If you’re serious about Pilates, you’ll need a great Pilates teacher to help you get where you want to go (and beyond!). But beginning the search can be overwhelming.
By addressing the 7 easy questions below, you’ll be able to narrow down to a teacher who’s perfect for you!
1. Are they Qualified?
A qualified Pilates instructor should have 1) a certification and 2) experience. The quality of certification varies widely: from online certifications with no real accountability to years-long, in-person mentorships. Instructors should list their certification and experience on their website.
If they’re teaching on equipment at the advanced level, they should have completed at least a 500-hour certification.
Studios are generally quite selective about the instructors they offer, so a studio is a safer bet than contacting an individual if you’re unsure. (However there are many highly skilled teachers who work privately.)
2. What Do their Clients Say?
The best advertising is word of mouth. You might also announce to your social circles that you are looking for a Pilates teacher. Chances are you’ll receive plenty of recommendations, which is a great place to start.
Most teachers and studios have a few reviews on their websites or other platforms, but you can also do some subtle eavesdropping and people watching in the studio to gauge client satisfaction.
3. Do they have Time?
A teacher can only teach if you can meet. While it might go without saying, you need to find a teacher who has time to meet when you’re available.
It’s very common for teachers to only work mornings or evenings. So, if you’re looking for flexibility, a studio might be a better option for you than an individual.
4. Is the Instruction Worth the Cost?
Whatever you’re getting training in, private instruction isn’t cheap. Instructors need to recoup their training and continuing education, equipment, rent and insurance, etc.
And while it’s often true that more advanced/experience teachers charge more, that’s not always true. And it’s definitely not true that more expensive = better teacher.
The fact is, any fully-certified Pilates instructor with a year of teaching under their belt should be able to give you an excellent foundation for a health, effective Pilates practice. If, after a few months, you want to spend up on a super advanced teacher, have at it. But, if funds are limited, you’ll do best so save that money until you have a good understanding of Pilates fundamentals.
5. Can you Get to them? Location!
You’ll want to get to your class on time and unflustered, and then be able to get home before bedtime. While you might love the flashy teacher across time, even the best teacher in the world can’t help you if you’re constantly late or canceling.
6. Do You Click with them?
You’re going to be exploring your strengths and limitations with this person, so a connection is important. That doesn’t mean you have to be best friends, but you might ask yourself:
- Do you understand them? Do their verbal cues make sense? Do they show you an exercise if words don’t clarify it for you?
- Do they understand you? When you discuss your goals, do they listen?
Having an instructor who’s successful at motivating you is crucial if you have a hard time getting your butt to the studio. Communication goes both ways, so be sure you’re both speaking the same language.
7. Do they also have a Student Mindset?
Good Pilates teachers are also a good students, constantly looking for ways to improve their teaching and deepen their knowledge. While teachers don’t always post their Continuing Education Credits (CECs), they are probably watching, reading, and sharing tips with other teachers.
You might ask them what they’re excited about in Pilates now to get a feeling for their engagement.
By answering these 7 questions, you’ll be in a good place to find a Pilates teacher who’s a great fit for you. Taking a little time to find an instructor you’re excited about is a good investment of your time, money, and health. Under good guidance, Pilates can lead you out of pain and toward health, in every sense of the word.
If you’re going to a group class, be sure to check out our Guide to Your First Pilates Class.