Pointers have a new way to expand their studies to fitness.
The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point has partnered with Balanced Body to offer an assessment-based professional certificate in Pilates mat instruction. Joan Karlen, professor and program coordinator of dance, and Amy Beversdorf, associate lecturer for dance, are co-directors of the UWSP Balanced Body training center.
“I first experienced Pilates while attending UWSP as a dance major. I fell in love with it fast as a movement practice and decided to work toward a mat certification before leaving college,” said alumna Amy Larson, a University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point dance major.
According to the company, nearly nine million people in the United States did Pilates in 2009, a 456 percent increase from 2000.
Pilates has long been used by elite dancers and athletes to strengthen the body’s core, improve balance, increase coordination and decrease stress. Joseph Pilates developed the principles of this body-mind exercise, which is now practiced worldwide.
Patrick Strong, an instructor at UWSP, influenced Beverdorf and her classmates to seek Pilates certification. Pilates workshops have been offered for about 20 years, but it was only in the last three years that it has become a certification program.
The program’s curriculum provides an understanding of art and the science of the movements. Each exercise has underlying principles which are explained to the students.
In order to successfully complete the certification course, students spend teacher-training with Beversdorf for two intensive weekends, when they learn foundation exercises. After, students spend 100 hours teaching on campus at the cardio center, Adventure 212 Fitness, Studio B Pilates or the YMCA where they apply their knowledge and engage in their individual practice.
Students are given the opportunity to complete both Pilates Mat I and II Instructor training modules. After completion, they can continue their training at any Balanced Body site.
“I’ve learned about my moving body in terms of its anatomical and energetic connections and use this knowledge while teaching dance classes, taking professional class and in my daily life,” said Molly Jo Anderson, a UWSP Balanced Body Instructor and former student.
The Pilates teaching certification works in conjunction with UWSP’s healthy communities mission, Beversdorf said. The purpose is to support the dynamic process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a more positive, balanced and healthy lifestyle
“Pilates is a time tested approach to whole-body wellness. The UWSP Balanced Body Pilates teacher training program provides an excellent opportunity for our students to leave UWSP with a marketable skill,” Beversdorf said.