Can you share your most meaningful milestone?
I believe a significant milestone in my career was when I treated one of my first serious rehab clients a few years back. The first is always the most special!
This person already had a longer journey behind them with seeing several doctors, physics and osteopaths before starting to work with me. She was in her 70s, and unable to lift her hands up and unable to perform movements needed in daily life, like combing her hair, putting on makeup….
After working with me, she was able to do all that and more and just seeing how that changed her quality of life really made me feel that the work I am doing is worthwhile. During the course of some intense classes the progress was pretty amazing and my client ultimately was completely pain free. Seeing the impact we can have as Pilates teachers in this way gave additional meaning to my practice. It’s far beyond fitness if done right.
Since then I have been honoured and lucky to work with other clients where I have been able to make a difference, such as a post breast cancer patient who similarly had shoulder restrictions, as well as a client who had back pain that Pilates has helped so much she is now pursuing Pilates teacher training herself.
What does a typical week look like for you?
I teach quite a few classes from Monday to Saturday each week in a combination of group and private clients. So during these days I spend a good bit of time preparing in between the actual classes to make sure I’m on point when I see my clients. I also try and stay up to date with my continued learning and am watching Pilates videos, going through related literature etc.
I try to do Pilates classes to keep up with my own movement practice although I’m not unlike many clients in that I’m not as disciplined as I should be! We’re not perfect! And we definitely understand it when clients don’t practice the homework given or come as often as they should. Pilates instructors are humans and have the same challenges too!
When I’m not busy with Pilates or Gyrotonic, I enjoy exploring the Singapore food scene from hawkers to fancy restaurants, which is a passion that my husband and I share. So typically weekends for us are focused on food, sleep, and ideally a bit of exercise as well.
You know you’ve been in Asia too long when you become a foodie! Which restaurants in Singapore would you recommend to someone in Singapore?
If money wasn’t a concern – Odette! I love that the quality of food is high, produce taste very fresh and has a very complete palette. The portion size is just right as well.
For regular nights out, Sbagliato Kitchen and Bar.
What is a good German restaurant you would recommend?
Brotzeit. It’s very reliable and consistent.
You mentioned that you don’t work out as often as you should. You’re 50 this year and you’re in great shape! Apart from Pilates what other exercises do you do?
I do yoga, running and mountain biking. I try to do all of the above at least once a week. I also make an effort to go for a retreat once a year in Thailand – I find it helps me reset my mental, emotional and physical health.
Who do you think would benefit the most from Pilates?
Anyone can benefit from Pilates! The most important thing is to have the right attitude when approaching Pilates. I’ve found that the ones who benefitted the most are those who have a curious mind, are open to learning and are willing to listen.
What do you find the most challenging thing about being a Pilates instructor?
I know I’ve mentioned this earlier, but keeping yourself healthy while helping others stay healthy has been really challenging! Learning to take care of myself and practising what I preach is a challenge for me.
I recently fractured my toe while teaching when I kicked my toe into the chair. I also had trigger finger from repetitively changing the springs on the tower for my clients!
What is your life motto? Favourite Quote?
“If life gives you a lemon, eat the pie.”
If you had one piece of advice to give to anyone wanting to become an Instructor, what would it be?
First, I believe it’s important for somebody intending to become an instructor to have a very good foundational level of the Pilates basics in terms of core strength, coordination, and body awareness themselves. Teaching Pilates requires quite a bit of precision and theoretical knowledge, but it has to be combined with practical experience and a feel for how the body moves. So I can only advise people aspiring to become teachers to approach it with as holistic and approach as possible and to keep learning and stretching their knowledge. This really is a journey, not a race.