Q: I am a seasoned practitioner and work out at a prominent studio, which hosts Pilates workshop. Even though I’m not an instructor, could I benefit from continuing education, or would I be wasting my money?
A: Education is never a waste of time or money! You should certainly participate, and I hope the instructors at your studio encourage you to do so. When I opened my studio in Orange County, California in 1991 there were very few Pilates professionals around. I had started training a group of students but certainly there were not enough in the area to fill a workshop. Yet I was determined to expose instructors and clients alike to different teachers and different styles. They were some of the best workshops I have hosted over the years, and everyone benefitted from them. Of course, not all topics are suited to everyone. Some subjects may be too academic and require a strong background in anatomy, while other workshops may focus on very high-level repertoire that is beyond your level of practice. Yet, this applies to Pilates professionals as well; not every workshop is suited to all professionals. If the topic is one that interests you and you are equipped to participate…you should go for it!
Q: I can only afford two privates a week. Should I just do Pilates, or should I consider incorporating other complementary activities offered by my studio, such as yoga, suspension training (TRX, ActivCore) or Gyrotonic?
A: I am a strong advocate of variety and the concept of cross training. If you are doing two privates a week, there’s no reason not to mix it up with a selection of other activities such as those mentioned above, or others. That said, “mixing it up” can also result in being “mixed up” (confused). There needs to be a strong basis in a specific activity. For me, Pilates has been the basis of my fitness regimen for the past 32 years, yet I have enjoyed yoga, dance, swimming and many other athletic pursuits together with it.
The same pertains to Pilates itself. I encourage my students to go out and experience different styles and approaches, but only when they have a sound grounding and understanding of a particular approach. Otherwise, again, it often leads to confusion as opposed to clarity.
Another tack to consider would be to do only one private session a week, along with two semi-private Pilates sessions or group classes; that would make it more affordable. With three Pilates sessions a week, I feel more comfortable in advising you to add in other forms of training. Keep your goals clear and you will achieve them!
This article first appeared in the December/2010 issue of Pilates Style. For more great stories about Pilates, check out the latest issue of Pilates Style, on newsstands nationwide, in the app store or at www.pilatesstyle.com.