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Instructor Newsletter - JuLY 2016
Get the Scoop on...
The importance of growing a sense of community and making an effort to connect with other instructors cannot be undervalued. Many of us have had moments of doubt whereby we viewed the network of individuals in the same area as us as competition. We need to re-think the way we learn and the way we interact with one another. People learn best when they are able to comfortably and confidently share their ideas and knowledge. What use is it to have knowledge if we cannot share it and learn from one another? We are consistently hearing about instructors across the world taking the initiative to correspond and connect. It’s an amazing and invaluable tool. Colorado, Amsterdam, Boston, Montreal, North Carolina and New York—to name a few—are all becoming growing Essentrics hubs. Instructors are feeling more support and are confident in the continued growth of Essentrics.
Photo 1: Left to right - Sabine Parent, Danielle De Wildt, Fleur Kalbfleisch, Jane van hout
Photo 2: Left to right - Leah Becker, Severina Gates, Lauren Mayhew
Photo 3: Left to right - Terry Nolans, Susan Mead
PCW9: Essentrics Age Reversing Workouts
Dyan Decastro (L3 Instructor): Connecticut
Warm-Up: Beyond the Sea - Kevin Spacey
Trademark: Healing heart - Tim Garland
Side to side lunges: Wave - Antonio Carlos Joabim
Feet and hip strengtheners: Je Cherche un Homme - Eartha Kitt + Dream a Little Dream of Me -Amy Vachal
Plies: Better than anything - Natalie Cole & Diana Krall
Quads Psoas and hips: Moon glow Instrumental - In Style of Rod Stewart
Hands and arms: Luck be a lady - Frank Sinatra
Calf sequence: A day together - John Barry
Shoulder release and Windmill sequence: A Whiter Shade of Pale - Annie Lennox + The Long & Winding Road: The Beatles
Bicycle abs: Three little birds - Bob Marley
Hip stretch, IT band and Final release: Summer - War + Skylark K.D lang
Read Lauren’s feature article about our age reversing workouts in the Daily Tribune:
I have been a dance educator for 40 years, directed my own school and company in Connecticut with a staff of 14 faculty members, and later a smaller program here in Michigan.
As a young dancer and student in New York City, I had the pleasure of studying with some of the finest teachers in the country. My mentors encouraged me to work with correct technique, placement, and body awareness, so I would be able to enjoy dancing for a long time. Nothing prepared me though for the stress placed upon my body from teaching dance. Although I never had a major injury while performing, I have experienced overuse injuries due to long teaching hours and repetitive movement while demonstrating classes. Over the years I developed a spondylosis in my lumbar spine, making it extremely painful to teach multiple ballet classes each week.
I have always been an advocate of continuing education. Having studied various modalities in movement over the years - dance, fitness, pilates, somatic work - I have been able to draw on various components of each to enhance my teaching skills. One evening I happened to see the Age Reversed documentary on PBS. I purchased the book and began taping episodes of Classical Stretch. I was so impressed with Miranda’s fluidity, range of motion, knowledge, and passion for what she was teaching. The workouts felt so good and familiar to my body. I immediately recognized how beneficial Essentrics would be for others and myself. I wondered if there was a way to offer the program locally and was delighted to learn of the comprehensive training program. I am currently studying for Level 2 and hope to eventually do live trainings for Levels 3 and 4.
The almost immediate results for me were a more balanced musculoskeletal system, relief from chronic low back and sciatic pain and increased mobility in my lumbar spine. I have been able to cut back teaching ballet and have begun teaching more Essentrics classes. Teaching Essentrics has given me the opportunity to continue to work in a field I love. It has also allowed me to keep active outdoors, snorkeling, cycling and kayaking with my family.
I turned 60 this year and I am seeing the visible yet inevitable changes to my body, but I am confident daily Essentrics classes will keep me feeling young. I have had to redefine my personal meaning of beauty and physical strength. I draw inspiration from my students. When I look at my classes of women, particularly in my slower-paced groups, all different ages, sizes, and shapes, it is easy to see the beauty in their graceful movement, improved posture and intent to remain strong and fit. I have some husband and wife couples that attend together. One older couple even invited their adult daughter to take class with them when she was in town. How nice it was to see the whole family working out together!
There is high demand within the aging population for a safe and complete workout. I once heard someone say that when you turn 60 you become invisible at the gym. That was disturbing to me. I try to make each student feel welcome and respected for attending class. I learn their names and their medical issues if any. I also try to make the class fun and offer lots of encouragement along with the necessary modifications. Some of my clients have seen the PBS documentary and have purchased Miranda’s book prior to joining the class. They tell me how excited they are to have found a class in their area.
I have been extremely fortunate that the organizations I work for recognize these age reversing workouts as a necessary addition to their already diverse programs. They have been helpful in publicizing my classes.
I feel a commitment to my students to continue learning as much as possible. Because of the continued input and support of fellow Essentrics teachers and the wonderful people at the national office, I am a much better Essentrics teacher than I was a year ago when I started. I would like to continue to develop a following of Essentrics practitioners in my area. As with most things worthwhile, it takes time and consistency to developing clientele. So far, in both of the facilities I teach in, we have added a class each semester. Two classes per week have evolved into six and growing still. Hopefully the demand for more classes will encourage others in my area to become certified Essentrics instructors. I would like to be part of network of local instructors to exchange ideas, support each other and help promote Essentrics.
With all the new scientific information available, the health and fitness industry is continuing to evolve. I believe the Essentrics community is ahead of the curve in the application of this knowledge. It feels good to be part of the process!
Essentrics as an age reversing workout has been very well-received across the country. We have many instructors who are curious about how to approach new clients and pitch the idea of starting a slower-paced class with the purpose of restoring movement in joints, flexibility in muscles, relieving pain, and stimulating cells to increase energy, vibrancy and the immune system. Level 3 Boston instructor, Severina Gates, discusses how she began and successfully grew her clientele and classes.
“Teaching these workouts to seniors has been such a fun experience! They are so positive and enthusiastic about the workout; they feel how much it helps their bodies and are motivated to continue. Even those with limited mobility still show up and do what they can, which is so inspiring!
As for introducing the workout to the senior population, I've been really lucky. WGBH frequently airs Miranda's special, and many have discovered it through that. I've also had success offering the class through a local community education program. They have a built-in base of students and the full 8-week session really helps folks feel the changes over time, rather than solely doing a drop-in class here and there. My community ed class recently partnered with a local senior center, which has provided even more exposure. There's always somebody asking about our slower-paced classes!
There have definitely been some challenges along the way, especially when I first began offering age reversing workouts last March. The studio I taught at was not ideal - across from a cemetery and horrible morning traffic! Most of the people who attended only came a few times. They loved the workout, but many decided to skip the traffic and work out at home with the Classical Stretch Season 4 DVD.
My advice to anyone wanting to work with this clientele is to start small! Especially if it's your first time working with seniors. Low attendance was a blessing in disguise; I was able to work with a variety of people and their various conditions, without getting overwhelmed. This type of class is so different from regular Essentrics classes - pacing, techniques - nearly everyone will need modifications. Learn all you can about their conditions, and once you're comfortable, approach local senior centers or community Ed. They will always have a demand for gentle and safe workouts, and you'll be better equipped to handle a larger group. My classes now have up to 20 people in them, and I never would've been able to effectively teach it without that early experience.”