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Choosing a Pilates teacher training program

Choosing a Pilates teacher training program
February 9, 2020

With Pilates continually evolving, its growth has brought with it an influx of studios, fitness instructors and occupational therapists looking to incorporate it into their practice.

In addition to this, people who catch the Pilates 'bug' as part of their fitness program are falling in love with it and wanting to turn their passion into a career. With this in mind, it is easy to understand why so many Pilates Teacher Training courses are popping up all over Australia; face to face and online, making, as Tamara O’Reilly explains, the task of finding the most suitable program an arduous one. 

To start, she recommends considering what type of Pilates instructor you want to be by asking the following questions:

• What are your goals? 
• What sorts of clients do you wish to teach? (Fit, injured, athletes, pre/postnatal)
• What do you wish to emphasise with your teaching? 
• Have you trained with an instructor that really made a difference to your practice? Where did they train?
• What do you want to get out of your qualification?
• What is your style of learning? 

The difference between 'classical' and 'contemporary' Pilates
Classical Pilates maintains strict links to original Contrology exercises with little to no variation, (Joseph Pilates having originally called his method 'Contrology', with 'Pilates' being a later term). It is the method as passed on from Joseph Pilates to those he taught directly. 

Contemporary Pilates maintains the essence of the work but allows for developments in science, technology and equipment to influence and expand on Joseph Pilates’ original work. 

O’Reilly believes that Balanced Body are world leaders in Pilates education with more than 500 educators worldwide. Their teacher training programs honour the history of Joseph Pilates' repertoire while responding to the modern day use of Pilates equipment and recent research that supports the science and biomechanics behind the exercises.

Getting the right training
O’Reilly is aware that there are a number of short Pilates training courses, stating "you wouldn’t complete a weekend cookery course and expect to open a restaurant. Why do people think Pilates is any different? 

"In a short cookery class you will learn a few of the basics and walk away with a couple of dishes that you can work on, but keep in mind, these dishes are only going to be relevant to a number of people and if you get them wrong, they are going to leave a bad taste in your the mouth.

"You need the guidance of a qualified and experienced chef to learn how to adapt, refine and master them to ensure you can cater for any palate. 

"The same goes for Pilates. People from all walks of life are going to come through your door - injured, pregnant, healthy, athletic - and you need to know what suits, why it suits and how to deliver it to meet their needs. Pilates is not a one size fits all, a confident and well trained instructor will know how to make safechoices that are specific to each individual and give the smallest of corrections that will make all the difference to an exercise."

O’Reilly also feels that online training doesn’t work, noting "online training for a hands on career makes no sense. You need to see and read the body in front of you to develop your 'Pilates eye' otherwise you may as well be teaching any other mindless form of movement. Pilates is all in the details, it's not what you do but how you do it. Hands on cueing and subtle corrections can not be taught online, you need to be in a studio watching people move to really develop your skills."

As for the key elements that Pilates training should provide, O’Reilly cites the following:

• Face to face delivery with up to 500 hours of assisted teaching, observation and self mastery. If you want to be a quality instructor, you can't learn it all in a weekend! 
• Anatomy: How can we expect to teach the body to move efficiently and correct bad movement patterns if we don't know our femur from our phalanges?
• Time. Like in any industry there are always quick ways to become certified and here you must consider that cheapest or fastest are not always best.
• A mentor. A well experienced educator that can answer all your questions will be invaluable. 

Tamara O’Reilly, owner of The Pilates Workshop in Wollongong NSW, has completed four Pilates teacher training certifications in her time as a Pilates instructor. 

She advises “each certification was different in nature but has helped mould my teaching and give me a varied repertoire to draw on. 

"Every client needs something different, having a strong Pilates education has been so valuable for my success in helping clients.”

She is an educator and Master Instructor for Balanced Body. These programs are based on the Balanced Body Movement Principles that provide a strong foundation and give a deep understanding of how the body works and how to make it work better. 

She adds “I have been practicing and teaching Pilates for over 20 years and still have days where I feel I know nothing! It is a continual process, I am always learning. The moment you close your mind to what else is out there and stop learning is the day you should retire from teaching.”

“There is no short or cheap way to become a top instructor. An in depth training program is essential for building the foundations of a quality instructor. A well trained instructor will always have a job at my studio.” 

Click here to learn more about Balanced Body Pilates Teacher training in Australia. 

Click here to learn more about Tamara and The PIlates Workshop. 

Images courtesy of Tamara O’Reilly.

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13th November 2014 - One Hot Yoga and Pilates to launch new Melbourne studio and Hot Mat Pilates

17th June 2014 - HF Industries release Pilates for Fitness Facilities publication

23rd April 2014 - Australia to celebrate International Pilates Day

20th July 2010 - HF Industries add to their Balanced Body Pilates products

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