Mentor Program 2015 – Inge Pretorius

by Inge Pretorius

I have had this one word stuck in my mind from the first day of the Mentor Program, starting with the meet and great on the Friday morning, and if I’m honest even before that from my private session with Rael the day before. Inspired.

Part of the BASI philosophy that has always resonated with me, is the sense of community, family that the organization encourages, and the Mentor Program seems to be evidence of that. As we went around the room introducing ourselves, and sharing where we had travelled from, I realized that these fellow instructors were as passionate and excited about Pilates as I was. The group represented four countries and a number of cities in the United States. I felt honored to be part of the group, and excited and inspired to know that I had three days to learn from and with them all.

Even though we were in for a weekend of furthering our master level repertoire, from the first lecture on day one, to the last exercises on day three, Rael would always reiterate the importance of teaching and mastering the fundamentals of the Pilates method. Emphasizing the time, months and maybe years we should allow ourselves to take to grasp the intricacies of the foundation work, before attempting to move on to the master work in our own practice, and even more so with our clients. This is such an important reminder, and one I think we as instructors need to keep in front of our mind daily; never to teach or perform an exercise from a place of ego, but rather to progress from a place of deeper understanding of the exercises and body of each client individually. A reminder again of the mind body connection that is so important in the Pilates method. The power of this message was evident in the first mornings mat class. You might think a group of instructors on a Mentor Program would breeze through a fundamental/intermediate level class, but when Rael is leading, pushing and encouraging a little more, a little deeper, straighter, higher, you can be sure we were all shaking and sweating our way to the end. Inspiring.

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Practice sessions on the Mentor Program are more than just trying out new repertoire. After an awe inspiring demonstration by Rael, with 60 (his age!) truly just a number, one of us would courageously step up to attempt what Rael made look effortless. This was when the magic of this group came to light. This repertoire is challenging, and with Rael’s cueing, this is possibly the deepest we may have ever worked to date when attempting a Pilates exercise. But, when your whole body is shaking and you need to find one more layer of strength, that is just when this incredible group would encourage you to try one more, find that extra bit of strength to ‘find the stopper’ or dismount with grace. This energy ran through in our practice sessions too. It was such a privilege to work with and be guided, cued and lead by fellow instructors from around the world without judgment or arrogance. I felt that we were all in it together with to same goals and ambitions. To learn and grow in our Pilates practice together. 20150531_132339

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My overall take home from the Mentor Program: never loose sight of the origin and purpose of any given exercise. Growing as a teacher of the Pilates method needs to come from a clear understanding of the principles of the work, to be able to share that understanding with others. And, that progress can only truly be made through mastery of the fundamentals.
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UPCOMING MENTOR PROGRAM DATES:

  • August 7, 2015 – August 9, 2015

Wimbledon London

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  • August 13, 2015  – August 15, 2015

Istanbul, Turkey

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  • February 25, 2016 – February 27, 2016

Prato, Italy

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  • April 22, 2016 – April 24, 2016

Costa Mesa, CA

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