A License To Learn: What Pilates Teachers Want Most In 2019, Is To Be A Student

One thing most Pilates teachers have in common is they are absolutely addicted to being students.

As a newly certified teacher, you might think that a certification is the end of the road. It isn't long before you realize, you are only just beginning your journey.

Pilates teaching certifications are really just a "license to learn" and continuing education can become like a rabbit hole, with each class or workshop leading to the next.

Before you know it, you are a bonafide "education junkie."

(Read: How to be Stress-Free and Self-Employed: Five Lessons I Learned About Being My Own Best Boss)

Pilates teachers find inspiration at conferences and workshops

The great thing about a Pilates conference is that you can attend a host of workshops from some of your favorite Pilates masters, all in one place. With so much "Pilates love" going around, it's hard not to walk away inspired and craving more.

Juan Estrada says he'll be attending the Pilates Method Alliance Annual Meeting (PMA) (October 23-26 in Monterey, CA).

While his position as Lead Trainer at Alycea Ungaro’s Real Pilates NYC keeps him busy with teacher trainings and workshops around the country, from Real Men Do Pilates to Super Advanced Reformer (check out the list of upcoming Real Pilates Workshops here), he plans to make his own education more of a priority in 2019.

"After losing my mentor (Bob Liekens, who passed away in November) I need to continue to be a student and take care of myself more." Amen.

Lisa Hubbard, Rhythm Pilates®️ Founder, is looking forward to re-igniting her education this year with a GYROKINESIS®️ training. She will be traveling to Mexico to teach Pilates workshops on February 9-15, 2019 at Rancho La Puerta, but then looks forward to taking some time off from a normally robust travel schedule to spend time with family, and work on her program offerings.

Hubbard will also be attending the PMA conference, which she she has attended since 2002. She values the creative workshops and the opportunity to be a student to Pilates powerhouses such as Rael Isacowitz, Katherine Ross-Nash and Cara Reeser, and looks forward to seeing Pilates friends and colleagues from around the country, all in one place.

"I enjoy workshop topics such as fascia and connective tissue with Elizabeth Larkham, and experiencing different movement patterning, such as in Jenna Zaffino’s breathing workshop," said Hubbard. "A highlight for everyone is the Pilates Anytime party, connecting with dear friends, meeting new ones and joining as one community."

Although PMA is one of the larger conferences, there are a variety of Pilates tradeshows all over the world, throughout the year. Balanced Body posts a pretty comprehensive list here.

The 2019 list is still being completed, but you can take a look at previous years to see what might be coming down the pike.

Hubbard says she is also planning to attend the BASI Learn From the Leaders Conference (LFTL), May 18-19 in Newport Beach, CA, and the second annual Momentum Fest, June 21-23 in Westminster, CO.

Momentum Fest is a three-day "movement celebration" featuring "empowering fitness classes, motivating conversations and uplifting connections."

Delia Buckmaser agrees. "... Momentum fest has reminded me why I fell in love with teaching Pilates and how grateful I am to be a part of such an amazing community."

Momentumfest presenters 2018. Photo courtesy Delia Buckmaster.

Sunni Almond, owner of Las Vegas-based Studio S Pilates and Going More Joe exhibited at the PMA for the first time last year, and had a really positive experience. Going More Joe is an initiative for teachers interested in learning the classical system.

"I had great fun and collected lots of hugs from people it felt like I knew just because we communicate so much on Facebook (see Going More Joe Facebook page)," said Almond. "I like it because they are broadening their scope to include more classical Pilates so it’s becoming a greater representation of the industry."

This year, Almond also plans to attend Dana Santi's workshop, Project Return, Part 1 on April 5-6 at Santi's Clarendon Hills, Illinois studio, as well as Clare Dunphy Hemani’s Advanced Teaching Seminars.

With so many gatherings and conferences to choose from, it can be hard to decide where to put your time and resources.

Sue Spinelli, Regional Pilates Manager / Equinox says she considers the presenters and the size of the workshops they offer. 

"At this stage I find my most powerful learning happens kinesthetically," said Spinelli, "so I want to find opportunities for movement within the context of any workshop or conference."

She's opting for the smaller, more specialized gatherings this year. Spinelli says she'll likely attend Peak's The Pilates Empowerment Summit in her hometown of Miami in May, and save her travel for more specialized workshops.

Spinelli says that while she appreciates the opportunity that larger conferences provide for dialogue among professionals and forums for bigger discussions about the Pilates industry, she will save her travel for opportunities that arise to learn from mentors. She is attending New Vintage's Spring Camp that will take place in April at Vitality Method Studio in Atlanta.

(Read: My Pilates Story: Pilates Saved My Life)

Shadowing and a Pilates PitStop

If travel just isn't in the cards for you this year, there are many ways to hone your skills right in your own backyard. "You don't have to travel to exotic places to get great education," said Spinelli. "Some of the instructors you admire might welcome to host you in their studio for a week of shadowing."

Almond's home studio, Studio S Pilates in Las Vegas, takes hosting one step further with "The Pilates PitStop," which is like a "Pilates Airbnb."

"People can learn the classical basic system if you are a classical curious teacher, or stay and rent the studio to use as your own while you’re in town," explains Almond. "Plus you get to share space with a Great Dane and an American Bulldog for no extra fee." Can't beat that.

Almond's Going More Joe offers online workshops, and her studio gives students the option to attend live studio workshops via zoom video conferencing (look out for this year's workshops with Clare Dunphy Hemani and Learning Labs 2 and other educational packages).

One of the best ways to stay "in the know" about upcoming workshops and Pilates events, is to subscribe to mailing lists at the studios in your area, or around the country that you admire.

You can also follow the studios and your favorite instructors on social media, where they will often announce travel plans. Pilates Method Alliance has a list of upcoming workshops here, and Gratz Pilates, which has a list of classical Pilates events and workshops here.

Remote learning

Instructors craving more education and inspiration can also find enriching learning opportunities without leaving the comfort of their home.

From remote, digital workshops, (Going More Joe offers remote workshops including Clare Dunphey's 15-hour Learning Labs), to platforms like Pilates Unfiltered podcasts, and membership sites like Pilates Anytime and Pilatesology, which offer classes and workshops with instructors from around the world, there are a vast amount of digital leaning opportunities.

"But," Spinneli notes, "nothing replaces live continuing education. Weekly lessons are a must to keep the work alive in your own body - where it should be, as a living example." Word.

Which education opportunities are you looking forward to this year? Comment below!