When you’re a student studying to become an instructor, moments of total “ah ha!” and clarity are truly blissful moments. When your teacher’s voice is speaking in your head, and you just get it. You get the lesson and message she or he was trying to convey. I had one of those moments on Wednesday.

I saw a Mat class I wanted to do. There was this awesome looking move. A variation of Balance Control. It just looked so cool and fancy. The cuing wasn’t amazing and I was halfway through it. I could feel the compromised position it was putting my neck in. I didn’t have the courage to keep pushing through it without a spot. I just kept thinking I am going to break my neck. I am not one to be fearful of a challenge, but this just wasn’t right. Something wasn’t right with it. Maybe it was the cuing or maybe it was the actual move being really not a great one. At first I was mad at myself, I felt weak. As the day went on I heard my teacher’s voice in my head.

She likes to explain to us that some of those fancy non classical moves are just that, fancy and pretty. They can be dangerous. They are not always very beneficial. She can always find another move that is safer that gives you the same, if not better work. The only thing those fancy moves tend to be good for is your fancy Facebook photo. She has drilled that into us with certain moves. The one I was attempting wasn’t one of those specifically. We never even learned that one, showing you that it isn’t even in our book! I got it though. I got what she has been trying to teach us. I wanted to badly to try this “cool” looking move. I wanted to move effortlessly like that. As I got there, I realized how fragile the neck is. It isn’t something I want to injure. This move was just too compromising. At one point all of my weight was on my neck! The integrity of the neck is so important, why would I even try to put it in a place it shouldn’t be?

I told her about this last night. I think she was happy that her lessons had really sunk in with me. That I had experienced first hand what she has been trying to tell us. We are not in this to injure people. We are doing this for health and fitness. To keep our clients safe and fit. Safety first. We won’t have people to help if we injure them all. That doesn’t mean you don’t challenge them. No, it means you challenge them safely! You protect their most vulnerable areas, like their neck.

When you reach this peak of your learning it feels really great. I feel like a Pilates instructor. I feel confident that I am getting the point of all of this. It is more than just a fancy move on a website. It is a way of life. It is allowing people to put the integrity of their bodies in my hands. They trust me to keep them safe. It is my job to maintain that trust as best I can.

Have you had any recent Ah Ha moments? Not in Pilates, necessarily, but in any area of life?