I really liked taking class. And so it was a way for me to sort of manage stress while I was in PT school and my dance teacher, Gail, she said, "Have you tried that Pilates stuff yet? Have you heard about Pilates?" And I said, "No, I haven't heard anything about it." And so we did a little research and we found out that the Saint Francis Hospital in San Francisco had just the year previous or two years previously with, under the direction of James Garrick put in a dance medicine center that had Pilates, right? The right word, Pilates. And it was there that I met Patrice Whiteside and Elizabeth Larkam and started falling in love with Pilates while I was in physical therapy school and started learning and studying there and at that time they had been working with Diane and Michael who had taught for Ron Fletcher down in Los Angeles and that's sort of where the original training that we had had originated and other great teachers, we had the chance at that time sort of getting together and that excitement and working with Marie-Jose Blom and a couple other California Pilates teachers and we'd invite out Romana and Carola and Ron Fletcher and Alan Herdman came and so it was an exciting time.
And shortly after that, we went out to Santa Fe and spent time with Eve Gentry and Michele Larsson. And so we had a chance to really meet and study with a lot of the elders that had studied with Joe and with Clara. And it was just a real exciting turning point in that world. Now, I had finished my studies in physical therapy and to me, the Pilates really was what we were looking at as a treatment or prevention for dancers. We really hadn't even talked about Pilates being used with the general public.
It really, unless it was a real posh posh thing down on Rodeo Drive. It was really being used with dancers and a mecca for dancers. And I started working in Sacramento, California shortly after graduating. And the owner of the practice, Larry Bertolucci, was kind enough and he bought a full array of equipment. So we had a full, Reformers, Cadillac, Chair, Barrel, the whole thing that he invested, particularly to work with the dancers and that was over those two years also is where Ken Endelman and I had become very good friends also in Sacramento, California at that time.
It was Current Concepts back then. Current Concepts, I remember that. It was a little tiny workshop and it was a very small deal when you go back in those days in Pilates and we would get invited to speak at a number of organizations and I think it was sort of the combination of Elizabeth working at Saint Francis and that whole movement of dance medicine and my role as a physical therapist in dance medicine that gained exposure to a number of universities and hospitals around the world. So, those next couple years you could find Elizabeth, Ken and myself traveling to cities all around the world. We would average sometimes 30 weekends a year, the three of us traveling Wow.
and teaching and working. And it was those early days that we realized both from the clinical practice and from who we were talking to that Pilates had a lot more application than just dancers and very rich women in Los Angeles. And that it had an application to many, many populations, particularly in rehabilitation. And that was sort of the beginning of what Polestar often is best known for is being a Pilates that is built on a foundation to work with populations that are in acute stages of rehabilitation all the way up to high levels of performance. Yeah, my question was how did you know you wanted to start an organization such as this or did it, was it always a big scope for you or did you know?
No, it wasn't a big scope to begin with. We just knew that it was so high in demand at the early 1990s in particular. There was a real wave that was moving forward and we, I think it's sort of like that book, "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell where he talks about, "It's the right time, we had the right amount of hours in the industry. We had a level of expertise that was pretty high at that time. And the wave was just starting and we caught the wave," and Polestar has been on that wave with a couple other great schools through the whole ordeal.
It just continued to grow it. It's like those mammoth waves that just keep growing. Yeah. Yeah, but that was it. I think that we just kept getting asked.
People were like, "Can we train with you? Where do we go for training?" There was no formal training and we would close down our studio for two weeks, fly to New York. So I'm not making revenues off my practice. I'm paying a couple hundred bucks a night minimum to stay in a hotel back in the early '90s in New York. Right.
And we would sit there with paper and draw stick figures as we watched Romana or JC West or Carola in the studio. We'd sit there and we would draw pictures, Wow. and we'd come back and we'd say, "Hey, did you pick up on this thing?" And we'd try it and we'd move. And that was our training. I think the closest thing we had to formal training was going to Santa Fe where Eve really was conducting some workshops and training and Michele was helping her and that was probably the most thorough training that we had and we started organizing it at Saint Francis.
In particular, people would come and wanted to get certified with Saint Francis in their training. That was very early on. And it just continued to grow and we realized there was this huge market in physical therapy and occupational therapy. And by 1997, we had a formalized curriculum and we offered our first certification exam. I think it was '97 or '98.
And it was about that time that I moved to Miami in pursuit of my PhD. And so I wasn't quite sure why I had to get my PhD. I just knew that I had to get it and I think that's where the whole idea of developing a real education product that could withstand accreditation standards and that would have measurement and outcomes and pedagogy and rubrics is sort of the beginning of how do we measure somebody's ability to be a teacher? Right. And I can tell you we're still far away from being ideal in our profession.
We continue to learn more and more every day.
Yeah, the lawsuit, unfortunately, it's sort of a stain in the Pilates world. I think if there had not been that lawsuit that we would be probably another 10, 15 years ahead of where we are today. It was a major hindrance in the growth and development of Pilates in the industry as a standard in the industry. It's ironic that during that time, the owner of the trademark and I had been working together a lot in the Physical Therapy Association, in the Dance Medicine and Performing Arts Special Interest Group. And so we spent a lotta time together and we had put together this organization, the two of us, and in 1992, however he acquired the trademark started to enforce it which I understood, but it did put a hindrance.
There was probably, we estimated about 500 Pilates teachers worldwide at that time in 1991, 1992. And so there wasn't a lot of us, it just there, but we were out there and the majority of us had received letters to cease and desist. Right. And so it started creating a tremendous amount of tension and protective egotistical kind of behaviors that started manifesting in the profession. And it's like, "This is mine, it's original.
I developed this, it's mine. I own the trademark." And so, that type of tension I think was very harmful. And so, the movement to make it generic we felt was very important. And so we joined in that force and it was '99 or 2000 that it actually fell generic. And I think it was the first time that we all came together and everybody very defensive.
There was such a high level of defensiveness of sharing. Nobody wanted to share anything because the fear of being sued or of, "It's my rights, it's my intellectual property," was so great that it really stymied us. There wasn't a sense of sharing. And I think we've made tremendous strides over the last decade in the Pilates Method Alliance that have brought these schools together and we've sat around the table. We've talked about what's in the best interest for the Pilates professional.
What is the safety factors for our students at large to know and to be educated about when they go to a Pilates studio? We still have a long ways to go. I sit on the certification board today and it's, how do we prepare our schools so that our schools can be accredited and be able to, when students go to that school, they know that they're getting an education that's gonna prepare them to be a professional Pilates teacher and to be able to be certified by the PMA and by their state to be able to practice safely. And right now it's estimated there's over 110,000 Pilates teachers in the United States. And there's only about 2,000 certified by the PMA.
And even with the major organizations there's only about 20 of 'em, 20,000. So, that tells you that there's over 80,000 people who profess to be Pilates teachers that have never done even formal training. And to me, we got a long ways to go. We do. So, let's go back a little bit if you don't mind with the lawsuit I don't mind.
subject matter and if you can answer, when was Polestar incorporated and coming into that, and did you have to be careful, in that controversy, did you have to be careful with your language and how you described yourself and what you were doing business wise and third, how did you come up with the name of Polestar? There's a lot of stuff there. Yeah, that's a good story. Yeah, that was a good story as well.
And you know I love telling stories, so.
So it could be movement concepts from, or derived from, Based on. or based on Joseph H. Pilates.
Now, Polestar has turned out to be a phenomenal name for us. Right. Polestar is the North Star, the guiding star. Just until recently, there was a company that opened up that were Pole Stars that were pole dancers and it was the first time that I thought, "Oh my goodness, I'm running a company Woops. of strip dancers." But outside of that, I mean, I think the idea of being the pioneer or the guiding star has been from the very beginning of our incorporation in 1992, what leads us and guides us, that concept of being a pioneer.
So, I would work 10, 12 hours a day sometimes seeing clients and patients and I would get on the equipment and I got the idea that I was gonna do all of the exercises as a different system in my body and see what my experience was moving as the skeleton, moving as muscles, moving as the digestive system, moving as the nervous system, moving as the lymphatic system. And then later on, years and years later moving as the energetic system. And that took about two years really and just sort of making notes in my journals and those kinda things of what was my experience? And because what I started seeing was how Pilates was affecting my patients that weren't dancers. And that was, so the name Polestar came from that to your discovery or, I mean collectively. It was in there together.
Ken came up with the name, Ken Endelman came up with the name as we were sort of playing Scrabble. It was like pulling the letters out and kinda figuring out what were we gonna have? So, Ken had come up with the name and we fell in love with it and he was gracious enough to give it to us to use as our corporate name and that's what we incorporated in 1982. But definitely tying in with the idea of what Polestar represented. It did match from the very beginning that even what we were exploring and what we were looking to answer the questions and the very early research that we did even leading up to the dissertation and many other research projects that have sorta come out of the Polestar family, asking the question, is this a legitimate intervention?
Is this a legitimate exercise methodology? Does this really change lives? When you read some of Joseph's original writings and they're not a lot, he really believed that his methodology would make the world a better place. I mean, he felt that He did. every kid and every adult needed to be doing Pilates in their house, at school, that it needed to be everywhere.
And once he had had his feelings hurt in the medical community enough times it was when I think that he probably, you get beaten down enough, it just wasn't the right time. And if he could see now that it's an accepted modality for therapeutic exercise in the physical therapy world, it no longer is an adjunct or complimentary therapy. It is an accepted therapeutic exercise modality in rehabilitation. And I think the fact that it's gotten there over the last 10 years has been a huge step and I like to think that Polestar has had a lot to do with that development that allows anybody to train from any school to be able to appreciate that their work, their methodology of being a Pilates teacher, the way that they can go work had to do with some of Polestar's pioneering the rehabilitation of it, the research. Can you tell a little bit about your relationship with Sean Gallagher for us?
Well, interesting enough in the orthopedic section of the American Physical Therapy Association, in the early 1990s we're starting what were called Special Interest Groups. And Sean and I had worked together in IADAMS, International Association of Dance Medicine & Science and had met there and both being physical therapists and active in the orthopedic section and both working with dancers had talked about starting the Performing Arts Special Interest Group. And so, very early on, Sean was the president for the first term and I was the vice president. So, we were actually working together very closely and professionally we were good acquaintances and I'd spent time with him out of New York. And when I'd go out and visit Marika or some of the, Jean-Claude West, and I would also visit Sean and we would do work.
I mean we basically were working on building this organization The work, yeah. and there had come a time where when Sean's term finished up, that I was the next president for a term for three years and Sean sorta disappeared out of that organization and also IADAMS and at that time was very deep in the lawsuit. And it was just an awkward time. I think that I sort of had a, probably more leeway than most people did that were being sued at that time. We were given, to fulfill what he had to do, we were given the cease and desist order, but nobody really enforced it on us.
Like some of the other people really got bullied and I think we escaped some of that bullying because of our relationship in the Performing Arts SIG. And not that it made it right or wrong. It's just that I didn't think that Polestar felt the same amount of heat as some of the other great Pilates teachers that were around at that time, Deborah Lessen and some of these people that really got pounded, They were hit hard. they were hit hard. Yeah.
And the fact that I was a physical therapist too made it so that I could do what I was doing no matter what I called it.
And that's where the derivative Polestar came from and we I see. would have to refer to Joseph Pilate's teaching as concepts of Joseph H. Pilates or those kinda things. Right, but not Pilates. Right, we couldn't say Pilates.
And we didn't until 2000 when the case fell and it was generic. We then move forward with using Polestar Pilates and that's how it could be used. And it led to, like I had mentioned earlier that whole evolution of the PMA coming from that, the fall of that case led to that beautiful integration and being able to look even at Polestar and Polestar had been very scientific up into that point in time, but did not have the depth and quality of movement that was in some of the other programs. And so, it was great to be able to sit down with Michele Larsson and with Bolder Pilates and with Deborah Lessen and all these great people and Myra Stott and Rael Isacowitz and I hope I'm not leaving too many names out, but we were all sitting around the table, Phoebe Higgins, and talking and realizing how much we could benefit by working together, how our organizations could change. And so by 2005 Polestar completely revamped our curriculum and we made it not only compliant with what we had learned in the PMA but took it a whole nother step further of saying, "All right, we still have this great scientific foundation.
How do we make sure that our students are having a comprehensive full experiential training in the exercises of Joseph Pilates?" And so that was a big step for us. So, after the lawsuit, what came next and how was the, can you describe the first PMA meeting? How did that start? Well, even before the first PMA meeting we knew that if the trademark had fallen generic that it would open up a whole nother can of worms and that anybody could use Pilates like yoga and we knew what had happened to yoga. So, there was, if you were lucky you had a great yoga teacher, if you are average you got a decent yoga teacher and if you're unlucky you got a yoga teacher that had online training that was a fitness instructor at a local gym.
Right. So, we knew that that was coming down the pipeline and it already had started to evolve. We knew that that was happening. And I think it was Kevin Bowen and Colleen Glenn that had stayed close with Deborah Lessen and Ken Endelman and many of the people that were heavily involved in the lawsuit and even the elders that were still around at that time and to bring them all together and to say, "Can we organize a not-for-profit organization that would protect the integrity of Joe and Clara's work and protect the public from people who weren't qualified." Things that you knew were coming. Yeah.
Potentially, yeah. yeah, and that was a very early stage. We had the meeting in Miami, so it was here. Kevin resided in Miami and was the first president of the PMA. And it was really great 'cause we had all the elders there.
So, Lolita was there and Kathy Grant was there and Ron Fletcher was there and- What a night (laughs). Yeah, it was amazing. And they all had their chance to talk and I'm missing some Wow. but Mary Bowen was there Wow. and it was great.
And then the next generation, so you had the Deborah Lessen, the Michele Larsson, and Rael and everybody was there and it was sorta like getting together and getting a feel for where our profession, it was really the birth of the profession I think, worldwide. Right. To have something to that actually said, "We've polled the elders and this is what we see as being the foundation work and to move from there." Wow, yeah. And now 10 years later, 12 years later, we have a third party qualified certification exam, the national exam. We have other countries that are building chapters of the PMA to be able to provide the same quality in their countries.
We have a certification board that is looking at being able to maintain the integrity of that certification and now looking at how do we maintain the integrity of the education? So, it might be another 10 years before we see that but those are the things we're working on and it's a slow process and we've moved, actually, if you compared us to medicine, physical therapy, massage therapy, I think we moved really fast in 10, 12 years. I think sometimes people on the outside feel like, "What's this organization doing for me?" And it's like, they're doing tons for us. And the question is is what are you doing for your organization? For your- That's the real question.
There's people out there bashing it that don't understand what a not-for-profit organization even is. PMA doesn't make any money. There's no person or entity that makes money. But as a organization, we have to make as much money as we possibly can to be able to do the things that are in our goals and our missions. They're for us as professionals to be in our profession. Absolutely.
And that's how one place- And you Polestar has been a supporter of the PMA from the beginning and it's not perfect and it's not perfect because we're not perfect and we're members of the PMA. So, if somebody wanted to complain about the profession it's like, it's our fault if the profession isn't shining. Now, there's great things happening. We're talking to Ken Endelman the other day and he mentioned that our profession has one of the lowest risk and utilization of lawsuits. And so our malpractice insurance and liability insurance and even equipment liability in United States is really comparatively low.
And I think that is kudos to the organization and to the fact that we have manufacturers and schools out there that are really spending a lot of energy to make Pilates safe and friendly first, and then to talk about the research of its advantages over other methodology. So, I think it's really taken the step to make our profession great and it takes money. It takes time and it takes volunteers to be able to make that happen. Right.
Well, I'll preface this by saying there are some phenomenal schools and training programs out there. And I do think it's a matter of finding what is your best fit. Right, right. I have developed the most amazing relationships with many of our fellow schools and the leaders in the schools. And I am so impressed with the quality of education that they provide and so whenever we have a student that comes from them or one of ours goes over to their school, there's very much a mutual respect.
When you look at how it fits you, if you're the student and you're sort of wondering, "Which school is the best match for me?' I remember going through this when I was picking a university and trying to figure out where am I gonna A school. have the bid? Do I want a really big school? Do I want a school that has really large influence? Do I want more liberal arts school?
Do I want a more technical school? Do I want it close to home? Do I want one that's really expensive 'cause I'm really wealthy and I don't care about blowing a big wad or am I really pinching pennies Conservative or- and I gotta do what I can do right now? So, those are all great questions. Polestar has been built bottom up with a problem solving approach to Pilates.
I don't want that to take away from the idea that the holistic nature of a comprehensive Pilates workout is the essence of what we do. It is what we do. We teach our students how to teach a whole program. What differs us a little bit is that we understand that there are many populations that cannot have a successful movement experience in Pilates in their current circumstances. And because we are so familiar with working with those special populations, so people that have neurological disorders, people with orthopedic disorders, with fear disorders, psychological disorders, amputees, many, many different rheumatological problems, pediatric, geriatric, fear of falling.
There are so many special populations that if we don't know how to create a modification of the exercise, they can't participate in the movement. And to us at Polestar, the underlying message is we want to create a successful movement experience without pain. We want them to have that or better said, to create a positive movement experience that exceeds their expectation because we know now in the research and this is a very fundamental part of Polestar, is that people's perception of their ability to move is the greatest predictor of their ability to move. Say that again. Yeah.
People's perception of their ability to move is the greatest predictor of their ability to move. It's not strength. It's not core control. It's not, sorry I did that. I just, I'll talk about that later.
(Amy laughs) But it's not flexibility. It's not coordination. It's not whose sequence is the best organized. It's really about these individuals and then sometimes it's disheartening because I'll see a bastardized Pilates class but it has a great outcome because that person believes that they had an experience that exceeded their expectation and it was an amazing experience for them and it made the shift. Right.
They had that shift, that paradigm shift of all of a sudden it's like, "I just did something that I didn't think I could do." Yeah. And the research shows that. So, one of the things we strive to do in Polestar is the language that we use in not only our instruction to the students but also how the students will learn how to communicate with their clients. And that's another fundamental difference is that we spend a tremendous amount of energy in our queuing, our tactile queuing, our positive language, avoiding things like but and don't know in our teaching language because those are all things that facilitate what we don't want. Right.
And we try to use language that facilitates what we want. Right. Right? And so that's another biggie and then I'd say probably the third one is, funny enough the spiritual aspect of Pilates. That was good.
Yeah, Joseph talked in his first guiding principle. He said, "It's about development of body, mind and spirit." And we often talk about the body and sometimes even talk about the mind but we often leave out the aspect of the spirit. And I think that that spiritual aspect is all important and some people confuse it with religion and the spirituality is consciousness and awareness and movement brings consciousness and awareness. And Pilates in particular was about being conscious of your breath, being conscious of how your movement affects your posture and your activities in your daily life. And it's amazing to me that somebody after doing Pilates will come up afterwards and they say, "I feel so happy when I'm here doing Pilates." And then they'll literally shift their posture and say, "But when I go home or I go to work, I'm so sad." And they don't understand that that actual change in posture, the movement, shifts the energy of their spirit, their fascia, their consciousness into one that is happier and one that is more productive and more creative, that they spend more time in creative thought and pure thought, less time in destructive thought and nonproductive thought.
And so, I believe, and we'll see the research over the next couple of years that this type of teaching, this mode of teaching will not only show that it changes quality of life but we'll see things like metabolism change. We'll see things like cortisol levels change. We'll see things Wow, yeah. like body composition changes and neurotransmitter changes that are pertaining to the successful movement experiences that we provide to our students. And because of that, there's this huge community that I feel incredibly blessed to be belonged to in the Polestar family that is filled with love and compassion and understanding that this is a gift to be able to teach people around the world how movement can make them happier.
And so we spend a lotta energy to pull away from what some of us experienced in our dance and sport career where it's like, "You idiot, can't do anything right, and get your butt tucked out"- (indistinct) and ba da da da da. It's all the negative feedback and that competitive and hostile environment or that passive aggressiveness that exists in so many things and to take ego and set ego aside. It's like I own the company and if I'm willing to pick up the trash or to sit down and talk to somebody there shouldn't be anybody else that feels they're, don't have that same obligation. And so, in the company itself, we breed that idea of being humble. I mean, being teachable, being meek.
Is anybody too smart to be taught something new? So, we're always learning.
I mean, we've always been about 50/50 between being a clinical practitioner and more of a mover, you know? So, whether it's physical education or a dancer, martial artists those kinda things, we've always been about 50/50 and that probably comes from the origin of Elizabeth Larkam and I working together. So, she is such a beautiful mover and very knowledgeable. And one of the things I learned from that was thinking that, in physical therapy school, we are brainwashed to think that we are the end all of movement and most physical therapists don't know how to move. So, you get this this dichotomy of thinking that professionally, I'm it.
And then you look at somebody like Shelly and Elizabeth and some of these great, Christi that are phenomenal movers, incredibly knowledgeable. They don't have a license to practice medicine and therapy but I'd rather them treat my mother than most physical therapists. So, there's this balance. So for us, in our education system, we want that beautiful balance between the science and the movement, right? Right.
And so, it used to be We do. that we separated the two of them. We had a rehabilitation track and we had a studio track we called it, and we learned over the last, maybe five, six years that they really work better when they're intermingled because the physical therapist relies so much on the movement capabilities of the mover and the mover relies so much on the didactic knowledge of the therapist or the nurse or the doctor. And when they work together they also realize something else, that they're not the end all, either one of them and that they can work together and that together they make the greatest service to the community, impact to the community. So that's really important to us.
And that we've always had that balance between that from the beginning. I think that's because it was Elizabeth and myself or Shelly and me teaching in that fashion. So, that's always been important. Recently, I mentioned we wanted to reach a new population and that was our Gateway and that's been designed and Shelly will probably talk a little bit more about that, but Gateway was designed as I mentioned to go into developing countries and not just developing countries but also being able to do an immersion program with any profession and even with high school students or early college students that really just wanted to have the experiential learning. It's an immersion process and it's not to take away from our comprehensive training at all.
It's more like, "I'm a physical therapist or I'm a school teacher and I need some tools," and we found that the way we designed Gateway, they can really immerse themselves with some online components and onsite components and have the DVDs to back 'em up that we were surprised ourselves at the outcome that we saw in these teachers after two, three days of doing something like that. And so it's something to get people started and we think that they'll probably be 10 or 20% of them that might be so enthralled with Pilates that they would go on to do a comprehensive training. Take that program. And then the third area is for people who've already been trained comprehensively in Pilates. And Polestar has been known for at least 15 years of having the advanced courses.
And in particular, the last five years we've had the Advanced Teacher Program which consists of 30 or 40 courses that we teach from advanced assessment, our pathokinesiology which are how does pathology affect movement and how does a Pilates teacher learn how to work with those special populations? And then the performance kinesiology, communications. And then we have some special workshops that we do. So, that whole component of education is available to anybody that's been comprehensively trained from any school and that's one track for comprehensively trained therapists. The other one is some of them want to become teachers or mentors with Polestar and they were trained in another school that they could do a transition or a bridging program with us and then move into the Advanced Teacher Program, prepare themselves to be a mentor and educator for Polestar.
It seems like there's more interest, I think, from what I see in myself, more interest in doing that because many of us aren't satisfied with that second tier of education Yes. and continuing education workshops are exciting but we need more, sort of that leading- There was a great, well, we all need more. Yeah. It's not some of us, it's all of us. Well...
And those that don't think they need more need it the most. Okay (laughs). There's, no, well, this is true. I mean, this again, we go back to science. Dreyfus & Dreyfus did a study looking at the progression of novice to expert.
In the book by Malcolm Gladwell, that talked about "Outliers" and talked about "Blink," and some of those kinda things where what they were talking about is that there needs to be a certain amount of time and education to be able to be developed to be a competent practitioner and then to become proficient practitioner and eventually, hopefully an expert practitioner and one of the things we noticed is that in that process, we need to continually be fed. So, that old saying, "The more I know, the more I know, I don't know," is very true, but there's another saying. And it says, "The less I know, the more I think I know," and that's the dangerous person and there's a lot of 'em in our profession. So, they think that because they have a certificate, they never go back, they never do con-ed, they don't buy "Pilates Anytime," they don't go to conferences, they don't go to PMA, they don't support their profession and they complain that something's not happening for them in their profession that they're getting burnt out and I can tell you straight up, you fall in that category of, you don't know a lot so you thought you knew more and it's a dangerous place for the community and for the profession.
And so the continued education becomes a huge component. That's why the PMA requires 16 hours every two years to be able to maintain. That's nothing.
Wow. Many of us wanted 16 hours a year minimum but we realized that some have major financial limitations but now with things online and with conference you can get your credits by just supporting your conference once a year or you can go to a Polestar conference and get your PMA credits for the year. It's not that hard and that's, that continuing education element is really the essence of it defies burnout. You watch people that go to a PMA conference or a Polestar conference or BASI conference or they go take advanced courses, they get online and they get into the "Pilates Anytime" community and they're networking with other Pilates teachers. And that's what gives us life in our profession.
I agree. It's the ones that close the door, you see 'em in a course, their arms are folded. They're leaning back like this. "There's nothin' new you're gonna teach me," you know? Yeah. And when we see that,
now, we're trained at Polestar by the way to break through that wall of yours if you're one of those people, but we will bring it out of you because we believe so much in communication and being able to, let's get involved, let's have that experience that will show two things to us. One is that we don't know enough and two is that there's a way to know more. And if we're not in that place, there's always that saying that says, "The greatest teachers are the greatest students."
It tells me what my culture really is. Okay. I mean, I could fabricate it and dream it and envision it but if it's not felt when people walk through the door, so my question back to you, Amy, Okay. is what did you feel when you walked through the Polestar facility or what you felt in the interview? What are you feeling?
Oneness? There's not a pretense here, respect, eye contact, equal, very honorable things, full of integrity. That's what I am gleaming. You passed the test. (Amy laughs) Yay! But just equality and education and just, yeah.
There's a fine balance between intellectual and spiritual. I think that's sorta, we talk about balance and those are, it's a fine line, but I believe strongly from my academic background that we have the responsibility to provide the evidence that justifies what we do. I think we have to talk intelligently to the world, to the medical community of what it is that we do, not with things that are speculative, not with things that are soft stories but really being able to show evidence that there is a power in this work that changes lives. Lives. And whether we are looking at the psychosocial or we're looking at the actual structure of the human body, we know that it affects them.
And so that research has been very important to us. On the spiritual side, I love my family in Polestar.
And to me, I'm just always amazed like at our conferences. Our last conference had 420, 430 people from around the world that, it was an experience that was so mutually edifying. There's no ego up on the stage. There was no ego. It was just genuine synergy happening where people were being edified and being lifted up and becoming better people and we sorta, it was called "Building for Life" was the title of that conference.
And it was amazing how the kinda things that had transpired previously in preparation for that conference that were very humbling to many of us. Carol Davis had a horrible fracture in her leg that required surgery just weeks before. I had injured my neck pole vaulting about four months before and ended up with a three level fusion in my neck. So, I'm walking around the conference with a brace around my neck and very humbling and yet understanding in that humility how great we were collectively.
I mean, it was just incredibly powerful and to realize all the great things that were coming from so much creativity was just being, it was like we tapped into that Akashic field and boom, it was like all these great things happening. And we're prepared for that again in 2013 in August. And I think that our community is one that has tremendous staying power. We have over 160 educators and we can probably count on two hands of educators that have stopped being educators for us over the last 15 years. We just don't have turnaround.
I mean, these people come and they stay and we've been through some tough times. I mean, we've had some really difficult financial times. We've had some difficult education times and I'm just impressed that people stay with us. One of our fundamental values is relationships before business. And Shelly will tell you that's been there since the beginning.
So, it's like that the risk factor that we like but that relationships before business. Number two is we wanna practice what we preach. And three is that we want to stimulate creativity. We want creativity. We want people thinking outside of that box.
Where are we going? Not who's competing with who but where is this industry going? Where can I go? And the idea of a Pilates life or a Polestar life that incorporates a lot more of what Joseph was talking about that we sometimes leave aside. We're not balancing out our work, our play and our rest. Work, right.
We're not, we're drinking things to be able to stay awake during the day because we don't get enough sleep which puts us into adrenal fatigue and we're all guilty of that. And it's like going back and saying, "Are we really gonna be the examples of what Joseph Pilates wanted us to do?" So, I just, I really like to emphasize that spiritual side of hiding that consciousness and awareness and then matching it with the evidence that shows that what we're doing is great. And if that's something that you're interested in, I'd go back and say Polestar's probably the right choice for you. If you're interested in community. I mean, we're in 48 countries and 12 languages.
And if you're looking for a home that has staying power, Polestar's a good choice. Right, right. We're not the only ones but we certainly are one that has that kinda staying power. And one that appreciates deeply the spiritual aspect of Joseph Pilate's work. Yes.
His second guiding principle was a whole body commitment and talking about how our mind and our body and particularly our mind, to maximize our mind's potential, not just our body's potential, but our minds potential. And I think of how can we design products in education that can reach out to developing countries, that can reach into school districts? And of course the PMA has been keen on that from the beginning. We recently developed a product called Gateway and it was particularly designed in the beginning as an immersion and experiential based Pilates course that could be distributed very inexpensively into developing countries, into elementary education, into recreational therapy that is taking place in prisons and in institutions. And again, the idea is, Wow.
if people can experience a few of the elements that are built into the spirit and the movement in the mind of Pilates, it will make the world a better place. I don't think there's any question about it. Deepak Chopra talks about there's not gonna be a political leader or any kind of major coup that's gonna change the world from a not peaceful place to a peaceful place. It's a critical mass issue of one person at a time. And so, I like to tell all the teachers that when you work with that one person who has 20 or 20,000 employees and you heighten their awareness of their body, you're heightening the awareness of their impact on everybody.
And it changes people and it changes the way we do business. It changes the way we treat our family, excuse me, it changes the way we think politically, it changes the way that we want our home to be a safe place. We want it to be a haven from the craziness of the world and it naturally happens. I mean, to me what is so impressive is that even before I understood the power of intention, just watching people's lives change that had nothing to do with the physical aspect, it had to do with the emotional, spiritual and mental aspect that changed their lives. And I think that to me is the most rewarding of all things is to watch people's lives change and I think that's where we're headed in Polestar.
I think we clearly see that vision and are developing tools as quickly as we can to be able to reach out and to provide things that less fortunate developing countries, middle America projects that they can have access to what we know changes lives and that we can build it in a way that it's affordable, it's accessible and that we can continue to show in the research that this is a methodology that can change your community.
Yeah, of course. Amy, your question is great because I think that when people ask us this, where do they go when they're trained? When we talk to universities and we make a pitch for them to be able to provide Pilates education of some sort even if it's just an introduction lecture to their students, they ask, "What's the future of somebody that's a Pilates teacher?" And I say, "Well, it's incredibly bright." I think those of you that get comprehensively trained have a very, very bright future. It is a profession that has continued to develop. I think that there's gonna be the needs of hundreds of thousands of Pilates teachers around the world to service the need that are well qualified.
I think that's the key thing. So, right now I would say we're probably somewhere close to 30,000 well-qualified in the United States and there's 12,000,000 that do Pilates once a day. I mean, once a week. So, I mean, you start playing with that math and you realize that's not even a 10th of our population that are using Pilates and we feel that Pilates benefits everybody. It's just figuring out how are you going to find your niche as a comprehensively trained Pilates teacher?
And, with Polestar, Right, right. if you feel like you wanna work with special populations or you wanna work in research, you wanna work in that community, I mean, I think we're a very good choice. And likewise, if somebody come up and ask us some of our competition and we'll always say if you're in the middle of a program with some of our competition that we want you to finish that. These are good programs, these are solid education programs and then if there's something we can do for you afterwards we'd love to be part of that and join you and have you join us. So, the future's bright and the key is to be comprehensively trained.
I always laugh when somebody says or complains about paying five to $7,000 for a comprehensive training. And I'm like, "To become a hair salon stylist, it's $13,000. To become Wow. a medical technician it's 12 to $13,000." And here you have a profession as a Pilates teacher that cost you five to $7,000 to be comprehensively trained and to have a lifelong career that just brings continual joy and peace in people's lives. I mean, to me, the investment's small.
That's why I always laugh. I said, "I invested hundreds of thousands to be a Pilates teacher. Now it's come down to five to $7,000." It's not that much of a price to pay. And it would be great when financial aid covers it but 'til then you're a pioneer and you invest in it and the future's bright. You're always gonna have a job.
Our graduates write to us from all around the world. I mean, they can work almost anywhere in the world that they wanna work as a certified Pilates teacher. That's great. It's amazing how much freedom they have to go and do what they wanna do. How many graduates do you think last time?
I think last count I saw was 5,400 or something like that. Congratulations. So, and it rises and we grow it. It gets harder and harder to process the exam. So, I know that we're doing more every year from around the world, but yeah, it's a growing business.
Thank you very much. Yeah, thank you. Thank you again, "Pilates Anytime."
And tell me a little bit about you. All right. Set education aside for a moment and let me get to know you. Great, great. I was introduced in Pilates in the very early '90s and had a dance injury as many, many, many people do.
And the only person that I knew to go to was this physical therapist who taught Pilates. I didn't know anything about Pilates, physical therapy or Brent and everybody in the community said, "You've gotta go, you've gotta go. He'll really help you." And so, I made an appointment and went to see him and that was really the beginning in the early '90s and saw him as a client for a number of months and got into Pilates. And at the same time, he was doing a lot of education for the dance community in Sacramento. And he would come to all the different schools and all the different university programs and dance companies and promote Pilates and talk about how great it was as a means of rehabilitation, as a means of injury prevention and training and cross training and it was really, it was very great.
And so, one day I happened to be in the studio and he says, "Yeah, you wanna be a Pilates teacher?" And I thought, "I don't know. What's Pilates, really? I don't know if I know." And he says, "It's okay, I'll teach you." And so, another young lady that I was working with at the time, Jill Stripling, she and I went through a residency program with Brent because there really Wow. wasn't much teacher training and I still have my original certificate, Yes, what is this? my 200 hours. Oh my goodness.
And that was what we did way back in December of, Wow. finished December of 1992. 1992. Yeah, so it's fun That's exciting to see that. you still have that.
Some really, really good times. So, I started teaching Pilates for Brent in the physical therapy clinic, in his clinic and worked mostly, there weren't a lot of people just coming in to do an hour of Pilates. It was mostly rehabilitation, his physical therapy clients and in the beginning I remember him saying, "Okay, take this person into the gym and teach them these five exercises and don't do this. Wow. but all these things are okay." And so he would really lead it Wow.
until eventually he'd say, "Here's Jane and build a program for her." So, it was great. Wow. And one of the things I so appreciate, and I think is a little bit missing, although I don't know how you would necessarily incorporate it in today's training is the apprentice. Apprenticeship. Yeah. I was gonna ask
Yeah. somewhat about that. I think it's so valuable. Anytime I had a question, I could go in and say, "Hm, you know, I'm not sure what to do here. Can you help me?" And he wouldn't just come in and say, "Yep, do this." He would say, "Well, this is what I see.
This is what I'm noticing. Did you try this? Let's experiment." So, it was much more rounded than just saying, "Oh yeah, just change the springs," or do something like that. So, that was invaluable. I can't imagine doing what I do now had I not had that input from him and the other practitioners that we worked with too, and Elizabeth Larkam was a huge influence in the beginning because she's just such a skilled teacher, knows so much.
And so it was an honor to get to work with both of them. Over the years my job has grown and changed and changed and grown. And I remember in the very beginning of Polestar Education, at the teacher training courses I would be the one going to buy the food and doing the cleanup and setting things up and going to pick up the manuals and all the things one does when they're apprenticing to a course in I think it was in Chicago where in, after I had moved here to Miami that I actually got to teach an exercise in a course that Elizabeth was teaching and I was petrified, but it was so fun. What was the exercise? I don't remember. Oh, okay.
We were teaching a Reformer course and we had a series of things that each one of us got to teach. Demonstrate. Oh, yeah. It was very frightening and exhilarating and I lived through it. So, that was- You are here to talk about it.
I'm still here, yes. And that was really the beginning of teaching in courses. And then it's really progressed from there. We have such a small team of people that we really had to, we did a lot of different things. So, not only was I working on the curriculum itself, what exercises are we doing and how are we teaching them and all of those things.
But there were times when I was in the photos and I was formatting the photos and I learned to use PageMaker and Photoshop and that dates me. I know PageMaker. And we did a lot of different things. Wore a few hats. Yeah, yeah.
So, we have to be really strategic about how we set things up, when we can make changes. We tried to keep that to a minimum because it's gotta, Absolutely. everybody's gotta have a hand in that and then I also work very closely with Sherri Betz. So, I'm meeting with her all the time on curriculum and exams and how we can do better at what we do. We already feel like we do a pretty good job.
Where could we excel? How can we better prepare our teachers? All of that and our students, too. So. Right, right.
I'm just going to ask, kind of generally introduce us
Is there an application process? And I'm sure there is and what that is. Right. How do I get started? Well, the main thing that we want anybody and this is whether it's a physical therapist coming in for the rehabilitation courses or somebody coming into the studio course is we want you to have experienced Pilates.
We want them to know Exactly. that before they enter a comprehensive teacher training. Plus it just gives such a platform to start from. If you don't know anything about the movement or the equipment or the philosophies, even at a basic student level, that's really, that's a lot. You're learning so much in those first courses.
So, we want that. We ask for 25 hours and more if they can certainly do that and- Combination of mat and equipment or do you have a- Sure, yeah. So, I always advise the students take the most of it in whatever the course is that you're going to do. So, if they're gonna do a Reformer course, being on the Trap Table is really good, but it's probably better that they take mostly Reformer work, but really anything, anything that has exposed them to the philosophy, the terminology, the way of, how we look at movement. That's really important.
So, that's the first thing. And we also want them to have some sort of background in anatomy. So, again, it's entering a whole new world and we're talking about all these anatomical terms and muscles and parts of the body and ways to move and if they don't have that that's a big stepping stone and any type of anatomy is great. There's lots of avenues now to get anatomy training. So, those are the two really most important things that they need to do.
And then if they wanna go through the rehabilitation course they need to be a licensed medical professional. PT? So, they could also be, so yeah, physical therapist is the most common but we get a lot of osteopaths, we get a lot of chiropractors. And we do, we have a fair share of physicians who also come through. That's fantastic. Yeah.
I didn't know that. Yeah. So, they need to do that. Although they could, anybody can come into the studio course. And we used to have a lot of trouble with people thinking that, "I'm going to the rehabilitation course.
That's going to teach me about rehabilitation." I was like, "Well, not really. We're taking you as a rehabilitation practitioner and now we're teaching you how to become a Pilates practitioner to compliment what you already are doing." So, there was a lot of people, "Oh, I really wanna take that rehab course. What do you have? What's your background? Nothing.
I'm an aerobics teacher." And it's like, "Well, it's probably not for you (laughs)." Right. Let me steer you So- a different way. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. What's the application process like then?
Let's say I've met the requirements in the pre req's and- Right, so there's an online registration. We're also very happy to help people over the phone. So, Mylynn in the Polestar office is great with the students and helps them so much to really understand what they need to do. They can apply online. We have a handbook that they read through and they sign a little bit of paperwork, but it's pretty simple.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. There's not much to it. We want people in the courses. So, yeah. Of course.
We make it as easy as possible. What makes Polestar unique
It's a comprehensive program. We take it a little bit farther and we do teach that, but we take it farther and we wanna turn these people out with as much knowledge as we possibly can, much more than just what's the choreography of doing The Hundred, right? Or do I breathe in or do I breathe out now? And that's really important but it's also important that they have a certain level of professionalism, that they have really strong anatomy and fundamentals of anatomy so that they can understand the body and this is also really important when they're gonna communicate with, especially a studio person with a rehabilitation person so that there's a common language. We teach about breath work but not just, "When do I inhale?" And, "Wow, my ribs kind of expand when I inhale.
Wow, good for you." (Amy chuckles) We take it much more into physiology and we look in depth at how movement has such an influence on breath and breath can have a huge influence on movement and we've recently started to work with a gentleman at University of Miami, Dr. Larry Cahalin who he is a respiratory therapist and so we've brought him in and said, "Wow, here's this body of work where there's such an attention to breath in a lot of different forms, can you help us? Can you help us get more information?" So, we're really excited to be working with him. Exciting. 'Cause it gives us, it works already. We know what works but do we really know it works?
So, he's gonna help us with that and we've done that in a lot of different aspects where we bring in experts from NLP. So, people who deal with communication skills. How can we have better communication, us, the teachers of the course work with the students? How can we impart to them how they can have better more successful communication with their clients? How can we all get along together better in a group?
How as a teacher can I manage a group of people which might be a full education course, it might be me giving a lecture at some sort of a professional conference or something and it could just be the eight rowdy people in my mat class in the morning. "Come on, we've gotta get going." So, it gives you really useful tools for that. We do work with imagery. We do work with hands-on tactile cuing. Again, just not the standard stuff of, "Put your hand here or push here or don't push here," but what does that touch really impart and what can you learn from it as well?
So, that's a different take on things. We also work very much in a, what people I guess would call now a circuit environment. So, in any one of our weekends of training, you are on the Reformer, on the Trapeze Table, on the Chair, on the Spine Corrector, on the Ladder Barrel, on the mat and everybody is active all the time. That's fantastic. So, there's not, everybody's gathered around the one or two ladder barrels that somebody has in the studio and just watching Right, sitting and- and hanging out. Yeah.
You're getting to practice the movement and almost initially even at a really fine, small level you're getting help teaching. What does it say? "Oh, it says right here, I'm supposed to do this. Okay, do this." And that starts that interaction right away. So, yeah.
So, those are some of the things I think are unique to us and we've spent a lot of time working with so many different professionals to really bring that in. It sounds like it. It sounds like it and really enrich it and not just learn the choreography and go out and teach the choreography. Exactly, exactly. And even people outside the Polestar community but the people inside the Polestar community, I mean, we never make a change in things where we don't have a committee of people from all over the world looking at it going, "Yeah, let's see if we can change this this way." So it's definitely not Brent making the decisions about, "This is how I want the curriculum to be and you're all going to do it." From the very, very, very beginning it's been a family of people working together and everybody shares their strengths and Brent is very happy when he goes to see a course that it's not taught 100% exactly as he would teach it.
So, the core fundamentals That's great. are there but everybody gets to impart their own personality which is, it's lovely. It doesn't happen everywhere. So, No, it doesn't. we're pretty blessed (laughs), pretty blessed to do that.
How many hours consist of the program?
And we do a combination of didactic work in the, especially in our first course, our principles course. So that is largely lecture and theory with practical components put in. So again, it's not just reading something on a screen or reading something in the manual but we've looked at all these components. Okay, so now let's go down and experience it. So, there's always that because everybody learns differently and there's some people who really want it spelled out.
They wanna see it written down and there's some people who read it and go, "Hm, that's interesting. I have no idea what you're talking about (laughs)." So, let's feel it. Yeah. And that's really useful. That's in the first course and then there are seven total, six more that are primarily on the equipment.
So, 16 hour courses.
It could be anybody because we really want them to get real life observation skills of what's happening and how does the instructor deal with this thing that just happened? Or how do they prepare a program and all of those things and they get to write down their questions and then get those answered afterwards. So, there's that. They have their own practice time. That, again, we would love just for the continuity for this to be done mostly with Polestar people but there's places that there isn't somebody. Yeah.
So, any practice is better than no practice. Any observation. Go and observe the best person you can find in your community, Right. so that you can have that you can have that experience. And then they have their teaching hours and many people are already teaching.
Back into the first level, the test out process.
So we wanna be able to test their knowledge of all the theory. Do they know that Clara Pilates was a real person? For a long time, now it's not so much but in the beginning, Clara, who (laughs)? Joe was married? Is Joe a real person?
I love the story that Lolita tells about Carola and Kathy and saying, "Oh yeah, you should go to Joe's." And, "Joe who? (Shelly laughs) Joseph Pilates. Oh, he's still alive. I can go work with him." He was real. He was a real person and he's still alive, at the time.
And so we, we wanna make sure that they have that, that they are very familiar with the history, history of Pilates, the history of Polestar. So, it's important that they have, they're gonna now be carrying on this lineage. All of the anatomy work that we do. So, we break our, we have six basic principles that incorporate breath and some physiology of breath, breath mechanics, all of that. We talk about core control which is not really core control as in squeeze everything you've got and hope for the best but really thinking of it as control of the core.
What are the relationships of all the different parts of the body and how much do you need to do to accomplish your task? We talk about alignment of all the different parts of the body and then we talk about how the spine moves and how we utilize that and then getting into the end of how we integrate it all together. So, we want them to be able to explain the basic concepts of all of those things. We look at safety, we look at precautions and contraindications. So again, I want a student who's a graduate to know if somebody has osteoporosis they're not gonna do these certain things or somebody who's pregnant, not at a high level but at a very basic level so that they are safe, yep. Safe, right.
So, we look at all of those things and then how do you modify for it? It's not good enough to just say, "Well, they can't do it." We need, what are you gonna do about it? And so we give them all the tools to know what to do with that for modifying even for just somebody who's just de-conditioned. So, anything you might need and what if you have a rockstar come in someday? And we have a lot of Olympic athletes that come into the studio.
Right. And you may as a teacher have to really raise the level of the movement. So, how do you do that? So, all of that's incorporated in the theory part of it. We also teach a Polestar screening.
And that is so useful for again, you don't know anything about Pilates, you don't know anything about movement. You haven't been a teacher before, yet we're gonna turn you loose to teach these people how to do Pilates. How do you know what's appropriate for the person in front of you? So, there's a whole series of movements that we go through to really determine what's safe right now? What are our goals for later on?
'Cause you don't wanna keep people at the same level. What are they gonna do later? That big, hairy goal that you think, "Wow, it'd be so cool if they could do this." And what are you gonna do? I know, what are you gonna do in the middle? So, we have questions about that.
We also have a practical component of that. So, they have to look at a screening and create problems and goals.
So they need to demonstrate that they can do that. Keeping in mind the goals, keeping in mind all the important information, progressing the person, all of those things. And then we look at their movement. So, there's a movement component to it. We look at their teaching, how they sequence exercises together on the spot right now.
All of that's incorporated with the safety concerns. Do you know how to set the equipment up properly? Are you safe? Do you teach the client how to get on and off the equipment? So, we try to look at every possible part that could happen in real life and we wanna make sure that they're safe, not expert, but very competent at what they're doing.
Right. And they're coming right out. So they have to be good representative. Yeah, and many of them are already teaching and in some small way, which is it's okay. It's okay.
As long as they represent themselves the right way that they haven't been a teacher for 20 years charging $150 an hour or anything crazy like that. So it's, we wanna get them up and going as quickly as possible. We do want them to do continuing education. So that's a part of it. And that's not only to, for their own edification and continuing to grow but we want them to be involved in the community.
So, we strongly encourage all of our students, well, anybody we come into contact with really, to at least be a PMA member and support the organization and support our profession but also to sit for the certification exam. So we think that's very important and we need everybody to be doing that so that as a profession we grow and we can go to the next levels of different things. We really need everybody to do that. And as long as they stay current with the PMA which is 16 hours every two years, then they're current with us. Okay, yeah. So that's, yeah.
So it works out nicely. There's no extra stuff to do. And additional training tools after they are complete with their program, DVDs and books or online resources. Right, right. Well, they definitely have their manuals which just as of this year, we completed a major overhaul of our manuals which I'm so excited about.
That was a big thing on my plate for the last year or so. And we're now, Wow, that's awesome. they're in use, they're color, they're gorgeous. We shot a lot of new photographs and we worked on the curriculum. So, it's great to see that.
So, they definitely have that and that has always been a good resource and I think it's even even better now, which is good. We do have our DVDs. So we have all of the exercises in the curriculum are represented on DVD so that they can definitely study with. There's much more now. We're doing a lot more on our Polestar library of things.
So, for the students that are actually on the courses but also for after what are some small things? I mean, the podcast now is such a great tool as you know to just give little bits of information to people and keep them and their skills high or curious about things and how they can go and do that. "Pilates Anytime" is a good resource. I have lots of students that, "I watched so and so on "Pilates Anytime." Can I use that in my log book? Yes, absolutely (laughs)." Good. Yeah.
So, it's good. And again, it keeps people involved more than anything. Really strongly encourage them to come to the PMA conference, to start to be at a position where they can apply to teach a class, a mat class at the PMA conference or teach in their area of specialty. So, that's really important as well as, because we have so many therapists and osteopath and chiropractors is to really be involved in their organizations as well. So, the physical therapists need to go to the physical therapy conferences.
They need to be presenting on Pilates and sharing that information. And everybody that has a specific kind of other specialty really needs to be doing that because in that you learn. So, you're presenting but you're also learning a lot. Yeah, and then we have our advanced teacher training.
One of the things we offer is our bridging program.
Yeah, define that a little bit more. Sure, sure, sure. Okay. So we have our normal 10 month or so. By the time they take their exam it's about a year long program with all of their coaching and practice time.
But then we have people who come through who may have graduated already from another program who want to learn what we have to offer. And we do that in an accelerated way. It lasts one week. So, we have our principles course which is the same two day course and they do that with a group of students. So, we always build it upon an existing course series. Okay, yeah.
So, they do that with the group because the group dynamics in that is really, really important. It's a great fundamental and then they go for seven days. So we have a day off where they have to go seven days and each day incorporates one weekend of the training. Wow. So we really want people and we've really strived to get people who have been out and teaching for, if you've been out teaching for five years, great.
Three years is okay. If you've only been out of your training for a year, you're probably not ready for this yet because it's gonna be so fast. You don't have all of the experience of teaching. So, we do a lot of recruiting of people who've been out for awhile because we go through this material pretty darn fast. And we're not, again, we do look at the choreography, but we're not just looking at that.
We're looking at how can you take to a deeper level? So what does this really mean? How does the rib pelvis relationship work here? What's happening to the foot and ankle that might have some other impact on the body and all of those things. So, we look at the choreography, but then we get into the juicy parts and we do that for seven days.
They do everything that the regular student would do, just in a very accelerated way. Tell me a little more in more depth and maybe more detail,
So, we have a whole varied selection of continuing education courses and in the very beginning because Brent's specialty is orthopedics, we did what was called Advanced Spine and which I always thought was kind of a funny name. Advanced Spine. My spine is intermediate. No, mine is advanced. Which really taught practitioners and at the very, very beginning, it was mostly for the medical practitioners.
And we realized that everybody needed to know this information. So, we taught ways of working with spinal pathologies that are completely safe and within the scope of practice of a studio practitioner, somebody who comes from a dance or fitness background of how you can work with people very successfully who are coming, usually coming from physical therapy and they're not really ready at that point to go onto their regular life, but they really don't need structured physical therapy any longer. They're in that middle what we've called post rehabilitation.
And so, how can I learn to work with somebody who needs special care, but is still appropriate for me to do that? So, that was one of the first courses that we did, the Advanced Spine course. We've now grown that field into the pathokinesiology courses. So, how can we work with the body and the pathology it brings. So, we have them for the upper body, upper extremities.
We have all shoulder girdle and arm work. We have lower extremity work. So hip, knee, ankle, we have spine. We also go into neurological diseases. So, how would you work with somebody?
What would be really important to know about working with somebody who had MS or who had rheumatoid arthritis or who was in a car accident and had either a spinal cord injury or a head injury? What would be the different things that you would need to know to work with one of those people safely? It's a great, it's a great course, 'cause every client comes in with something. It's true. You have to (laughs)...
I think more just from my standpoint and when I was an early teacher, I was getting clients more often than not that had a special consideration that my first training didn't teach me and that was okay they didn't, they couldn't get to everything but I quickly realized boy, I've gotta go back and do more school which I love. More and more is fine, was the better for me. But it's so important because those are really more of, I think, universally who we're getting in Pilates studios, Oh, completely. 'cause people know Pilates is what you need to do after recovery of those things but many teachers aren't skilled enough yet. So it's- Absolutely and we really wanna push home that thought of Pilates really is for every body.
So, a dancer has very different needs than somebody who just had a hip replacement. So, how can we work with now a performance based population and how can you work with athletes and how can you work with people who have huge demands put on their body? We try to keep them as injury-free as possible but they're often the ones coming back from an operation, some sort of surgical intervention to repair something. How can you get them back? Not to just the average level of life but how do you get them back to that next level?
So, we have courses that deal with that and then we also have other courses that don't have to deal with Pilates directly but very much affect how you teach. So, we offer a course in communication skills and we've tried to massage that name so many ways to get people into it. It's like how do you sell a communications course? And people go, "Oo, communications. Yeah, that's kinda boring.
That's like speech writing or something. What is that?" But it's a great course that teaches us how, again, how to resolve conflicts, how to prevent conflicts. So, if you can sense something's gonna happen can you move it in another direction with a client, with a student, with your spouse, with anybody, with the guy at the grocery store. So, that's invaluable. And we've worked for a number of years with Alastair Greetham.
He's an NLP practitioner in the UK and more recently we've worked with Helen Mason. She's a physical therapist and teaches at University of Miami. We've worked with Dr. Mason for years and years and then more recently she's come back on the scene to do her NLP courses which is great. Brent teaches some business courses and we help people Wow. who are starting out who don't have a business background.
If you're a Pilates teacher, you may not know about all the things that go into creating a business plan and operating a business, so. And insurance and yeah. So, there's work on that Wow. as well. How many, I mean, if you can number them how many continuing ed courses do you offer?
I don't know an exact number. I would say probably 15 to 20. Wow. Because new courses I didn't know that. are being offered all the time.
Okay. And we're starting to offer more courses that are a little shorter. So, they were for a long time, all 16 hours, one weekend. Weekend. And now we're offering a lot of courses that are eight hours and then we also offer series of workshops.
So, it's not the same level as a full course but you can learn a lot in a four hour workshop or a three hour workshop Oh, yeah. on something. So, a lot of the educators teach their own workshops and the students love them because it's just, again, it's that one more and it's really palatable. And in four hours, or 16 might be a lot. Yeah or they may not have that time and money to offer that but they need something. Absolutely, absolutely.
What is that? How do we, what, yeah. Love to. So, it's a new program that we developed and we almost didn't because so many of us, especially those of us that have been around a long time thought you need very comprehensive longterm detail oriented problem solving, all of these things to have a good program. And people would say, "Why don't you just do a training that's a little shorter and a little less expensive?
Oh no, no, we couldn't do that. It wouldn't be right." It's not gonna work. Mm mm mm. It's not how we do it. But people ask so much and other people are doing that.
We thought, okay, well, it's almost like we have a responsibility to create a product that fulfills both of those needs. So, there is quality in it, but it is affordable both time wise and financially for people. We certainly have our other program which is, it's not that expensive in the scheme of things, but it's a good amount of money. Yeah. So, we thought, "Well, how can we develop a program that is easy to deliver and easy for the students to grasp the information?" And we were thinking of when we were developing it people who were in like career changes.
So, I was a dance teacher or a dancer and I wanna transition into something else, but I'm not sure I really wanna go into a full longterm program 'cause maybe I'm not gonna be able to be a full time Pilates teacher. So, I could do this Gateway program and it starting with mat. So we have mat exercises, we have the Gateway Mat 1 and Mat 2. And they can incorporate those things into the things that they're doing now. We were contacted by so many physical therapists who said, "I really wanna learn Pilates but I am doing physical therapy in this setting.
I'm not gonna be a Pilates teacher. I don't have the equipment. I don't foresee myself doing that. How can I learn some Pilates that I can use now with my patients and do that?" So, that's one of the things. Plus we had people who just wanted to know for their own edification.
They wanted to know more about the work but maybe there our clients, lots of our clients have said, "I wanna know a little bit more." That's exciting. And it's really great.
There's an online part of it and Brent lectures on three different kind of broad topics. So, he introduces the history of Pilates, the history of Polestar and a bit about the community. Then he goes into biomechanics. So, we thought we teach a fantastic principles course with all these different aspects of this more scientific knowledge of the body. How can we get that down into a manageable part for people to learn because safety wise that's important.
So, he talks about biomechanics, he talks about spinal movement. We talk about core control, the real core control in the body and some alignment issues, some breath and things like that. So, they're familiar with that and then the last section is scope of practice. So, as a person who's going through this 16 hour training, what's it appropriate for you to say and do and call yourself? You're not gonna go out and charge $100 an hour to teach this work.
This is the level will you are and here are other places where you can aspire to if you choose. So, we put that together and then we wrote, well, we thought, "Well, anybody can just watch it." Okay. What are they gonna retain from it? Some people will really take notes and do all that and other people are gonna hit play and go out and do something else. And do the dishes or something.
Exactly. So, we put in some quizzes. So, after each one of the sections, they have a quiz, in total I think there's 40 questions and they're just multiple choice. And you have to answer each one of those correctly before you can proceed to the next section. So, it's really cool. That's fantastic.
And you can go back and watch the video as many times as you need. So, we have that section. We also recorded in English and in Spanish four mat classes. The first one's very short and then the second one, second, third and fourth ones are a bit longer of the sequences that we're teaching the students which again is so different for Polestar. We've never said, "This is the order we want you to do them in.
You have to do it like this." But we thought, "With this population, maybe they don't know enough to make really smart decisions yet. We're just gonna tell 'em, do it like this. Don't stray from there, just do it like this." And so they have four classes that they will learn the sequencing to. They've got the realtime classes. So, I'm teaching the English part and I have three students, three teachers who are students and then Christi Idavoy teaches the Spanish.
And again, there's three of us as students. And so we go through each one of those real time and they have those to practice with before they come to the course. So, even if they've had no Pilates experience they can have that and they can be in the middle of nowhere. They may not be where there's a Pilates studio. That's okay.
It doesn't matter. So, they can practice and practice and practice. And then they come to the course and we have a review of some of the concepts that Brent talked about and then we go into those concepts but practically applied. So, how do you know, That's great. we talk about those neutral spine and neutral positioning.
Well, you've learned what it is. What does it look like? How do you know if your people in your classes are actually in that position and then how are you gonna move from it? How are you gonna cue them into that position? How are you gonna help them?
How are you gonna assist with this? And so they, we go through this whole thing, some of it in supine, in prone and side lying and seated and in standing and then we look at articulation or we look at more like dynamic stability work so that they know what they're looking at and looking for. So they have some reference, and then we go into the exercises. So now it's a review of the exercises that they've already practiced.
The concept that Brent taught and the practical part of what are you gonna do with all of this put together so that they can learn the exercise. And it has basic contraindications. Obviously, if somebody's pregnant or we talk about that a little bit. And then by the end of the weekend, they have not only done the exercises but they've also practiced teaching them. So, at certain points we stop, split up into small groups, teach these exercises.
Being a little larger group, teach these exercises. We do like a round robin class. The other thing which is kinda cool which we've not really ever put into our manuals is there's a grading system almost, not pass fail grading but here are the things you did really well. Here are the things that need a little bit of attention and we have very specific things. So, go back.
Your movement was great, but your understanding of the theory was not so great. So, go back and watch the online portion one more time of Brent or five more times or looking at these particular concepts. Somebody gets the theory pretty well, doesn't have the movement or doesn't have the teaching and so we can guide them into exactly what they need to do because chances are we may never see them again. They're gonna go back to their dance studio or their physio practice and they're gonna do their own thing. The other cool setting for this too, is again, large organizations.
So, we can go in and teach someone to teach. It's almost like the Pilates in the schools was like Pilates for the businesses. So we could go into a certain business and somebody may wanna learn to teach Pilates as a lunchtime activity for their office. So, there's a lot of applications for it and the coolest thing ever when we piloted it here in Miami, was the response that we got. So, we had some yoga teachers, we had a couple of dance teachers, we had a couple of physical therapists, we had a firefighter, we had a really kind of diverse group of about 12 people.
And even the yoga teachers who were quite well-trained, good, seasoned yoga teachers had never broken down the movement like we did in the course. That specific and maybe awareness. This is exactly how you're gonna do it. Because so often it's get to this position or do this many. Make this shape. Even in Pilates,
yeah, make this shape. Here's the pose. Here's the thing. Even in Pilates, do these exercises. "Okay, well, I did 99, 100." But they don't really understand the inside of it.
What's happening. Right, right. And they were so thankful that they actually got to break it down, look at it, figure it out, put it back together. And the physical therapist said the same thing. One of the therapists and she almost was in tears when she was saying this and she said, "I've been teaching these exercises for a long time and until this weekend I didn't really understand exactly what I was doing." Oh boy.
But oh boy. So, I think there's just huge, huge application in so many different walks of life where a full 450 hour training is really not appropriate for somebody. It might be too much. And then several of them, we had about almost like 20% retention of them who said, Then they want- when's your principal's course? We wanna take the comprehensive training.
And we didn't really expect that. We knew one or two maybe. Yeah, would instill that But we had-
It is. But it was phenomenal. So, we had such a great experience. Sorry, when did you launch that? When was the pilot and then when was the- We, yeah.
We did one several months ago and that was like, even like a pre pilot. We just thought we've gotta try this out before we, we don't really know what's gonna happen. Right. And we had four people and that was probably about six months ago or so.
The last one, the one we just did was about two months ago and we had 12 people, That's great. people from South America, people from all over that came to take this training. So, it wasn't just local Miami people. I mean, we had a girl from Venezuela I believe, That's great. and another girl from South America and then our Miami people.
So, yeah. And we're really hoping to launch it. Well, launch it everywhere and of course the licensees or licensees will really determine is it something that is gonna fit well for their countries? 'Cause it might not. It might not. Yeah.
But I know in the UK, there's a huge need for this. A lot of people who wanna incorporate it into their current whatever they're doing, physio or dance and those things. In Asia, the Asian market is so huge. There's so many people without a studio next to them. So, how can we teach them how to do this?
One of the places I'm very excited just because I've been one of the primary teachers there is in Russia and a few people have equipment but again, it's a massive country. And if we can go in and start the training with no equipment, just mats and your computer at home and a DVD player, that's just a huge opportunity to reach people. And it is a bit of a marketing. Oh, sure. It's gonna bring people into our courses, but it's also gonna enrich their lives.
Is it somewhat pre Pilates-esque then or preparatory It is but we get kinda practice or? into most of kind of the, like the basic Pilates exercises. So, we're doing The Hundred and the Roll-Up and single leg stretch Okay. and Swan and all of those exercises. But we do use a lot of the pre Pilates or preparatory Pilates that are not part of the original mat work as a teaching tool.
Yeah, which those in my opinion are some incredible things. They're amazing. Someone may never get to the full 100, but they can prepare for it Mm, no. and that's their exercise. Absolutely and that was the thing that the participant said.
Again, like in physical therapy, such a common exercise laying on your back and lifting your leg up and down. So we call it Femur Arcs or Dead Bug or any of those different movements. And they said, "I have a whole new appreciation for this." I was just giving it to my clients and kinda hoping they did it and that was our home program. And now I really understand which is huge. It's huge 'cause so many people are not taught that.
It's exciting and it, Yeah. I look forward to seeing where that's gonna go. Yeah, we are too, I'm intrigued. We are too. It's so, it's still brand new and we're very interested in how it goes.
How much is the Gateway program and how much time is involved? Yep. So, the time is one 16 hour weekends. So, we'll usually do it on a weekend although it could certainly be during the week, plus the online portion which not everybody kinda incorporates into thinking about their time, but that's part of it. So, it's about, it's almost two hours of online video that they watch.
The practice time of them doing the classes at home on their own time before the course and hopefully after too, and then the 16 hours of the course and that is 495 and that includes the manuals and the DVDs and the online portion and all of that. So, it's pretty- It's reasonable. Pretty reasonable. Very reasonable. Yeah.
Great way to get people introduced to it and like you said, It's great. in the marketing and possible segue into the full program. Absolutely. and beyond. Yeah. Yeah, it's good.
Wonderful, thank you. Hi, I am now sitting with Sherri Betz
Okay, so what is your day? It's pretty much when I fall asleep at night to when I wake up in the morning, I'm thinking about how can I make our education program as good as possible? Okay. I don't wanna make it just good. I wanna make it great.
And my job, I would say my job if I could put it in one sentence is that I am the implementer of Brent Anderson's visions. And he has big visions, believe me. He has big visions (laughs). He has visions that are so big that I go, "Not this week, month or year, but maybe sometime in the future." So, he'll start rolling out those visions and some days he'll be really creative. I don't know, he has a chai tea or something and he gets really stimulated and I'm writing everything down and I'm going, "Okay, I think we can do this one and not this one.
And we can do this one and maybe this one."
How did that come about? All right. So, let's see. I was Director of Rehabilitation Services at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in Hamilton, New Jersey. It's one of the satellite hospitals of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
So, one day, one of my newer grads that was a young therapist came up to me and she said, "What do you think about this pilots?" She held up a picture on the, it was the cover of the "New York Magazine," not "The New Yorker," but the "New York Magazine." And there was someone doing, probably feet in the straps I think. And it was Okay. something like that. And I was like, "Oh, some fad or something, who knows?" All right. So I kinda dismissed it.
So, a few days, couple weeks later maybe somebody else asked me what it was. And then the third time somebody asked me what something is, especially in clinical practice if it's an exercise program like Zumba or one of these different kinds of exercise that comes about I find out because I recommend exercise to patients. So, I think it's my job to know what's out there. And what are the options for people exercising in health clubs and gyms and things.
So I finally said, "Okay, I'll find out." And so I looked it up and I found out that Anthony Ribera, who trained with Romana many years ago had a studio in Princeton where I lived, 'cause I lived in Princeton, New Jersey at the time, Hamilton is just right next to Princeton. And I went and I did a lesson and I got involved in an advanced Reformer class of six people. Wow. And I was going, "Um, this is fun," but I was doing everything wrong. He's yelling at me from across the room.
"Stop. Don't do that! What are you doing?" I'm like, "I don't know (laughs)." I think I had my feet on the foot bar and he had us bending forward to do stomach massage. Oh, yeah. It's been so long, I can't remember. I think I held onto the foot bar and he's like, "No, stop!" Oh no.
It was like, cardinal rule broken already. I'm like, "Man." But I found it very interesting and very fun and I was a gymnast. So, I took to it like a fish to water and I thought, "I do wanna find out what this is about and I maybe wanna take a different class next time." But Anthony was lovely though. He was fun and very, very lighthearted and wasn't rigid or dogmatic with me. I mean, he was, we laughed about it and we're still friends today.
So, I went to New York and I actually went to the 2121 Broadway Studio and did a couple of lessons there and they were very structured where we had to do certain exercises in a certain sequence and I brought a friend of mine who had a back injury and it did not go well, actually. The session for her did not go well. So, I took her to central park. I laid her in the grass and treated her so that she could Oh boy. get back on the train and go back home.
And then I applied for a job at Courtside Club which is a Western Athletic Club facility and in Los Gatos, California. And they said, "We want you to help us open a Pilates studio. Do you know anything about Pilates?" And I'm like, "Well, I've had a couple lessons but not that much about it and I know what it is sort of." And they said, "Would you be willing to train, to get the training?" And I said, "Sure, absolutely." So they sent me to Saint Francis Hospital Center for Sports Medicine and they said, "You need to meet Brent Anderson and Elizabeth Larkam."
It was an amazing session. Wow. And then my first, my training was taught by Brent Anderson, that principles course, the foundation was taught by Brent and then the rest of the course was taught by Elizabeth and then I was invited to eventually join the faculty. I just, I mean, that was like home. Yeah, I know it.
I was like, this is definitely what I wanna do. Yeah. So. Then from there and did you stay in California then? I think you said you did. Mm hm.
What did you do at that time with that? Well, I eventually opened a studio and I helped the clinic or the health club facility start a Pilates program. They had started many times unsuccessfully to implement Pilates. So, we bought equipment. We put in the studio, we started, I call it Guerrilla marketing, but I bought everybody tee shirts that said Pilates Instructor.
I started doing free introductions to Pilates in large groups. We had about 25 people a week that were comin' to these things. That's awesome. It was great. Wow, that's great.
And then I would triage them into either physical therapy if they needed it. Sometimes they really need PT 'cause we had a PT clinic in the facility. Sometimes they needed private Pilates if they were not very savvy with their movement or they had some issues that weren't really physical therapy issues but they needed really one-on-one. Maybe they had poor balance or something like that and then the other people could go into group classes. So, eventually we did group mat.
We did studio circuit classes cause we only had, I think we started with two Reformers, a trap table, a ladder barrel and a chair. So, we didn't have that much equipment. We started circuit classes in groups and I worked with Donna Flowers who actually took Brent and Elizabeth's first Reformer course I think. It was like a one day, I don't know if it included other equipment but it was a one day course for physical therapists in 1992 to learn how to teach Pilates. So, I'm sure Brent or Shelly Power could confirm when that was.
I don't remember exactly when that was, but it was early on. And she was a physical therapist at my facility Okay. that had just taken that one day course. So, she knew a little bit about Pilates, but not very much.
And so that's how I started and I worked my way forward putting together a model for Western Athletic Clubs to put in all of their facilities. How did they get you to come as VP? I mean, it's no doubt why, Yeah. but how? Who made the call?
"Sherri?" It was really a good question. That's great. Yeah, how'd you get to VP? Brent said to me, one day, I was here for the educator meeting last year and I came in a few days early and I don't really know really why but I'm trying to think why I came in early but I wanted to come in early and hang out at the center. Oh, I know what it was.
Brent had his surgery in August or in, no, it was in May, April or May of 2011 and that was right before the conference. He called me up before the surgery, the day before the surgery and he said, "I'm having cervical spine fusion. I actually didn't know."
And I had never thought of anything like that. I mean, never. Wow. I know that I've been an integral part of Polestar and I've sort of managed the West Coast region for them but never really thought of running Polestar Education. I'm like, "Me run Polestar Education?" he's like, "Yeah, I think you can do this." And he's like, "Hopefully you won't need to but..." (Sherri laughs)
So then that kind of like, I think that really made me start to think about the possibility and him too. And then when I came Definitely. for the educator meeting, he pulled me aside and he said, "Would you write your ideal job description? What is it that you wanna do with your life? Your professional life?
And what are the things that you would like to be doing on a daily basis?"
And then treating patients a few hours a week, I don't ever wanna stop doing that. Thank you. And then educator development. I love that and I feel like I'm the agent for the educators that I have loved all these years, that I'm helping them to become more successful as educators, as teachers, even hopefully more successful in their studios. So, that has been really fun.
So, then basically I wrote those things down and said, "This is what I wanna do on each day and how I want to structure my days." And he said, "Sounds good."
And then the next one That's gonna be exciting. that I've worked on is redeveloping our fitness screening, making it more objective and reliable. So, being more objective is looking more specific criteria so that we can get inter-rater reliability, meaning if you did this test to Joe over here, and I tested Joe over here, would we get the same scores? So, we're looking at that. And we're working with University of Miami physical therapy students to help us with those measures. Wow.
And so that's really exciting to be developing that to a more full extent. It's called the Functional Movement Outcome Measure because again, Pilates relating to function Function. is really part of that. And who you are, yeah, and what it means for you. Yeah.
So, I've been able to do that as part of my job and I feel like I'm the ambassador for the Pilates Method Alliance and Polestar, when I go and speak at conferences I can represent the organizations that I love and want to promote. The National Osteoporosis Foundation, American Bone Health are also my other organizations that I'm part of. But I get to do all of that as part of my job and I don't have the burden, which it's a lovely burden of running a Pilates studio, that I can devote solely to education which I'm responsible for administration marketing, media and the education process as well. So, Sherri, what is the test out process
And we have a one hour case study which they are, they're given a fitness screening or a Nagi grid if they're a rehab practitioner, then they would have a case study and we say a fitness screening versus a case study. Okay. And then they interpret the results of those either fitness screening or case study and they develop a beginner, intermediate and advanced program. All right. Then after that they go into the practical part of the exam.
They're asked to teach a beginner client. So, we bring in clients from the community who are friends and family of usually Pilates studio owners that have never done Pilates before. So, we want them to teach Okay. a real beginner. They teach a 45 minute session to a real beginner and then they have a 15 minute recap with feedback.
And then the next day they teach an advanced client, each other. So, they'll teach Okay. an advanced session to an advanced teacher which they all should be advanced by that point. So, they teach an advanced session and then they are, they have to teach a round robin mat class. So, they draw exercises out of the hat and they teach a class.
That's great. Each person has to teach and so we get to see them moving and they participate in an advanced circuit. So, we set up challenging exercises That's great. so that they all rotate through a circuit. So, we get to see them moving quite a bit and teaching quite a bit throughout the weekend.
Yeah, and then we give them a business sort of development lecture and take their head shots and give them some professional tools to help them move on their way. What if the person does not pass the test? What next? So they usually don't fail all the areas of the test. So, whatever areas they were deficient in, they have a minimum score that they should score in each section of the exam.
And we tell them basically what they need to do in order to- Improve. To improve. So, say it's the didactic part of the multiple choice. Then we go over the questions that they missed and more of the concepts of the questions that they miss. You need to study more about this.
So, when you talk to your mentor who you're training with to practice, then they would coach you on these areas. And here's where you can find in your manual the Motor Control Theory, Punjabi's model of stability, whatever it is that they need to review and then if they are deficient on the case study, same thing, we would get them with a coach or with a mentor that can help them understand where they're deficient in a case study. So, they can just take those sections over again. If it's movement, then we would tell them what exercises they need to practice. What are the main skills?
Like if it's, say it's poor lower extremity alignment or they're pronating their feet with each exercise or their shoulders are poorly organized with the exercise. So, sometimes there's a theme throughout. We can tell them what those themes are and what they need to work. How long do they get to retake? How much time can go by- Up to a year.
Up to a year? Mm hm, Wow. they have one year. That's a long time. Well, I mean, it's just like if you don't do it by a year, you need to retake the course.
Yeah. So that's sort of our standard. Okay. And if somebody's pregnant or they have an injury and they have surgery or something like that, just tell us. Right, right. Just let us know
and then we can communicate with you and try to keep you in the loop and maybe you can rehabilitate yourself during that time. I would say that 80% of people complete the program but there are always ones who are either-
You've got a bit of time left, what's going on? Okay. So we try to follow up with them and hopefully not let them slip through the cracks. Okay. If someone is wanting to,
How would they need to do that with you and get clearance or what's the protocol there? That's really a great question 'cause I think that's part of what I've changed the most since I've been here. Okay. One of the things that I have really put some structure to since I came on board as Vice President of Polestar is our host site development. Okay.
And I have a checklist of things that I ask before someone is even considered to be a Polestar host site. First I say, are you a Polestar graduate?
Like they have to have the right amount of space. What equipment do you have? So those are the nuts and bolts, like the basics. Like you have to have at least 1,000 square feet of open space that 14 people can do a mat class. Right, okay. 'Kay?
And then you have to have all the apparatus that we require in each program. Which, do you wanna know what that is? Yes, please. Okay, all right. Two Reformers, two Trapeze Tables or a Trapeze Table and a wall unit can work as well.
Okay. One chair, one ladder barrel, a spine corrector, magic circle and two mats. All of it. I mean, or like 14 mats, there should be mats for everybody. Okay.
But yeah, so basically two of each piece would be great and just one ladder barrel and one chair is fine. An extra chair is always helpful but it's the minimum. So, those are the three main questions that I would ask at first. Then I need to ask, how active are you in your community? Do you regularly email people?
Do you have a database of people that you email? Do you communicate with people easily and do you have 200 people that you're communicating with or do you have 2,000? So, it needs to be a wide reaching professional that has fingers into their community. If they're a physical therapist, are you a member of the APTA? Do you attend conferences?
Are you a member of the PMA? That's another question. And do you attend- Are they required to? Yes. Definitely, definitely. I would figure they'd
have to be, yeah. All educators of Polestar have to be PMA certified. PMA certified. Now there can be an owner of a facility that just owns the facility and then someone else is the educator at the facility. So that has happened before, but there needs to be somebody on site that is Polestar trained.
Now, we don't require that all of their teachers be Polestar trained but we would like for a majority of them to be, so you can have one or two that maybe aren't but if only one person is Polestar trained and the rest are from another organization it's just a little messy. It doesn't work quite as well. So, we will definitely consider that, we don't have major, major rules about that but it is best if everybody's kinda speaking the same language and that when a student goes there to practice they're not confused.
So it's going to be like, now they did it that way and when you're a beginner you're really trying to just get it all put together. It's a lot of information to assimilate. It's a lot of information. Right. So, we think it's best when that happens.
And what we're finding is that people want to be a Polestar host site. So they call us all, we get calls like every day for somebody that I bet you do. wants to be a Polestar host site. And they think that they're going to hang the shingle up and people are gonna flood into their studio and they're gonna get this prestigious recognition for being a Polestar host site and people are gonna flood in for the courses. Well, what's happened?
Three people come to the course and we send an educator by plane seven times to teach our curriculum throughout that year, plus an exam. And obviously, that business model's not gonna work.
So, we've had to restructure and say, "We need a minimum of this many people in the courses. What is your community outreach? 'Cause if you're not active in your community, it's probably not gonna work." I mean, I know because I did this for 14 years in my own studio in Santa Cruz and it's because I was active in my community that people were drawn to come and take courses at Santa Cruz at the site, Absolutely. at the Polestar science. How many do you need to participate?
Let's say you- Well, we feel like sort of the break even point is about 10 students in a course Oh, wow. and the maximum is 14. That's the ideal, That's a good number. is 14 because we have the stations set up so that each person has a partner and they rotate through the circuits and we usually try to set up seven circuits so that they can get movement and teaching practice on the apparatus as much as possible during the course.
It's growing so quickly so fast in many different dimensions and age groups. Where you see it going, where do you wanna see it going? I think I know where you wanna go. But you know? Well, I'd certainly like to see it in more community centers.
We're also gonna see it more in universities. So, Polestar's working with several universities to implement the full program.
the university setting. So, that's one of the things I'm excited about and also into the hospital setting so that there are more options for Pilates in a hospital setting whether it be for outpatients or maybe for acute care. How 'bout some spring assisted squats to help people get outta bed?
One of my colleagues wants to put springs above the beds just like in the old days where Joe got the idea. I wanna put springs above the toilet. We should be (laughs), Yeah, help these people. doing some spring assisted squats above the toilet and then change to yellow springs after a while, you know? (Sherri laughs) That's great. Yeah.
That'd be fun. Yeah. You could patent it. I know, I know. I've had a lot of ideas that I could patent I guess, but not my thing, I guess.
So, if we go back to the really quite exciting direction that Polestar Education is going into university setting, what does that exactly mean? That the Polestar foundation course would be- The comprehensive teacher training- Yeah, would be available to college students in the- Is within either a physical therapy program.
It would be implemented into a program. That's exciting. We've been in University of Miami for a long time and we've had a program there where we teach the first two of our series. In University of Miami for a long time. And we'll be teaching part of our program at Florida International University as well.
So yeah, we're working with several different ones around the country, too. So let me welcome you
And we have a number of great team members that are anxious to welcome you into Polestar Pilates whether you're here for fitness or for rehabilitation. And first I'd like to take you over to the fitness side and the wellness side so you can see what we do in the Pilates gym. So anyway, coming down this long hallway, we have two classrooms with Pilates equipment or Reformers on the floor for our classes. We teach sometimes up to 70 classes per week, depending on whether it's high season or low season. High season for us in Miami is in the winter and low season is in the summer when it's really hot and muggy.
Anyway, come on back and let me show you the rooms. So this is our Allegro room or Reformer room and we typically have 10 to 12 students at a time that will come into a class for anywhere ranging from 18 to $25 for a session when they buy a package or are members of Polestar Pilates. We also have an air wall. So, when we open this air wall up, now we have a mirror room the same size, even a little bit bigger that we do our masterclasses and can sometimes have up to 24, 25 people on machines. So, we have 25 Pilates Reformers on the floor.
So, you might think this is a videography trick but this is actually studio two that also has the other 12 Reformers. And to my right is the air wall that opens up for us to be able to have the larger classrooms. So again, we can have two classes going at the same time and typically we're doing somewhere between 60 to 70 Reformer classes per week. So, welcome to the Polestar Club Room. That's how we call it.
It's sort of the nice room which has good energy, good lights, a nice feel to it in the colors. This is where we also offer our circuit classes. So, students will come in and they'll pick a station and we'll rotate them around up to 10 students at a time with one or two teachers teaching them how to enjoy all of the equipment in a class setting. So again, we can keep it affordable in the range of 18 to $25 a class, and they can come in here and get the full Pilates experience in their 50, 55 minute class. This is also the studio that we use for our coaching.
So, when students are going through their professional Pilates training, they'll come in here so that they are always working in the full circuit including the mat, Reformer, Trapeze Table, chair, barrel, spine corrector and Ped-o-Pull. Like every Pilates studio, we have our wall of fame and what we consider our famous people that come in, although all of our clients we consider to be VIPs but we always like to put their pictures up and let them tell how great of an experience they had and how Pilates saved their life, saved their profession. So again, we continue to use our space as wisely as possible and so we use this space for small mat classes, chair classes, ball classes, foam roller classes, magic circle classes, whatever is sorta the theme of the week. We often will provide those classes here if they're not big enough to go into the large room. And behind me is our studio where we often do our private one-on-one or semi-private sessions.
And if you look way down at the end we have our Gyrotonic equipment which we have a number of certified Gyrotonic instructors that work in that area. And that makes up the fitness side. So, we're gonna spin back around and go over and visit the rehab side and show you what we do with rehabilitation and Pilates. So, as we come into the rehabilitation side, I talk a little bit softer because there are some patients here right now but the rooms to my left are our massage therapy rooms, myofascia release rooms and therapists are working in there often will spend an hour even to two to three hours with a patient and sometimes two therapists at a time, even three therapists at a time working on getting somebody's body to change in that time. We have people that come in sometimes for two weeks intensively and they'll spend three to five hours a day between the Pilates and the myofascia release and in the Chinese medicine acupuncture.
As we come down the rooms on my right are specifically designed for women's health. And so we're very fortunate to have Dr. Pam Downey with us who specialize in women's health and also pelvic floor dysfunctions. And a lotta women will say that their mother told them once they have kids join the club, they're all gonna have incontinence for the rest of their life and we've shown that with a combination of good internal work and Pilates that we're able to restore these men and women to high function in their pelvic floor. My name's Linda Friedberg and I'm working at Polestar Physical Therapy. A normal day starts around nine and I see patients one at a time per hour.
And my patient load varies anywhere from people with orthopedic issues and neurological issues. Pilates allows me to use physical therapy in a way that I hadn't been able to use before with more classical physical therapy because we have machines like the Reformer and the Cadillac that use use springs for example that help assist patients move their body before they can move it on their own. So, if I have a patient like with a stroke for example, who might not be able to lift a leg, we can hook a spring up to their leg and it can assist them in their movement and they are able to move through ranges of motion that they couldn't do otherwise. As we come into this space, this is sort of our general space where we do our rehabilitation with Pilates. So, we often see a class for Parkinson's or patients that have suffered from a stroke, spinal cord injuries and a lot of orthopedic problems.
So, elite athletes, post-surgical, spine dysfunctions, post surgeries that we take care of people here. And one of our primary objectives in Polestar is to have a positive movement experience without pain and research is showing that when people have these experiences without pain, it shifts their paradigm of how they believe their injury affects them. So, it's not always about strength or core control or flexibility or even motor control. It really is about them having successful movement experiences. So, our atmosphere here is one of having fun, one of being successful and so the therapist and the Pilates teachers are trained to be able to create that positive experience.
If somebody feels like they're doing something that they otherwise would perceive exceeds their expectation, they never thought possible they could do a hanging exercise on the Trapeze Table and yet they're doing it here and they're doing it without pain. So, that's our primary goal. You can see examples of our rehabilitation rooms for orthopedics and this room in particular is for our Chinese medicine. So, our acupuncturist uses this room as well with acupuncture, herbal medicine, herbal injections, managing everything from moxa and chronic pain problems and she's a fantastic addition to the team. She also is a certified Pilates teacher and a certified Gyrotonic instructor.
So, everybody here is cross trained. All the PTs are certified in Pilates with a PMA and graduates of the Polestar training. Many of them have gone through three or four different Pilates programs on top of Polestar. So they really have a great depth of Pilates experience and how to integrate it into their treatment. All of the manual therapists here, there's five of us that are trained in manipulation as well.
So, we do joint manipulation, structural manipulation, myofascia release and other techniques, craniosacral, and then a few of us are trained in actual the psychosocial. So, Dr. Davis and myself both have our PhD that it ties into the psychosocial aspect of rehabilitation. So, there's anybody that really is not responding, they're dealing with chronic pain, depression, perceptual issues, we often will work with them one-on-one and be able to help them through this process of turning the corner and being able to enjoy a better quality of life. And that pretty much takes you through the Polestar Center. What I wanna do now is I wanna introduce you to Polestar Education.
Now, Polestar Education as many of you know, we have over 5,000 graduates. We're in 50 countries, 12 languages and we've been around for a heck of a long time, since 1989. And what I'm gonna do is show you our headquarter office and you gotta promise you're not gonna laugh because it's a small space that we manage a whole lotta people in a big organization. You ready? Let's go.
So, welcome to the Polestar Pilates Education Office. I know a lotta people expect when they come to visit us to see like 10,000 square feet with 40 computers and hundreds of people answering the phone. But this is it. This is our team right here. So, it's led by Sherri Betz, our VP of Education.
And we have our wonderful team with Mylynn, Melissa and Letti who help us with the administration, sales, customer service, the IT, the website, everything that we're doing they're always trying to improve. This is our team. This is who's doing all the work behind the scenes. We have a few others that help us with some of the administration and we have 160 educators around the world that provide the quality of education that we're known for in 12 languages and in more than 40 countries. But this is really it.
So you see the yellow, the yellow actually is our color and Sherri Betz has done a great job of building what we call or refer to as Team Yellow. You can check us out on the website with our Harlem Shake with a Polestar and you'll see that yellow shining nice and brightly. And we would love to have a bigger space. So, if anybody wants to donate some money and help us build a bigger space for Polestar Education, we would take that as well. That concludes our tour of the Polestar Pilates Center and Polestar Education in Coral Gables, Miami.
I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you and we'd love to have you come visit us whether you're coming for some Pilates classes or some private sessions or physical therapy, or just to come talk to us and hang out and observe the things that we're doing here. We welcome you at Polestar Pilates. In this episode, we'll show highlights
? You die and live on ? ? Oh, you die and live on ? ? You die and live on ? ? Oh ? ? You die and live on ?
? You die and live on ? I've never been to a Polestar conference. I'm hugely inspired and I just wanna know how you're feeling at the end of the weekend here? One word. One word?
One word. Fulfilled. Fulfilled? Yeah. It's exceeded all of my expectations, everything from the speakers, the people who joined us and most especially the event we did for the Special Olympics.
We had a goal of raising $5,000 to donate to the local chapter of the Special Olympics and at the end of the day, we're well over almost $14,000 now that we'll be donating. Wow. So, it's really exciting Wow. to think that an organization as small as ours could provide such a nice gift to the local chapter. ? Oh ?
? You die and live on ? ? You die and live on ? (all cheering)