Congratulations on your decision to embark upon a journey that will not only help others, but will certainly be rewarding, healthy, and profitable! So now what? Where do you look and what should you look for? It’s a tough decision to make.  It’s a lot of money, a lot of time, and you know there are plenty of schools to choose from!

Today, I, Risa Sheppard, owner of Sheppard Method Pilates in Westwood, is here to answer some of the most common questions we get when individuals are on the search for the right Pilates certification program!

Your Intuition Will (Almost Always) Steer You in the Right Direction

I like to tell my perspective students who are thinking of studying with me, that the best judge of who to study with is your own intuition—your gut, so to speak.  After the initial research of who, when, and where, the next step is to find a place that seems and feels like home. In other words, you want to feel welcome, supported, and comfortable.

This is key because this is what most clients want from their Pilates studio and their teachers—a welcoming face, a warm smile, and a non-judgmental atmosphere.  Most people need to feel they are in the right hands with the right amount of confidence, compassion, and joviality.

What Separates Good Pilates Teaching Training Programs from Great Ones?

These is a concept a lot of us don’t think of when we are beginning our Pilates Teacher Training in Westwood.  We are intent (and rightly so) on learning the exercises, the skills, and all the anatomy that goes along with your studies.

I compare what we are learning with the actor who is planning his or her stage performance. The know all the cues, the lights, they’ve memorized the script.  They are well prepared in the technique to give a solid performance. But when the lights come on and the curtain is up, the actor puts aside the technique and lets his or her inner being take over. That is the final ingredient. That is what separates, I believe, the good teachers from the great teachers.  The ability to connect and emphasize with the clients.  That goes if you’re teaching a mat class, reformer class, or privately one-on-one.

How Have Pilates Certifications Evolved Over the Years?

When I started with Ron Fletcher, an American Pilates Master Teacher, back in 1975, there were no “certification” programs. There were no teacher training classes with specific number hours to practice.

I started as a client and fell for the work like a duck to water.  After a short period of time, I could no longer afford the price of a session package ($100 for a series of 10!). (I guess I had become a sort of favorite among the staff due to my enthusiasm for the work.) At any rate, when I was ready to leave, Ron asked if I would like to stay and do reception work in exchange for sessions.  Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to be in the studio most of the day so I could soak in Ron’s method.

Shortly after, Ron turned to me one day and said, “Go work with Ben Vereen.” For those who do not know who Ben Vereen is, he was a very successful Broadway dancer and star of several shows.

“Moi? You want me to go teach a super star dance from Broadway?”

I guess you could say that was my “teacher training certification test.” I assume I passed because the next day I was taking on new clients and ended up working there for the next 5 years until Ron had semi-retired and moved to Texas.

Your Heart, Instinct, and the Way You Feel Will Lead You to the Right Class

The advice I can best offer after all these years of teaching and doing my own Pilates Certification Teacher Training in Westwood is that wherever your heart says you belong, is where you belong. Any intuitive person, and one needs to be intuitive to teach Pilates, will heed a whisper in the ear: “This is it.” Visit as many studios as you want, do the research on the Master Teacher, go into the studio, meet the staff, see the clientele, and be mindful of the feeling you have when you enter the room. I promise you your first instinct is very often the right one. Let your heart and mind guide your decision. You’ll never be sorry.

Interested in Our Westwood Pilates Teacher Training? Check Us Out!

At Sheppard Method Pilates, we are passionate about helping fellow Pilates-enthusiasts discover their calling. So, whether you are interested in learning more about our Pilates teacher training program in Westwood or are looking elsewhere, we support your journey towards a happier version of you! Should you have any questions about our teacher training program or Pilates classes in Westwood, give us a call!

Our team at Sheppard Method Pilates looks forward to speaking with you! Get in touch with us.