I had the opportunity to take a few awesome workshops at Pilates on Tour Chicagoland this year. I share a bit about my experience with the hybrid virtual and in-person conference, the highlights from the workshops I attended and more! Tune in!
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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. Today we're [00:01:00] gonna be talking about Pilates on Tour, which is a Pilates conference that travels around the globe hosted by Balanced Body. I was lucky enough to be able to attend in Chicago land, which totally correct of them to call it Chicago land. I don't know if it's Chicago, Chicagoans in particular, that are like really salty about where Chicago begins and ends. Um, but this conference was actually in Burr Ridge, which is just outside of Chicago on the way to O'Hare International Airport, if you're familiar with the area. Um, which is awesome because it was a drive away for me.
[00:01:34] Other cool things about this conference that I'll be sharing with you just a little bit about it if you are ever interested in attending it, as well as sharing some of my takeaways from the super neat workshops that I had the chance to and probably some ruminations about continuing education in general because I love to ruminate. So Pilates on Tour is a yearly thing. It's been [00:02:00] nonexistent for the past few years because I feel like everything's been nonexistent for the past few years because of Covid.
[00:02:05] But this is the first time they were back in person. This year, it was offered as a hybrid, virtual, and in person conference. There were some things that were virtual only. There were some things that were in person only. There were some things that were hybrid. It was being taught live and there were people there, and then you could also attend online, which I thought was really cool. And what I'm really hoping is like the future of conferences because I personally love online. I will do online things forever and always and I love that they offered that.
[00:02:39] You were able to stay at the hotel that it was hosted at, which was a Marriott in Burr Ridge, and they had a whole kind of conference center set up where they had rooms with reformers and rooms that just had chairs and rooms that just floor and rooms. They had like a Joe's gym [00:03:00] set up. So all of the Contrology equipment, uh, this is hosted by Balanced Body, so you know, they're gonna be talking all about their super cool new, Balanced Body toys, which I love. I think Pilates teachers love props and all kinds of different ways to explore the exercises. So lots of fun, new toys to play with.
[00:03:20] And I think what I really enjoy about this style of conference is there are some classes that are straight up workshops where you are learning new things about some topic, and they had some that were kind of short form where they were two and a half to three hours long. They had some long form ones that took the entire day, ended up being about six hours. And then they also had a precon that went for more than one day. It was two full days of everything you wanted to know about the topic, so I really [00:04:00] appreciated that you could kind of choose the intensity with which you were learning about something as well. That you could do a shorter style workshop, which is still three hours and still pretty in depth. But you could also do like a really deep dive that's, you know, 12 hours of material about stuff. I think that that's a nice kinda middle ground for everybody that you can find stuff to do.
[00:04:24] And then they've got workouts and they had meals and you could stay at the hotel and you could do stuff really early in the morning, which is not my flavor, but they had, you know, lunchtime workouts and they had, you know, you could try out the new equipment and they had vendors and just like, cool things. It's got conference vibes, which is awesome.
[00:04:42] I attended two workshops, uh, the Precon, which was taught by Joy Puleo, and she is the head of Balanced Body's continuing education or their education department, which is awesome. And I also got to do an all [00:05:00] day workshop with Madeline Black about neurology and fascia and how Pilates interplays with our nervous system and both of the workshops were exceptional. I love learning. Um, I love attending them from a nerdy student perspective, there's so much that I don't know, and I love people who do know things and who are taking the time to really share those things that they know with teachers like me.
[00:05:29] The workshop that I attended, the Precon, was called Menopausal Renaissance. I attended it virtually, so it was a Wednesday, Thursday, all day. I think it struck a nice balance of there being movement, of there being theory. There was a lot, a lot of information, which I mean you'd expect. It was 12 hours of stuff and a lot of stuff that I didn't know at all, and I was really, really ignorant about menopause. I was under the impression that your period just stopped [00:06:00] and you were just like done. But that is not the case. It's a huge adjustment period, and it takes a long time. It can take longer than a year. Your hormones, like I learned a ton about hormones and what role estrogen plays in our body, what role progesterone plays in our body, uh, what role testosterone plays in our body and how changing what those hormone concentrations are really can put our whole system out of whack.
[00:06:35] And then you've got people who are, you know, experiencing menopause or they're perimenopause, which is really when all of these changes are happening. That's when the hot flashes you've heard about potentially, and the brain fog and your metabolism changing. Like all of these huge shifts are happening in our bodies. And then, You'll have people who are experiencing this and then coming to your [00:07:00] class and like, Okay, what are we gonna do with these friends who are maybe suffering from insomnia, maybe becoming allergic to foods. Like there are so many side effects and like I was like, How do I not know about this?
[00:07:13] I think that that workshop did an a really great job and a really interesting job sharing kind of more reasons to be empathetic and to be compassionate with your clients if this is a part of their life that they're currently going through, because it doesn't seem to be an easy time. And then sort of partnering this information about hormones and how your body is changing with, you know, what sorts of things are gonna be really important to this population?
[00:07:41] And, you know, physical activity guidelines at any age. Definitely being active is something that we want all of our clients to do. But also things that women, in particular, people who are going through perimenopause and menopause in particular, are dealing with, and that's [00:08:00] sarcopenia, which is you start losing your muscle mass. If you think of osteopenia, if you've heard of that, it's like the precursor to osteoporosis where you have the really low bone density.
[00:08:10] Um, osteopenia, you have low bone density, but not as low as osteoporosis. So sarcopenia, it's that same root. Penia being like less and sarco being muscle. Our muscle fibers are called Sarco mirrors, and you know, how do we combat bone loss, muscle loss for our clients? And it's through exercise. It's through using load, it's through building strength and asking them to do things.
[00:08:37] And Pilates is of course, as we know, a really great way to do that, or it can be a really great way to do that by focusing on coordination and balance. And balance being something bigger than standing on one foot and you know, can we change the vectors that we're working with? Pilates works a lot in straight lines. You know, you roll up and you are lying on your back and then you roll [00:09:00] forward and it's like straight up flexion and extension and sort of how can we work in different angles in different ways to meet our clients and support our clients through this stage of their lives?
[00:09:14] So that was wild and an absolutely incredible, amazing adventure. I feel like I'm still digesting a lot of what I learned, and I'm still looking through my notes and I'm still working through the exercises that we covered in trying them for myself and for my own equipment. One thing that I love about being virtual is that I can like process as needed. Um, so I really enjoy taking that workshop virtually. And I do think that, uh, Joy especially did a great job of making virtual people feel included in what was going on, that we were in the room with them and they did a great job in terms of, you know, staying on top of sound and video and all of the fun stuff that comes in when we go virtual. Um, so I did appreciate that cuz I got to do it at my house and I love my house.
[00:09:57] Coming up after the break, I'll tell you a little bit about [00:10:00] the workshop I attended with Madeline Black and more about continuing education in this super cool conference. That's coming up next.
[00:10:13] 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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[00:11:10] I attended the Menopausal Renaissance workshop on the Wednesday, Thursday, and then I went to Pilates on Tour in person on Friday to attend Madeline Black's workshop all day about, uh, neurology and fascia and how the nervous system interplays with our Pilates practice.
[00:11:35] There's something about being in person that's really magical and incredible, and I'm not even a people person. I'm definitely would call myself an introvert, but just being with other people who you already know that you have something in common with them and that we're all there to kind of learn and grow, share knowledge and you know, hang out is awesome. I wish I was better at like talking to people and making small talk because that makes me [00:12:00] super anxious. But I was also really lucky that I got to attend the conference with a good friend of mine. That alleviates a lot of the nervousness about like if you're ever gonna have to partner up with something or you know, who are you gonna eat lunch with? Which is like such a high school worry, but still is something that I think about.
[00:12:20] So the Madeline Black workshop on neurology was a huge mind blowing adventure. The nervous system is definitely a system that I'm less familiar with, but it definitely plays a gigantic part in Pilates and we all know that. And I think of like what I tell clients as well, and that is, you know, Pilates is a brain exercise as much as it's a body exercise. A lot of the things that we ask people to do in Pilates, they need to have some brain involvement. It's not- and I don't want anyone to think that I'm bad mouthing any other type of exercise, but it's not [00:13:00] something like running where you could potentially do it kind of mindlessly, where your brain can be somewhere else.
[00:13:08] I feel like in Pilates, especially when you get to really complex things, like you really have to focus on what you're doing. And even beginner things, what we think of as easy or foundational things, when you're learning how to do them is really quite challenging and does require quite a bit of concentration, so like you know that the nervous system is interplay in it.
[00:13:29] But just things blowing my mind from that workshop in particular. She spoke at length about the polyvagal theory and the vagus nerve is something that I had heard of, I didn't know a ton about, but when you think about the nervous system, a lot of times we talk about the central nervous system and then the peripheral nervous system, right?
[00:13:53] So the central nervous system would be your brain and your spinal cord, and then your peripheral nervous system are [00:14:00] the nerves that leave the spinal cord. They come out of the spinal cord and then innovate. Our organs are hands like the periphery of us. They're not the ones that are like straight up spinal cord and brain.
[00:14:13] But if you think about it and what the polyvagal theory, um, that we discussed a bit in this workshop talks about is this idea that, you know, your nervous system isn't really two separate nervous systems. It's not like what is in your central nervous system is different from what's in your peripheral nervous system. It's just in a different place. Like the nerves are the same and the nerves all go back to your brain, whether it's moving your fingers or it regulating your body temperature or something that we don't have conscious control over. I like anything that is integrated personally, like that seems to make a lot of sense to me.
[00:14:47] So the polyvagal theory saying like, Well, we don't really have separate nervous systems, or we talk about the sympathetic nervous system in the parasympathetic nervous system. You know, the difference between your fight or flight freeze or fawn [00:15:00] response, like what you do in a super stressful situation. It used to be fight or flight, but we've kind of expanded it to be freeze and also fawn. If you think of like a deer in headlights, that would be a nervous system response to something that startled you, like when you're driving your car and then a deer comes across the road and they just stare at you because they're like literally petrified and they can't choose to not do that. You know, it's just a response that happens.
[00:15:26] And then versus your like rest and digest that you know, it doesn't have the stress hormones, the cortisol and everything, and it's how you digest your food. Like that's the digest part of it, is like you have to be in a place in your nervous system that's like fairly calm in order to digest food, stuff like that.
[00:15:43] And so we talk about those nervous system actions as being separate a lot. The same way we learned that your bicep goes from here to here and your tricep goes from here to here. But in reality, the polyvagal theory, like other, you know, ways of looking at the body theory is saying, you [00:16:00] know, it's actually quite interconnected and we can't just separate and say, Oh, well this only happens over here when it's really one system and just doing lots of jobs.
[00:16:11] I do understand that from a learning perspective, breaking things into more like digestible chunks is very helpful. But in reality, life is complicated. We're complicated, and the nervous system is complicated as well.
[00:16:26] So we talked a lot about calming the nervous system. One of the things, I guess about Pilates, that it's this, you know, this space that we create that's really safe and really welcoming, that we're actually inviting people's nervous systems to relax a little bit.
[00:16:43] That we can do movements that kind of turn the dial up, if you think of something like the hundred where you're doing forceful breathing and you are moving really jerky and that's gonna feel a type of way and do something in our body as like a [00:17:00] waking up thing. But you could also do the hundred with your arms moving really slowly and taking really deep breaths instead. Or you could do a different exercise if the hundred is like too jazzed up and sort of meeting people where they are in their nervous system.
[00:17:14] As well as this exchange of, we've talked about like an exchange of energy or what it means to like be in the room with another person. That we're reading their nervous system. Really, that's where a lot of it comes from, and I feel like even after a couple weeks of sitting with this material, it's still blowing my mind. I'm still learning new things about what I've just learned. Madeline Black's book Centered is on my reading list, so I will hopefully be able to have a little bit more information, a little bit more to share about.
[00:17:49] And every time I go to a conference, because I need my continuing ed credits as a Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher, every two years I need 16 credit hours of continuing [00:18:00] education in order to stay current. I always think about the merits of continuing education. I do think that it's worthwhile to continue learning in your field and to not think that you're done or that you know everything. I, I do think that that's valuable. I do think that regardless of whether or not you need continuing education in order to be a Pilates teacher, it is helpful to do continuing education both from a recharging your personal batteries kind of way that you get to not be the teacher and you just get to learn and be a student.
[00:18:33] But also in that you continue to offer new things to your people. Like as we learn more about how things work and don't work, we can do things slightly differently for our clients and our classes. It does become a bit of a cycle, and this is something that I think about a lot that, you know, you get this nationally certified Pilates qualification, and then you have to spend money to renew that [00:19:00] designation, and then you have to spend money on continuing education. So it becomes a bit of a racket where you're just paying more money. But then it's also a professional organization. It's like, well, what does this professional organization offer? Like, I've had these same thoughts about the PMA. So that's something that I, I don't wanna say I go back and forth on, but I definitely do see it for what it is.
[00:19:25] But even with that being said, I am in the process of becoming a continuing education provider because I do know that there are a lot of teachers who have chosen to either become a nationally certified Pilates teacher or that they want to keep learning and keep growing of their own accord, which is honestly awesomer to like do something that's good, literally just because it's good, like awesome for you. Like that's incredible if that's where you're. Because I'd like to be able to offer workshops I think as well. And I know that people [00:20:00] need to do them because I need to do them every time I go to Pilates on Tour or the PMA conference or I just sign up for a workshop series, uh, with a teacher that I love. I know that, you know, that's just something that I need to do. So that is coming up sometime in the future ish. I'm excited about that.
[00:20:18] It is October. That means there is an October newsletter coming out soon. If you are a supporter on the Buy Me a coffee page, you will get access to that newsletter as well as a coffee chat with me. So if that sounds like a fun time, if you wanna hear what's going on or learn more about the workshops that I'm offering as I offer them, definitely stay tuned. Check out that Buy Me a Coffee page and there will be news. Huge thank you to all the supporters on Buy Me a Coffee. I appreciate your contributions and your support of the project so, so much. Thank you. Thank you. Extra big thank you to the newest supporter, Margaret. Thanks so much for joining this project and I'm so glad you're here. Have a [00:21:00] great couple weeks and I'll talk to you again soon.
[00:21:11] 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.
[00:21:34] The adventure continues. Until next time.