I never know when I share and what I share. So, about six years ago was sort of the makings of this course. It was the initiation of making this lecture of "Raising The Bar" professionally, and I'd received a call from a surgeon that I'd been working with for a number of years to convince that Pilates was very good and appropriate for his patients, especially those with osteoporosis. Didn't I share this? Yeah.
So anyway, I get the call and he's angry and upset with me because he has a patient now that had some fractures in her back from a Pilates teacher that was up in North Miami Beach that had hung her in the first straps on the trapeze table, 86 year old woman with pretty advanced stage osteoporosis and had asked her to do a inverted roll up. The hair salon next door called the police 'cause they thought they heard gunshots. They were four fractures in her thoracic spine and lumbar spine and my first inclination was to defend myself by saying, "Yeah, Doc, but she's not Pollstar trained." And what I realized in that moment is he really didn't care what school. It was the title of Pilates and Pilates Teacher and it made me really reflect on our profession as Pilates teacher with really no particular reference to where we trained but to the matter of the title or the role of a Pilates teacher, that's our profession. That's what we share in common.
Whether you're a nurse, a therapist, a bartender, it doesn't matter what our other professions are, right? Here, we're talking about our profession of a Pilates teacher and as a Pilates teacher, we have certain responsibilities and we're very young as a profession. So, we haven't really discovered. And so what I hope to bring to you today is the idea of professional growth. And hopefully you'll come away with a feeling of happiness realizing that you're in a good place, wherever it is in that spectrum, that continuum of professional growth and you can also breathe a little bit to realize that it's probably, those changes aren't gonna happen overnight.
It's the changes that happen over years and I'll present some research to you to help you understand that. So, you can really appreciate and enjoy where we are at this moment. So, we have a couple objectives that are up on the board here, and what I hope that is the outcome of this lecture is that as Pilates continues to become more mainstream in rehabilitation and wellness, it's essential professionally that we raise the bar. So, that's the biggest take home message is that we can't be completely satisfied with where we are professionally when there's people out there breaking people's backs using the same title as you and me, right? Because it's too, there has to be a level of safety that the community at large can know they can go to a Pilates teacher and be safe, that they're not gonna have those kind of things happen.
The lecture, I'm gonna use the Dreyfus & Dreyfus model. It's a behavioral psychologist team, a husband and wife that have done extensive research for many, many years looking at the behavior of industry and in particularly looking at medical and professional industry of how long does it take for somebody to become a competent practitioner of that science or that art form or that practice? We're also going to hopefully have time for each of you to reflect and write down your thoughts, your feelings, sort of identifying where you are. It's nothing that you have to share with anybody but it's really being honest internally with yourself and asking, where am I in my professional growth and where am I in relationship to what maybe Dreyfus & Dreyfus are presenting to us in their model? So, the model consists of five categories.
They recently added a new category last year which was called the Master. So, you have Novice, Advanced Beginner, Competent, Proficient and Expert and now Master. And how many of you have had a chance to read any of Malcolm Gladwell's books, "Tipping Point," "Blink," "Outliers," one about a dog, I think? There was one about a dog or something but anyway, this really will tie in a little bit to "Blink" and to "Outliers," if you read either of those two books as well you'll sorta see the similarities and the connectedness to that. And if you haven't read them, they're good books to read.
They're pretty easy reads and they're very good for sort of figuring out why you feel sometimes intuition and how your gut drives your decision. And the more experience you have, the more likely you can depend safely on your gut feeling that it's probably gonna be the right decision and the less experience you have it's probably gonna be the wrong decision. So, it goes back to the saying, "The more I know, the more I know, I don't know," right? And the reverse of that is what's dangerous which is, "The less I know, the more I think I know." So, we're in a profession where there's a lot of people who don't know very much and think they do know a lot and they go out and hang a shingle up with very little experience and actually pose a threat to the community at large and that's what we want to avoid. And typically when I'm speaking about this, I'm preaching to the choir.
So, the fact that you're even here and interested in this and interested in "Pilates Anytime" and learning and continuing on is a good sign that you're probably well on your way towards your professional development.
They're just coming in in the beginning and they typically need to be taught with context-free rules. So, what does that mean? Context-free rules means you don't think. It's sorta like me saying, "When you see this, you do this. When somebody has this problem, you make this modification.
We do these six exercises in this sequence this way." And in that process, you begin to build a database. This was a huge frustration for me, probably about 10 years ago when I was really starting to explore and appreciate some of the depth that was accompanying the Pilates work and I wanted to share it with people that I was teaching but I was teaching novices and I was having competent experiences and I wanted to teach the competent level of Pilates. So, it's like, "Okay, tell me, which of the following exercises would be the best for this type of a patient or a client?" And they're looking at me like, "I don't know any exercises so how could I know which of them is gonna be best? I don't have a database." And that was a huge revelation for me to realize that that novice practitioner really needs rules. They need to have clear defined rules going through that.
They often are looking for that magic recipe. "Just tell me the recipe, let me follow the recipe." The next level up is the advanced beginner and this person has actually demonstrated marginally acceptable performance. So they have practice, they are going to be safe and this typically is our graduate, okay? So, this is the person that's gone through a year or so of training and practicing and they now are the graduates. So, they've passed their exam, they've shown a relative amount of competency with the exercise and the exercise selection, how they demonstrate.
They're starting to understand the aspect of the situation. So, they're looking at somebody because of their experience. They've observed a competent or proficient practitioner or expert and they started to learn. And so, they're somebody that is now ready to enter into the field, who the only way they can get better is to do what? They have to practice, right?
That's the only way they can get better is practice, practice, practice, gain experience, okay? So, the advanced beginner basically ignores what we call a differential. So, in medicine or as a mechanic or in law, we look for differentials and it comes from the word different. And the idea is that let's say that somebody comes to you with shoulder pain. Just off the top of your head, what kind of things could potentially cause pain in the left shoulder?
Okay, so movement, biomechanical movement of that limb. So, rotation. What else can cause pain in the left shoulder?
So, like a pelvic torsion, that asymmetry up the spine could create some dysfunction in the shoulder. What else?
Can neck cause shoulder pain?
Okay. What else can cause pain to a left shoulder? What's the sign of- Heart. Heart, yeah. So, angina could cause left shoulder pain.
Lymphoma could cause left shoulder pain, various cancers and benign tumors could cause shoulder pains. Lymphatic drainage problems could cause shoulder pain. All of those are differentials and differentials come from experience, right? So, the more experience you have and the more you study those things, the more likely you are to understand that. So, yesterday we spoke a little bit about restrictions and we said restrictions cause compensations, compensations cause give or deformation which then lead to pathology and pathology to pain.
We typically spend most of our time working on pathology and pain but as a Pilates teacher, you're really looking at restriction and compensation. You're looking at the whole body. You're looking at transference of forces through the body. You're looking at how the ground reacts to the body and you look at all of them. So, it was very good that you said, "Oh, the pelvic torsion could cause this problem," and that only came from your experience because somebody who doesn't have that experience would never in a million years link a problem in the lower extremity of the pelvis to a problem in the upper extremity of the shoulder, right?
But if you've had that experience or you've heard or been around people that had that experience, then all of a sudden it's part of your database, it's part of your neural network. So, you start realizing there's all these possibilities, okay? So this practitioner is not there yet. So, what do you think they need to be doing when they're, who do they need to be around when they're practicing?
More experienced people. So this is a big faux pas that we tend to make as you graduate from a program and you go and hang a shingle on your door and buy a bunch of equipment and now you're a studio owner and you're teaching Pilates to everybody as an advanced beginner, okay? Now, sometimes there's no other way. If you're the pioneer in a new city, in a new country and trust me, we've worked with a lotta people that do that. It's tough, but they still have their mentors.
They still have the people that they can call or email or send a picture to and say, "Today I saw something I've never seen before. Can you help me with that?" And then write back and say, "Oh yeah, that's somethin' that we see all the time." Or "I saw it once in my life in 20 years. What you have there is a such and such and this is what I would suggest you do." They have that connection. So, very important that the advanced beginner has a mentor. It's not time to be completely independent yet, okay?
The next level is the competent practitioner and this person is often typified by being on the job for more than two to three years. So, this would be an advanced beginner status, gathering information, practicing, learning, being safe, creating meaning to the exercises and the work that you do, seeing lots of different clients and gather information but still not complete. The competent practitioner, they start seeing things in a whole, long range goals, but they're a little slow. So, they can do it independently, but they're a little slow and they're still missing those outliers. They don't have enough experience to pick up the outliers.
They can work independently with the mainstream. The competent practitioner that I mentioned is not real flexible. So, you can see this maybe in yourself or even other people that you've tutored or mentored over the years and to see that they don't catch things as quickly. But if you give 'em some time, they'll figure out that posture and typically a competent practitioner will be right on their first assessment about 40% of the time, which is not bad and it's not wrong. It's just that if you look at, and you're looking at somebody and trying to figure out why does their body move that way?
And your first pick of what you choose will be right 40% of the time. And the competent practitioner goes back and goes, "I didn't see the outcome that I wanted to see. I didn't see the fluidity of the movement. I didn't see a big change in the roll up. I didn't see a change in how they move through the thoracic spine on the Swan.
So, I'm gonna try this," and they try number two and typically they'll get it right by the time they get to three or four, okay? Which is not bad 'cause just think about ourselves, right? It's not bad to be able to get it right within the third or fourth one. At least you're thinking about it. The advanced beginner still is following rules.
It's very hard for them to think that way, okay? The proficient practitioner perceives a situation as a whole and they have lots of experience, typically somewhere around five to seven years of experience in teaching is what they would manifest and this is where they start to perceive things as maxims. Does anybody recognize that word, maxim? (students chuckling)
That's right. That's right. So, maxims are in relationship to rules and laws of math. In the maxim, where does it fall in the level of, you have rules, laws and maxims. Maxims are over covering everything, right?
So, I remember taking my SAT test years ago and I love math and I'm takin', it's a multiple choice test and I come to a segment there and it has a quadratic equation. I'm thinkin', "A quadratic equation in a timed multiple choice tests?" So, I started solvin' it, boom, boom boom. I solve it and I realized the right answer's there and then I look at it and I go, "Oh my gosh, it's divided by zero." Oh my God. What's the maxim in mathematics? Anything divided by zero equals-
Zero, it didn't matter if there was 16 quadratic equations on top of that divisor. If it was divided by zero, the right answer was zero. And so, the proficient practitioner now is practicing by maxims. This is that seasoned practitioner where they're teachin' a class, everybody's movin' a little bit wrong and they throw out one beautiful visual image and eight of the 10 people correct their posture correctly. So, I'll give you an example.
Let's say that one has the chin forward and one has a shoulders draped back in a quadruped head position. Another one's guts hangin' out. Another one's collapsed in the thoracic spine. The other one has their hips rounded and they're rounded back in the posterior tilt, okay? The more novice practitioner's gonna go around and correct each one of those violations of our posture rules, right?
The proficient is gonna say or give out a cue of axillary longation. Imagine the crown of your head and your tailbone reaching opposite directions and all your body parts coming close to that center axis and all of a sudden six of those movement areas correct with that one image instead of having to go around and correct all the small deviations of good posture, okay? Sort of a nice way of looking at it. So, maxims is how we work at proficient level. And as I mentioned, this is typically three to five years in the job and I, remember, this is Dreyfus & Dreyfus looking at everything.
We happen to specialize in movement. Movement is really complicated. It is not, surgery is less complicated than understanding movement. You can spend three years studying and working on being a knee surgeon and I think that's easier than understanding movement integration 'cause moving integration is influenced by psychology, belief, community, culture, physiology, anthropometry where it's how is your body made? Some have long bodies, thin bodies, apple bodies, pear bodies, hourglass bodies.
All of those change the effect of movement. Your motivation, your desires, all of those impacted, right? So, I always joke around but I say, "If Andy and I had to go 10 kilometers or six miles," whatever it is, I guess six miles is 10 kilometers, somethin' like that. Or the other way around? (students chattering) Six miles is 10 kilometers.
Yeah. 6.2. 1.6- See there's our math. So anyway, we both gotta travel this distance and at the end of that run or that distance for Andy is a check for $10,000. (students chuckling) At the end of that distance for me is my checkbook and a pen for me to write Andy a check for $10,000, right?
Now, Andy wouldn't even put his shoes on. He would just take off and go runnin' and run the whole distance to go get his $10,000 check. I'm gonna have to change clothes. I'm gonna have to take a shower. I'm gonna get lost.
I'm gonna fall down on the curb and sprain my ankle, I have to go to the hospital. I'm gonna have a completely different movement pattern because I don't wanna write a $10,000 check. You see what I mean? Yeah. So, the motivation alone can completely dictate how movement is.
So, for us as movement teachers, we gotta be thinkin' about all the things. Somebody comes from a very Puritan background and we wanna do leg circles and we're a guy holding a girl's legs spreading her legs apart. Do you think there's gonna be resistance in that movement based on her belief and what she was, but even though she's not conscious of it, subconsciously girls don't spread their legs for boys. And so there's a underlying belief that is not going to permit that movement to be efficient. That's a lot, it takes years to understand all the different factors that influence movement and still not have any idea of scratching the surface.
It's like I said, the more we learn about movement, the more we know, we don't know, okay? So, a lot of that. So, then we go into this expert practitioner, okay?
I don't know, it just came to me." But if you drill down on them, they'll go deep and they'll go, "You know what? I think about 20 years ago I remember we were trying to figure out this person had a very similar problem and we beat our heads against the wall and we finally figured out that they had a restriction in the left ankle from an old sprain that fibula wouldn't glide up and down. So they ended up recruiting all the tightness on that left side up into the hip and they couldn't translate and so the reciprocal block causes impingement problem in their shoulder and we cleared the ankles. It was like a miracle. The fascial system allowed that clearance and they were able to move their shoulder." And it's that kind of thing that happens at the expert level.
Now, this happens in everything. In law when I go to get a contract written up for an agreement, I personally like to talk to the expert. So, I talked to the expert and the expert then is gonna do what? Defer the project to somebody who is proficient or competent. So I'll tell them, this is what I want.
I want agreement that protects me here, here and here, an agreement that does this and that. And so he says or she says, "Don't worry. I have the perfect person for you." So he calls up one of his or her competent attorneys. They have a team of advanced beginners and other professionals. They put together an agreement, before I see them again the agreement goes back up to the top for 15 minutes and the expert 15, 20 minutes will look at it and pick out one or two things that based on their 25 years of experience will say, "I remember we had a clause like this in an international agreement with Brazil and you know what?
It doesn't hold water in Brazil. Let's change that this way and now it will hold water." So even though I paid him for 15, 20 minutes at $500 an hour, right? And I paid the other person $300 an hour for the competent attorney and I paid 25 to $150 an hour for the support team. So when you look at the number of hours that I spent money on, it was varying based on the level of expertise. I didn't need the expert to write the agreement for me.
I just needed the expert to look at, to resume it and make sure that it was gonna be in my best interest 'cause I'm with that firm. And a lot of times that's true in healthcare and in fitness and wellness. Sometimes people don't wanna pay that top dollar for the expert. So they're fine being with a competent or even an advanced beginner practitioner. But when a problem comes up, that expert is around, could be by telephone or email, to be able to call and say, "Hey, I saw somethin' today I didn't recognize.
Can you help me with that?" And that's really the role of the expert. Expert typically in our industry is self-proclaimed. It's not really earned. So it's, "I'm the boss, I'm the expert, I'm the owner, I'm the expert." And that really from a professional development standpoint is not true. It's more of a perception.
They might be the resident expert in a role of that, but they still might not be even more than competent in their skills of being a Pilates teacher. So again, sorta like a reality check of looking, where am I, what role am I playing and what am I really? And when there is a separation that's more than one step between those two things is when we have tremendous stress. We typically are not happy in that role. There's a conflict.
So, it's okay if you are competent and being asked to play a role as proficient but if you're competent being asked to play the role as expert, you're gonna be really uncomfortable. You're gonna make really big mistakes. So, in that case of that osteoporosis patient you had a novice playing the role of expert. That was too big of a difference. Trying to act like she knew what she was doing.
When she was asked why she did that she said, "Well, because I saw one of the elders do it." So, there was no rational thought. There was no experience in that decision making process. I took it a step further and I asked my youngest daughter at the time was about 10 years old. And I said, "Alina, abuela's about 85 years old, and you know the Pilates exercises. What would you think if I put her up on the trapeze table in the fur cuffs and asked her to do a roll up?" She goes, "Poppy, if you did that you'd break her back." (students chuckling) So here she was, 10 years old not trained in Pilates.
I mean, she grew up on the Pilates, but at that time it was still smart enough to know that you wouldn't put a 80 plus year old person upside down, first of all for vascular problems, second of all with the osteoporosis would be a major contraindication for the forced compression. So, there is a degree of common sense as well which this lady was lacking. All right. So, how do we better define this expert practitioner? I love this quote.
It says, "As long as the beginner pilot, language learner, chess player, Pilates teacher or driver is following rules, his or her performance is halting, rigid and mediocre. But with a mastery of activity comes the transformation of the skill, which is like the transformation occurs when a blind person learns to use their cane. So the beginner feels pressure in the palm of their hand which can be used to detect the presence of distant objects such as curbs," or blocks or steps. "And the mastery of that blind person no longer feels a pressure in their hand. They merely feel the curb," or the obstacle.
"And the cane has become an extension of their body. And hence, the performer no longer is aware of features and rules and his or her performance becomes fluid and flexible and highly proficient." Now, what's interesting is these are words very similar to what Joseph Pilates used about how we acquire movement and become fluid and flowing like an animal and that we perform our daily activities and tasks with spontaneity and zest. So, you can almost feel the same thing of what Joseph was saying is, it's something we have to practice so many hours in our life, the exercises in our own bodies to where we are now fluidly and spontaneously performing our daily activities and task with that fluidity and that zest and that happiness in life, right? So, it applies to all things. I remember going to a Thanksgiving dinner with my mother and I have four siblings and of my siblings we have been very prolific and have many, many, many children.
I have a brother with seven children, a brother was six children, a brother with five children, I have three children and a sister with one and of them there are nieces and nephews of mine who already have taken on the same characteristics of their parents and some of them have as many as four children already. So, when we got together for Thanksgiving a few years ago there were 44 direct descendants of my mother at the house, just to give you an idea. (students chuckling) And at that time, Lizette, my wife and I were in the middle of seeing, Nicole had turned 18 and we felt really proud of ourselves that she successfully got through the teen years and graduated without any major crises. So, we felt like we had become experts in raising adolescents. And then Gabriel came along and Gabriel's four years younger than Nicole and going through the same age bracket, but very different.
At times, very defiant, very independent, things of which I love about his character now but at the time I was just like really challenged by it. And I remember watching my nieces and nephews take the questions about their babies to my mother, the great grandmother, right? Of the kids. And of course she raised all these boys and all these grandkids and all these great grandkids. So, I mean, she was the expert by definition in the tribe.
And so, I thought I would learn from my nieces and nephews and I would go to the Poobah herself and I would ask her questions about what I was struggling with with Gabriel at that time. And I said, "Mom, Gabriel's a little resistant and he defied me in front of some friends and didn't come home for two days," and this kinda stuff. And she looked at me and she said, "It's amazing how short your memory is." (students laughing) I said, "What are you talkin' about?" She goes, "You turned out okay. Gabriel will be fine. Just give him some space." And I thought of that wisdom, in all applications of life these things apply.
Experience is what allows us to be able to have that gut feeling and that intuition of the decisions we make. There's a book that's called, "The Practical Applications of Nursing," or something like that. I also use the Dreyfus & Dreyfus by Patricia Benner. It's a required read for most allied health professionals but it talked about how a nurse would walk into an IC unit that was an expert and would just look at the person and say, "They're gonna code in about 30 seconds." And they wanted to know how did that nurse know that? There were no beeping sounds, there were no noises but it was almost like you asked and they'd said, "I walked in the room and I could smell it.
I could feel the energy, the things I didn't see as well contributed to that ability for me to know that they were gonna die. That death was in the air in that room in 30 seconds." And that they were so accurate with what they were feeling. Today, talking to John and he was talking about a brother-in-law of his who's a surgeon and how he would just walk in the room and he would know whether or not the person having that knee or the hip surgery was going to respond well because of experience, right? It's experience that allows that to happen. Malcolm Gladwell wrote in the book, "Outliers," and he was talking about The Beatles and he said that The Beatles became so prolific in their music creation, not overnight.
It wasn't overnight, although it seemed like it was overnight when they participated in "The Ed Sullivan Show." But they had gone up to Germany every year for 10 years and they would play in the brothels in Homburg and it was a place that they would get paid consistently. They get paid money, but they would play for like 10 hours a day, eight to 10 hours a day for five to six days a week for a period of a couple months. Every year they'd go up there in the summer and they would make money playing in these brothels. But it was the number of hours that they played together that all of a sudden their prolific creations of music exploded. I mean, they all wrote music.
They all understood everybody's instrument. They all played each other's instruments because they had played together so much that they just would, they're casually playing. I watched my son who's a musician, they did the same thing since they were in seventh grade. He's a drummer and a percussionist but he plays guitar and keyboards and saxophone and anything else that his buddies were playing and they played together since they were in seventh grade and now they're juniors in college, still playing together. And so, it's that time of being together and building that experience that allowed them just to start understanding music in a way, probably a little bit of the hallucination drugs as well, that allowed them to really be so prolific in their repertoire.
Now you look at their repertoire of music and it's one of the best libraries in modern day music, okay?
A lotta times when I'm teaching a transition course or a bridging course, so people come to Pollstar from a number of different schools and they wanna learn what's different about Pollstar. So, we do a bridging program like some of the other schools do. And one of the things we get from some of the schools that are a little more classically trained that have really regimented rules and they'll come in and they'll say, "Oh my gosh, in the first two days I learned more than I did in the last four years." And I say, "No, that's not true. That's not true. You were building your neural network of the work for the last five years.
All I did was give you permission to connect it to your thought." They had built all that experience in their body. I mean, even the people that come through Pollstar need those five years of movement experience to have the same in gestalt that they just had in those two days. It was the five years of practicing diligently the work, even in a in a classical format that allowed them to have the gestalt of, "Oh my gosh, you could do so much with this work." And it's like you went five years building this huge database not realizing the power and when you were allowed to think about it, all of a sudden that work became expansive. And so, it seemed like you just learned a whole bunch but really the learning was always there. You just weren't integrating it.
You weren't networking it correctly. So, when we network it, boom, it opens up. Time is, yes, it is the most important factor. Experience, experience experience. Now, I have a friend of mine who graduated from physical therapy school with me 20 something years ago, 23 years ago.
And he has done the same exact thing for 23 years. He's done the minimal necessary to keep his license. He goes to work and he comes home and he is not interested at all in his work and he has continued to do the same thing for all those years. On the other hand, I have a colleague who has only been outta school for nine years, who has gone through Pollstar, Power Pilates. She has written papers.
She opened up her own studio. She just finished her PhD and has written her dissertation and is now become an educator for Pollstar and she's only been out like seven or eight, nine years. So, you have that comparison of somebody who is like Superwoman, plus she's married and has three kids. So you look at her, "Wow." Pay now pay later is sort of my philosophy. But you look at this dichotomy of somebody who has not done anything to enhance themselves professionally for 20 plus years and somebody who has spent all of their attention pretty much on enhancing their career.
So, you can speed or slow this process down by your commitment. And there's not a right or a wrong because my friend really, his priority has been his family and being a coach and his kid's sporting activities and his church and he's been a wonderful leader in the community and he's donated lots of money to different organizations but he's not the best physical therapist, but that wasn't really his objective, physical therapy was a job for him, right? For this other colleague of mine, it's her career, it's her profession and it is her identity in some ways and that could be healthy or unhealthy, right? But the idea is that everybody's a little bit different and the point that I wanna make is each of us have to go through a process of identifying what it is that we really want and not based off of what we think other people really want for us or what we look like. So I'm gonna ask you as we go into the next section and we start going into the laboratories of this lecture that you shift into a global mind and a global mind.
So, what I want you to do for a second is I want you to close your eyes and I want you just to ask yourself these three questions in your mind, okay? And the first question is, who am I? So with your eyes closed relax, just reflecting. There's no incorrect answer. So, ask the question in your mind, who am I?
Who am I? And allow that information just to start gathering around you. Who am I? And then I want you to ask the second question. What do I want?
Now, that want could be something in local mind or it could be something in universal mind, neither of them are incorrect but just ask yourself, what do I want? What do I want? And the third and probably most impactful question is what is my purpose? What is my purpose? And that purpose could be right now, today, that purpose could be in this year.
It could be in my life, right? What is my purpose? Now with those three questions, who am I, what do I want and what is my purpose, imagine all the possible answers if they were floating around your head and just taking a deep breath, inhaling all those possibilities (inhales) and then exhale them back out (exhales), trusting that the universe will manifest them to you and hopefully some of that manifestation will take place now. So, go ahead and open your eyes.
So, the novice practitioner really should not be seeing people independently in any way, shape or form. They should be doing the work in themselves. They should be teaching underneath mentorship. They should be observing and gathering as much data as they can. So, there really should not be any independent contact with a novice with the general public.
The advanced beginner can start working with low risk under supervision and do so to continue to gather information and to build their resources in that neural network. They're more likely to follow recipes and rules than they are to think through the process. So they're still in what we call the context-free rules. And that's good. It's a good place to be.
It's not a bad, nothing's a bad place to be. It's just knowing where we are. Now, the competent practitioner's able to work independently with low risk and they still need ample time to problem solve. So they should not feel rushed to be able to get through or to solve the problem real quick 'cause they'll make mistakes if they move too fast or rush themselves. They are seeing the big picture but they're a little slower and safety is the most important thing to them because competence means you practice independently and independent practice means that you need to be safe.
You're not gonna make decisions that are going to potentially hurt somebody. So, you're more focused on not doing harm then on what you have to do to problem solve or to help somebody be better. Does that make sense? So when you become the proficient practitioner, this is the one I often say is when it's worth their money. There's somebody whose taught a lot, people come in, they understand the differentials, they look at the whole person, they can go through a full program.
They don't ever have to read notes or think about creating a special program. It just sorta comes to them because they've been doing it for so long and it feels comfortable to them. They're familiar and they know where to draw that information from. That sort of is that whole concept of intuition or the Akashic field or the spiritual aspect of our work of being able to have access to information that we might not even know that we have access to. The expert practitioner is expensive but worth it when they're needed.
They're able to identify the need immediately. They're typically about 75% correct on their first run. So, an expert doesn't mean they're 100% correct. Their first differential will typically be about 75% correct, right? What did we say the competent would be?
About 40, right? So, moving from 40 to 75 is significant when you're dealing with life or death situations. So, we like to think that our neurosurgeons and our heart surgeons and those kind of things have had 10 years of medical training before they're ever eligible even to be out in the community working directly with somebody. So, they've already achieved a certain level of expertise before they come out and are allowed to work independently. That make sense?
That's why, because the gravity of their work is so serious we don't see doctors coming outta medical school at the four year mark performing independent heart surgery. We don't see them doing independent heart surgery for almost nine to 10 years after graduating from medical school. That make sense? They go through cardiology, cardiac surgery, a fellowship. You're usually talking eight to nine years post medical school before they would be considered eligible to do surgery independently.
So they are gonna be typically 35 years old going into the surgery model, okay? So, Pilates doesn't have a real life and death situation. Thank goodness, right? So, it's okay that a competent practitioner makes a mistake working independently because a mistake might be that the machine slams in or this happens or somebody strains a muscle or something like that or heaven forbid the worst case and they fall off the machine and break an arm or break a collarbone. It's still not life and death.
A fractured vertebrae like that one lady did, it wasn't life and death. It was bad, but it wasn't like, "Oops, I cut the aorta and they bled out on the table." Those are mistakes that are not acceptable. So, how do I know where I am or where you are, right? It's a personal thing. So in the PMA we have, and I'll talk more about this, three domains that we decided that make up our profession.
We have assessment and design of programs. We have teaching Pilates and the Pilates philosophy of movement and life. And then we have reassessment and modification to that program. Those are the three domains of a Pilates teacher. So, when I go through and I look at this and I think I could be at different places in each domain.
So, maybe I'm a really good teacher of the movement, I've been doin' it for lots of years and I'm proficient, but I've never really taken advantage of doing assessment or evaluation and maybe I'm an advanced beginner of evaluation assessment or modification. So again, even inside of our profession there are skill sets that we could be very good at. For example, one of the surefire clues of a novice practitioner, advanced beginner, is that they extrapolate their experience to other people. So, you get the 21 year old ballet dancer that has all the flexibility in the world working with a 55 year old sagittal beast and says, "You're going to love short spine. It's my favorite exercise," right?
And the person dies doing short spine because they haven't moved their body like that for 45 years, if ever, right? So, the idea is that they don't quite have it yet. So in conclusion, one of the things we, of this part of the Dreyfus & Dreyfus model, we want to set our sights professionally towards that expert. And the expert is typically in a very small area. So, for example, even in the education system of ours, the PhD and postdoctoral work is you become the expert in a very small content area.
That's your expertise, okay? What we really wanna become is that proficient practitioner that can basically work with somebody globally and then have an area of expertise. We don't want to be theoretically an expert in every area. So for example, my team of physical therapists, I have an expert in chronic pain, I have an expert in women's health, I have an expert in neurological problems, I have an expert in pediatrics. I tend to be the expert in spine or more emotional problems in physical therapy with movement.
And so we each have sort of our own areas of expertise and so we don't have to be the expert of everything. So, when I see a client come in and I start thinkin', "There's something going on in the pelvic floor that's affecting his back pain. I can refer them to Pam Downey." Pam Downey does an internal check and comes up and says, "Oh my gosh, they have this huge mal organization of internal pelvic muscles." And we've got that spasm to resist. The coccyx could relax, the sacrum could relax and now the mechanism of their low back pain disappeared. Well, I couldn't do the internal work because it's not my expertise but I had somebody that I could refer her to and that helped her drastically.
And that's the relationship we wanna build amongst ourselves. Each of you have different areas of expertise or knowledge or background that even in your own little community here, you can be communicating to each other on a more regular basis and you'd be surprised at how much richer your practice becomes. I'm not talking about financially, but how much happier you are to know that you're not alone, right? It's the being alone part that is that conflict that often causes us stress to think that your ultimate decision is the decision. That's a false perception.
You're surrounded by other people in the community who can help you with those decisions that are experts in those areas and it's not ultimately your decision. Your decision is to listen to your gut and recognize when you're not the expert and to make sure that those people are getting to somebody who they need and not feeling the ego say, "I have to control everything. If I send them out, they won't come back." And that fear is a very dangerous place to be for the client.
They have no awareness of their breath, they have no awareness of their alignment, who they are, what type of learning they have. Like for example, how many of you are auditory learners? You learn from listening. How many of you are visual learners? You learn from seeing.
How many of you are kinesthetic learners, you learn from doing, right? So, typically most Pilates teachers and athletes tend to be more kinesthetic. Engineers tend to be more auditory or visual. So, we all have different learning styles and we also have different teaching styles. So, we try to create those different ways for others as a more seasoned practitioner.
And then we go down through all of the others, the beliefs, the values. Do you tend to align more with cause or more with effect in the spectrum of cause and effect? So, I have somebody that says, "I'm in charge of my life. Everything that I do has a consequence or a blessing that is tied to it and I control everything in my life." And the other side of the spectrum you have somebody that says, "God is completely in control of my life and it doesn't matter what decisions I make. Fate is gonna rule out," right?
So, that's the person that you say, "I'll see it tomorrow." They say, "God willing." It's like, what? If God doesn't want you to come or does want you to come, you don't wanna come? I man, I just wanna know if you wanna come see me or not tomorrow, you know? You're gonna see me tomorrow. And the truth is is that reality is somewhere in the middle isn't it?
There are things that we cannot control and there are things that we can control. And the more balanced we become and aware of what we can control and can't control the happier we are. Because when we spin our wheels trying to control things we can't control we get very frustrated and very stressed. And when we don't control things that we can control we become depressed, right? When we feel that balance, we feel that alignment with the universe, we feel peace, we feel happy, even in tough and difficult times, even in disease and financial ruin and death and those kinda things, we can still be at peace and happy if we're aligned with that vision.
Does that make sense?
Those are people that feel that they're not in charge of their life. Some greater force is ruining their life, right? And on the other hand you could have the other extreme of people who, they want to make the person in their relationship be like them or the way that they envision them, rather than accepting them for who they are and either celebrating in that wonderful river of life or quit trying to convince them to come from the shore under the boat and find somebody else on the boat that you're celebrating with in the river, right? You can't control somebody else's beliefs or being or their characteristics. You can't control that.
So, in relationships when people are trying to control those things and believe that they can control those things, it's a falsehood. It's not true. You can't. So, what happens? They get frustrated.
They get angry, they get depressed, they get discouraged, they get stressed. Your body gets stressed, what do you do? You start squirtin' out cortisol, just feeling you see your whole, I see my whole intestines fillin' up with cortisol and the metabolism's slowing down and my colon distending and my stomach stops digesting and cancer cells start poppin' up all over the place, right? Because I'm not in alignment. And the first thing that we have to do in our work is we have to become aligned.
The novice needs to become aligned. They have to become self aware. Who am I? If they can see themselves or I say we is how I should talk. If we can see ourselves as a participating member of the universe and that we're a member of that body, we will be much, much happier than if we think that we are the universe and the world revolves around us.
Now, our society would like us to believe that happiness comes from being in the universe, having all, right? He who has the most toys wins. That's what the universe wants. I mean, that's what the society wants us to believe, right? And the opposite is actually true.
We are happiest when we give, we are happiest when we are detached, we are happiest when we are aligned. Our profession in Pilates, whether you like it or not is about that. That's what Joseph's philosophy's about. That's what he taught, balance between work, play and rest. Good nutrition, plenty of sunshine, fresh air, plenty of sleep, exercise, a balanced development of body, mind and spirit.
Alignment. Happiness, the first requisite is a healthy body that can perform your mental and physical activities with vigor and zest. That's our philosophy as Pilates teachers. So it's interesting to me when I have somebody to come up to me and say, "I dig all this stuff you teach about Pilates but as soon as you go into that spiritual and mental stuff, I don't like it at all. I don't really believe in any of it." And I'm like, "Well, then don't teach Pilates.
Don't teach yoga because that's what that's about. It's about an awareness." When people, it's a good example, 10 years ago, I taught a course, not a course but a class, a group class, reformer class, to a group of the, I don't know a nice word for them, but a group of ladies who never had to work and married for the wrong reason and all had fake boobs and expensive jewelry and Botox and were in their 30s and had two or three kids with two nannies per kid and their greatest highlight was taking their hubby's jet with their friends to Paris or to New York to go on a shopping trip. So, I had 10 of 'em and it was at a time in my career where I needed the money so I sold my soul and I taught 'em. (students chuckling) I didn't want to. And it was interesting that over the period of about six months to a year, things started changing.
And I wasn't really aware of it at first but as I reflect back on it, I saw the changes happening. So, I saw things like perfume and make up and hair, they would go get their hair blow dried before they would come in for a Pilates class. It's like, give me a break. The number of nannies that were taking care of their kids instead of them taking care of their own kids. Instead of going on these girls trips to shopping that they were talking about how good it was to be able to do a family activity.
They would come up and they would either say, "I really have found pleasure in being a wife," or they said, "I am getting divorced because I married for the wrong reason and I don't need this money to be happy. I'm miserable in this relationship and I'm leaving this relationship." Two of them actually had their implants taken out 'cause they didn't like the idea of having foreign bodies inside of their body. And it wasn't, I didn't preach like I'm preaching now. Trust me, I just taught Pilates. I took my money and I left, right?
But it was interesting to me now 10 years later I'm still really good friends with probably half of them. Two of them have become very good yoga instructors. They teach yoga on a regular basis and live a very balanced Ayurvedic life. They have become very good parents. Their kids are now like my kids ages too.
Most of them have grown up and they're in their late 40s, early 50s and their lives have changed and they still send me notes and thanking me as if I was the catalyst that promoted the change into a direction of happiness. And what I realized was this process of alignment, when we align ourselves physically and we bring consciousness to our physical alignment, talking about bones, muscles and skin and fascia, when we bring our consciousness to that, it heightens our awareness of our existence. You can't separate spiritual and mental awareness from physical awareness. They are together. And so even people who are agnostic and atheist and don't believe in any kind of higher power are influenced by having physical movement and focus on awareness.
And what happens is, according to Michael Gerber, he says, "When you heighten your awareness of yourself you realize that you have impact on the wellbeing of others by your decisions and your actions or your lack of decisions and your lack of actions." A lot of times we allow things to happen that if we were really true to ourselves, we would not allow that to happen. We witness horrible things every day and we allow them to continue happening and we accept them. When you are a heightened conscious person, you don't allow that to happen. Not to people you love, not to employees, not to the waiter or the waitress or the person that brought your car to you or the person that's your mechanic. You don't allow those things to happen and it definitely doesn't happen from you.
So, what happens to your world? It becomes a better place. You become happier. You become more in line with reality. It's impossible for us to feel reality off of our own projections.
We're just projecting out our experiences. ?Why is everybody so angry? Everybody you talk to is so angry. I don't know why everybody's so angry." (students laughing) Well, look in the mirror and you'll figure it out. It is exactly the same as when you were looking to buy a car and you pick out that you know what?
I really liked that Mini Cooper. What do you see on the road? A million Mini Coopers. Whatever you draw your attention to, you will see. If you are angry, you will see angry people.
If you are happy, you will be surrounded by happy people because that's what you see, it's what you draw your attention to. When we realize our impact on others is when we start to see reality. When we walk by somebody who's hungry, or we shut somebody down, excuse me, who's suffering and wants to talk but we don't have time to listen to them, or we have a kid who finally wants to open up and we don't have time to listen to them 'cause we have to work or we have to do something else, we are not in reality. We are consumed in our ego and we will not be happy in that space, right? It all ties together.
So, the expert practitioner has that awareness and consciousness of others which is what we do. We are compassionate people. It's why we chose the profession we chose. We want to help people be happier. We want to help people discover their own pathway that allows them to be better people, too.
Deepak Chopra talks about this critical mass. We don't know how many people it is but that internal transformation of peace collectively as it starts growing more and more people are peaceful or desiring peace will soon realize that we just don't need to have war anymore. We don't need to kill innocent people. We don't have to participate in that anymore. It's not a political thing.
It's an individual thing. When enough individuals don't accept those type of behaviors the world will change. We don't have to be pessimistic and simply and always think, "The world's a bad place. It's just gonna get worse and eventually we're all gonna be burned," right? We don't have to think that way.
Well, yet that's what a lot of people think. The world's going to hell. You hear it in people's language. They say it all the time. To pot or to hell, I don't know which is better.
Pot probably is happier. (students laughing) Right? How do we develop ourselves so that we can transform what we believe into what that person is really feeling? So when I'm teaching a client, I have to understand that client at a much deeper level to be able to understand what it's gonna feel like for them to have this movement experience. How has is movement experience going to affect a person who is the 55 year old sagittal beast, right?
I can't assume it's gonna be the same as me. That would be a false assumption. So, through experience, I've taught enough sagittal beasts and made enough mistakes with them that I start to understand what they respond well to. I start to recognize and I can have compassion and transform and say, "I think they're gonna respond well to this." And then I'm listening and watching based on their learning styles and my teaching styles to see if I'm transferring that information successfully. So, the expert starts to have this feedback mechanism that they are sensitive to.
Now you could call that feedback mechanism the collective consciousness. We know now that the body is basically connected by the fabric of the fascia and that the fascia actually reaches not only into the cellular wall but into the nucleus of the cell, which is where the DNA and the RNA and all duplication replication and all of who we are exist. I can take a swab from inside your mouth or from your urine and find old dead cells comin' out to tell me everything about you. They tell me your genealogy. They tell me what you're predisposed to, what color your eyes are gonna be.
It's all there, right? So, imagine a system like that, that fabric of the fascia that is embedded with photons. We know now that that fabric is embedded with photons, which is light. And that's how that system communicates. That's our aura.
It is our collective consciousness we believe, and that it is not the brain. The brain merely is the tool that executes the collective consciousness. And then I take my collective consciousness and the energy that I'm developing of that collective consciousness. And because my intention and my desire is to help you or help another, all of a sudden I can start experiencing and communicating at a level that is subconscious and your cells will tell my cells and my collective consciousness, what you need. And we often think, "Oh, that's intuition.
It's a miracle. God works through you." All of those are true, but there is a science to it. It doesn't defy science. So, when we have fascia, that's matted down, not vibrating, right? Then we have imbalance in our perception of the world.
Our collective consciousness is not clear. We make bad decisions. When we vibrate at a frequency that's healthy in all of our tissues, we're happier, we make better decisions and we cope much better. And people who do Pilates and Gyrotonic and yoga correctly have those results. They are happier, well-balanced, better decision making people.
Now, if we're gonna be the practitioner, doesn't it make sense that we be that type of person as well? Or do we sacrifice that because now we have the title of Pilates teacher. So we can go back to ruining our bodies and being imbalanced and matted down and not have the responsibility to communicate as a healthy being to another being that might need our healthiness to help them out of that unhealthiness. Right? So that's that transference and this is at a spiritual level but it is something that's really important.
Now, do you have to be an expert to have that? No, all you have to do is when you walk through the door, you say to yourself, "I'm leaving my ego outside the door. I'm gonna tap into universal consciousness with the desire to do good and do the right thing and all of a sudden, you tap into this incredible wealth of creativity, information, knowledge that does not have time or space or end and you become part of that universal consciousness and we learn from it. It teaches us. As long as we're grateful for it it continues to teach us.
We continue to learn and our clients continue to be blessed. And there are times that collective consciousness is gonna say you don't know enough, refer out. And that is okay because you are an advanced beginner or you're competent and it's something you haven't seen yet. And because the universe is in the best interest of the individual, we're gonna just comply with that and we're gonna refer them to somebody who's going to help them better than we can and that is okay. It's not okay.
It's really the right thing to do.
She comes to my workshops excited to learn with her notebook and sits down and takes notes and calls me up and asks me, "I have a client that has this." And I'm like, "What are you doing? You're my mentor. You're my guru. Why are you asking me?" Right? I'm humbled.
But she teaches me that we never stop learning. The minute that we believe that we don't need to learn more and of course I'm preaching to the choir because you're obviously here, is when we are not teachable anymore and when we're not teachable anymore we can't be good teachers. You have to be always a great student to be a great teacher. The minute you stop being a great student you can't be a good teacher anymore. They don't go together.
You have to be a student. So, meekness is important. Are you teachable? The next one, not easily offended. This is one we see all the time especially in the young practitioner.
It's like so easily offended. So defensive. The client comes up and says, "You told me I could do this and my back is hurting now." And they get so bent out of shape and so offended and try to defend themselves instead of just listening to what they're saying. There's some great skills that we learned from neuro linguistics. For example, in conflict resolution.
One of the first things we wanna do is acknowledge that we heard what they said and sometimes you can match them with their tone. So, if somebody comes up and says, "You said that I could run a mile and now look at my knee," and I match back, I said, "I said that you could run a mile and now your knee's all swollen?" And they look at me a little bit, like I'm a little crazy and then all of a sudden it's like, "Yeah, okay, let's see what we can do to get that swelling down and we'll see if we can do a little better job next time of how we prescribe your activity. Is that okay? Great." All I did was listen to them. I had a patient that came to me once and he said, I always ask the same question.
"So, what brings you here? What can I do for you?" And he says, "My wife told me I had to come." (students chuckling) So I said, "So, you're here because you do everything your wife tells you to do?" (students chuckling) And he looked at me and he's like, "No." He goes, "I haven't moved my head for three years." So, I repeat back. "So if I understand you correctly you haven't moved your head for three years?" I even say it the same way he says it. And he goes, "Yeah." I said, "So, what do you think is not allowing your head to move?" He goes, "Well, I feel like it's attached by a string and if I move it the wrong way the string will break and my head'll fall off."
"So, if I understand you correctly you feel like your head's attached by a string and if you move the head the wrong way, the string will break and your head will fall off on the floor." I added my own little ad-lib there. And he looked at me like I was absolutely crazy for about four or five seconds. And then he looked at me and all the walls, all the barriers fell down and he says, "That sounds pretty stupid doesn't it?" (students laughing) I said, "If it sounds stupid to you, it sounds stupid to me." (students laughing) I said, "Put your hands around your neck and appreciate the thickness of your neck. It's not a string. The head will not fall off, but I want you now to do a little exercise.
I want you to close your eyes and imagine that you had a little flashlight so you could look inside your neck and tell me what you see going on in there. Really, what do you think's goin' on?" And he says, "Well, it looks like rusty machinery and it's just not moving." And I said, "Okay." I said, "You're a machinist aren't you?" He goes, "Yeah." I said, "How would you fix rusty old machinery? What would you do?" He goes, "Well, I would lubricate it, break up some of the rust and get it moving again and sand it down a little bit." I said, "That's my job. Would you give me permission as your physical therapist to lubricate and break up some of the restrictions in there and get your neck moving again?" Now, imagine this guy going to many doctors, many therapists, many chiropractors over a period of three years, nobody listening to him. So, what does he have to do?
He asked to magnify the story each time a little bit more until it becomes a ridiculous story that's completely out of alignment with reality. It's impossible for the neck to be attached by a string, right? Without a tremendous amount of blood loss and death. Right? But that's what came out of his mouth.
A grown educated man, that's what came out of his mouth. And people do this kinda speech all the time. "I just wanna put a bullet through my head. God, I got such a bad headache. You want me to put a bullet through your head?
Well, no, it doesn't hurt that bad. My pain is all the time. Do you sleep at all at night? Yeah. And you have pain while you're sleeping?
I don't know. Well then you can't have pain all the time. Okay, I have pain all of my waking hours. Okay, do you have pain right now? No." You know what I'm saying?
It's like when you start aligning people to hear what they're saying, things change. I'll share one more example with you. I had a young 21 year old yoga teacher that had a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. She'd been married for two years already. Very happily married, very much in love with this young man in both ways.
I mean, I had met him and known him for awhile and the diagnosis did not sit well with me. There was something wrong with that diagnosis for somebody that practices yoga, 21 year old. And I tried everything. I did, all my manual therapy tricks, craniosacral tricks, Pilates, Gyrotonic. We tried everything and she'd get temporary bouts of feeling better and then she would be back with this sort of global body pain and I'd been taking some courses on hypnosis and timeline regression and some of those kinda things, just things I wanted to learn from myself, not necessarily practice but I decided I was gonna be brave and I'm gonna try something new.
So I said, "Come in and lay down on the table. I wanna ask you some questions." So I started taking her state down lower and lower and asking questions like, "What's the color of your pain? What's the texture of your pain? What's the temperature of your pain? What does it look like?" And get her down, down, down, she's answering a question and I say, "What's the purpose of your pain?" Her body started shaking and riving and next thing you know her voice changed.
And I thought I was actually watching that movie "Exorcist" with Blair. And I really was scared for a moment, genuinely scared, because I wasn't quite sure what I had tapped into but I spoke to her as pain for about three or four minutes. So, it was the craziest thing, but she spoke to me as pain. And I said, what's your purpose? And she said to remind her that she was the cause of her parents' divorce.
What's the deal? What do you think the deal was? Pregnant. Kids. Not pregnant but they wanted to have kids.
So, the obvious thing was, "We're so happily married. Life is good. Let's have a baby," right? And yet in her subconscious, what does a baby mean?
Divorce. That's right. Now, whether her mother ever said that to her or not is completely irrelevant. The fact was she believed it. And so, as soon as she said it, she came out of her hypnosis.
She sat up and she says, "I can't believe I just said that," and tears in her eyes. And I said, "You know what? Let's get you to a good family counselor. Let's get you somebody you guys can talk through this." Now, I still get a Christmas card from her every year. It's been almost 19 years.
So, she's close to 30, 31 year old, still teaches yoga. She's a graphic designer, very happily married. They do not have kids yet. They still see a counselor and she thinks she hasn't had pain since then, since that day she has not had pain. So, her body was creating pain not to get pregnant because she couldn't vocalize what she was feeling subconsciously.
There was malalignment between conscious and subconscious. Now, sometimes we get lucky and our movement brings things into alignment. Sometimes we don't. It's not a surefire thing. But it is amazing to me how many times emotional, spiritual and psychological things have manifested through movement and that's what we do.
So as long as we're aware of that, we're gonna be much better.
Deep unhappiness. So, honesty's important. Being kind. Our profession, there is a whole branch in our profession that is mean. (students chuckling) They're mean, they're mean spirited, they're angry, they say horrible things to other people.
They talk badly of people in their profession and they go to great extent to share their anger and their hate for other people. This profession doesn't have room for that. We have so much work to do. There's so many people that are hurting and that need movement and need the alignment that there's plenty of work for everybody no matter what school you graduate from, everybody has a place. To have hate and anger and that kinda stuff, they just don't need to do it.
That's a sign of immaturity. A mature practitioner would never say horrible things like that about another, it just wouldn't come out of their mouth. Unconditional love. This means being nonjudgmental, being tolerant. I remember, you know how we often talk about energy suckers?
You ever heard that term? Had a client walk and you go (exhales). (students laughing) Right? I remember having somebody I called an energy sucker years ago and I would be working with a client and I'd watch him walk in through the front door and immediately my whole body, (imitates body crashing) crash. Total energy meltdown.
And I would tell my office manager, "Man, that guy just sucks the energy right outta me. It's amazing." And then a couple weeks later, I'm looking down at my schedule in the morning. It's seven o'clock. I'm looking at all my patients and clients and at three o'clock who's on my schedule? (imitates body crashing) I'm thinking, "The guy lives 40 miles away.
There's no way he could suck my energy from 40 miles away. So what's really goin' on here?" What was really going on is that I was not equipped to work with him. I didn't have the tools at that time. I would love to work with him now, but I certainly didn't have the tools 15, 16 years ago when I knew him. And so, it was like the kindest thing I could have done was just to admit that I didn't have the tools to work with him and send him to my competition down the street and let him suck his energy.
No. To send him to somebody who had the tools, right? Because I didn't have the tools. I wasn't helping him. I was creating a dependence for him, but I wasn't really helping him.
And so unconditional love is our ability to realize that there aren't really energy suckers out there. Typically it's our inability to work with somebody that sucks your energy, it's conflict that sucks our energy. It's the contrast that sucks our energy. And when we start learning and have compassion and unconditional love for people, then it's not a big deal. I remember coming in the office one day and having my front office manager say, "You got a real bitch in room two." (students chuckling) So, I go into a room two.
Very angry lady in room two. (students laughing) Nobody had listened to her ever. She was in a lot of pain. And instead of me believing that she was a biatch, right? I just listened to her.
And I started to feel compassion for her. That surprised me because I thought I'd always, little harder than that. And we sat there and we cried together. And then I came up with some potential solutions and we worked together on them and she turned out to be the lady that brought fresh baked goods and fruit and vegetables from her garden for the next five years that I was in Sacramento. Sweetest lady you could imagine.
When we mature professionally, we have that unconditional love, we don't judge people, we tolerate a little bit better. It's amazing at the relationships that we build and the compassion that we get filled with to be able to help them and those are big lessons for us. I think that these people tend to have a desire for that inner peace and they reflect it in their behavior. I love going to Thailand. There's more practicing Buddhists in Thailand than any other country.
So, when you go there, I mean, these people really genuinely are at peace. A lot of 'em. I mean, it's pretty amazing and you can feel it. They're just such kind people. And then integrity is one we always throw out, but it's one that's important.
It's like just, again, it sorta goes with honesty with yourself and integrity of what's our work, what's our job? Do we live true to that job and that that purpose that we have in our life? Are we true to it? So, I mentioned these three domains for the PMA,
So, what I want you to do is if you have a piece of paper, I'd like you to, and online, the same thing. I want you to write down a quick self evaluation and I want you to identify the areas of the Pilates domains, the skills and knowledge that require more training for yourself and just write on a separate piece of paper. And then when you're finished prioritize it, one being the most urgent. So, for example there might be some skills of interviewing or some skills of evaluating or designing a program, but just write down all the different skills you think belong to a Pilates teacher as-
So, for example maybe interviewing or asking questions or being able to identify the problem, designing a program that's unique to the individual, full repertoire, all of the equipment, all of the exercises, teaching group classes versus one-on-ones, the philosophy and mission of Joseph and Clara Pilates, modification. Those are all different skill sets. So, just start writing down like the words I said, write 'em down. In other words that come to your mind and then think about it as it pertains to the Dreyfus & Dreyfus model. So you can, first of all, identify the priority.
"I think this is important, this is important, this is important," but then you can identify it as this is where my experience is, I'm a novice in this area and I'm a proficient practitioner in this area, right? So, identify the areas of the Pilates teacher domain skills and knowledge that require more training. So, you're gonna list them out and then just sorta circle the ones or put a list of the ones that you feel you might be deficient in. There should always be something that we're deficient in. So, now I'm moving to the next one when you have some of those things lined out there.
We wanna take a look at where we're at right now. So, what professional level do I spend the majority of my time working now? So, if you look there, the different lists there, Pilates teacher to low risk clients, Pilates teacher to medium risk clients, problem-solving, designing programs, business management, inspiring change in clients, coaching younger teachers, educating new teachers, right? So, you just sorta look at it and say, "What percentage of your time do you spend doing that? So, like me right now, I pretty much only work with medium to high risk clients and I do that about 10 hours a week.
I spend most of my time now in business management and inspiring change in clients and coaching younger teachers, educating new teachers. So I would say the other 70% of my time is in the lower four. And then if I was to say where I'm at, am I a novice at that, am I advanced beginner or competent? I would say in business management I've become competent, in educating new teachers I would say I'm proficient, in working with medium risk clients I would say I'm probably an expert in that area. That would be my expertise.
So, just identify where where you're sort of at. How much time do you spend with that? And again, nobody's gonna look at this but you so be as genuine as you can be and really look at where am I deficient? Where am I doing really well? So, now on that same piece of paper, it has the same categories, where do you see yourself in one, three and five years?
Do you see yourself doing more teacher training or coaching? Do you see yourself working now with medium and high risk clients? Do you see yourself more as a problem solver? Where are you designing programs? Where do you see yourself, more business?
So, it's like saying, "Okay, now I've identified a priority of what I need to do. Where's that training available and in what year am I going to make that happen?" Now, this is a very important part here because everybody's different. So, let's say that somebody is just getting married or somebody is going to have a baby or somebody is opening up a new business. Those are all things, or has a father or a mother that's dying that they're taking care of. They're all things in life that will shift the amount of energy we put into our profession.
So, if those things are a reality for you, it might be that you're gonna stay status quo for five years while you're starting a family and then you start building your profession backup so you would do the minimum to be able to keep your credentials during that time and then you'll go back and start developing your profession at a later time. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. And so that's why a part of this is learning is professional growth but don't expect to be in the same place in five years as somebody who has put their profession as their number one priority. Be accepting of where you are and where you're going and how much time you can allocate to that profession. Okay?
That's what's, so that's what allows you just to be comfortable and say, "This is my plan. This is what I'm gonna do." And also, the things you can control you wanna control. So, if you can go to a conference or a PMA conference and take certain classes that helps you determine what classes you're gonna take. Who are you gonna study with? Who do you want to mentor with?
Who do you build relationships with on a long term that are teaching or practicing things that you wanna be better at? Okay? And again these are just ideas but it's putting sort of a framework to your education, continued education to realize if I really wanna work with elderly clients then maybe I need to go spend more time with somebody like Sherri Betts who specializes in geriatrics and the aging adult and has a lot of good training and research and books and courses that, and is willing to teach people. If you wanna do women's health and work more with women with postpartum problems and incontinence and those kinda things, then you study with somebody who is specialized in that, they become your mentor. You know what kind of reading material you're gonna do and you know who you're working with.
If you're working with people with a lot of low back pain coming through your clinic and you're not quite comfortable with it, then you take a course on taking care of low back pain.
I think, we look for balance in life. Remember one of the key things in that second principle of Joseph, the guiding principle is to have a balance between work, play and rest or work recreation and rest. And we need things and rituals and activities that edify us, that enrich us as a human being, that increase our existence and allow us to reflect internally, right? I mean, that's really important to us. And I think at the same time we have an obligation as healers, as movement teachers to heighten and sharpen, heighten our skills and sharpen our saws to be a better practitioner.
And what typically happens is a little, even a little workshop like this will stimulate enough energy and you go back and be excited to see your clients tomorrow. And if we don't engage in this kind of activity, we suffer from burnout. So, not too long ago seeing clients and counting repetitions and holding gum can get pretty old until you come back and you have purpose again. It's like, this is what I wanna do. I want to be able to facilitate this change or I want to go out and learn something new.
And those that are sort of in that continued education junkie, like you're talking about, a lot of us are, we're always stimulated with the things that we learn. We're always happy learn new things and they all contribute to make us better people. Knowledge is great in every way possible. I think what I'm saying here is from a professional standpoint, we're raising the bar professionally where and how can you prioritize that aspect of your life so that it becomes the most effective and best spent money and time for you to help you be maybe a little more linear in that process and not be so distracted with everything that comes your way? 'Cause it could be there's lots of good things but if you really wanna become a good communicator there's a neuro linguistics course, it's a week long and it's $3,000.
So, you might be thinkin', "I really wanna use and bring communication into my practice and I know there's lots of little things for 250 here and 300 there and 500 there and $100 there, but I could save that money and really focus this year on improving my communications by doing a communications course." Or you could say, "I really like the skill set of this one person. I wanna make sure that instead of spending a lot of money here and there, I'm gonna spend it in this area because that's where my interest is." And it just allows you to clarify a little bit 'cause I think it is overwhelming the number of emails that I get for courses and workshops that come into my email every day are overwhelming and when I sort of schedule out for the year or two years what it is I wanna work on. So, like I said, for the next two years, I'm going to be doing and going through the Ayurvedic training and the meditation training with the Chopra Institute. It's not like going to India or belong to an (indistinct) but I, to me I went through and I analyzed and I said, "There's no way I can be with my family and my business and my, what I enjoy doing. I don't want, it doesn't sound appetizing to me to go live in India for six months or a year and live that lifestyle." So, I came to a reality check of, I could do this.
I don't wanna do this but I definitely need it so I'm going to do this. And that's where I put my energy. And there were a lot of things that I missed, but they weren't my priorities, and so I felt comfortable with that. I'll give you one more story and I'll leave you with this story. I just finished the 12th revision of my 280 page dissertation.
It looked like Chinese to me when I opened it up. It was ad nauseum. It was (grimaces) looking at it, right? So many years, almost eight years working on that. And so I turned it in the 12th time and I said, "I'm taking my family on a vacation.
I'm done, I'm finished with this project. I'm gonna go take two weeks off." So I took my family to Utah. We have a friend that has a dude ranch down the Southern Utah by all the red canyons in Zion and all that beautiful area. And before we did that, my wife and I went up to Deer Valley and stayed in a friends condo and with the kids with some cousins and just chilled for two days. So I'm up there and Dr. Carol Davis gave me a book that she'd been bugging me to read called, "Inner Peace." And so I'm reading this book and chillin' and feeling good that I got this dissertation turned in.
I'm gonna meet Dr. Anderson in a matter of months and blah, blah, blah. So, I'm opening this book up and it goes through a meditation and the first meditation is write down on a piece of paper all of your perceived expectations from other people. So, four hours later I have hundreds of perceived expectations, right? But I didn't realize that I was setting myself up for chapter four. (students chuckling) I didn't know that.
I thought you just had to like identify people that sort of make up who you are by your perception of their expectations. Then the next part said, "Now, take each of those perceived expectations and imagine that they are like clothing or costumes." So maybe I was stuffed, right? (imitates air whooshing) 400 layers of clothing and costumes and of the image that it created and to take each of those layers, fold them up nicely and give them back to the person that I perceived gave 'em to me. Of course this is just a mental exercise, right? But you were to do it with gratitude even if you perceive the expectation was negative.
So, I mean, I went back to grandparents, parents, uncles, school teachers, kindergarten, preachers, I mean the whole list of everybody in my life all the way up into where now I'm the boss, I'm the Bishop, I'm the father, I'm the son of the aging parents and all those other things. And so now I'm getting down to the last three or four layers, four hours later. And I wasn't convinced that I was gonna like who I am. And very personal but I always had plenty of ego and plenty of self confidence. It's never been a trait of mine to have low self esteem.
And in that moment was the first time that I really was questioning do I like who I am when I take off those last couple layers of clothing and I am spiritually naked, will I like who I am? Can I accept the darkness in me that accompanies the light in me? And that was a major, major spiritual point in my life where I took off that, I had the faith to take off that last layer of clothing, fold it up and give it to my mother, I think is who it was. And I love her dearly but I just, her expectations of me being a saint and she thinks I'm a saint to this day, taking that off and exposing my darkness to myself was what I was afraid of and yet, we all have darkness and light. It is opposition, all things.
It is the very essence of life isn't it? And as I did that, I was contemplating and within seconds I felt this incredible mantle of love just completely wrap around me. And I just knew that the universe loved me and I could love myself and no sooner did I have that impression then I received two really strong impressions. One was finish your dissertation no matter what. I did (laughs).
I did, I'm done. I'm done. Finish your dissertation no matter what. And the second was spend more time with Gabe. And no sooner did that happen within an hour and a half, I received a phone call from the Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy, University of Miami.
And Dr. Hayes said, "Brent, I hate to be the bearer of bad news. It is still not PhD level. You must do it over again. And might I remind you that you have, this your last semester if you do not turn this in by December that you will have to start everything all over again or just stop and be all the dissertation." And it was interesting. This peace came over me and it was like, you know, you just gotta do it.
Whatever it is, you gotta do it. Now, interesting enough in those last three months I learned more about my dissertation topic and more about myself and more about Pilates and the effect in chronic pain than I had in the previous seven years. Those were powerful months for me, transforming but I made the decision that anything that conflicted with me getting my dissertation was not the right time and the same thing with Gabriel. So, when Gabriel had a concert and I had work at the same time, I canceled my work and I went to the concert. And it was interesting that I read a paper of Gabriel's when he was a senior.
And he was, Gabriel's very quiet. He doesn't talk. My daughters talk too much, my son doesn't talk at all. And I was going through his piles in the room and one of the things he was most grateful for was that, those last two, three years of his high school. And so to me, I think that when we align ourselves, the universe manifest to us, the things that are important to us right now and anything that you perceive that we expect of you is secondary.
It's not the primary. So, be true to your primary, recognize where you're at in our profession. And if your goal and your desire and the alignment with you and the universe is to continue to progress and to move in that direction, then that road is wide open to you to just look and do it and have the courage that it's gonna bring about some great things and my greatest wish for us as Pilates teachers is to be aligned. It's what Joseph taught us. Be aligned with what we do, put that energy into what we do and we will be happy as practitioners.
I love what I do. I love what I do and I hope you love what you do and I'll leave you with that thought. Thanks for invitin' me. (students applauding)