Continuing Education: The Fast Track or Transformational Track?
Every year, we all participate in workshops to elevate our work to better serve our clients, to be inspired, and hopefully increase our value. Continuing our education brings us up to date on new research, and provides expansion of our repertory tools. Education is costly in terms of our time and money. And it is important to receive the value of the investment by actually having the ability to implement well with confidence what was taught.
I raise the question about the amount of time spent in workshops and weighing the benefits. The benefits are relative to what a teacher wishes to learn. Is it choreography only? Or is it learning a script for cueing? As Eve Gentry said “ Are you a conveyor belt or a teacher?” In a two to three hour workshop format, it is not likely the experience provides enough practice time, nor allow for the teacher to embody the work. I am not speaking about a workout session. I am speaking about education that brings the teacher into a different place in their work. This only comes from more time spent with the continuing education provider, practicing with guidance, asking questions, exchanging ideas and a supportive experience.
To be a teacher, one must be able to see the vast number of possible strategies people perform when moving. It is being able to identify the preference versus non-preference movement patterns. Then use this information to verbally cue, use hands-on to direct the movement and facilitate change in the client’s body. Choosing a sequence that best serves the client in the moment because you can see how the body’s tissue tension is inhibiting their movement potential. The movement may appear the same, such as footwork, however, is the sequencing from the feet to the spine a functional one? No two people move the same way. If they do not move the same way, then the musculature is not engaging in the same pattern. Strengthening poor patterns does not serve to improve the person’s movement potential. Guiding the client to make a conscious shift in the patterning will strengthen a healthier functional pattern. This will actualize their movement potential in life, sports and activities they enjoy. This is the depth of the physical work in Pilates and the magic that transforms people.
Teachers, who are aligned with my message, know that a deeper experience helps them improve their teaching and thereby increases the impact on their clients. It is a dedicated teacher that searches for a learning environment to enhance their own well-being as well as acquiring new skills. I am reaching out to teachers that tend to either have little to no continuing education or perhaps are not aware of the possibility of receiving more from an educational experience. My advice is to begin the journey of exploration in discovering the endless possibilities of how to powerfully work with the body. This will set you apart from other teachers who are conveyor belts. Stretch and expand your field around you with a different way of learning. Measure what are you receiving from the workshop or intensive with your needs and goals. Expect to receive plentitude!
If you are a teacher seeking to guide, teach, offer the depth and true function that Pilates offers, the fast track of education is limited. We all start where we are in our lives and passion. I am not one to say any continuing education is better than none. Find a committed, responsible and highly recommended teacher that resonates with you. Spend time, practice and read current movement-based information. Begin to formulate your own perspective and beliefs based on sound knowledge and science.
Walking out of a workshop, my sense needs to be that I am able to understand with my brain, feel it in my body and know I can translate it to my clients through my body, voice and hands. Walking away with only one “take away” is not a good use of my time or money spent on a workshop. Be clear if you choose to attend an event for camaraderie and networking, or are you are spending your time and money where you receive a return for your work.
I advocate for longer intensives on an annual or biennial basis to fully be transformed by your continuing education. Imagine participating in one full experience, biennially versus many shorter courses annually. Take the time to immerse yourself in order to grow your practice with abundance.
I offer five and three day intensives annually. Upcoming is in London, September 1-5th at the Garuda Studio and in San Francisco, CA, January 2018. Please go to the calendar section on this website.
To watch and hear how I work with teachers go to the 5:20 minute mark. At the 7:20 minute mark, I speak about why intensive study is beneficial.