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Pilates Body Shape: The Illusion of Perfection, with Laura Cruz

Episode 60:

Pilates Body Shape: The Illusion of Perfection

Today on the show, we welcome Laura Cruz, a New York-based Pilates instructor, to discuss the illusion of the Pilates body shape that many people in the exercise realm still cling to. We shine a light on the elephant in the room that Pilates clients need to look like dancers and be able to do the splits to enjoy Pilates. Pilates is for everyone; it’s not a performance — it’s to make people feel great and move fearlessly, and Laura shares her insights on how to increase diversity and accessibility in the Pilates world.

What You Will Learn:

  • How the myth of the Pilates Body Shape impacts instructors and clients
  • Why sharing your personal experience with clients helps to reassure them that it’s ok not to understand things and ask for help
  • How to help clients create autonomy and agency with their bodies
  • Why Pilates is not a series of steps moving from beginner to advanced but is a winding path
  • Why you should permit yourself to explore creativity and innovation in movement practice

Pilates Happens!

Laura shares her journey to Pilates, how she moved from office manager to Pilates instructor, and some of the challenges she faced along the way. She describes why she felt isolated from her fellow teachers, not only because of her ethnicity but because she had no previous long-term experience of exercise. Laura shares her initial frustration with her body’s lack of ability to maintain certain shapes and emphasizes that labelling movements as ‘beginner’ or ‘advanced’ stalls fearless movement.

Connecting with Clients

How you look and talk feeds into your clients’ perception of you, and we discuss why Laura feels that her clients enjoy working with her because she talks and behaves as they do. Being approachable and transparent allows clients to be their authentic selves, which enables Laura to support them holistically. Laura shares why the way you welcome your clients sets the tone for their movement session, connects them to what she has planned for the class and makes them more responsive to what she is asking them to do.

Creativity and Innovation

At our core, fitness instructors are creative people — we can come up with amazing combinations of exercises, but often we hold ourselves back from exploring that creativity. If we do that, then we’re selling the Pilates experience short, and we’re selling our clients short. You don’t need someone to give you permission to freestyle; you can just decide to do it. Give yourself permission to just do whatever’s in your heart and mind to help your clients move joyfully and fearlessly.

About Laura Cruz:

Laura is a diversely-educated movement trainer and practitioner born and raised in NYC. She utilizes Pilates, mobility, and strength training to live life more fully and to support others in doing the same. From direct care for the disabled to movement coach, birth doula, and mentor for other wellness entrepreneurs, Laura has empowered others throughout her life.  A lifelong student, she shares everything she embodies and learns with those around her to significantly impact lives.  Her mission is to help people discover what autonomy looks like within their bodies, businesses, and lives.

How to Connect with Laura Cruz:

  • You can find Laura Cruz on Instagram here: @iamlauracruz_
  • You can find Laura Cruz 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, 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:

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
Australia (AEDT): Every Wednesday at 12pm

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.

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.

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