Q & A with Cheryl Turnquist What do you remember about the first time you tried Pilates?
It was in 1999 in the basement of someone's house where she had 2 reformers, one tower, and a chair. There were only 3 Pilates instructors at the time in Rhode Island, and it was hard to get sessions with any of them. It was a very strange experience for sure and we left asking each other... what was that? What is this all about? And when can we go back for more?
What is a misconception about Pilates you want to clarify?
That it is 'like yoga' ... When I tell people I am a Pilates instructor, I often hear.. 'oh, isn't that like Yoga?' NO!!! it's not like Yoga at all! And then I list why.
The best piece of advice you've received?
Never give up ... there were moments in the beginning when I was just starting out when I wondered how it was going to work and if I had done the right thing by going for this career change ...The mentor instructors I trained with believed in me and kept me on track ... I'm so glad I listened and didn't give up!
What advice would you give a Pilates teacher just starting out?
Never stop learning ... be patient... and understand that it is a process that requires hard work and time to build a clientele. That being said, it can be the greatest job you ever have.
What were your last 3 purchases?
Guinea Pig food (we have 2); Dunkin Donuts ice coffee (my favorite), a book on my Kindle - Wild - about a young woman who walked the Pacific Coast Trail alone.
When did you feel you made a difference as a Pilates teacher?
Hmmm... I think it happened early on when I had several clients with back issues continue to report that they felt so much better after they had done their Pilates workouts. And I have seen clients through pregnancies, loss of spouses, major illnesses and surgeries... and all of them have said that doing the Pilates helped them in some way through their issues and they so looked forward to coming to the studio
What is your greatest indulgence?
Chocolate! I love chocolate (except white chocolate) and find a way to get some into every day!
Do you have any funny client stories?
Aside from the guy who pulled his pants AND shorts off at the same time - (It was the change of seasons and he wanted shorts inside but threw jogging pants on over them... and then somehow grabbed both because he was distracted) GASP!!!
What do you do to unwind after a long day of teaching?
We love board games at my house. We play family board games like Yahtzee, Sequence, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, Uno, you name it... we try it
When did you feel like a Pilates teacher?
Sometimes I still ponder that question! I think when I bridged into Power in 2006 I felt confident then that I really was doing things right and I was on the right path.
What is your personal motto?
'If you really want something bad enough you will figure out a way to do it'... I figured out how to get funding to start my business and I really wanted to make it work. When new instructors lament to me about having a hard time getting clients I tell them those words.. you have to figure it out and then you make it work. It may require changes to your current routine or lifestyle, etc... but... if you want it bad enough, you will figure out a way to make it work.
Cheryl is a Power Pilates Teacher Trainer, Chair of the Power Pilates Curriculum Committee and owner of the Providence Pilates Center in Providence, RI. She has been teaching since 1999 originally certified by the Physicalmind Method of Pilates. She Bridged into Power Pilates in 2006 and is PMA certified. Along with Pilates she also holds certifications with AFAA group fitness, spinning, TRX suspension systems, Yogafit and more.
So you've decided you want to become a Pilates teacher - that's great! Getting Certified to teach Pilates is a significant investment in terms of time and money, so it's worth taking your time to find the best program for you. Ask your favorite Pilates teachers where they got certified and what they liked and disliked about their education. You'll want to look for a program that includes Mat and Apparatus teacher training for Beginner to Advanced clients in your preferred style - Contemporary or Classical. Look over the curriculum and make sure it includes the tools you'll need to succeed, such as teaching strategies, adaptations for special cases, and anatomy. Good programs include lots of hands on time as an apprentice, where you'll get the opportunity to observe experienced teachers and practice teaching yourself.
A Comprehensive Apparatus certification may include 600 hours of weekend intensives, apprenticeship, required sessions, and more. Make sure you understand all the costs of the program, such as required semi-private sessions or reading material you need to purchase, before registering. Remember that this is an investment in your career. The cheapest option might be cheap for a reason. Most programs offer payment plans to help you distribute your payments more evenly. Once you've decided on a program, register well in advance of your start date so you can get to work on prerequisites such as required reading, Anatomy courses, and private or semi-private sessions.
Although Pilates and Yoga do have many similarities, their areas of focus and the way the methods achieve their results are very different. Yoga's main purpose is to utilize exercises, breathing and meditation to achieve calmness and peace. Yoga uses only a Mat to create a comfortable experience. Pilates focuses on achieving personal well-being by improving the body's range of motion, balance and overall strength. The method, developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century, utilizes a wide range of equipment to assist the body in achieving ideal form and function.
The concept of the Pilates Powerhouse has been given multiple meanings. Some use it to refer to the abdominal part of the body. While others use imaginative cueing to explain how to connect to a particular muscle group. We think Romana Kryzanowska, Joseph Pilates' legendary student, meant for it to be a dynamic approach to life. The Powerhouse is a set of actions that produce correct posture. Correct posture leads to spinal health which is dependent on spinal flexibility and mobility. The Powerhouse isn't just the area that you work on to strengthening and stretching in a Pilates session, but also the actions that build on each other in all planes of movement, and include opposition and concentration. The actions are specific for working the area that each level is ready to engage.
The first Pilates exercise is called the Hundred. This is a great exercise to warm up the body and get your blood pumping. Begin by lying on the Mat. Bend your knees into your chest and lift your head and shoulders off the Mat. Extend your legs out to a high diagonal and reach your arms long by your side with palms facing down. Arms "pump" vigorously, lifting up and down no higher than hips. While pumping arms, inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts to complete one exercise. The exercise is performed 10 times with 5 inhales and 5 exhales equaling 100. Beginners may keep their legs bent as though they are lying down while sitting in a chair, while Advanced students of the method will extend their legs keeping them as close to the Mat as possible without touching it. The Hundred may be performed with a Magic Circle between legs or arms. It is also performed on the
Reformer during a typical apparatus session.
The Seal is a
Classical Pilates exercise near the end of the Mat order.
The rhythmic rolling gives the spine a much needed massage.
Begin by sitting on the Mat with your legs bent. Touch both heels together and dive your hands between your legs, holding on to the outside of each heel, lifting feet slightly off the Mat. Balancing on the sacrum, roll back on to the shoulders and clap feet three times using control, then roll up onto the sacrum and clap feet three times. Beginners can leave out the claps.
The Swan is a
Classical Pilates exercise, similar to the yoga 'Cobra' pose. It is performed after
The Saw in the Pilates Mat order.
This is a great exercise for stretching your spine.
Begin by lying flat on your stomach, facing down on the Mat. Your arms should be bent with your elbows close to your sides and palms facing down. Make sure your elbows are up and legs are together. Float your hands off the Mat, pressing your hip bones into the Mat. Slowly lift your chest off the Mat. Press your hands back down on the Mat and lift your upper body higher, floating your hands off the Mat as you begin to lower then place your hands back on Mat as you return to the starting position.
The Swan can also be performed with a Magic Circle between the hands.
The Saw is a
Classical Pilates exercise. The Saw is performed after The Corkscrew. This is a great exercise for stretching your spine and pelvic stability. The Saw is similar to the Spine Stretch Forward exercise with a twist. Begin by sitting up straight and stretching your arms out to the sides towards 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock at shoulder height with palms facing down. As you twist one hand to the opposite foot, sweep the back arm down behind the body while the other arm reaches forward. Twist as far as you can, but always keep your sit bones against the Mat. Return to the starting upright position to switch sides and repeat. Beginners can sit on a Moon Box and bend knees slightly. More Advanced clients can increase the momentum. The Saw can also be performed with a Magic Circle between your hands.
Scissors is a
Classical Pilates exercise. It is the third exercise in the Ab Series of Five, following the
Double Leg Stretch. It is a great hamstring stretch. Begin by lying on the Mat, hugging knees into the chest as you lift your head and shoulders off the Mat. Extend legs up to a high diagonal, placing hands behind one calf as you pull towards you twice while extending the other leg out. Then change legs. Beginners may place hands behind the thigh. For an added challenge, reach hands behind your ankle and lower the other leg closer to the Mat. This exercise can be performed with a Magic Circle between hands.
The Double Leg Stretch is a
Classical Pilates exercise. The Double Leg Stretch follows the
Single Leg Stretch in the Ab Series of Five. Breathwork plays an important part in performing this exercise. This exercise stretches the hips while challenging stability.
Begin by lying on the Mat. Exhale as you hug both knees into your chest with your head and shoulders off the Mat. Place your hands in the middle of your shins. Inhale while extending both legs higher than 45 degrees and arms overhead. From overhead, move arms to your sides as you hug both legs into your chest and repeat the exercise. Beginners may work on just the arms or just the legs. For an added challenge, lower your legs without touching the Mat. This exercise can be performed with a Magic Circle between ankles or hands.
The Single Leg Stretch is a Classical Pilates exercise. The Single Leg Stretch is the first exercise in the Ab Series of Five. Breathwork plays an important part in performing this exercise. This exercise stretches the hips while challenging stability.
Begin by lying on the Mat, hugging your knees into your chest. Lift your head and shoulders off the Mat, keeping one knee in as you extend the other leg out to 45 degrees. Place the inside hand on your knee and the outside hand on your ankle. Pull your leg into your chest while lengthening the other leg in opposition and then switch. Exhale as you pull your leg into your chest and inhale when changing legs. For an added challenge, lower the extended leg closer to Mat and inhale for one set, then exhale for one set.
This exercise can also be performed with a Magic Circle in hands overhead.
Rolling like a Ball is a
Classical Pilates exercise. Rolling Like a Ball follows
One Leg Circles and precedes the Ab Series of Five. The rhythmic rolling gives the spine a much needed massage.
Begin by sitting on the Mat, hugging your legs into the chest with hands on your shins. Open your knees to the width of your shoulders and dive your head between your knees. Balance with your feet off the Mat and roll back on to your shoulder blades and back up. Beginners can work with a more open shape, rolling with hands under knees or focus on just balancing. Advanced clients can roll further back than shoulder blades. This exercise can be performed with a Magic Circle in hands or between the ankles with hands behind the thighs. Inhale as you roll back and exhale on the roll up.
One Leg Circles is a Classical Pilates exercise. One Leg Circles is performed before Rolling Like a Ball. It is a great hamstring stretch to warm up the hip joint and challenge pelvic stability.
Begin by lying on your back with one leg extended up to the ceiling and the other leg stretched out long on the Mat. Circle your leg, using smaller circles for Beginners and larger circles for a challenge. Try not to move hips while circling your leg. This exercise can also be performed on the
Towerwith one foot under the strap or with a Magic Circle between hands.
The Roll Up is a
Classical Pilates exercise.
The Roll Up is the second exercise in the Pilates Mat order. Breathwork plays is an important part in performing this exercise.
Begin by lying on your back. Inhale while lifting your arms to the ceiling. Lift your head and exhale while rolling up and reaching forward. When your hands are parallel to your feet, inhale as you start rolling back. Exhale as you connect your spine vertebrae by vertebra, ending laying down on the Mat with arms overhead.
This exercise can also be performed on the
Tower with feet under the Footstrap and holding a weighted pole overhead.
The Hundred is a Classical Pilates exercise.
The Hundred is the first exercise in the Pilates Mat order followed by the Roll Up.
This is the exercise everyone thinks about when hearing the word Pilates. This is a great exercise to warm up the body by stimulating circulation and heart pumping, while engaging in the mind-body connection.
Begin by lying on the Mat. Bend your knees into your chest and lift your head and shoulders off the Mat. Extend your legs out to a high diagonal and reach your arms long by your side with palms facing down. Arms pump vigorously, lifting up and down no higher than the hips. While pumping arms, inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts to complete one exercise. The exercise is performed 10 times with 5 inhales and 5 exhales equaling 100. Beginners may keep legs bent as though they are lying down while sitting in a chair. Advanced students may extend their legs, keeping them as close to the Mat as possible without touching it.
The Hundred may be performed with a Magic Circle between legs or arms. It is also performed on the Reformer during a typical apparatus session.
The Teaser is a
Classical Pilates exercise. Similar to the calisthenic V-ups or "Frankies."
The Teaser is performed after the Sidekick Series. This exercise challenges balance and core stability. Begin by lying on your back, knees bent into chest. Lift head and shoulders while extending legs to 45 degrees. Keeping the legs out, lift the arms to parallel the legs. Roll up like you're trying to sit, then roll back down and lower legs. This exercise can also be performed on the
Tower, or with a Magic Circle. Beginners can start with knees bent and feet on the Mat and work on extending one leg at a time. Advanced Clients can start with arms extended behind ears while lowering and lifting legs.
Hosting a Pilates Teacher Training is a great way to bring in new clients and find new teachers for your studio. Your first decision is choosing an education program to apply to host. Programs vary widely in quality and content, so do some research online and ask trusted teachers for their recommendations. Once you have selected a program, submit your host application. The requirements to host a Mat Program are typically less stringent than for Apparatus Programs, where certain brands and pieces of apparatus may be required. Your host contract will specify your responsibilities and benefits. Host studios often receive a free seat in a training class after a certain number of registrations and may receive discounts on other programs and merchandise.
Congratulations on your decision to become a Pilates Teacher! Mat Certification, usually a Beginner Mat intensive, is the first step in your teaching education. Prerequisites vary by program but typically include taking a minimum number of Mat classes, some Anatomy study or required reading, and memorizing the order of exercises. The minimum number of Mat classes is just that - a minimum. The more classes you can take, the better you will know the exercises and order in your own body and be ready to teach. If you're an advanced Mat student, consider taking a few intro or Beginner classes so that you can focus on the Beginner order and modified versions of the exercises. Start studying your anatomy materials and order of exercises well in advance of your program start date. You need to be able to focus on learning to teach the exercises during your intensive, not what they are or the order they go in. A little preparation will go a long way towards making your certification experience a fun and productive one.
Pilates is Pilates is Pilates - Right? Well, not exactly. The Pilates method was created in the early 20th century by its namesake, Joseph Pilates. Joseph Pilates never trademarked his method, so there is quite a variety of classes taught as Pilates - some quite close to the original method and some so far removed that they really shouldn't be called Pilates. There are two modern schools of Pilates: Classical and Contemporary. Classical programs, such as Power Pilates, focus on preserving the exercises as Joseph Pilates taught them and in the order he taught them. There are slight variations between Classical schools as to the real version and order, but the overall method is largely the same. Contemporary programs vary more widely and may incorporate new exercises and variations or pull from other modalities, such as physical therapy and yoga.
The Tower is similar to the Pilates
Cadillac, one of the first pieces of equipment developed by Joseph Pilates, the creator of the Pilates Method. Most of the exercises performed on the Cadillac can be performed on the Tower. Many take advantage of the padded raised Mat to teach Mat classes. The Footstrap is helpful for Beginners to stabilize their hips. Many modern Pilates apparatus combine
Reformer and Tower units.
Joseph Pilates, the creator of the Pilates method and inventor of all Pilates apparatus, originally designed the Neck Stretcher to lengthen and strengthen the neck muscles. Joe Pilates was a boxer and gymnast and felt it was important to strengthen the neck muscles. This apparatus also strengthens the facial muscles and promotes spinal stability against force from the head. The springs used are very strong, so great care should be taken when using the Neck Stretcher. Initiation must come from a strong Powerhouse.
Joseph Pilates, the creator of the Pilates method, was a beer drinker. Beer was delivered to him in barrels. Once empty, Joe saw an opportunity to play with the beer barrels and its metal rings. He used them to invent a new piece of exercise equipment. The Barrels, Ladder, Spine Corrector and Small Barrel are used in the practice of Pilates to support the flexion and extension of the spine with gravity.
The Pilates Cadillac is a piece of equipment that most closely represents that of a bed with a frame. It takes our classic Mat and adds the springs for support and challenge. The trapeze table was developed in the mid 50's or early 60's. Joseph Pilates, the creator of the Pilates method, made all of his creations in the basement of his building. When he brought it up into the studio, one client saw the table and said "Hey Joe, is that your new Cadillac?" and the name stuck. Joe possibly got the idea of this table after working with Eve Gentry, one of his clients, in the hospital after her mastectomy. Another theory is that the trapeze came from his father's days as an amateur gymnast or his original gymnastic clientele. Exercises on the Cadillac help to develop gorgeous lean muscles and improve blood flow and circulation.
The Pilates "Medico-Mechanical System" or the "Universal Reformer," was created in the mid 1920s in Hamburg, Germany and originally designed without legs, has the same shape as the mat. It has a smaller mat or "carriage" that moves on wheels within the frame of the reformer. The frame was originally attached to weights and pulleys
with resistance ranging from 20-1000 pounds. It was not until Joe Pilates, the creator of the Pilates method, was in America that he adapted springs to his apparatus. The movement done on the Reformer is to both push against resistance as well as to resist the weights as the carriage moves back to the gear bar. This was the second apparatus that Joe created. He wanted to create a machine that would push and pull his clients for him.
Pilates is a method of exercise and physical movement designed to stretch, strengthen, and balance the body. Classical Pilates teaches the exercises taught by founder Joseph Pilates, in the order that he taught them and the names he referred to them. Romana, one of Joseph Pilates disciples, organized the exercises into levels or systems to make the method more accessible; Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. The levels build on each other. The same exercise may be taught at each level in the same order in a more challenging way, while new exercises are added. The progression of a workout starts in a horizontal position lying down, where gravity helps activate the core connection and progresses to a vertical sitting or standing. The Classical method centers on the 6 principles of Pilates: Centering, Concentration, Control, Precision, Breath, and Flow. The method incorporates more than 500 exercises created by Joseph Pilates.
All students, regardless of their strength or flexibility, start with the Beginner System. Joseph Pilates didn't have a Beginner System, but he did teach specific exercises as the foundation.
Romana, one of his students, changed the order of exercises to make the progression more logical and improve flow and support to the body while using the foundation exercises. As Joe says, "You are only as old as your spine is flexible". Since gravity works against the spine while standing upright, it was Joe's genius to have students start with exercises lying down.
The student is introduced to the basic concepts of the method. At the Beginner level, a session starts lying down on the Mat performing the
Hundred, progresses to the
Reformer, then the third section called "Individual needs" which at the Beginner level, includes the
Cadillac and High Chair followed by "Endings", which at the Beginner level, includes exercises standing utilizing a wall for support. The client is left feeling rejuvenated and energized as they walk out of the session.
While most people don't have access to Pilates apparatus at their homes, they can utilize it at any Classical Pilates studio. The Pilates Mat exercises can be performed in a studio, at home, in the park or at a beach. You will notice an improvement in your posture and a connection to your core following a session. The more you do Pilates, the easier it will be to recognize when you are slouching.
Becoming a Pilates Instructor is a great way to do what you love and earn a living doing so! To teach Pilates, you'll want to get certified by a reputable Pilates company, such as Power Pilates. Ask teachers you respect for recommendations on good certification programs. You can get certified as a Mat teacher and start teaching Mat classes before going on to a full Comprehensive apparatus program. Make sure the program you choose goes beyond just the exercises and includes the tools you'll need to succeed, such as teaching strategies, adaptations for special cases, and anatomy. Certified Pilates teachers can find employment at boutique studios, gyms, PT offices, or as entrepreneurs.
You have probably heard of a Pilates Mat, but did you know that there are other types of apparatus as well? The first type of equipment, or apparatus as is typically called, you will likely see are small items like the Magic Circle, weights, and resistance bands. Larger Pilates equipment consists of the PilatesReformer, Chairs, Barrels, the Tower and the Cadillac. Exercises can be done in various ways, either lying down, sitting, standing, pulling the strap, or pushing the Footbar.
Pilates is an exercise method created by Joseph Pilates which is rooted in Six Principles: Centering, Control, Concentration, Flow, Breath and Precision. The original name of Pilates was Contrologyor The Art of Control. The method was created in the 1900's and developed over the course of Joseph Pilates' lifetime. After Joe passed away in 1967, Contrology was renamed Pilates. Joe believed that by moving with control, following a specific order of exercises and using your breath properly you could rid yourself of chronic pain and instabilities. The method focuses on core strength, flexibility, stability and balance. A steady practice of Pilates improves every functional aspect your life.
The Wunda Chair was created in 1945 by Joseph Pilates, the creator of the Pilates method. It was one of the first apparatus' to have springs which were attached to a pedal. The Wunda Chair was the first functional home-gym
apparatus, as it is able to convert into a regular chair.
This equipment, like the other apparatus', boasts a variety of exercises that work the Four S's of Pilates: Strength, Stability, Stretch and Stamina!
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