P1090543

Socially Mindful: Disconnecting in a Connected World

When were you last fully immersed in the task at hand? When did you last eat, fully engaged in tasting the flavours and feeling the textures of your food? When was the last time you had a conversation with someone that held your attention fully and completely?

If you can answer all of these questions without hesitation then, unfortunate as it is, you’re most likely in the minority. (more…)

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Citrusy seafood and butternut squash summer jumble: Eating on a Rotation Diet

I have no idea what to call this recipe. All I know is that it was good. Very good!

For the past weeks I’ve been eating according to a rotation diet, meaning that I do not eat the same thing for four days. Every day is something new. Why eat like this? Well first of all it’s a great way to make sure that your diet is varied and that you get as many vitamins, minerals and other natural goodies from your food as possible. It is also a great way to figure out if you’re intolerant to a certain food group, as it takes your body 72 hours to digest and assimilate whatever it has eaten. This makes it easy to pinpoint what it was that made you feel unwell as you can trace it back to a certain day and then go from there. (more…)

Image taken from someecards.com

The power of thoughts and how to use it.

Do you ever wake up feeling like today is going to be the worst day ever? You’re not entirely sure why, but you just have this knot of dread in your stomach and you can’t kick the negative thoughts out of your head. Sure enough you find that you have absolutely nothing to wear. You feel fat. You end up being late to school/work. You forgot to bring that important paper. The list just goes on and on.

Then take the reverse, have you ever woken up, feeling like today truly is the greatest day to be alive, but again you have no real reason behind it? You feel positive and happy. You rock those skinny jeans and feel fab. You swear the cute coffee store guy was hitting on you. You find a £5 note in your pocket. Life is good!

So what is that makes us have good and bad days? How can we wake up with exactly the same prospects yet one day everything goes to pieces and another you’re on top of the world? (more…)

Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 15.13.37

Coffee, chocolate and insulin resistance: How to have your tiramisu and eat it too!

Coffee and chocolate. Look through most cookbooks, sweet aisles, and dessert menus and you’re bound to come across this wonderful combination. I can very fondly remember to this day the chocolate covered coffee beans my grandparents bought me on a trip to Finland some 13 years ago.  (more…)

10406842_325372091005762_6096981456454804576_n

Be:Fit London 2015

Too much of a good thing… can never be enough!

On Friday I went to the Be:Fit festival at the Business Design Centre in Angel. I’ve gone to this previously when it was still at Earls Court and under the “Vitality” name, and loved it then, so was very excited to see what was in store this year. As always with any exposition there’s going to be some odd things going around, but sometimes you come away with one or two little gems. Or in my case, four.  (more…)

1487846_558914390877763_2701811603163607984_o

Vegan Supper Club at The Little Viet Kitchen

Say what you will about social media, but if it wasn’t for the great power that is instagram I would never had one of my life’s greatest dining experiences this past weekend. (more…)

Slider-GoldGlassesWhiteBackground

Congratulations you’ve qualified! Now what?

While I was in the process of becoming a Pilates teacher I wrote a couple of posts on what was needed to get there. The tests, anatomy modules, overcoming stage fright in front of a class, the good, the bad, everything!

While you’re learning and striving towards that final sign off there’s so much focus on “getting there” that you may forget about where you’re headed. What happens once you have that “Pilates-happily ever after”?

Having that sign off is amazing, and it’s up there with my most treasured moments. However it’s also kind of scary. You’re no longer under someone else’s wings. Classes, students, rent. It’s all up to you now.

904318_10153861023780249_1711888845_o

Scouting for a studio.

Step 1 is to find a place to teach. I was incredibly lucky in that a studio had contacted me before I’d qualified to see if I would like to teach there, so I can’t give the best advise on what to do. However I will say this; be open to everything! Keep eyes open and ears trimmed for anything Pilates related and just go for it. Contact people. I was forwarded an email from another studio about a possible opening and I jumped on it. It’s lead me to a fantastic and incredibly inspiring contact who is mentoring me and guiding me towards taking over her classes eventually. Another contact came about when a mutual Facebook friend tagged me in their status update, and we’ve also been discussing setting up a couple of classes each week. Talk to everyone and somehow mention you’re a teacher. You never know what it may bring you.

You also have to be thankful for what you’re getting. Most definitely you won’t be getting those ideal hours straight off the bat. Most of my classes are in the evening at around 18.30, which means late dinners. However I am so happy to be teaching that it really doesn’t matter to me.

Getting the word out.

Step 2 is then to drum up a client base. This is hard. I’ve not yet fully figured out how to best go about this, but I’d say don’t underestimate the power of social media. Most people are now on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc, and are not only using these for keeping in touch with friends but to find fitness classes around them. Set up a Pilates page for yourself and ask friends and family to like and share it too.

Not much of a social media person yourself? Don’t worry, the most powerful tool still is word of mouth. I’ve had a couple of clients come to me because their friends have recommended my classes. Be friendly, positive, and always carry a business card with you. Look professional but approachable. If you live in a small community like myself this is even more important because you never know who you may bump into.

Health shops, fitness stores, pubs, etc. These are all good places to leave  a card too. I’d highly recommend getting on the good side of your local Sweaty Betty, Lululemon or other fitness clothing store. Many of these run classes for their members or frequently are asked about local instructors. Make sure that you’re someone they’d recommend!

10660235_10152635014806628_2178497400696871147_n

Stage fright; or getting a case of “what on earth am I doing?!”

Okay, so you’ve got your location sorted and people have signed up to come along.

It’s tonight.

You’re freaking out.

Just take a couple of deep breaths in and relax. It may not feel like it but you do know what you’re doing. You wouldn’t have that laminated piece of paper if you didn’t. However, I cannot begin to count the times that I have felt that way too and after talking to those who have been teaching for years, it seems like that niggling never really fades. We’re all our worst critics.

One way to calm the nerves is by teaching friends and family and asking them to give you feedback. My mom is in a couple of my classes and no one can be as candid as her, but she’s also helped me relax and realise that actually, I’m not too bad.

Also, it’s worth remembering that most of the people you teach won’t know their flexion from their extension and will go all blank eyed if you tell them to “softly engage their center as they tuck their pelvis anteriorly”. Teaching “real” people is different. Many won’t be able to do a perfect curl up and few will have any idea of where their range of movement starts and ends. However don’t let this scare you because it is so much more fun and all part of the challenge to figure out cues that will help them get to where you want them.

The best advice I received before my first class was to just get them moving. Don’t worry too much about getting the correct alignment (provided everyone is safe!) and just make sure that they come away feeling satisfied and like they’ve had a work out. Perfection of movement will come but it’s a slow process. I mean, no way that I’m perfect yet and neither are those teachers of 10 years or more.

Another point worth remembering too is that most people look very serious when they’re concentrating. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve thought in the back of my mind “Oh my gosh this must be absolutely terribly because everyone looks like they want to murder me” only to then have those same people come up afterwards to say that it was absolutely fantastic and they loved it! I dare you to look in the mirror the next time you’re doing a class yourself and see what face your making. I can guarantee it won’t be a smiling one!

Enjoy it!

What I want any student or newly qualified teacher to take away from all of this though is this; it’s fantastic! There’s nothing greater than seeing the delight on people’s faces as they manage to do a certain exercise or when they come back the next week to tell you how amazing their back feels. It’s plain and purely awesome! Take it from someone who hated being the centre of attention or talking in front of a crowd and is now on a daily basis asking people to look at her and telling them what to do! It is terrifying, especially those first couple of ones, but it gets easier and easier as you get more used to it.

Keep calm and Pilates on!

Do you have any tips on what to do when you get started? What do you think is the best part of teaching? I’d love to hear your thoughts too, so please post your nuggets of wisdom below!