Pilates Play Time

Have you ever fallen into a teaching rut and realized you’re using the same material over and over again?

Have you ever struggled finding a theme or interesting nugget of information to weave into your class?

Have you ever been uninspired to teach?

I’m sure we’ve all been there at one point or another. It’s in times like these that we need major doses of inspiration. Here are a few quick and simple ways I inspire myself. I hope they inspire you to try something new this week.

  1. Pick up a prop and play

Choose any piece of small apparatus around your studio. If you don’t have any, pull out a towel, water bottles or something around your house and try this. See how many different ways you can use this apparatus. How can you incorporate it into your regular repertoire? Step out of your normal repertoire, experiment and get silly. You never know what you’ll discover.

Do this on your own or set up a play date with a fellow Pilates instructor.

  1. Go for a walk and choose a theme from nature to use in your teaching

If it’s a nice day outside, don’t miss the opportunity to go for a walk. Look at the nature around you. If you’re in the city, check out the architecture. Really soak it in.

What do you see around you that you can incorporate as a theme in your classes? It’s a bit typical, but I love to use trees. They’ve got deep grounded roots, a strong trunk and fluid moving leaves. It’s a perfect theme for balance classes.

  1. Read something

Make sure to mix up your reading material. Draw on inspiration from Anatomy books, novels and even magazines at the grocery store check-out. Read for 5-15 minutes and choose one thing to apply that week. See how many different ways the idea you choose to apply plays out from day to day.

  1. Observe other bodies in action

Whether they’re young children learning to walk, older adult’s grocery shopping, or dogs running in the park, spend a few minutes to really watch their movement mechanics. What do you notice about how they move? What’s inspiring? What difference could you make to their movement? How can you have your classes move more or less like what you’re observing?

  1. Go to class

If you haven’t been to class in a while, book yourself in asap. Choose the best class that fits your schedule and go!

If you go to class on a regular basis, try something a bit out of the norm. This might be a private session, manual therapy or completely different type of movement. I normally take Pilates classes and rehearse with a Ukrainian Dance Company each week. To step out of my normal routine, I love to do pole dance fitness classes, go swing dancing and attend Muscle Activation Techniques sessions. Every time I go I learn something new and have so much fun!

Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone.

  1. Sit down and write out a class plan

Although newer instructors are used to doing this more frequently, those of us that have been teaching a while tend to step away from writing out class plans. Putting pen to paper can make you think things through in a logical way that you may overlook when you’re teaching “off the cuff.”

Please share your ideas!

Which of the above ideas do you want to try this week? What else do you do to inspire your teaching?