This is not the way I thought it would be …
“Everyone is the architect of his own happiness” Joseph Pilates
I was certified in Pilates in 2002. It was a different era and there were few certification programs to choose from. Things have changed and the world of Pilates has also changed. I’m still figuring out how I fit in. I am lucky in that my training was off the beaten path of tradition and during the same time I was also working toward a career in Art Therapy. I played with both and eventually combined them and used tools from each when it felt needed. I never felt solid in being a Pilates instructor because I did not stick to straight Pilates movement in sessions, and today I push those boundaries even more. The industry is changing. In some ways it allows for more freedom and in other ways it seems to be ready to burst into pieces. I am inspired by all the ways instructors and studios have developed to stay fresh and alive during this transition.
I have not fully stepped into my new way of woking in the industry, but I am close to embracing it. What I have decided is that I will not compete out of Fear. I will not judge and steal and knock others down who appear to have more or be more. I will not act on impulse and fear. This too seems to be growing. This fear of each other taking from us. The copying, stealing of clients and marketing, the judgements, and speaking negatively about others in our field is breaking us down.
This is what I know. In NYC the fear is real. Small studios are being eaten up and put out of business by larger industries who can market memberships, unlimited packages and Groupon deals. New instructors are certified every day and looking for work which while amazing is also flooding the business. To survive in this market we need to be all things at all times…healer, social media mavens, influencers (who knew this was a thing), celebrity trainers, models and the list is endless. It creates havoc, burn out and mainly a cycle of fear where we can easily lose our focus and get swallowed up.
But as instructors we also have a great power in our hands and bodies and that is the power of Pilates. I may not be classical and who really knows if I am contemporary at this point but I do still believe in the foundation of Pilates.
I will trust in myself and where the Universe is taking me.
I will ground. I will breathe. I will move. I will flow.
Mind: Fear is our go to when we feel our security is at risk. It is not always real. Obviously it serves its purpose. If a bear were to jump out of the woods our fear instinct would help us to blow that bear horn we like to carry around, but in our day to day existence it tends to create more drama that is based in untruths. Our job then is t sit back and evaluate before reacting to the stress. As a self employed person teaching Pilates the reality of decreasing clients and income is real but my reaction to it is choice and sometimes unconsciously created. My trigger is money. The fear of not having enough. But for someone else it may mean not having a stable studio or home. It may be training new clients every day. It may be feeling overwhelmed by the higher demand of multi tasking the administrative work that comes with the job these days. For each of us the stressor is different but the feeling is the same…fear.
Body: Fear can show up in different ways in our bodies. One common body symptom is rigidity. In the moment of fear we tense our bodies. This is a normal and primal fear response. Over time this creates tightness in our bodies that may become chronic if not addressed. We may also become tired. Both reactions can be changed by movement or postures.
Spirit: When we are grounded and balanced we feel safe and secure even when the world as we know it is spinning into chaos. Our choices and actions come from a grounded place within us and we feel in our cells that we are moving and acting in the way that is “right” for us.
What you can do to find balance and grounding in times of fear
- stand with your feet solid on the ground (barefeet is best) feel the big toe, little toe and heel of each foot on the floor
- Begin to align your body from the feet up, feeling the legs , hips pelvic floor, spine, ribs, arms, shoulders, neck and head all finding their place in the line.
- Do not feel rigid but instead as you breathe feel the breath filling up your entire torso and spine and as you exhale release all that does not serve and grow taller
Walk outside barefooted