Pilates and yoga continue to grow in market share but with so many types of Pilates and yoga around, how do you communicate to your members what you offer?
With so many demands on your staff, how do you help them to speak Pilates and yoga?
And yet, the reality is that if you don’t educate your staff, you don’t entice your members. Your sales and marketing efforts should encompass your entire staff as you need to help members and prospects realize how Pilates and/or yoga will help them achieve their fitness and health goals.
Mind-body programs are growing in popularity. Participants have many reasons for seeking out Pilates and yoga and those include:
- Stress Reduction
- Pain Reduction
- Back and Joint function
- Stability, Strength, Flexibility
- Cross Training
Both Pilates and yoga are mindful exercise modalities. There are many ways of defining mind-body exercise but most experts agree that in order for exercise to be considered mindful it must meet the following criteria:
- Be conducted in a non-competitive environment.
- Be process rather than performance oriented.
- Contain a focus on breathing.
- Have an energy-centric focus.
- Enhance self-awareness of body posture, movement, and mental and emotional states.
Pilates is mind-body exercise taught with a focus of moving from the center of the body outward. Joseph Pilates developed the Pilates movement system over 100 years ago. Pilates was a German man who eventually immigrated to the U.S. and resided in New York City. He worked with many dance and theatre luminaries including Martha Graham, Hana Holmes, Douglas Fairbanks, and Kathryn Hepburn. His method works the body against gravity and encompasses not only the mat work, but also work with a variety of equipment. The equipment provides assistance and resistance to help build the body from the powerhouse (Pilates core) out. Pilates research indicates it may be superior to traditional physical therapy for improving some types of back pain and helping students recover function following hip and knee replacements.
Pilates was originally only taught one to one, but today classes can be found for mat, reformer, tower, and chair. Classes make Pilates more accessible for those who cannot afford private lessons.
Schools of Pilates today fall into the categories of:
- Classical Pilates: Adheres to the session format, orders for mat and reformer, transitions and rhythms originally taught by Pilates but influenced by modern advances in science.
- Contemporary Pilates: Movement sometimes influenced or combined with other modalities, that do not usually teach with the structure of the order and session format.
- Therapeutic Pilates: As its name implies, has a strong bias toward exercise variations to improve recovery following injury.
Mat Pilates is the most popular and well-known type of Pilates class and instructors typically have 16 hours of training at a basic level, while to reach an advanced level they will have accrued 48. Comprehensive Instructors are those professionals who have dedicated 500 or more hours of study on mat and all apparatus to become certified.
Make sure that your staff can answer ALL of these questions about Pilates:
- What is Pilates?
- What kind(s) of Pilates do you offer?
- Do you offer mat or equipment based-Pilates or both?
- When are the classes/lesson and who do I speak with for more information?
- How do I sign up for a class or a lesson?
Yoga is an ancient practice dating back 5,000 years developed to help people in the pursuit of a spiritual practice. The original goal was the attainment of enlightenment. Today, in the west, very few schools teach to that goal. The most popular form of yoga practiced today is Hatha Yoga which has a focus on strengthening the physical body. It is based on the practice of asana (postures) to improve strength, flexibility, and to focus and calm the mind. Yoga classes often involve mediation and breathing practices as well as physical postures and relaxation techniques. Private lessons offer a student to begin his or her practice with personalized help to gain confidence and tailor practice to his or her goals. The 2 main kinds of yoga are:
- Vinyasa Yoga: Asanas are linked on the breath with intention into flowing movement. Typically, toward the beginning of classes, Sun Salutations are performed with sequences continuing to link for 20 or more minutes prior to other asanas on the mat are performed.
- General Hatha Yoga: These classes are sometimes labeled Hatha, Yoga, or Gentle Yoga. Asanas are held statically for 5 breaths or more. Asana do not necessarily link from one to another as with asana.
Going beyond these delineations are many schools of yoga. Some focus on therapeutics, some on precision and alignment, some are set sequences such as Astanga with its built-in progressions.
Make sure that your staff can answer ALL of these questions about yoga:
- What type(s) of yoga do you offer?
- Can I take a private lesson?
- How do I learn more? Who should I speak with to learn more?
- When are the classes/where is the schedule?
- How do I sign up for class?
Pilates AND Yoga, not Pilates OR Yoga!
Here is a bonus question that I have heard often:
- Which should I do, Pilates or yoga?
We like to say, “Pilates AND yoga, not Pilates OR yoga!” They truly are complimentary practices. The choice is up to you. We recommend that you try each one 5-10x to see which is most effective and appealing to you.