pilates-teacher-training-student-jasmine-leeFinally, the long-awaited Pilates Matwork teacher training program was here! Despite knowing that my precious weekend would be burnt, it is still pretty exciting to have a deeper understanding of the exercises I have been practising for the past 6 months.

I guess what’s scary for me is the “theory” part of the teacher training program (anatomy, that is) as I’m too restless to sit and listen for long hours. Surprisingly, not only did BTA faculty Kris make use of the skeleton to explain anatomy to my classmates and I, she got us to feel each other’s bodies to truly understand different issues or problems that come with different body structures. This skill would definitely come in handy as we handle all kinds of bodies in future.

My gratitude to the Pilates BodyTree (PBT) teachers for their kind advice to study basic anatomy before the Matwork teacher training program because the information made so much more sense when I started the program. At least I know where to move my hands to, when Kris mentioned about “sternum” and “ribs”.

Embarrassingly enough, I have never understood the purpose of taking deep breaths during Pilates exercises. Part of the Matwork teacher training program materials is “Return to Life” by Joseph H. Pilates and I read that breathing is an “inner cleansing”: letting our lungs be refilled with fresh air. Kris took it further by demonstrating what happens to the diaphragm and other muscles when we breathe! As we inhale deeply, the diaphragm pushes down the muscles below it to allow more air into the lungs; and as we exhale, the diaphragm recoils back to push the air out of the lungs. Hence, deep inhalations and exhalations allow the maximum engagement of the core muscles. With that in mind, while wrapping my hands over my ribs, it became apparent to me how my body behaves when I breathe fully.

The lack of core strength hinders my performance, especially obvious as we progressed to the more advanced Matwork pieces. I realised over the weekend that I relied heavily on my flexibility to “get by” certain exercises. Unfortunately, this lack of balance between strength and flexibility meant that I couldn’t do the more challenging exercises easily. To make sure my body remembers my imbalances, Kris made me demonstrate multiple times of Side Kicks, Side Planks and Swan.

The following day when I went cycling, my butt and thighs felt immensely sore and each pedal I was reminded of the exercises I did during the program.

Throughout the weekend, I’m constantly reminded of the reason for wanting to be a Pilates teacher – to deepen my understanding of different types of bodies, and to help others to appreciate their bodies more.

Click here to read my Week 2 post.

Written by Jasmine Lee

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