Pilates Teachers' Manual

Special Guest - Gwen Head

February 24, 2022 Olivia Bioni, Gwen Head Season 5 Episode 19
Special Guest - Gwen Head
Pilates Teachers' Manual
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Pilates Teachers' Manual
Special Guest - Gwen Head
Feb 24, 2022 Season 5 Episode 19
Olivia Bioni, Gwen Head

The fabulous Gwen Head joins me on the podcast today. She shares finding a balance between her career as a Pilates teacher and an HR professional, discovering the type of Pilates teacher she wanted to be, growing her confidence, and more. Tune in!

I want to hear from you! Share your thoughts and follow the podcast on Instagram and Facebook @pilatesteachersmanual. Full show notes, episode transcription, and chapter markers can be found on the podcast website here: http://bit.ly/pilatesteachersmanual. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast for updates, and rate and review wherever you listen!  Episodes now available on YouTube: *https://bit.ly/YouTubePTM*

Email pilatesteachersmanual@oliviabioni.com with your feedback.   

Show Notes:

Gwen is a Pilates teacher based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. She also has a career in HR and loves her two Boston terriers. Connect with her on Instagram: @GwenHeadPilates

Support the podcast:    

Visit https://links.oliviabioni.com/affiliates to take advantage of some sweet savings!

Episode Music:

Tracks: Tobu - Good Times, Tobu & Itro - Sunburst 
Tobu Official YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/tobuofficial
Itro Official YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/officialitro
Released by NCS 
https://www.youtube.com/NoCopyrightSounds

Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript

The fabulous Gwen Head joins me on the podcast today. She shares finding a balance between her career as a Pilates teacher and an HR professional, discovering the type of Pilates teacher she wanted to be, growing her confidence, and more. Tune in!

I want to hear from you! Share your thoughts and follow the podcast on Instagram and Facebook @pilatesteachersmanual. Full show notes, episode transcription, and chapter markers can be found on the podcast website here: http://bit.ly/pilatesteachersmanual. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast for updates, and rate and review wherever you listen!  Episodes now available on YouTube: *https://bit.ly/YouTubePTM*

Email pilatesteachersmanual@oliviabioni.com with your feedback.   

Show Notes:

Gwen is a Pilates teacher based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. She also has a career in HR and loves her two Boston terriers. Connect with her on Instagram: @GwenHeadPilates

Support the podcast:    

Visit https://links.oliviabioni.com/affiliates to take advantage of some sweet savings!

Episode Music:

Tracks: Tobu - Good Times, Tobu & Itro - Sunburst 
Tobu Official YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/tobuofficial
Itro Official YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/officialitro
Released by NCS 
https://www.youtube.com/NoCopyrightSounds

Support the Show.

[00:00:00] Welcome to Pilates Teachers' Manual, your guide to becoming a great Pilates teacher. I'm Olivia, and I'll be your host. Join the conversation and the Pilates community on Instagram at @pilatesteachersmanual and visit buymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show. Today's chapter starts now.

[00:00:56] Hello, hello everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. I [00:01:00] am absolutely enthused to have a lovely guest today. Her name is Gwen Head. She's a Pilates teacher out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. And I found her because she is incredible and fabulous and so positive on Instagram and creative and I was like, I need to talk to this fabulous person because she is a light in the Pilates industry. And I also think what's going to be interesting, and she'll share more about this, is that she teaches Pilates, but also has a day job. And so she's navigating to work worlds. And I think that's a situation that a lot of teachers find themselves in. Not everyone wants or needs to teach Pilates all the time. And so kind of finding a balance in that. So that's my guest today. Gwen, thank you so much for being on the show. 

[00:01:46] Thank you so much for having me and same. I love going through your IG page and think you're amazing. And I love the setup in terms of having a podcast to talk to other teachers and instructors. So yeah, I'm [00:02:00] happy to be here. 

[00:02:02] Um, so tell me, how did you get into Pilates? What was your first experience with Pilates like? 

[00:02:07] Hmm. So my first experience with Pilates was actually on Entertainment Tonight. So I got into Pilates around 97 or 98. And it was when, you know, you would have Entertainment Tonight and they would talk about, oh, this is how I get in shape and this is what I do. So I had been walking. I'm a huge walker. That's my favorite form of exercise, um, or was until I got into Pilates and I wanted something to supplement that, and I didn't really want to go to a gym. I'd had the gym experience. It was not thrilled with wanting to do that anymore. 

[00:02:43] So was watching Entertainment Tonight, heard about Pilates. And I just was looking around to see if there were studios nearby, where could I start this? And I actually was in a Barnes and Noble, and there was a magazine that had like six Pilates moves that you [00:03:00] can do. So I ended up getting the magazine and I swear, my first year, Pilates was basically hundred, swan, series of five. So I did all of that until I found a studio that was about 25 minutes away from my house. And I went to that studio and took a mat class. I started in mat only and was just hooked, was just hooked. 

[00:03:27] So I went to that studio for a little bit and just started trying to find other studios to go to in the area. Um, I was also reading more books about Pilates because they were starting to publish a lot more about Pilates back then. So yeah, most of it was self-taught and going to that studio. And then I taking about a three year break where I would still do the basic exercises, but it was really getting into my daytime job, so couldn't really do too much in terms of going to studios. When I [00:04:00] went back to a studio, which ended up being a studio that I ended up getting my certification from and that I still work at, it was like a game changer.

[00:04:12] It was just, you know, things that you had been doing that you thought you were doing correctly. It's like, no, that's not it. This little side, side line series was just horrendous um, for me when I was doing that. But, yeah, so I ended up going to the studio. I loved it. Absolutely loved it. The people there, some of the women there, I still call my friends. Um, even though they don't work there anymore. And they were very encouraging to me to get my certification because I love, I just have a love of Pilates. It's not just doing the exercises, it's just the love that I have for the method. Yeah. So that's how I came to it and then ended up getting certified, um, getting my certification and then, [00:05:00] um, started teaching from there.

[00:05:02] That's absolutely wild and kind of how Joseph Pilates in, like Return to Life talks about doing Pilates. He's like, you don't need fancy stuff, you just need to do the exercises. So that's pretty awesome. So when you decided to become a teacher and you had this fabulous support from your studio, teachers, and owners and things like that, what was that like that certification process for you.

[00:05:29] So for me, it was long because I did have a full time, um, day job. And, um, there were times that I would actually have to either take time off from my, um, certification process or take time off from my day job. Like I would use a lot of vacation time during that time to attend either seminars or to get my teaching hours and things like that. The balance was kind of, you know, I had to figure out what it was going to look like. And [00:06:00] then the instructors and the students are supported it. So it was a really good process. It was, you know, long, it was hard- as most things worth working for are- but yeah, I would definitely do it all over again. 

[00:06:14] So now you have established yourself where you're both teaching and working full time. So what did that look like for you as you kind of found your way to this place where now you're kind of set and kind of happy, um, when you were forging through that adventure, what was that like? 

[00:06:33] So I think what I had to sit down and think about is what type of teacher I wanted to be. Because when I first started, my goal was to, I'm just going to stop HR and I'm just going to become an instructor and open a studio and have all these wonderful people come in and hire all these instructors and everything. And, you know, and that's, that's a great dream to have. And [00:07:00] once I started to think about it, I realized that that wasn't really me at the time. And what I wanted to do was to, you know, go to other studios and teach at their studios, and do school programs where I will go into high schools and for their Phy. Ed. I would, you know, teach Pilates and same thing with YMCAs and other things like that. So once I realized that, Hey, you can kind of write this story the way you want to. Then it became a little bit easier for me to figure out what that was going to look like. And next I had to figure out how to balance. 

[00:07:37] So I had an pretty much the stars kind of aligned with COVID, I hate to say. I was laid off from my permanent position. And so I was actually busier with Pilates during that time, just because, you know, you had like less classes once they started in-person again. I tried to take, to teach all the [00:08:00] classes that I could. So that kind of built that part. Uh, and then I decided to have the HR part work around that for about, for a while just to see how that will go and it's worked out great. 

[00:08:12] So in my HR career, I do more contract work so I can work when I want to work. If I know I have a busy season with Pilates coming up, then I don't take on as much work, and then vice versa. You know, if I have a busy HR project going on, that I tend to manage my time teaching Pilates. 

[00:08:30] So it was really eye opening and I almost felt like this big weight lifted off of me when I decided and realized, I should say that I can write this how I want to, you know, I don't have to go the, the, um, way of having a studio now, you know, maybe later. Sure. But right now it's like, no, I can still bring Pilates to people, show them what a great method it is, show them what it's done for me. And then also have that other side of [00:09:00] my life and my HR life to where, you know, something I studied for and trained for 20 years, I still get to do. 

[00:09:07] Is there any crossover in the world of HR and Pilates, do you get to use your skills in both?

[00:09:14] So at one point, I did. The last position that I held, full-time position that I held, we had these rooms where we could, you know, just rent the rooms out for what we wanted to use them for. So I was able to teach a mat Pilates over lunch hour at my previous job. So, which was, which was fun because you always, you know, you'll be in a meeting with your colleagues, HR colleagues, and you'll talk about Pilates and you tell them you're teaching and everything, but until they actually see it, they're like, yeah, sure she is, you know. So it was fun to have, you know, like a lunchtime crew that would come in and be able to teach them, you know, in a different way. Have them see me in a different way than, oh, [00:10:00] you know, that's our colleague. You know, so it was, it was really fun. I've been able to do that. I haven't been able to do it recently, but that was super fun. It was fun that, you know, have the support of them as well. 

[00:10:13] When did you do your certification to be a teacher? How long have you been teaching? 

[00:10:18] The first one? I did mat first and I finished my mat certification in 2017 and is with, um, Six Degrees Uptown, a studio in Minneapolis. And I was just going to do mat because that's what I was doing around town. So I may have, or may not have been teaching Pilates before I was actually certified, you know, it would be more so the term, yes. You know, my friends are, oh, we need to do something new. We just went for this long walk and, you know, we would just pop down on the floor and start series of five. You know, so, um, so I figured I'm like, well, maybe I should get a certification for this before [00:11:00] I start running all over the Twin Cities, teaching everybody. 

[00:11:04] So I got that in 2017 and then I had not been on a reformer yet at that time. And I thought, well, you know, to make myself more marketable, I, I'll go ahead and complete the rest of the, um, certification. Yeah. So that was done in 2019. So right before COVID hit. Yeah. It's the fall of 2019. 

[00:11:29] I think what I love about that is that you had been exploring Pilates kind of on your own for such a long time before you took that plunge to be a teacher, which, I mean, there's a lot of people, myself included, who fell in love with Pilates, and I was like, I'm going to be a teacher. I've taken one class. And I think that that's totally valid, but I think that there's really something to be said about really having Pilates in your body and really explored it [00:12:00] in a lot of ways and a lot of studios with a lot of teachers before you teach it. I think that that's a really valuable experience.

[00:12:07] Yeah, it is. And it's something I should put out there: it was something I knew I was going to do. Like I knew eventually I was going to get the education needed to become a teacher. And it was just a matter of when, and I knew it would be a sense of where it would be something I would do part of the time. Or, you know, heading towards retirement in a few years, something I would do as a full-time career. 

[00:12:34] So, yeah, so it was something that it was in my body. I would go to classes, you know, I'd loved it. And I knew it was going to be a part of my life. You know, if I connected with a trainer who would even say anything remotely bad about Pilates, that was not the trainer for me. 

[00:12:50] So, so, um, yeah, it was wonderful going into the training having long-term [00:13:00] connection with it because, um, a number of the people that I did train with that was your, that experience that you spoke of was their experience to where, oh, I took, you know, maybe one to five classes and I want to be an instructor and they're amazing instructors, you know, but it was fun to take that opportunity to, um, go through that education having, you know, I've been a student for a long time and just to see the connections that I made with my body in terms of learning the education behind Pilates. And then also when I can relate to others who, you know, maybe don't want to teach, but you know, are kind of that super student that's been going for decades. So, yeah, so it, it was fun. I'm going into training, having that background, that long relationship with Pilates. 

[00:13:50] I think what's maybe not the most valuable, there's lots of valuable things in that experience, but this idea that you already knew Pilates [00:14:00] and you were learning to teach it versus learning the exercises while learning to teach the exercises.

[00:14:06] And we don't all have the luxury of like a 20 year relationship with Pilates. So it's not like that's what you have to do. You got to study it for 20 years and then think about teaching it. But I do think it's one of those, like if I could do it again, it's like, I also wish that I would have started doing Pilates a lot younger so that I could have kind of grown with it a little bit. Cause your body changes and your schedule changes, your energy level changes in terms of things. But yeah, I think that's super cool. 

[00:14:35] Can you share a bit about how your teaching has changed, maybe from how you started teaching to how you see yourself as a teacher now? 

[00:14:44] Oh, wow. So it's changed. Um, I was, you know, I'm sure with all new teachers, nervous at the beginning, and I think I was surprised at how nervous that I was going to, that I actually was, you know, I knew I was going to be nervous.

[00:14:59] [00:15:00] My HR career, I'm in front of people all the time. I'm doing presentations all the time. You know, me speaking in front of a large group of people or even teaching or training or group of people, nothing, nothing to me. Done it. You've done it for years. You know, so I was shocked that my first class to where, and these are people who knew me, people who specifically signed up for that class because, oh, it's Gwen's first time teaching. We're going to be there to support her. And I was just shocked at how nervous I was. 

[00:15:33] So, you know, of course starting out that way, you have your sheet of paper and you go down all the exercises and you make sure you go through everything. And you know, now, um, mat was much easier than reformer, I'll tell you that. Because with reformer, I was kind of learning it with everyone because my first day of reformer training was my first day on a reformer. Yeah. So I was, um, so that when I didn't have as much [00:16:00] confidence as I did with mat. You know, you get used to it. Um, you have a number of people that support you. You feel more confident with new people coming in. 

[00:16:10] And I'll be honest. Like now there's still a little twinge of nervousness, but now when I see a new class of people that I haven't seen before, I don't automatically go to my space where I'm thinking, oh gosh, okay, this is new. And I wonder if they're going to like me, and if I'm going to miss something, you know, I go into it with much more confidence now. And that's just, you know, happens with everything that everyone does. If you just keep pushing and keep getting used to it, and bring yourself into it. 

[00:16:41] One thing I was a little concerned about when I started teaching was I have this mentor who is just awesome. She is amazing. And I, I think one of the things I connected with her on was the fact that she was very soft-spoken like I am, so it wasn't a big, [00:17:00] you know, all right, let's do 10 minutes of warmup jumping around before, you know. We start with the loud music in the background, you know, she always had very nice calm music, speak pretty much similar to how I speak. 

[00:17:13] And I was scared. I was going to like, copy her too much, even though I loved her style. I didn't want to, you know, copy her because we worked at the same studio and I didn't want people to think, oh, she's copying Becky, you know? So once you start to get comfortable and you bring your own, um, self into it, your own confidence. And then even if it's not confidence, the fact that you know what you're doing, and if you make a mistake, you can own it and you can move on from there. 

[00:17:44] So that's how my teaching has evolved to where now, you know, I'm still learning. I'm always going to taking online seminars or going to other studios and see what they're doing, but I'm able to take that information and bring it into my [00:18:00] teaching versus copying what they're doing and just say, Hey, we're just going to do this because that's how the studio does. And I like it. So that's what we're going to do. I can bring it into my teaching and, um, feel confident in what I'm doing. So, yeah, just, you know, more confidence, more chill, more willing to take more chances now than I was when I started a few years ago.

[00:18:24] I love this idea that you're taking what you're learning and making it your own, because it's really easy to become a parrot or just like a regurgitator of other people's information. But when you've had the experience teaching and you know that even if what this teacher is teaching is awesome. If it doesn't jive with your style, or, you know, you can say, well, I like that bridge variation or I like that feet and straps thing, but like, I'm going to try it this way.

[00:18:54] And I think that that's kind of shows some real growth as a teacher to be [00:19:00] that confident, not just in your teaching, but also in like how you're going to teach things. Awesome. And very inspiring. And look at you doing that, starting teaching and COVID and then getting here, like that's wild. 

[00:19:13] So, did you do any online stuff during COVID or did you stick with in-person adventures?

[00:19:20] Mostly in person. I did do online- one of the studios uh, that I work at, they opted to start doing online classes and that was just a whole other trajectory for me. Again, not sure why, because I was doing zoom meetings before, you know, COVID hit and knew how to do everything and was fine with technology and everything.

[00:19:43] But, you know, you're coming with Pilates something that, you know, and you're comfortable with in a whole new dimension. So I was really nervous about that. And again, one of the things, once again, once you get used to it, you know, it, it became [00:20:00] second nature. So I do prefer the in-person route. It's just, you know, I'm just such a people person. And I love talking to people and I mean, in my class, it's some of everything. We talk politics in my class. You know, we just have different conversations about different things while we're doing the exercises. 

[00:20:24] And what I started to notice was, you know, especially last year was so much going on when I would have clients come in. It was almost as if it was too quiet and it's almost, you know, you could tell they had something they wanted to talk about, but they didn't really know if I was going to be on board to talk about. And once we would broach the subject of politics or, you know, what was happening with what just in the world with the murder of George Floyd, you know, people would just talk and talk and talk.

[00:20:56] And there were a few classes where I would have, you know, half talking [00:21:00] half Pilates, you know? So you just want to make sure that, you know, People are getting the workout in, but also if they need that person to talk to, because sometimes when they come see you, it's not just about exercise, especially if you developed a relationship with people.

[00:21:16] I still have pretty much everyone who was coming to see me and COVID is still coming now. And we kind of have our own little group on Sunday mornings that we just it's just been the four of us that's been together for this past year and a half. So, you know, I want to provide a safe space for them, not only to work out.

[00:21:32] But, you know, if you have questions and you want to talk about things and we're all on the same page talking about it, then yeah. Let's do that. You know, some people want to keep politics and everything out of polite, it should just be workouts. And if that works for you, that's great. But here in Minneapolis, particularly last year, I was finding that was not the case.

[00:21:52] And you know, I'm not going to have you feel uncomfortable in a class that you're coming to with me. [00:22:00] Yeah. So. The online was a good option, but I, yeah, I'm so into in-person so into in-person connection and working with people. So. 

[00:22:12] That's a really incredible thing that you offered that space for human connection beyond movement. I think that you absolutely hit the nail on the head when you said, you know, they need to work out, but they also have a person to be with them. And when something tragic or catastrophic happens, it's not like, oh, well I'll just turn that off and do the hundred, you know, like that, that comes with you, that, that pain, that fear. 

[00:22:45] And part of that working with the person in front of you is recognizing that that person has feelings and has emotions and goes through stuff. Like if you have a client who's going through a divorce, like you would be kind to them in the same [00:23:00] way. So that's another really great thing. I think that Pilates teachers offer, even if you're not saying, you know, we're going to have a chat during class as well, just being with people and allowing them to be vulnerable and be in a space with you. I don't think they cover that in teacher training, but that's definitely something that happens. 

[00:23:21] Exactly it does. And, um, you know, you just, they're spending their money to be there for an hour and you know, it's an hour that they want to just completely work out then. Yeah, we'll do that. But if it's something you know, to where and you can tell when someone is in need, you can tell if someone needs to talk to you. And I don't think that there's a reason to be mean at all. What's going on, let me know, how can I help you? Do you just want me to listen? We can do that, you know, feet in straps, let's feet in straps and listen, you know? So like you said, you're not taught that in teacher training. 

[00:23:58] And again, that, that [00:24:00] goes into who do you want to be as a teacher? You know, who do you want to be? I'm sure. If I had, if I had just kind of met up outside of our class and didn't know each other, you know, and they decide to talk about Pilates and talk about me. That's one of the things that I hope that they would say is that they feel safe and comfortable in my class to just be themselves.

[00:24:30] Hi there. I hope you're enjoying today's chapter so far. There's great stuff coming up after the break, to be sure to subscribe wherever you're listening and visit buymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show there you can make a one-time donation or become a member for as little as $5 a month.

[00:24:49] Membership comes with some awesome perks, including a shout-out in the next episode, a monthly newsletter, a monthly zoom call with me and more. You can also [00:25:00] visit links dot Olivia bioni.com/affiliates. To check out some sweet deals on products I use and love. Now, back to the show.

[00:25:27] I think that's also something about, you know, having a community that is, that is in your class, that it's not a competition. And it's really easy, especially with the amount of dancers are hyper mobile people who can make exercises look like this gorgeous dance that I can only dream of one day looking like that.

[00:25:49] Um, so to have a space where people feel safe and able to express themselves in terms of how they're moving, knowing that their teaser may not look like your [00:26:00] teaser may not look like my teaser, but no one has a better teaser. They're just doing their teaser. I think you're onto something there creating that space for people.

[00:26:12] Yeah. It's, uh, you know, it makes for a great class. I mean, I have actually talked to people, um, that are kind of in the advanced competitive mode and just let them know that, you know, that's not my class, you know, it's just, it's not my class. You're welcome to come, but that's not my class. 

[00:26:32] And I think that was another thing that I had to realize going through um, trying to figure out who I wanted to be as a teacher is that, um, you know, I'm not a huge fan of all of that. So if you get to my class and you, you know, work into that in my class, you would probably be the only one. And that's awesome. But you know, I'm not going to throw out like, uh, here's the Pilates challenge. Let's throw the gauntlet down, who can do this and [00:27:00] who, you know, no, that's not me. 

[00:27:03] I think giving people the opportunity to explore, and it's interesting that you say that because, you know, when I look at the clients that I work with, the majority of my clients are over the age of 60. And so we're not doing the rollover. We're not doing a lot of what would be like the classic exercises from our friend, Joe. Like, I don't think those are for friends in their eighties necessarily. Um, but to have a space to move and maybe pieces of the exercise, whether it's finding your C curve or finding a side bend, moving in all directions, like we're doing all that, it's still a lot easier, but. It's fitting the people that we're working with without making them feel bad for not doing a backflip. 

[00:27:46] Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. I think that's great that we, you know, we have the opportunity to kind of change things up. So my program was, um, it was a classical program that I went through and it was most of what I had [00:28:00] learned coming up to going into teacher training. 

[00:28:03] And, um, what's been great is seeing other teachers that are, um, I guess it would be called contemporary. They're doing contemporary exercises and being able to take some of that to really, you know, show students that have been mostly exposed to classical as well, and just show how it all can fit together. There's room for everything. Um, I think mo- it's been brought to my attention that most of my IG page is more contemporary, which I, you know, I wasn't going one way or the other with it, but I think it's because, you know, learning other methods of doing things and I kind of want to show people, Hey, look, this is another way to do it. Or, you know, look what I can do. You know, things like that. It's I, you know, that I did, I was not aware of until I looked it over and I thought, oh yeah, [00:29:00] that is more, you know, what's called contemporary. So I always make it a plan to have both genres in my teaching and in my classes. 

[00:29:10] What's so fabulous about the classical work is it gives you such a foundation. And once you have that foundation, when you're working with people with different body types, sizes, ages, abilities that you can say, okay, well, I'm thinking about coordination, but what I'm going to do is, you know, flip it with this, add this, subtract this, and then for build to this. And I think that that just comes out of playing with the exercises and kind of playing within the method, using it like Legos.

[00:29:44] I always think of like building blocks and how can we rearrange or move and play. So, yeah, I don't know. I was thinking about your feed and I was like, yeah, I don't think I thought of you as classical or contemporary. I just see you like really having fun and- 

[00:29:58] Yeah. And I'm [00:30:00] hoping, you know, that kind of, that resonates with people and it's just, cause I am, I'm having a good time, you know, learning something new or taking something that I'm used to doing all the time and putting a spin on. Yeah, I hope that's what people, you know, get from that in term, you know, in terms of what I'm doing. I'm, I'm just having a good time. This is a, you're going to be going through a lot of, you know, stuff today. I don't know what, but it will be because looking at me do this. This is fine. So we're just reminding people to have some fun in their life.

[00:30:35] You know, if you get to your workout and maybe do your traditional workout, maybe not, maybe try something different. So then that's what I do. Most of the things that I put on IG are things that I get from watching other people on IgG and watching what they're doing. And yeah, it's just, it's just fun for me.

[00:30:55] It's, you know, this is not how to do the Pilates with, you know, [00:31:00] 101 with Gwen Head. It's just, we're just having a good time and they look, you know, listen to some music like this, move on with your day.

[00:31:10] I love, um, Sonja R. Price Herbert said one time and it sticks with me a lot. And she's just like, it's just exercise, like it's just exercise, like have this, have some fun. Enjoy. 

[00:31:23] Exactly. Yeah, I would have, um, my, um, mentors that would say it's this, this is the brain surgery. It's exercise. It's Pilates, you know, have fun, you know, knock it out for an hour or go to lunch with your friends, go home, hug your kids. It's an hour worth of exercise. 

[00:31:44] Since you have this experience of working two jobs, Pilates teaching, and then HR. What advice do you have for people who are in a similar situation where they're doing something maybe [00:32:00] as a nine to five or something where they're consulting like you, what have you learned from your experience?

[00:32:08] The best advice that I could give is to know what you want to do and how you want to do it. I think that honestly is what was tripping me up this entire time is making that I had to fit something into a box. That I had to, you know, work full time and teach Pilates on the weekends or do I switch and do Pilates all weekend, or during the week, and then do my HR work part-time?

[00:32:41] So I think once I made that connection that, you know, how do you want this to look? It was easier for me to get that figured out. So, um, I'll admit I did have a, kind of a kick in the pants with being laid off, but it was one of those situations where, um, everything happens for a reason. [00:33:00] And I think I needed that time to get that figured out.

[00:33:03] So you're probably going to have one that you like better than the other. I do like Pilates better just to be honest. So, um, you're probably going to see your attention gravitate towards that one, but that doesn't mean that the other one has to completely go away. So, you know, if you decide to do your day job the full week, or if you have to do your day job, it may not even be a decision. You just have to do it. 

[00:33:29] You teach a class or two on the weekends, guess what? You're still a Pilates teacher, you know, you're still a Pilates teacher. So that, that education, that drive that you had when you got into Pilates, that's still there. No one's going to take that away. Whether you're teaching one class or you're doing it full time, you're a Pilates teacher. 

[00:33:50] So I would say definitely figure out what you want this to look like, and then do what you can to make it. And it may not [00:34:00] be immediate. Mine wasn't immediate. I was working and teaching, I would say almost for about a year before I could get to a space where I would be able to teach and then have my contract work, had to work around my teaching. So, so yeah, I would say definitely figure out how you want that to look. And then regardless of what happens, you're still you and those, um, careers are still yours. 

[00:34:29] I love what you're sharing, because it's really easy to think that there's only one way to be a Pilates teacher. And well, if I'm not teaching 20 hours, then it, it doesn't count or it doesn't matter. Which is a silly thing if you look at it, but you can still definitely have that thought where you're like, oh, well I'm not doing the thing, or I'm not a teacher. But I love that you said, you are a hundred percent, you are, you've put in the work, you have the passion, and you're teaching Pilates. Like that's, [00:35:00] that's the definition, my friends. 

[00:35:02] And I just, I love that you're sharing, and a lot of guests that I've had on the podcast, I've been really thankful have shared that there's more than one way to do it that I just had, you know, Mara Sievers from Pilates Encyclopedia on, and she doesn't have a weekly class schedule like she's location and schedule independent. And that's no less valid than having the same client on Mondays at nine and Tuesdays at three or whatever. And so, however it works for you, like your schedule is going to be different. Your commitments are going to be different. And however it works for you is, is awesome. It's just finding what works.

[00:35:43] Exactly. Yeah. Cause I, I I'll be honest. I was one of those people that almost got caught up in the, Well, I just teach one class a week, then you know, it wasn't worth it. And you know, quickly, I said, yes, you know, because I can teach that one class a week. Yeah. You decide how you want this to [00:36:00] look .Another reason I'm doing it.

[00:36:01] The way that I'm doing it is because I don't- human resources. I'm great at it. It's a good job. It's it's, you know what I put my first round of education into, but, you know, Pilates is my passion and I don't think that I want to do it full-time because I don't want to lose that passion. So I know that there are plenty of people who teach full time and it's still as new as it was when they started. And that may be the case for me someday, but right now I just don't want to get to that pointto where, man. Now there's two careers I'm tired of.

[00:36:39] So, so that's why I choose to do it this way. You know, you get a little bit more, a little bit more, you know, am I tired of it yet? Nope. Okay. A little bit more so yeah. You know, figuring out how you want this to look and move towards. 

[00:36:56] I can speak from my own experience and other teachers [00:37:00] I know that I've talked to, that it's definitely possible, even in Pilates, the most amazing thing in the world to get tired and to feel burnt out and run down. And so I think that way of checking in with yourself and being like, do I feel okay teaching three classes, four classes, six classes, 10 classes, whatever you find is your balance. But that it's a conversation that it's not like, well now you've hit eight classes and that's it. Like, I don't know, maybe it is, maybe it doesn't, but you got to check. 

[00:37:29] You have to keep it going. You have to, you know, just figure out what works for you and just know that there's no right or wrong way. At this point to do it, you know, you do what's what's works best for you and what feels good to you. It's rare. I don't know a lot of people that went into Pilates as a first career. So chances are, you've been in something that you knew it was time for a change. And if you have that [00:38:00] courage to make that change, then, then you know, you can make it to where, oh, maybe it's two classes. Let's go to eight and see what happens there. Oh, that's awesome. Maybe I do want to open up a studio, you know, so yeah. So it's just having that courage and just knowing that what you did once were, why not twice. 

[00:38:22] And another thing that I just love about what you're sharing is that, you know, finding this balance is also possible because I know that, um, teacher training especially can be very demanding and the hours that you need to put in, but knowing that there is a way in that process and then afterwards that you can find that balance that doesn't need to look a particular way. I think that that's pretty inspiring as well. Like it's possible. You can do it. Gwen did it!

[00:38:52] And one of the things I am grateful for, and it may sound odd, for COVID is that it opened up [00:39:00] minds a little bit to what work is, you know, if you've gone from working brick and mortar to working online, Hey, can I continue to do that? Yeah. Why wouldn't you? There's nothing. It's like basically all rules out the window after 2020. It's all rules out the window. So, you know, if there's any time to really figure out how you want your life to look what you want to do work-wise and family-wise, or just, you know, whatever, now's the time to do it because at least for me, I'll say, oh, okay. Why not? Just had a pandemic. Sure. 

[00:39:39] Definitely. No, definitely. Now I'm in a car longer than like 15 minutes. I'm like, oh, this commute is terrible. I know. 

[00:39:46] Right, exactly. Hey, do I have to make this commute? You know, yeah. It's just, I mean, now's the time just, you know, throw caution to the wind. And it's [00:40:00] almost been a liberating time for me and not just for me, just number of my friends who have done different things and. Okay. Well, you're either looking at it from one. Now we have more resources to where we can do things differently, or, you know, literally you just came out of a pandemic who knows what's going to happen next year. Just do it. 

[00:40:19] Is there anything you're working on, or how can people find you? I will definitely link to your Instagram, but, uh, or anything that you just want to share that we haven't covered that you'd like to talk about.

[00:40:32] Oh, well, now that you mention it. So, um, in terms of working on, um, I, you know, I'm still, I'm looking forward to having some time off during the holidays. Um, I'll still be teaching Pilates. So this is one of those instances where, okay. I was on an HR project. It was, it, it was a good project that ended, well, I want to take a little bit of a break and just focus on Pilates and, you know, see what comes from that. Either I'll just be teaching more [00:41:00] classes. Like I usually do, or maybe I'll figure out, well, you know, what do I want to do next with Pilates? And, you know, I have the door open for that. So mostly over next few weeks, just doing that. 

[00:41:13] In terms of anything else to share. I mean, if anyone is, you know, on the fence about teacher training, I would say, definitely do it because I got my education in terms of teaching Pilates from teacher training, of course, but I've learned so much more about myself in teacher training, just in terms of being stronger than I actually am. Not physically, more mentally, you know, in terms of being able to handle a number of things.

[00:41:43] And in terms of, you know, having an open mind in terms of, you know, this is, again, my training was classical, classical repertoire is, but Hey, you can also do this. And then, you know, not having to be like the [00:42:00] hardcore advanced teacher, like I'm only teaching advanced, and this is all we're doing, you know, seeing different people come in for different things.

[00:42:08] So I would say in terms of teacher training, definitely learn what you're going to get in your education to teach the exercise. But learn about yourself as well. You know, what do you really subscribe to, you know, had you thought, or I thought that I would have been too- or talking about politics in the Pilates class three years ago. I would've been like, no, probably not, you know, but I am. 

[00:42:31] So that's what, you know, my classes, that's what I'm comfortable with. And, um, it's really helped me look into myself in terms of not only what I want for my life, what I don't want for my life. I've always said that sometimes it's almost better to know what you don't want versus what you do want in terms of making decisions and making your life decisions and moving forward in your life.

[00:42:56] So that would pretty much be [00:43:00] anything my advice I could give to people who are thinking of looking into Pilates as a career, definitely do it because it's awesome. But also get what you can get from it in terms of. You can find out about yourself in terms of teaching, in terms of learning, in terms of listening. 

[00:43:20] That again is kind of spot on in terms of, as you're teaching, you're going to learn how to teach better or how to teach differently. Like, there'll be lots of chances for you to explore and grow, but to use that teacher training as a means of self exploration, because I feel like I did a lot more Pilates before I became a teacher and now it's like, I really got to like schedule it in. So while you have these like mandatory, you have to do Pilates times, like really enjoy and appreciate that because, and especially just like piggybacking on that idea, pay attention to the things that are [00:44:00] hard to you because they're going to be hard to other people and it's valuable too. Um, it's one thing to know the finished, polished, most advanced version of the exercise, but like, depending on the type of teacher you want to be, um, you're not going to teach that as much as you're going to teach footwork. So like, know all of the pieces and not just the cherry on top of your system. 

[00:44:30] Exactly. Yeah. Like the finished product of you started a footwork and now you're here.. And I just take a longer time to get here. So I want to make sure you understand what here is. We know once we get to snake, why we're doing snake, once we get the star, why we're doing that, you know, and I may or may not do that. May not mean I may or may not do snake or star and maybe work more on the building [00:45:00] blocks to get to that, because I think that works best for you and what your goal is in terms of Pilates.

[00:45:07] You know, it's one of those things where I'm just, oh, oh, I've been reviewed, we'll get a client that says, oh, I've been researching and looking at these exercises online and, oh, it's always snake. It's always snake. 

[00:45:25] Wild. And honestly, if I was like, if I was in your class and we didn't do snake, I would be fine with that. Like, that's fine with me. 

[00:45:35] Unnecessary 

[00:45:37] Unnecessary. Well, fabulous. Gwen, you are such a delight and thank you so much for taking your time to share your experience and share your insights and the wonderful wild world of Pilates. I appreciate you. Thank you so much for coming on today. 

[00:45:55] Thank you for having me. This was fun. This was fun. It's so great [00:46:00] to connect with you in person. You know, another thing I loved about the, I love about the IG community is that, you know, you get to connect with other instructors and in other parts of the country and yeah, this has been fun. Thank you for all that you do with this.

[00:46:16] I've listened to a few of these and yeah, they've been very eyeopening. Very good. So, I hope I've continued the tradition. 

[00:46:27] You definitely have

[00:46:36] Thanks for listening to this week's chapter of Pilates Teachers' Manual, your guide to becoming a great Pilates teacher. Check out the podcast Instagram at @pilatesteachersmanual and be sure to subscribe wherever you listen. For more Pilates goodness, check out my other podcast, Pilates Students' Manual, available everywhere you listen to podcasts.

[00:46:59] [00:47:00] The adventure continues. Until next time.