Learning from Experience
“A calm mind, positive energy, and good health are only an inhale and exhale away”.
Claudia or Cloud as she is fondly called by friends and families is a certified Balanced Body Mat Pilates Instructor who has been teaching since 2017. She completed the Training Course at Balanced Body, an internationally recognised Pilates institution based in California. Having been an instructor for three years, Cloud loves teaching Pilates as it allows her to work with happy people.
“When you enter a studio, everyone is just happy and appreciative of the time and the workout you have given them. It allows them to take their mind off things and their busy lives - and just have a solid hour focused on strength and energy.”
Learning from Experience: Shifting to a healthier lifestyle
A perfect advocate of Pilates, Cloud can attest on how beneficial movement and exercise is for any injury to relieve and eliminate it. Having suffered from sciatica from a very young age and a herniated disc in her lower back, Cloud was frequently in pain, unable to move or even get out of bed, and constantly seeking treatment.
Through her own experience of how insufferable it is to live with pain day in day out, she can relate and sympathise with others in similar situations. Through Pilates and living a healthy lifestyle, she also tries to rehabilitate others and get them to see the healing benefits of regular exercise.
Interestingly, Cloud had a 360-degree shift, when she decided to change her career path being an Advertising Executive for 10-15 years and travelling all over the world. She got into Pilates, when she was living in Shanghai and engaging in this exercise made her enjoy her life even more. She enjoys the fact that people come to her with a problem, and she gets them solved through exercise. She loves being an instrumental part of the recovery process of others as well.
Learning Pilates from your homes
For Cloud, a successful training session is when a client has given their full attention to a class, worked hard and feels like they have really benefited from the session. She thinks it’s the best feeling in the world when a client says how much they enjoyed her class and has a big smile on their face.
Variety is important so Cloud tries her best to mix up the sessions every week, so there’s always something new and challenging to try but she also makes sure that she has incorporated movements that they are familiar with so they can automatically engage the core and optimise each movement to build strength and resistance.
Cloud shares that for online classes, there is a disadvantage of not being able to see the clients, so she tries to connect with clients by always being positive, making the classes interesting and educational, always explaining the “why” behind each movement and how it can benefit her students, no matter how challenging it might be at first. She tries to connect with them with her own personal stories and her journey of rehabilitation. Moreover, she tries to show encouragement through praise and exercising with them so they know exactly what a specific movement should look like. She enjoys throwing in a few challenges so students have a goal to work towards for the next work out.
Cloud agrees that the future is in technology and that there are many opportunities it can bring to all of us. There are plenty of people that don’t like going to the gym, some people (especially women), can feel intimidated or a good gym with good trainers can be very expensive for the majority of people. Teaching and offering classes online can make it accessible to everyone in the comfort of their own homes, or hotel rooms, or offices!
Instructors are very important because there is a lot of information on the internet, it’s even overwhelming - by simply choosing from the multitude of information available online - you may even be self-diagnosing. If you have an instructor, you get to communicate with an expert - someone who has dedicated their lives to understanding and learning about exercise and movement. Just like anything in life, you go to the right people for the right things - having an instructor will tailor-fit the right exercise for you. Everyone is so busy these days and unless you’re really disciplined - you’re not able to stick to your routine. With instructors, they help to motivate and change lifestyles for the better.
While Cloud enjoys physical classes, because of the interaction, the upside with Online classes is that you have more time to exercise and more choices. There are thousands of great instructors and videos out there and you can definitely find something that suits you. It can be more affordable and you can work out with your family or flatmates. It also gives you more time to do other things that you love, as you lose the commute.
Never stop Learning
There’s no stopping Cloud’s fitness journey. She knows that any discipline you do needs constant education. One can always learn more, read more and learn from other instructors out there. There’s always room for improvement, a new technique or an exercise that requires perfecting. We are all on a journey to better ourselves and be the best we can possibly be. Her focus now is to become a fully trained Pilates Reformer teacher and she dreams of living in India or Bali for a month to get her Yoga qualification. But baby steps - Cloud believes in being patient and studying hard.
So whether it’s at home or at the gym, she advises at least 150 minutes a week to maintain good health. Doing some form of physical activity every day is better than none. She advises to try to reduce the time spent sitting or lying down and break up long periods of not moving with some activity. All you need is a mat and just make time! Otherwise, you can also just walk 10,000 steps every day.
For those who will be starting on their Pilates journey, Cloud highly advised focusing on your breathing. Self-healing and improved physical performance are achieved through the right breathing techniques.
Balance and Pilates
In the end, all you need is BALANCE. Be kind to yourself. Don’t judge yourself harshly for not getting it right the first time. Be patient, be focused and never give up, but don’t hold yourself to impossibly high standards either. Balance is key to a happy and fulfilled life and definitely keeps it interesting.
Cloud came into this industry in her forties and feels it was the right time in her life for change. She hopes her life experiences and a new outlook on life has inspired many people. Change is possible. If you believe you can be whoever and whatever you want to be.
Through Cloud’s own personal health issues and the fact that she was cured by doing Pilates, she wants to share that experience with other people who are also suffering. She’s a living proof that Pilates at least 3 times per week can cure your injuries and pain. Cloud is living proof of how daily exercise, even if it’s low to moderate impact like Pilates, can cure you from any injury and make you enjoy life once again. Pilates makes you STRONG, and there’s nothing more powerful and beautiful than being strong. Inside and out.