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Empowering and Inspiring Pilates Instructors, with Jenna Zaffino

Episode 48:

It’s Time to Empower Pilates Instructors

In today’s episode, we talk to Pilates Superstar, Movement Educator, Health Coach, and Self-Attendance Advocate Jenna Zaffino. The discussion covers Jenna’s Pilates education and friendship with master teacher Ron Fletcher and why the guru model of learning Pilates is no longer serving our community. She provides inspiration and words to empower Pilates instructors. And she shares her perspective on finding your voice as an instructor, transitioning to online teaching, and describes why she is such an enthusiastic proponent of self-attendance.

What You Will Learn:

  • Why now is a great time to empower Pilates instructors
  • Why we should embrace the daring leadership model
  • How prioritizing yourself gives your teaching positive energy
  • Why being in thrall to so-called ‘Pilates Gurus’ disempowers instructors
  • How to create a studio ecosystem where questions and discussion are welcome
  • Why it’s an amazing skill to be open and honest with clients when something isn’t working

Empowering Instructors

Right now is a great time to empower Pilates instructors and clients to have a reflective thought process, strong values, and discernment. Jenna shares her belief that knowledge does not make one person more impactful or powerful than the rest of a community. When we support the guru method of leadership, we’re instilling a sense of learned fear — and that fear translates to our teaching.

Empowering Pilates Instructors

Jenna’s work is about opening the space for Pilates instructors who are uncertain, and helping them feel empowered in their teaching. We discuss why we are so motivated to improve health literacy and improve critical thinking skills in the movement community — and why a key step towards gaining those skills is being open and honest with yourself and with your clients.


You can’t run from studio to studio, not looking after yourself, not sleeping, and never checking in with your energy levels, then expect to walk into a room and be the best Pilates Instructor you can be. Self attendance is recognizing what you need to access a flow state in your teaching and your life as a whole. If you prioritize yourself, enhance your energy with inspiring music or books, and stay away from junk media, you are much more likely to bring that upbeat energy into the studio and engage positively with your clients.

Empower Pilates

About Jenna Zaffino:

Jenna is a dynamic leader who offers education for one’s brain, body, and business through professional coaching, movement experiences, writing, and speaking. Jenna helps thousands of people – both professionals and enthusiasts alike – access mindset shifts, physical resiliency, and empowered individuality in their business & movement practices. She is a seasoned Pilates Teacher Educator, a Small Business Coach, and a Certified Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. For 15 years, Jenna sat at the helm of Helios Center For Movement, her multi-purpose movement and teacher training center in Chicago. Fueled by the radical idea that she could create a lasting impact in the virtual space, she sold her studio and evolved her business to a private practice in 2016. Jenna now hosts a virtual studio, online support programs for movement professionals and records her wildly popular podcast, Pilates Unfiltered™. She is supported by her husband Josh, son Jaxon and their dog, Flashlight – who can be seen making cameo appearances in many of her online classes.

How to Connect with Jenna Zaffino:

  • You can find Jenna online here

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, Training Manager, 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:

3 Myths About Posture in Pilates eBook:

  • You can find the eBook here

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

USA (PDT): Every Tuesday at 6pm
Australia (AEST): Every Wednesday at 11am

Please join us for our Stop Faking It & Really Know Your Stuff Pilates Q&A weekly open-mic Q&A all about helping Pilates instructors become masters at their craft.

We will kick it off with 5-10 minutes of debunking a myth within Pilates or teaching a slice of Breathe Education’s latest insights that you can take and apply with your clients today.

Then we’ll go open-mic to answer all of your questions around tricky questions like disc herniation, arthritis, stenosis, joint replacement, abdominal separation, shoulder impingement, and many more. Click here to register.

Pilates Instructor Training Resources:

  • Find out more about Jenna’s work here

Our Pilates instructor training is 100 percent online, so you can study from anywhere in the world.

Earn recognition: Your Breathe Education Pilates qualifications are recognized by the Australian Government, Exercise & Sport Science Australia, and all major insurers.

Build your skills: with our pilates instructor training, you’ll learn the original Contrology exercises created by Joseph Pilates. Plus, you’ll learn the most current, science-based ways to cue and program those exercises, how to work with injured and pregnant clients, and nurture beginners.

Gain confidence: Learning is fun and easy when you engage with our state-of-the-art eLearning system, filled with straightforward, relevant content and structured to guide your training as you build skills and confidence.

Feel supported: You’ll learn world-class problem-solving skills, not just a list of answers. Our student success team and trainers will provide you with all the guidance, challenge, and support you’ll need to become what you want to become.

Take your first step to becoming a certified Pilates instructor by scheduling a 20-minute Discovery Call with us here.

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