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Become a better instructor

What we were wrong about, with Daniel Arbilla and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

An (incomplete) list of things we believed that turned out not to be true.

Resources mentioned in the episode:

  • Check out our Visualized Anatomy Program here
  • Eyal Lederman Fall Of the Postural Structural Biomechanical Model here
  • No evidence that exercise is more effective than non-exercise placebo for chronic pain here
  • More high quality research is needed to be confident about the effectiveness of Motivational Interviewing here
About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Daniel Arbilla:

Daniel is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist based in Sydney, Australia.

Daniel is passionate about guiding and coaching health and fitness professionals through challenging cases and to assist them in implementing the process of applying evidence-based care and psychologically-informed practice.

After years of further tertiary education, mentoring with strength and conditioning experts and countless courses, both nationally and abroad, Daniel‘s mission is to give clinicians the tools they need to empower their clients with self-efficacy, resilience and progress towards their value-driven goals.

How to Connect with Daniel:

Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

How to let fires burn, with Heath Lander and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

Do you wish you had more time? Here are the answers.

Resources mentioned in the episode:

  • Buy Raph’s book ‘Strengthen the Person, Not just the Body Part’ and get access to our Community Sessions here
About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Heath Lander:

Heath Lander had a chance encounter with Pilates which completely changed his life’s direction. He began training as a Pilates instructor at Breathe Education while seeing private clients in his home. Meanwhile, he was still working full time as a special needs art teacher and getting accustomed to life as a single dad. Over the next decade he taught over 15,000 hours of group and small group/clinical classes. He went on to open two locations of White Dog Studio, where the mission is to provide challenging, rewarding, and effective exercise for people over 40. He has also worked as an instructor trainer at Breathe Education since 2011 and has taught in the Certificate and Diploma courses. In 2021, he began working full time for Breathe Education and has created coursework and tutorial materials for the updated Diploma of Clinical Pilates. His other professional passion is online mentoring and trainer development through his personal brand, Contrology Collective.

How to Connect with Heath:

  • Find Heath on Instagram here
Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

How what you believe influences your clients’ pain and recovery, with Brendan Mouatt and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

Brendan is a PhD candidate at the University of South Australia where he is researching the influence of implicit communication on patient beliefs and outcomes. In this conversation, we talk about how our beliefs as movement professionals influence our clients’ movement, pain and outcomes from Pilates.

Resources mentioned in the episode:

  • Follow Raph on IG
  • Connect with Brendan Mouatt on Twitter and Instagram
  • Find The Knowledge Exchange website and join the Facebook group for movement and health professionals here
  • Read Brendan’s research here
  • Practitioner beliefs strongly predict patient beliefs here
  • Pain behaviour not pain intensity mediates opioid prescription here
  • Thinking about movement hurts, and makes your hand swell up here
  • Negative expectation abolishes the effects of opioid painkillers here
  • Placebo reduces pain the same amount as 4-6mg of morphine in postoperative pain here
  • The presence of most MRI findings does not change treatment here
  • Spinal fusion is not more effective than general exercise for low back pain here
  • In fact, pretty much every treatment for low back pain works about the same here
  • Dentists’ belief about what they are administering influences patients’ pain here
  • Placebo suppresses immune function here
About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Brendan Mouatt:

Brendan is a practising Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Director of The Knowledge Exchange – a continuing education organisation for health and movement professionals, Director of the Biomechanics – two multi-disciplinary practices in Port Melbourne and Footscray, and is a PhD candidate at the University of South Australia.

Brendan’s interest in perceptual and behavioural science led him to undertake a Master of Research degree looking at the interactions between visual sensory information (provided using virtual reality) and a person’s interoceptive accuracy on perceptions of effort and affect during stationary cycling exercise. The culmination of this research, alongside his clinical experience as an Exercise Physiologist working in the musculoskeletal injury and pain space, motivated him to continue his research career and continue with a PhD.

Brendan’s PhD aims to explore how perceptions, beliefs, and behaviours (particularly during clinical interactions) influence the recovery of those suffering from pain and their impact on perceived affordances and future healthcare service use.

Brendan has taught in the tertiary education system since 2012 and has delivered continuing education courses nationally and internationally since 2016 through The Knowledge Exchange.

Through this time, Brendan has developed an interest in navigating the interaction between providing ethical healthcare and business – which are often at odds with each other.

How to Connect with Brendan:

  • Follow Brendan Mouatt on Twitter and Instagram
  • Find The Knowledge Exchange website and join the Facebook group for movement and health professionals here
  • Read Brendan’s research here
Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

Why Do Clams? with Heath Lander and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

Are we really strengthening our clients? How can we tell, and why even bother about getting stronger? The answers may surprise you!

Resources mentioned in the episode:

  • An hour a week of resistance training maximizes your lifespan here
  • Mechanical tension is the key stimulus for strength gains here
  • WHO physical activity guidelines here
  • Working to failure or near failure is equally beneficial (and necessary) to increase strength here
About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Heath Lander:

Heath Lander had a chance encounter with Pilates which completely changed his life’s direction. He began training as a Pilates instructor at Breathe Education while seeing private clients in his home. Meanwhile, he was still working full time as a special needs art teacher and getting accustomed to life as a single dad. Over the next decade he taught over 15,000 hours of group and small group/clinical classes. He went on to open two locations of White Dog Studio, where the mission is to provide challenging, rewarding, and effective exercise for people over 40. He has also worked as an instructor trainer at Breathe Education since 2011 and has taught in the Certificate and Diploma courses. In 2021, he began working full time for Breathe Education and has created coursework and tutorial materials for the updated Diploma of Clinical Pilates. His other professional passion is online mentoring and trainer development through his personal brand, Contrology Collective.

How to Connect with Heath:

  • Find Heath on Instagram here
Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

Do we really need to individualize Pilates programs for back pain? With Mitch Gibbs PhD and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

In this episode, Mitch and Raph discuss the research Mitch did for his PhD, comparing individualized care with a generic program for low back pain.

 Resources mentioned in the episode:

  • Purchase Raph’s book: Strengthen The Person, Not Just the Body Part here
  • ‘Buy In For Back Pain – Does Individualization Matter?’ here
  • Connect with Mitch Gibbs on IG here
  • Find Rethink Movement on Facebook here and on IG here
About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Mitch Gibbs PhD:
Mitchell is a Lecturer in the School of Health Sciences, Discipline of Exercise Physiology. Mitchell’s research aims at helping people with chronic pain by understanding how to best design biopsychosocial exercise interventions, and how to disseminate these approaches into practice.

How to Connect with Mitch:

  • Follow Mitch on IG here
  • Find Rethink Movement on Facebook here and on IG here
Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

Your business can never outgrow your personal development, with Laura Saggers and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

Laura Saggers of RISE Pilates in Melbourne and Raph talk about the parallels between personal growth and business growth, how to overcome common blockers and limiting beliefs, and each share their own experiences with these mindset blocks, and how they moved past them.

Resources mentioned in the episode:

  • Check out our Visualized Anatomy Program here
  • Connect with Laura on IG here or email her here
  • Find Rise Pilates online here and on IG here
About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Laura Saggers:
Laura founded Rise Pilates at the start of 2017. A boutique reformer studio in the heart of Essendon Victoria. With 70+ classes scheduled per week, 10+ team members and home to over 4500+ clients. Professional and personal development strategies have seen many new business owners and exceptional instructors come through Rise Pilates over the years. A personal interest in helping people grow has now developed into a business Mentoring Studio Owners around the world..

How to Connect with Laura:

  • Follow Laura on IG here or email her here
  • Find Rise Pilates online here and on IG here
Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

Serving your Ideal Clients, with Naike Mouromtsev and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

When you try to be all things to all people, you end up being nothing to no one. Naike shares insights from building her studio Kefi in Sydney with her partner Fanny. We discuss how they defined their ideal clients, how they program and design their schedule to suit their ideal clients and many more topics.

Resources mentioned in the episode:

  • Buy Raph’s book ‘Strengthen the Person, Not just the Body Part’ and get access to our Community Sessions here
About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Naike Mouromtsev:
Naike was inspired to become a Pilates instructor after practising for a few years and experiencing the powerful effects of Pilates and consistent exercise. She made the decision to study with Breathe Education (for both Cert IV and Clinical diploma) at the end of her pregnancy and started her course at 8 weeks postpartum.
After two years teaching on Zoom, Naike and her business partner Fanny opened the doors to Kefi Studio Pilates in Sydney’s inner west, a Reformer Pilates studio and Clinical hub designed to make people stronger and focus more on how exercise should make them feel rather than how it should make them look.

How to Connect with Naike:

  • Find Naike on IG here
  • Find Kefi Studio Pilates here 
Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

From Stuck to Living your Dream Life, with Brittany LaBotz and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

You probably became a Pilates instructor because you wanted a career that was more meaningful, more satisfying, and healthier for you. But now you feel trapped in a routine that is not what you dreamed of. Or even worse – it IS what you dreamed of, but you’re still not happy.

In this episode, we talk about how to get unstuck and take positive, effective action to achieve your dream life as a Pilates instructor.

You’ll learn how to:

  • work the hours you want
  • for the money you want
  • with the clients you want

Resources mentioned in the episode:

About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Brittany LaBotz:

Brittany is a Pilates instructor, teaching mentor and serial entrepreneur who helps Pilates teachers and studio owners create more authenticity, fulfillment and freedom in their work. She believes that no teacher is lacking in anything, and already has unique resources and gifts within them that just need to be uncovered. Brittany’s approach is client-centered and focuses on empowering teachers to find their own solutions and answers through self-discovery, resources to overcome self-inflicted obstacles, and taking action daily toward their goals. She believes that the internal work teachers do filters into their external results like less burnout, increased income, and a general sense of peace and well-being. When she’s not teaching, Brittany loves beach camping with her fiance and dog, playing the piano, cooking plant-based meals, and taking dance classes.

How to Connect with Brittany:

Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

How to master rehabilitation, with Heath Lander and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

In this flipped episode, Heath interviews Raph about his journey.

Resources mentioned in the episode:

  • Find out more about the Diploma of clinical Pilates here
About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Heath Lander:

Heath Lander had a chance encounter with Pilates which completely changed his life’s direction. He began training as a Pilates instructor at Breathe Education while seeing private clients in his home. Meanwhile, he was still working full time as a special needs art teacher and getting accustomed to life as a single dad. Over the next decade he taught over 15,000 hours of group and small group/clinical classes. He went on to open two locations of White Dog Studio, where the mission is to provide challenging, rewarding, and effective exercise for people over 40. He has also worked as an instructor trainer at Breathe Education since 2011 and has taught in the Certificate and Diploma courses. In 2021, he began working full time for Breathe Education and has created coursework and tutorial materials for the updated Diploma of Clinical Pilates. His other professional passion is online mentoring and trainer development through his personal brand, Contrology Collective.

How to Connect with Heath:

  • Find Heath on Instagram here
Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

Fitness Pilates is not a dirty word, with Amy Hedger and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

Amy and Raphael discuss Fitness Pilates, or is it not even Pilates? And does it matter?

Resources mentioned in the episode:

  • Check out our Visualized Anatomy Program here
  • Connect with Amy Hedger online, on Instagram and LinkedIn
  • Fitter people live longer here
  • Stronger people live longer here
  • This is what fast and controlled looks like here
  • More vigorous exercise increases lifespan even more here
  • Exercise improves sleep here
  • Long-term resistance exercise improves metabolic health and insulin sensitivity here
  • Exercise makes you happier here
  • Exercise reduces anxiety and depression here
  • Exercise improves cognitive function and slows progress of Alzheimer’s here and here
  • If you really want to increase strength work with a load where you can’t do more than 10 reps here
About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Amy Hedger:

Amy is the founder of A.FORM Pilates with over 5 years of experience instructing in various cities such as Melbourne and London. She believes there is no right ‘form’ of Pilates but what works best for the individual. Furthering her skill set in completing her Diploma in Clinical and Rehabilitation Pilates with Breathe Education, Amy coaches all levels of capabilities offering expert knowledge. She constantly strives to make her clients the strongest and most resilient they can be, both mentally and physically.

How to Connect with Amy:

Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

Achieve your client’s functional goals through the three dimensions of an exercise, with Adam McAtee

By Become a better instructor
A FREE Live Community Session on ‘Achieving your client’s functional goals through the three dimensions of an exercise’ hosted by Breathe Education’s trainer, Adam McAtee.
What You’ll Learn:
  • Defining functional goals
  • What the 3 dimensions of an exercise are
  • The relationship of the three dimensions
  • Framework to utilize the 3 dimensions of any exercise to achieve your client’s functional goals

Body image – a nuanced discussion, with Laura Gaiter and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

Diet culture is a problem, and so is obesity.

In an obesogenic environment, we all need to exercise some amount of restraint to avoid obesity.

How do we avoid dichotomous thinking and promote positive body image?

Join us for an amicable, nuanced discussion.

Resources mentioned in the episode:

  • Follow Raph on IG here
  • Connect with Laura Gaiter here
  • Emilia Thompson (improve relationship with body/educate self) on IG here
  • Compassionate Coaching Education on IG here
  • Social media use correlates with negative body image and disordered eating here
  • Appearance-related teasing increases body dissatisfaction here
  • J-shaped relationship between body fat levels and all-cause mortality here
  • Obesity is a risk factor for prostate cancer here
  • Obesity increases risk of death from COVID here
  • Childhood obesity increases all-cause mortality in young adults here
  • Bariatric surgery reduces mortality risk here
  • Fit obese people do NOT have increased risk of all-cause mortality, but DO have increased risk of cardiovascular mortality here
  • Obesity increases pain sensitivity here
  • Weight loss in obese people with osteoarthritis reduces symptoms and increases function here
  • Both CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy) improve body image and reduce disordered eating here
About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Laura Gaiter:

Laura has passionately dedicated herself to the fitness industry for over a decade, working in gyms and fitness studios across Adelaide and Melbourne. At age 18, she became a group fitness instructor, teaching Freestyle Aerobics, Body Pump, Barre and Aqua Aerobics. In 2012, she studied a Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Movement), which saw her study in the UK for a semester. Upon completion of her Bachelor degree, she went on to study her Masters of Teaching (Secondary), graduating in 2016. During her studies, she worked as both a Fitness Instructor and in Administration, which led to opportunities in managing multiple boutique fitness studios.

In 2021, Laura studied her Cert IV in Pilates with Breathe Education while working as a Fitness Trainer in Adelaide. She developed a real passion for inclusive movement and helping clients to feel joy through exercise. As a trainer, she places a strong emphasis on the individual experiences of her clients, striving to foster positive relationships with all who attend her classes.

Laura is now based in Brisbane, studying Nutrition and compassionate coaching with EIQ Nutrition. Laura dedicates herself to ongoing education as she believes in a holistic approach to all things health and wellness. Laura’s wide experience in the fitness space allows her to draw inspiration from different exercise modalities to deliver classes which are both versatile and engaging. Her ultimate goal is to promote quality of life and longevity for all humans.

How to Connect with Laura:

  • Find Laura on Instagram here
Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

How to build a therapeutic alliance with your client, with Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor
A FREE Live Community Session on “How to build a therapeutic alliance with your client’ hosted by Breathe Education’s CEO, Raphael Bender.
What You’ll Learn:
  • Introduction to the Whole Person Framework
  • A therapeutic alliance is where you and the client like and trust each other and agree on shared goals and strategies
  • How to use OARS skills to build a therapeutic alliance

You can find the link to the PDF of the lecture slides HERE.

There are only 3 exercises in the world and Cat Stretch is 2 of them, with Heath Lander and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

Heath shares his simple framework for programming group classes. This is a straightforward way to progress your clients from wherever they’re at, towards the more challenging exercises in the repertoire.

Resources mentioned in the episode:

  • Snake/Twist here
  • Tendon stretch here
  • Long back stretch here
  • Layering up to tendon stretch/long back stretch here
  • High bridge here
  • Teaser here
  • Russian squats here
About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Heath Lander:

Heath Lander had a chance encounter with Pilates which completely changed his life’s direction. He began training as a Pilates instructor at Breathe Education while seeing private clients in his home. Meanwhile, he was still working full time as a special needs art teacher and getting accustomed to life as a single dad. Over the next decade he taught over 15,000 hours of group and small group/clinical classes. He went on to open two locations of White Dog Studio, where the mission is to provide challenging, rewarding, and effective exercise for people over 40. He has also worked as an instructor trainer at Breathe Education since 2011 and has taught in the Certificate and Diploma courses. In 2021, he began working full time for Breathe Education and has created coursework and tutorial materials for the updated Diploma of Clinical Pilates. His other professional passion is online mentoring and trainer development through his personal brand, Contrology Collective.

How to Connect with Heath:

  • Find Heath on Instagram here
Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

How Pilates is changing in the UK, with Emma-Jayne Rushby and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

In this conversation, we discuss some of the differences, and the similarities in the way Pilates is taught and consumed in the UK, Australia, and the US, and how the industry has evolved, and continues to evolve post-pandemic.

Resources mentioned in the episode:

About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Emma-Jayne Rushby

Emma-Jayne’s movement career started as a dancer. She is a registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance and has both taught and danced internationally. Emma qualified as a Pilates instructor in 2000 and since then has run community matwork classes and one-to-one sessions in her hometown in the UK. She has been a supervising teacher for a major UK Pilates teacher training body, helping student teachers with their teaching practice in preparation for their exams. Emma loves being both a teacher and a student, and her next goal in her continued professional development is the Clinical Pilates diploma.

How to Connect with Emma-Jayne Rushby

Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

The only three Pilates exercises you’ll ever need to know, with Heath Lander

By Become a better instructor
A FREE Live Community Session on “The only three Pilates Exercises you’ll ever need to know” hosted by Breathe Education’s Lead Trainer, Heath Lander.
What You’ll Learn:
  • The idea behind why you only need three exercises as a Pilates instructor and how Heath came up with that
  • What the three Pilates exercises are
  • Demonstration of exercises on the reformer along with advice on how to modify them

Move past Burnout, with Natalie Wilson and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

A lot of us are feeling burnout – but what is it and what can we do about it?

If you’ve struggled with burnout and discovered that rest didn’t help – listen in for some constructive ways to move past burnout and get back your passion, energy and enthusiasm.

Resources mentioned in the episode:

  • Purchase Raph’s book: Strengthen The Person, Not Just the Body Part here
  • Connect with Natalie on IG here
  • World Health Organization’s classification of burnout is an “occupational phenomenon” here
  • Emily Nagoski & Amelia Nagoski’s book about burnout here
  • Wendy Suzuki’s book about dealing with anxiety here
  • How to measure burnout accurately and ethically by Christina Maslach here
About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Natalie Wilson:

Born and raised in Hawaii, Natalie’s foundation in movement comes from years of training in the native dances of Hawaii and Tahiti.  After college, Natalie pursued a career in social work and mental health.  She discovered Pilates after the birth of her second child and loved how the practice gave her renewed strength, energy, and focus. Desiring a career shift, Natalie enrolled in a comprehensive Pilates training program, graduating in early 2017.  In addition, Natalie received her National Pilates Certification in 2020 and her Pilates Certification from Breathe Education in February 2022.  She currently teaches at Vitality Pilates as well as the Multiple Sclerosis Center at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, where she lives with her husband, two kids, and too many houseplants.

How to Connect with Natalie:

Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

Gatekeeping in Pilates, with Natalie Wilson and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

Do we excessively limit our clients from progressing because we hold them to some arbitrary standard like you must do 6 beginner classes before you can come to intermediate class?

Listen in to find out. This is a nuanced discussion of the drawbacks AND benefits of gatekeeping in Pilates.

Resources mentioned in the episode:

  • Follow Raphael Bender on IG here.
About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Natalie Wilson:

Born and raised in Hawaii, Natalie’s foundation in movement comes from years of training in the native dances of Hawaii and Tahiti.  After college, Natalie pursued a career in social work and mental health.  She discovered Pilates after the birth of her second child and loved how the practice gave her renewed strength, energy, and focus. Desiring a career shift, Natalie enrolled in a comprehensive Pilates training program, graduating in early 2017.  In addition, Natalie received her National Pilates Certification in 2020 and her Pilates Certification from Breathe Education in February 2022.  She currently teaches at Vitality Pilates as well as the Multiple Sclerosis Center at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, where she lives with her husband, two kids, and too many houseplants.

How to Connect with Natalie:

Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

What I learned from recording 150+ podcast episodes, with Olivia Bioni and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

In this wide-ranging conversation, Olivia Bioni, host of the Pilates Teachers Manual and Pilates Students Manual podcasts, talks with Raphael about podcasting, teaching, learning, personal growth, book writing, letting go of shoulds, setting boundaries, reducing perfectionism and more.

Resources mentioned in the episode:

  • Purchase Raph’s book: Strengthen The Person, Not Just the Body Part here
  • Find Olivia online here
  • Pilates Teachers Manual podcast here
  • Pilates Students Manual podcast here
  • Olivia’s Masterclass series OG Matwork with Roller here
  • Olivia’s ‘Buy Me A Coffee’ here
About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Olivia Bioni

Olivia is a Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher and a Registered Yoga Teacher based in Chicago, IL, USA. She hosts Pilates Teachers’ Manual and Pilates Students’ Manual podcasts, and works as a Trainer at Breathe Education.

How to Connect with Olivia:

Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

How to Get Your Clients Results, with Nathan Ross Rees and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

Nathan started an odyssey around Australia where he has so far visited, attended class, and taught at 88 Pilates studios and counting. He shares his observations and views on what makes great instructors and a great class.

Resources mentioned in the episode: 

  • Nathan Ross Rees Instagram here and website here
  • Nathan’s Reformer Workshop here
  • Kefi Studio in Sydney Australia website here and Insta here
About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Nathan Ross Rees:

Nathan Ross Rees is a highly motivated and passionate Pilates instructor based in Tasmania who enjoys traveling around Australia to run guest classes and hold workshops.

He has taught in 50 different studios across 7 Australian states and territories. A big believer in relationship building, Nathan values progress, vitality, results, connection, presence, abundance, and understanding. He’s always seeking to develop relationships with other instructors and expand his network of mentors. He also believes in the collective genius of the Australian Pilates Community, whose members have exponentially developed his understanding of Dynamic Reformer Pilates.

How to Connect with Nathan:

  • Find Nathan Ross Rees on Instagram here
Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

Overcoming Fear & Anxiety to find your Authentic Voice as a Teacher, with Belinda Survilla

By Become a better instructor
A FREE Live Community Session on “Overcoming Fear & Anxiety to find your Authentic Voice as a Teacher” hosted by Breathe Education’s Lead Trainer, Belinda Survilla.
What You’ll Learn:
  • Bel’s personal story of worry and anxiety
  • Differences and scale of fear and anxiety
  • Tips and tricks to get over fear and anxiety and as a result, find your authentic voice as a Pilates instructor
  • Resources that can help

You can find the link to the PDF of the lecture slides HERE. If you’d love to continue the conversation, feel free to connect with Bel on IG.

Do we under-load our clients in Pilates? With Julie Driver and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

Do we focus too much on gentle movement in Pilates? Could our clients benefit from more vigorous exercises and more progression over time?

Maybe the answer is different for different countries.

Resources mentioned in the episode:

  • Join our FREE Live Community Sessions here
  • Liftmor trial here
  • Nonagenarians get ripped with high-intensity strength training here
  • Injuries in fitness facilities are mostly caused by people dropping shit on themselves and falling off stuff – not by “incorrect” technique here
  • A lot of the disability from low back pain is caused by well-meaning health and fitness professionals scaring the shit out of their clients here
  • Persistence hunting is a likely explanation of how humans fed ourselves for several hundred thousand years even though we’re weaker, slower and less ferocious than almost everything we hunt here
About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Julie Driver:

Julie is an award-winning, internationally renowned Pilates teacher with over two decades of teaching experience. 

For over 10 years Julie was a senior faculty member for the largest Pilates teacher training school in Europe before setting up her own education company.

Julie now coaches equestrians of all levels from the weekend rider to the elite athlete and is the Pilates teacher for the Wesko Foundation three-day-eventing team.

In 2014, Julie was awarded the title of Pilates Anytime, International Instructor of the Year.

How to Connect with Julie:

  • Find Julie Driver online here
  • Find Julie on IG and FB
Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

Pilates for Spondylolisthesis and Pars fracture, with Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor
A FREE Live Community Session about “Pilates for Spondylolisthesis and Pars fracture” led by Breathe Education’s CEO, Raphael Bender.
What You’ll Learn:
  • Spondylolisthesis is not a specific cause of back pain
  • Sciatica is complex and multifactorial, and often related to whole-person factors
  • Surgery & all forms of exercise seem to work equally well
  • Guideline-care is reassurance and advice to stay active

You can find the link to the PDF of the lecture slides HERE and connect with Raph on IG HERE.

Pathologizing Normal, with Natalie Wilson and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

Many, possibly most of the things we think of as “dysfunctions” in Pilates are in fact just normal variations. Things like:

  • Anterior pelvic tilt
  • Rounded shoulders
  • Asymmetrical range of motion

are highly prevalent in pain-free people and do not predict injury. In fact, 80% of pain-free people have anterior pelvic tilt; so is it really a “tilt” or is it just the shape of the human pelvis?

Even hypermobility & scoliosis are arguably not the cause of pain, or increased pain, and don’t need to be (nor can they be) “corrected” or “protected” by exercise.

Raph and Natalie talk through:

  • What is the evidence that these things are not pathologies?
  • Why do we pathologize normal?
  • What should we do instead?

Resources mentioned in the episode:

  • 80% of pain-free people have anterior pelvic tilt here
  • Anterior pelvic tilt is not related to hip muscle tightness or strength here
  • Stabilization exercise works better if you THINK your back is unstable here
  • There is very weak correlation between scoliosis curve magnitude and back pain here and here
  • Pain in hypermobile people is not related to joint angle here but is more likely a result of higher pain sensitivity of the central nervous system here
  • Current ACSM guidelines here
About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Natalie Wilson:

Born and raised in Hawaii, Natalie’s foundation in movement comes from years of training in the native dances of Hawaii and Tahiti.  After college, Natalie pursued a career in social work and mental health.  She discovered Pilates after the birth of her second child and loved how the practice gave her renewed strength, energy, and focus. Desiring a career shift, Natalie enrolled in a comprehensive Pilates training program, graduating in early 2017.  In addition, Natalie received her National Pilates Certification in 2020 and her Pilates Certification from Breathe Education in February 2022.  She currently teaches at Vitality Pilates as well as the Multiple Sclerosis Center at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, where she lives with her husband, two kids, and too many houseplants.

How to Connect with Natalie:

Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

Overcoming addiction through Pilates, with Rebecca Solberg and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

TW: This episode contains content about substance abuse and addiction.

We acknowledge that this may be difficult and encourage you to care for your safety and well-being by talking to your healthcare professional if any of the issues in this show have affected you. 

This is the inspiring story of how Pilates helped Rebecca Solberg overcome addiction and find connection, meaning and peace.

Pilates is not a substitute for working with a mental health professional. But it can sure be an amazing complement.

Resources mentioned in the episode:

  • Check out our Visualized Anatomy program here
About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Rebecca Solberg:

Rebecca Solberg is a Pilates Instructor based in Seattle, Washington. She has been teaching Pilates for 8 years now. As a teacher, Rebecca aims to help her clients feel safe and comfortable while working to strengthen their bodies and move with less pain and more freedom. She works with a fantastic group of women at Main Street Pilates (www.mainstreetpilates.com) and also teaches private students outside of the class.

Rebecca holds a 600-hour Pilates Certification, Great Yoga Wall Certification™, and Pilates For Neurological Conditions with Mariska Breland. Currently, she’s studying Diploma of Clinical Pilates and The Complete Pilates Apparatus Course at Breathe Education.

Rebecca likes to keep herself busy with all forms of movement, baking, journaling and spending time with her husband, dogs, family and Breathe Education.

How to Connect with Rebecca:

  • Find Rebecca Solberg on Instagram here and here
Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

Nutrition Advice within the Scope of Practice for Fitness Professionals, with Cody Jussel

By Become a better instructor
A FREE Live Community Session on “Nutrition Advice within the Scope of Practice for Fitness Professionals” led by Breathe Education’s Trainer, Cody Jussel.
What You’ll Learn:
  • How to approach nutrition conversations in the studio
  • What is your legal scope of practice and how to stay within it
  • Example scenarios and what to do if you run against them

You can find the link to the PDF of the lecture slides HERE.

Diploma Info Session, with Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

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A FREE Live Lecture and Info Session about the “Diploma of Clinical Pilates” led by Breathe Education’s CEO, Raphael Bender. 
What You’ll Learn:
  • Pain is not the same thing as injury
  • What to do with every client: The Whole Person Framework
  • What happens inside the Diploma of Clinical Pilates
  • Why you’d be crazy not to enrol in the Diploma this month

Is Anterior Pelvic Tilt a Thing? With Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor
A FREE Live Community Session on “Is Anterior Pelvic Tilt a Thing?” led by Breathe Education’s CEO, Raphael Bender. 
What You’ll Learn:
  • Pelvic tilt doesn’t tell us anything about muscle balance
  • Pelvises are not symmetrical
  • We can’t measure Pelvic tilt by hand even though we think we can
  • 80% of pain-free people have Anterior Pelvic tilt
  • Anterior Pelvic tilt is not associated with low back pain

You can find the link to the PDF of the lecture slides HERE.

How to transition from Classical Pilates to Evidence-based Movement, with Adam McAtee

By Become a better instructor
A FREE Live Community Session on “How to Transition from Classical Pilates to Evidence-based Movement” hosted by Breathe Education’s Trainer, Adam McAtee. 
What You’ll Learn:
  • What one thing everyone needs to see evolve in the Pilates industry
  • How Adam applied Pilates science principles to Pilates practice
  • Adam’s inspiring journey from being in an unfamiliar space to taking Breathe Education’s course and joining the teaching team while being blown away by optimum theories with references on the side.
  • Tips to become an evidence-based Pilates instructor

How to Motivate Your Clients, with Nathan Ross Rees and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

Motivating people is hard. Knowing how to motivate people to exercise is even harder. On this episode of Pilates Elephants, you’ll learn how to fearlessly motivate your clients with evidence-based techniques with our guest, Nathan Rees. Where does our motivation to workout come from? Is it intrinsic or extrinsic? Nate and Raph explore these questions that are vital to your abilities as an instructor and help your clients to see results regardless of their fitness level. 

What You Will Learn:

  • How to motivate clients of all fitness and experience levels and fill your classes
  • What should instructors pay attention to during instruction?
  • How to provide individual attention in a large class
  • How much of your instruction should be technical, educational and motivational? 
  • How to push clients to their limit and recognize when it happens

Principles of Workout Motivation for New and Experienced Instructors

Nate and Raph discuss the differences between new and experienced instructors in terms of what they focus on during class. We all want to motivate our clients, but new instructors face feelings of insecurity and aren’t as present in the moment as seasoned instructors. They often worry about the functionality of the task so much that they’re out of tune with the clients in front of them. Over time, it’s natural for these feelings to subside as your teaching skills improve. Eventually, you’ll have more bandwidth to focus on the clients in front of you: how hard they’re working, what they need to hear, and how to improve your cueing. 

How Can You Tell if You’re Effectively Motivating Your Clients?

Nate offers some practical and easily applicable advice for instructors who want to spend less time explaining and more time motivating. He suggests a healthy ratio of technical instruction to educational and motivational. Once clients are able to grasp the movements, then you can focus on why those movements are beneficial to their wellness and all other areas of their lives. How can you tell if your motivational efforts are working? When clients start to reach muscle failure, you’ll notice physical signs like facial expressions or noises. Nate and Raph discuss why pushing your limits is so important in terms of progress, and how to help advanced level clients continue to see results. 

The Power of Social Connection

A huge part of motivation to workout is social interaction. Nate says it’s a key factor in getting clients to show up for class. With a sense of community, people look forward to working out in a whole new way. For this reason, it’s highly important for instructors to know how to welcome new clients into their classes. Nate explains how to make newbies feel welcome by introducing them, making them feel like a part of the crew, and pairing them up with a workout buddy who they may already have something in common with. Social connection is a basic human need, and a healthy community atmosphere in your studio is a powerful way to keep clients coming back. 

About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Nathan Ross Rees:

Nathan Ross Rees is a highly motivated and passionate Pilates instructor based in Tasmania who enjoys traveling around Australia to run guest classes and hold workshops.

He has taught in 50 different studios across 7 Australian states and territories. A big believer in relationship building, Nathan values progress, vitality, results, connection, presence, abundance, and understanding. He’s always seeking to develop relationships with other instructors and expand his network of mentors. He also believes in the collective genius of the Australian Pilates Community, whose members have exponentially developed his understanding of Dynamic Reformer Pilates.

How to Connect with Nathan:

  • Find Nathan Ross Rees on Instagram here
Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

Simple Doesn’t Mean Easy, with Heath Lander and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

In the Diploma of Clinical Pilates program, students learn an invaluable resource for exercise programming called the “exercise toolbox.” Today, you’ll learn what it is and how to create your own exercise toolbox in this interview with Heath Lander. Today we discuss how to find the best type of exercise and level of intensity for each client on any given day and discover the power of simple, layered exercise programming.

What You Will Learn: 

  • What is the Exercise Toolbox (as taught in the Diploma of Clinical Pilates)?
  • How you can use the Exercise Toolbox to challenge each client at the right level 
  • How to design a dynamic warm-up that reduces injury risk and improves performance
  • How to support clients’ autonomy and use critical thinking skills when designing challenge
  • The power of simplicity in programming, and why it’s what your clients actually want

What is the Exercise Toolbox? 

The Exercise Toolbox is a list of exercises broken down into layers of challenge. Each list is made up of five to seven exercises based on one movement such as the push-up, curl-up, squat, etc. The main idea is to have a list of increasingly difficult exercises which you can use with any client, any time, regardless of what kind of day they’re having in terms of pain or ability level. Start at the bottom and work your way up with them. This way, according to Heath, clients don’t feel the discouragement and frustration of starting hard and having to modify. Rather, they get to feel stronger and more confident as they start simple and work up to more challenging exercises. 

The Power of Simplicity

The Exercise Toolbox is a specific way to think about exercise programming which allows instructors to think about movement in terms of strength, range of motion, and control. Heath and Raph discuss the beauty of simplicity in exercise programming but remind us that just because something is simple, it isn’t necessarily easy. With the right level of resistance, range of motion or instability, something as simple as lunges or body weight squats can be extremely challenging. Teaching complicated exercises just because they seem more challenging can be anything but enjoyable for the client. What’s amazing about the Exercise Toolbox is that because of its simplicity, you will be able to give your client the right level of challenge at the right time to move them to towards their goals.

How the Exercise Toolbox Helps Instructors to Improve

Heath explains how the exercise toolbox developed as he observed new Pilates instructors over the past several years. He noticed that new instructors who came to his studio had learned hundreds of exercises which weren’t progressive or grouped in any meaningful way. He also saw that instructors felt pressured to have a wide variety of exercises in each class and avoid repeating exercises. They thought that if they didn’t do it this way, their classes wouldn’t be popular. But Heath observed that those Pilates teachers who taught essentially the same set of movements each class were the most successful. Clients knew what to expect and felt challenged, not to mention, the teacher got really good at teaching those exercises! 

About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Heath Lander:

Heath Lander had a chance encounter with Pilates which completely changed his life’s direction. He began training as a Pilates instructor at Breathe Education while seeing private clients in his home. Meanwhile, he was still working full time as a special needs art teacher and getting accustomed to life as a single dad. Over the next decade he taught over 15,000 hours of group and small group/clinical classes. He went on to open two locations of White Dog Studio, where the mission is to provide challenging, rewarding, and effective exercise for people over 40. He has also worked as an instructor trainer at Breathe Education since 2011 and has taught in the Certificate and Diploma courses. In 2021, he began working full time for Breathe Education and has created coursework and tutorial materials for the updated Diploma of Clinical Pilates. His other professional passion is online mentoring and trainer development through his personal brand, Contrology Collective.

How to Connect with Heath:

  • Find Heath on Instagram here
Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

Neutral Spine- What is it and Should We Care? With Cloe Bunter and Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

What exactly is neutral spine? With so many of us in the Pilates community teaching neutral spine alignment to clients and trying to master it ourselves, it’s surprising to learn that most of us don’t really know what it means. And yet, it seems to be engrained in Pilates culture. Today we’re debunking the myth of neutral spine and giving you evidence-based tools to help empower your clients to move fearlessly through all spinal movements.

What You Will Learn: 

  • What neutral spine really means, and why you shouldn’t worry about it
  • Is neutral spine a position that can be measured or palpated via postural analysis or visual assessment?
  • What Joseph Pilates taught (or didn’t) about neutral spine
  • The origins of neutral spine as it applies to Pilates
  • Does evidence indicate that lifting with a neutral spine is really safer than lifting with a flexed spine? 

What is Neutral Spine?

Neutral spine is widely understood in the fitness profession as a “safe” spinal position associated with injury prevention. But according to biomechanics, neutral spine is a zone (rather than a specific position) in which all the ligaments around the spine are loose. Simply put, neutral spine is about a 10 degree range in which muscles provide the only restraining force on the spine. It isn’t something that can be evaluated via spinal palpation or visual assessment, since everyone has natural variation in their bone structure. 

Where Did Neutral Spine Come From?

Joseph Pilates himself didn’t teach neutral spine. His successors (including Romana Kryzanowska) and their students were influenced by physiotherapists who promoted neutral spine. Fast forward to the 1990s, and neutral spine was widely taught as a basic element of Pilates. To this day, many people who cue neutral spine believe that it has always been a part of Pilates, although the most Joseph ever taught in this area was to press the spine firmly to the mat.

Does Neutral Spine Prevent Lower Back Injuries?

Raph and Cloe look at a fascinating study on pig spines from 20 years ago which suggests that the greatest risk for spinal injury was the amount of compression on the spine, rather than the degree of spinal flexion. They also discuss more recent biomechanical studies which show that force applied to the spine is the same whether the spine is flexed or in neutral during lifting exercises like deadlifting or squatting. Interestingly, studies show that when lifting maximally, a flexed spine is actually associated with greater strength and more efficient use of energy. Looking at the world’s most elite powerlifters, it’s easy to see that when they lift four to five times their body weight, their spines are definitely flexed. This begs the question of what Pilates instructors should be cueing instead of neutral spine. Raph and Cloe offer teaching tools to help you confidently teach without relying on neutral spine and to prioritise fearless movement. 

Resources mentioned in the episode:
  • Neutral is a zone not a position here
  • We can’t palpate bony landmarks reliably (plus guidelines recommend against it here
  • And anyway pelvises are not all the same shape here
  • Experienced physical therapists can’t detect lumbar flexion of less than 34 degrees in a squat here
  • Plus, standing posture is highly individual and poorly reproducible here
  • Pig spines are injured by LOAD not by flexion here and here 
  • Spinal flexion during lifting is not associated with back pain here
  • The vast majority of disc bulges are not related to lifting and those that are, do not have more pain or disability here
  • People with back pain actually lift with their backs more straight than pain free people here
  • Flexed lumbar spine during a maximal lift is associated with greater strength in pain-free people here
  • Because spinal ligaments are MUCH stronger than spinal muscles here
  • Lifting with your back straight imposes higher forces on the spine than lifting with your back rounded here
  • Retraining people to lift with their back straight does not prevent back pain here
About Raphael Bender:

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

How to Connect with Raphael:

Purchase Raph’s new book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here
About Cloe Bunter:

With 10+ years in the industry, both teaching Pilates and nurturing new instructors, Cloe is passionate about empowering new and seasoned instructors to think critically and move fearlessly. Empowered instructors empower their clients, and in turn, change lives.

Cloe is fascinated by movement in general, and its ability to enhance our lives at any age. Her own movement practice includes Contrology/Pilates, running, weights, and kettlebells. Cloe has a Diploma of Clinical Pilates, Cert IV in Pilates, and Cert IV in Training and Assessing.

How to Connect with Cloe:

Looking for Pilates mastery?

Here are four ways we can help you really know your stuff.

1) Subscribe to our Pilates Elephants podcast and learn why most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst, just plain pseudoscientific. This inconvenient disconnect means there are many topics in Pilates that are “Elephants in the Room” – things we don’t question because it’s a bit heretical to do so. We’re here to change that.

2) Download our free report: “3 Myths about Posture in Pilates“. Ditch the myths and get the facts on posture. For Pilates instructors and movement enthusiasts alike.

3) Join us in our FREE live, open-mic Community Sessions. We start each session by sharing one of our latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients. And then we’ll go open-mic for the remaining 45-minutes — ask whatever questions you have so you can leave the session equipped to really know your stuff. Details here.

4) Or — our next intake for our Diploma in Clinical Pilates is open NOW. We have limited places for this in-depth, world-leading course. For a limited time — get a free 20-minute Discovery Call with one of our Pilates Trainers. This is not a high-pressure sales call – you’ll be talking with a Pilates instructor, and we’ll answer all your questions to find out if the course is a perfect fit for you. Go here to schedule

Working with Adaptive Clients: Thinking Outside the Box, with Cody Jussel

By Become a better instructor

A FREE Live Community Session on “Working with Adaptive Clients: Thinking Outside the Box” led by Breathe Education’s Trainer, Cody Jussel.
What You’ll Learn:
  • Terminology preferred by the adaptive community
  • Useful props to have on hand
  • How to facilitate an empowering experience for adaptive movers
You can find the link to the PDF of the lecture slides HERE

Vertigo: What is it and how we can help it with exercise, with Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

A FREE Live Community Session about “Vertigo: What is it and how we can help it with exercise” led by Breathe Education’s CEO, Raphael Bender.
What You’ll Learn:
  • What causes vertigo
  • What to expect if a client suddenly experiences vertigo
  • How to facilitate effective and surprisingly simple vestibular rehabilitation exercises with your clients

You can find the link to the PDF of the lecture slides HERE

Osteoporosis and exercise: debunking the biggest myth

By Become a better instructor

Osteoporosis, defined as an extreme loss of bone density, is one of the most common age-related conditions. It currently affects more than 200 million men and women worldwide.

Enter it into a Google search and you get a whopping 70.9 MILLION search results. Narrow that search to “osteoporosis and exercise” and you’re still at 43.5 million. That’s no small amount of information to sift through.

And here’s the crux — we know that almost anyone can post anything about any subject. So, when your clients run a search trying to understand more about osteoporosis and exercise, how do they even know what’s true? And how can you help them debunk deep-set myths and offer education in a way that will guide them toward a happier, healthier lifestyle?

Let’s dive right in by addressing the elephant in the room: The most common held belief surrounding osteoporosis and exercise is that low impact, lightweight, gentle exercises are the most beneficial, the “safest,” for clients who suffer from osteoporosis.

And that’s simply NOT true.

While it may seem counterintuitive, those lightweight, gentle movement exercises are going to be way riskier. What osteoporosis clients benefit from most is high-intensity resistance and impact training. Weights are good! Heavy load is good!

The Strength, Impact and Density Correlation

While there’s certainly plenty of misinformation out there, as you’re educating yourself and your clients about osteoporosis and what exercises they’ll benefit from most, take a look at this ReasearchGate study chronicling the connection between bone density and strength. There’s a ton of good stuff in there, but basically, as your clients strengthen their muscles, their bones benefit too! They’re not going to get that same benefit from light weights or light resistance.

And it’s not solely about prevention. The right exercises are safe and effective in treating osteoporosis and increasing bone density too! Studies from Science Direct (here and here), and The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research all demonstrate a direct correlation between mechanical load and management of osteoporosis.

We know these studies, though filled with great facts about exercise and osteoporosis, are also a lot to read through. Not to worry. Raphael and Cloe cover all of this and more in Episode 26 of our Pilates Elephants podcast.

Pilates and Osteoprosis

Many people often feel like osteoporosis is just a normal part of aging, and nothing can truly prevent this, but that’s not true! In fact, prevention starts at a young age. It’s no secret that our bodies do just about everything more efficiently when we are younger. That includes building and managing our bone density. If parents need one more reason to get their kids off the couch and outdoors, this is definitely a big one. Encouraging clients and their families to simply be active and strengthen their muscles is valuable.

So, can Pilates itself help treat osteoporosis? As we consider the invaluable benefits of resistance training in building muscles and couple that with our understanding that research provides a demonstrable correlation between muscle strength and bone density, then the answer is YES! Pilates is one way to improve bone health at any age. In fact, the International Osteoporosis Foundation recommends routine exercise to prevent osteoporosis. Bottom line – Pilates is typically safe and beneficial for individuals already diagnosed with osteoporosis, but clients should be encouraged to talk with their healthcare provider before starting any new exercise routine.

Cueing up that next breath for a client? Here’s when to pass

By Become a better instructor

A question we’ve heard plenty of times from students and professionals alike is how breath factors into our practice — or more to the point, should we even be cueing clients to breathe during their practice.

While breathing is naturally a big part of what we do here at, ahem, Breathe Education, the answer to this question is a little more variable than you might expect. Perhaps the more useful question here is why you would cue breath. The most basic reasons we might guide a client’s breathing are to relax the body and settle into the environment of the lesson. To that, it might be helpful to cue breath at the beginning or end of a class, if only to aid those transitions into or out of the Pilates headspace, or to help someone find a shape as they work through positions. We’ve all felt those instances where we can breathe our way through moments of discomfort or difficulty, so sometimes prompting that deliberate inhale-exhale can help push a stretch to the next level. That can be especially true in positions that involve spinal extensions or flexions, which map very nicely to the pattern of breathing. You can test this wherever you might be right now by taking a nice, deep in-breath. You’ll find your spine naturally wants to extend a bit, and then vice versa on the exhale.

Maybe the last big reason we’d cue someone’s breath is if we know they’re either pregnant and/or have high blood pressure. This is because breath-holding can actually raise our blood pressure as we go through the exercise, which can have some unintended side effects if those underlying conditions are present.

Ok, so those are instances where we might want to cue breath. So why wouldn’t we want to do that?

The simplest answer is this: Current research shows that motor learning (movement skills) is facilitated best by keeping things simple. Cue what is necessary to get people moving. This is especially important for beginners, who typically have enough to focus on already without the added layer of syncing up their breathing with all this unfamiliar repertoire. Breathing is the first thing we did when we were born, it’s not something we were taught to do so why do we feel the need to cue each and every breath?

So there we have it, our quick take on when and why to cue breathing! Our CEO and thinker-in-chief Raphael has touched on this subject a few times in his (very) helpful AMAs, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’ve got further questions.

Shoulder Impingement, with Raphael Bender

By Become a better instructor

A FREE Live Community Session about “Shoulder Impingementhosted by Breathe Education’s CEO, Raphael Bender. 
What You’ll Learn:
  • The theory of shoulder impingement
  • What the research tells us
  • How you can help your clients with shoulder pain
  • Communication with clients and allied health practitioners around the diagnosis of shoulder impingement

You can find the PDF of the lecture slides including links to the research HERE.

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