In the last 12 months I’ve experimented with the way I teach more than usual. And I’m not going to lie, after years of trying to teach exactly like those who I admired it took all the courage I had to feel ok in going ‘rogue’ and to go searching for my own story.
I’ve moved from a place of feeling anxious about teaching and letting my fear of people storming out in disgust overwhelm me (worst case scenario mindset) to a place of creative expression, belonging, joy and experimentation (best case scenario mindset). Here’s what I’ve learned.
If you can’t let go enough to be 100% you then the story you tell through movement is not going to be authentically yours and the humans in front of you (aka clients) can feel that even if they can’t name it!
It seems so simple now but what I realized is that a fear-based mindset slowly seeps in over time. It can start by thinking you’re not creative enough to design your own class so you replicate others, or it can be a fear of making a mistake, low self-worth and not accepting yourself.
Let people see you
You have to learn to catch yourself in those moments where you go on autopilot, you’re not present in the room and your head is somewhere else or your kicking yourself internally for the mistake you made! Don’t hide. Keep going, let people see you!
Teaching is more than knowing the repertoire!
It’s so easy to hide behind the exercises, to hide behind a fake kind of energy or someone else’s style, formula or class plan that isn’t your own. We all need to remember……
People do not come to your class because you know the Pilates repertoire. They follow you because they like the stories you tell, the connection they feel and the way you create change through movement.
Showing up as yourself is a skill
For many of us, learning to show up for ourselves is the hardest part. It’s a skill we need to cultivate and it takes time and patience. I started out by journaling, writing myself little teaching mantras and creating trigger moments that would help me get into a confident teaching mode! As I walked to the studio I used to repeat to myself, “my only job is to be me, I know enough to lead a great class, I am enough, I am valued and worthy to lead.”
Don’t let perfection rob you of the joy of teaching!
Finally realizing that I was actually robbing myself of the absolute privilege and joy of teaching was a wake up call and then meeting that with the courage to try and different approach and to let myself off the ‘perfectionist’ hook was the first step for me to really become the creative instructor I want to be!
My full circle moment
After being consistent in this approach for a good 6 months I had a breakthrough moment. I found myself in front of a class singing the Pilates version of the Hokey Pokey before I moved on to breathe work! Yes, I even surprised myself. 90% of the time when I’m teaching it feels like I’m a part of some kind of science experiment meets goofy comedy show, because that’s the wonderfully weird story of me. The one thing I now know for sure is that people actually enjoy my classes the most when I’m completely authentic.