Have you ever visited your own personal Mecca? The place where everyone speaks a common language, believes in similar truths, and respects each other for their unique perspectives? This place for me is housed within a functional, brown-bricked office park in Boulder, Colorado. My professional Mecca is The Pilates Center of Boulder, affectionately nicknamed “TPC.”
This Year’s Visit
This past April, I traveled to Boulder on my most recent trip to an Advisor Meeting for TPC’s Teacher Training Program. Since Springboard Pilates is a Host Studio for TPC, I go every year to check in on my teaching, and the specifics of each of the programs. I make this an absolute priority, so I can be the best possible advisor for the trainees in the remote TPC programs, through Springboard.
I love being a student. I love asking questions, taking lessons, soaking up personal connections with new and old friends, watching inspirational teachers do their thing, and emulating their examples. Every time I go, I take as many lessons as possible, and this time was no exception. I took Advanced Reformer with Amy, Advanced Chair with Kelli, and private lessons with Kaile, Kelli, and Rachel. I was also observed teaching another teacher twice while out there: once by Debora and once by Amy.
These Observed Teachings (OT’s) are one of the best tools for evaluating a teacher and are my favorite requirement in TPC’s teacher training programs. Of course I get a little nervous when I am observed, we all do, but having a master teacher who you greatly respect watch your teaching shines a light on your weaknesses in no time. Although, this reality check can be difficult to take, it is also the best way to identify what needs work on the path to being the absolutely best teacher possible. If you truly want to be the best for your students, you must be humble, and know that there is always room for improvement.
What Happens During Observed Teachings?
During OT’s, all of the instructors at TPC balance their critique with compassion and share their insight with honesty and an open mind. We are fully welcome to ask questions of them as they ask the “why” and “what else” from us. I have found the best way to approach these OT’s is to think I’m going to open my eyes to seeing this body with the help of Amy’s vision today, or Kelli’s experience, or Rachel’s inside-and-out knowledge of the work. This makes it less intimidating, and more of a collaborative, shared experience.
Every time I return to my work in the studio after a trip to Boulder, I am refreshed not with new tricks, but rather with a renewed commitment to the work in its simplest form. Pilates is a Method designed to be done in a very specific way for the body to flush out toxins, and fill with fresh life-giving oxygen. Joe Pilates‘ vision of mind-body-spirit was truly about breathing fully, and moving naturally in order to get oxygen to all parts of the body (especially the brain), to lift one’s spirits.
This is where Joe and I are totally on the same page: I believe, as he did, that taking care of yourself (breathing and moving and growing stronger all the time) builds your confidence and sense of self-love. Only those of us who feel that in our bones are able to pass it on, pay it forward, share the love, and change the world. Let’s start today!