The wonderful Amy Sasso joins me on the podcast today. She shares her Pilates journey, fond memories of studying under Pilates Elder Lolita San Miguel, her experiences opening a Pilates studio, finding her authentic teaching style, and her advice for new teachers. Tune in!
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Amy is a 2nd Generation Pilates teacher based in Costa Rica who studied under Lolita San Miguel. Her studio, Concept Pilates, is where she teaches clients and hosts Pilates teacher trainings in Lolita's lineage. Connect with her on Instagram at @amysassopilates.
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[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 am so [00:01:00] excited to be on today with Amy Sasso, who is an incredible individual that I met at the Diploma of clinical Pilates, and I've done study groups, and I feel like I know everything about what we've done in the course together, but I like wanna know all of your Pilates adventures prior to the course as well. Um, so I'm gonna turn it over to Amy. Thanks so much for being on the show.
[00:01:24] Hi. Hi, Olivia. Thank you so much for inviting me. It's uh, my first time I'm on a podcast, so that's very exciting.
[00:01:31] It is super exciting. And I'm super, just like excited to hear first in a nutshell, if you can say what you're up to, what you're doing, where you are in the world and we'll jump off from there.
[00:01:45] Okay. Well, um, right now I'm living in Costa Rica. I'm half Costa Rican and half Australian. So I speak English and Spanish, and I've been here for the last 12 years and I'm teaching Pilates in my studio that I [00:02:00] own, I set that up, uh, five years ago. And well, as you mentioned, I'm taking the Diploma with you, uh, in clinical Pilates. So that's very exciting. Yeah. That's the nutshell, I guess.
[00:02:11] No, that's so cool. So I always like to throw it way back to the beginning of time. And if you'd be so kind, just to share your first experience with Pilates.
[00:02:24] Whoa, I love that question. That's a really great question. Um, so I experie- I first experienced Pilates in, I think it was like 2008 when I was living in Amsterdam. Uh, I I'm going further back. I'm a computer scientist, so I'm a programmer. I do software. So when I finished my university degree here in Costa Rica, I was like, I want to travel and work abroad. So I applied and I got a job in Amsterdam, so I moved to Amsterdam, um, of all places, and started working.
[00:02:55] And I was working in this like office job all day, every day and [00:03:00] my passion at the time was ballet. So after work, I would go like every evening to the ballet studio in Amsterdam and dance to my heart's content. I loved it. It was wonderful. And then I started actually auditioning for stuff for dance stuff, which, you know, had never been a career possibility for me, but I started to think it might be.
[00:03:22] And in one of these auditions, I actually fell and got hurt. I, uh, I think it was, I tore my hamstring. And it was, you know, devastating. That was the first time I'd been injured. And, um, I went to the physio for that and he, you know, started doing the rehab stuff and he's like, you should try Pilates. So I was like, what? Okay, fine.
[00:03:43] So they had this one class at the dance studio, which was Friday mornings. So I started taking this class and it was just so much fun. It was, it was really cool. And I really liked the teacher. The teacher was called Becky Rice. [00:04:00] and she was just this wonderful person who was so caring and she cared so much about me.
[00:04:08] And something that I found really. I don't know. It really touched me was that sometimes I, I ask a lot of questions. I love asking questions. So I was always asking her stuff like after class, I'd be like, oh, you know, X, Y, Z question. And a lot of the times you would be like, you know what? I don't know, but I'm gonna find out. And then I would come back the next week and she would be like, oh, I found out, you know, what you had asked me about. And that just, it made me feel really special. And it was a really nice time.
[00:04:37] So I did that for a year, no ballet during that year. Uh, so I was working and taking the once a week mat class with Becky. And then after about a year, uh, my physio said, yeah, you can go back to, to dance. So I, I got back into my classes and it was unreal how much I had improved in ballet without doing ballet . [00:05:00] So just from the Pilates classes, I, it was really weird. Like, I was never like this outstanding dancer person. I just loved what I was doing. But all of a sudden I was like doing all of these turns and I was like really centered. And I was like, holy, wow. This is really something, you know, like, what are the chances of actually improving after a year of not doing the thing, then I was like, okay, I need to know more about this.
[00:05:29] And I found a training, there was a Pole Star mat course in Amsterdam. So I signed up. That was on the weekends and I did that and yeah, that, you know, it just started there and it just spiraled out of control from there to the point where I quit my job. And now I only teach.
[00:05:49] I mean, I don't know if I call that like a spiral out of control. That's like- but Nope, that's so incredible that you found something almost by [00:06:00] accident, that you like injured yourself into a new career, which is wild.
[00:06:07] I did. And it what's even wilder is that I had no intention of teaching. I was like, no, no, definitely big no. But I did the program for me, like for my own knowledge, for my own body, cuz I was like, I need to do Pilates. I mean, I want to do Pilates every day. It's super expensive. I can't pay classes every day, but I can pay a certification and then just teach myself every day. That was my master plan. Right.
[00:06:33] And when I finished the, the program, I was starting to date my now husband and I told him what I was doing, how I had finished and you know, got my cert and he's like, well, are you gonna teach? I was like, no. He's like, that makes no sense. Why would you, you know, study to teach and then not teach?
[00:06:53] And I was really like, well, okay, I guess I could try. So . [00:07:00] So I went on, on this like forum, like expat forum online, and I started advertising Sunday class at two or three. And I booked a space in a yoga studio and people started coming and when I was doing it, I was like, oh my God, I love this. I didn't expect to love it. And it was just so much fun and connecting with everyone in the class and it just felt so wonderful. I was like, oh, I need to do more of this. And then it spiraled .
[00:07:35] Pilates, definitely does that. Where just, when you think you're out, they pull you back in with another piece of equipment and another training and another thing, but that's, I mean, that's wonderful.
[00:07:47] How did you, so you talked a little bit about becoming a teacher that you do a mat certification for fun to like learn more and end up being a teacher, which is, fun fact, what they trained you to do. [00:08:00] So that's awesome that that worked out. And then how did you jumping ahead almost to Lolita. And how did you get into this specific style?
[00:08:12] Because for people who may not know you, you also have this relationship with one of the Pilates elders. So one of the people who was trained by Joseph Pilates in Pilates is someone that you connected with and now do trainings with. So can you tell me a little bit about that connection?
[00:08:29] Well, that's really interesting that that goes all the way back to the first, the first day, because Becky Rice was actually a, uh, student of Lolita's. So from the very start she was talking to me about Lolita this and Lolita that, and I was like, oh, okay. Wow. She's so amazing. Becky is so amazing. So if she's so amazing, her teacher must be so amazing, but Lolita was, would only teach teachers. So she has this, it's called the Pilates Master Mentor Program where you have to be a teacher. You need to have, [00:09:00] I think it used to be five years experience teaching or something. And you had to apply, send a video and do an interview and whatever, but I was already thinking about that, like from the very beginning as being a really cool end goal. You know, like getting as close to the source as you can today. And if Becky, you know, she led me to her basically.
[00:09:20] So after I did the Polestar thing, I was in Amsterdam for a little while. And then we moved back here to Costa Rica and I went for the Power Pilates comprehensive it's cause I wanted to learn the reformers and all the stuff, all the things I did that in Miami, I had to fly back and forth many, many, many times. Which was great. Um, and then I started working in a studio here and when I had the, you know, prerequisite amount of years under my belt, I was like, okay, I better do this because if I wait any longer, You know, she was 80 at that time and I thought, I wasn't [00:10:00] ready. I didn't feel ready, but I knew I had to do it. So I just did it.
[00:10:04] So I, I contacted her, sent my application in and, uh, she accepted me into her course and that was amazing. And, uh, then I had to fly to the States some more times cuz she's in Palm Beach. So I went back and forth from Palm Beach many, many times. And I went through her program. It was a two year program and. Wow. Yeah, it was, it was amazing. It really, really was amazing and it changed a lot.
[00:10:31] So, yeah. Um, getting to spend time with her and learn from her, and it's not with, Lolita's not only about the Pilates, you know, like the Pilates is a big part of it, but she really wants to mentor you in all aspects of your life, which I didn't see coming at all, but yeah, it was really fun. And well, now that I did the Master Mentor Program, she then allowed me to teach [00:11:00] her Legacy, which is the, the certification for new teachers. And that's, uh, I think it's a year and a half. I've done it three times already. I do that here in Costa Rica. So I have to set it up. I run the, you know, the advertising. I find the people set up the group and teach the thing. I just finished my third group. They're gonna have their test in October this year. They're flying up to Palm Beach with Lolita to do their test.
[00:11:26] Yeah, that is incredible. And one thing that's come up with other guests on the podcast and just conversations I've had with other teachers as well is how valuable mentorship is because a lot of times. You just can't do everything in your first teacher training. Like there's so much more. And for a lot of people, um, for myself included a lot of times you're learning the exercises at the same time you're learning to teach the exercises. And so you're already [00:12:00] overwhelmed by spring settings or are my feet pointed or flexed or my palms down. And how big are my arm pumps? And there's like, Pilates itself is complicated. And then you're trying to learn how to teach it. And also, you know, potentially changing careers. You know, there's people who are like you, who have a day job and then are also doing teacher training and having families and lives and all of this. And so this, this idea of having like a continuation of your training, I think is really valuable. It takes some pressure off of you to be done at the end of teacher training. You know, that there's more to learn more to do.
[00:12:41] And I kind of wanna hear more about the, the mentorship program with Lolita. When you say all aspects of your life, are you getting like business coaching? Are you getting like relationship advice? Like what's happening?
[00:12:53] Everything, everything, everything. It's like, I was thinking, cuz so thinking about what I was gonna say to you today, [00:13:00] I just, it was so nice going down that memory lane again, like remembering all the parts, all the things. From when I signed up, uh, she sends Lillian, her second hand, uh, assistant, who I love. She's a wonderful, wonderful woman. Lillian and her husband pick me up at the, I get off this train and they pick me up in their car. They take me to their house and they're like, you know, I just, I feel like they're just accepting me into their family. You know, they just make sure I know where everything is, where I have to go, what I have to do.
[00:13:33] And Lolita, she arranges for me to share a hotel room with Ana, a girl from, um, Brazil. So just from like the get go, she's like you and you, you, you know, you're gonna get along. And we did, we got along great. We became really close friends throughout the whole thing. The first day of class, it's like, she takes us to her. It's like she lives in this, um, big condominium and [00:14:00] there's. Area where you can do parties. So it's like this big open space with, you know, tables and, and whatever.
[00:14:07] And so we're there and she's like, okay. So tell me about you. Do you have a boyfriend? What's he like, where do you live? What do you do together for fun? What do you do on the weekends? Where do you go for holidays? Nothing Pilates like the, the first morning. And you get to know your, your peers and your friends. And so that just kicks off the, like the setup where she's just so interested in everyone. And truly, truly interested. And every time you see her, she'll ask you, how's your, how's your mother. She, you know, how's her wrist going? Cuz she remembers that she fell. And like she's just so interested in everyone. And she'll ask me about my students. Oh, how is so and so getting along with their, their roll up. I remember they were having trouble with it. Did you try this and this and this?
[00:14:53] And it just blows me away how this like amazing woman, you [00:15:00] know, power woman, uh, mentor person with so many students in so many countries across the world can take the time to ask me about my students and each individual thing. Um, It's just amazing. Blows me away every time.
[00:15:16] Then when we would have our sessions. So like we would come in and the session would start off at, I think it was eight in the morning or nine in the morning. It would be eight, eight hour day. But the first thing would be like, okay, how are you all, what did you do last night? Did you go out? Did you go dancing? Did you have a margarita? Like, tell me how was it, you know, like giving such importance and such emphasis to the fun part of life and of being together. And for me that was like, wait, what, where, you know, I'm here to learn, teach me now. Like, I was very, very strict and very here, I'm here to, to do my best.
[00:15:54] And you know, and when she would be asking me about, you know, where did you go last night? How, how fun was [00:16:00] it? Who did you see? Like, I was really a little bit, almost like pissed off. Like, not really, but it wasn't what I expected in, in, in those ways. But that's what made it great in the end. So yeah, that was awesome.
[00:16:14] Knowing you and knowing your personality, I can see how annoying that would be. You're like, why are we wasting time on this? Like, I'm here to absorb all the information that you can possibly give me in eight hours, but I love that the teacher that you chose to be your teacher and it have this like beautiful legacy and you, like you said, get as close to the source as, as you could also had this, this like fun streak and this, you know-
[00:16:46] See, yeah. Seeing life as more than Pilates. And I think, especially in teacher training, but also just because it's our job. Like your life can be a hundred percent Pilates. And I think it's nice to sometimes [00:17:00] have a reminder that like you can go out and have a margarita and go dancing and see people. And that's like part of it. .
[00:17:08] Yeah, that was really important to me, cuz I'm definitely an overachiever. Always have been like big, big, big time. So it was a real kind of, I dunno, it was really important for me. It was good.
[00:17:21] And about the business side, like you asked, she also would ask me every time I saw her, she's like, have you opened your studio? I'm like, no, not yet. You should open your studio. You need to have a studio. You know, you, you know, you're at this point and you have a certain level. And I was like, no, I don't want to open a studio, leave me alone.
[00:17:40] And you know, now I own a studio and yes. Okay. I, I see. I see what she wanted me to see, but it's like, she really kind of just nudges you and well, not so much nudges, but pushes in to grow, you know, to, to be better, to improve, to, to move forward, to take [00:18:00] steps that you otherwise wouldn't.
[00:18:02] Can you share a little about how her style of teaching or her way of teaching or just her way of being has kind of rubbed off on you and what you find, you know, passing on to clients who maybe even aren't in your legacy program, but just like the way you interact with people, how has working with her changed your teaching or the way you do or see Pilates?
[00:18:28] Yeah, for sure. It's really interesting. Cuz every time I go through a program, my clients are like, oh wow. And they like, they pick up on it immediately and they, they're also thankful and they love hearing about Lolita. My clients, so they're always like asking me, you know, what did she say and what was this? And I'll be like, oh, Lolita says so and so, and they'll just, they'll love it.
[00:18:48] But I think definitely a big part of what Lolita helped me was with finding softness in my teaching, in my way, or in my [00:19:00] being, because, so I had done the, the Polestar and that was, you know, the beginning. I didn't know what I was doing. I was just starting. When I did the Power Pilates, I got really serious about what I was doing cuz then I was like, this is it. This is my life, my new career. I'm gonna go all in. And I memorized the manuals back to front. Like you, you know, every single word on every single page, I'd be like, oh, on page 99, it says this at the bottom. You know? So I was like this super nerd and the Power Pilate style is very almost military maybe is, is like the, the feeling I'm thinking.
[00:19:39] They teach you to stand with your hands behind your back. So you're standing like at attention and you give cues in a certain way, and there's a certain rhythm and it's all very bum BU bum BU bum, and you, each exercise has a setup. It has a transition to the next exercise. And like I was thinking about it again in the, um, [00:20:00] in the final exam of that course, I had to simultaneously teach a beginner client and an advanced client taking them through the order, the classical order, at the same time, so that this one is doing this exercise, but slower. And this one is going faster. Thinking back that how I did I do that. It was just unreal. You know, it was it's you have this level of like, you, you dream the exercises because you know them so well. And you don't think that maybe you can kind of go off script sometimes, or you can color outside the lines sometimes.
[00:20:41] And that's a little bit what Lolita taught me about. You know, it doesn't have to be so strict. It doesn't have to be so intense. It doesn't have to be like, we have to make the client die every time. . And that was not only Power Pilates. I'm I'm not saying that they're like that. But the studio where I was working there [00:21:00] was this atmosphere of like, oh, I really killed her today. And that was the, a good thing. That was a positive thing.
[00:21:08] So when I show up to Lolita with this like very strict style, she was like, on the first time I taught, she was like, what are you doing? You know, just, you know, put your hands in front of you, relax a little bit. And yeah, her style is a lot more relaxed, a lot more about flow and just kind of positive movement experience.
[00:21:30] She actually has a lot of Power Pilates- and of Polestar, sorry, infused into her work because she, after studying with Joe, after working for all those years, she then got recertified with, um, Polestar because she wanted to learn the new stuff. Like, she always says how important it is to evolve, to preserve, but also evolve because she, and she, she knew she's like, well, you know, since Joe was there, so many things have been discovered by [00:22:00] science and, and we can't ignore that. So she, she did this, uh, Polestar certification when she was, I wanna say, like, I think she must have been like 60 years or 70 years old. You know, and she went and got, re-certified putting herself again as a learner, as a beginner, and she wasn't afraid to do that. So you can see a little bit in her work of the, the Polestar attitude, which is, I feel a lot softer than what I had been doing.
[00:22:33] I'm just putting myself in the shoes right now of the person leading the teacher training that Lolita San Miguel is in. And you're just. Oh, my gosh. I like, I had the same thought when I was reading Caged Lion and you know, he's he, uh, John steel, the author never became a Pilates teacher, but he takes Pilates classes from just like teachers. [00:23:00] And it's just like, so you learn Pilates from Joseph Pilates, I guess we'll do some footwork. Like , it's just so wild. Oh my gosh.
[00:23:10] But also, I think that that shows you a lot about Lolita as a person, that she wanted to learn, that it wasn't a, well, I'm done. Like I've already done everything and now I'm just here to share it. Like it's really difficult to be a beginner, especially it's something that you have experience in. So I think that's a huge testament to her character to want to, not just encourage you to evolve and grow as a teacher learning her way, but also for herself to really do that as well. That's awesome. Yeah.
[00:23:46] And she used to do it with us as well. Like when we were in the PMP, she would be like, I learned so much from you guys. There was this one girl that is a horse, equestrian specialist. And when she went to do the horseback on the ladder [00:24:00] barrel, like, she just kind of mounted the ladder barrel by putting her foot on the little step underneath as if it were a stirrup and then just flipping her leg over the top.
[00:24:10] And Lolita was like, show me that again. I've never seen that before. I never learned it that way. Why didn't I learn it that way? This will be the new way. So now we teach in Lolita's Legacy when you're gonna do horseback, you put your foot in the stirrup and you get on your horse. But Lolita was just so excited to learn a new thing from someone. And it's great.
[00:24:31] She even- and I, I kind of, I fought with her a little bit on this when I was there, but she has us create these, uh, movements called creative movements. So for each module, you have to do your test out your whatever, and, and you have to show a creative movement. And why is it it's because she wants to learn some new stuff and she wants to see new things and new movements and new possibilities.
[00:24:54] And I was like, I don't wanna create any movements. I want you to teach me the movements. I don't wanna [00:25:00] create them. And I would get really stressed about having to come up with something. And I was always like, Ugh, you know, it was like one of the worst moments of the program for me.
[00:25:11] What did she do with all these movements? She put them in a binder and she has them in on file for all of us to look at. And she has look at all of the movements that the, the, the Lolita people have created and is just it's wonderful.
[00:25:26] I really am appreciating just from hearing what you're sharing, the way that she really met everyone, where they were, and with the experience that they had. And to let everyone be involved in, you know, the creation and like making this new thing. That's really remarkable.
[00:25:47] And like, I can only imagine being a student there. I can see how stressed you would be at the, now I have to make something up for myself part, but then to be part of that and to be, you know, in this binder with all of these incredible [00:26:00] people, all working together in Pilates, like what a dream like that's like utopian, Pilates, adventure.
[00:26:09] It was, it really was.
[00:26:16] Hi there. I hope you're enjoying today's chapter so far. There's great stuff coming up after the break, too. 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.
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[00:27:13] If I can ask a little bit about your teaching and your teaching style, because you've been doing, you've been doing Pilates for over a decade now. And how did you see your own teaching evolve from, you know, coming right out of your mat training with Polestar to now working one on one and having a studio. But I also wanna, I also wanna hear about your studio, but how has your teaching kind of changed and evolved?
[00:27:40] That's really interesting because some of it has just gone completely different and some of it has just stayed the same, which I guess is normal. But so from the, the Polestar, which is my start, I mean, it doesn't define me much. The Power Pilates really gave me this like [00:28:00] rigorous practice that I still adhere to when I do my own practice. Which is I work out through the classical order. I always start with the hundred, the roll up, the rollover. I do the exercises in that order. I also teach them in that order. Mostly sometimes I'll take some out and in their place, plug something in which looks similar, but isn't exactly the same after going through the whole Lolita thing and loosening up a bit.
[00:28:28] Now I find myself with this Clinical Pilates program starting to really find my own voice and my own style, which is not exactly anything like what I've done before, but it's really exciting because the Clinical Pilates program so far, and I've done one module so far has given me this like enormous confidence when it comes to injuries, injuries, or injured individuals, where before I was always [00:29:00] very, maybe hesitant to do certain movements, although I had memorized the book. Right. So I knew exactly which were the movements I shouldn't do and why I shouldn't do them. So I just didn't go there.
[00:29:11] But I didn't feel that sense of empowerment of understanding exactly what what's going on, where now I'm just like, whew, I let loose. And I'll, you know, push my clients hard. You know, hard to, and they'll sweat and they'll get this great workout, but I won't be worried if their foot isn't pointed perfectly, or if they're not in the exact alignment that they should be. I'm also losing a lot of the interest or the, the pull towards the ballet isms that are present in Pilates that Lolita certainly has placed there and other people as well. Even the Power of Pilates has ballet stuff coming in through Romana right.
[00:29:57] Now, I'm like, no, not interested. Don't don't, [00:30:00] don't really don't care how it looks. I just care what I'm trying to do, you know, what am I trying to achieve? What movement am I trying to create? What shape am I looking for? And that's really fun.
[00:30:10] And it's really liberating not having to look aesthetically a certain way and not expect my clients to, but instead just to have fun and move and you know, yeah. That's kind of what's happening and it's really exciting.
[00:30:31] I'm so with you, because there's so much toe pointing in Pilates in general, and I get foot cramps all the time. All the time, I get foot cramps that are gritting your teeth as you're smiling while you're teaching. Cuz like I do a lot of stuff online, so I'm doing a lot of demoing probably more than I would do in person. And so I end up flexing my feet and things and I've had people be like, oh aren't your toes supposed to be pointed? And I'm like, my foot is in so much [00:31:00] pain. I am flexing my foot. It's gonna be okay. We can still do one lake circle. Like it's gonna be fine.
[00:31:06] But I totally hear what you're saying about having freedom to explore that comes from having knowledge and being really confident in what you know. That pain isn't scary. Like I would've clients come in and they'd be like, oh my gosh, my shoulder hurts. And I'll be like, well, we won't do anything with your arms. We'll just do a leg day. It'll be fine, you know, and that is a strategy. And depending on where they are in the healing process, like that is a strategy, but it's not very fun and it doesn't really help your clients use their arms outside of Pilates, which they will have to do to open doors and, uh, grab things and move things around as we do.
[00:31:49] So, yeah, having this, this knowledge and this comfort that really people could throw cuz PE you know- clients come in and they all have [00:32:00] stories and stuff going on in their bodies and injuries that they had a long time ago and stuff that they're recovering from and things that are just a kind of weird sensation that they're having. And to be able to meet those clients and just be like, all right, let's go, let's see what we can shake out. And to not like have a panic attack while that's happening. Like the dream, uh, as a teacher, because you can really let go and you can spend less time worrying and more time doing stuff, doing cool stuff with your clients.
[00:32:31] Yeah. And it's also really, I think, empowering for the clients to be like, oh, my teacher didn't really mind that my shoulder was hurting. So I guess it's not so bad. Like, you know, if before we were like, Okay. No, don't, don't do that. If it hurts, we'll do something else. Let's modify. Let's move away from the pain. That's sending a very clear message. That pain is, is not okay. But sometimes pain doesn't equal injury. [00:33:00]
[00:33:00] So true. So true. And I've had, I've had clients now where like, we'll be doing something in like a quadriped position on hands and knees or like a four point knee. It has 18 different names. I don't know why we can't just pick one for that. But I've almost like unintentionally trained by clients that they'll just be like, oh, my arms are talking to me. And like, it's just like, awesome. Because I'm like, oh, that's so great. Like, what are they saying? And, and he's like, oh, like we're, we're getting close to, to being done. And then you get, just get to ask, be like, can you do three more? And he is like, all right. Yeah. I can do three more. My triceps are really talking to me and I'm just like, you're adorable. And I love you.
[00:33:37] That's so good. That's so good because you're showing people to have a conversation with their bodies, which is in a way something we've always done. It's something I've always done as a dancers in Wil you know, you feel stuff and it's okay. You don't like freak out every time you feel something. So I'm not sure why we were taught to kind of freak out if our [00:34:00] clients feel something , you know, so yeah, it's really good.
[00:34:04] Yeah. And I, I love that, you know, making it a conversation that it's between the teacher and the client that we're conversing and the program is largely being shaped by the information that they're giving us.
[00:34:16] But also that they're having a bit of a conversation with themselves because especially in like a clinical setting, which in Australia means one to one sessions often with people who have injuries or have stuff going on, that group classes may not be appropriate for them, that there can be a lot of fear around movement and there can be a lot of fear around, you know, past injuries that are still bothering them. That even though we know from tissue healing times, they've been cleared by their physical therapist or their physio. They're good to move, but it still hurts. And it's like a real alarm system because, you know, there had been an injury and our body is really great at avoiding injuries.
[00:34:59] [00:35:00] Like that's why our pain system is so sensitive, but to begin that process of desensitizing a bit and kind of leaning into those sensations and reaffirming that you're safe, that what you're doing is okay. Um, I think as Pilates teachers, we play a huge role in just normalizing that, you know, and just being that affirming person that says you're totally fine. We can keep doing this exercise for a few. If it's really not working for you today, we'll do something else, but it's not something to be afraid of or to like skirt around or sweep under a rug. Like it's totally normal.
[00:35:38] Part of having a body. Haven't solved that one just yet, uh, have we? Um, so tell me about opening your studio and how that dream realized it with the strong encouragement from Lolita. Every time you see her, when is your, where's your studio? How's it going? And you're like, Oh, my gosh.
[00:35:56] Yeah. It's been a wild ride. I mean, [00:36:00] as I told Lolita, I didn't really want to open a studio, but the studio where I was working in, uh, one day, the, the owner said, okay, well I'm packing up and leaving. I don't wanna have a studio anymore. And she like took all of her reformers and took them to a house, just kind of just down the road. And she basically wanted to just kind of cut down and, and make it smaller. She said to us kind of, well, you know, if you wanna come and teach with me, you're, you're fine. But if, you know, if you don't want to it's cool.
[00:36:32] So it was really like this weird message of like, this is it. You know, now now's the time if you're gonna do this, do it now. And so I told her, well, okay, you know what? I'll just stay here at the spot, the physical location where her studio had been forever. And I told her, you know, you wanna speak to my clients? Or how, how do you wanna do it? She's like, no, just, you know, talk, you talk to your clients, you tell them you're staying here and they're welcome to stay with you or whatever they wanna do. [00:37:00] So I, I, you know, I talked to my clients, I told them the plan and they were all like, well, of course we'll stay. You know, they all stayed.
[00:37:08] And it was wasn't just me. It was me and a, and a friend and a friend of her friend. So me and my friend, we were, uh, teachers. We were both teachers at the same studio, so I knew her really well. The other friend was a physical therapist and, uh, Mariana, my friend referred her. So we were three.
[00:37:25] I was not ready for being three as the business partners, it was crazy. Like it was so much fun, but so much work and so hard to get on the same page. And we tried really hard. I think we did a really good job considering how different we all were and how we had really different visions for what the place would be. However, after the first year, it was clear that this partnership was not working because we all had different expectations. You know, looking back it's like, well, duh, but [00:38:00] when we were there, we didn't talk it out, you know. We were just like, oh, it's so exciting. I'll buy the reformers. I'll do the design and decoration and I'll do the Instagram page. And it was all very new and very exciting.
[00:38:11] Um, but so after a couple years, the, the physical therapist, apparently she never really intended to teach at the studio. I thought she was gonna teach. So there was an expectation difference there, but she ended up, uh, selling us, her shares and moving on. And then my friend and I, we stayed together until last year when she told me it was apparent that it was just too hard because we love each other and respect each other so much, but we just see things really differently.
[00:38:46] . So she told me this and I was like, well, yeah, I guess you're right. What do you wanna do? She's like, I wanna go, she lives like an hour away from here. So here being my house, the studio is like five minutes down the road. So she lives an hour away. [00:39:00] She wanted to stay there. So we parted ways. I've bought her shares and she now opened her studio close to her house, which is fantastic. You know, commuting an hour a day each way is just makes no sense. I mean, you know, who, if anyone knows, you know, , and that's just me.
[00:39:19] So it's interesting cuz I never wanted to do it. And I was only kind of pushed into it by circumstances. And by feeling supported by these two girls, I was like, well, okay. The three of us then it's better. But now it's actually going really well.
[00:39:35] And you know, the vision I had from day one is now being implemented and everything is really cool. Like I have these girls that are working for me. Well, not really working for me because part of not wanting to have a studio was never wanting to employ anyone because I just want people and- I think it works best when people are independent and [00:40:00] they work for themselves and make their own hours and they do things their way, you know?
[00:40:04] Um, so each instructor is renting space at my studio and together as a team, we just have a lot of fun and every Wednesday we work out together and, uh, it's great because in a way I know they have a lot to learn from me cuz I've been through a lot of things so far in the 10 12 years, but I also have a lot of things to learn from them, which is super fun. And the clients are really happy and the space is wonderful and yeah, it's just kind of smoothly going along, which I never thought I would say that now, but yeah, here we are.
[00:40:41] I love that you found yourself where you were like, well, I don't really wanna open a studio, but if we're all going in together and then it ended up with you having your own studio space. So like excellent work, destiny. Thank you.
[00:40:56] And talk about right place, right time that, I mean, that's [00:41:00] how, that's how I got some of like my very first clients was a teacher cutting down their hours and was like, you know, I I'm at my limit. I need to cut back for my family for, you know, other commitments. It's just too much. And so that was how I got my first clients. And sometimes just being there is, you know, what you need to do, but also huge props to you for recognizing that. You're like, look, you're never gonna get a studio space that already has like existing clientele and like a historical location. That's been there for a really long time. Like ideal.
[00:41:36] Yeah. This was five years ago and people still like poke their head in the door and they're like, there's a Pilates studio here? We don't even have a sign. Like there's no sign. It's just, and we're in the back of this little, it's not an alley, but it's like, you can't see us from the street.
[00:41:53] You have a secret Pilates studio.
[00:41:56] Yeah, I do. I do.
[00:41:59] But that's [00:42:00] amazing.
[00:42:00] Yeah. And it's interesting because I, a lot of it was a struggle and just trying to stay afloat and trying to, you know, understand what my partners wanted, what I wanted and trying to make things work for all of us. But since it's been just me, I've kind of got things running financially. We're kind of, we're float. It's good. And now I've started this clinical thing, this clinical program, which doesn't leave me much, uh, time to think to myself about where is it gonna go? You know?
[00:42:32] But it, it can go really exciting places. Because like, I'm starting to explore a new way of teaching. I'm starting to explore a new idea of like having clients have their own program working out by themselves, under my supervision. Um, all of these things are things that I'd like to implement on a larger scale. And I think my studio's called Concept Pilates. So Concept is the platform for making it happen. I think.
[00:42:58] That is so exciting. [00:43:00] And you've said a few things about your studio that are resonating with me as a teacher. And one of them is teachers being able to set their own schedules and have their own clients because I've worked at studio locations where the studio owner or the studio takes a cut of all of your privates and you have to negotiate space. And it's not always feasible as a teacher to have, you know, 50% of what you're charging your clients going to the studio, even though the studio is paying overhead. But this idea of renting space, it's almost like, I feel like you see it a lot in like hair salons where like you rent a chair and like you have a booth or something like that.
[00:43:44] And it gives you so much more freedom to do whatever you're trying to do because some people are hardcore. I wanna teach Pilates 30 hours a week. And some people are, well, I have just a couple clients that I see and I just really need access to a reformer. And [00:44:00] the fact that you can meet everyone and let them also grow and be their own teachers while having a bit of a collaborative spirit is pretty awesome.
[00:44:11] Exactly. And part of what I value as a teacher, like when I started in this, getting out of the corporate world, being now in charge of my time and free to do what I want with my time when I want, how I want. I love that feeling. So I want that feeling for the people around me as well, which is why I wanted to do it this way. Cuz I just think it's so awesome. You know, if we can make the business work like this, it's great for everyone.
[00:44:42] Gosh, darnit, Amy, you are a visionary. That's amazing. That's um, really ideal. I feel like every person I talk to I'm like, well, maybe I should just go to Costa Rica and hang out with Amy and just like teach in her dream studio.
[00:44:56] Whenever you want. The doors are open. We have a reformer for you. [00:45:00]
[00:45:00] Beautiful and perfect.
[00:45:03] Can you share with me maybe anything you're working on right now? I mean, it sounds like running a studio and doing a diploma and like, all of this is like, I don't know, like a lot, but like what else are you working on or what you're passionate about, if you could get on your soapbox and what you wanted to share, and then I'll also ask you about advice for new teachers, because I totally skip that question, but we'll loop back.
[00:45:27] That's the
[00:45:27] like a Pandora box kind of question. I'm passionate about so many things and I wanna do so many things, always, you know, at the same time. Um, but yeah, the, the diploma is the biggest thing right now in my life. And I'm trying to dedicate good amount of time to that every day to make the most of it. Uh, be in the lectures and the tutorials and the sessions, ask all the questions and think all the things. And I'm really loving it. It's very exciting. It's really changed a lot, you know, and [00:46:00] it changed.
[00:46:00] I was telling someone the other day, it's amazing how quickly the switch just flipped after like two or three weeks into the diploma. I was suddenly like, oh my gosh, This is amazing. I'm just already empowered. My teaching just shifted. My clients are feeling it, everyone around me is feeling it. I'm so excited. So that's probably the biggest thing.
[00:46:24] To add to that. I, I swim twice a week and I'm loving it. Starting to get even more into it than ever doing this. Like we had a class, not a class. We had like a special session a couple weeks ago on Saturday. Where the teacher called us in us being the faster swimmers. I was like, I don't even know I'm a faster swimmer. I just swim because I love it. But this place where I swim is really cool. It's really chill. It's not high level athletes. It's just normal people, you know, swimming to be better, to be healthier. And so we had this [00:47:00] event where we did like races and it was so much fun. I won some of the races. It was so exciting. I got so pumped into it and. I just get really excited about stuff like this. And it's fun. It's really fun.
[00:47:14] Also, as I was telling you, I've started, uh, lifting weights, which, oh my goodness. Like if you had have asked me, you know, six months ago, if I wanted to lift weights, I would've been like, what? Why? No. And I love it. It's been four months. And to tell you why I'm lifting weights is a rabbit hole, but to try and summarize it, I'm an avid hiker. And I had this crazy experience in March where we did this insane hike and had to turn back at midnight and it was just a whole wild ride. And at the base, at the end of it, my solution was like, I need to be stronger. So, so I decided to lift weights twice a week. Sure.
[00:47:58] And if it, you know, it's really [00:48:00] weird because my background as a dancer and Pilates, and you know, all things, not weight, like it's weird how much I'm enjoying it and how great it feels to feel strong. Like it's- you wouldn't believe it. I mean, I wouldn't believe it if I had told me before, but the other day I had a flat tire, so I'm like, okay, I got this. I'm like changing the tire, take the tire off. Then I just, like, I grabbed the tire in one arm and like toss it into the back of my car. And I'm like, whoa, that was so awesome. That's just something I wouldn't have done before. You know, I would've been like, let me bend over with a straight spine to try and not hurt myself while I tried to pick it. But no, I feel like this like superwoman and it's just from picking heavy stuff up twice a week. It's so cool. so I would definitely recommend it to people, you know.
[00:48:57] Amy, you are so cool and like [00:49:00] a professional mover, like it started with, well, I'm just doing ballet for fun. Like I'm not a dancer, but I just really enjoy doing ballet. And then you're like, well, I just love doing Pilates. So I'll just learn more about that. And here you are swimming and like doing races now and like lifting heavy things, like so cool.
[00:49:15] And really, I would say practicing what you preach in terms of like, like we know for our clients as well, that they feel better when they're stronger. Like life is better when you aren't in pain and when you can do the stuff you wanna do, whether it's climb a mountain, any place, if I ever find myself hiking at midnight, like we'll know that I personally am in deep trouble because how did we get here?
[00:49:37] Like I was like at midnight, that is, first of all past my bedtime and second of all, on a mountain. So couple issues there, but I think that that's incredible and it, and it really shows as well. It's just like the power of movement that there's not one movement and one way to move that, like if you were taking a Pilates class from you and you're like, oh, well I have swimming and I have [00:50:00] weight lifting. Then you feel, you know, empowered to find your stuff, your niche movements, whatever they may be. So that's awesome.
[00:50:08] Yeah, I think there's, there's something for everyone and it sounds kind of silly to say it, but feeling good is really good. Like, I, I love feeling good and it's not hard. And I want people to understand that and know that they can feel good too. Like I'm just going to like a group class with some kettlebells twice a week. And it's made me feel so powerful. Everyone can do it. You know, it's, it's really cool.
[00:50:38] I think that's so great. And so empowering for your clients and for yourself that you've, you've cracked the code and it wasn't even a code. It was just the physical activity guidelines. But, um, exactly. That was it. That was all you had to do.
[00:50:51] Um, but, but one last thing I wanna ask you is as an experienced teacher who has taught in studios and [00:51:00] evolved as a teacher and still evolving as a teacher, What advice would you give new teachers who are maybe just like you coming out of their first training and the wild world of Pilates? Is there, um, what would you tell them?
[00:51:15] That's a good question. I think there's two things. The first thing I recommend and I, you know, based on my experiences what's worked is that. You wanna know everything and you wanna take all the courses and you wanna do all the certifications and you just wanna do everything and don't do that.
[00:51:36] Do, do one thing and do it really well. And then sit on it for a couple of even years. Like each- so each program I did while I was going through the program, I was learning, I was learning. I was learning, but I learned most in the years when I was implementing what I learned. So when I was practicing and even today [00:52:00] I'll be doing something and I'll be like, oh, wow. I understand now, like what Lolita meant seven years ago. You know, because it's so rich, like each of these courses and certifications, and there's so many more out there, they're all so rich with information and nuance. And there's no way you can learn and understand everything just by going through the program.
[00:52:22] That would be my advice. Just sit on what you've done, do it, well, study it, analyze it, apply it, live it, feel it. And you're just gonna be, you're gonna learn so much more and when you're ready for the next thing, you'll know, and then do the next thing, you know, but don't rush.
[00:52:40] That's really excellent advice, Amy and connects with me.
[00:52:45] I'm still learning the things that my yoga teacher told me in high school. And I'm like, Aw man, she, uh, my teacher told me, uh, one thing where I was asking how long it would take to do scorpion or [00:53:00] some chin stand nonsense inversion after doing yoga for like two weeks. And I was like, well, how long will it take to do this? And she told me . She said, you know, don't worry about it. Just like check in in 10 years. And like when you're 18, 10 years is an infinity of time. And I had forgotten, in fact that she told me to do that and I was doing some other wild wacky thing. And I was like, huh, it wasn't 10 years. It was like 14 years, but it's fine.
[00:53:27] You know, like, I think teachers, especially teachers like Lolita who are beyond skilled and just marvelous human beings, but. I think everyone that we take the time to learn from offers such valuable perspective based on their own life experiences and then their own intrinsic awesomeness.
[00:53:51] And I feel like I've learned a lot chatting with you, and I feel very empowered to lift heavy things, which I think is my next movement frontier [00:54:00] is kettle bells. So I just wanna say thank you so much, Amy, for taking the time and being on the show and sharing your journey, which is remarkable, and you are remarkable, and I appreciate you taking the time coming on.
[00:54:13] Thank you for inviting me. It was really fun.
[00:54:23] 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.
[00:54:47] The adventure continues. Until next time.