ESSENTRICS CERTIFICATION ACADEMY
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Instructor Newsletter - November 2015
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I’ve been hearing amazing news from teachers in the past year—that their classes are absolutely taking off! Some teachers who came to me only a year ago, complaining they couldn’t find any classes to teach are now teaching 6-16 classes a week! While it is absolutely fantastic to hear about your successes and increase in financial income, I would like to take a moment to stress an important reminder to you all.
You are going to get in great shape teaching! Your body is going to get stronger and much more flexible. This is a warning to those of you who are more at risk of injuring yourself if you are not careful with your newfound strength. The rule of thumb is to think of the fairy tale character, Goldilocks: Not too weak, not too strong—right in the middle. If you go to an extreme position, you are putting yourself at risk. Our program allows your body to find that extreme stretch to increase your mobility. The trouble is, as an instructor, you will be at risk of taking a movement too far.
Teachers who have been instructing for a few years and teach 4+ classes per week will have that strength and flexibility to push themselves too far. You will get injured if you go too far. We do not want Essentrics to be a technique in which our teachers get injured like they do in other fitness programs.
Use your knowledge of connective tissue, muscle origins and various techniques to avoid this danger zone. You can find the end of the stretch safely, without straining your tendons and ligaments. You will still remain in great shape without overdoing it. If you are teaching multiple times a day, it’s best to learn how to work less in those classes. Walk around, give better cueing, use less resistance and talk your class through it. You are a teacher… think about Goldilocks and be a responsible teacher.
With the New Year fast approaching, we are trying our best to bring Essentrics to as many locations as possible, in hopes of providing each of you with an invaluable hands-on approach to learning this remarkable technique.
The Essentrics Live Teacher Trainings are a great way to connect with others in the instructor community. They are designed for you to gain knowledge, confidence in yourself and in the way you teach. Analyzing movement, song selection, the proper pace of each exercise, as well as body awareness in yourself and in your clients—are just a few of the topics you will cover during your training.
The experience you will gain cannot be understated. We provide the opportunity for you to see your Essentrics manuals come to life!
Thank you to those who were able to attend our recent Live Teacher Trainings in Colorado, Los Angeles, Montreal and Quebec City.
Please review our website for a complete list of upcoming Live Teacher Trainings for 2015/2016. We hope to see you there!
If you know other teachers living in your area—try to reach out and connect with them. This can be an amazing opportunity to learn, grow and support one another. If you are already an experienced teacher, community building can be a great way for you to help new instructors—especially if you’re interested in being a mentor or master teacher. There is always something we can learn from one another at every level. If you know someone who lives in your community—take each other’s classes, give each other feedback, and motivate one another to complete your certifications.
Here’s a great example from teachers forming a community in Colorado:
“We all met at the Estes Park Live Teacher Training and decided to start meeting up to practice and study. We've had so much fun going through this process together. We’ve become good friends and have had a better learning experience doing the Level 1 training as a group, as each of us has different strengths. Also, we've kept each other on track during times of burn out.”
– Tammy Bergeson
Another great example from a group in Denver area:
“There are around 12 Denver-area Essentrics instructors (certified or working on certification) that are committed to getting together periodically. We aim to connect face-to-face, once per quarter. Anyone from the area is welcome to participate and should contact Jenny Bertrand to be added to the group e-mail list. We have people from Denver, Aurora, Englewood, Summit (this one is further out), Lakewood and Littleton. We schedule 1 ½ hour time slots as this is meant to be friendly and informal and is not a replacement for live training.”
- Jan Cook
- Get to know each other. It’s great to put a face with a name.
- Discuss individual goals related to Essentrics and support each other in achieving those goals. This introduces more accountability for us all.
- Share challenges and help each other overcome them.
- Share music ideas and resources for finding music.
- Review and clarify the certification process and requirements.
- Discuss anatomy (as needed).
- Share ideas on how to gain apprentice hours.
- Address specific questions people bring about teaching the pre-choreographed workouts, including modifications, differences between the DVD and the booklet, techniques, purpose of movements, challenges with teaching the workouts to certain populations or individuals, etc.
“We will be adding some review/education practice for techniques used in pre-choreographed workouts to ensure we’re all helping our students get the most out of an Essentrics workout. We are each other’s best resources and cheerleaders, and it’s wonderful to be able to work together to support one another as we all continue to grow and improve.”
– Jenny Bertrand
Some of you may or may not know, the creator of Essentrics, Miranda Esmonde-White is a breast cancer survivor. Through her own experience, she developed a series of exercises and techniques that helped her own self to rehabilitate post-surgery and regain full mobility. She has shared her rehab workout online for free with the hopes of helping other breast cancer patients rehabilitate themselves from frozen shoulder and lymphedema (common issues occurring after surgery). Patients and survivors are able to follow along with someone who knows what they’re going through, which further helps them through the process.
This past month, we attended a public lecture at the McGill University Health Care Centre and shared our breast cancer rehabilitation workout DVD with the attendees (some of them being both patients and survivors of this illness). While the hospital does receive a tremendous amount of support through one of its foundations, Cedars CanSupport—many patients are only given a few exercises written on a piece of paper to help them rehabilitate post-surgery. Our goal is to spread the message that there are exercises which exist that are proven to help with post-surgery recovery.
As Miranda mentions in her own personal journey—it is a scary and painful to exercise after getting this type of surgery. We know as teachers that when you don’t move the joints, the tissues harden and stiffen. It’s very important to introduce movement and exercises as soon as your physician approves you to do so.
I need your help. I have been teaching Essentrics for almost 2 years now and I LOVE it very much! It has helped so many people, including myself. The only issue is that I’m now afraid that it has possibly contributed to and/or caused my SI joint pain—that, if left untreated, could become debilitating. I am naturally very flexible, and one of the causes of this problem is over-stretched hamstrings (which we do a lot of). I have given up my classes in order to let my body heal. I'm even afraid to do these workouts at home, as I am not really sure exactly what moves would hurt and which ones might help the healing.
Could you please help me? I would love to know if Miranda has ever dealt with this problem and how she would handle it. Thank you so much. I really want to heal as quickly as possible and get back to my beloved routines â˜º
L1 Essentrics Teacher
I am so sorry to hear about your injury. I would 100% agree with you that you over-stretched your hamstrings and now you need to take the time to rehabilitate. Essentrics is a new program and as teachers become better and start to teach more classes, it is natural that their bodies get stronger and more flexible. The same thing happens with overzealous clients who do more than 2 hours of Essentrics a day.
There is a natural balance that the human body requires to remain strong, flexible and pain and injury- free. We have to learn about our natural balance and teach it to our clients. Our motto in Essentrics is “Just because you can go further doesn’t mean you should!” Clients can get so excited about their side lunge strength and flexibility that they overdo the reaches and end up injuring themselves. We as instructors must stay in the Goldilocks zone of not too much and not too little. If you know that you’re very flexible—make sure that when you return to teaching, you don’t go to the end of your ability, as you will re-injure yourself again. We have to be careful never to push our body to its limits or it will fight back with an injury.
Hope this helps.
Congratulations to our newly certified instructors for Levels 1 & 2! Amazing work from everyone the past few months—lots of Level 3 & 4 examinations coming up. Good luck to everyone, and don’t hesitate to contact [email protected] for additional support!
Lisa El-Kerdi, Amanda McMaster, Terry Nolan, Marie-Eve Theriault, Nathalie Poulin, Susan Hahn, Hayley Garceau, Sheri Pieper, Alexandra Norman, Judith D.Waltz, Lauren Bauer, Milissa L.Rush, Marie-Eve Bedard, Diane Laurent, April Grace Lowe, Asya Semochkina
Nadine Mantha, Lynda Vaillancourt, Marie- Eve Theriault, Joanne Manderson, Hilary Jeffries, Paula Garrigan
Betty is a very well educated teacher who has come a long way since her days on Wall Street. We love her story, but we also love her intuitive application of the technique. Learn about Betty’s journey to discovering Essentrics, marketing strategies and her favourite Aging Backwards playlist.
1. How I began
Pain led me to Essentrics. My body was rebelling to chronic stress with various pains, prompting me to go on sabbatical. I was learning qigong (the cultivation of proper breathing), which has rescued me, but my body remained horribly weak. Like many people I stumbled upon Classical Stretch on public television. The first time I did it I felt “settled” – it’s the Workout of My Life I’ve been unknowingly searching for over the years. My qigong teacher, who noticed the changes in me and who saw the synergies between the two modalities, suggested that I teach it. So began the journey.
2. Most rewarding experience
During one of my classes, I looked around the room and noticed that my clients included a tai chi teacher, a yoga teacher, a medical school professor, a biophysicist and a martial arts black belt. I haven’t taught for very long, I wasn’t a science major, athlete, or dancer, and these people hadn’t heard of Essentrics before taking my classes. Their trust in the program and in me validated my conviction.
3. Strongest Teaching Skill
I used to work in finance that required a skill called “mosaic”—connecting the dots to see the unnoticed, but obvious. For me, it helps to turn information into knowledge. I apply that skill to enhance my studying and teaching of Essentrics, which clients appear to appreciate. As an example, in her videos, Miranda would remind us during warm-ups to lift our arms above the head when we go from tapping one side of the butt to the other. In a full-hour class, I have more time so I would explain that our arms are connected to the body through ball and socket joints, so we want to use the full range of motion and warm up all the muscles around those joints. When clients understand “why we do what we do” they seem more motivated.
4. What skill I’d like to develop
At the L3 and L4 workshops in Montreal, Miranda demonstrated how to ask the right questions to understand the roots of clients’ physical issues, thereby tailoring correct modifications. This takes time, experience, knowledge, analytical prowess, and intuition. It’s a skill I wish to hone.
4. How has the success of my classes changed since I began teaching? How do I market my classes?
My classes have evolved from fitness sessions to merry social meet-ups. Clients are so happy chatting that I need to rein everyone in to get class started. I’ve been relying on word-of-mouth to attract people and lately began blogging as part of a greater marketing strategy.
5. What are your short and long term goals in terms of teaching Essentrics?
I am completing L3 and hope to finish L4 soon thereafter. I feel that the workout has a lot of potential and benefits that remain hidden and unexplained. It will be wonderful to explore them in the coming years.
Aging Backwards Playlist for PCW1 (slightly modified)
Don’t forget to check out Betty’s website and Facebook page for lots of great information and inspiration.
Check out her latest blog post, an insightful explanation on the difference between flow yoga and Essentrics.