What is your biggest Pilates accomplishment?
My biggest Pilates achievement is becoming a Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher at age 60.
They say that 50 is the new 40, but this wasn’t the case for me! When I turned 50, I began to notice signs of aging; stiffness, less flexibility, more aches and pains, not being able to do things I did when I was younger. I figured that if I felt this way at 50, what would life would be like at 70 or 80? My excuses for not exercising disappeared when a new fitness center opened where I worked. One day a personal trainer encouraged me to try a Pilates class. I entered the class reluctantly but left it feeling like I’d come home. I had discovered a way of exercising that felt right; for my body, mind and soul. I felt stronger, breathed deeper and stood taller. I had more energy and my flexibility improved. The stiffness I’d attributed to “getting older” had gone and I was more confident about maintaining a great quality of life. I soon developed a thirst to find out more about the Pilates method.
I found a local studio and delved even deeper into the Pilates world. The more Pilates classes I attended, the more I wanted to attend! I started thinking about teaching Pilates but didn’t know how I would be able to do the training and work full time. Sometimes, fate works in strange ways.
When outsourcing eliminated my corporate job I decided to take the plunge and join the training program. It consisted of 750 hours of instruction, workshops, observations, and student teaching, covering the mat and all apparatus. The instruction helped me understand the exercises and get them in my body. Observations exposed me to different instructors and their styles. Workshops deepened my understanding of the method and taught me proper cueing. Student teaching helped me practice my skills. Tests on Pilates principles, anatomy, and exercise order ensured comprehension. Practice classes provided feedback and the final exam, performing the entire advanced reformer series, was like a rite of passage.
Fifteen months later, at age 60, I became a Pilates instructor. Quite an amazing transformation! Now, I enjoy enabling my clients to realize their own transformation. Working with “Baby Boomers” like myself, I feel I am best able to relate to their particular needs and concerns. It has been an incredible journey.
This year I celebrated my 7 year teaching anniversary and have never been happier. Joseph Pilates taught until he died at age 86. Many of Joe’s original students, collectively known as the Pilates elders, taught into their 80’s and even 90’s. I look forward to teaching as long as I can.
Len Palombi, NCPT
PMA Member since 2012
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