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Featured Teacher: Erin Haag

We’ve all been there before - the eager Pilates apprentice anxiously preparing to become a Pilates instructor. We were drawn to the Pilates Method, each for our own reasons, and decided to share our passion for it with others. As a former dancer, I was drawn to “The Method” because it reminded me so much of my dance training; the control and concentration needed to perform each exercise with perfect technique. As a Pilates apprentice in the Power Pilates Teacher Training Program, I absolutely loved the way Pilates made me feel! I loved putting every ounce of energy into performing exercises to ideal standards and perfectly instructing my fellow apprentices using the Power Pilates teaching formula. I remember being surrounded by other like-minded apprentices and thinking, “We are all awesome Pilates practitioners.” I was living on a so-called Pilates cloud nine, and I believed that everyone I taught would feel the same way about Pilates.

Once I became a classically trained teacher and began working with real clients, I noticed that not all of my clients were striving to perform exercises to ideal standards. They weren’t pushing themselves to the brink of physical exhaustion the same way I did when I took a class. Becoming frustrated with what I assumed was their laziness, I found myself trying to infuse MY passion for Pilates into each session which only led to emotional and mental exhaustion on my part. I was having a hard time connecting with my clients which in return, narrowed the range of clients with whom I trained. My advertising campaign could’ve been “Are you young, athletic and looking for a kick ass workout? If so, call Erin!” Then reality hit me like a ton of bricks - not everyone is drawn to Pilates for the same reason! If I could discover my clients’ personal reasons for doing Pilates, which I quickly realized were very different from my own, I could broaden my client base and have a successful career as a Pilates instructor.

In changing my mind-set, I discovered the MANY reasons clients seek Pilates training; the runner hoping to reduce the risk of injury, the golfer hoping to improve his game, the new mom hoping to reclaim her pre-baby body, the knee replacement patient hoping to regain mobility, and so many more reasons! Once I was able to discover my clients’ reasons for doing Pilates, I was able to connect with them and help them achieve their goals. It was no longer about me the Pilates instructor, providing an intense workout - it became about helping my clients improve their lives through the Pilates Method, and with this discovery came success. I was able to structure each session specifically to meet my clients’ individual needs. Does Part C in the Power Pilates system ring a bell? In doing so, my clients’ technique began to improve, my client retention increased and my business grew!

Now as an owner of a successful Pilates studio and Power Pilates Regional Training center in South Florida, I am lucky enough to work with all types of clients, apprentices and instructors to help each one of them discover their own passion for Pilates. This is my new reason for practicing Pilates. My passion has evolved overtime from my days as an apprentice to now as a seasoned Pilates instructor, and I am sure it will continue to evolve as my career continues. I challenge you, wherever you are in your Pilates career, to reevaluate your passion for The Method and take the time necessary to uncover why each of your clients choose to practice Pilates. With this always in mind, you are guaranteed to have a successful and meaningful Pilates career!


 

Erin Haag
is a Power Pilates instructor and a member of the Pilates Method Alliance. With a background in dance, Erin studied with Ballet Florida, Alexander W Dreyfoos Jr, School of the Arts, North Carolina School of the Arts, and Webster University’s Conservatory for Theatre & Dance. Erin is also an alumnus of The Broadway Theatre Project where she had the privilege to study dance under Ann Reinking, Gwen Verdon, Gregory Hines, and Debra McWaters. Erin’s love for dance led her to Pilates in 2000, and soon after, she created the Yoga & Pilates Organization at Webster University. Graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, Erin began working as a certified weight loss counselor and helped hundreds of clients lose thousands of pounds. It was Erin’s experience as a weight loss counselor that inspired her to open Pilates of Palm Beach. “I believe that EVERYONE can be fit. This is why I am so passionate about Pilates. Pilates allows people of all ages and sizes to transform their bodies & improve their health.” A lifelong dancer turned avid runner, Erin now uses Pilates as a way to keep herself flexible during marathon training. “If it weren’t for Pilates, my joints and spine would not make it through 26.2 miles of pounding pavement.”

 

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Reader Comments (2)

Thanks for sharing your Pilates story, Erin. It was a great read :)

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea Maida

Great that you found out for yourself the true meaning of teaching Pilates. It really isn't just about earning money by teaching people but it is more on improving the quality of life of every student by helping them achieve their goals. With that in mind, I'm sure that you will become better and better at what you do because it becomes more interesting seeing it in a different light.

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAdele Browne

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