Pilates in Lockdown
Updated: Sep 5, 2020
When I finished teaching my last live class back in March I felt an overwhelming sense of loss. Loss of my entire Pilates practice. Loss of my income. Loss of my community and the wonderful friendships I have built with my clients. And most challenging for me, the loss of control. I sat on my floor and I cried.
I gave myself a day or two to sit with these feelings and then took a huge piece of paper and my coloured pens, drew myself a mind map and got planning. I logged onto Zoom, created an online booking system, designed an online health and safety form, set up a studio space in my dining room, bought a web cam, a tripod and several super strong lights and started to teach online. I won't pretend it was easy, there may have been some swearing and there were definitely lots of tears as I tried to get my head around new platforms and technology, but it was all made worthwhile when I logged on to see so many friendly faces joining me every morning for our daily Pilates fix.
During the first few weeks of Lockdown I found myself facing new opportunities and and new challenges daily. I started teaching postnatal classes on Facebook Live for Busylizzy, a national franchise that saw my classes being watched by hundreds of new mums, I felt huge pressure to get it right. I collaborated with a Space Hot Yoga to do an Instagram Live class (I had to ask my teenager about that one!) and held a lovely wellbeing session with my sister Gemma where we shared breathing, stretching and mindfulness techniques with our online community. I would never have considered using these forums before lockdown.
Being online pushed me to think differently about the way that I teach. I had to provide more variety and different levels of challenge to keep things interesting and accessible. Physical demonstrations weren't enough, especially when I knew some people were accessing classes on phone screens so I had to re-think my verbal cues and the language I use for corrections and adaptations of exercises. It took a few weeks to really feel comfortable with the format but I am so amazed by how much my class members and I have achieved over the last 22 weeks. It's really stretched me, professionally, emotionally, technologically and physically.
In September I will be launching a new "pic-n-mix" timetable of live and online classes. I will be continuing to teach some classes online as I do think this is a great way for clients to keep up their weekly practice, but I am really looking forward to seeing people who weren't able to access my online classes over lockdown. Teaching Pilates is going to be different, there are so many health and safety procedures to be set in place and teaching at a distance is going to be challenging but it's exciting to be getting back to some level of normal and I can't wait to see people face to face again.
I want to finish with a "shout out" to every single person that came and joined me online. As well as all my local Pilates gang, I've had people who live in London, Hastings, Brighton, Norwich, France and Poland "join" me in my home. At such a strange and difficult time it was truly amazing to be able to reach out and connect with so many of you. You kept me going and from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all your support.