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Teachers-Only Pilates Classes


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By Nicole Rogers

Real Pilates Studio in New YorkA few weeks ago, a coworker asked me if I’d like to go to a “teachers-only” Pilates class taught by Alycea Ungaro at her studio, Real Pilates, in New York. I decided I’d rather go home and take a nap. The next week, my friend Clare, a studio owner, asked if I’d like to go to the same class. I decided I should eat lunch and then take a nap. But my interest was piqued. The next week I asked her how it was. She raved, “it was like being back in certification!”

I think Clare enjoyed our certification more than I did. Though formal schooling was always easy for me, my Pilates certification was not. I had trouble remembering the order, and my lack of coordination made it obvious that I was a TV producer amongst dancers, yoga instructors and gymnasts (my fellow students). I am still bashful about anything labeled “for teachers only.” I was once in a workshop for teachers, practicing the beginning of Control Balance, when a man (I have no idea who he was) decided I was going to do the back flip part of Control Balance. I protested, but he just pulled my legs over my head, and my neck was out for a week. Pilates-related traumas aside, I also recognize myself as a certain type of difficult student that, when pushed, is prone to fits of dizziness, water-drinking, ponytail straightening and sock adjusting, to name a few.

However, Clare is always so enthusiastic about Pilates, which reminds me that I am actually a huge fan of Pilates too. And that being pushed, gently, is actually the best possible thing for me. So, I signed-up online for Alycea’s class.

That Tuesday, I waited for class a bit nervously. As class began though, it felt remarkable to be in a class where the language was different — everyone was a teacher, so much of the usual mat class explanation was gone, replaced with more esoteric cues. The class wasn’t the fast and brutal thing I had imagined. It was thinking about our bodies on a different level. How was one side of my body working differently than the other? How does placing my hand here instead of there change the exercise? I have been in plenty of mat classes and workshops with other teachers, but this one was small and friendly, and most of us were trained similarly. I met interesting people—a teacher studying to be a doctor, and Clare’s friend, Sunisa, who is moving back to Thailand to teach Pilates on an island. We did some of my least favorite exercises: Jackknife, Bicycle and Scissors, but it all felt good!

As I walked to the train after class with Clare and Sunisa, we were talkative and energized. Maybe this is what she meant when she said the class made her feel like she did when she was certifying—excited about Pilates. We agreed that our Tuesday evening clients would probably be in for a treat—energetic, ethusiastic Pilates instructors who were a little sore themselves from their 2 p.m. mat class.

Alycea Ungaro’s Teachers-Only Master Class is every Tuesday at 2 p.m., at Real Pilates in New York, NY. Find out more, and/or sign-up at realpilatesnyc.com. Clare’s studio, Flesh and Bone in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has a “teacher session” as well. The class is round-robin barter-taught. Teacher sessions are posted on Flesh and Bone’s live online schedule at fleshandbone.org.

Look for teachers only classes in your area, or start one of your own! If you host one at your studio, post the info in the comments section below.

Nicole Rogers is a Pilates instructor and writer. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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Posted on Thursday, February 5, 2009 at 06:48PM by Registered CommenterNicole Rogers in | Comments3 Comments

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Reader Comments (3)

I agree that it is good to have some special classes. The instructor should be talented to create interest, and the athmosphere will be great when all the group members are connected by their profession.
John Lacey, school teacher

February 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohn, school teacher

What a great idea. So often we instructors spend all of our time teaching. It sounds like it would be a lot of fun and very educational to attend regular classes with other trainers.

Doris Pasteleur Hall once a month comes and teaches Sundays at Mat Class and a reformer class for teachers. The upcoming workshop is next 10/25. You can sign online through Teacher Workshops.

Doris' mentor was Carola Trier. She also taught at Carola's studio.

October 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLesley Powell

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