Now an instructor at Breathe Pilates, Sook Kuen finds immense joy in helping her clients achieve their fullest potential.
Photo: Breathe Pilates
Making a career switch requires determination and courage. Most importantly, it requires choosing the right new job for yourself. The new job should provide job satisfaction, work-life balance and an attractive salary package. Even better if it allows you to bring happiness to the lives of others too.
Sounds too good to be true? Not quite. Being an instructor at Breathe Pilates fulfils these aspects and more.
Breathe Pilates makes becoming an instructor a super smooth process as it provides all the courses and workshops you need. The method taught there is STOTT, developed by Lindsay and Moira Merrithew, and Breathe Pilates is a Licensed Training Centre for Merrithew. There are courses and workshops held throughout the year for instructors to upgrade their knowledge. On average, it takes a mininum of six months to become a certified level 1 instructor.
The learning process at Breathe Pilates is very enjoyable and educational. The good thing is that you can progress as fast or slow as you wish so you don’t have to feel rushed about completing more courses. Another plus: You’ll also be in great shape as an instructor do as you’ll need to practise the pilates moves before you teach them. And you get to wear activewear to work every day – how awesome is that!
But don’t take our word for it. Hear it from Sook Kuen, who after having experienced the rehabilitative benefits of pilates, was inspired to leave her hectic corporate job to become an instructor at Breathe Pilates. She’s been teaching for six years and has never looked back. Find out more about her journey below. Who knows, you might be compelled to make a career switch too!
1. Why did you decide to make a career switch and become a pilates instructor?
I have had bad knees since my early twenties and I was introduced to pilates by my sister, who was already teaching pilates then. The exercises helped me so much that I decided to go for courses in order to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of pilates and there was no looking back since then.
2. Why did you decide that Breathe Pilates was the studio to work at?
The first time I stepped into the Breathe studio, it gave me warm and cosy vibes as it overlooks a beautiful green garden. The decor of the studio made me feel right at home. I’ve wanted to do something that I am passionate about in a home setting so this was perfect. The owners of the studio are great people and they spoke to me as though I was one of their family members from the first time we met. They shared their vision for the studio so I was sold from day one!
3. Do you have work-life balance as a pilates instructor?
Excluding travelling time, I used to work for up to 14 hours a day in the corporate world. I was always left with very little time for my family, and didn’t have much-needed “me time”. Now as a pilates instructor, I plan my working hours and I am able to spend much more time with my loved ones. The flexibility in this job is great!
Photo: Breathe Pilates
4. What’s the salary like for a pilates instructor?
Well, it very much depends on how much one wants to work. You get more when you work more. All I can say is, it’s pretty rewarding.
5. What was the process of becoming a pilates instructor?
It is not too difficult to become certified as a pilates instructor, and the school you choose will be able to guide and advise you on which modules to take and the subsequent career paths. However, you must possess passion and interest in helping others. It really takes a lot of commitment to practise pilates, learn how to teach it and observe classes after completing the courses. It requires a lot more time commitment – it takes six months to a year just to become a certified level 1 instructor who is confident in teaching new clients – compared to other teaching certifications, some of which can be completed after just a weekend.
To become a fully certified pilates instructor with STOTT, you have to complete level 1 and 2 of the mat, reformer, cadillac, chair and barrel as well as a special module on injuries and special populations. Thereafter, there are specialisation tracks as such athletic conditioning, golf conditioning and post-rehab conditioning.
The journey to learning never ends. As the saying goes, “perseverance spells success”.
6. Why STOTT over other schools of pilates?
STOTT adopts a contemporary approach to the original pilates method based on modern principles of exercise science and rehabilitation. There are specific modules and specialisation tracks as mentioned above, and they are complemented by high-quality equipment and accessories.
7. How do you keep yourself up to date with the latest techniques?
I am constantly in search of ways to improve and deepen my knowledge and skills in helping clients via participating in workshops and courses that are related to the industry. I believe in continuing education, as we won’t excel if we cease learning.
It is good that Breathe Pilates is also a Licensed Training Centre for Merrithew, as it makes upgrading knowledge so accessible.