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Are You Ready for Pilates Teacher Training?

Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start a Certification Program

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Updated August 14, 2011

Pilates Certification Class

Students Observe at The Movement Center of Boston

(c) The Movement Center of Boston

Pilates is emerging as one of the top fitness trends in the world. That means that there will be increasing opportunities for certified Pilates instructors. Has the possibility of becoming a Pilates instructor been rolling around in your mind? If so, let me assure you that you don't have to be young, thin, or the most agile or strong person in your class to move toward becoming an instructor. You do, however, have to have a passion for it -- not just for practicing Pilates, but for passing the knowledge on to others.

It does take time, money, and commitment to train as a Pilates instructor. You can read all about the nuts and bolts of getting certified to teach in my article, Pilates Instructor Certification Basics. Also, on page two of this article, you will find a list of Pilates certification programs. But before you go that far, there are a few questions you might want to ask yourself about the practical realities of being a Pilates instructor.
Further reading: Issues in Pilates Certification

Use the following 5 questions to help you decide whether or not teaching Pilates would be right for you:

  1. Are you a people person?
    Communication is paramount in Pilates instruction. Visual, verbal and kinesthetic communication is taking place between client and instructor all the time, making Pilates an intimate and interactive experience. Also, Pilates is very physical. Touch is almost always part of Pilates instruction, and it's certainly part of teacher training. The bottom line is that you don't necessarily have to be an outgoing person to teach Pilates, but do you have to be willing to fully engage with your students.

  2. Do you like to teach?
    As with most disciplines, teaching is different than doing. Take a moment to consider whether you're just passionate about practicing Pilates (which is fantastic) or you are really interested in teaching. Teaching Pilates requires a lot of energy and attention that is focused on others. You might be surprised to learn that one of the most common complaints from Pilates instructors is that it's hard to find time to actually do Pilates themselves.

  3. Are you attracted to the deeper philosophies of the Pilates method?
    As a student, you can have a little bit of a take it or leave it attitude toward different aspects of the Pilates. However, once you commit to teacher training, you are responsible for understanding the full breadth of the Pilates method. That includes the body/mind integrative part of Pilates, as reflected in the Pilates principles, as well as the subtle techniques of the physical training.

  4. Are you interested in anatomy, physiology, and the inner workings of the body?
    Be forewarned that good Pilates instructor training does not skimp on the science behind the movement.

  5. Are you self-motivated?
    It is possible that a new instructor could get hired full time, by a studio, with benefits, end of story. But that is not a very common scenario. It is more likely that as a new instructor you will start part-time and build classes and private clients gradually. Depending on where you live and what contexts are available for you to teach in, you may have to do a lot of self-promotion and consumer education to get your career launched.

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

Next steps and program resources: see page two

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