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  • Jocelyn Cohenour

Pilates, education, and why it takes so long to become certified...

When I was a professional dancer (many years ago) I slipped a disc during a performance. It was one of the most terrifying points of my life. For almost a year after my initial injury, I saw my physical therapist 3x a week and once I was 75% pain free, I added in Pilates to my routine. I couldn't focus on anything other than the following questions: "Would I dance again?" "Would I run again?" "Would I live without pain EVER again?". The short answer: YES, I returned to dance for another 3 years, I am able to run, and I live pain free. I credit being able to complete those 3 things with my Physical Therapist, a team of wonderful Pilates Instructors, and my current Pilates practice. Without my PT and my Pilates Instructors, I'm not sure what my life would be like. They made such an impression on me that once I retired from dancing I pursued a career in both fields, and that's my life today. Pilates saved me, and that is not an exaggeration. It gave me my life back and I love returning the favor to others.

We are hosting a Pilates Instructor training that begins in March, and several people have said to me is "It's so expensive! Why does it take so long? I think this is just too much". Well, then it probably is not the right training for you. We take our jobs very seriously. It's not something we just started doing, we didn't randomly think "Hey, I think I'll be a Pilates Instructor now." It's something that changed our lives, something we believe in, and something that gives us the ability TO DO WHAT WE LOVE. It's not something that can be done in a weekend, it's not something that you can spend $100 on and be good to go. It takes HOURS, WEEKS, MONTHS of training. We spend hours in lecture, self-practice, practice teaching, reading, and observing. Our comprehensive training (Mat Pilates, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, Barrel, and Anatomy) is over 450 hours. Yes, it's a financial commitment. Yes, it's a time commitment. And why? We're just telling people how to do some exercises, right?

Not so fast. We have clients of all ages, backgrounds, and fitness abilities. We have clients who run marathons, we have clients who can barely get out of bed due to excruciating pain, and we help both of them move better. When we meet with a new client, we have to be able to:

1. Assess posture, ask about daily habits, and start collecting data on their strengths and weakness with movement.

2. If they are injured, we have to first make sure they are cleared to work out by their medical professional, and we have to know what their injury is. Once we have that covered, we have to know what TO DO and what NOT TO DO depending on their injury. (and that doesn't include google)

3. Devise a workout that both challenges and addresses their injury/poor posture/muscle imbalances, etc.

4. Know what their body needs even when the client doesn't necessarily know what they need.

5. Educate them on things they can be doing on their own to improve, what to avoid in a class setting, etc.

Pilates is a system, yes, but certain exercises aren't for everyone. If you come to me with history of a herniated disc, I'm going to make damn sure that your core is strong before we do any of the 'flashy' moves like snake or long spine, and you will live in neutral - ZERO imprinting, ZERO articulation, until you are pain free. If you're pregnant, just know you will NEVER do a teaser past 4 months. EVER.

It's our job to KNOW what to do in these situations to prevent further injury, or in some cases, to not cause injury. It's our job to know how to speak to your physician or physical therapist to formulate a plan of action to allow you the ability to continue to exercise and avoid certain movements. Therefore, it's also my job to know what the hell I'm talking about and to be able to back it up scientifically. For that reason, training takes time, and it is an investment.

I believe that all Pilates Instructors (and fitness professionals) should hold ourselves accountable - our clients, the people paying our bills, the people who are trusting us with their bodies, DESERVE our time, our dedication, and for us to be educated. So if this is you, if you find yourself agreeing and ready to change your life and want to discuss our Instructor training, please email me directly: I'll buy you coffee and I promise to be transparent.

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