Pilates Instructor of the month: Suzanne Martin
Where do you teach?
My teaching tips
Start where your client is in terms of their movement experience; Pilates is for everyone and many people are intimidated by the athleticism aspect of the Method. We instructors can coordinate 5 things at once but newcomers need time to integrate that skill.
Be careful of hand placements; I had someone call me and complain about another instructor ‘coming onto’ her. I explained we worked with deep postural muscles but the caller was skeptical of other instructors.
Favourite Exercise and reason why
The single leg pump on the chair. It helps keep my knees strong for dancing, and my psoas strong and balanced.
In a nutshell, tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience in the industry
I fell during a performance in my graduate year at the dance department at Mills College in 1979. I saw osteopaths who helped my symptoms. I saw regular MD’s who couldn’t find anything wrong with me because I was so flexible and functional. I became ‘fit’ which helped me. However, I kept injuring myself. I was invited by Elizabeth Larkham to train as an instructor at the first Pilates venue in the San Francisco Bay area at the Center for Sports Medicine in 1987. When I learned about Joseph Pilates’ disappointment when he wasn’t accepted by the medical world, I decided to pursue a physiotherapy degree in order to give legitimacy to my practice. I started teaching people privately out of my dance studio and then moved to my office here in Alameda in 1992. Since then, I achieved a doctorate in physical therapy and am very passionate about the therapeutic application of Pilates since it helped me, and others, so much.
I’m now the educational director for Pilates Therapeutics®, an educational organization dedicated to the international dissemination of the Pilates Method as a medium of rehabilitation. (see www.pilatestherapeutics.com)
Part of my educational work is my writing, which started with Dance Magazine, then 3 internationally distributed books through Dorling-Kindersley and now a regular column with Dance Studio Life.
Do you have a motto or mission statement?
- To illuminate both rehabilitative professionals and the public in Pilates Method techniques and concepts;
- To motivate and encourage rehabilitative professionals and the public to use the Method’s techniques and concepts, thereby instilling hope
- To alleviate musculoskeletal pain, suffering and dysfunction through the use of the applied techniques and concepts.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
I expect to continue my private practice because I have so many wonderful clients. I really don’t see myself retiring. I hope my specialization programs for scoliosis and breast cancer rehabilitation will have many more qualified instructors that can bring healing to these special populations. And…I hope to still be dancing!