If you haven’t read our “Get to Know Sarah” blog — read it here! This is the 2nd blog in that series!
Tell us about your Pilates journey. When did you discover Pilates, and then how long was it until you became a teacher? Why did you become a teacher?
In the mid-nineties while working in corporate, I was a Certified Group Exercise Instructor back when people did Step, and Hi-Lo aerobics (now termed “cardio”). I was preparing to attend a fitness conference in 1998 I think. While selecting what courses to attend, I saw the description for a session about Pilates. “What’s this?” I thought. Now, I was not a dancer, but I did have about 10 years of classical ballet, 5 years of tap, and 3 years of modern dance activity ranging from the ages of 4 to 20. And the description intrigued me. It talked about precision in form and the type of internal approach – a mindful discipline that I was quite familiar with from dance training.
I attended the introduction to Pilates session and was immediately hooked! I just knew I wanted to teach the Pilates Method. While I was absolutely pumped in teaching my aerobics and step classes, I saw this Method as bridging the gap for better body awareness, posture and alignment. When you have that awareness, you can get so much more out of anything else you are doing. I was already serving as a motivator for movement in these classes, and I was struck. I thought “this is beautiful! I can help people move even better!”
So, I looked into teacher training wherever I could. But, at the time, Pilates teacher training was not so available as it is today. I found a local Pilates Mat training though and began teaching group Mat classes around 1999. In 2002 we moved to Chicago, where there were more opportunities for Pilates Teacher Training. I eagerly researched where to go while at the same time shuffling away the funds I knew I would need to cover training. I applied and was accepted to full apparatus training in 2006 with Chicago River North Pilates, where I subsequently apprenticed and then was hired as staff.
Can you tell us about how Embody Movements Pilates Studio was “born”? What made you decide to open a studio?
How was the studio “born”? Well, that actually goes back to the moment when I went to the conference – after I took that one session. I decided right then, that at some point I wanted to have my own studio. This might sound absolutely crazy, but I came home from that class, looked my husband in the eye and I said, “Hon, I don’t know when, and I don’t know how it will happen. But someday, somewhere, I want to have my own studio and teach people Pilates.” I’m not sure if he really took me seriously at that very moment, but I think he knew what was good for him, so he nodded and acknowledged “Well all right then!” Although I continued to work in corporate as the years passed, I would bring it up now and again, just so he would know I was still passionate and serious about it.
Fast forward to early 2007 – when I responded to a craigslist ad for the space here at LifeStart. A lot of things in life were at a good point in my path, to leave 16 years of corporate environment behind. And then, like so many of my Pilates Teacher colleagues in this period of time, after completing my apparatus training and certification, I opened a studio. You see, around that time, Pilates was simply not as well-known as it is today. There were far fewer studios, and initially in order to work, I had to commute from the western suburbs to downtown Chicago. Having commuted for so many years of corporate life, I was ready to leave that unhealthy amount of sitting behind as well.
Opening my own space allowed me to follow my passion, and bring Pilates to the community in which I live. I’d love to hear about your Pilates journey!