Entries in Career Development (48)
By Nicole Rogers
Yamuna Body Rolling™ (YBR) is named after its creator, Yamuna Zake, who developed the technique about 16 years ago as a way to reach more people with her bodywork practice and theories. Her technique uses a small, firm ball and your own body weight to release and align different areas of the body.
A jack-of-all-trades in the world of bodywork, Yamuna was a certified hatha yoga teacher by the age of 16, and as time went on she incorporated herbology and aromatherapy into her yoga practice. With the birth of her daughter in 1979, Yamuna experienced an injury to her hip. She worked hard and experimented to eventually heal herself and create Yamuna Body Logic – a hands-on treatment. For 30 years, people have flocked to her from all over the world to consult her expertise in solving structural issues.
Pilates teaching has become a second career of choice for many former dancers, which makes perfect sense. Many dancers have been doing the exercises since childhood or have used Pilates to heal from injuries. Plus, it’s a way to keep movement in their lives long after they’ve retired from the stage. In recognition of this tradition, Power Pilates, an international Pilates education organization, is teaming up with Career Transition For Dancers (CTFD) to offer matching grants up to $2,000 for enrollment in Power Pilates certification programs offered in more than 40 U.S. cities.
“We at Power Pilates feel that it is both an obligation and an honor to support the dance community. Many of our top instructors have dance backgrounds and we welcome those dancers seeking to become Power Pilates instructors,” says Dr. Howard Sichel, chairman of Power Pilates.
CTFD, a nonprofit with offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, helps professional dancers transition into new careers when dance is no longer an option. The organization offers career counseling, seminars, workshops, support groups and other services free of charge and has helped over 4,100 dancers since it was founded in 1985.
If you’re interested in learning more about or applying for the grant, you can contact Career Transitions for Dancers.
“Continuing Ed” is our regular look at workshops, programs and other methods of exercise and bodywork that can enhance your skills as a Pilates teacher.
By Nicole Rogers
The Alexander Technique is a method for reeducating the mind and body to eliminate unnecessary tension. It focuses on changing unhealthy movement habits in everyday life, creating a more relaxed, enjoyable and energetic experience.
The Alexander Technique is popular with musicians and performers. F.M. Alexander (1869-1955), the creator of the technique, was an Australian Shakespearian actor who suffered from chronic hoarseness. Through intense self-observation and experimentation, he conquered his hoarseness and developed what he called the primary control. According to the American Society for the Alexander Technique, “He named this relationship the primary control because he perceived it as primary in controlling posture, breath and movement.”
People with chronic pain, back problems, arthritis, asthma, repetitive strain and carpal tunnel syndrome have found particular success with the Alexander Technique. The medical community has widely endorsed the method, as well as respected scientists such as Dutch ethologist Nikolaus Tinbergen, who noted Alexander’s discoveries in his 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine acceptance speech. Clinical studies have even proven some of the Alexander Technique’s benefits. Suffice it to say, this is a form of body education that is well established and respected and will be around for a long time.
THE PILATES PERSPECTIVE ON THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE
Heather Snyder, a nationally certified Alexander Technique teacher and Pilates instructor and founder of The Graceful Body, a studio in New York, agreed to answer a few questions about the Alexander Technique and how it affects her as a Pilates instructor. She is a graduate of the Manhattan Center for the Alexander Technique, and she received her Pilates certification from Romana Kryzanowska.
A 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 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Flesh and Bone, 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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New Column! During February, Pilates-Pro.com is hosting an open Q&A with Siri Dharma Galliano. Siri will be “on call” all month to answer your questions about teaching Pilates and running a business. If you have a question for Siri, please leave it for her in the comments section of this post and she’ll answer soon.
Siri has started things off by answering a few questions sent to her lately by studio owners. After the jump, you can read her responses to whether to buy new or used equipment and how to discourage clients from wanting to wear shoes in the studio.
About Siri: A protégé of Romana Kryzanowska, Siri Dharma Galliano is also certified in Kundalini yoga and the owner of Live Art Pilates Studio in West Los Angeles. She has sold over $1 million in Pilates equipment and has set up studios all over the United States, Europe, Australia and Russia. She travels to studios as a consultant, has been used as an equipment expert in liability court cases, is a trainer of teachers in the Traditional Method, and is producing the Second Big Bear Pilates Intensive, August 21-23, 2009, in California.
The profession of Pilates has deep roots in apprentice-style learning, and one teacher who was there in the early days is launching a new program to keep that tradition alive. Lolita San Miguel is kicking off her Pilates Master Mentor Program this month. It’s a 200-hour, two-year program open only to teachers who have completed a training program and have been teaching for at least three years.
Lolita, who has 50 years of Pilates experience, first apprenticed with Carola Trier in the late 1950s and then in the ’60s with Joseph and Clara Pilates, who granted her a certificate after an intensive 520-hour program. With her new program, Lolita aims to pass on what she learned from these pioneers, and what she’s continued to learn over the years. (She has gone through Polestar’s training program and can be spotted attending as many classes as she can at conferences every year.)
Lolita is keeping the groups small—no more than 12—and will meet with them for multi-day intensives six times in two years. Guest instructors will be invited to present, and Lolita will work with the group to refine their skills. “Pilates Masters must go far beyond mere competence, beyond certification, beyond knowing anatomy, the Pilates terminology, the exercises and being familiar with the equipment,” says Lolita. “They must undergo a specific type of training (as is done in the martial arts) and become an apprentice for a period to a Master with experiential wisdom.”
The first group, starting in January, is sold out, but spaces are still available in a group starting in February. Visit lolitapilates.com for more information.
Ron, Mary and Lolita
“Continuing Ed” is our regular look at workshops, programs and other methods of bodywork that can enhance your skills as a Pilates teacher.
By Nicole Rogers
The Olympic gold medal-winning Italian fencing team recently revealed Feldenkrais as their “secret weapon,” and many others rave about the benefits—pain and stress relief, enhancement of artistic and athletic performance, improved posture and balance. But it may be easier to experience Feldenkrais than to explain it.
The method was invented by a man named Moshe Pinhas Feldenkrais, with a long and impressive resume including degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering, a D.Sc. in physics from the Sorbonne, work on a Van de Graaf generator used for atomic fission experiments, and extensive knowledge of Judo and Jujitsu. Before his death in 1984, Feldenkrais taught small groups of practitioners to continue teaching the method we know today as Feldenkrais. Now there are approximately 6,000 practitioners around the world.
The Feldenkrais Method is an educational system designed to improve awareness through movement. The Feldenkrais Institute of New York puts it this way: “An integration of biology, neuroscience and psychology, the Method explores the biological and cultural aspects of movement and posture, and how habitual ways of moving, feeling, and acting can constrain us to a small portion of our potential.” In other words, as humans we ordinarily learn to move well enough to function, but our abilities to function with greater ease and skill remain to be developed. The Feldenkrais Method teaches—through movement—how we can improve our capabilities to function in our daily lives.
There are two ways in which Feldenkrais is taught:
Awareness Through Movement – group classes
Functional Integration – a hands-on, one-on-one session with a practitioner
THE PILATES PERSPECTIVE ON FELDENKRAIS
O-Sel Nyima is a Pilates instructor and Feldenkrais practitioner in Brooklyn, NY. She invited me to her home to explain more about Feldenkrais and how it enhances her Pilates instruction.
It’s hard to believe that 2009 will soon be here. Now is the time to start thinking about your Pilates continuing education plans for next year. If
you’ve never attended a fitness or Pilates conference, check out the offerings on the next page. They are great opportunities to get out of the studio, meet new
colleagues and build on your teaching skills. All of these events are also listed in our Pilates Workshop Calendar, along with dozens of other workshops around the world.
Not to be outdone by their West Coast colleagues, New York City Pilates instructors are organizing their own collective. The first meeting is tomorrow night, Oct. 21, at 8 pm at Core Pilates NYC at 99 University Place near Union Square. All area Pilates instructors and studio owners are welcome to attend. Here’s more info from a press release about the event:
Core Pilates NYC launches first NYC Pilates Collective, gathering leaders and new voices of Pilates in New York City for a series of meetings. “It’s such a great idea. San Francisco formed a collective recently and I think it’s valuable for this city. It’s my hope to break through old boundaries and divisions that have prevailed for so long in the local Pilates community here,” says Michelle Fama, Core Pilates NYC’s co-founder.
In a time of national messages purporting necessary change, Fama along with her business partner Kim Villanueva hope to breed a new voice for Pilates in New York City – one of camaraderie and communication. Real Pilates founder and Pilates personality Alycea Ungaro is also on board to host and contribute.
“I want the focus to be more on entrepreneurial ventures unique to New York City rather than what Method is true, authentic or classical and going rounds over who said what about the proper Hundred technique,” Fama said. “Let’s get rid of ego and embrace it all with vision, input and perspective.”
The meetings hope to bring together the community of Pilates professionals big and small to reshape and redirect the voice of the industry in New York City. The first “Pow wow” is scheduled for October 21 at 8pm at the Core Pilates NYC studio in Union Square and will present wine, food and a guest speaker, an economic professor and Wall Street insider who will lead a brief discussion on strategies for keeping the numbers growing in this economic crisis.
“Providing information about small business; sharing news and strategies and hunches about Pilates growth and studio operations; what works and doesn’t work when launching new classes; to what feelings paint colors exude when designing a space, there is so much to share,” said Fama.
Bay Area Pilates Collective Report
As the U.S. population grows older, and as the medical community gains a greater understanding of the benefits of Pilates, more Pilates professionals may have the opportunity to work in clinical settings with special populations. I sat down with one such instructor, Steven Fetherhuff, and asked him to share his experiences as one of two Pilates instructors at the prestigious Hospital for Special Surgery’s Integrative Care Center in New York.
Q: How did you initially find out about the Pilates program at the Integrative Care Center?
A: A colleague of mine, Sarah Faller, approached me about it. I used to work with Sarah at Alycea Ungaro’s studio. She’s the Pilates coordinator for the Integrative Health Care Center, and when she told me about it I was like, “That’s exactly what I want to do!”