me and the mat work, we didn't hang out all the time. I did a lot of the pre-Pilates work with my people. And then me and the mat work, we just didn't hang out all the time. I did mat work on the reformer. I did matwork in other places. And as I taught more, I started adding more variations that weren't in Balanced Body because I was teaching more reformer classes and I wanted to make them exciting, you know, and I veered off a lot.

[00:27:49] And as I was realizing that I was going to move to LA, uh, this was at the end of 2018. I decided, well, I need to get my certification. I [00:28:00] mean, I could just not continue this, this, you know, mischievous route, or I could just get it done. Like I should have in 2016. Cause I was obviously avoiding it for some reason, you know? And so I decided to do it. So I went back and I looked at every video, went through every manual over and over in probably for four months, way more than anyone needs. Like to the 10th degree, I made everyone around me do every exercise. I even got a client to do catwalk over, which is this thing like we don't regularly do with clients. I think I've done it with two clients ever, you know, but I was going through the material. 

[00:28:39] And that's why, you know, she tested me out kind of laughed because they're just like, wow, you already knew. Uh, and I did like one thing that she would just like, wait, I haven't thought about that forever. Is that in a manual? And I was like, it was! It was one of those moments where it was just kind of like we were going through the formality, but we [00:29:00] knew that I was going to like radically pass these things. 

[00:29:04] So now I'm teaching mostly virtual. I'm not in an in-person physical space. I am teaching online. I have mostly private clients that I teach online throughout the week through zoom. And then I have two classes that are group classes that I just launched recently. And I've taught in a couple of different platforms over the last like year. Two years now, and then decided to finally go off on my own, which is really exciting. And, you know, I'm teaching all mat. Everything's mat, mat all day, mat everything.

[00:29:35] So that's the big change is that I'm back to the foundations and the foundations are so important and I am physically stronger than I've ever been before. I am always in some sort of a plank and then just talking to somebody and you know, you that's, that's work. And my big revolution too, or movement, is now using more [00:30:00] props, but an interesting ways to recreate things because I love recreating stuff on the reformer or different exercises. I didn't realize that I was recruiting a movement on the Wunda chair recently, and someone commented and I was like, it is! So, those are really great moments too. 

[00:30:17] And I think the pandemic plus the Instagram and the internet has really helped a lot of us move some of this work and to different areas that maybe we wouldn't have ever done if we didn't have this time to be at home. Insert strategizing with clients who don't have a reformer at home in the background lined up against the wall. I do too, just like you. And you know who, maybe they have a pillow, they don't have a block or they have a book and not a block. Or they have, you know, a tennis ball or some other ball instead of a GIrdy ball. We can strategize, we can figure this out and it's fun. 

[00:30:58] So I think [00:31:00] now I'm a mostly mat teacher and with occasional apparatus, but I do hope in the next year that I can be back at least somewhere teaching some physical in-person stuff. Eventually. I crave it. You know, it's been a while. I miss having people on the trapeze table and doing the push through bar and lifting up for the first time, because it's one of those things that you look at it, I've had people be like, there's no way I could do that. And I was like, let's just try it and see, and they do it. And they're like, wow. I didn't know I could do that.

[00:31:37] And I was like, I knew, I knew the whole time. And, um, I'm kidding. I wouldn't ever say that, but in my head I'm like, oh, of course you can. We can just try it. If we can't, we can find a way we can add some more weight. We can get- there's a way. We will find a way to recreate it somewhere else, you know? And that's really the mind frame that I [00:32:00] always bring to my movement. Listening up and watching for when a client does something in a way that maybe I didn't say and that's, and I'm like, oh wow, that's actually so cool. I'm going to now teach that. And it's these different strategies and tactics that work for different people. 

[00:32:18] And I don't know everything. I just taught a class a couple of days ago and someone was like, well, this is better for me if I lift my leg like this or move my leg, like this is better for me because of the shape of my body. And great. I learned another thing and I get to take that in, but I also know in my head, this, this cue doesn't work for everyone. So add all of the cues. You could put your leg like this, you could move your leg here. We could even go more into external. And I think that's the important thing for me is, without being overwhelming cause I do it in a lot calmer way. I'm very hyper right. Um, and excited just to talk to you, but I like to calmly describe different options and variations [00:33:00] so we can try them out, you know. And it's this idea of play and exploration that I've only been able to tap into in the last year and a half. I feel like a newbie to play an exploration. And it's really what I'm all about now, but it took me a lot of being ultra serious overboard, serious about plus overboard serious about knowing the specific cues in a specific way to getting to this place where I'm now open to all or always being another way.

[00:33:34] I definitely have clients who will ask things that are like, oh, well, is it supposed to be like this? And I'm like, well, let's try it like that. Let me know how that goes. And then maybe we try it a different way. And we think like, okay, like does one work better? Do they, are they highlighting different things? If we were to do that donkey kicks sideline series again, would you want to have your leg here, here? 

[00:33:57] And then it becomes more of a conversation, [00:34:00] which is really where the magic happens, versus you have to do like this, it says, do it like this. This is the only way that it's done. Because like you said, that doesn't work for everybody and having those options, I think makes you a better teacher, because exactly like you said, now, if I have another person who comes in. I've got three more ways to share this exercise. I think that's wild. 

[00:34:24] And the push through bar is also my favorite, I think that's the that's other stuff's fun. Springboard is fine, whatever, chair. Um, but I really miss push through bar. Like my fav. Push through bar everyday. What is your advice for new teachers?

[00:34:40] You've already given lots of great tips. I love asking questions in teacher training. It's so important because I also did not ask questions. I was just like, I accept this as gospel. And I was like, no, go back and ask. So, uh, thank you for sprinkling those in, but is there anything else you think new teachers should know or-

[00:34:59] Oh [00:35:00] so much. Okay. So one is, there's a little advice, saved stories on my Instagram page. I highly recommend it. And it's not just from me. It's from other teachers who have submitted advice. I highly recommend looking at that. 

[00:35:13] It's really important to know the difference between being an employee and an independent contractor. I think that's a really big one. You should also know the laws in your state. It's really just important to understand business law. Seek advice. There's a lot of free services in different cities to, to learn about insurance. Yeah. Filing taxes and just everything related to business. And it's really important when you're working in a studio, because your pay in, how you'll be taxed changes depending on how you're classified. So it's really important to know all these things. 

[00:35:50] And I think there's this transactional nature where new Pilates teachers don't feel like they have maybe, maybe they're still having some [00:36:00] self-sabotage issues, you know, I don't know how to explain it, cause I don't really necessarily think it's always imposter syndrome. I feel like that gets, like that's said a lot. I think sometimes we just don't feel that confident cause we haven't done it enough. And after you do it more, you'll feel more confident, you know, but there's always going to be a jitter. You know, I get a jitter right before I teach them like and then it starts, you know, and I think that's normal and okay.

[00:36:25] It's dealing with this level of anxiety and how we kind of let it flow. And I'm a very anxious person. So that's a big one for me, but understanding how these laws work and how your status will work when you're coming into an organization, it will just put you in the know, right? When you walk in the door, and you have to think about how you want to be paid and how you want to be valued.

[00:36:47] And yes, at first you might have to take a job where you're not getting paid what you should be getting paid or something like that, but it can't be like that forever. It can't stay like that. And, you know, we have to [00:37:00] advocate for ourselves to have a living wage and to be in a safe environment. So those are extremely important to me, that know that you are somebody that has options, even when maybe it doesn't seem like that and it's okay to walk away and then start somewhere else. It is, it really is, you know, and we should be loyal to a degree. 

[00:37:24] And also remember we're living in a capitalistic society. We need to take care of ourself. So you can't just work for some studio owner and just do everything for them and not get your pay while they're owning a home and you're renting that sort of thing. You still need to think about yourself in your life. And it is really difficult to do that. It really is because there's this feeling that you have to work for other people to get anywhere. And I don't think that's necessarily true across the board. 

[00:37:52] I also think it's really cliche to say this, but I'm going to fricking say it, find your voice. And that [00:38:00] happens through teaching more that happens through interacting with people more. You're going to put your foot in your mouth. You're going to say the wrong thing. You're going to do the wrong thing. It's not the end of the world. You're going to maybe like, you're going to have a moment. You're going to cry. You're going to have breakdowns. It's going to be tough. You're going to want to quit. I hate to say it, you're going to want to quit. There's going to be a moment they're going to be like, why am I even doing this? You know? And you can come back from that. You can, you can come back from these feelings. Like, should I be in this room teaching? What is my, how effective am I being? You know. 

[00:38:38] And I think we just get that from iteration. The more we do something, the more we are challenged, the more we end up in a situation that might be slightly different. You know, I had someone who came into my class once, who was like a reporter. They were like a pop sugar article writer person. I don't even know what that is. And, and like, it was so [00:39:00] stressful for me, like afterwards. And she like took a, like a quote and I, you know, I had worked in politics before. I don't, you know, I'm behind the scenes support person. I don't talk to media. So I was like, what, what do I, I was just like, okay, Pilates mode.

[00:39:17] And I said the most like robotic thing ever. And it just cracked me up. So, you know, you're, you're going to be, but next time a reporter asked me about Pilates, I will have an answer. Oh my God. Don't even put my first and last name in pop sugar article come up. And just, it's just embarrassing, you know, like you're going to have a moment where something's going to go awry and it will be okay. And you're going to strategize through it. 

[00:39:48] You know, Pilates is awkward. If it's not awkward, it's not Pilates, you know, in my mind. Cause you're like telling people to touch their pelvis and stuff. Like it's, it's a very, it can be awkward and [00:40:00] it's okay. And I think moving through, moving through the awkwardness, moving through the kind of scariness things. It is really important because after, uh, you know, and I hate even saying this, but we know it's true. After a few years, it starts really feeling like getting behind the wheel of a car or something like this and being in the moment, not autopilot, but being in the moment, being ready to go around the block and wait at the corner and look left and right for pedestrians. I walk around the city, no one looks left and right. They're like stopping at the stop and just going through. Please look left and right people. I am at the crosswalk. 

[00:40:34] And, you know, so having that moment and giving yourself time to get to that moment, give yourself years. And you know, it sucks, but it's true. Pilates takes years to get. A real, I don't, I didn't want to say good at it. It's you do Pilates for a long time to get the most benefits from it. You're not going to get the most benefits from Pilates the first two weeks, the first year. I really think, and I, and that's not [00:41:00] salesy. You couldn't sell that. You literally, that's like a worst for capitalism. It's going to take you two years to really get all the benefits from this. People are gonna be like, I'm going home. I go to the hole. Where's the pill I can take, you know. 

[00:41:14] But, and I'm honest with anyone I work with and you know, some of my longer term clients I've worked with me for years, there'll be like, yeah, some when I started, I wanted it to be faster or harder or more sometimes, or I wanted this or that in, and now we're at a place where I'm not in discomfort when I move and I'm stronger than I've ever been, and I'm more connected with my body and I can slow it down and I can check in and figure out like, what is going with this area and what happens when I move in another way, you know? And then we can start speeding up because we do speed up. I do a lot of quick movements with people, but I think we don't get any time to sit in, relax and [00:42:00] breathe. 

[00:42:01] And this is really, I know from my previous life of my previous go go career. And I know I jumped out of that, that Ferris wheel, hamster wheel, whatever it was, but there are so many people still living that and they're living it more intense than I ever was because they have children and they have other stuff going on in their life.

[00:42:18] So we need a space to unwind from that. Go, what is it like when you breathe and inhale? What is it like when you're on the ground? What do you feel when you move your leg in this way? You know, and taking a moment because some of us aren't doing that at all. And I know that from personal experience, I never sat down and was like, what's my breathing. And I had real, I have anxiety issues already, but my anxiety was 10 times worse 'cause I couldn't get a deep breath. And just about every time I turned my head, I would get a burning sensation down my neck and in that was my old life, you [00:43:00] know? And so that's a big thing for me. It's just like feeling better. 

[00:43:04] So how does that relate to teacher, uh, actual advice for teachers? When you're finding your own voice, you're going to find your own style and your approach. I at, at different parts was all about moving really quick and making people quote, unquote, sweat. I was like, I want people to feel and have sweat. I want people in this alignment so they can feel, and now I'm very much like, well, we all have a different alignment. And good posture is comfortable posture. And unless we're low loading a bunch, you know, you be in alignment you want to be in that feels great to you, you know, and as we load, we'll think a little bit more about that. 

[00:43:45] But your teaching voice will establish itself as you're establishing your teaching style and it will come over time and it's, you're building a crap. So it's not, of course you can go and you can read the manual and you can go teach a class [00:44:00] right away. After teacher training, I did that. I didn't test out right away, but I taught right away, you know, taught a class within just the first couple of days or something. And I felt amazing doing it. 

[00:44:12] The class probably sucked. I mean, half the people that went to that studio were going there for, you know, 5, 10, 15 years. They knew Pilates better than me. You know, half, most of the people I've ever taught knew Pilates better than me. That's amazing. That's like, that's unheard of too. Right? I mean, the last one of the last people I taught in a physical space had been doing it for 16 years and I had, yeah, they were doing it for 16 years, but what was remarkable is they didn't know any of the exercises. And I love that. I was like, it was super cool. Cause they would come in and they'd be like, oh yeah, and it would take a minute and I'd be like, yes. 

[00:44:50] And I like that. Cause I have that sort of Huell Howser-y nature. Oh my God. Nobody knows who that person is, but it's this like travel person. [00:45:00] And everything he sees is like, he's a newborn baby for the first time seeing it. And I love that feeling and that excitement of that newness and that, that is what I hope new teachers find. That you find this excitement that it's not like, oh, I'm just doing the same thing over and over again. It's that- there's an excitement that now you've seen someone move in a different way. Or now you noticed on muscle or something you've never seen before.

[00:45:29] You know, I remember the first time I ever seen, like somebody was wearing shorts obviously, but I seen a hamstring like pop and I was like, like pop in a good way. Like it just really tightened up and contracted. And I was like, wow. And I had never, like, just a couple of years ago, I would have never been excited about seeing a muscle. You know, and I think, I hope that new teachers move past the work, just being about almost like a recording or a regurgitation of what you've heard, [00:46:00] but more it's you, you really connect with it. Even if you can't do the exercise, you can still teach. 

[00:46:09] Ignore anyone who says, if you don't feel it, you can't teach it. Oh, whatever. They're just being gatekeepers of things and they have control issues. And that's another thing. That's them. That's not you. If you can't do catwalk over, you can still teach it as long as you know how to be a good spotter and you understand the spotting underneath and you understand the dynamics, teach it, you know?

[00:46:31] So I guess that's just an assortment of it. I just have so much advice and I think that's what I also want to iterate is that. I think any teacher that has been working for a few years has so much to offer and to give, so connect with other teachers. That's one of the biggest things. Connect with other teachers, listen to this podcast to hear about what other teachers have to say.

[00:46:53] There are other people doing interviews too. I forgot your victory, something. [00:47:00] There's another podcast that is talking and interviewing with teachers. Look into that. 

[00:47:04] It's Martin. He's Core Conversations podcast, and his handle is @personalvictory. I'll link him in the show notes. 

[00:47:13] Yes and keep expanding that. There's also different book clubs out there. I have a book called that's on pause right now, but it's a great professional development. There's actually one that was meeting today that you've been a part of. It's Book Club for Movers. And so there's just lots of opportunities. So there's a lot of paid stuff out there and yes, especially when you need continuing education credits, you need to go pay and go through that process and do the formal channels.

[00:47:43] When you're doing other professional development, you don't have to always pay for that. You could do an informational interview with a studio owner or a teacher that teaches rehabilitation clients or something like that. And there's lots of ways that you can form relationships that are reciprocal. [00:48:00] And then start learning from other people.

[00:48:03] And what's really cool is that people who are giving you mentorship or advice also learn from you. So it's a two way street. So you also want to feel that to find mentors that relate to you and that see you as a peer and a colleague. Because even if you're just starting out, you're still my peer and colleague, and I have so much to learn from you because you might have this fresh view of something that I am now just like, oh, I don't, I don't teach twist on the mat as much.

[00:48:32] And they're like, well, I've created all these variations and it's like, oh, okay. So, you know, there's so much that we can learn from each other. And it's important to not be stuck in a silo even if you teach individually or you're online or you're at a studio and you don't can interact with teachers that much go online. Go talk to people, get in their DMS, um, do it, you know, don't feel like, oh, this person would never talk to me. Cause they have like a [00:49:00] hundred thousand followers or they have 22,000 talk to them. They will- like if they don't, move on to someone else, but you can't assume someone's follower account means that they should be on a pedestal.

[00:49:12] It also doesn't mean that they know more than you to just to say that or that they're an expert. Um, that's an important thing one too, because there's a lot of people with a lot of followers who aren't even certified in anything. And that's something too, like Pilates is kind of the wild west. A lot of people don't even keep renewing their certification. Like I am about to do 12 CE continuing education credits and doing this vertical repertoire at a place called Body Harmonics. And to continue my certification, you know, cause I'm now two years in of having my certification in January. Ha hilarious. It's funny because I've been teaching since May, 2016. But I've only been certified for two years. That's why it's funny. And it's okay. 

[00:49:59] And, and [00:50:00] I'm a reminder to anyone go your own route. You have a job, you're raising a child, maybe you're pregnant right now. And you just want to start your mat training. I actually know someone who's doing that right now. Go your route. Even if you take three years to, like I did all the trainings back to back, you know, in like a three-month period, you don't have to do that. You can take time, you could even do another program and do a bridge program. There's all these different routes. So just know that whatever you do, it's not the end all be all. You don't have to just stop and go, oh, there's no route from here. Go talk to people. There's always a way forward. That's something I just know so deeply, that there's a way forward and connecting with other people will help you figure that out. 

[00:50:47] So what are some ways that listeners could potentially hang out with you and chat and maybe take class or to see what you're up?

[00:50:57] So definitely go to [00:51:00] @radpilates. I'm on Instagram. And then I also, there's a link in my bio and you can come to my class. I teach two live classes a week, a foam roller class. And foam roller class is all about mat Pilates and exploring mat body shapes with the foam roller. And then I do a Wednesday night class that's all about exploring that in variation. So maybe using a chair and doing Pilates with the chair, or just doing transitions between movements that maybe we don't always see. So it's a really fun class and it changes weekly. 

[00:51:36] And that's the thing it's like, you know, there's a lot of people in this area where you think, oh, you teach the same thing every time. I'm all about teach the mat series in the classical work. That's great. I think there's a time and place for that. I like, I'm really about building, um, neuroplasticity and learning. And if we are doing the same thing everyday, we're just flowing and that's muscle [00:52:00] memory, and we're going on kind of a recording, which is great. Cause then you'll find nuance within that. That is, that is wonderful. I'm not saying one's better than the other, but I'm really interested in learning and challenging myself to learn and creating these kinds of moments where I have to figure out what to do next and, um, on the spot. And so I like to change up my classes. So they are different every week. 

[00:52:23] We explore lots of different things, like ideas of getting up and down. They're all very practical ideas in my mind. And then maybe we do kind of not practical things to do. And get a little weird. I'm all about that. So I'm going to be launching, relaunching the book club in the start of next year. So definitely look at that. And then I have a website also launching soon, but the best way you can get a hold of me right now is going to Instagram at @radpilates. And yeah, I'd love to hang out with you. And even if you don't feel like coming to class or it doesn't work with your time zone, I also teach private [00:53:00] online classes and then we could also just chat. I have many a times had random zoom meetings with people and just hung out because why not? I'm primarily in virtual spaces now, and this is what I'm comfortable with right now. So, you know, we can schedule a meeting.

[00:53:22] I love it. Thank you so much for your time today, Rachel. Absolutely. Awesome chatting with you. You are so cool. 

[00:53:30] Thank you.

[00:53:39] 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 at @pilatesteachersmanual, and be sure to subscribe wherever you listen. For more Pilates goodness, check out my other podcast, Pilates Students' Manual, [00:54:00] available everywhere you listen to podcasts.

[00:54:02] The adventure continues. Until next time.