The Pilates teacher training program at Align is the most comprehensive program in the upper Midwest. Unlike some other programs that attempt to “cram it all in” during a weekend or two, Align’s year-long program is designed to truly immerse students in the classic Pilates method, developing them into confident and creative teachers.
This month we spoke with Ellis Rausch, class of 2012, about what made her decide to become a Pilates teacher, her experience with the program so far and the Pilates exercises that challenge her the most.
Tell us a bit about your life before joining the Align Pilates teacher training program.
Before joining the program, I felt like my life was racing by—and it continued to become more and more imbalanced. I had a demanding career in a corporate environment, in addition to the responsibilities of two young children and my spouse at home. It was hard to prioritize my well-being. I would find time to exercise, but I did it out of obligation. After the birth of my second child, I recovered by practicing Pilates. It brought me renewed strength, flexibility, fulfillment and results like no other form of exercise I had tried before. I’ve been a devotee ever since.
So you decided you wanted to teach. What made you choose the teacher training program at Align?
I wanted to have the experience of being classically trained—to experience the closest understanding possible of Joseph Pilates’ original work. The directors of the program are trained through the Romana Kryzanowska teaching lineage (Joseph’s long-time prodigy). This was appealing to me—knowing I was starting my journey in Pilates with strong fundamentals and a connection to the method’s origin.
Tell me a bit about your experience with the program so far. Have there been any challenges you didn’t expect?
This has been one of the most transformative years I’ve experienced, both physically and personally. The program is very demanding physically, but I’ve always felt supported to excel in a safe way by the experienced instructors. There is also a lot of personal growth that goes along with this—you are constantly challenging yourself to achieve more from your practice and teaching. About mid-way through the program I realized that part of the learning process is overcoming roadblocks that hold you back. Having a staff of incredibly talented and experienced teachers as a constant source of inspiration has been a key driver in my overall feelings of achievement.
Do you have a favorite Pilates exercise? Is there one that particularly challenges you?
It’s hard to say, because I can see the benefit in all the exercises—this is why I like to move in a sequence. Finding a flow that coordinates with the breath can be quite beautiful, like a dance. The exercises are all challenging, but there are two in particular that serve as reminders of where I started in my Pilates journey and where my muscular imbalances lie: Big Swan and Tendon Stretch.
What do you plan to do with your training?
I would like to work with clients from all different backgrounds, tailoring fitness plans to each unique individual’s needs and abilities, thriving on challenging them to work hard and feel amazing! I would love to be able to pass on my knowledge of Pilates and how profoundly the mind and body can benefit from it.
Is there anything else we should know about you? Any notable interests outside of the studio?
A personal tidbit: I love everything about the Italian culture and people. I lived in Italy for 10 years and I speak fluent Italian.