I spent this weekend in Lancaster at the Pilates Teacher Association (PTA) annual conference. Why on earth…..?
Well, the PTA rounded up an amazing list of wonderful, talented and knowledgeable Pilates teachers from the UK and across the globe to present workshops, so I decided to go and learn from the best.
The Pilates Teacher Association
The PTA is professional organisation created with the intention of bringing teachers together, sharing best practice and helping to maintain the professionalism of Pilates training and teaching. They have some high ambitions, which you can find out about here.
Although I have previously taken continuing education courses and workshops, this was my first time at a gathering of people with so many years of teaching and training experience. Was I nervous? You bet I was. Despite that I chose to get up, in front of a room full of people and try out Pilates exercises that I was new to, on all sorts of equipment, that I’ve never used before. I was pretty excited by the challenge. Having done Pilates with me for a while know, you that Pilates is nothing if not about challenges.
Working on tiny mat
I chose workshops with two of the international stars of the weekend; Junghee Won and Murat Berkin (who between them they have at least 4 decades of experience in Pilates). Junghee in particular took classes with Joseph Pilates key protégée; Romana Kryzanowska, so her insights had a particular poignancy. In that workshop I got my introduction to the wunda chair (which Joseph Pilates designed to double as a piece of furniture) which Junghee described as essentially being a tiny Pilates mat. We followed lunch with a fast and furious mat exercise session with Murat, yup, it was after lunch so, that is my excuse for not being stellar in my movements.
Springs into Sunday
The lovely UK teachers I worked with were fellow North Londoners; Rebecca Convey (who runs a beautiful Romana Pilates teacher training school) from who I gained a new understanding of how to look at the movement of a client’s body and come up with ways to fix or improve their movement. Julie Driver gave me some fresh perspective on playing with the magic circle. Then on Sunday morning I was lucky enough to get to toy with some springs.
All this work has given me a new appreciation for the Pilates system of exercise. In all our professional lives it is good to be exposed to new ideas and a chance to reconsider what we think we know. I’m delighted to say that this weekend I had my ideas challenged and my muscles put to the test. But most of all, I’m bringing back inspiration and motivation for our classes together in 2019.
So, let me know, will I see you on the mat?