I’m betting your life is full of busy-ness and to-do’s. Well, believe it or not, we Pilates teachers can also fall into the rut of the day-to-day. How can that be? Especially when it’s part of our job to create a setting where our students can take time to reconnect with their breath. Where they can pay attention to their movement and let go of all “the stuff.” Where it’s a time for being completely present. A time for Centering – which is a key Pilates principle.
In the studio, of course it’s our job as teachers to focus on our students. But then, just like you – it’s so important to dedicate time for reviving ourselves. Finding time for the things that “fill our cup” personally.
Here we continue the self-care series from our teachers. These are some insights from my conversation with teacher Kevin Earll, who is a former gymnast and swimmer. The focus this time is on the aspect of reconnecting.
Q: How often do you do Pilates for yourself?
As much as I can. I can either do a few exercises to practice what I plan to teach that night, or I’ll go use the elliptical or the treadmill to balance with my limited amount of time, maybe spending 15-20 minutes.
There’s also a Pilates video that I downloaded a while ago. I can use it on my phone when I’m traveling. I’ll put it on so I don’t have to think about the exercises as much; I can have somebody else telling me what to do for a change. 😊
When I don’t have much time I might do something traditional like the ab series, then the hundred and leg circles. It only takes about five minutes. And if I’m on a reformer, simply doing footwork, honestly, can ground me. Get me back to focusing on my body and my alignment. And ease the aches and pains from sitting at a desk [at my full-time job at The Morton Arboretum] during the day for eight hours.
But just like anything else, I think that even the small amount of time, even if you can just do a 100 exercise or footwork or feet in straps, a little bit of something is better than no exercise.
Q: What else do you do for self-care besides Pilates?
Recently I am spending more time reading again. Ever since I started reading as a kid, I’ve always been an avid reader until the last couple of years. I read hundreds of books, but then I stopped because of job changes, and everything that’s been going on in my daily life.
So, I’ve wanted to circle back, to carve out book time, and also use it as a meditative time. I wanted to have non-tech, no screen time with a book.
It’s a focused activity as opposed to meditating; because I’m not great at total silence. I’m focusing on reading, which I love, and get the benefits of quiet without a screen in front of me. I use it to disengage; to turn off my brain from the stress of the day.
The TV is off. The computer is off. No iPad. Nothing; this is no electronics zone time. And I get to sit and read! My stretch goal is to read daily for at least 30 minutes; I figured that would be manageable. There are certainly days I don’t get that. But it’s still something when I can do 2-3 times a week. It’s definitely a go-to way for me to decompress from the day.
Q: Is there anything else that “fills your cup” when it comes to reconnecting?
Yes, the other thing is on Tuesdays – that is my one day I’ve kept open and free for myself; my sister and I started doing a spin class in the mornings. Someone else is looking after my nephew, her one-and-a-half-year-old, and I’m not working, so the two of us go and that’s our time.
We meet there a couple of minutes beforehand, spend an hour working out, getting rid of stress through our exercise. We can have a little vent session before, after or sometimes during the spin class. So it’s a workout, but that’s also a way for me to reconnect with my sister and do something for the two of us when we’re free from all of the distractions and demands in our lives.
If you didn’t have a chance yet, read more about self care in Part 1 here.
More to come on the self-care series soon! In the meantime, we’ll see you in the studio!