Pilates is a journey, not a destination

by Ann Shannon

Ann Shannon participated in the centralized testing of BASI CTTC graduates last week. Here are her thoughts.

What I have accomplished and become – and what I aspire to become in the future – are true testaments to the effectiveness  of the BASI Pilates program, which demands precision, creativity and meticulous attention to the wellbeing of the client.

Working with BASI over the last two-and-a-half years has not only transformed my own body, my mental outlook and my perspective on teaching, but I have developed extraordinary friendships with both teachers and clients – people who have the same vision as Rael does of what each of us can be.

Most important of all, I have learned to protect and enhance the health of those clients under my care. The memorization of exercises, anatomy, breathing patterns and testing may all seem daunting to you, as they did to me on my journey to certification. But  as long as you keep your thoughts on the amazing process of transformation they bring about and on the passion you share for creating  this in yourself and your clients, you will not be discouraged by any of the setbacks we all encounter – even having to retake the teaching exam, as I did.

As you set out on the road to certification, I honestly hope that your road is at least as long a one as mine has been; full of adventure, discovery and challenges.  Don’t be afraid of the challenges and setbacks:  use them as tools to discover new aspects of that vision of excellence.

I have honestly learned that humility is one of the most important qualities each of us can have to teach effectively.  It was humbling to go back to my studio and admit I was not ready to be certified yet, but it made me a much better teacher when I realized that I knew the exercises, but I could not yet apply them to an individual client’s needs.

Yes, there will always be something we don’t quite achieve or feel comfortable demonstrating.  Arriving at certification is what we are destined for, but don’t rush the journey with impatience for a mythical conclusion.  How much more rich and rewarding a journey it will be if it lasts for several years, as mine has. You will be truly wealthy with all the knowledge you have gained along the way.

Without the invaluable help of the course on Pilates For Chronic Pain Syndromes, I could not have assisted my client with MS; and without the Pilates For Injuries and Pathologies course,  I would not have known how to make challenging but safe exercises for a client with a herniated L-5 S-1.

As so many wise people have understood, in Pilates, as in life, it is the journey itself and not the destination which is the greatest prize, for the destination is only a small stop along our continuing journey to excellence as teachers.  As you reach that prize of certification, let it be a moment of humility and thoughtful resolution, as mine was.

It is BASI that has started us on a marvelous journey, and without BASI I would surely not have set out. But now the longer, even more challenging, journey stretches out before me.

There are so many more areas of knowledge to explore, and how exciting it is to realize that, indeed, as Rael said, we have only just begun to understand the true meaning and value of what Joseph Pilates began and all of the great mentors down to the present generation have expanded and passed on to us.  Remember, you will only achieve in life what you have the courage, tenacity, and passion to strive for.

As BASI students, you will need all of these qualities, and along your journey to certification, no matter how long it takes, you can gain them so that, as Jeanne explained so succinctly, when you enter a studio, people will know that you are a BASI-trained teacher.  That is the excellence worth striving for.

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