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How to find a Great Pilates Teacher and Studio

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You’ve decided to finally try the Pilates method and now you have to find the right teacher and studio for your needs. There are a lot of factors involved with finding the perfect teacher including studio location, teacher’s background, the cost of a session and how you feel about the instructor. There are a lot of choices out and not all are good. Before you decide which studio will become your new Pilates home you need to consider the following.

Location

Unless you have nothing better to do than drive all day, it makes sense to find someone who is relatively close. Depending on where you live, there may be a Pilates studio on every block or there may be none at all. It’s possible that the studio just down the road maybe be convenient, but it may not lacking in other areas. Find at least two studios, preferably three, and visit each one with a list of questions. (Sample questions are located below). The location should never be a stress inducing factor.

The Instructor

There are a lot of Pilates teaching programs out there and some are good and some are not. Don’t be afraid to ask the teacher where he or she got his or her training. Ask if they did an apprenticeship or how long it took them to complete the program. Any teacher who completed a comprehensive program will be happy to share that information. Someone who did an on-line certification or a weekend program may be less willing to talk about it. Pilates requires a lot of education and training so make sure to pick someone who has completed a program. Also, don’t be afraid to ask if the teacher gets regular continuing education to stay current.

Price

Price varies depending on the region. In larger cities like LA or NY the fee for a private session could be well over $100. In smaller towns it could be as low as $45. Most studios offer packages which include discounts based on how many sessions are purchased. For example, a 10 pack may offer as much as 20 percent off the single session price. Because a teacher charges a higher fee doesn’t always mean that he or she is a better teacher. Sometimes the price is based on overhead so a prime location may translate into a higher price. Many Pilates teachers work from a home studio which could mean a more affordable hourly rate. Be careful of daily deals like Groupon. It may be a good way to try out a session, but since the studio tends to lose money on these deals, you may not get the best instructor or the best service.

Teacher Rapport

I once took a class from a teacher who I really disliked. She was arrogant, critical and had no sense of humor to boot, (I mean, what’s wrong with a good laugh now and again?). I decided against continuing with her because the experience was so negative. You aren’t going to like everyone and Pilates can be very personal so make sure there is a good rapport between you and the instructor. Fortunately, this is something you will figure out very quickly. Don’t be afraid to ask for another instructor or go somewhere else.

It’s easier today to find a good studio just because there are so many of them. Make sure to find one that is located conveniently so the commute doesn’t become a burden. Find a well trained teacher at a price you can afford and first impressions do count. It may take a little longer to find the perfect teacher, but it is well worth the effort.

A list of Questions.

1) How long have you been in business

2) With which organization did you get certified?

3) Do you use the classical method, contemporary or a combination

4) Do you specialize in certain areas?

5) Do you offer package discounts?

6) Is your cancellation policy lenient in the case of an unavoidable emergency?

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I hope that you find these tips helpful on your pilates journey!

xo-mia

Pilates and Body Image

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It’s hard being a woman these days. Despite many of the advances made by the feminist movement, the pressure to look a certain way has never been stronger. Thanks to photo shopping, cosmetic surgery, injections and unsafe weight loss diets, women feel an even greater need to look perfect Having a destructive body image with an ever growing desire to look younger and fitter is not healthy for women at any age. Pilates helps to overcome this constant pressure from the media and from peers by not only giving clients a stronger and healthier body, but by helping to increase self confidence using the power of movement.

Women have to ask themselves questions regarding the pressure to look a certain way. Should they buy into all the hype of using expensive products to change the way they look? Should they spend several months’ income on plastic surgery, Botox and the latest fountain of youth? Or, should they look to Pilates as one way to improve on their body image?

A client of mine told me that prior to taking Pilates, she felt unattractive and invisible. After just a few private sessions, her demeanor changed. She walked taller, moved more gracefully and even commented that she finally felt visible after so many years of being a wallflower. She started dated after a nasty divorce and her confidence skyrocketed. How did Pilates help her overcome these deep feelings of insecurity? How does Pilates differ from regular gym workouts? Why should people add Pilates to their gym routines or maybe consider doing it on a regular basis as their main form of exercise?

Pilates is so much more than a series of exercises that gives one a bikini ready body or fabulous abs. Yes it does all that too, but the benefits of Pilates go much deeper. Pilates is what we call ‘intelligent exercise’ in that it is more than just fast moving, sloppy out of control movement. It takes a little while to understand the method, but once you do it changes everything. The work out works as it’s not about doing more reps, but doing fewer reps exactly the right way.  Not only does one look better or stand taller, but posture improves, gait is more graceful, nagging back pain disappears and the body just feels so good that it’s impossible to not like yourself. People notice this newfound grace and confidence which is more than just having firm muscles. Pilates does wonders for people who may not look like a supermodel, but who can benefit immensely from better movement patterns and a stronger more graceful body. And let’s not forget those amazing abs!

The ads, the pressure, the endless beauty products may never go away. Yet if women can learn to embrace their beauty by learning to move better and to feel better, we can finally say we’ve made progress in this constant battle. How beautiful is that?

 

xo-mia

My Pilates Story

Let me begin by telling you how I got introduced to Pilates in 2001.

I was working at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles at the Spa as a Massage Therapist. A co-worker and friend, Akiko Jernigan, who was their esthetician told me that I needed to try this exercise called Pilates. Pilates back then was not as popular as it is today. From my very first Pilates session I knew it was a good fit for me and my body. It was low impact, personal, and never boring. I knew that Pilates was it for me!

When I first tried Pilates I did not do Classical Pilates. I had a wonderful Pilates teacher, but I also felt like I plateaued after doing Pilates for over one year. I began to search for a studio closer to my home since I was then driving 40 minutes away to the Valley for my Pilates sessions. I stumbled across a Classical Studio with Classical equipment in Beverly Hills. There I was introduced to the New York Method Pilates, or Traditional Pilates. This is the style of Pilates that creator Joseph Pilates intended to be taught.

Don’t get me wrong, and with all due respect to those who teach other methods, they’re all good! However, I teach Classical Pilates, and I am here to tell you there is a difference. Unless you try Classical and Non-Classical you’ll never know the difference. There is a reason that Pilates is being taught all over the world and is considered the number one exercise for rehabilitation and core strengthening. Just something to think about… Till then, good luck on your Pilates journey. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.

xo-mia