By Yuuki Yamagiwa
Dane Sorensen’s first experience with Pilates was at Crunch Fitness in 2007, and he’s been practicing ever since! He previously received his Pilates Mat certification from Equinox and is now a teaching apprentice with the REAL Pilates program at Westwood Pilates.
Read on about Dane’s teacher training experience, as well as what he would want to hear if he were to sit at the dinner table with Joseph Pilates himself!
What was your first Pilates experience like? How did it feel?
Clueless. I walked into a Pilates mat class at Crunch gym, wondering if I was going to be the only guy. It was love at first leg circle. I remember feeling like I was in a ballet class. I was dancing on the mat and wondering where Pilates had been all my life. I remember the teacher asking how long I've been practicing, and she was shocked it was my first class, so I guess it came naturally ;-) I was hooked.
That’s great that you fell in love with Pilates during your first experience! But what about frustrations? Do you have any challenges that frustrate you both as a student and as a teaching apprentice?
The exercises instantly reveal my imbalances. I can't get away with anything! In the most recent seminar, we covered the Pedi Pole and I couldn't lift my leg up while holding my balance. It was so demoralizing, but you better believe I'm going to master this apparatus and model the Pedi Pole workouts. I love that I found a body of work that will safely challenge my body for years to come.
Though I'm given the material in the teacher training in increments, at times I can feel overwhelmed, like I can't learn fast enough. Also, since I'm working alongside the best in the business, my Pilates idols, it was intimidating at first. I wanted to jump to the finish line (story of my life) but I've learned to embrace these stepping stones and take it one day at a time. I've grown so much in the first few months of the program, in both my physical practice and as a teacher, and the impact I make on my students is the best part [of the training]!
I love how you have such a positive approach to your Pilates frustrations and how you have been approaching your challenges encountered in Teacher Training! You’ve been in the training for several months now. What advice do you have for prospective/future trainees who may be interested in doing the program?
Make sure you have your next eight months mapped out, that you have made time for the program, your finances are in order so that you can focus on the tasks at hand. Take advantage of every lesson, observation hour, homework assignment, and opportunity to put yourself out there, even if it's a little scary. You are literally teaching amongst the best in the business and the program is what you make of it. Go for the Gold.
Thanks for sharing your advice! Have you received any advice from your teachers, mentors, or other figures in the Pilates community that you also find inspiration from?
During one of the seminars, Alycea Ungaro stressed the importance of turning all situations into positive ones. For example, instead of saying "no" to a student, offer an alternative. I see this in practice at Westwood Pilates all the time when observing the teachers. I remember observing Pamela [Debiase], and when a client was becoming frustrated that she "can't use [her] stomach more,” Pamela said, "We can always encourage the abdominals to draw in a little more.” It was such a brief moment, but I could understand what Alycea meant and how effective it was in practice. I'm attempting to use it in everyday situations and it really has changed my energy.
It is wonderful to hear that you apply Pilates, both in practice and inspiration, to your everyday life! Speaking of idols and inspirational figures, if you could have a conversation with Joseph Pilates himself at the dinner table, what would you want him to tell you?
I would request a shock therapy session where I'm scared into changing my lifestyle: a standing desk at home, less Facebook, more Pilates. Things I know to do in theory, but I have a feeling hearing it from Mr. Pilates would set the record straight.