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Pilates instructor training encinitas, CA

Life as a Pilates Instructor: Debi and Denni of Pilates and Beyond in Encinitas, California

career advice Jan 23, 2021

This is the first in a series of interviews I did with Pilates teachers and studio owners.

These honest conversations are a way to gain insight into what life is like as a Pilates teacher. If you're considering becoming a Pilates teacher, these conversations don't hold back. They prepare you for what you have to know.

These are some of the highlights from our conversation:

  • Pilates teachers who have had injuries or other limitations often become better teachers because they not only have the empathy and the first-hand experience, but they have to work harder at understanding and mastering the Pilates exercises. They have to figure out how to make them work for themselves. They go much deeper right from the beginning.
  • As a solo teacher teaching private sessions, you only need 15-20 regular students to have a full schedule. That's achievable. We often think we need a lot more.
  • Most new teachers might feel more comfortable teaching group classes in the beginning, because they feel they don't have the expertise to work one-on-one.
  • Why it's important during your teacher training to teach real people with real limitations, not just other trainees. Many new teachers are surprised or intimidated when they start teaching and they realize that they can't teach the exercises the way they learned them because they've never worked with regular folks before.
  • That every Pilates instructor will run their own business, regardless of whether they work at a studio or gym. You are responsible for marketing and selling your classes and sessions. There's no way around it.
  • That it takes years to build a full schedule.

Watch or listen here:

To get in touch with Debi and Denni, visit their studio website at


Now I want to hear from you: What's your favorite and least favorite part of being a Pilates instructor? Tell me in the comments (below the transcript).


Listen to more "Life As A Pilates Instructor" conversations:

Linda Brown of Completely Fit 4 Life in Auburn, California 

Gail Giovanniello from Mind Your Body in New York City

Stephanie Glickman from Armature Pilates in Brunswick East, Australia


Here is the unedited transcript of our conversation:

Mara Sievers 0:02
Hello everyone, this is Mara Sievers, creator of Pilates Encyclopedia. And I'm here today with Debbie and Denny who are co-owners of Pilates and beyond studio in San Diego. Hi guys. How are you?

Denni 0:15
Great to see you.

Mara Sievers 0:17
Likewise. Likewise, it's still daylight and sunny over there where you are. Sorry. Yeah. Nice. That's great. So we're here today just to have an honest conversation about what it's like to be a Pilates teacher. So sort of a day in the life or many days in the life of Pilates teacher, we have two today, which is excellent. So why don't you just either of you, why don't you just start by introducing yourself in your studio? Like, how long have you been teaching? What are you offering at your studio?


Denni 0:55
So I have been with my partner, Deb for six years. But we had been teaching together in another studio for almost 13 years. So I have been in the industry for about 20 years right now. And we are located in a call that a healing arts industrial complex, I guess, where there's other like-minded, holistic practitioners that are still in that realm, which is really fun to refer people back and forth. acupuncturist massage therapists, chiropractors, healing touch Reiki. And we are in North coastal San Diego. So it's a smaller part of the town instead of a big city. But we pull from all different areas because of where we're located. It's actually quite nice. I'm not going to tell you how much I loved working with Deb right now because we'll get to that. But I want Deb to brag about you know how long she's been teaching.

Debi 2:01
So I've been I was introduced to Pilates when I worked at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona 25 plus years ago, oh, longer than that, okay, maybe 30 years ago, I started when I was like five, so about 30 years ago, actually. And then I went on eventually to Rancho la Puerta, where I had my training, and follow up training and more training and more training and so that that training all happened between 1991 and 96. And then, in 99, I moved to San Diego. And that's when I got into a studio and actually started teaching and in 2000 is when Danny and I started working at the same studio and found out we taught very similarly had lots of things in common and it was just a beautiful, beautiful business partnership. Awesome. Yeah, it's worked out really well.

Mara Sievers 3:05
You guys offer group classes. privates bows, only one or the other.

Debi 3:09
Yeah, we started with, we start with privates. privates, is where I think we get our biggest. What do you want to say enthusiasm or the biggest benefit? Because we can do more hands-on we can do more specific cueing. We do offer a few group classes each week, Danny, I can't remember how many group classes you have. I have three every week. And I don't allow more than four people in the group class. And with COVID, we are socially distanced in practicing with masks, etc. So that's how we've set up our privates in our group classes. And Denny, please feel free to jump in. Yeah.

Denni 3:53
So you know, we pride ourselves in being more you know, pre-rehab and post physical rehab also. And as a result of that, it's important for us to assess, you know, the dynamics and range of motion with all of our clients. So one on one, we get a lot more out of that they get to learn more about their body and what's going on leg length discrepancies, scoliosis rotation, you know, there's all kinds of things that happen from the gate up and the crown down. So people actually learn more one on one and but, you know, we also work with meeting our client's needs, both financially and mentally, emotionally. So if they really need to be in a class, at least they've already learned what their body can and cannot do, so that they can take responsibility in their class. But primarily, we are a one on one based episode because we do a lot of hands-on.

Mara Sievers 4:44
You have a sort of a typical clientele. Do you have like more of a rehab clientele sort of that that naturally happen or not necessarily?

Denni 4:52
That's a loaded question.

We do have a lot and I think we have a lot of rehab because of our referrals. business. Yeah, a lot of our referral comes from physical therapists, chiropractors, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, you know, for repost, rehab and to stay strong before any surgery or to avoid surgery also, right. And we have a large debt, we have a large age. Also, right? We take care of geriatric, we take care of younger moms and postpartum athletes with injuries, ongoing injuries, and what else, Deb?

Debi 5:34
We run into quite a few people who, when they come to us, it's because of postural issues. Now we're over the computer, we're over our phones are carrying our growth, everything is forward, forward, forward. And the next thing you know, we're looking up, we've got this beautiful posture that we wonder where it came from. Many of our clients are referred from other clients who have found Oh, well, I didn't realize how far south my posture had gone. And this is a great way to gain body awareness and, and actually improve it. People who have lost a half an inch to an inch, two inches in their height, are actually finding they are gaining height because they're starting to reclaim their posture again. Yeah.

Mara Sievers 6:21
And I imagine that that has developed over the years, right, like, I think I've once Yeah, this happened, that was the same thing at my studio, that over time, I just, I worked really well with the rehab sort of clients or people in pain or strain or anything, you know, discomfort, and then those told their friends and then so it ended up being having that focus, even though that was not necessarily my, my intention on the outset.

Debi 6:47
Yeah, yeah, the intention, I think, at least first getting into it for me, and Danny, I'm not sure how it was for you. But getting into it. I didn't know what I was getting into. Really? Yes. And it's kind of like it formed itself. Like I naturally gravitated toward people who wanted to work with posture and breath, as opposed to maybe some people might gravitate toward the higher end athletes that want to work harder, deeper.

Denni 7:22
And, you know, I've found throughout my years of experience, a lot of weight people want to come in with weight-bearing, right, because let's not overlook osteopenia, also, you know, where people are starting with that. And I found in the beginning, for me, as an athlete, I use Pilates as cross-training as a professional athlete. So I had a lot of experience with injuries. So when I'm meet people, and this happens with Deb with her muscle activation when we meet people, and she and I brainstorm about how we're going to work with this client. It's because of our experience in the past, and we have this recall of what it felt like to be injured, you know, or have a compressed lower lumbar, you know, or, you know, the forward neck or a sore shoulder girdle, and then just see, you know, the discrepancy. But I also like saying to people, when I meet them that had you not been an athlete or done anything in your life, gravity through time, right, is going to bring us down. So the work we do, and you know, this tumor in just breathing helps us to just expand and have a bigger presence in our space, is what I find.

Mara Sievers 8:29
Yeah, absolutely. And one good point that you're bringing up is, it's maybe something that new teachers, so I want to emphasize, maybe we're bringing a conversation occasionally back today to a new teacher or a teacher training because people might not know, but you've just become a partner, studio for the Pilates encyclopedia teacher training program. So yeah.

So I just, I think one thing that a new trainee is often our questions that I get when people apply for the training or inquire about it, is that they're worried that what if they can't do something, right? What if they can't do the advanced repertoire? And for instance, right now, I have one client, one trainee, and she's, she's hypermobile. And, you know, she struggles with some exercises, but the thing is, I keep telling her that those of us teachers who have had injuries or anything, you know, going on, we become the better teachers because we have not only the empathy or the sympathy and the experience, but you have to work at those exercises, so much harder to understand them to make them work for you to figure out what does it not work if it doesn't work, and so on and so forth. So you, you, you already enter in such a much deeper level than somebody who can naturally do everything. They're actually you know, they just don't have the need to dig deeper in their study in the beginning.

Unknown Speaker 9:55
I agree.

Mara Sievers 9:57
It's no it's never determined for me and for you know, the way that my training is, it's not a deterrent for somebody to come home a Pilates teacher just because they have an injury or they have some sort of limitation, right? That's because, because we never want something you've spoken to is like, people gravitate naturally to people with similar either background or similar thought patterns, or experiences or emotional state or whatever. So we will never teach like, everybody or completely different people from us, right? There's, there's plenty of people to serve. So like attracts like,

Debi 10:37
yeah. And something to remember as a new feature is, you don't need that many people in a week to create that one hit a client load. Think about how many people you want to actually serve each week. Let's say you wanted to serve one person twice a week, that's already two clients hours for one person. So maybe you want to work a 20 to 30 hour client, client hours in a week. That's what 15 people maybe 20. It's not a big poll, unless you're doing group classes, then yeah, you do need more people. But that's, you know, we can only speak to you from the level of one on ones and very small group classes. So it's, it's a small amount, I

Mara Sievers 11:26
love that you bring that up because you're absolutely right. And I keep telling that to people to you don't actually need a whole lot of people, if you do privates, the maybe the tricky part is that most teachers start or feel more comfortable teaching classes, and then you need a lot more and you know, then it sort of maybe gets a little bit difficult. So the, you know, if somebody observes or chooses, you know, your studio to observe at and practice at, then they're already embedded in this one on one experience, and they're naturally going to be, you know, prepared for that reality. I think it's, the tricky thing is if you only always practice with other trainees who are fit and great and can do everything, then right, then you are actually, you're a little bit shocked, maybe when you come into the real world, and you come into a studio, such as yours, where you're constantly dealing with injuries, or bad posture or whatever, and misalignments all sorts, then you feel like oh, my gosh, like, I'm not prepared for that. So so being embedded in the studio experience during your training, I think prepares you so well for the actual job. Agree.

Denni 12:44
And there are a lot of different bodies out there. No one body is alike. It's amazing.

Mara Sievers 12:53
I would say there are as many variations of exercises as there are bodies.

Denni 12:57
That's right.

Mara Sievers 12:58
That's Yeah. Standardized thing.

Unknown Speaker 13:03

Mara Sievers 13:04
So what is your favorite aspect of being a Pilates teacher? Either you both?

Debi 13:12
So when I was, as I'm thinking about my favorite aspect, I have this picture of so many different clients that have come in and out of our lives. Where each session when they're walking out, thank you so much, I feel so much better than when I walk in. I feel like I'm standing taller, I feel like I'm taking I feel so much more confident in my body. That's my favorite party teaching is when people are getting their aha moments on the importance of breath, where they really, really get it and they go home and they actually practice breathing and their postural alignment and they catch themselves and they make a step to improve their overall well being, even with one simple cue. So for me, that's my favorite part is seeing people feeling better in their own bodies.

Denni 14:16
So in springboarding off of that, I love educating awareness through the breath. And when you educate the awareness, even if they only see us one or two hours a week, they are signaling, other times when to make that adjustment in their functional activity. picking something up from the floor turning around to you know, attend to a child in the car, opening the car door to stand up, right, sitting in the car driving and just becoming aware. so empowering self-care for me, is also the awareness of education knowing that they're not going to I'm not going to be with them 24 hours a day. They have to want to do the work to improve their well being.

Debi 15:06
Yeah. And great. Just to add to that real quick, yeah. When they come back week after week, and they say, Oh, I, I was getting in my car. And it didn't hurt for me to lift my legs into the car, it didn't hurt for me to reach to the backseat of the car. Why? Because they've opened up, they've changed their situation in their posture through again, and then I'm going back to what Danny said through education. So we are constantly giving them an understanding. So that it's they've got a why for what they're doing. And that to me is like, yeah, this is why I do what I do. That's awesome. Yeah,

Mara Sievers 15:49
yeah. It's so powerful, right? Once after so many years, you realize like, it still blows me away, sometimes how powerful Pilates is. And like, I don't I'm not doing this. I don't know. But it was just

Debi 16:03
Yes, great.

Mara Sievers 16:04
On the opposite side of the coin, what's the least favorite aspect of being a teacher?

Debi 16:11
So I have to say, when I hear least favorite, I think, okay, where's my greatest opportunity for growth? Ah, right, because that's what it is, when it's something that we don't love. It's like, Alright, that must be something I need to grow in. Danny, do you want to take this dirt? This one? Well, no, because you know,

Denni 16:31
you're such great partners, because we balance each other in other ways outside, right, because we run a business. And every Pilates instructor will run their own business, even if they're working under, you know, the GIS that our guys have, you know, another studio,

Debi 16:48
right? So you are our own person in business.

Debi 16:54
Deb has one that's I love and so Okay, so my greatest opportunity for growth is in marketing. And as I think about this, there's two ways for me to look at this question that I asked myself. One way is, Oh, my gosh, where's my next client coming from? Like, how am I going to get my next client, like, I just had a client that's doing really well, and they moved on to another state, and I referred them to another Pilates place. And who's gonna fill that spot? Or I can think of it in this way. Where's my next client coming from? What are they going to bring me? What am I going to learn? What's my next edge of, of? I don't know what to do with this person. Cool. Let's work with movement. Let's work with alignment. What am I going to learn? How can I help them? How can we help each other? How do we make this win-win? Now, Danny, is fabulous with marketing. So this is why we are such great business partners. And she's just She's amazing. Amazing.

Denni 18:02
It i don't know how I just so appreciate the dev appreciates me for it. Because my biggest opportunity for growth is with number crunching. Now I'm going to talk about business first, and then I'll talk about being the Pilates, you know, instructor is I just for me to sit down and bank and pay bills and look at our finances and our budget and just really work numbers so that we can meet our needs. So we can meet our client's needs, with a smile on her face and not fretting, like oh, you know. So Deb will sit down and she will get on that computer and pump out Excel spreadsheets. And we will just bring our heads together and work on this, which I so appreciate. But another opportunity for growth that I think all incoming Pilates instructors need to know is, you know, we have these expectations and these goals, they're personal, but they're not always met. And it's for that same reason. Maybe it's the holidays, and most of your clients have disappeared, right? Or it's tax season and people aren't pulling out of their purse. So you have to really learn to your expectations and goals can be high, but not to get disappointed so easily. to just understand, you know, things happen for a reason. There's a reason it's happening. And just keep up with your due diligence and trust. Just trust that you're a good teacher, you have the foundational work, and you will, people will find you people will find you.

Mara Sievers 19:36
Yeah, it's a good point. Great point that you're bringing up I think the you can't so you know, especially people who come maybe from the corporate world like a lot of Pilates teachers do a training as their second career path. Was that for me, right? So maybe if somebody is coming from a corporate job, you know, you have to know that being applies to you. is not, you can't expect to get a 40-hour job right off the bat, you know, be hired by Studio and get a fixed salary, you cannot expect that that's just not how it works, right? You can get you can be given the opportunity of getting new students, you can be given a new student by a studio, right, who did the marketing for you. But then it's up to you as a teacher to nurture that client relationship. So that that that client keeps coming back and you slowly build your schedule. But yes, so the, and along with that comes that that fluctuation, right, every area, every studio is different. Some people have a lot of people, you know, some studios have or areas have a lot of people in January, and then you know, nobody in the summer. For me it was, for a long time, the opposite, like the summer was packed in the studio, and I have nobody in May, because it gets spring and everybody went outside. So but every area is different. Right? So you and that's something you might not know, in the beginning, or you might maybe theoretically know, but then it affects you. On a real, you know, level of Yeah, so I'm not teaching anything, and I'm not making any money while I'm not teaching out, you know, sort of thing. So that's a great point you're bringing up and yeah,

Debi 21:21
it's really I think, is really paying attention to it needs to be a long-term budget, rather than just what happened this week. You have to really you have to, you have to plan it out.

Denni 21:34
Yes, you have to plan

Debi 21:36
B and Danny and I help each other, you know, sometimes my client load falls a little low, and I get a little concerned and she was the depth. Look long term, let's not look at what's going on right in this moment. And let's cultivate some more clients, let's talk about the clients that we want to cultivate, we want to see who is our ideal clients, and lo and behold, they show up. So I would say that, especially to new instructors, you will find your people, your people will find you

Mara Sievers 22:09
it's the thing is if we did everything right from the start, we would probably fill our schedules quickly. But there's a learning curve. There's not just a learning curve and Pilates, there's a learning curve, and how do I show up as the professional? And again, that's I think that's another benefit of being embedded in a studio environment where you watch the conversations before and after class. And because that's those are equally important than the actual class when it comes to selling right or, or how do I point out and educate the client? like we talked about? How about how do I educate the client about that this is also the plies is also a long term process that you can't expect, right results within two weeks, even though you don't, you know, you don't want to scare them away by saying, Oh, you have to do this for at least six months, and so on and so forth. Right? There's so many aspects that are new to you when you become a teacher. Because of the reality that you are your own business. Like you said, I say this all the time. Yeah. So it's a learning curve there as well. Not just in terms of the teaching part. Right.

Debi 23:12
Right. Absolutely. Yeah. Awesome.

Mara Sievers 23:16
Great. I appreciate your honesty and openness. Um, so what if you were to hire a teacher right now what would you be looking for in terms of either Pilates skills or outside of Pilates like different soft skills?

Denni 23:35
Well, I, so I'm going to address the important skills, I'm going to leave other quality, you know, qualifications, I really find

Unknown Speaker 23:47

Denni 23:48
someone has been well trained, and feel confident about their work, they will be able to observe somebody's body through their range of motion. So even if they're just walking, you know, you just look at their gait,

Unknown Speaker 24:09
or all you have to do

Denni 24:10
is look up the body and see where their neck if they're holding their ears over their shoulders, or if they have just a little bit forward neck or even just a little bit back. It was are their eyes meeting out over the horizon, and somewhere in between. With that core going out and lifting through the crown and looking at their gait, you start to observe that range of motion, and you can start giving some cues right, in some imagery. That's what I really liked. I liked that people can do that.

Mara Sievers 24:42
They have the ability to read a posture and the body and movement.

Unknown Speaker 24:49
And for

Mara Sievers 24:50
much, I'm so sorry that it is so much talking at the client that we learn in teacher training programs, right we learn how the excess supposed to do because what it's supposed to look like, and, and now I'm telling you what to do, and there's not enough going back, like not enough letting the information of what I'm seeing enter my brain as a teacher, and then I process and then I, you know, I give the cue that's necessary for that person. That's, that's a whole other skill level, almost right of the input and not always just the output. And that's where it just requires, I think it requires a lot of experience and training, like working with a lot of different people and bodies, so that you start to see those differences now.

Debi 25:37
And to add on to that, Mara, I love what you said, and it cued me to think about giving the client a certain amount of time to integrate the cue, you just guess, yeah, Don't be in a hurry to give and Don't be in a hurry to make everything perfect, which is one of my things, Oh, you don't have your big toe in the right place. Like we need to move that note, move your big note, move your beach, let them have some success. So I think part of that is for an instructor to be able to read a client, when it's time to give another cue, and when it's time to let them just feel their success.

Mara Sievers 26:24
Yeah, it's not going to be perfect in the first week, or in the first class, or the first one, it's

Denni 26:29
challenging. It's challenging to learn the core stabilizing muscles, it's challenging to feel them. And most people don't even think about them. So now we are giving them a lot of information. And so I love what you said, Deb is, let them feel what you've cued, let them imagine, let them you know, the vision, and then let them feel it.

Mara Sievers 26:54
Right? They are in that moment. So they hear a cue and they're trying to process that they're trying to put it into that first trying to understand what do you mean, then they're going to put this into their body, and they need two or three or four repetitions to actually get it into the body. And if you keep interrupting with another cue, they're not there. And they can probably not even can probably even hear you at that point, right? Because they're still processing the previous cue, so they're not listening to you.

Debi 27:19
And adding on to that for an instructor, something that would be great to see is exactly what you said, We watched them do it, they're still not getting it. In fact, their body can't even do the movement that we're requesting. It's time to modify. So whether it's modifying down or modifying up or across, or just giving what I love to see in an instructor is one that they realize their client isn't getting it. And then too, if they don't have a go to in that move in that moment, because oh, I just learned how to teach. Okay, I'm going to just move on, and we're going to come back and revisit this the next time. And by the next time, I'm going to have a way to help you be feeling successful. That's always about the success of the client.

Mara Sievers 28:09
I love that. I love that you say that about like going home and then processing. So I think that's, that's how I learned like you learn person by person. You know, once you're actually teaching, and I think it's totally okay for somebody new to sit, you know what, I don't know why this is not working, or I don't know why you have this, you know, pain or discomfort in this movement. But I will try, I will try and figure it out until I see you next and then you go home, and then you study and then you add or you ask your mentor or something like that. And you go from there. You it's so much information, right? We can't we can't all be perfect in it when we start. But you have to at least have that curiosity of trying to figure out why. And I think I love the work your curiosity, and also adaptability, it just being able to say Oh, letting go of your plan and going another way. Right.

Debi 28:58
Absolutely. So, Danny, did you have more on not on that? Go ahead. I

Denni 29:05
think there was the other part of the question about other additional skills. Yeah,

Debi 29:08
so additional qualities. One of the things that we embrace in our studio is a person's desire for growth, whether it be personal growth or professional growth. We really love to see that in our instructors. We're not making them continuing education. They do not have to do anything. They don't want to do that. It's their business. And that's something that really appeals to us. That's part of our integrity. We'd love to see our instructors have a sense of honesty, integrity. supportiveness. Danny, what else do you have? Yeah,

Denni 29:54
I am I Devin. I we want to Others to be a reflection of who we are. And by virtue of our examples, because Deb and I aren't just Pilates, right, we've moved forward with post physical rehab and muscle activation and healing touch and filled in Christ and cranial sacral we have a toolbox of art, what we love what we've added different modalities that we just interject, you know, with whatever we see that the client needs. And so we just have found with some of our colleagues that have come in works in our space that they want to learn, they yearn to continue to learn. And Devin, I've always availed ourselves on weeks and weekends, or we've gotten together with some of our newer colleagues that come in that are new coming out of supply chain, and we want to help support them on whichever direction they go into, this is what we want. And in doing so then we ask in return for respect, right self respect, and then respect for others. Good communication is really, really important to us, because we have the Pilates instructors, with our team, in our business, have to be forthright and honest and open so that we're good communicators, because then they'll be good communicators with their clients. And that's what's most important.

Mara Sievers 31:21
Right? Yeah, go

Debi 31:22
ahead. Yeah, I do. I have, I have two other things on that. One of you mentioned confidence more, I think he mentioned confidence. And I, I know, in the beginning of my training, I had zero confidence in what I was doing, because I even though I practiced it in my body, saying it to other people was a whole different program. If, if you as a new instructor can find some element of confidence in that, you know, more than what your client knows. And just a wee tiny bit more. And you know, and that doesn't mean arrogance, it means confidence. It shows up for a client, if you feel confident as an instructor, not arrogance, confidence. And then the other piece that I wanted to address was being welcoming and personable. Now I am, I am an introvert by nature. And so even this interview was Yeah, even this interview is really a struggle for me, too. So thank you for the push. Mara. Thank you, Danny. And thank you people who are taking Mario's class. And I can still be welcoming to someone new who comes into the studio, or any of Denny's clients, I will always be welcoming to them. So if you're an extrovert, Danny, sometimes it takes it you might think it's easier. And I don't know, you can speak to the extrovert population, whether it's easier or not, but

Mara Sievers 33:06
I can imagine that the intro the teaching one on one suits, you probably better as

Debi 33:11
as Oh, nice. Yeah. Yeah.

Denni 33:16
That doesn't negate the fact that you are an excellent class teacher to is very thorough and on cue,

Mara Sievers 33:24
but I think my introversion is just like, I can speak from that I got pretty burnt out teaching a lot. And I think when you're if you're an introvert, it just it you give so much in that, that giving and that communicating, and that just drains your energy a little bit more than an extra it's not that we're like, right not want to talk to people, it's just it just takes maybe a little bit more energy out of us versus an extroverts, right. Gets energy from interaction with people and for us, it's its extra energy out.

Debi 33:56
Yeah. But then taking time for myself or create that would be another piece of being a new instructor is knowing how long you can go before you need a break. Because if you're an as an introvert, I can comfortably do five client hours. And then if I don't have a break for me, I'm not going to be my 110% effective, I'll be okay. Maybe I'll be 90%. So just knowing how many client hours you can do before you need to have a break is important.

Mara Sievers 34:31
Yes, and respecting that because again, it's a long term game. I love that you brought that up. So you got to keep your energy up. You can't you don't want to burn the candle on both ends and then crash.

Unknown Speaker 34:41
So I like that we've

Denni 34:41
gone back to respect I keep hearing we keep going back to that. So the self-respect, acknowledging what you need as an individual so that you can feed the soul of your clients. So the other thing that I find that AI is really important to me, is that everyone respects that it's a safe place that Pilates studio is a safe place. To save place for us to be as instructor, and it's a safe place when you're when one's client comes through, whether they're your client or someone else's. And then you work in that quiet safe spaces so that we can acknowledge that these people are working here. We are working here. And there's it's not a party. You know, you have to, you have to be discerning. Yeah, and focus, because we're trying to help people to get focused, because you have to focus to get into your body and do the work that's necessary. So,

Mara Sievers 35:32
yeah, that's, I love that you bring that up the Yes, because chatter if one, you know, teacher, student, couple likes to chat and stuff, and another student teacher, you know, the unit, they try to do some serious work, it can be a little bit, you know,

Unknown Speaker 35:48
challenging, challenging document,

Mara Sievers 35:52
that I think it again, every studio, I think is different, right. So there are definitely students out there with the atmospheres is different and, and, and maybe a little bit more, you know, more energetic and more towards the fitness sort of direction, but it depends, like every studio is different and you just got to know what type of teacher you are, or what type of person really not necessarily teach it just what type of person you are. And then and then respect that.

Debi 36:21
And, and find an environment that I would submit that when you're checking out Pilates studios, as a new instructor, go into the studio and get a feel for it. Because our studio is very quiet and very introspective. That doesn't work for everybody. Some people need to go into a studio, like you were saying where it's very energetic and very music, and it's and it's the opposite of introspective because they need to burn energy and burn it in a big way. And ours is more, we're bringing everything down and lowering the we're trying to bring it into center. Neither one is right or wrong. It's just what do you work best in? Yeah,

Mara Sievers 37:10
love that. Love that? Do you want to talk about the extraversion as a teacher at all? Or not? If you don't have anything to say, that's fine. But

Unknown Speaker 37:21
you know, I'm,

Denni 37:22
I'm very social. And I really love people. And I welcome all types of diversified people as clients into our space. And but this, again, is why Deb and I are such good communicators because we talk about what we need and what our clients need. So, again, going back to what's been challenging for Devin, I mean, with crunching numbers, and she was marketing, we have managed to come to a really nice, harmonious space for ourselves. Yeah, and we've had these other colleagues working with us. And if they want to have louder music and a bigger class size, then they have to be willing to schedule it, you know, at night or on a Saturday, and we welcome it, it's just not what we have in totality. That's

Mara Sievers 38:09
for sure. Yeah, um, I love to two points that I want to hook in a little bit. One is the fact that so somebody I love that you compliment each other real well, and your partners and but maybe somebody who's who doesn't have a business partner, right at this point, there might be a life partner, right, there might be a spouse who can help them with the numbers or stuff like that. And you can ultimately you can pay people right to deal with the numbers for you. But recognizing maybe the stuff that you're not good at is often really important because you still need to sell your responsibility because you're your own business. So you still got to take, you know, take a look at it. So you can just maybe try and find somebody else who can help you with that. That's the one thing that I wanted to mention. And the other thing, the con artist conversations, I love that you brought that up to me because I think I've had the experience, I'm sure every single like every single Pilates studio owner that I've talked to had the same experience where, you know, teachers start to work for them, and then they all of a sudden disappear. And that is always that's for a co-owner. That's a very end even for the teachers, that's sorry, students, that's often a hard transition. Because if you lose a teacher, you know, you got to put those students somewhere. And it's just it's a huge impact on the studio owner and the whole business and the community. So you know, having honest conversation if somebody is planning on moving or is planning on something, you know, just be open about it and talk to the studio owner. We can't change it anyway, right? We can't force you to stay or anything like that. But it helps us. It helps us prepare, right? We don't we're not going to punish you in any way. It helps us And the studio and the studio, the students who you've been teaching, right, it helps all of us prepare and transition to a new teacher or you know, help us organize things in a different way. And that's what came up for me, when you spoke about honest conversations, like it's so that is, well, it's not my interview. But that's one thing I wish.

Denni 40:28
Yeah, and I think you learn about a lot more about yourself. Also, I think one learns about themselves when they can go inside and process what they need to say, and then execute a lot of growth, personal growth with that, which is the beauty of Pilates, I think, anyways, you know, and there's a very

Debi 40:50
interesting component that owners and instructors deal with, I think, on the regular, and I believe it's different in each state. And the way that Denny and I've set it up is we don't take ownership of the clients. We don't even take ownership of our instructors, we tell our instructors, your clients, or your clients, we do not own them. If you leave our studio, and you're taking your clients with you, that's, that's your choice. If you leave our studio, because you're moving out of state, please let us know so that we can help rehome those clients. Hopefully, we have somebody that can absorb the clients so that they can continue with what they're doing. There are other establishment that own the clients. And there's a whole law around that. We, Denny speak to this, if I'm missing something that I my experiences, we are not that's that's not we're not trying to hold on to anybody, we want everybody to go where they're going to get their best service. We trust? Yeah.

Mara Sievers 42:09
I think ultimately, you can't own a student. Anyway, I think like the, the customer always has the choice to take their business wherever they want to go. And I think it's a reality that it is such a one on one connection. So that's where it comes in, that you as a teacher, are your own business what you said earlier than, right? That's because there is this one on one connection with the teacher. And Yeah, I want to continue working with the teacher that I'm used to working with, I'm not loyal to students are not loyal to the studio, necessarily. They're loyal to their teacher, right. And that's just the reality, we can fight this until we're blue in the face, it's not going to change it. So and ultimately, the client has the choice to go wherever they want to go. So I love that you embrace that. And, and, and, you know, colleague trust and yeah, yeah. It's ultimately it's a good relationship. Like, I think it's important why I'm going into this a little bit and we can move on to the next subject. But I think it's so important to build a good collaboration between studio owners and teachers. So that's, you might not know this, but my agenda with everything that I'm doing, like my vision for Pilates, I just want Pilates to survive. I want Pilates as the method is magical. It's unbelievably amazing. I want that to thrive and to survive long term. And it can only do that if the teachers were teaching it are thriving, because if all of us quit, there won't be an employee's anymore. Not that that's going to happen, right. But that's sort of why I'm like, it's so important to be so open and authentic about the life as a teacher, because are prepared for it, the more likely they're going to thrive. They're going to be happy. And then it slips on. And

Unknown Speaker 44:10
yeah, no.

Mara Sievers 44:10
One can dream, right.

Unknown Speaker 44:13

Mara Sievers 44:15
So that actually bridges the gap real quick, pretty well to the next question. What is it like one thing that you wish you had known before you started your training? And I know it's been a while for both of you, but I'm sure you remember.

Denni 44:27
Oh, I still remember. Like, go ahead and do I mean,

Debi 44:33
now you go because I'm working on that. I've been working on this one. This is a tough one.

Denni 44:38
It is I've been massaging it, Deb and I've talked about it also because, you know,

I came through the athletic realm having had Pilates is cross-training. So it's true. It's one thing to be doing Pilates. It's all of a sudden very different to be an instructor right. And I think I'm so passionate about this, this work, and I so embrace my journey. That really I wish I'd found it sooner. That's truly, and I did, I found it sooner as a cross-training, you know, component, but to really learn the material and apply it has brought me so much joy and is filled my vessel so much. I mean, it almost brings tears to my eyes. And I've been instructor for a long time, and I've come from being a professional athlete, corporate America marketing, you know, had a slew of other interests. But this for me kind of encapsulates the last part of my life. So how beautiful is this, that this is what I finally chose to pursue. And I can't let it go. Even I just I lost some clients with their age. I've clients have relocated, but I don't want to leave my clients that choose to want to see me often. And when I think about that, I think about the beautiful people that have come across my path in this work that I've done. And boy, oh, boy, I've learned so much about myself in it. And I actually wish I had started sooner.

Mara Sievers 46:26
I love that. I love that. I think in the question, the question sort of implies something negative. But it doesn't totally doesn't have to be an A love that you that you chose that that's what it is for you that it's something positive. That's great.

Denni 46:43
Thank you.

Debi 46:45
That was coming to me, and we already touched on it. But Danny, as you were talking it, cued me on to another point, which is I think if I had heard you ask the question again, Mara, that, um,

Mara Sievers 47:00
what what do you wish you had known before you started your Pilates training?

Debi 47:04
Okay, so the only thing I can really come up with is I wish I had understood the depth of the power of imagery as cueing. I got it, I had an amazing teacher that was all about imagery. And so when she said something, I would just, I could just fall into it. Because she was so incredible with her imagery. I picked up those cues, I just didn't realize how powerful they were and how much imagery has to do with the outcome of movement. So I think that would be the biggest thing is if I were to send off information to anyone, it would be a if you're a new instructor, listen to the cues that Mara is giving you listen to imagery, and there are all kinds of books out there on how to utilize that cue. And then you start becoming creative yourself. I am not creative, I am not the creative when I'm a numbers, girl, right? This taxed me a little bit and it helped balance me out because we've got the imagery, which is pulling into the creative side of the brain, along with the alignment, which pulls into more of the logical side of the brain. So it's a very, it's a very balancing experience.

Mara Sievers 48:31
And I love that we seem to be pretty similar w because I'm not only I'm also an introvert but I'm also not creative. So one thing that I that came up for me as you spoke was like images don't necessarily have to be creative. Like, I love the images that are totally taken out of my real life like stuff that I can touch right now or stuff that I use every single day. Those are the images that work really well and that those pop into my brain, the colorful flowery images not so much for me. Every person is different. Right? So Oh, it's it's funny that

Unknown Speaker 49:10
practical? Yes.

Mara Sievers 49:14
Yes. That's funny. That's great. Yeah, it's a good reminder, I think for all of us to think about more imagery, maybe again, yeah. It's Yeah, it's Yeah, it's a shortcut, right.

Debi 49:27
It's a shortcut. It is a shortcut anatomy to your students which so much here and substitute the students who want the anatomy. Oh my gosh, I'm so happy to give them that. Yeah. Many, many students don't have unless we've studied it or they have a draw for it. They don't have an understand what is a muscle what is I don't even know what bones really get it and I don't want to get it.

Mara Sievers 49:58
And first of all, there's no interest A lot of the time from their perspective and also, there is no like, they often actually misinterpret it because they misinterpret because they don't have the knowledge of Correct. Correct. I'm with you there.

Unknown Speaker 50:13
Yeah. Yeah.

Mara Sievers 50:15
That's awesome. Is there anything, anything else you'd like to add? Before we finish up? What what I

Denni 50:22
was going to say about us, since we were speaking about imagery is that you don't have to be creative, to be able to articulate it. What I think some of the creativity comes from is realizing that your client, each client hears differently, or they receive and translate differently. So our creativity would come from how we cue again, how the words we use, and for this one, same movement, I could be using five different approaches with my clients to try to get the same end result. Because you see them, or are they hearing me? Or are they just not? You know, receiving it? Are they translating it differently? So I find that with imagery, different cues, different verbs, right, different words, to get people to understand where you're trying to get them, so I

Mara Sievers 51:21
didn't know right? Get up the sorrows and increase your vocabulary. Or take and bring and put or

Denni 51:31
listen to other trainers. How they same thing that we're trying to address.

Mara Sievers 51:36
Yeah, the main thing. That's a wonderful, It's so lovely to talk with you guys.

Unknown Speaker 51:41
Thank you for inviting us.

Mara Sievers 51:43
Oh, sure. Where can people find you if they want to get in touch?

Debi 51:47
Pilates and beyond Ready?

Mara Sievers 51:52
That's it straightforward. And if anybody's interested in my plus teacher training program, check out Pilates forward slash teacher dash training, but I'll also put it into the comments below.

Denni 52:03

Mara Sievers 52:03
well have a wonderful rest of your day and week

Denni 52:07
and be well everyone stay healthy.

Debi 52:10
Yes. Okay. Let's make 2020 2021 good. Yay.

Denni 52:16
All right. See you later.


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