Mind-Body Teacher Mentorship

Last year I was approached by a client to be her mentor. She was feeling stuck and dissatisfied with her teaching life and thought, given our history and similar approach to teaching, I could be of help.

While I was glad to assist her, I wasn’t completely comfortable with the word ‘mentor’. I’ve had a few would-be mentors in my time and my experiences ranged from intensely frustrating to mildly traumatizing. One told me I was a “horrible teacher” and would “never amount to anything”. Another was more interested in exploiting my talents for their professional gain rather than supporting me in my personal teaching journey.

As a result, I’ve taken the figure-it-out-as-you-go approach to professional development, which, thankfully, happens to be my specialty as I’m naturally self reflective and always working on improving myself, both professionally and personally.

Ultimately, this approach has worked for me. I do have a meaningful and fulfilling teaching life. I enjoy where, when, and with whom I work and I feel confident about what I have to offer as a teacher, but the road to achieving this was incredibly rocky and, man, it would’ve been nice to have had some help navigating that terrain along the way.

I expressed my reluctance to call myself a mentor to my husband, who also happens to be a teacher. This is a paraphrased version of what followed:

HIM: Why do people seek out mentors?

ME: Um, because they need help?

HIM: Why do they think mentors can help?

ME: Uh, because they have done it before?

HIM: They have …

ME: Erm … experience?

HIM: Yes! You’ve been teaching for almost 2 decades. You’ve been through a lot, overcome challenges, pioneered new ways of working for yourself. And while you’ve had some really crappy mentors, you’ve still managed to create a life that you like. Other people can benefit from insights based on your experience.

ME: Hmm …

As I began warming up to the idea of calling myself a mentor, I remembered one true mentor who had a brief, but tremendously positive impact on me as a teacher. I met Rosie within a year after I’d completed my Pilates teacher training. She owned a large and successful health club and we met when she attended an intensive workshop where I assisted the lead instructor. Soon after, she hired me as her personal Pilates teacher and within weeks, she asked me to develop and run a new Pilates program at her health club. I thanked her for the opportunity, but told her she really ought to hire someone with more experience as I’d only been teaching for a short while and had so much to learn. She dismissed my concerns and told me I was already a good teacher and, in time, would develop into an amazing one.

I gave birth to my first son and moved away within 2 years of our meeting, but I learned a lot from Rosie in our short time together. She was an amazon of a woman with gorgeous strawberry blond hair that hung halfway down her back. She always had manicured acrylic nails and wore form fitting clothes to work and play. She refused to conform to anyone else’s ideas of what a mid-forties Latina businesswoman and mother of 3 boys should look like, sound like, or behave. (Sound kinda familiar?)

What really stood out to me about Rosie, though, was her kindness, empathy, and humor. On a daily basis I witnessed her be of service and positive support to her members, employees, and teaching staff. As most novice teachers do, I had several loud voices inside my head questioning my skills and qualifications on a daily basis. Rosie’s unflinching belief in my innate abilities helped mute those doubting voices so I could begin to confidently evolve as a teacher and for that I will be forever grateful.

At the end of my reflection of my past mentors, my desire to be of service to other mind-body teachers became clear:

I would like to be the encouraging voice providing experienced insight and helping you navigate your path to creating a meaningful and fulfilling teaching life.


To start, I’m offering a one-on-one program called Designing Your Meaningful and Fulfilling Teaching Life.

The cost is $687 (with a 2-payment option of $347 or 3-payment option of $237)


Here are some of the signs that a mentorship program may be right for you:

Do you struggle with feeling like you don’t know enough about anatomy and biomechanics to be a good teacher?

Do you find yourself chasing CECs with the hope of finding that ‘one thing’ that will make it all click?

Do you feel guilty or inadequate as a teacher when your own health/fitness isn’t perfect?

Do you experience feelings of burn out or client fatigue?

Are you stuck in a teaching rut?

Do you struggle with finding your own teaching voice and frequently find yourself mimicking lessons and cues from your teachers/mentors?

Do you feel like you aren’t attracting clients who really ‘get’ your teaching philosophy?

Do you measure your success as a teacher against other colleagues’ achievements?

I’m limiting this initial program to 3 participants. If you’re interested in finding out more details, please fill out and submit the application below. Afterward, I’ll contact you to schedule a complimentary video consultation to see if this is a right fit for your needs and goals.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me: gini(at)rockwhatsyours(dotcom)

P.S. You don’t have to be a Pilates teacher to apply. The program is open to Yoga and all other mind-body modality teachers!



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Movement Wisdom: Embody A Dog Hammock and Realign Your Shoulders

dog hammock











Get down on the floor on your elbows and knees. (Be mindful that your elbows aren’t forward from your shoulders or set wider apart than your shoulders as this reduces the effectiveness of the exercise.)

Allow your chest/ribcage to gently sag toward the floor.

Now, press your elbows into the floor to push your ribcage away from the floor, toward the ceiling.

Allow your whole ribcage to gently sag toward the floor again.

Push your ribcage away from the floor.

Gently lower your ribs, then push them up again.

Can you feel muscle(s) engaging under your armpits as you press your elbows into the floor?

Visualize the muscles gently stretching as you gradually lower your ribcage to the floor.

Feel the muscles shortening to lift your ribcage toward the ceiling.

Imagine your ribcage as the dog sitting in the hammock, his weight gently pulling on either end of the hammock as he sinks toward the ground.

Imagine the ends of the hammock contracting, the middle of the hammock becoming taught, to lift your ribcage dog up toward the sky.

Imagine the ends of your muscle hammock attaching to the undersides of your shoulder blades.

Image the body of your muscle hammock attaching to your ribs, just under and in front of your armpits.

As you lower your ribcage dog, your muscle hammock lengthens and your ribs descend away from your shoulder blades.

(Notice if your head sags toward the floor and bring it back up in alignment with the rest of your spine to lengthen and relax your neck. Notice if your pelvis tilts toward the floor – spilling out all your internal goodies – and gently release your tail between your legs to lift your lower abdominals and lengthen and relax your lower back.)

As you lift your ribcage dog, your muscle hammock shortens and your ribs ascend toward your shoulders blades, which gently hug the back and sides of your ribs stabilizing your shoulders and releasing any unwanted neck and shoulder tension.

Gently and smoothly, your ribs descend away from your shoulder blades and then return for a welcoming shoulder blade hug.


Sit or stand back up and relax your arms at your sides.

What (if anything) is different about your posture?

Do you feel taller?

Your chest more open?

The top of your shoulders relaxed?


Notice something cool or have a question? Post a comment below and share your insights with me. I love hearing from you!


Want to watch your hammock muscle (serratus anterior) in motion? Click HERE for a cool 3-D video.


P.S. Does the hammock imagery resonate with you? Explore more movement and anatomical #ImagerySupport on my Pinterest boards.image
credit: RayMorris1
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