Pilates 101 In Your Own Words | Originally Published February 16, 2007

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 | I still give my now-famous Pilates 101 lecture to every single client I work with, almost all the teachers I’ve worked with have adopted their own version of it.  Mine continues to evolve, I still have all the paper and electronic versions I reference in this 2007 piece and I love going back over them so I can see the arc of my own process and progress.

My 100% spine safe, 100% functional, 100% authentic Portfolio Pilates program integrates the information conveyed in a Pilates 101 lecture into every session and group.

Questions or need help?

I’m right here.

educationconspiracy@gmail.com

+1 206 963 0755

_________________________________

 

Friday, February 16. 2007

Pilates 101 In Your Own Words

 

Tom Petro, authentically trained teacher, writes:

I am a Pilates Instructor here in Reading , PA and  I just read your Pilates-Pro article “Pilates 101 for New Clients” (www.Pilates-Pro.com).   It sounds like a great idea. Do you have copies or E-mail of your lecture so I can use yours as a basis to form my own (I’m terrible at writing that kind of thing).

The Pilates Nun responds:

Hey Tom, I was born in Steubenville, Ohio – we’re practically neighbors!

I’m going to totally hook you up but before I do, some praise is in order.

Good for you for realizing the value of orienting your clients to the work and for wanting to develop your own Pilates 101. I am also impressed by your ability to be candid about your writing skills; I’m certain you’re a way better writer than you think.

I’m going to set out an easy process for you to use in creating your very own Pilates 101 lecture but I’m NOT going to wholesale give you mine.  Here’s why.

 

My Pilates 101 consists of my words, it sounds like me, it articulates my research, my understanding of the work, my personal experience with it, it supports the mission of my teaching and that of my studio and school.  Every session I teach, and I mean every single one, supports my own Pilates 101 lecture.  

My path to Pilates 101. 

To develop the basic content of my Pilates 101, I spent the 10 months during my primary training researching and I read thousands of pages from many, many books, articles and studies.  Once I had the beginning version down pat, it took another year or two to tweak it into what’s ended up being absolutely perfect for me and my studio.  And I’m still adjusting as I continue to learn and expand my library; I just recently added 3 pictures from a cadaver book (balanced psoas, imbalanced psoas and a cross-section between L3 and L4 that shows the quad support of the psoas and multifidi – thrilling!). 

I’ve got the anatomy portion on Power Point and I show that either on my laptop or studio computer, we’ve got 2 complete copies on individual pieces of paper that we can flip through sitting side by side with our client, I’ve got it pasted up on a fold-out display board like you’d set up on a table top and I can even go old school and show it on overhead slides when I’ve got a big group and no data projector.

I’ve given my Pilates 101 hundreds of time to individuals and to audiences of up to 80 or so people.  It took three years of working side by side with me day in and day out for Sister Heidi Sidekick, the fabulous Miss Heidi Byrnes, to feel comfortable enough with the information to give our Pilates 101 lecture.  To date, Heidi is the only teacher I’ve ever employed who’s cared enough to thoroughly learn the technical stuff and to develop her own communication skills so that she can sit anyone down and get them through it quickly and effectively.  God Bless Heidi!

Most of our Pilates 101 presentations are 10 minutes or less but occasionally, when clients are super detail oriented or injury specific, they can last 15 or 20 minutes.  We also dip back into our anatomy slides often as we teach established clients, pulling out the pictures to go over the details more clearly – we’re a visual culture and seeing what’s inside really helps most folks. 

 

 

Your Path to Pilates 101. 

Your Pilates 101 can come much more quickly than mine if you are content to go strictly with what you know today and let the rest unfold and develop as you continue to learn.

The only unequivocal element of your uniquely successful Pilates 101 is that it be true to yourself, your style, your wisdom, your spirit. 

Don’t you dare worry about technology – I mean it!  It’s there to help you, not freak you out!  If you don’t have the required computer skills to set it up in PowerPoint, simply photocopy pertinent pages from any book you’re referencing and flip through the photocopies with your client sitting by your side – low tech is beautiful!

And I know, no matter what you think about your ability to come up with the right thing to say, once you know the gist of it, the words will come and they’ll perfectly articulate your unique abilities as a teacher. 

Suggested Pilates 101 Basics. 

Here are the basics of what it should, at a minimum, include and I’ve found, after a whole lot of switch-a-roo-ing, this order seems to most closely follow most clients’ mental path through the information.

  1. Introduction – a bit about Joe & Clara, the industry being unregulated, your training and general philosophy of teaching.  In my Pilates 101, this takes about 1 – 2 minutes.
  2. Anatomy of Pilates – show pictures of the Powerhouse muscles (transversus, multifidi, primary hip flexors, diaphragm, pelvic floor), explain briefly how they work, how to engage them, their role in structural stability, strength, physical health and performance.  You can tailor this part of the lecture to each client’s specific goals.  Demonstrate on your own body the engagement of the transversus and multifidus, do some knee floats and stirs the right and wrong way to show the proper and smooth deployment of the hip flexors and you can also easily demonstrate the Pilates open chain principle of body weight against gravity =  resistance.  It’s show and tell!  In my Pilates 101, this takes 6 – 8 minutes.
  3. What to expect from a dedicated Pilates practice – make sure you explain that Pilates is not a substitute for cardio, strength or endurance training.  Discuss frequency so their expectations are in line with what we know as being possible.  In my Pilates 101, this takes 1 – 2 minutes.

Speaker Beware! 

As all good teachers know, you are responsible for how you’re heard and that is never more important than at the beginning of relationships.  If you do not yet truly understand the work and/or you’re not yet an accomplished speaker beyond the parroting style most primary training programs out of necessity encourage (because they’re too big, too busy, too impersonal), it’s best for your ego and self esteem to percolate a while on your Pilates 101 before subjecting yourself to what will be certain failure. 

Do not overload.  Pilates 101 should not result in glazing.  With every word out of your Pilates 101 mouth, make sure your cilent is with you and ready for what’s next.  Make sure you ask all along the way if what you’re saying is making sense to them and if they have any questions.

Your very own Pilates 101 is on the way!!

Tom, you’ve got an interesting project ahead of you and I know you can do it.  Make a schedule to work on it over the next couple of weeks, practice with friends and supportive clients to work out the kinks and before you know it, you’ll be super comfortable with it.  Best of all, your clients will be well prepared for what to expect from the work and the way you teach it, your book will be more stable and the world will be a better place.  The Pilates world, at least, which is saying quite a lot.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

 

Pilates 101 In Your Own Words | Originally Published February 16, 2007

In the Beginning | Originally Published November 1, 2006

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 | Our wonderful friend Basil died in September 2016, and when I searched for his obituary online, here’s what I found:

Screen Shot 2017-02-01 at 11.37.39 AM

 

How odd that #1 on the Google search results was none other than my 2006 pilatesnun post which mentions Basil.  Regardless of how curious I am about the legitimacy of that ranking, I decided to dig into my pilatesnun archive and unearth the referenced piece which appears, in its entirety, below.

Consistent with my philosophy of content generation, the value of the piece remains significant regardless of the insanity that has transpired in our industry in the ensuing 10+ years since its original publication.

RIP Basil.

RIP Romana.

RIP the integrity of the Pilates industry.

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Wednesday, November 1, 2006

In The Beginning . . .

 

In order to properly understand the genesis and evolution of Pilates, you simply must get Joe’s books and read them. Each is a one-night read yet they’re both very long on meaning and by reading them, you’ll understand how he wanted his work, his method, used.

If you think Pilates is a discreet physical experience, reading Return to Life and Your Health will immediately cure you of that silly notion. Reading Joe’s books are the very best way for you to begin to know Joe and to use him to help figure out how you, in your brilliantly perfect uniqueness, fit into the ever-broadening world of Pilates.

The main goal of the Pilates Nun is to help you find yourself in this work and, believe it or not, Joe and Clara are the best people to help us on our way to achieving that goal. It’s definitely all about Joe & Clara.

I’m not sure this will work, after all, I’m the Pilates Nun, not the Pilates Geek, but I think, I hope, I pray here are links to the Amazon entry for Joe’s books. Should these links deliver you deep into my personal Amazon account, please buy your books on my studio account – not my personal one – so I can expense them! Kidding! Yikes!

http://www.amazon.com/Your-Health-Corrective-Exercising-Revolutionizes/ dp/096149378X/sr=1-1/qid=1162169704/

 

ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-3562790-2753706?ie=UTF8&s=books

http://www.amazon.com/Pilates-Return-Life-Through-Contrology/

 

dp/0961493798/sr=1-2/qid=1162169810/ref=sr_1_2/

 

102-3562790-2753706?ie=UTF8&s=books

Buy them now and when you receive them, read them right away.

Brief sermon: If you’re going to be the best Pilater you can be, you’re going to have to be effective and efficient in all things. And that begins with this. Right here. Right now. Get the books. When they come, read them right away. Amen.

To hear Joe’s voice through those books is to glimpse his genius and his frustration. You’ll clearly sense his passion, the forcefulness of his will and his famous charasmatic style as he gives example after example of the benefits, great and small, of his method.

The overarching thesis of Joe’s books is that his method of exercise creates and supports a happy, healthy and long life. Whole body health and wellness is what we’d call it today, but Joe used a ton of words to say the the same thing; practice his exercises faithfully and the benefits of your very best life will automatically flow.

 

Beyond his books, both Joe and Clara had a whole bunch to say and they were both interviewed extensively over the years, especially in the 1950s and 1960s. Thanks to the generosity of Gail Anderson, www.BalanceWithinPilates.com, a marvelously gifted teacher and a mentor of mine, I have copies of a bunch of those articles. It is my sincere intention to post those many articles in their glorious entirety right here on Pilates Nun but it is a huge job, I said it’s a HUGE JOB, to secure permission from the many publications. And, some of the most interesting articles have been copied so many times they no longer include publication information; I don’t even know whose permission to ask.

Until I have the time or dedicated help (apprentice project, anyone?) to secure the absolutely necessary proper legal permission, I’m simply going to pull quotes for you so you can get an idea of Joe & Clara’s mission as they articulated it beyond his books.

The Pilates Nun would never, ever break the law but the relatively minimal use of quotes is perfectly permissible so that’s the way we’ll go until the gift of time is visited upon me. Pray for that, will you?

Here are just a couple of my favorite Joe & Clara quotes followed by my reasons for loving them.

 

Quotes

“How can we have world peace? No one is happy. No one is healthy. Not one man in the United Nations can do my first five exercises!”

Joe Pilates, The Eighth Avenue “Contrologist” by Evelyn S. Ringold, New York/Herald Tribune, January 5, 1964.

This article was published about 3 years before Joe’s death and I absolutely love how strident he is, even well into his 80s, about the link that exists between health, happiness and the larger issues in life and in the world, in this case world peace. And, as someone who loves the matwork above all else, I love that his “first five exercises” clearly refers to a basic mat routine.

The next quote is from Clara.

“I was trained as a nursery and kindergarten teacher. All my life I have thought of myself as a mother. I was the oldest in a family of nine, and people have always felt they could depend upon me like a nurse. This work came naturally to me.”

Pilates Bodies article by Toni Kosover, publication unknown. Clara Pilates at “either 89 or 90.”

How could she have put it any more clearly? Clara’s maternal traits were satisfied through her part in the creation of this work and, indeed, her motherly caring and kindness were at the substantial center of her relationships within the studio. It’s such a noble goal; to care about our client relationships in the same elemental way a mother cares about a child or a nurse cares about a patient.

Another one from Clara, and this time it’s from a personal letter that ended up in the public archives. It’s dated March 12, 1941, and it’s addressed to “Dearest Miss Ruth,” and in it Clara writes:

“Thanking you very much for your invitation for March 14th. Of course we will be there!

Joe gave me the order to bowl (sic) you out for not having been in the studio for so long, believe it or not, I don’t know how to do it so I think it is better to leave this to the big strong He-Man Himself.

We are anxiously looking forward for a delightful hour with you!

With love and admination, Joe and Clara”

How personally revealing and utterly adorable is this? Clara’s famed sensitivity transfers beautifully to her writing and she’s able to convey both sincere appreciation for a invitation as well as relaying disappointment from the “He-Man” about Ruth’s absence from the studio. And my favorite part is how Clara innocently admits she simply doesn’t know how to reprimand.

And this last one (for now) is from Joe’s obituary as it appeared in Dance Magazine.

 

“You feel depressed? Forget it. Get to work!”

Joe Pilates. From Joe’s obituary in Dance Magazine, November 1967.

Not to minimize the seriousness of depression and the great lengths many go to for treatment, but Joe believed if you just moved and kept moving almost everything would be fine.

So it’s the late 1960s and now what?

Now what, indeed.

How the work transferred from Joe to those who carried it forward into today’s modern market is the perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the social history of Pilates. Do you know any of these stories? Do you care? You should.

Lengthy Sermon: Precious and dear lambs of God, you must know that misinformation plagues our industry and you must know that misinformation happens for a variety of reasons and you must know that sometimes people who are really good souls, truly wonderful people, become perpetuators of misinformation either out of ignorance or on purpose to serve their own interests or because they do not have the skills, the nerve, or perhaps the energy or the time to correct or fix the misinformation.

Should you learn of misinformation here, through your Pilates Nun, and should you learn that someone you respect has knowingly or unknowingly perpetuated that misinformation, do not dispair. My very purpose and the essence of my service to you is such that I will help you understand how this can happen and I will help you find ways to still respect the misinformer, no matter who he or she may be.

We must all get along and we all must find common ground. We must. Do 5 Roll Ups.

Much in our past is undocumented. We rely on the highly fallable human memory which deteriorates with age and we rely on the retelling of stories which often shift over time. We must trust the story teller, yes, but we must also be aware of changing stories, shifting “facts” and we must, with appropriate love and respect, scrutinize the story teller.

There is a reason I write for myself as the Nun and not under an editor and certainly not for a magazine. The reason is that, writing this way, I can lay it all out, just as I’ve researched it, just as I’ve been told it and in my own time and in my own way.

In depth and factual with unbiased analysis . . . that’s my motto. My sources are revealed and my motivation is transparent.

I want the truth. I want it for Joe & Clara, I want it for myself and I want it for you, whether or not you know, whether or not you care.

Sermon over; back to our history.

To minimize the most significant transition in technical and emotional ownership of our work by casually saying the work passed from Joe at his death to Romana, or to say, as Romana often does, that Joe “left” or “willed” her the work, is wrong, wrong, wrong. Do 10 Teasers.

Prior to Joe’s passing in ’67 and in an effort to secure his legacy, Joe asked more than one long-time client/teacher to take over his studio. We have no proof – no letter of intent, no contract, nothing in writing – of who Joe asked but at least three of our “First Generation Teachers” have said that Joe asked them to run his studio.

Ron Fletcher and Eve Gentry had already moved on to LA and Santa Fe, respectively, so when Joe asked Romana Kyrzanowska, who was still in NY, a succession plan of sorts evolved and that’s how Romana came to work along side Clara in succeeding Joe. Romana eventually took over the studio completely once Clara was no longer able to keep a schedule.

And we all, each and every one of us, owe Romana a debt of gratitude so great that we will never be able to fully repay it. Simply put, our industry would not be what it is today without her. Now, that can be said about several of our leaders, but what I’m talking about here is that without Romana, our industry would be unrecognizable from what it is today. I’m talking vastly different and without the historic work at its center.

During those pivotal years while all of Joe’s other top teachers were out in the world doing great things, Romana stayed put in NY and she taught like the war-worn soldier that she is. She trained many brilliant teachers and although she continued to make lousy, expensive and embarrassing choices about business and business partners, she was a rock and she held our entire industry together when nobody else could or would. For that, she has my respect and she deserves yours.

God Bless Romana.

But now, well into her 80s, Romana’s become a Pilates revisionist.

Before I lay out specific examples, let’s decide to not get upset about this or anything else. After all, your Pilates Nun is all about peace and happiness and getting along with each other. No spikes in blood pressure, no running for the vodka. It’s not worth it. Besides . . . there but by the grace of God go I, go we and go us.

Lord willing, we’ll all live to be her age and perhaps we too will occasionally struggle with the “facts.” In exchange for the enjoyment of the benefits from decades of her selfless labor, join me in giving Romana and any other of our 1stGen’ers the benefit of the doubt. I forgive her these departures from the truth because I can still watch her and listen to her objectively and I can point out to anyone who cares to listen when she’s wrong and when she’s right.

Taking total responsibility for my own thinking and the formation of my own beliefs about this work allows me to be kind to those with whom I disagree. If discussing the “issues” in our industry brings about in you something approaching apoplectic rage, you might consider getting some help – it’s not normal, it’s not healthy and it’s not helping anything or anybody.

Try doing it like me.

I am not a parrot and I do not dutifully repeat what I’m told. I think for myself, I’m in charge of what I believe and what I question and if I’m wrong, it’s my fault, not anyone else’s.

I stick to the facts, I stick to what I know and the all the rest of it very easily takes care of itself. This simple plan of action works for everyone. Truth is easy. Truth is brilliant. Truth brings peace. Praise the Lord!

Should you have fallen prey to blind trust, here’s a little something just for you.

Let us pray: Lord, keep me from abdicating my own inquiring intelligence. Keep me from blindly believing every word out of Romana’s – or anyone else’s – mouth. Help me look for proof. Help me find out if there’s a self-interest angle. Help me develop my own trusted sources. Help me become a trusted source. Above all, help me use my God given common sense in this and all matters. Amen.

Here are a couple of examples of Revisions by Romana.

Romana and her followers believe she is the only person entitled to Joe’s work and that all subsequent teachers who hope for legitimacy must be trained through her organization. She has made this claim for years and she makes this claim on the strength of her version of Pilates provenance.

Romana frequently says that Joe “left her” or “willed her” his studio and his work. She’s brazen; she’s even put it in writing. Romana penned a letter in 1993 endorsing a teacher she’d trained and in that letter, which was widely circulated and yes, the Pilates Nun has a copy of it, she stated that “when Mr. Pilates died he willed both his Method and Studio to me.”

This is untrue. It’s a self-serving lie that only helps to falsely create and falsely enlarge Romana’s standing in a business market that’s she’s chosen to separate from and, as a consequence of her self-imposed isolation, is leaving her behind.

And in the telling of such nonsense, repeatedly and over many years, she disrespects Clara’s 10 year survivorship of Joe and she also disrespects all those who helped, loved and sheltered Clara in the last years of her life.

When Romana tries to create exclusivity or rarity in her credentials, she opens the door for scrutiny.

Romana’s 15 year absence from the Pilates Studio from 1944 to 1959 begs for comparison with the other first-generation teachers, each of whom experienced continuity in working with Joe and Clara well beyond Romana.

The dates I cite are from the findings in the Pilates, Inc. vs. Current Concepts, Inc. decision, which also states that Joe did not leave a will.

Precious Lamb of God, if you have not read this document, you must. It’s as important to your understanding of our history as reading Joe’s books.

You can find it at http://www.pilates.com/html_files/resources/aboutpilates/pilates-decision.pdf,

Related to but not in direct conflict with the misinformed Romana version of our shared history is the one Ron Fletcher brings forth. On his website, www.Fletcherwork.com, Ron shares copies of letters from Clara Pilates which give us a glimpse into the intimacy of their relationship and Clara’s hopes for the future of “Contrology.”

And it’s clear in Clara’s letters that if anyone was given this work, it was Ron. Clara told him he was the right person to carry it forward and to protect it and to expand it. And Clara told Ron that in letters dated 1971 and 1972.

Do you see any significance in the timing of Clara’s letters to Ron?

Here’s the line that connects the dots: In the several years following Joe’s death in 1967 and while Romana was running Joe’s studio, Clara wrote letters of support and encouragement to Ron Fletcher telling him that he was the best person to foster the Pilates Method.

Ron has shared with the world Clara’s actual letters to him so we can all see, and we can all know, the truth. Reading these letters is super important to your understanding of our history. Go to Fletcherwork.com, click on Ron’s bio, then on Clara’s letters.

And, in the letter under the “Quotes” section above where Clara admits that she’s unable to reprimand, she gives us a clue as to why she didn’t directly address Romana about any preference Clara may have had as Romana continued running Joe’s studio in the years that Clara survived Joe.

Romana has also stated, authoratively and unequivocally – and yes, your Pilates Nun has heard her say it – that Joe & Clara had no immediate or extended family. But we know from the Clara quote above that Clara was one of 9 children. And immediately after venturing outside the Romana force field that was my primary training, I learned about Clara’s family here in the US and even met them at the PMA conference a few years ago. If that’s not family, what is?

Again, Romana does not need to falsely inflate her importance or contribution to our industry. She totally rocks just by being who she is and having done what she has. She can relax.

Another less impactful untruth that Romana is at least partially responsible for has to do with the hiring of Gratz Industries.

In the past 6 months, I’ve read twice in Pilates Style magazine that Romana hired Gratz after she’d taken over Joe’s studio. In the December 2006 issue, page 36, in the interview with the smart & lovely Colleen Glenn, the story goes “While Gratz became the first manufacturer of Pilates’ equipment after the founder’s death, the door opened for others to create and improve upon the original apparatuses.”

This is not true; Joe personally hired Gratz in the 1960s.

I met Basil Blecher, President of Gratz Industries, in 2000 when I was in my primary training program. Basil is a great guy, loads of integrity and he always, always tells the truth. The Pilates Nun is very curious about all things and I always ask lots of questions about everything and I wondered how Basil’s company became part of the Pilates legend.

What he told me then back in 2000 is the same thing he re-verified for me when I phoned him for confirmation the morning of October 30, 2006. It’s the truth, then, now and always. Here it comes.

Gratz is and has always been a high-end metal fabricator and in the early 1960s they were called to Joe’s studio to work on a handrail of some sort. While Mr. Gratz was there taking measurements and assessing the job, Joe asked if Mr. Gratz would be interested in manufacturing Joe’s equipment. The Mr. Gratz that was in the original Pilates studio that day was the grandfather of the Mr. Gratz that is Basil’s business partner today. Gratz worked off of Joe’s original plans for the equipment, and those original blueprints were signed by Joe. Basil places the year at 1963 or 1964.

That’s the truth.

But can you see that other equipment manufacturers may benefit if they are able to create the perception that none superseded another?

Gratz was first. Gratz was hired by Joe. It matters. It counts. It’s the truth.

But it doesn’t in any way discredit or demean the excellent work subsequent manufacturers have done and are continuing to do.

And, it’s important to be reasonable in our expectations.

Pilates Style magazine is not going to print these types of corrections. They rely on peaceful relationships with advertisers and if they alienate even one major spender, survival of the magazine is in jeopardy. As we say in the South, don’t poke the bear.

I can’t enforce ethics on anyone else, I can only do my part to be honest and teach the truth; as such, I do not expect the magazine to fix these types of things. I expect to fix them myself, and I expect all those who care about the truth to help in that effort. Can I get a witness?

And these types of deviations from the truth are an example of a serious problem we have in our industry, and in our culture generally,and it has to do with how much is enough.

Just as all good studios are busy and even good teachers within bad studios are busy, all good equipment manufacturers are doing well.

There’s room for us all. We don’t have to put one down to elevate another. We don’t. We shouldn’t. And any reward we enjoy if we do is false.

And much farther down the impact list of mistruths comes this.

There a Romana incursion into the name-claim of equipment, albeit obscure.

In 2005. I ordered a Gratz Breath-a-cizer and when it arrived I was shocked to see “Romana’s Breath-a-cizer” etched on it. I called Basil and said “yo, s’up with this Romana stuff?” (the Nun is definitely street). To which he said, she’d gotten to Donald Gratz years ago, asked for the change, Donald agreed to it and it’s been the Romana Breath-a-cizer ever since. It’s Joe’s Breath-a-cizer, not Romana’s, and putting her name on it is wrong. I asked permission to return it and he graciously allowed me to send it back.

It seems like a small thing, but there’s linkage that extends further up the chain.

I will not support Romana taking credit for something she did not invent. I wonder why her own achievement aren’t enough for her. I wonder why she feels the need to encroach on Joe’s. I wonder.

So, you can see with matters great and small, it’s important that someone is the keeper of the truth.

There are many influential leaders and innovators among us – who’s to say there’s not another Joe among us? – but of utmost importance is that we know where we came from. Without someone holding firm to that truth, shifting versions will distort us and what we lose will change what we become.

I have a bias and it’s to Joe & Clara.

There’s room in this vast industry for us all. There’s room, at all levels of the spectrum, for good teachers and kind souls. There’s a place for the part-timers. There’s a place for the obsessed. There’s a place for the innovator. There’s a place for the traditional. There’s room. Welcome one, welcome all. No need for trying to shoulder your way in front. Relax. Breathe. Settle in and settle down.

Instead of trying to one up your fellow Pilater, how about trying to help them. How about trying to be your best by helping others be their best. What a revolution we could start. I say, bring it on. I say, be part of it. I say, through us Joe & Clara live the good and strong life in peace, in relevance, in perpetuity. Amen!

And to finish up with this abbreviated version of our history . . . after Joe’s, then Clara’s passing, schools started up, groups organized, branches formed, some people rose and other people fell, stuff happened, tears were shed, money was wasted, millions were made, some people got sober, others burned out, word spread and in the blink of an eye, it was 2000, the Pilates Method Alliance formed and our industry began its journey to legitimacy and we’re all part of the history that is to follow.

The section titled State of the Industry will pick it up from this point on, so patiently await its posting.

Until then, carry on the Lord’s work, recite the principles of Pilates 3 times, do 10 Teasers and take a nap. Amen.
in In the Beginning at 13:25

In the Beginning | Originally Published November 1, 2006

State of the Industry | Originally Published October 8, 2007

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 |  This epic piece is still valid except for, sadly, the PMA changed its mission and is no longer the least bit interested in establishing accuracy, safety or effectiveness standards for Pilates teacher training “schools” but, don’t despair, I am more interested in it than ever.   Stay tuned.

 

Monday, October 8. 2007

State of the Industry

 

Forward

 

10/4/07

Hotel Aldobrandini

Florence, Italy

In finalizing this piece, I was at once amazed, shocked and disgusted to realize that I began writing it over a year ago. I’ve been behind before, but this redefines my idea of “late!”

I wrote the outline for it in September ‘06, I substantively filled in the first half of it by the end of ‘06, I rounded out the next quarter of it on a weekend train trip to Portland to see the Sonics last road game in April ’07 (we lost) and now, in early October, I’m finally finishing it, all 6836 words, in Italy. Truth!

I spent last week in Venice, the world’s most gorgeous city. Bellinis at Harry’s Bar and people watching in San Marco? No way, I’ve got a Nun post to finish! Two days ago, I moved to Florence, the heart of the Renaissance but forget the David, I’m sequestered in my room, writing, praying, doing intermediate mat on my bed, swattin’ skeetas and occasionally bustin’ a move when my favorite Black Eyed Peas songs queue up on my Shuffle. I only leave my makeshift office for 2 meals and 3 gelati a day – my guess is that my brand new muffin top is 100% gelato!

As I write this long overdue post about our current state of affairs, I am filled with hopes and dreams for our industry, for you and your place in it, for me and my endless desire to continue to learn about it, and for all of us together to continue to live in the spirit of Joe & Clara.

God’s blessings on you and yours, thank you for your patience and please let me know your thoughts.

 

State of the Industry

An Overview

Welcome to the jungle. AC/DC

Did you read about the Washington DC judge who sued his dry cleaner for $54 million dollars over a lost pair of trousers? http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=pants20&date=20070920&query=dry+cleaners+sued+by+judge

Thank God he doesn’t do Pilates.

Imagine an industry where physical risks abound yet consumers have absolutely no reliable way to determine which providers are even minimally qualified.

Imagine an industry where consumers’ uninformed assumption of practitioner competence coupled with their own desire to buy the service offered stokes the pipeline at even the most unprofessionally, even illegally run businesses.

Add a cast of overdeveloped, overexposed divisive characters who refuse to exit stage left, mix in a cadre of leaders who rule with muddled minds and front transparent biases then top it all off with a dysfunctional social history that’s a mash up of Sex in the City, the Sopranos and Valley of the Dolls, and, dear people, we’ve arrived . . . welcome to the world of Pilates!

And not only have we arrived, but we’re all here together – the good, the bad, the ugly – and we’re all part of this industry equally and indivisibly. The highest lifts us all, the lowest depresses us all. I am you, you are me, we are it.

Do Mary Bowen’s Balloon Breathing!

 

Our Link to the Past

Save the Drama for Yo’ Mamma

State of the Industry: There is unprecedented and highly visible cooperation among all levels of teaching and industry-related commerce. There is also discord, from slight to serious and both public and private.

Have you noticed the dissention in the world of Pilates, especially at the top and by top I mean first generation teachers? Even though it’s not widespread among that esteemed group, it is plainly obvious because the main perpetrator of it is blatant in her display of it. And in addition to the one major rift, there also exists discord of a more minor nature.

All of it – the big and the small, the bold and the oblique – is equal in my mind and guess what?

There’s a precedent in our industry for this type of behavior. Joe himself was guilty of it and so I guess it’s not surprising that some of his disciples carry on that most embarrassing, deplorable aspect of our history.

Simply put, the divisiveness we witness among our beloved first generation teachers must stop . . . and it will.

Eventually.

One way or another.

An eternal optimist, I remain hopeful that our first generation teachers will take advantage of the powerful opportunity they have to lead us to righteousness, to demonstrate their emotional maturity and intellectual depth by healing their relationships themselves, but if they don’t cure the divisiveness themselves by rising above their differences, it’ll still be taken care of but in a much more passive way.

Personal responsibility is the over-arching message of this article but this is one problem that is most definitely going to be solved even without anyone taking responsibility for it.

I apologize if talking directly about people dying is offensive, viewed as disrespectful or is in bad taste. I intend no disrespect.

We’re all going to die and the only real mystery about it is the timing of said death.

Timing is everything! I also realize that there is no particular order to such things.

That said, here’s something we all can agree on: It’s impossible to maintain a disagreement, no matter how intense, after we’re dead. So, if not before, once our most senior leaders pass on from this fantastic and wonderful world, their particular controversies will disappear right along with them and it will fall to those who outlive them to repair any residual damage.

Cleaning up the mess will not be pleasant but it must be done. Until then, let’s work together to minimize the damage.

Here’s what I propose: For those of us who do not own any aspect of these disagreements, rifts and grudges, let’s agree to steer clear of them at all cost. Let’s also realize that when conflict happens – and it will and it should and it’s natural and normal that it does – we must use our best skills to manage it, we must be gentle with each other and know that only by working together do we stand a chance of surviving the type of exponential growth our industry is experiencing, with all of us together, successful and productive on the other side.

Let’s promise ourselves and each other that our commitment to getting along with each other, to building each other up and helping each other out will override any temptation to front issues that are not ours.

Deal? Deal!

While we need to be aware of such unpleasant things, we also need to honor our most experienced teachers – even the ones who exhibit deplorable behavior – and that may pose a challenge because we’re often tempted to throw out the baby with the bathwater. In this case, that would be a mistake because we only have so many first-hand accounts of this work and we need to maximize our exposure to them while they still exist.

This may help you figure out productive ways you can learn from each of our beloved first generation teachers, in spite of the derision that exists among them.

Personally, I aspire to emulate the grace, cooperative spirit and soothing styles of Mary Bowen and Lolita San Miguel, the technical wisdom, physical elegance and long-lived passion for teaching of Ron Fletcher, the perseverance, humor and problem solving ability of Kathy Grant and to be able to tolerate a hangover as well as Romana.

These are all positive aspirations, they are all things I need to work on and they are all ways I can appreciate, respect and be inspired by our industry’s most esteemed leaders.

These leaders should be guides for you, too, so think about what you’d like to learn from each of them, research their websites or their work online, catch them at a conference or register for one of their weekend workshops and get your own first-hand dose of first generation magic while it’s still around.

And to guard against following in their footsteps in less admirable ways, when push comes to shove in our own sheltered studio lives, it definitely helps to remember that the market is vast and there is room enough for us all regardless of which lineage we follow or innovate off of. There is enough business to go around. Relax. Do whatever it takes for you to regain perspective. Above all, be nice.

Consumer Protection & the Teaching of Pilates

Houston, We Have a Problem

State of the Industry: The Pilates industry is unregulated, entirely, completely, totally.

The fact that our industry is unregulated is a huge problem and anyone who says it isn’t has probably made millions of dollars in our unregulated market and is financially threatened at the idea of change. Follow the money!

Can you think of a single valid argument against regulation in an industry where the physical risks are this great?

In its simplest form, there is absolutely no doubt that if there were consumer protections in place there would be fewer client injuries and insurance losses would decrease.

I’m going to expound greatly on the finer points of the issue of regulation, but from the outset I want to be clear that, more important than any of other aspect of this complex and emotional topic, there can be no adequate compensation when someone suffers an injury as a result of teacher negligence.

The conscientious teacher is forever changed, studio ownership is potentially financially ruined and the staff and clients of the studio are also damaged, albeit indirectly. Our entire industry suffers, right along with injured client, at the hands of incompetent teachers.

Worse still, the most rapidly growing segment of this work is in gyms where the quality of instruction is greatly compromised if for no other reason than because of the group class model.

But the lack of consumer protection extends well beyond the point of sale for the discreet service, e.g. a Pilates session, and when you realize that teacher training programs are also unregulated you begin to understand the magnitude of the lack of regulation in such a rapidly growing industry.

Beyond advocating for regulation of the teaching of Pilates, I also advocate for the regulation of teacher training centers. Period.

To try and make sense of all this, let’s start where all Pilates sessions begin, or should anyway, which is with a well-trained teacher.

Leading the Way to Industry Standards,

Leadership & Organization

Alex, What is the Pilates Method Alliance?

State of the Industry: There are no mandatory standards for the teaching of Pilates or the operation of teacher training centers.

The Pilates Method Alliance formed in 2000 and its mission is to create professional standards for our industry, to preserve the historic work and to inform the public about the nature of our industry. That is a hugely powerful mission and each aspect of it is critically important to the overall success of the industry.

The PMA is a membership-based not-for-profit organization and as such, the work of the organization can only gain traction when its membership is robust both in numbers, financial support and purpose.

If you are not a member of the PMA, join now. And by now I mean now, as in right now. Go to www.PilatesMethodAlliance.org and sign up. We’ll wait right here for you.

I want to be perfectly clear about the fact that I was a huge PMA supporter years before I accepted a seat on its Board of Directors.

When I joined the industry back in 2000 and began learning about the challenges we face and the role the PMA can play in solving them, I knew I would be a strong supporter of the organization. The PMA has been, and remains, our best chance at a strong, vibrant, independent and successful professional industry.

Being involved as a member, conference attendee, conference presenter and since November 2006, as a Board member, I’ve learned a whole lot about how the organization works, what it can and can’t do, and how I can best use my time and efforts to support it. By the time I step down in November ’07 to resume my focus on PMA committee work and service in a less restrictive way, I will have served on the Board for a year.

You’ll hear me speak both critically and glowingly about the efforts of the PMA. Just because I am a long-time supporter of the organization, have served on the Board and am a member does not mean I can’t cause a ruckus, make a fuss and generally agitate on behalf of my own agenda.

That’s the beauty of a membership organization; become a member and your voice is heard, serve on a committee and you become a leader, sit on the Board and be part of planning for the future of this industry. It’s a thrilling concept and I have absolutely no reservation in suggesting that any and all of you would be enriched, invigorated and forever changed by getting involved.

Just Do It. Nike

As clear as the PMA mission appears to be, there has always been confusion about what it really is, what it does and how it does it. The PMA has done a terrible job of informing Pilates professionals about its purpose, efforts and goals.

Let’s go over that right now.

The PMA is probably most clearly understood by first understanding what it isn’t.

It does not train teachers.

It is not involved in education at all.

It does not intrude in any manner into the business of studios or curriculum of training centers.

In its most simple distillation, the PMA is for objective professional standards and is for keeping the historic work in tact as the unifying foundation of the Pilates industry .

It’s the Switzerland of the Pilates world: it’s neutral, it takes all comers, it welcomes everyone regardless of our educational background, lineage loyalty or favored spinal mechanic. Studio owner, training center mogul, equipment manufacturer, gym teacher or client: there’s a place for all of us under the PMA umbrella. PMA conference presenter standards are the very highest in the industry, which means when you attend a PMA conference you’ll be learning from the industry’s most elite, best-reviewed and most highly respected educators.

Because Joe Said So

Historic Pilates and the PMA

State of the Industry: There are no regulations governing the use of the word “Pilates” or what that word defines.

Some people, especially the movers and shakers and more influential graduates of the morphed/ adapted/evolved teacher training schools, are particularly polarized about the PMA’s mission to preserve the historic work.

But the PMA does not in any way bar or block anyone from teaching whatever they want to call Pilates, in any location, in any way, in whatever order, style, manner or method they so desire.

The PMA does not interfere with free will in the marketplace.

The PMA endeavors to preserve the historic work because the historic work forms the base of our entire industry. And the preservation of it should be rather easy since it is so well codified. Joe was multimedia before there WAS multimedia!

There are thousands of photographs and hours of moving film footage of Joe, his clients and his process. There are the 2 books Joe wrote plus countless newspaper and magazine articles on and about Joe and Clara, many containing long rambling revealing quotes.

The work as they developed it – famous in part for its many iterations, variations and modifications – resides in the muscle fiber and brain tissue of our first generation teachers because Joe and Clara themselves put it there.  Although the essence of the work can accurately be best described as problem solving, the skills, tools and techniques used to solve our clients’ problems were all within the bounds of the historic work, the tool box Joe and Clara built and passed down to all who know their exercises as they created them.

Let me explain the purpose and value of the historic work to you as simply and clearly as I see it.

Historic Pilates = the alphabet.

When we know our alphabet, we’ve got the base, the foundation, to put together a wide variety of intelligent, interesting, exciting and inspiring words to express our own unique selves. What one teacher might do with it is guaranteed to be vastly different than what another teacher might do and I certainly hope you remember what the Pilates Nun says about this . . . vive la’ difference!

But underneath all those Pilates adaptations, evolutions, morphs and flat out changes lies the common bond, the alphabet, the thing that unites all of us.

If we call our industry “Pilates” but we’re all speaking different languages, we’re not only not going to understand each other but the public won’t stand a chance of experiencing anything remotely similar to what Joe & Clara, the eponymous Pilates, created.

If we lose the historic work, our language, so to speak, will be lost and at that point Historic Pilates ≠ Pilates Today.

The best predictor of the future is the past. Dr. Phil

We can only know where we are and where we’re going if we know where we’ve been.

This simple fact is the reason we study history, why, culturally speaking, we teach kids about wars long ago fought, atrocities long ago committed, the way boundaries and alliances have been formed, even centuries after any of it would seemingly matter.

History totally rocks and being ignorant of it in our culture, in our place in the larger world, dooms us to repeat it. The cliché is a cliché for a reason!

Without knowing where we’ve been in the evolution of Pilates, our natural tendency to drift, adapt, venture, explore and dilute will result in a loss of meaningful connection to our base and at that point, we’re just basically screwed. P-Nunny talks smack!

So, regardless of whether you fly your freak flag, morph at will or are the second coming of Joseph (Pilates, that is), you’re still very, very smart to support the preservation of the thing that got you started, the solid and stable place you jumped off of – the historic work. This thread leads us right back to support of the PMA.

Let’s Stay Together. Al Greene

Who’s on First? Lou Costello

Where you lead, I will follow. Carole King

Can’t we all just get along? Rodney King

Without an umbrella organization like the PMA, our various lineages lack a cohesive bond and without a cohesive bond we’ll more easily fall prey to the larger industries that surround our discipline, all of which are professionalized, standardized, regulated and, goodness me, so very much more organized than we are.

Physical Therapy licks its chops on one side while Personal Training and the gym/club world lie in wait on the other. Yikes!

Here’s the simple truth:

We will lose our collective soul if we’re subsumed by any industry that does not have at its core the work Joe and Clara created and gave to us all. Can I get a witness!

The PMA Certification Exam

What’s in a Word? or “I Thought I WAS Certified!”

State of the Industry: There is no mandatory national standards exam and there is no accountability or penalty for training centers that mislead apprentices about their ability to “certify” you.

The Pilates Method Alliance Certified Pilates Teacher exam was created in 2005 and it is the only 3rd party national standards exam for the Pilates industry. Before the PMA sponsored the creation of the exam, pig farmers were more regulated than the Pilates industry!

Our industry desperately needed a 3rd party certification because of the uncontrolled growth of the industry in general, the uncontrolled growth of the teacher training segment of the market and the fact that the presentation of the work was moving away from traditional single-purpose studios and splintering rapidly among gyms, physical therapy clinics, chiropractic practices, community centers, dance schools and the like. As discussed earlier on, the body of work created by Joe – referred to as historic, classical or traditional Pilates – was in danger of being diluted into oblivion.

We call what we do “Pilates” and yet Pilates, as Joe and Clara created it, is very different from what many teacher training schools teach. Xerox, Kleenex, Coke and Tampon have all fought in the marketplace for distinction of their particular brand. Similarly, Pilates exercise was in danger of becoming a generic term for all manner of exercise and movement that was called Pilates but much of which in fact had little or no basis in the historic work.

The PMA’s bold and expensive move to create the exam is singularly responsible for stabilizing our industry and creating a platform for the continued development of our still rapidly growing industry.

 

I believe this bold move by the PMA is, in and of itself, sufficient reason for all Pilates teachers to support the PMA with ongoing membership and conference attendance.

Since the creation of the PMA Certification Exam, the word certification used in relationship to a Pilates standard has a specific legal definition. Like it or not, there’s nothing any of us can do about that. As professionals within the industry, we’re all bound to the proper use of the word and yet it continues to be misused often and by many.

When it is misused in advertising by a teacher training center, the error is especially damaging because it perpetuates the problem and confuses readers of the ad that the “certification” offered by the training center might be equal to or in place of the national PMA certification. Clearly, teacher training centers even more so than individual teachers should be held responsible for strict compliance to the rules governing proper use of the legal terms “certify” and “certification.”

But who’s going to police such things? The PMA is not an Orwellian big brother. Magazines gladly take advertising dollars, regardless of the accuracy of this type of specific content. Most of us read such things and usually don’t give it a second thought.

But being aware of the problem is the first step in solving it. Change most definitely comes through awareness and the PMA does have the ability to educate the masses. If you’re on the PMA mailing list, the PMA could have done an effective and timely job at educating you.

But it didn’t. In fact, the PMA has done a horrible job of educating the general public and its membership about the proper use of the word certified or certification.

The exam was a radical step forward in professionalizing our industry and as such, the PMA should have bombarded us with information about how and why the exam was created, how teachers can prepare to sit for it, how to maintain certification once teachers have successfully passed the exam and the value of being PMA Certified.

The PMA should have aggressively pushed this information to its membership and to the industry in general; it hasn’t and I fault the PMA for the lack of widespread adoption of the exam, the lack of widespread understanding of the value of the test and the widespread misuse of the words “certify” and “certification.”

Regardless of how the PMA chooses to defend itself against this criticism, the fact that the test is still largely misunderstood and the fact that the words “certify” and “certification” are still largely misused are proof that the PMA has failed to successfully implement the exam.

The results speak for themselves and I hold the PMA responsible for the education of the industry in general about these important issues.

In my efforts on the PMA Board as well as before my Board service, I am sad to report that I have failed miserably in bringing change in this regard.

But that doesn’t mean I’ve given up and that doesn’t mean I no longer support the PMA.

To a large extent, speaking to you through PilatesNun.com is one way I try to make progress toward this end.

Once the market embraces the exam as it currently exists, the next step is for it to become mandatory and for a more advanced level of certification to be created.

Teacher Training Centers

The Good, the Bad, the Despicable

State of the Industry: Teacher training centers are unregulated and as such there is no industry-specific consumer protection afforded potential apprentices. Some States regulate Pilates schools under secondary or vocational education department guidelines, and when so regulated apprentice rights are guaranteed to such things as full disclosure of content, refund policies and value gained upon successful completion of the curriculum but not as to the value of the content or its applicability to the national standards exam.

As referenced above, teacher training centers use the words “certification” and “certify” to describe the status, title or value of the result a student achieves or earns at the successful completion of the subject teacher training program. Many teachers assume the “certification” their training centers offer carries weight in the marketplace and are shocked to learn that it doesn’t.

Apprentices are often completely ignorant about how the curriculum of any particular school will help prepare them – or not – for the PMA CPT exam, the only real certification in our industry.

Making sure the curriculum will prepare you to sit for the national standards exam is one thing. But there are other factors, many of which play a more urgent and potentially damaging role in the decision making process.

Here are a few ways to tell if the teacher training program you’re thinking of entering is a good one.

  • If they give you a long list of references, call every one and if they all rave about it, they all detail their enjoyment of successful Pilates practices and they all continue to support the organization with their continuing education dollars.
  • If you are invited in and favorably impressed by a period of observation over at least a month’s time where you attended a full cycle of apprentice meetings, observed portions of an intensive and talked freely with apprentices currently in the program.
  • If the school provides you with written policies that include refunds, supplemental measures to help struggling apprentices and tracks percentages of apprentices graduating on schedule and the vast majority do.

On the PMA website, there’s a list of questions to ask prospective training centers. On my studio website, www.PPNWSeattle.com, there’s a super long list of questions to ask an individual teacher, all of which apply to teacher trainers.

Are you doubting the existence of a problem with training centers? If you’re already convinced of the problem, are you wondering why it hasn’t been solved?

Do the math.

Pick 3 of the major teacher training centers whose ads you see in regular advertising rotation. Get online and research the cost of tuition and multiply that by a very conservative estimate of 150 apprentices a year. These numbers will be ultra conservative because the bigger schools may pump out many hundreds or even thousands of teachers in a year and many have been in existence for up to a dozen or so years but, for our purposes let’s err on the most conservative side.

What you’ll end up with after the equal sign is the realization that there is a ton of money to be made in the teacher training business.

Whenever there’s a ton of money to be made, regardless of the industry, the bad people of the world will find a way to exploit the situation and this has happened in our industry.

Some of the oldest, most profitable teacher training schools are built on rituals described variously as a “tradition of abruptness” (read: verbally abusive), a principle of “maximum physical challenge” (read: physically abusive), are ambiguous about content (read: you’ll get what they feel like giving) and/or require you to demonstrate a financially strong commitment to your goals (read: add-on’s that combine to exceed the base cost of tuition = a scam). Between all my training experiences, I’ve personally witnessed every one. Were you lucky enough to go to a school offering all 4? Lord Have Mercy.

If you came through a lovely school run by lovely people and are a lovely person yourself, this will sound like it’s a bunch of hog wash.

But it’s not.

It’s true.

And sadly, subjecting an apprentice to these deeply ingrained behaviors are often enough to completely ruin an aspiring teacher’s future. This is entirely unacceptable and it must be stopped.

Regulation of teacher training centers is one way to begin to weed our industry of schools that perpetuate these practices.

Here’s a brief list of some compelling reasons that training center regulation makes sense:

  • Verbal abuse: public, private, criss-crossed and overlapped including but not limited to apprentice-on-apprentice, teacher trainer-on-teacher trainer, teacher trainer-on-apprentice, master teacher-on-apprentice, master teacher-on-teacher trainer. There is no overstating the damage caused by the long and well established practice of verbal abuse in our industry; it is shocking, it is unacceptable, it must stop.
  • Physical abuse: under the guise of learning exercises apprentices are pushed well beyond known strength, flexibility, fitness conditioning levels. Some injuries become chronic. Some prevent apprentices from finishing the program in a timely fashion or at all.
  • Scam programs/policies:
    • The program is advertised as a 650 hour program and it begins with an 8 day intensive but it turns out that the teacher presenting the intensive is not permanently attached to the training center, she’s hired specifically to teach the intensive and she’s filmed for the entire intensive, the apprentices attend the intensive and participate in the intensive and they are given a total of sixty dvd’s of the intensive which they’re supposed to watch for the 650 hours of apprentice training their program is to include. The program cost $7000.
    • The program is advertised as a 400 hour program but it turns out there isn’t actually any in-person training included in it. The apprentice is given manuals to study for 400 hours. The program cost $4000.
    • The program is advertised as a 600 hour program but the training center closes before the cycle of training completes. Leaving apprentices with no other options, they have wasted their $5000 tuition and are left with no recourse.
    • An apprentice drops out of their training program during the first weekend of training and are refused even a partial refund of their tuition.
      • My finishing school Pilates Excel is regulated by the State of Washington Workforce and Trade School Commission, the application process was arduous (it took over 8 months for me to complete the application) and I pay expensive annual fees not only to continue my certification but to bond my school for the tuitions paid it inside the State of Washington. Many states are regulating Pilates schools, both primary and secondary (like mine) because student rights were being violated by such schools.

But this aspect of regulation does not address the viability of the education offered in the national certification arena. Any individual state does not have the purview or jurisdictional authority to make sure the curriculum offered at a licensed Pilates school would prepare a student to pass the national certification exam.

    • Large nationally-known school – you’ve seen this school advertized hundreds of times! – does not teach exercise transitions, exercise order (in which to teach or in which to perform) or progression theories. This results in thousands of teachers not knowing how to safely build or flow a session, which leads to session disorganization which leads to client and teacher dissatisfaction which leads to teacher attrition. This is a huge problem because our industry is significantly weakened by the thinning of our teacher ranks in the 1 – 5 year range.

Are you thinking “Buyer Beware?” It’s a temptation, to be sure.

There is a listing on the PMA website of schools that do adequately prepare graduates to sit for the exam, but, once again, the PMA has not done a good job of getting the word out about that listing. Sadly, the average apprentice does not have enough experience in the industry to steer clear of these potentially expensive and emotionally damaging situations.

Many people who face the types of challenges detailed above simply walk away from their programs; from the monetary investment, from the investment of time, from the ideal of becoming a good teacher. Countless apprentices have not finished their primary programs. Countless apprentices of bad programs have lost thousands of dollars, years of time and carry emotional wounds that are slow to heal or never heal.

And perhaps the worst aspect of this whole predicament is that most teachers, having been through such experiences, will not persevere.

They quit because it’s too hard to keep going. They quit because they can’t find the help, the support, the understanding to help them survive the difficulties. They quit because it’s not worth it to stay. When we’re hurt, we naturally want to stop doing the thing that causes the pain – we quit and the pain stops, but it’s replaced with feelings of failure, inadequacy, regret.

The Pilates industry needs a strong and stable

 base of teachers.

We need every single good teacher

we can find, make, help,

support and nurture.

 

Let us pray.

Lord, we’ve wasted precious time carrying the pain we suffered in the name of our training programs, we cannot go on like this and we ask to be healed. We have gathered together all the Nun readers out there who have suffered ill treatment from those they trusted, those they paid, those they looked to for help, inspiration and guidance. Between us, we have been, including but not limited to, emotionally betrayed, physically injured, verbally abused, deeply insulted and financially ripped off. As a result, our attitudes have suffered, our bodies are damaged, our spirits are trashed and we are often totally bummed out. We are all together here in this prayer, all sitting knee to knee with you, staring into your knowing and kind eyes, asking to be relieved of this hurt, this burden, this heaviness. We need to get over these wrongs. We need to move beyond them so we may be free and open in our hearts, minds and bodies so we can serve our clients, our families, our communities. Lord, please take this hurt we’ve carried, please heal our hearts, our souls, our bodies. Please help us forgive those who hurt us, especially help those of us who must continue to work every day with those who’ve hurt us. Lord, as we sit here knee to knee with you, as we inhale, we pull into our every cell, our very soul, our full selves the power and promise of your wisdom and love, and as we exhale we release the hurt, the pain, the burden wrongly placed on us. In Joseph’s name we pray, amen!

Doesn’t that feel better? I know, I know, it most certainly does. But it might not hold forever so if you ever feel yourself slipping back, just reread that prayer, take some deep cleansing breaths and it’ll put you right back into a beautiful place. It works every time. I promise.

 

Any Way Around It?

No

State of the Industry: Without teacher training center regulation, we will continue to lack the security and stability that rests on a strong and vibrant base of new teachers who fuel the growth of the overall industry.

I know it’s unpopular to advocate for regulation in any industry. Generally, Americans feel over-regulated, we feel our individual rights are being encroached upon by all manner of intrusive regulation and I realize I’m taking an unpopular position by asking for your support for increased regulation.

But I am.

The PMA is the appropriate organization to certify training centers. When that effort begins, please support it.

 

The Fix

State of the Industry: The PMA is currently the only organization in existence that is dedicated to solving these issues. The PMA is a membership-based not-for-profit and as such, its power lies in mobilizing its membership. To date, its resources are minimal and positive results have been inconsistent.
in State of the Industry at 13:17

State of the Industry | Originally Published October 8, 2007