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These Pilates Teachers Better Understand Their Clients' Challenges and Can Confidently Help Them Feel Better

“If I hit a rough patch while teaching, I know I can tell a client I’ll get back to them and have an authoritative response to come back with!” 

I’m very lucky to have a home studio! It’s tiny but somehow we have fitted 2 reformers, a wall tower unit and a spine corrector. I have a timber patio space which can hold 6 mats. I live in Cairns which is in Far North Queensland. If you haven’t heard of it it’s the tropics and we are on the Great Barrier Reef.

I’ve been a PE member for 2 years. I signed up during my Diploma.

I can’t sing Mara’s praises highly enough to be honest! Having every single known exercise available to refer to and learn about in depth has helped me learn to see and feel more in my own body, as well as my clients. Even if I am familiar with a particular exercise, I like to check in with Mara’s videos and explanations as I find them clear, and simple, free of flowery or vague language.

PE has helped me big time with confidence. If I hit a rough patch while teaching, I know I can find what’s missing. I know I can tell a client I’ll get back to them and have an authoritative response to come back with.

I love how Mara sticks to the most important points and doesn’t overwhelm me with information that’s beyond me.

I don’t have to be perfectly knowledgeable or entertaining to be a good instructor. As long as I am committed to getting to understand the clients and seeking authentic solutions that are true to the core principles then positive results will come. It took a while to stop feeling personally responsible for every aspect of the client’s experience.

The body is an interconnected system and can’t be broken down into components. This has been a massive game changer and I can’t wait to learn more! You can be an excellent instructor with the knowledge you have so far.

My advice to fellow teachers: Others may know more, have more experience, more creative flows whatever, who cares. Just teach what you know well and bring a curious humble attitude, every single time.

 Elle Latham

Cairns (Queensland, Australia)

Instagram

“There is space for all styles of Pilates. It's important that we make Pilates accessible and available to all bodies!” 

I am a Pilates baby…I have been teaching for 9 months now at a small boutique studio in Tustin Orange County in Southern California called Full Body Movement Therapy.  I teach advanced, mixed levels and stretch classes using the Allegro 2 Reformer + Tower and Chair classes. The studio was amazing to mentor me to a teacher!  

I joined PE in August 2023, one month after I started my comprehensive program with Polestar Pilates.  Never had I ever been a teacher as I always worked in management and leadership in the corporate space.  Scared of this new venture and how to cue to create positive movement experiences I found Mara on YouTube and signed up for the Cueing Cure Bootcamp which helped me get over the big awkward feeling I was having trying to describe the movements.  I was still brand new to teaching and I decided after the 30-day bootcamp course (I highly recommend it!)  to join PE membership to continue to deepen my understanding. 

I am so grateful to the PE platform. Studying virtually, working full time and learning to teach I really needed a support system and a resource to look up content.  PE has helped me with cueing and programming (yes, I was spending hours! And then I used the ADAPT Template and realized I don’t have to make a new program for every single class) but most importantly it has given me a deeper understanding of movement patterns, benefits of the movements and the ability to synthesize all of the new learning that I was experiencing.   I go on PE probably 5 x a week.  I love that I can do a quick search on movement patterns, special populations, or simply revisit exercises and get better at describing movement. Overall I’m becoming a better teacher.  I have had individual clients like a past pro-Baseball client and I can go to the Special Population section and look at athletes and obtain guidance.   Or when I was a substitute for a teacher with an older client with MS, I was able to use PE as a resource so that I was not scared taking on a client with a certain pathology.  Lastly, I use the Q&A section a lot and I have asked many “Am I thinking about this right?” questions. To receive a response the same day with guidance has been INCREDIBLE. PE has given me the support and confidence to jump into student teaching and embrace my learning journey! PE is like my virtual study group!  I love it. 

I am still a novice, but one of the most important things I’ve learn on my teaching journey so far but thus far is the importance of cueing joints and movement patterns rather than muscles. This is a big one for me. I am still working on this but this has been a big aha for me. Polestar has the same philosophy and PE has helped me figure out how to put it into practice. 

To fellow Pilates teachers I would say, there is space for all styles of Pilates from classical to contemporary! What is important is that we make Pilates available and accessible to all bodies and create positive movement experiences.  I want to bring joy to peoples lives even just in a group class where they can release stress, laugh or feel more confident!  Whatever the person may need I think our job as Pilates Instructors is to be open, nonjudgmental, and unbiased teachers.  To new teachers like myself, I would say be patient and enjoy the novice stage. I am impatient and constantly want to be the PRO. I need to remind myself to enjoy the journey. I am excited about where this journey will take me and what population I can serve if that is specializing in athletes, clients with low back pain or the tech posture population! I am a recovering chronic sitter and so now I have a passion to help others get up out of their chair!  Lastly newbies, don’t be afraid to jump in and teach. You have the PE community to help you along the way!

 Karin Painter

Tustin, CA

LinkedIn

“When I need to review certain Pilates exercises, I know PE's got me covered!” 

I teach Pilates from my home studio ”Love, Pilates” in Billund, Denmark. I run a programme called Back Care Pilates and I teach 1:1 or circuit style group classes up to 6 clients. I signed up for the Comprehensive PE Membership in May 2022 and then upgraded to Professional Membership. During the pandemic in 2020, I did Pilates Career Coaching with Mara and it transformed the way I run my Pilates business. It’s hands down the best investment I’ve made in my Pilates career.

PE saves me time! My studio is highly personalised so being able to access the extensive and detailed resources in PE when I write programmes for my clients from diverse health history is great. It’s been a while since I completed my comprehensive Pilates education so when I need to review certain Pilates exercises, I know PE’s got me covered.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is the need to prioritise and be open to change. When you’re a solo studio owner, your to-do list seems endless but over time, I’ve learnt to ask for help and delegate the things that I don’t enjoy doing as much so I can focus on teaching, growing my programme and building my Pilates community.

I make time for my personal practice and embrace rest. Always treat clients with kindness and generosity but be clear with boundaries. You cannot run your business effectively when you’re exhausted and burnt out.

My advice for other Pilates teachers is that there’s no such thing as the ‘right’ time, just start and learn along the way. Don’t be pressured to teach something new in every class.

Understanding your target clients is so important - you will then attract the right ones your way and enjoy what you do a whole lot more.

When starting out, it’s tempting to offer your class for free but remember your time has value and it’s ok to be compensated for your knowledge, time and energy.

 Nadia Bustami

Billund, Denmark

Website

“I've learned to switch my perspective to my clients and their needs. While it’s important to be well prepared, it’s not the goal to teach a perfect class. Instead, see the client, understand her challenges in that moment and adjust the plan accordingly!”

I have been teaching group mat classes of up to eight participants in a small Pilates studio in Graz, Austria, for almost four years. In the past six months, I’ve also been apprentice teaching private sessions on all apparatus as well as chair group classes as part of my comprehensive teacher training. The studio where I’m teaching is a host/partner studio for the Pilates Encyclopedia teacher training program.

I’ve been a PE member for 4 years. The membership is such a comprehensive and valuable resource that answers almost any question I have, be it about specific exercises, choosing variations for a specific goal, special populations, sequencing etc. The Q&A section is very helpful. It contains so much information and shows that other teachers are also struggling with similar questions and uncertainties; AND: if I can’t find the information I’m looking for in the membership, I know I can ask Mara for help and she will answer.

But the most important thing I’ve learned from Pilates Encyclopedia is to constantly and critically question and refine my own practice and teaching, to be always on the lookout for suitable solutions and to integrate new knowledge into my teaching. Pilates Encyclopedia helps me to deepen my understanding of Pilates as a whole system and method. Last but not least I appreciate the undogmatic approach and the ubiquitous “it depends on" which encourages me to ask the "why" behind my teaching.

Even if it may sound obvious, the probably biggest lesson I’ve learned (and continue to learn) is to switch my perspective to my clients and their needs. While it’s important to be well prepared, it’s not the goal to teach a class that is perfectly styled. Instead, it’s the ability to see the client, how she comes to class this day, to understand her challenges and to adjust the plan accordingly.

To new teachers, I would recommend staying authentic and – especially in view of the wide range of approaches – trusting in your own strengths and beliefs. Nevertheless stay in contact with other teachers. Don’t teach anything you don’t feel confident with; and at the same time always work on becoming more and more confident with those things.

 Marlies Windhaber

Graz, Austria

“There's always something new to learn and it's good to do things that scare us!”

I teach studio classes for individuals and groups of 5 or less and Reformer classes at the Polestar Pilates Studio in Auckland, New Zealand. In addition, I teach some classes from my home near the beautiful Muriwai Beach in northwest Auckland.

I joined PE during my comprehensive studio training, I think it’s been 4 or 5 years now. PE has helped me with so much. Mostly it has been there to comprehensively answer any question I might have about any exercise on any piece of equipment for any body. I really feel I can ask anything which in turn helps with my understanding and gives me more confidence in teaching and explaining things to my clients.

On my Pilates journey so far, I’ve learned that Pilates and people are always evolving and there’s always something new to learn and it’s good to do things that scare us.

To a new(-ish) Pilates teacher I would say “Embrace the journey, and be grateful for all the knowledge and movement that you get to do with your body and then get to pass on to others. Ask lots of questions, be curious, don’t feel you have to know all the answers, find your style and just be yourself."

 Antoinette Francis

Auckland, NZ

“PE is a one-stop shop - so much information to help me!”

I teach Pilates classes part-time at Club Pilates in San Diego, California. I am trained in Reformer, Mat, Exo Chair, Springboard, Ladder Barrel and Cadillac. This year I also passed my NCPT exam. I teach group classes as well as private training with clients as requested.

I have been a member for a year and a half now. PE has helped me with so many aspects of my teaching. I completed the cueing workshop early in my teacher training which was a great help. I continue to review the videos of all the exercises in order that I learn the best way to break the exercise down and what muscle groups and joints we are working. I also love that Mara is always open to assisting and answering questions that we all face as teachers in the Pilates industry. PE is a one-stop shop - so much information to help me continue to develop my practice.

The biggest lesson I learned in my teaching career so far is that people want to be successful in the class, so clear, direct instructions are essential. Also, remember to make it fun!

To a new instructor, I would say: Always start with the basic moves and then add progressions so all of your clients benefit. Don't forget the personal touch - use names, help correct but more important compliment your clients for their efforts. As teachers we sometimes forget how challenging even the simplest exercises were when we first started.

 Morag Makay

San Diego, CA (USA)

“I understand the different conditions I encounter with my clients and how to create a useful and well-balanced workout plan for them!”

I live in Burnaby (BC, Canada) and work at private studios in the neighbouring cities of Vancouver and Port Moody where I teach equipment classes. I'm trained on the Reformer, Cadillac and Chair. Additionally, I teach mat classes at different recreation centres in the cities of Burnaby and Coquitlam along with Simon Fraser University. I have been a PE member since August 2023. The membership has answered several of my questions regarding working with my clients! I really love the Special Populations section - it has enabled me to understand the different conditions I encounter with my clients and how to create a useful and well-balanced workout plan for them. I've also deepened my understanding of the Pilates exercises with the detailed notes provided on each. I’ve come to realize that each client will progress at their own pace and that my learning never stops! Being part of a community such as PE is one of the best things we can do as Pilates teachers to support our development and learning goals at a sustainable pace. I also find it really helpful to connect with other Pilates teachers in my community - they've been a great source of tips and advice.

 Sobia Nusrat

Burnaby, BC (Canada)

Instagram

“PE has definitely shortened the learning curve for me. I feel confident teaching the exercises I plan for a class.”


I teach contemporary Pilates at a small studio in the Atlanta area. I have been a Pilates Encyclopedia member for 2.5 years now. I found Pilates Encyclopedia while I was in my Balanced Body teacher training program and it was such a great supplement to the training. PE has definitely shortened the learning curve for me. Between the videos and the detailed exercise analysis, I feel confident teaching the exercises that I plan for a class.

The more I learn about Pilates, the more I realize the genius of Joe. Pilates is a system and our clients will benefit from us teaching that system. We don’t need to teach new things every session, and in fact our clients will be better served if we don't. I like to teach a “back to the basics” class every now and again so that my clients appreciate how much more work can be found in even the simplest exercises when we focus on the Pilates principles.

There is so much more to learn! It’s okay to not know everything at the beginning of your teaching career. Teach what you know as you continue to learn. Having a reliable source like Pilates Encyclopedia will definitely help to overcome that imposter syndrome that many new teachers experience!

 Tina Stobo

Atlanta, GA (USA)

“I understand how to break down exercises and how to progress or regress them for individual clients!”

 

I've been a member of Pilates Encyclopedia now for 5 years already. I first joined during my teacher training. I'm now qualified to teach all apparatus but at the moment I only teach mat to small groups. The membership has taught me several very important things. First, no question is too dumb. As a result, I ask a lot of questions of Mara and I don't feel dumb doing it. 😆 (2) I understand how to break down exercises and (3) how to progress or regress exercises, depending on my need. Last, but not least, I've learned that I don't have to know it all to be a good and enthusiastic Pilates instructor.

During my Pilates teaching career so far I've learned that there is just sooooooo much to learn. That's why my advice to a new teacher is to take it slow, give yourself time to learn and be prepared to make mistakes. Not all clients will like you or what you want to teach them. Be prepared to keep learning. Your business might not succeed at first. That's okay. You may just have to do it another way. 

 Conella Slater

New South Wales (Australia)

“I have much greater awareness of anatomy and my cueing has improved so much!”

 

I've been a member of Pilates Encyclopedia now for more than one and a half years. My confidence has increased dramatically during this time, because I know where the movement begins and ends to benefit from the particular exercise. I have much greater awareness of anatomy and my cueing has improved so much!! One of the biggest lessons I've learned is that I must take time for my own practice. My tip for other Pilates teachers is to stay curious! Learn to understand the why and what behind each movement and share this information - through touch & reminders. Your clients want to know how the exercises will help them move better in their everyday lives. They’ll keep coming back. 

 Vikki Hooks-Bell

Club Pilates
Newport News, VA (USA)

Instagram

“My clients benefit from Pilates Encyclopedia as much as I do. I would be lost without it!”

I teach small group classes of up to 4 participants, which include Reformer/Springboard (aka Tower), Open Studio (thanks to Mara's support and inspiration), Private and Duet sessions.

I have been a member ever since Mara started Pilates Encyclopedia. Prior to that Mara mentored and coached me while I was planning the opening of my studio and then she guided me as I encountered clients with issues that left me baffled.

I have the member library bookmarked on my desktop and use it almost every day. It is, by far, the most valuable online resource I subscribe to (and I have a lot of subscriptions!)

Many of my clients have several injuries or ailments that used to make me feel like planning a balanced program was impossible. The Special Populations section is the best place to visit for this - I can feel confident that the exercises I provide are both safe and effective.

The exercise lists with suggested cues, regressions and progressions help me to plan classes and private sessions. My work notebook is full of the class plans I printed from the platform. In short, my clients benefit from Pilates Encyclopedia as much as I do. I would be lost without it!

I have also worked 1:1 with Mara. That support has helped me work through the very unique business and teaching challenges that come with being a small studio.

My advice to other Pilates teachers is to trust yourself when it comes to making business decisions. That way, if things don't turn out the way you had hoped, you won't have to wish you had listened to your own instincts. And when things turn out better than you had hoped for, you can take the credit for it!

Resist the urge to feel as if you have to be a Pilates Guru. You will encounter clients who have extensive experience with different types of Pilates.

Continue to learn and experience many different types of Pilates as it is helpful to have some basic knowledge of methods new clients are trained in. This used to intimidate me but I now approach these situations with curiosity and openness.

I have learned that I can still support a client who works in a style very different than mine, and that I can learn a lot in the process. Experienced clients are often very proud of their Pilates accomplishments, are eager to share what they know, and are grateful for your respect of their work.

Stephanie Singer

Uniquity Pilates
New London, NH (USA)

Website

Pilates Teacher Success Story

"I now know exactly how to plan for my client, without going beyond my scope."

“I've just been reading your Scoliosis info in detail on Pilates Encyclopedia, and I was compelled to say thanks! So useful to know exactly how to plan for my client, without going beyond my scope. She comes tomorrow for her 2nd session and I now feel competent with what to instruct. Without your website, I would have been doing guesswork and scrambling around on the internet for an age!"

Kate Cunningham
United Kingdom
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"The membership clarified the confusion I faced in my practice and self-mastery."

"I joined Pilates Encyclopedia because despite the level of detail in my teacher training, I felt I still didn't understand some basics and I got frustrated at the deliverance of material.

When I stumbled onto Pilates Encyclopedia, I found the information easily accessible, concise, and to the point, which helps clarify the confusion I faced in my practice and self-mastery."

Elle Lee
Australia
Pilates Encyclopedia Testimonial

"Breaking down the exercise and thinking about it in more depth is hugely beneficial to me!"

"I was watching one of your videos on a busy bus earlier. It made me break down the exercise and think about it in more depth which is hugely beneficial to me! It's so lovely to feel welcomed to ask questions!!!"

Natasha Haresign
United Kingdom

"My Clients Find a Deeper Connection In Their Bodies."

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Pilates Teacher Success Story

"I first found Pilates Encyclopedia during my Polestar comprehensive training. I really resonated with Mara’s teaching style, extensive knowledge, and variations on exercises. Once I signed up I was hooked! There is so much information here including cueing, equipment setup, benefits of the exercise, regressions and progressions, related exercises, and sequencing. The site is perfect for me (a beginner Pilates instructor) to dive deeper into the exercises which helps me for the classes I teach. So happy I stumbled upon Pilates Encyclopedia! Thank you, Mara!"

Angela Horswill (US)

Pilates Teacher Success Story

“I have such a huge appreciation for the Pilates Encyclopedia. When I was just a student of Pilates, I thought it was a good idea, but being a teacher-in-training now, I feel like it's essential to put this information out there. There are so many times I need an answer to a teaching question and the encyclopedia tells me the information I need so simply and clearly!”

Kristi Paciello (US)

Pilates Teacher Success Story

"I am so happy I found Pilates Encyclopedia. I learn so much and I can integrate your input into my style of teaching much more effectively than just doing a class on Pilates Anytime, where you tend to copy something, but often feel it’s not really yourself."

Theres Hergott (Austria)

Lake Hood Pilates Encyclopedia review

"The Special Populations chapter is very useful for giving me new ideas or confirming I am on the right track if I have someone who has a specific goal or injury."

"I use the Encyclopedia regularly and love the cueing lessons. The videos with their very detailed explanations are great for covering everything you need to know about each exercise. I like the variations to expand the ones I use already. The special populations chapter is very useful for giving me new ideas or confirming I am on the right track if I have someone who has a specific goal or injury."

Wendy Galbraith
Lake Hood Pilates (New Zealand)

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"It's a one stop shop for all things Pilates."

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"New content posted regularly."

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"very friendly. passionate. informative."

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"The information you provide is critical for understanding the method and being able to teach it to help others improve their movements."

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"Pilates Encyclopedia has everything you need. Whether you're a new instructor, or a seasoned instructor who is teaching 20+ classes a week. Any questions I have, this is where I turn first."

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"When you're working alone, it's nice to have help!"

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"Because it has everything I need in one location and covers almost every piece of equipment and manufacturer!"

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"I love the content and how content is always being added and improved upon. Mara is great about going into the details of the why’s and how’s of doing things!"

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"The content is invaluable to supplementing my original pilates training and continuing education."

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"Excellent resource for Pilates exercises and teacher learning."

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"It is an amazing resource for Pilates instructors who need guidance on special populations, exercises etc."

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"I've really enjoyed and continue to enjoy Pilates Encyclopedia. So much information. When my brain is feeling foggy, I know I can reach for this and make sure I'm on track with my cues, ideas, self work and teaching."

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"I like being able to look up an exercise to review and refresh before teaching, to study while I'm away from my studio, and for the teaching tips."

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"I love how each exercise is talked about in great detail, I like the Focus of the Week. There is great value here."

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"Great content overall. I can locate specific information when I need clarification."

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"It’s easy to search for what I’m looking for and then there’s so much information! I really appreciate how well organized the site is!"

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"Great information that will help our clients."

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"Truly an encyclopedia - you can look up what you don’t know!"

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"It’s a great resource of information & you are extremely personable and a great realistic mentor… even if we only know you online."

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"It’s a great reference point. I use it when I get stuck with clients who find an exercise tricky. I actually use your site more for learning than Pilates Anytime. I do love your site. Thank you for what you do."

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"It is amazing! I’ve just passed my mat exam and PE is my go to for all information and questions. It is an invaluable resource to carry on learning and new instructors like me. Thank you."

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"I really appreciate the guidance on special populations and I also like the sequences."

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"I can access everything I need in one spot. [I appreciate the] Personal attention and the ability to ask questions and receive answers in a safe environment."

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"Pilates Encyclopedia is the most accurate and complete source of knowledge on the Pilates method that I am aware of so far. I truly appreciate all of Mara's efforts to keep up and provide us with every new information."

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Pilates Teachers Are Better Prepared For Their Everyday Teaching Challenges

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Cherie

"I find the website extremely helpful. I became a Pilates teacher just 3 years ago, so I still have times where I feel completely overwhelmed by getting it right. Your website helps ease that sense and is a fantastic tool to continue my learning and development."

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Tana

"I found all the information in the career advice section very helpful for me. It actually showed me the way to think about these things."

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Anonymous

"This site is amazing. I am a student instructor and the information, videos, cueing, progressions, regressions have been so helpful in my learning. I love that there are templates, breakdown of exercises by program and there is just so much more. I recommend this site to everyone, students and instructors. I love the daily tips, conversations, questions and have found this site such an additional benefit to my learning. Thank you so much for such an amazing learning tool! I plan to keep my subscription long into my pilates career. Thank you so much and look forward to everything you have to teach and bring to us!!"

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