Finding the right fit between your Pilates teacher and you
Updated: Sep 27
Finding the right student-teacher connection is as important as finding the body-mind connection in Pilates.
I had been taking Pilates classes for 6 years and had learned the mechanics of Pilates and thought it was great fun, but none of my teachers could explain why, after so many years, I still couldn’t do a roll up. Some said it was because I had a tight psoas, others said it was my body proportions, I had this, or I had that - and none of those explanations seemed logical to me nor were they consistent!
Do not get me wrong, I’m not saying they were bad teachers. It’s just that I had not yet had that ‘aha’ moment where I found that internal connection in that movement. I was also frustrated at the lack of progression - 6 years of doing the Pilates exercises and I couldn’t do a roll up? I had a nagging feeling that there was more and that I was only scratching the surface. So initially, I decided to study becoming a Pilates teacher training - because I wanted to have a deeper understanding of my own body.
When I first started doing Pilates, I didn’t even know that Pilates was a person let alone that his name was not patented, and how there was the vast difference in quality and styles of teaching Pilates.
Of course now that I have done so much further education in Europe and the US, and continue to advance my training, the fact remains that in Switzerland, anyone can do a weekend certification and set themself up as a Pilates instructor, fully covered by insurance. I do believe that a teacher with a good Pilates education can make or break a student’s experience. I guess it’s like learning anything as a child or finding the right hairdresser, it takes time to find the right subject or person that reaches you personally, and this is the connection that I hope I make when I am teaching my students.
It is important that you have the right feeling with your Pilates teacher. They are there to take care of you and your body and helping you on the discovery of your body.
At the Pilates Institute Geneva (now Fitspro) I started my matwork qualification with Iva Mazzoleni, leading to an 18 month Lolita’s Legacy mentorship where I began to make those vital mental connections that I felt had been missing. I started to appreciate the depth of the Pilates method, which up to then I had only experienced as a series of exercises.
My mentorship led to studying in Florida with Lolita San Miguel, the founder of Lolita’s Legacy. She trained directly with Joseph Pilates and so I became part of the direct lineage of Pilates’ teaching.
As I am someone passionate about Pilates and extremely curious, I have also continued to deepen my knowledge of training techniques with other International master trainers: Pilates Elder - Mary Bowen, Michael Fritze, Ton Voogt, Blossom Leilani Crawford, Kathy Corey, MeJo Wiggin, Deborah Lessen, Brett Howard, Alan Herdman, Anthony Lett, Madeline Black, Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle, and Philip Taupin.
Through these Master teachers I have learnt in depth about breast cancer and recovery, Pilates and children, the use of Spiraldynamiks and the functionality of Pilates, addressing muscular imbalances and scoliosis and how to improve athletic edge with Pilates.
When I teach my students I am constantly reminded that while they are on the same path of discovery, they will have come from different starting points and will eventually have their own destination.
I would be interested to hear about your different experiences of Pilates teacher training, the good, the bad and the ugly!
Listen to what I have to say about my experience learning from ‘Pilates Elder’ Lolita San Miguel: