This past May I had the privilege of a workshop hosted by Voltage Pilates in Indianapolis. The continuing education workshop was led by MeJo Wiggin, who will also be leading a workshop at Pilates Glow later this week. It’s an eight day workshop broken up into 2 long weekends.
After landing in Indy there was no time to rest. After grabbing a quick bite to eat I went straight to the studio for the first day of training. MeJo began the workshop by discussing her Pilates origins. She told us about Romana, a faithful acolyte of Joseph Pilates himself, and MeJo hoped to carry on her legacy by by spreading Romana’s teachings all over the world. MeJo also mentioned how Pilates training has evolved over time. Teachers used to apprentice for years before becoming certified. Now the trainings are relatively quick with not much time spent with your mentor.
As far as the workshop goes, I learned so much more just from the basics alone. It’s really eye opening to be practicing Pilates with someone so versed in the craft who really puts the method to the test. As instructors and regular people, everyone has their own quirks and issues with their own bodies. No one person is completely healthy. By that I mean, everyone has a tight side or stronger side or some health issue that needs to be addressed. Mojo embodies this philosophy with one of her favorite sayings: “see where your body wants to go.”
She had us starting with footwork on the reformer by bending our knees and placing the balls of our feet on the footbar. Some people put just their toes on the footbar. Some people had their feet in parallel. But rather than immediately correct our mistakes, MeJo allowed our bodies to naturally perform the exercises comfortably before seeing where our form needed the most work. It’s little subtleties like this that go a long way and having an eye for those details comes with practice.
The flip side to this is that students shouldn’t accept everything an instructor says without cause. Ask questions. Be curious. Why should my foot be here and not there? Why should my back be tucked in. There should be an answer and purpose for everything.
This was especially evident to me as we moved on to case studies for people with scoliosis and osteoporosis. We also did studies for a student with tight legs and a ballet dancer with a sprained ankle. It’s extremely beneficial for a Pilates instructor to go through continuing education because there is always something to learn and bring back into your own teaching. I met so many fantastic people and got to do what I love: Pilates. It was so nice to be around other like minded people. I consider them my tribe.