Discussion #4962

People Before Pilates

55 min - Discussion
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Join Tasha Edwards and Gia Calhoun as they discuss perfectionism and self-care in Pilates. They will talk about imposter syndrome and how you can find your voice in your teaching and they will also share information on ways you can make Pilates more accessible to the broader community.
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Apr 01, 2022
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(upbeat music) Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Pilates Report. I'm so excited today to have my guest Tasha Edwards here, and we're gonna just start right away. So welcome Tasha. Hey Gia.

Thank you for having me. Of course. Just so everyone knows your background. My first question for you is what is your background and how did you find Pilates? Just to give people little context of why you're here?

My background feels like a loaded question. I actually found Pilates specifically because I was going through, I had just come outta grad school and a month after I graduated, I lost my job downsizing and I had gained this weight back and I was embarrassed honestly. And I stumbled into a YMCA with a co-worker and we were gonna lose weight. And then she told, found out she was pregnant the next day. (laughs) And so I went at it by myself and Pilates was one of the things that became a fixture.

You couldn't even set a meeting for me on Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon. I'm going to see Andrew and that's it. Life happened. It took me a couple of years to get back around to it, but I always have that foundation of what it was like to be in the gym, trying to find myself again and then find something that just felt good to my soul. So that was 20 years ago.

Wow. And what initially drew you to Pilates and also made you decide to become a teacher? Curiosity drew me to Pilates because I was like, what is Pilates? And so I just stumbled in and Andrew was just very soft and gentle and I was just like, I mean, okay, I'll try this. And what made me teach it was a couple of years, a kid, another state later was that I was working sales in the gym.

And at that time we had one Pilates teacher. So I would tell people, my second Pilates teacher was a black woman and I just wanted to learn from her. It was so interesting. And I felt that flowy type of feeling that dancers want to feel, I've always loved to dance. And I just felt connected.

I was exercising and doing what I loved at the same time. That's really what drew me to it. And I wanted to add to the conversation, I didn't fit in anywhere. I knew I wanted to teach. But I wasn't like everybody else.

So I started off with yoga and Pilates. Those are the first two things that I started teaching. That's wonderful. I also relate to feeling good in your body and that, finding the connection between dance and Pilates and that flow and just feeling good in movement. So I relate to that a lot.

So I wanna go into, just finding your voice as a teacher, 'cause I know for me, I had this problem and I think a lot of new teachers can relate. It's sometimes easy to mimic your teacher when you're queuing clients. So what did you do to kind of find your voice and be an individual as a teacher rather than just copying your teacher? I think it came with bringing who I already was into it. Linda taught Pilates in the gym.

And so as a person who worked the sales desk and taught other things, everything I ever taught came into the next class with me, as far as when I got comprehensively trained, my main thing was I wanted people to feel comfortable and safe. And when I was in those environments, a couple of times I had been in them. I did not feel that way. And it was how do I connect to people in my regular life? And how do I bring that part of me into a class?

So no matter what I'm doing, no matter what new skill it is that I always show up and never have to create some persona that I have to remember to put on. And so it is when I teach Pilates, you get every bit of Zumba, south side, suburban track mom, Tasha, you get all of it, you get all of it. And I think that's it is that not being afraid to be yourself is really how you find it. Yeah. I think people relate to the authenticity and the people, your people end up finding you and they'd always stick with you rather than I know for me when I've tried to teach people that I don't necessarily click with, but I try to make it work.

I'm usually miserable. They're not happy. And they don't last, where the people who I'm actually myself around and authentic, it makes a huge difference, so I completely agree with you. And I know you mentioned Zumba and I know you teach other modalities. Can you tell us what those are?

I do teach Zumba. I was a master trainer for Piloxing. I have taught the Less Mills program, body pump, body jam, CX works. I taught grit. I taught step, fitball, TRX.

I did everything someone would let me do because there were so few women, age, size, color who looked like me, but also because I wasn't like everyone else, the magnet school person in me took over. And so I started feeling, the more achievements or certifications I got, the more legitimate I would be. And that wasn't necessarily true. But what it did was give me access to so many different people in so many different places and teaching such an array of different types of crowds. I really think is what made my group fitness into my Pilates.

I came in solid because I knew more than just the moves or whatever I knew how to read people. Yeah. You knew how to make people feel good or how, to help them enjoy their workout as well and keep them motivated. Is that correct? Yeah.

Agreed. And one of the things that's really important is that learning how to, if I was the person that people weren't used to seeing, it was learning how to disarm people, like these preconceived notions about who I was because of what I looked like. And so people had their guards up almost, assuming that I didn't know what I was doing. I couldn't. And learning how to not combat that with extra anger or resistance helped 97% of the time.

(laughs) There's always one. Most of the challenges have been about being black more so than anything. My first Pilates class was an accident. I was working at the sales desk and got shipped to this class because a teacher had been fired that morning and none of the students knew. Oh, wow.

And on my way out of the door, I was told to be aware of X, Y, Z, because she doesn't like black people. Oh my gosh. (laughs) Yeah. And so it was either go in here intimidated. Or figure out how to stand your ground and be the professional that, you know, you are, and that you're growing to be.

And it was, I wasn't going to combat that, I was going to teach the class, but I think creating a soft space for people in general will disarm people who want to believe otherwise about me. Yeah. No, I definitely struggled with that too. In the beginning of teaching, 'cause I was 21 and so most of my clients were older. So I had to go in being like, "No, I know what I'm talking about." 'Cause they're like, "Who's this kid?" And no one wanted to listen to me.

So I relate to that a lot, just trying to almost change their minds and get them to trust that I knew what I was doing and that I could still help them, even though I didn't necessarily experience everything that they had experienced in their life. So it's definitely trying to soften that for them. I think it's so important. It is. And it doesn't go away because you've been teaching for a while.

It just happened to me this weekend. (laughs) It just happened to me this weekend that I was guest teaching and a woman came in and I mean, she didn't say hello. She didn't say anything. And she said, "I drove 45 minutes to be here. "It better be worth it." Oh my gosh.

I'm sure you made it worth it though. I was like... Yeah. I said, you know what I said, "I'm fun. "And I can pretty much bet it will be." And it was like watching her personality change throughout the class.

It was interesting. And I don't think that I'm like a, a grumpy member whisperer or anything like that. But I was open to my process in understanding how, what I was doing or what I was saying was landing for the people that I taught. And I think that that is so important, more so than having all the fancy moves is knowing when to pivot and when to be quiet. Yeah.

I agree with that. Do you think having a unique voice has benefited you in your teaching career and how so? Yes. For sure. And it's mostly because I was a personal trainer in the gym as well, and I taught on a college campus.

So I would get people from all over it's like people would stumble into my class and say, they quote unquote heard about me or even, "Girl, you have hips like me." Or the care, it was the, the care my background is in, I have degrees in sociology and counseling. And so it was always about the connection first, because if you don't connect to someone at some type of level, what happens is that you can only teach surface stuff because you're only conscious of where their hip bones are or whether they're spine is curve, that sort of thing. And so it was the art of learning to have conversation and thinking about what I said before I said it and how I said it. It was always about wanting to leave people with their dignity and for them to feel strong and seen and successful, even if we only did two out of the 25 things, I had planned. And so for sure it has, having all of those experiences and honestly, Gia, how I felt in certain classes also influenced how I taught 'cause I would never want anyone to feel like that.

What experiences can you... Do you have any examples of ways that you've felt that you don't want people to experience? Yeah, I have several, there are in, sometimes in boutique studios, you have more of the clicks, and everyone looks one type of way. It's very monochromatic. And so if you come in with anything that doesn't look like that it's automatically suspect.

And I remember going to one studio, nobody knew I was a teacher or anything. It was a booty yoga class. This was a hundred years ago. And I went to put my mat down, and the girl said, "No, me and my friends are right here." And I said, "Okay." So I went to the back and I took my mat to the back and they're constantly looking at me through the class as if I wasn't going to be able to keep up or something. And I don't know if you've ever taken a booty yoga class, but there's this part where it's these African drum beats, dance in the middle.

And it was like, I went nuts. I just, you know, as a dancer, when the music hits you, you just go crazy. And then it was like after class, one of the girls walked up to me and was like, "Oh, I thought you said you hadn't done this before." "I haven't." "Oh, well it looked like you had had some experience." It was almost like I was being put on trial for having a good time in class and not falling on my face. And I have gotten that from fellow classmates and teachers, to feel like there was nothing that I could do that was right. And they were dead set on correcting me.

Your butt was too big. This was not, you weren't breathing. You weren't doing this. You weren't doing that. And remembering how I felt.

And a lot of these experiences happened after I was an instructor. And I never, the feeling that I had all of those times. I never want anyone to feel like that, if I can help it, because sometimes you can't, you can't stop it. But if I can help it, I would never contribute to someone else's feeling of shame and doubt and embarrassment. No, I think that's so important.

And it's just like what we'll call this webinar, People before Pilates, people first, and you have to address the person before you actually go into the Pilates, 'cause at the end of the day, we're still gonna be people when we walk out of the Pilates studio, we're not just Pilates robots, we're people. So I think that's so important and it's horrible that people have made you feel that way. And I know, I've had experiences like that too, where I'm just like, it doesn't make sense how people can treat others that way, especially a paying client. You want them to feel as good as they can when they leave, not worse. Agreed.

And if we think that what a privilege it is that people trust us that they come to us because they're trying to make some type of change or improvement. And that's a very sensitive subject and to think, that I would never want to betray someone's trust who comes into that space, believing that I can help them, and establishing trust before I start, poking on your bones and telling you to shift this down and do that. It's, for some, for me, it's triggering, depending on what type of environments you've come from, anybody yelling or talking to me in a certain tone, I will immediately shut off, immediately. Yeah, no same here. We just got a comment from Tesa C saying, "Tasha, you're amazing.

"And I would love to take a class from you." So just wanna... Oh, Tesa. Okay. I would love for you to take a class with me too Tesa. So I wanna pivot into perfectionism and it actually kind of goes into what you were just talking about, with the teacher's nitpicking at you and it's kind of common for Pilate teachers to have type A personalities.

Why do you think there's, such a desire for perfection in this industry? It's structural, and if you think about that, Pilates was this underground movement for dancers. When you're doing someone else's choreography, you don't get to choose to do otherwise, you do as you're told and that's it. And so if people have grown up in this type of environment, they translate what they know, sometimes without realizing how traumatic it was us on us, we just do what we've been told. And this is the way I did it.

And this is the way that you should do it because dance, specifically ballet is an exact science, like a plie is a plie no matter what, and I think that's, well, a couple things. I think that's part of it, is that we had a lot of people who came from that environment who kind swooped into the Pilates world. And it's hard to turn that off. Several of us are over achievers. One of the other things is that I believe that there are people who get into this Gia, not just Pilates, but other group fitness things, because they have felt powerless in other spaces in their lives.

And so the idea of being in charge is it gets good to them. It makes sense. I totally believe that that's true. Yeah. I just, I believe people who have been bullied or were the quiet kids or never excelled at this or whatever.

Sometimes I feel like, and I'm gonna say we, because as the little sister and I was bullied that there was a time that I had to check myself because I had never been in charge of anything, and that power trip, because people wanna be us. They admire us. They respect us and we feel like we're hard on ourselves. So we're hard on them. Yeah.

I get that. But we are, we're hard on, yeah. We're hard on students, but we are really hard on ourselves. It's like a two-way mirror. Yeah.

And I totally agree with you about the dancer thing too. 'Cause when I first started teaching, one of the best pieces of feedback I got was to let people just move. 'Cause the ballet dancer in me was nitpicking and trying to make every little thing perfect. And my clients were getting through maybe a couple exercises and my boss was like, "What are you doing? "They're not gonna come back.

"They don't, "They're not gonna enjoy this. "So you have to like pick one thing "and focus on that and then just let them move. "Don't nit, it's not gonna be perfect. "And you're not perfect. "So don't even try to make them perfect." And it was like, something clicked in me and I was like, "Oh yeah." I can't...

we're always striving to be better, but we're not gonna be perfect. And we just have to kind of keep going and just try to keep progressing rather than being perfect. So I agree with you on that. Yeah. It's hard.

People have spent lots of money and lots of time to become Pilates instructors and we want people to know that we know our stuff. And there are certain, and I won't say schools of thought because I can't say it's from one generation or this person or this person that that's what Pilates is to them micromanaging movement so that we can fix whatever is X, Y, Z. And if that's your jam and that's your clientele, then that's okay. But you have to know if that's not for you and that there are other options. I think that's when the problem comes in, is that people who aren't like that are trying to be like that because they were taught like that.

And that conflict is what makes teachers unsure exactly what you were saying at the beginning, trying to mimic others instead of owning, this doesn't feel good to me. And I wanna do this a different way, but should I break the rules? The answer is yes. Yeah. Oh yeah.

I definitely struggled with that in the beginning too. Where I was taught a certain way and I was like, "Oh, but I was told this wasn't right." And then I had another boss question me like, "Why are you doing that?" And I was like, "Cause that's what I was taught." And she's like, "But what function does it serve?" And another light bulb went off. I was like, "Oh my gosh." This blew my mind. I've been lucky that I've learned a lot of these lessons, at a young age too, where I was able to see what other people are doing too. And just not focus on that perfectionism or mimicking other people.

And I was able to find my own style and voice, but it's a struggle for a lot of people, especially newer teachers, I know 'cause I definitely struggled with that in the beginning. Yeah. It's super hard. And God bless the teachers who were fairly new and then coming into the virtual space, because now when you thought your competition was the two teachers at your studio, now you're competing with 5,000 people that you're following all of them on Instagram. And so now you've seen someone, dangle from the chandelier with one foot on the headrest and you feel like that's the only way you can be seen or respected as a professional.

And that trying to mimic everything that we see, it's like a ping pong effect. You've never, you never land and you're always in search of something else. When honestly the people you are supposed to serve will want you when you are not chasing what other people are doing. I love that. And it's, the people we're serving seem to recognize that before we do.

That's so true. So about perfectionism, do you think that this desire for perfectionism has been evolving in the industry? Or do you think we still have a lot of work to do. Both. I think that again, so full disclosure before the pandemic, I was just teaching my own, in my own little corner of the world.

I had no idea that there was even this whole, it was like Pilates was its own universe. I had no idea, and so when I came into it, it was very rigid because I didn't come into it like that. But what I'm finding now is watching people, some of the teachers that I started following in 2020, I've watched them evolve. It's like they took the neck tie off or the stuff that you sweater up and what you see is them taking the work and now progressing it in a way that feels authentic to them. And to watch that, what it's doing is it's opening doors for people who would have never come into Pilates because honestly there are teachers that I, that I am in the space with that if they had been my first Pilates teacher, I would not be here.

And I know it for a fact. I would've quit. Yeah, no, I agree with you on the seeing. It's really wonderful to see the evolution of people and the open mindedness, that's starting to be more prevalent in the industry. Yeah.

It's beautiful. It's beautiful because we are, we aren't one dimensional, all of us have something and it doesn't make sense to do this for a living. And to say, we're putting our heart into it, but compartmentalize the pieces of ourselves and say, "Well, we can't be this person in this "because that's me in my other life." When I teach Pilates, honestly there are times that, you got Zumba Tasha, I might be doing the Cha Cha in between telling you to change your springs or, one night we actually did karaoke. We did, "I wanna dance with somebody" feet and straps. And then everybody got out of them and we were like dancing up and down the aisle.

But that's me wanting to create the experiences that I wish I had. That sounds fun. It was, it was so spontaneous. And I just think that Pilates can feel so stiff and stuffy sometimes. And so to watch these people who want to know every two seconds, if they're doing it right, to watch them, just go with water bottles and turn into microphones and just turn into these, turn into these people who felt free and open, it was amazing.

And do I think that actually changed some peoples practice? Absolutely. Because I feel like the next time they came to class, they were a little bit more settled and open to the experience. Instead of saying every five minutes, Tasha come fix me. Where's my hip?

Is my toe supposed to be, two degrees to the right? I don't know, I don't know ma'am, if it's supposed to be or not, but... That evolution of, and when you do that, Gia, it's scary because you're not like everyone else. But you find your way. You find your way.

That's amazing. What advice do you have for anyone who's struggling with perfectionist tendencies? Ask yourself who you'd be without it. And I say that, again, I made reference to being a, so I spent first through 12th grade in magnet school, you go to school, you try to beat the person next to you. And once you've beat them, you're trying to read.

If you're reading two grade levels above, the next time you try to go three levels. So it was this constant strive to be better, better, better, better, better all the time. But I was always raised, my mom. She wouldn't be listening to this, but if she is sorry, but it's the truth Ma'am. My mom was very authoritarian and there were certain things that my mom demanded.

That was just the way it was going to be. And I feel like a lifetime of that set me up for the perfectionist tendency that I still have. And sometimes it's best to just let it unravel, to know when you're thinking through your processes, whose voice are you hearing in your head, and to take authority over that, if every time I lay down on the floor, I hear the teacher who criticized me about not being able to get my back down because my butt was in the way, if that's what I hear, then I'm going to shift and fidget until I get to what I think is perfection, as opposed to hearing the voice that says, "Thank you for getting down here "and doing something for yourself today." That's a lot less intimidating and unstructured. And it's that unstructured stuff that scares perfectionist. Yeah.

But we feed that to our students and I really think it's just let it unravel. And if I didn't do it this way, who would I be? If I broke the rules, who would I be? And it's about taking a risk on your intuition as opposed to what you've always known and been taught. That's great advice.

I also think, 'cause before the webinar started, we were talking about how the pandemic changed everything for the industry. And we all had to pivot and I think something, you had mentioned how it was just nice to see everyone on zoom or everyone virtual. And everyone was dealing with the same, internet crashing, pets coming in and out. And just those little things that kind of everyone was dealing with and seeming more human. I think that also was just kind of helped evolve the industry in a little bit.

Just making everyone a little bit more human and less perfect. Yeah. I agree. Because, how many times have you seen your teacher at home? Or see your teacher have to put it on mute and yell at their kids or something because somebody, told her, "Can't you see me teaching!" And then you have to flip back and put the smile on, or a poster's falling down or a dog is barking or, I think one time I held a zoom and my grandson was here and I was like, "Hold on y'all." I was like, "I have to go get my baby.

"I'll be right back." And it was like, we were invited to each other, in each other's homes and it felt so much more intimate. And I couldn't hide the imperfection, if 12 books fell down in here and, or my camera angle was off and you saw my laundry when I was supposed to be teaching a class. Mine's over there. (laughs) And it did, it made us more human. I think it made instructors and people who have been seen as leaders.

It made us more touchable. We weren't these, bronze statues in the museum that you can't touch. We became real people. And that's been beautiful. I agree.

So I wanna switch gears and move on to imposter syndrome. 'Cause that was another topic we were gonna talk about. Where is it? Rena actually asked, what is imposter syndrome? Can you define it for us?

Rena, I'm gonna give you my definition. That, imposter syndrome is when I feel like who I am is fake. And I don't deserve to be where I am. So imposter, like I am playing the role of a Pilates presenter, teacher, or whatever, but I'm not really that person. I'm faking, like I'm one of them and I'm really not.

On the inside I'm really terrified and not sure of myself. It's believing that you aren't who you really are. That's what I feel imposter syndrome is. I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV. That kind of, I'm not a Pilates teacher.

I just play one. No, no, no. You're a Pilates instructor. And if you got to a certain position, then you deserve to be there. Or we think we're gonna be found out.

They're not, they're gonna find out I'm not as good as they think I am. That was the one that I struggled with. Yeah. Or I always struggled with, I have no idea of what I'm doing and they're gonna know that I have no clue what's going on. Even though I do know what I'm doing, I've been doing it for years.

But in my head, I'm like, "No, I'm not qualified. "I don't know." But I know it's a common thing that so many instructors struggle with. And even people that I know who've been teaching for 30 years, still struggle with it. Why do you think that is? Because we believe what we see.

And I say that by we're comparing ourselves to what people choose to show us. And I have said a million times, Instagram is a highlight reel. And so we are comparing ourselves to what we see. And it was kind of like what we were talking about before, Gia, when I said everybody wants to be in the leadership or the top quote unquote position until they see what it takes to actually be there. And so there are sometimes the positions and the people you are chasing are the same people who are questioning themselves because they saw somebody who they think is better than them.

And then that person saw someone that they think is better than them. And it's like, it kind of goes back to that perfectionism thing. It goes back to the silent competition that no one wants to admit to, the imposter syndrome. Well, she has 10,000 followers and I only have six, which means I'm not as good as her. Or it could mean she bought followers.

I mean, we don't know that. So, but it's that constant, that shadow part of you, that doubt, that wants you to believe, that you don't deserve to be where you are. And the minute you fall into that shadow and start listening to it, you stop believing yourself. You stop believing in who, you know you are. And we're just in competition with people, places and things.

And it makes us feel so less than, and that's so dangerous. And the issue is that the people who made us feel less than are the people who are somewhere at their house, feeling less than. It's like a vicious cycle. So what have you done to overcome this, in your own life and teaching? Therapy, (laughs) honestly, therapy, having a mentor, someone that I can show up and be honest with knowing that they will speak the truth back to me.

Having professional friends, but also having friends outside of my profession. Oh, I think that's so important. Because you need someone who will, I don't want you to feel sorry for me sometimes. I want you to hold my face to the mirror and remind me, help me remind myself of who I really am. And some of this stuff is so deeply embedded in other situations that have happened.

And that's why I say it's therapy because when people have the imposter syndrome, it usually has nothing to do with Pilates. I agree with that. Do you think that as Pilates teachers, we focus too much on how much we're teaching or where we're teaching or presenting and not enough on how we're doing mentally and physically. It's a burnout because you don't get rewards for taking a break. (laughs) You just don't.

And so that, and specifically people who own studios and that's their bread and butter, first of all, you're working to keep the lights on, but now that you're exposed to all these other people, and it feels like these slots are only for so many people, you drive yourself nuts, trying to get to that slot. When the truth of the matter is what you've already created before you knew what anyone else was doing was amazing. But to say, I presented this place and I presented that place and I was on this and I was on that. It sounds good. But it only sounds good oftentimes to your peers and your mama.

The people you're teaching don't really care at all. They'll, I mean, they'll clap for you because they like you. But I will tell people in a minute, those people who took my Zumba class know nothing else about the rest of my life. They might see it on Instagram. And be like, "Girl, I saw you were outta town.

"What did you do?" No, because when they see me in the grocery store, "Hey girl, remember this song." And we laugh about it because, those are the people where I actually make the difference is what grounds me, like workshops, it looks good on a resume, but if it doesn't help me be a better human, then it was just a moment in time. If it doesn't help me be a better human when I'm teaching other people, it was just a moment in time. And that's it, and chasing those accolades, we're looking for the, we want to be validated. That's where the imposter syndrome, because if someone still calls me, then that means I have to be good. And if they don't call me, it means I have to be bad.

It's like labeling everything. No. If they call me, it is what it is and if I'm free I'll be there. So it's more about finding the validation, within yourself, rather than finding it from outside sources. Yeah. And it's knowing your why, why do you teach and why do you keep going back?

If you're merely focused on making money, I'm not saying that's a bad thing. It's just a different option. Then your focus is on the bottom line. It's not on the people you're serving. How many people do I need to get in here to make my quota that's different than how can I be best for the people who have signed up for my class today.

They're two completely different mindsets. I totally agree with that. With this, what are you doing to make Pilates more accessible? Not just to specific audiences or demographics, but like, I know we've mentioned how you talk to your clients and different things that you do in your class, but what do you do and what do you suggest for other people to kind of help them make Pilates more accessible to just the greater world? 'Cause there's so many people that could be doing Pilates.

That aren't. Agreed, because I feel like every Pilates teacher is trying to teach another Pilates teacher. It's easier to teach people who already have the work in their body and it takes a certain type of patience to teach people who don't. One of my things was to get out of the studio. So I don't teach I at the studio anymore.

And I haven't in almost a year, regularly. But what I did was start buying, getting small equipment. And so when I can find spaces out in the park, I told them, I wanna be like the Mary Kay lady, you call your friends. And I come over and teach a party. And to realize that we can't carry eight reformers in our car, but I can certainly carry some para bands and some small, magic circles and start there with people instead of trying to get people into spaces that they, to say that $199 is affordable is a privilege.

Because it's not. And so I was teaching classes on zoom and what I always did because I am in the position that I'm in because Gia, so many people have went to back for me and helped me with things that I could not afford, that I always have scholarship positions. If you want to come and money is an issue, come, text me, inbox me, instead of sitting back, waiting for someone to say, "Well, I'm gonna teach at the studio "and you should come over there "and sign up for a membership." No, it was, "Hey, what are you doing today? "You wanna do this class with me?" or "Hey, let try this on you." And I have given away lots of free sessions sometimes for practice, but sometimes for connection, people who are... I have a nonprofit.

And so I have a group that goes with that and to see if someone's having a hard time, what would it feel like, "Hey, let's work out. "You wanna come hang with me?" "You wanna pop on zoom?" Let's talk, let's do this. And it is actually getting out to people as opposed to thinking that everybody's gonna show up on our Instagram and there we can give them our link and talk about our retreat and then get them to the studio. The population of people who are out here who have access to a floor and a mat is much greater than the number of people who have a reformer. And it is about finding that path that you have to start on a mat because that's how you can reach the most people, offer, scholarships without making it about you.

Because they're like, "Oh, I'll offer you..." I've seen lots of teachers, not just in Pilates. If they have some program that costs $79, let's just say. They want somebody to write a four page essay to, for them to waive this fee. If I have a class of 20, letting two other people in on a zoom is not hurting me at all, no extra work, no anything. It's like, we want people to pay for being not as privileged as us.

And so... And it's also. You don't wanna make them feel bad that they can't afford it. You wanna make them feel welcome. Not ashamed of it.

Yeah. A absolutely. And sometimes I will say I have a scholarship, but actually sometimes I just fall into people's inboxes or text, "Hey girl, you wanna come to my class today?" Because sometimes it is a pride thing. I don't want you to think, I can't afford it. I'll just tell you I'm busy or they don't want you to think that they're afraid.

They'll just say, "I can't tonight." And so it is for us to get out of our spaces then actually go to where people are. I think that to me accessible, is about, I have the talent, I have the certification, I have the equipment. You're not gonna knock on my door. Do I really believe that this work works? Yeah.

Then I need to get it to the people. Yeah. And then you talk to them in a way that they understand instead of going over their heads, and you just make sure the whole experience is accessible for them. Yeah. I tell people all the time that, my point is always, how would I teach this to my mother?

So my mother has debilitating arthritis. She walks with a walker and she's never done Pilates. My mother will also let you know, for real, for real, if you are talking to her in some type of tone that she does not appreciate. And so if I were teaching my mom at the very base level, knowing that her pain is real, where would I start? Not with rollover.

There's a gentleness in a general term. We're not gonna talk about ASIS it sounds very, very awesome in a class, if people know what you're talking about. There's a patience and there's a getting rid of my agenda, instead of saying, we're gonna go through all the mat exercises. No, we're not, no, we're not. No, we're not.

And getting to know where people are mentally before I start, it's not Dr. Phil, but I wanna talk to them before I start barking out orders. And to just be gentle with, to just be a little softer with people. I totally agree with that. And I would always talk to clients before I would a teach, especially a private session, just to see where their mind was at. 'Cause if I knew they were going through something, maybe I wanted to do a more restorative class, a gentle class, 'cause they just need to kind of stretch and get that out.

Or if I knew they were in a really good mood, I'm like, "Okay, we can do a little bit of jumping "or a little cardio." Something a little bit more exertion. So just talking to them, just seeing where they're at mentally can really tell you how to lead their session. It really can. And there are times and I mean, I have been doing this for quite a few years. I will tell you that there are times that, asking someone how they're doing and then saying, "No, how are you really doing?" Can open the floodgates and what they didn't need was another regimen.

They needed me to sit there and listen. And I have definitely had sessions where no exercise got done, but the person... Listen, I'm not there to solve your problems. I am there to just listen and be there because you trust me, you feel safe enough with me to share that with me. Sometimes that's what people need.

They don't need a harder option. That's not the answer, but we have to know that we have to have a different set of tools in our toolbox. Because if all we know is this is the order and this it's the way it is and there are no modifications. Then we need to know who we're serving. And we don't need to enter into any type of training relationship unless the person is healthy and vibrant with no issues and no injuries all the time.

Yeah. Which, that doesn't exist. And I don't know anybody like that. (laughs) I don't know anybody who doesn't have some type of issue, somewhere physical or mental. Yeah.

We talk about taking care of our clients, but how do you take care of yourself? What are your self-care rituals and how does that help your teaching? Gosh, as a person who preaches self-care, I will tell you that it is, it is challenging for me because, I'm a giver and a fixer. And for all of you who know this term, you will know that that basically means I'm codependent. Honestly.

It's like, I want to be the hero. I wanna be the one that, makes everybody feel better. But what that does is it leads to burnout and resentment because you feel like you're taking care of everybody else's needs, you're teaching everybody else. You're working as many hours as you can. And all you do is fall in the bed to get up the next day, to do it all over again.

And nobody appreciates it and they didn't do this. And it turns into something else. And so my self-care, you can't see it, but I have a coloring book over here. Oh, I love coloring. I color, I journal, I read.

On a good day I'll take a nap. Music is everything. Sometimes I'll, I live two hours from Nashville. Sometimes I'll get in the car and drive to Nashville just to have lunch, or buy some candles at my favorite place. I love, driving is very soothing to me and I know how to turn my phone off.

That is so important. Yeah. Depending on what type of energy I am, there's certain people that when you see their name on your phone, you feel some type of way. So I've learned to not feel like I need to respond right then. I don't have to respond to every email right then.

And just be with myself. That's not hip healthy chick and it's not the instructor, it's just Tasha. And that's what I'm really working on is to get in spaces, to just be Tasha, no work. I'm not teaching, I'm not traveling to teach. I just want to be Tasha, with some Chick-fil-A fries and some ice cream and reruns.

I was watching reruns of "Who's The Boss" before we got on earlier and Wordle, I am now addicted to Wordle by the way. (laughs) That's amazing. I also find for me just getting outside and getting some vitamin D and going on a walk. I'm very fortunate to live in Southern California, where we have a lot of sunshine. 'Cause I know when I've lived at other places and I didn't have that, it really did affect my mood and just, how I was doing overall.

So sunlight and if you don't have sunlight all the time, they have those sun lamps or even vitamin D supplements can really help. But I find that really, really beneficial. It's also, I did a session at a conference last month on self-care as personal trainers. But one of the thing is that people wouldn't think of self-care is actually sitting down to have a meal or preparing a meal. When you're used to teaching classes back to back, you're constantly on the go, you're eating a protein bar in the bathroom.

You drink some protein shake, while you were telling somebody to get ready for footwork, it was like slowing down enough to nurture and nourish ourselves because we will fall apart. And we don't realize we have the capacity to fall apart until we fall apart and that's burnout and things like that are really hard come back from. They really are. We can, but it's... Yeah.

It's hard. It's hard. That's all great advice. So my last question, John wrote that he loves Wordle too. John Marston he's our CEO.

Oh, hey, John. I Love Wordle. (laughs) My last question for you is what advice do you have for other teachers that wanna reach a broader audience? What can they do? Review if what you're doing is as inclusive as you'd like it to be.

And so some of this has to do with, we don't want to admit that we're technically challenged. So we don't, we just say we like online classes when the truth of the that the matter is we just don't know what to do. Some of it is our tone, our language, our music choices, our attitude, that we draw the same type of people because we've been doing the same type of thing. Diversify your teaching. What else could you bring into Pilates to shift it up for you as well?

So that you begin to, when you feel renewed, that's when the creative juices start flowing and you start thinking outside of the box. Take other people's classes. Oh, yeah. And see, if they're, if you're used to working with dancers, take a class that's for seniors and see what that's like. And is that something that you would wanna offer or take a class for athletes if you're used to only doing the restorative work.

As you begin to kind of have more experiences, you begin to want to create more of those experiences. And I think that's how we get to broader audiences. Connect with other instructors like teamwork and collaboration is the name of the game right now. So that's a huge one because my audience is not your audience, but if we do something together, we're are, my people see you and your people see me. And sometimes that helps as well.

Collaboration is a big thing. I love all of that. That's so great. Thank you so much, Tasha. And then where can everyone find you if they wanna take a class from you or just wanna follow what, with what you're doing?

I am admittedly addicted to Instagram. (laughs) I feel like I'm in Instagram rehab, but I have been working on it and I am @hip, H I P healthychick, but also on my website that my friend just did. It's tashaedwards.com and you can find all those connections. And I'm saying this out loud to put myself out there is that I'm actually going back to teaching in April, virtually for now. And then I'm gonna get some community classes once I secure some spaces and I'm gonna do that through the nonprofit so people won't have to pay for it.

And I'll have some online classes like that as well. And you'll be able to find a schedule on my website within the next couple of days, because if I postpone it any longer, it'll be June and then it'll be August. And I'm ready to get back out there and just really be with people in the way that Tasha is supposed to be with people and not worry about what's going on, what other people are doing. It's beautiful. I love it.

Thank you so much for being here. And to everyone watching at home, this will, this is recorded. So we'll have this on the site in the next few days. And so if you have any extra questions for Tasha or for me, you can leave them in the forum comments. Thank you again, Tasha.

And we'll see you next time. Thank you. (soft upbeat music)

Comments

2 people like this.
Great advice Tasha! Thank you!
Thank you, Lina. Thank you for watching! ­čÖé
2 people like this.
This was so refreshing and wonderful to watch! A little slice of real life, instead of how we sometimes think things should be. Thank you, Tasha and Gia!!
It's amazing how our childhood shapes us.  Thank for sharing your story and can definitely relate to a lot of what you said.

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