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Feel Comfortable & Let Go, with Sarah Michael

Episode 66:

Feel Comfortable & Let Go

Many instructors in the Pilates community are so concerned with teaching Pilates the “proper way” that they sideline their most valuable asset at work: being themselves! If you struggle with imposter syndrome, worry about making mistakes, and feel the need to teach like someone else, then this episode is for you. Today, Raph interviews our guest, Sarah Michael, about why being your true authentic self, finding your voice, and beating imposter syndrome creates an optimal client experience. 

What You Will Learn:

  • How overcoming perfectionism and embracing your authentic voice creates an amazing client experience
  • Advice for making the transition to full-time Pilates teaching
  • An overview of the evolution of the Pilates industry
  • Why complicated doesn’t mean better and simplicity is everything when it comes to movement instruction
  • How to nurture clients without touching them or “helicoptering” and create a safe space where mistakes are welcome

The Power of Authenticity

Sarah describes what it’s been like breaking the mold as a Pilates instructor, bringing tons of energy to her classes and exploring alternative terminology for cueing. She explains that many Pilates instructors feel the need to use tactile cues, give anatomy lessons, and hover over clients because they’ve seen other instructors doing the same. But the best thing you can be as a Pilates teacher is your true self by letting go and putting down the need to be like someone else. Sarah has found that light-hearted banter and speaking with clients in your own voice is a great way to beat imposter syndrome and perfectionism. 

Create An Awesome Client Experience

Sarah and Raph explore how letting go of “proper” teaching techniques will help you and your clients have a truly enjoyable, empowering experience in the studio. Sarah describes how she cues clients in a way that keeps them focused on the workout rather than on her. She explains how minimizing distractions (such as spring changes and repositioning on the reformer) allows clients to enter a flow state for those precious 50 minutes of class. Truly breaking the mold, Sarah uses lights and music to create a heart-pumping, sensory Pilates experience. She encourages other instructors to embrace whatever it is they bring to the studio just like she has so that everyone leaves the studio feeling like they had a great time. 

Keep it Simple

Raph and Sarah delve into the idea of “less is more” as it applies to teaching Pilates. Pilates instructors overcomplicate things when they give anatomy lessons during class or “helicopter parent” their clients by giving them constant attention and feedback. But what’s really behind overcomplication is the fear of failure. Raph and Sarah explore how to keep things simple by having genuine interactions with your clients, letting go of the need for validation, and welcoming mistakes.

About Sarah Michael:

Sarah began teaching Pilates ten years ago and has taught at several studios across Sydney. She is now at Vive Active where she advanced her career to head trainer and head of performance. In addition to Pilates, Sarah has a passion for music which has driven her to combine them both, creating a sensory workout like no other. These music-infused movement classes leave clients feeling restored, alive, and on top of the world. Sarah is dedicated to helping her clients progress on their journey, and it shows through the following she’s created for herself. The passion and enthusiasm she gives to each and every person who sets foot into her studio is unforgettable. Sarah’s goal for each client is to experience fearless movement, inspiring them to feel that their bodies are capable of anything.

How to Connect with Sarah:

About Raphael and Cloe:

Raphael Bender, CEO, Breathe Education

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.

Cloe Bunter, Trainer, Breathe Education

With 8+ 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.

She finds great joy in building connections with clients, students, colleagues, and the broader movement and rehab community. Co-hosting the Pilates Elephants Podcast, with Raphael Bender, has provided an incredible platform to bust common Pilates, movement, and rehab myths whilst creating a worldwide community of critical thinkers who are elevating health literacy.

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. She has a Diploma of Clinical Pilates, Cert IV in Pilates, and Cert IV in Training and Assessing.

How to Connect with Raphael and Cloe:

Raphael Bender’s New Book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here

Stop Faking It & Really Know Your Stuff Pilates Q&A:

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