A Pilates Journey. Our Teacher Training Director’s Personal Story
Physical activity was something I have always enjoyed. It didn’t matter what sort of movement it was, as long as I was MOVING. I grew up playing tennis, loved running the boardwalk back home in Jersey, the sweaty thrills of a lifting a kettle bell, the freeing feeling of a Zumba class (…don’t judge, who doesn’t like Ricky Martin themed dance cardio!?) I needed to always be moving and my body and engaging my mind and muscles.
My own personal Pilates experience didn’t really start until Freshman year of college. My friends and I started taking Mat classes at the gym and I remember feeling in awe afterwards. It was one of the only workouts where I felt like I worked my body AND my brain. I was hooked. Intelligent movement, a healthy strong body, and a trimmer me.
Pilates became a staple to my weekly routine. I was loving my college life, Pilates and loved how I started picking up more cues and a deeper understanding of how a class can flow. Plus as the old adage goes, “in 20 sessions you see a difference!”
Teaching Pilates Considered
This isn’t just a blog post about my love affair with DOING pilates. This is a post about how I got started in this wonderful world of TEACHING pilates.
After college (shoutout to my Georgetown class of 2009) I worked at a lab reading neonatal statistics for research studies. While it was incredibly appealing to my inner science nerd, something was missing.
Next came a move back home to Jersey. A job as the Visiting Surgeon Program Coordinator. The Hospital was at the top of their field and watching the amazing surgeons was so fulfilling. To survive the stress of the new gig, I kept my Pilates practice strong, often counting down the minutes until my 6pm mat class. Day after day – work, 6pm Pilates. Repeat. I paid the bills, saw cool surgeries but once again found myself only looking forward to that 6pm mat class that concluded each day.
Two years abroad in Australia with the hubby got me even closer to Pilates. I was living my best life there taking Pilates every day. Especially fell head over heals in love with the Reformer. We returned to NYC. And so did my desk job. Hello creeping shoulders, hello tight hips.
Shortly after, I met Samone at a great little studio. Samone whooped me twice a week and got me so engrained in my own practice I found myself day dreaming about spinal alignment and using my core while I was at work dealing with countless “crisis” with visiting orthopedic surgeons. She taught me using the Tower apparatus, and she helped me find the joys of Push Through, the inner burn of leg springs, and the struggles of snake and twist on the Reformer.
It took one sentence to change the course. “Did you ever think about teaching, ” Samone asked.
Samone: “You love Pilates right?”
Me: “Yes. Duh. Obvi – with all of my soul.”
Samone: “How good do you feel when you do something challenging “
Me: “Freaking amazing.”
Samone: “Do you try and get your friends to join you and do Pilates so they feel freaking amazing?”
ME: “Yes. ALL THE TIME.”
Enter Core Pilates NYC
She recommended I start taking classes where she received her certificate of training – Core Pilates NYC – and discuss with their magical Education Director Sarah Ruback to gain a better understanding of what becoming an apprentice in their Comprehensive Immersion Program involved.
I started taking more classes at the studio; rushing to them after work – and trust me, anyone who has commuted from the upper upper east side down to Flatiron in rush hour knows that headache – and loving not just the classes but the instructors, their cues and the Method even more.
I spoke at length with instructors and Sarah. I realized you CAN make this a career with limitless possibilities. I was passionate about Pilates more than almost anything I’ve done before. I should do it. Even the hubs supported it (love you honeybuns).
Pilates Certification Time!
So, I enrolled in the 6-month Comprehensive program. 6-months of: beginner system, intermediate system, advanced, prenatal, teaching group mat classes, testing out, learning to teach, learning to cue, learning hands on! So many chances to find my voice, so many opportunities to gain confidence as not just an instructor, but as a person! Standing up and commanding a mat class, getting so precise on cuing a body on the Reformer… Those 6 months shaped me not just physically but mentally. Learning how to create sessions, progress clients, study anatomy, understanding pregnancy in the body – and so much more!
The way Core structures the program is that by the time you pass intermediate you actually can start going on auditions and *gasp* get a real teaching job at a studio. I was pretty nervous to try this but the guidance you get and the prep you receive from the faculty really does prepare you. I went on my first audition at Equinox w50th street and was hired on the spot. I started working three, 5-hour shifts right away. I eventually started taking on more shifts to accommodate more clients. I went on another audition and got hired at Asphalt Green for privates and mat classes. Things were going well. I quit my job at the hospital and made the move to make this my full time gig.
Preparedness is the Name of the Game
I was hustling and working it. Teaching was giving me such joy – I had tons of amazing clients who I helped get stronger, work on goals, help them achieve and then surpass them – it was such a fulfilling feeling.
Dont get me wrong- you WORK it as an instructor. BUT you make shifts, you work with people, you aren’t sitting all day – it truly was giving me exactly what I wanted in my life. Yes I am a morning person so I made my first client start at 5.30am. Why? Because you teach 4-hours then you’re done! I could take pilates. I could grocery shop at Whole foods without waiting for 47 minutes at the check out at 6.30pm on a Tuesday. I could check my schedule for the next day and try and squeeze more clients in if I wanted. I was the architect of my days. The architect to my schedule and ultimately my life.
After 4 years teaching I had solid shifts at Asphalt Green, solid clients at EQX, plus I was a full time coordinator for the Pilates department there. I had a team, a budget, and learned so much regarding management.
Rising Through the Ranks
I was sprinting back to Core after my EQX shift ( I routinely continued taking classes at Core as it was my Zen space, my continuing education hub AND gave me my daily dose of joy and butt kicking in one setting) – when I serendipitously bumped into Michelle, Core’s founder.
The studio was transitioning some upper management roles. Sarah had left as education director and there was a void that needed to be filled. I felt a tug at my heart – this is it. This was my next step. I have management experience now. I could be back at my home base where it all began.
I asked. She accepted . Done 🙂
So where am I now?
I am back at the mother ship and I’m part of the family AGAIN but this time I get to help all our apprentices who enroll in the course feel and fulfill the dreams that I had when I first started. I get to see their voice change and gain confidence. I get to see them rock mat classes, pass test outs, and land their first pilates gig.
I love my job. I love Pilates. Making the change back in 2014 was hands down the best decision of my life. I have zero regrets and every day I come into the studio. take a Pilates class OF COURSE :), and sit at my desk. I open an email from someone considering training with us and a can’t help but smile a bit. They too are taking the first steps in starting their new life…