Are You Ready for Pilates Teacher Training?

Pilates instructor working with students
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Pilates has been one of the top fitness trends in the world for decades. That means that professional Pilates teachers are increasingly in demand. Has the possibility of becoming a Pilates instructor been rolling around in your mind? If so, let me assure you that you don't have to be young, thin, or the most agile or strong person in your class to move toward becoming an instructor. You do, however, have to have a passion for it—and not just for practicing Pilates, but for passing the knowledge on to others.

Don't be fooled. This isn't a quick path to a cool and easy job. It does take considerable time, tuition dollars, and a real commitment to training as a Pilates instructor. If you are serious about pursuing this rewarding career, take time to explore the many different teacher training organizations that exist. But before you go that far, there are a few questions you might want to ask yourself about the practical realities of being a Pilates instructor.

Use the following questions to help you decide whether or not teaching Pilates would be a good fit for you.

Are You a People Person?

Communication is paramount in Pilates instruction. Visual, verbal and kinesthetic communication is taking place between client and instructor all the time, making Pilates an intimate and interactive experience. Also, Pilates is very physical. Touch is almost always part of Pilates instruction, and it's certainly part of teacher training.

The bottom line is that you don't necessarily have to be an outgoing person to teach Pilates, but do you have to be willing to fully engage with your students.

If you can't bear to touch someone's sweaty back or bare feet, take a pause and re-evaluate.

Do You Like to Teach?

As with most disciplines, teaching is different than doing. Take a moment to consider whether you're just passionate about practicing Pilates (which is fantastic) or you are really interested in teaching. Teaching Pilates requires a lot of energy and attention that is focused on others. You might be surprised to learn that one of the most common complaints from Pilates instructors is that it's hard to find time to actually do Pilates themselves. Becoming a teacher doesn't mean you'll necessarily be working out more.

Are You Attracted to the Deeper Philosophies of the Pilates Method?

As a student, you can have a little bit of a take it or leave it attitude toward different aspects of the Pilates method. However, once you commit to teacher training, you are responsible for understanding the full depth and breadth of the Pilates method. That includes the body/mind integrative part of Pilates, as reflected in the Pilates principles, as well as exercise physiology and the history and culture of the method.

Are You Interested in Anatomy, Physiology, and the Inner Workings of the Body?

Be forewarned that good Pilates instructor training does not skimp on the science behind the movement. Once you complete your primary Pilates training you will be exposed to the vast array of continuing education courses. The best teachers continue their training for the rest of their professional careers.

Are You Self-Motivated?

It is possible that a new instructor could get hired full time, by a studio, with benefits, end of the story. But that is not a very common scenario. It is more likely that as a new instructor you will start part-time and build classes and private clients gradually. Depending on where you live and what contexts are available for you to teach in, you may have to do a lot of self-promotion and consumer education to get your career launched. If you can't imagine starting your own business, this career path may not be for you.

Now that you are thinking seriously about becoming a Pilates instructor, here are some steps you can take to make sure that you are well informed about this important decision.

  • Read "Pilates Instructor Certification Basics": This article will give you insight into the process of becoming a Pilates mat exercise instructor or an instructor with comprehensive equipment education.
  • Read "Issues in Pilates Certification": This is an article about how the release of the name "Pilates" from trademarked status changed the industry.
  • Talk to instructors and studio owners in your area: This process might be a little intimidating at first, but nothing beats the insights that can be gained from people who have direct experience in what you are interested in.
  • Research instructor training programsYou should look at the details of a variety of specific programs to get an idea of what kinds of instructor education are available.

Teaching Pilates can be an extraordinarily fulfilling part-time job or career choice. Even if some of your answers to the above questions were a tentative yes, go ahead and look further into the possibilities that Pilates teacher training might hold for you.

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