Instructor Spotlight – Mari Tang

This month, we speak with Mari. As we celebrate her 5 years teaching at Breathe and her promotion to Senior Instructor – we delve deeper to speak more of her Pilates journey, her favourite fashion items and wellness rituals and advice she gives to those aspiring Pilates Instructors out there.

We’re just checking in, how have you been and how does it feel to be back in the studio teaching?

Hey! It’s been pretty hectic. I’m glad to be back in the studio teaching, but this sudden change of routine from being a homebody and returning to teach full-time happened all in a flash.

Our clients’ routines have also changed, with some still working from home. Their schedules are different compared to pre-circuit breaker so we’re still fine-tuning the schedule to suit everyone. It’s been a whirlwind but I am happy to see the Reformer again!

How did you find teaching online classes during the circuit breaker?

It was definitely different but a great challenge. This virtual way of teaching really tested my verbal cueing skills. You have to verbalise in great detail the exercise’s start position and alignment, exercise focus, movement initiation, where to feel and stabilise – and that is a lot of talking! Personally, I feel online teaching requires greater preparation, creativity and stamina.

On top of that, I was camera shy in the beginning but as the weeks went on, I became less conscious. Little did I know, I could gain so much more from online teaching as it further honed in on my skills that I can use both in the studio and online.

How did your Pilates journey start and when did you realise you wanted to become a Pilates Instructor? + What were you doing before you became a Pilates Instructor?

Pilates has been ingrained in my routine for many years, simply because it’s my favourite form of exercise. After 10 years of not exercising I discovered Pilates at a nearby studio when I worked in the Banking & Finance sector some years ago.

Since then, I’m always encouraging people around me to try Pilates and share how Pilates has helped me ease aches and pain. The mind-body benefits of regular Pilates practise are endless; increased strength, a boost of energy and confidence!

While taking a break from the Corporate world, I signed up for a STOTT PILATES Instructor Course to deepen my knowledge and appreciation of Pilates. That’s when I thought, why not become an Instructor and share the benefits first-hand!

What do you love most about being a Pilates Instructor?

The best thing about my job is seeing the progression of my clients. When they go from strength to strength, build confidence and leave with less pain and injury-free. I also love inspiring others to take the journey to become Pilates Instructors too.

Favourite Pilates moves?  

Standing exercises that require challenging your balance and focus on an unstable platform moving the body / limbs across different planes – anything that pushes the boundaries to achieve real mind-body connection.

Least favourite Pilates move?  

Thoracic extension & inversions because I’m so bad at it BUT I am working on it … watch this space!

What is your most meaningful milestone as a Pilates Instructor? 

Passing my STOTT PILATES certification exam – it really was a test of patience (with myself) & endurance (both mind & body).

If you were not a Pilates Instructor what would you be doing? 

I would probably return to the Corporate world – back to Branding & Marketing in the Banking & Finance sector.

What does wellness mean to you?

Life is about balance in everything that we do (and eat!) 

Words to live by?

“Everything in moderation”

Self-care activity you cannot live without? 

My daily face-masking regime in the evening. It’s relaxing, therapeutic, and has great benefits for my skin. I use a variety of masks and use them on rotation depending on my needs (mud masks, hydrating/moisturizing/radiance sheet masks etc). I live by my ethos – everything in moderation. Most recently I’ve also started cycling in the late evening to help me unwind from my day.

You’re well known for having great style! What is your favourite brand?

Freitag bags – Swiss made recycled tarp bags made from fully compostable textiles! I love the concept of re-purposing fashion & creating something unique where you never get the same print or exact same tone of colour.

Best places to shop in Singapore?

I hardly shop in Singapore but if I have to choose, probably Far East Plaza/Haji Lane/Flea Market – you never know what you can find both old and new!

Best investment? 

My trusty Apple watch – I’m still wearing my gen zero!

Favourite Singapore Eats? 

Street food fare: local, Thai etc (eg. Chai Tao kueh, laksa, boat noodle) but also salads & sandwiches

How do you take your coffee or cocktail? 

Cafe latte: more milk than coffee since I’m actually more a tea drinker – teh Bing, teh si & green tea. I don’t enjoy alcohol but on occasions, I would go for a frozen margarita or Muscato 😉

What do you love most about Singapore? 

Singapore is so multicultural. From a young age, we have an appreciation and respect for other cultural norms and practices to make us better global citizens (hopefully?!). The big plus – we have the best variety of food 😀

If you could give one piece of advice to any aspiring Pilates Instructors out there, what would that be? 

Be patient, creative, open-minded, studious and most importantly have fun! It’s a long journey of learning – from the teachers, your colleagues and clients alike and not just in Pilates but in everything that you do! It’s a transformative journey so I recommend that you go all in, embrace the challenges and experiences because you never know where it will bring you!

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