I did my Pilates training in Cincinnati, Ohio and my experiences there influenced how I expected to find the Pilates community in other cities. What I found in Cincinnati was a very supportive and encouraging network of instructors. When I took another instructor’s class, I would proudly introduce myself as a fellow instructor. The reception was warm, excited, encouraging and enthusiastic. The instructor often would ask about my training and we’d compare notes. It felt inclusive and collaborative. I loved that I was part of this Pilates family!
In 2009, I moved to Nashville with the expectation this new Pilates community would welcome me as well. The South is supposed to be friendly, right? Unfortunately, that was not my experience. I called a couple studios and left messages introducing myself and asking about classes and possibly teaching. No return calls. A good friend introduced me to his Pilates instructor at the YMCA (I don’t mind mentioning the location because this instructor has moved away) and she immediately told me how specialized their training was and said I probably would not be qualified…. without asking me one thing about my training! And the kicker – she didn’t even invite me to sign up for a class!
I was discouraged and disappointed. I’d left behind my Pilates family and failed to find a new one. So … I bought my own reformer. Fast forward a couple years, and I decided to open my own studio – a place that would be inclusive, welcoming, supportive, and not arrogant or elitist. I believe this approach has been a big part of my success. It has also allowed me to attract a wonderful following of Pilates students. Truly – my students are the best! I would not trade a single one of them and that’s rare.
This year, I made a commitment to myself to take more Pilates classes locally – to give Nashville Pilates another try. In the past few years, several studios have opened up and others have changed ownership. I am always diligent about taking classes in other cities but it was time to give Nashville another chance!
I am happy to report the Nashville Pilates community has come a long ways! Recently I have taken classes at a couple different studios and have been very welcomed. I believe it is important for instructors to keep learning and challenging themselves. One of the best ways to do this is to try new instructors and different classes. Left to our own we fall into routines we are comfortable with and moves we like. To grow we need challenge … the same challenge we give our students.
I believe Nashville has plenty of people who need Pilates … there is room for all of us studio owners and instructors. Why shouldn’t we support, encourage and inspire each other? Why shouldn’t we learn from each other? Today I took an Instructor’s mat class hosted by the Nashville Pilates Company and met three local instructors. How fun to workout with other instructors, laugh about our body issues, and share ideas. I look forward to going back next week and meeting more local instructors! What a wonderful idea and a great way to build our community! I’m so pleased to see this Nashville Pilates community embracing the idea of Pilates as family.