Gee, I hope I still know how to do this! When last we met is was early March. I was still attending Orange Coast College (OCC) and doing internship hours toward a Pilates/Dance Conditioning Certificate. Best deal around–Pilates certification for under $1000! As part of that internship I had just started teaching a weekly Mat class at Pilates X in Long Beach.
I was also pointing at that time towards an ultra marathon, the Bryce Canyon 50K, in May, but the time demands required to do the OCC program forestalled a lot of my training and I was not at all prepared for that event. Instead I moved my registration over to the Antelope Canyon 55K this coming March. I am going to have to up my training quite a bit if I am going to have a shot at that one, though.
I finished the Certificate program in early June. That freed up considerable time, and in the interest of expanding my comfort and familiarity with Reformer classes (most of my prior experience was with Mat classes) I purchased some Groupons for studios in Huntington Beach.
One of those Groupons was for a place named “Pure Pilates”. With a name like that I had great expectations, but when I took a class there I was more than a little nonplussed. Instead of Reformers they had MegaFormers, which are a kind of monstrosity very loosely related to what I was accustomed to. Instead of a teacher carefully and attentively guiding the workout there was a kind of a drill instructor wearing a microphone exhorting us to pump it up! Something called the Legree Method, and I failed to see any connection at all to what I would consider pure Pilates.
I did take another class there and was again disappointed. As I was leaving I looked at the strip mall across the street and saw that there was a Pilates place there as well! This one was named Love Pilates, and I took a walk over. It was the mid-afternoon dead zone so the studio was closed, but I was able to take a good look in through the window.
What I saw made my heart beat faster!! It was a veritable Pilates paradise: a large space, about double the tunnel-like dimensions of the other studios I had visited. There were six reformers lined up along a mirrored wall. Along the opposite wall were six WundaChairs, each paired with a mirror. In the back was the pièce de résistance, a Cadillac in all of its glory!
I decided right there on the spot that this was the place where I wanted to work. On my next opportunity I stopped by and talked to owner Dena Lombardo. Dena is also a graduate of the OCC Pilates program, which was a good in for me. I did a brief audition which consisted of teaching Dena an exercise on the Cadillac and then doing a private session for her husband John. I did okay, I guess, as she offered to put me on the payroll, an offer which I gratefully accepted.
The biggest benefit is that if there is a class that is not full (six student max), then I am welcome to fill an empty slot. This is the biggest reason that my blogging has dropped off. My old modus operandi was to spend my mornings at my favorite coffee shop, Steelhead on Wardlow, writing. Since joining the Love Pilates family I have been spending my mornings at Love Pilates and have not yet learned (or yearned) to reallocate time for writing.
I am a regular for the 8:30 circuit class on Mondays. I am a regular for the 6 am Level 2 Reformer classes. The clients in that class are the strongest and most dedicated of students. The class is usually full, but there is occasionally a position that I can fill. Even if no slot is open the energy in that room is so high that a parallel Cadillac workout is a pleasure. On Wednesdays I teach a mat class at 7 am, and then on Fridays I pray for an open slot in one of Dena’s reformer classes commencing at 7:30 am.
My goal was to establish a rapport with the clients, to improve my own skill set, and to learn what best served the needs of the clients. I quickly found out that the motto on the LP letterhead, “Community – Caring – Core”, captures perfectly the ethos of Love Pilates. It is an incredibly nurturing environment, and my own personal development as both practitioner and teacher has been greatly accelerated by my time spent there.
I started teaching my morning Mat class in mid-August, but until recently had not ventured into the Reformer classes. Last month I finally bit the bullet and started accepting some sub requests. Requests that come in hot and heavy over the holidays!
The results have been heartening. I now feel comfortable building and teaching Reformer and Mixed Apparatus classes. I have been able to teach blocks of two or three consecutive classes and emerge energized after. I have fun with my students, and my efforts have been well-received by the clients. One of our most challenging and also most valued clients even told Dena that I was her favorite sub, and that is high praise indeed!!
Life is good!!!