Eight Ways to Make Your Classes a Refuge from Modern Life
Author: Shelly Power, NCPT, PMA Board of Directors
Life today is full to say the least. We have so many opportunities and also so many responsibilities. One of the great things about a Pilates session is the chance we have to focus on ourselves and leave our responsibilities for an hour. Here are 8 simple ways to create this oasis for your clients and students.
1. Get to Class Early
When you arrive early you have the opportunity to set up the classroom with whatever small apparatus or props you will need, greet the clients, and set the tone as relaxed and calm even if the workout is going to be intense. We all seem to be rushing and multitasking, so offer your students something different.
2. Create an Ambiance
What are your classes known for? Maybe you teach an energetic 7am wake up class, or maybe you teach a restorative class mid-day. From the moment you arrive you can set the tone and expectation. People like to feel confident that the teacher has a plan and it’s a great way to create a following.
Setting a no-phone policy in class is incredibly important. Besides avoiding the annoying dings and whistles, it sets the expectation that for the hour the focus is on the client. Put the phones on airplane mode and clients can delve into learning about Pilates and their bodies. To put clients at ease, leave phones at the front desk if an important call is expected.
4. Recite a Mantra
I used to have a teacher that would read a quote at the beginning of each class and it was a great way to bring everyone together as the class started. It was short and sweet and gave an opportunity to leave the traffic, kids, and work stress at the door. Each group will respond to something different – try an intention for the class such as ‘flow’ or ‘ease’.
5. Limit the Chit Chat
This is part of the no-phone mentality. During class the focus should be on the quality of movement, your cues and information. The hour should be conversation free with an internal focus – that’s pretty different than modern life. The meditative quality of an uninterrupted class can reset and recharge even the busiest of clients.
6. Give Individual Attention
Even in the largest group class, each student should really feel like they are getting individual attention to improve their movement and understanding. Your pearls of wisdom are invaluable and will set you apart from other Pilates teachers. This will help your students focus on their form during the class.
7. To Music or Not to Music
There are a lot of thoughts about using music in class. I think this is really a personal choice; to each their own. If you are going to use music often its best to play something that disappears – you notice if it's not there, but it doesn’t take over. And that being said, classes where the music is more in the forefront can sometimes be fun. Just know your audience and intention.
8. Create a Movement Goal
As a student it's great to know when you are making progress and change. Having a challenging movement to work up to is a fun way to create concentration and focus. And if it has a version that students can practice at home, even better. Practicing at home is another opportunity to take a break from ‘real life’ for self-care.