Why do I want to teach Pilates?
This may seem like an obvious question to ask myself as I devote an immense amount of time, energy, and (let’s be honest) money into becoming a Pilates instructor.
One my Pilates mentors asked me the “why Pilates” question when I asked her how she developed her individual voice and presence in a classroom. I then realized that this seemingly simple question was anything but simple.
Asking myself why I want to teach, especially because it entails embarking upon an unchartered career path, quickly became about something more – something more personal and intimate. It’s leading me to devote more time and energy to activities that nurture my true interests while letting go of things that don’t feel organic. Peeling back the layers of doing something out of monetary necessity, we come to the nucleus of what truly makes us fulfilled.
I usually get home ecstatic and full inspiration after teaching a class, even if I am exhausted. But why? I realized that figuring out why you do what you do, whether it’s your career, a relationship, hobby, or any other activity, is a way to build a foundation for happy and fulfilling life. So I followed my mentor’s advice and made a list of why I want to teach.
Try it out, make a list! Even if you feel content with what you do, I find that it’s good to check in with yourself from time to time just to make sure you are on course. You deserve nothing less than to be moved and fulfilled every single day!
Here is my list:
When my mentor said that teaching is a road of self-discovery, I don’t think I truly got it. Self-discovery? That sounds selfish. Isn’t it supposed to be about the student, not the teacher? Sure it is! But I’m finding that self-discovery = a better teacher. As I begin to figure out aspects Pilates I feel most passionate about, my passion drives me to devote myself to mastering that craft. And guess who benefits? That’s right, YOU.
I discovered that as a teacher, there is nowhere to hide. You can’t really pretend when you teach, or if you do, you probably won’t be able to do it for too long. If you’re not inspired, if you’re bored, if you don’t have the connection with the student, you can’t fake it. I love teaching because it teaches me to be authentic, which means I have to figure out my weaknesses, strengths, and talents.
Being a compulsive “multi-tasker” by nature, I don’t stop moving. At home, I hardly sit on the couch and relax. If I’m watching T.V., I’m also stretching, reading, and writing. There are constantly a million thoughts running through my head at a given moment, often causing me to stress. Certain type of work puts my multi-tasking impulse into overdrive, while teaching diminishes it. When I’m teaching Pilates, all the focus is on the student, which centers me by taking all the busyness out of my body and mind.
I thrive on making meaningful connections with people. There are so many ways to connect with people in your work, but for me, teaching makes that connection so much more personal. What I love the most about the connections I form while teaching Pilates, is making people feel better in their body and their spirit. There is nothing more rewarding to me than knowing that someone feels stronger, has less pain, or can do their normal activities or hobbies with greater ease.
Always a Student
When I truly love something, I want to learn as much as I can about it. I think this is true for most people when they find something they love. If you enjoy your work, you will spend hours diving deeper into your craft. One of the most amazing things about being a teacher is the duality of teaching – you are a student and a teacher at the same time. Letting go of all the control and realizing that you are always a student of Pilates, even when you are the teacher, is a humbling experience.
Ask yourself, what do I love? Why? Making a simple list may help you discover something new about yourself as much as it helped me.