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What can I expect to learn and experience during the Embody Pilates® Teacher Training Program?


You can expect to learn and be able to teach the entire classical repertoire and then some on the Reformer, Mat, Cadillac, Chairs, Barrels, Ped-o-pull, Magic Circle and Foot Corrector. But Pilates is so much more than a massive collection of exercises. Embody Pilates® will teach you how to get your clients to actually embody Pilates! We will show you how to see the body in front of you, developing your eye to observe imbalances and bad movement habits, and then to understand the thought processes behind structuring the most effective workouts for the short and long-term. Our approach is rooted in sound anatomical principles, and trainees will learn how and why to modify exercises for people with various injuries or conditions, as well as how to challenge the most advanced student or professional dancer or athlete, even when your clients’ abilities and potential exceeds your own. You will learn how to teach people of all ages, sizes, and shapes, with of all their individual idiosyncrasies. You will be able to teach Pilates as exercise, but also as an education for the body that should impact every physical aspect of your clients’ lives, and potentially other realms as well. Ultimately your clients will move out of any pain and discomfort while beginning to feel at home in their own bodies. You will become a teaching chameleon, altering your methods to meet the individual needs of each person, hour after hour, day after day, and hopefully year after year. Watching clients transform right in front of your eyes is extremely gratifying--it’s easy to see why Dixie and Elizabeth have been teaching Pilates collectively for almost 35 years.


The Embody Pilates® Teacher Training program structure is similar to a college program with core curriculum courses and requirements as well as elective workshops to choose from. The majority of the courses are presented by Dixie FunLee Shulman and Elizabeth Cassidy, but guest teachers will also provide workshops to broaden and diversify your Pilates perspective. The heart of our program is the classical work created by Joseph Pilates himself, and we also respect and welcome the teachings of the many master and elder teachers of today.


While the coursework is an essential and fun part of teacher training, this program also stresses the importance of observation and practice teaching. The core curriculum series is repeated (at a reduced price the second time) because the material will be absorbed on a different level after you have had a chance to try putting your knowledge into teaching practice. After the required coursework and hours of observation, sessions, workouts, practice teaching and teaching labs are completed, then you are ready to take the written, performance and teaching tests. After passing these tests you will receive an Embody Pilates® Teacher Training Certificate.



What happens after I get my Certificate?


After you receive your Embody Pilates® Certificate, you will be ready to take and pass the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) exam. It is similar to someone who goes to law school, graduates, and then takes the bar before being able to practice law. The PMA grew out of the lawsuit in 2000 regarding the name Pilates, as a way of uniting the community, setting national standards for teaching competence, and helping consumers find quality Pilates instruction. Dixie and Elizabeth will not only help you study for the PMA exam, but we will help you with job placement as well.



Where did the Embody Pilates® Teacher Training program come from?


Dixie first began to train teachers with Gail Anderson at Balance Within Movement Studio in Redmond, Washington in 1998. Because Dixie is a performer, she found that she enjoyed teaching workshops even more than teaching sessions and classes. After moving to NYC in 1999, Dixie began to develop several different extra-curricular workshops for Pilates teachers. In 2000 she also observed the majority of the trial regarding the ownership of the name “Pilates.” The result was that “Pilates” became a free word, and ever since the consumer must determine who and where good Pilates instruction is happening. Over the years Dixie took Pilates mat classes all over Manhattan and discovered some excellent classes, some average classes, and some classes that surprisingly contained little to no actual Pilates movements.


This all lead to a desire to create an entire training program, including an extensive manual. Almost all Pilates teacher training programs originated out of a studio owner’s need for more teachers to meet the studio’s growing demands. Dixie, on the other hand, trains teachers because it is the best way she can spread excellent Pilates to the most people. Helping to create competent and qualified teachers is the most effective way Dixie can impact the Pilates community.



What style of Pilates will I learn at Embody Pilates?


The Embody Pilates® Teacher Training program is based in the classical method, or east-coast style. You will learn all the classical exercises—the wonderful, the weird, and the wonderfully weird—as well as the orders Joe created. You will understand the classical rules for how to progress clients, and you will also discover some times and reasons why you might break those rules.


From this solid, classical base, other influences and styles are layered in. For example, Dixie trained extensively with elder teacher Kathy Grant, and Elizabeth was trained by master teacher Madeline Black. Over the years both have also studied and been exposed to all the major styles and schools of thought on Pilates in this country. In the last 20 years Dixie has taught in cities and suburbs in the northeast, northwest, central, southeast and southwest US, and each area has brought Dixie unique challenges and lessons. In addition, the influence of renowned dance kinesiologist and anatomist, Irene Dowd, on Dixie’s teaching cannot be overstated. In conclusion, the Embody Pilates® program is classically based and also a reflection of all these sources. In addition, the Program also continues to develop and expand, as Elizabeth and Dixie are committed to furthering their own study and education. After all, the best teachers are also excellent students—there is always more to discover.



Why should I consider Embody Pilates® Teacher Training?


Embody Pilates is the “mom-and-pop” of teacher training. Not that there’s anything wrong with a “chain” program taught all over the country, but with Embody Pilates every new teacher in training is nurtured and supported in a way that works for each individual. Whatever pace you desire, whatever areas you wish to specialize in, Elizabeth and Dixie are there to provide you with the tools and experiences you need. Check out what others have said about Embody Pilates on our Testimonials page.


At Embody Pilates we also let you experience the program “a la carte.” In other words, you can pay as you go.



How will I possibly remember everything taught in the workshops?


Don’t worry, in the core workshop series you will receive detailed notes about every classical exercise of every level on every apparatus, along with basic anatomy and Pilates history, etiquette, principles and goals. After spending time on your own in the studio gathering your observation hours and starting your practice teaching, slowly but surely you will embody the Pilates repertoire and orders as instinctively as you know the alphabet and how to spell.



Can I take Embody Pilates workshops if I am already certified?


Absolutely. Please feel free to choose specific workshops, or you can take the entire program and earn an additional certificate. The requirements are lightened for those who are already certified by another program. (The workshop series only needs to be taken once, for example.)