And here she is all the way from Canada, Cara Hazelton from Precision Pilates! Cara Hazelton, age 36, is known for her incredible energy, expertise, and passion for helping her students achieve their goals. We are very proud to have her on Pilatesglossy! Cara:”Pilates is now a part of me!”
Growing up as a competitive Figure skater, avid outdoorsman, and spending her adult years rock and ice climbing, Pilates immediately became a natural fit. Originally a Peak PilateSystem® Comprehensively Certified Pilates teacher, Cara now trains with first and second generation Pilates teachers. Learning from Jay Grimes, who trained with Joe and Clara Pilates, has been a great gift and experience in the deep roots of Pilates. Cara has also taken many workshops with second-generation teachers including Brooke Siler and Kathi Ross-Nash, Dorothee VandeWalle, Chris Robinson, Mari Winsor, and Peter Fiasca. She also takes regular lessons with many of the best teachers in the world. Cara’s continuing education in Authentic Pilates is unparalleled in Canada.
Cara is also furthering her education by beginning a degree in Osteopathy in 2016, having recently been accepted to Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. A straight A student during her Kinesiology Degree work, Cara’s dedication to understanding anatomy, physiology, bio-mechanics and proper movement is clear, and it shows in her ability to address the individual needs of each client’s body with her teaching.
Cara’s love for business started during her first degree, a Bachelor of Business Administration (Marketing/Management) from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. Shortly after graduation she appeared in the Wall Street Journal for her business acumen in 2001 (When she was only 22). Receiving three awards and countless nominations Cara is an exceptional entrepreneur. Most recently she was nominated for Women Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 by the CBDC’s of New Brunswick and Youth Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 for the Business Excellence Awards hosted by the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce.
Precision Pilates, Cara’s home studio is a busy spot with more than 30 classes and 40 private lessons per week on the schedule. She has 8 teachers, two movement modalities, and apprentices, and an osteopath and massage therapist. Cara loves running the business and watching it grow.
A single mom to two young children, Cara stays busy in her spare time by volunteering in the community, hiking, camping, running, cross-country skiing, travelling, knitting, reading and enjoying family time.
When and why did you start practicing Pilates?
I had heard about Pilates with Hollywood stars, but honestly knew nothing about it. There was a Pilates studio in my town and I went there about 2 months after having my daughter in 2006. Little did I know, early on this journey, that this ‘Pilates’ studio was not the real deal.
Where did you receive your Pilates education(s) and who was/were your teacher(s)?
I originally got my comprehensive training with Peak Pilates and 2nd Generation (Romana) teacher Clare Dunphy was my main teacher. I also studied with Pam Garcia during my courses. I am fortunate beyond compare to have had so much time with Clare. She is an incredibly gifted teacher with magic hands. She is a trusted mentor, friend, and a fierce woman.
Do you participate in workshops on a regular basis? If yes, what was your latest? What workshop inspired you the most?
Since my comprehensive exam I have completed more than 200 hours of conferences and workshops with Jay Grimes, Kathi Ross-Nash, Brooke Siler, Dorothee Vandewalle, Sean Gallagher, Chris Robinson, Peter Fiasca and many others. I am grateful for many private lessons with other gifted teachers like Anthony Rabara, Cary Regan, and Dan Agren.
My most recent workshop was as my studio in November 2014. I invited Sean Gallagher to present two workshops to us as well as teach private lessons. Sean knows the work both from years of study and teaching Pilates, as well as he knows the body from an academic perspective with his Physiotherapy, massage and osteopathy training.
It is always a pleasure meeting with Sean as he has such vast knowledge and historical information. Viewing the history of exercise and hearing Joe Pilates voice while teaching was a wonderful experience!
The workshop that inspired me the most was the first one that I did with Kathi Ross Nash. I no longer remember which workshop that was as I have done many, yet she inspired me trust myself, my body, my teaching, and so much more. To anyone who knows Kathi, I do not need to explain, but to those who do not know her, let me say a few things.
1. Kathi is a GIFT to the Pilates world.
2. Kathi knows more about Pilates than most of us all put together. When the woman speaks – Listen!
3. Kathi is the Romana of our generation – she earns respect – never demands it and is one of the most giving women I’ve ever known.
What made you decide to make Pilates your profession?
I originally believed that I could do Pilates part time while raising my children. I had taken a break from the corporate world as I had been travelling a lot for work. Teaching Pilates seemed like a way to stay busy, but make my own hours. I was soon so busy that I had created a full time (and then some) job for myself.
Do you own a studio?
I own Precision Pilates, An Authentic Pilates studio in Eastern Canada. It is a full service Pilates studio offering group Mat, group Apparatus as well as Private, Duets, and Trio Lessons. I also employ yoga teachers, Barre teachers, and an Osteopath and Massage Therapist. We have all Gratz Apparatus (everything except a Guillotine!) with the exception of 5 wall units, which are Tirado.
What did you have to invest (people, time, money) to get your studio running?
My initial investment for training was about $8000, and I also purchased a reformer/tower combo to start teaching from my home. When I opened my full studio in January 2011 I took out a small business loan for $15,000 to purchase 5 wall units and some office supplies such as a laptop and desk.
Since that time I have sold the original tower/reformer combo. As I increased my client base, I saved money to purchase more equipment. I now have three Reformers, three Wunda Chairs, three Spine Correctors, two Electric Chairs, and a Cadillac, an Arm Chair, Ladder Barrel, plus all the small accessories like a neck stretcher, breathasizer, toe correctors, foot corrector, sand bag and more. I’m looking forward to adding another reformer, Cadillac and Guillotine to my collection! I have thankfully been able to purchase all of these items without the need for loans.
What is your favorite brand of apparatus?
My favourite brand of apparatus is Gratz. I LOVE all my Gratz. The way it moves, the dimensions, the care in the handmade items. If it isn’t Gratz it isn’t Authentic! That being said, I do have some of Edgar Tirado’s apparatus and it is also excellent. That and Edgar is a pleasure to work with.
What Pilates apparatus is your favorite?
It is difficult to choose which apparatus is my favourite. I would have to chose the Reformer only because I love working through the orders and feeling the drag of the wheels and springs working with and against my muscles. The changes that have come to my body are remarkable – and they continue!
I also love teaching clients on the Gratz reformer. It is sturdy, excellent for spotting on, not to mention a gorgeous piece to look at! It also has provided the most changes to my client’s bodies so they love it too!
What Pilates exercise is your favorite?
This is a question that I frequently get asked and I think my answer is different every time. The reason for that is it depends on the needs and wants of my body on a given day or during a given time. Right now – In the winter – my favourite exercises are the pumping and going up front on the High Chair because I down hill and cross-country ski. These exercises keep my knees very happy after a torn MCL three winters ago. In the summer I do a lot of camping and hiking so keeping my upper body very strong is important too so the standing arms springs on the Cadillac as well as the arms over the Spine Corrector for my shoulder posture are necessary and feel great.
Generally speaking, Open leg rocker on the Mat is a long time favourite. I love the stretch in my low back, the massage to the spine, the deep work of the abdominals to keep it under control, and the freedom of feeling like a kid playing on the floor!
Do you experience difficulties keeping your clients because of the current economic crisis?
Thankfully my ‘bread and butter’ clients are committed and reliable. The economic crisis was not experienced in Canada to the extremes in other parts of the world, so my studio has remained healthy. The growth of my studio has been slow and steady with referrals from clients and other health practitioners in town and this has helped to stave off the cyclical nature of ‘gym goers’ and that sort of client. My studio continues to grow every week with new clients coming in to begin changing their lives!
Did you start your own educational program?
Yes, Authentic Pilates Canada was born out of need in Canada for an Authentic Teacher Education program. Originally, Peter Fiasca and myself taught the program, however, after some changes, it is myself with the help of other wonderful second-generation teachers coming to the studio to work with the apprentices that make this program one of a kind.
Authentic Pilates Canada™ offers comprehensive teacher education through seminars, apprenticeship, independent study, and examinations that make up 700 hours of training. In addition to the Comprehensive Teacher Education Program there is a Bridging Program and an Independent Study Program catering to experienced Pilates practitioners and those with previous training. Admission to these programs involves an evaluation of physical fitness and proficiency in Pilates work.
What is your purpose in teaching workshops?
Because Canada is predominantly contemporary style Pilates teachers, my main purpose in teaching workshops is to share the magic of Joe Pilates traditional work as I have learned it from first and second-generation teachers. It is with the depth of knowledge that has been passed on to me I am always humbled teaching to those who have not experienced the magic of the true method.
Did you solve your own body issues or do you keep them under control with Pilates?
Although I help my body issues with regular Pilates practice (4-5 times per week) I take regular lessons with the teachers in my studios and study with 2nd generation teachers at every opportunity. When I attend workshops I generally take at least two private lessons. When I have injuries (usually from sports or other activities I take part in) I rely on my network of health practitioners to give me what I need in terms of Chiropractic Care, Physiotherapy, and Osteopathy.
Do you have a target audience and how many lessons do you teach each week?
Although I do not have a target audience, my clients seem to come from three main areas. 1. Baby boomers 2. Young moms 3. Referrals from PT’s Chiro, and massage therapists. I teach about 35 – 40 hours per week.
Is your focus more on private, or duets or trio sessions or do you prefer to teach mat group classes?
I teach about 10 hours per week of group classes (both mat and apparatus) 15 hours of Private lessons and another 10 hours of duets and trios. I love teaching private lessons as the one on one sessions are what really make changes in the bodies of my clients. However, teaching group classes is a lot of fun and the energy required creates a different dynamic that I truly enjoy.
What is your opinion about the future of Pilates?
My vision for the future of Pilates is both hopeful and sad. Hopeful that we can keep the Authentic work alive and begin to form some regulations as to what it really means to be a ‘Pilates teacher’. I am one of the founding members of the PTA (Pilates Teacher Association) of the UK and I am very pleased with the progress we are making.
I am sad that there are many people teaching exercise that they call Pilates but is clearly nothing that Joe Pilates ever taught. I am sad that there are training programs that graduate teachers who do not know the work on all apparatus, and who do not have a full understanding of what Joe Pilates method is. To learn only the Matwork, as a teacher, (less than 10% of the total exercises in the method) to me, does a huge disservice to clients and to the future of Pilates.
What is your own vision of Pilates?
I am just a messenger! Joe did the work and I am so pleased to pass along what I know and understand of that work passed to me by the generation of Pilates teachers before me.
What is the biggest insight Pilates gave you?
The biggest insight that Pilates gave me is that I am capable of anything I want in life, physical or otherwise, if I work hard enough. Pilates has gotten me through an abusive marriage, learning how to be a single mom, running my own blossoming business, finally a divorce. Pilates has launched me into a new, very happy time in my life with confidence, energy, and of course, zest and vigor! Thanks Joe!
Do you cooperate with other Pilates instructors?
Yes, I get along with other Pilates teachers, and collaborate with them too. I love getting together with other teachers to share the work, workout together, trade lessons, and talk about experiences with clients. The ‘family’ in the traditional Pilates world is wonderful, supportive, and kind. We are all so pleased to see each other grow and succeed.
Which Pilates word you rather not use?
Ugg. I refuse to use any ballet terms in Pilates. THERE IS NO BALLET IN PILATES.
Did you change things about your teaching or would you like to?
Growth as a teacher is essential. I appreciate any time that a more experienced teacher is able to watch me teach and the feedback I get from them is very important. I talk a lot less now than I did at the beginning. I am able to get people to do what I need them to with fewer words and the use of my hands. This is something I’ve learned from observing the best teachers in the world.
What is your opinion about the classical, authentic Pilates and the contemporary approach?
There is only one Pilates and that is what Joe taught. Everything else is simply ‘based on his work’ and should be advertised as such.
Who is your biggest example and who would you love to meet (again) in the Pilates field?
I truly love everyone whom I have met and had the opportunity to study with. I especially loved my private lessons and time with Anthony Rabara. His way of teaching and ability to get things from my body is unreal. All time that I have with Jay Grimes is a gift, of course. To study with a first generation teacher is something that we will not always have the luxury to do. I encourage all of you to find Jay somewhere and study with him! Brooke Siler and Kathi Ross Nash are also wonderful teachers and women who I look up to both as Pilates teachers and as women and mothers.
Did you ever meet an “Elder” and if so, how was that for you?
I have been fortunate enough to spend a lot time with Jay Grimes both in and out of the studio. He is always generous with his time and his knowledge. Jay also has a quick wit, dry humor and a smart tongue: All things that make moments with him a pleasure.
What is the funniest thing you have ever experienced with Pilates?
It was really only funny a long time after the fact, but I did have someone pee their pants in a group class during rolling like a ball once.
Do you expect to keep on practicing Pilates and keep on giving classes?
Most definitely, yes. Pilates is now a part of me. I get twitchy if I am away from a reformer for more than a few days and working out keeps my body alive. To be fortunate enough to teach is a true gift. I am thrilled and amazed every day with my clients and the changes we are able to bring about in their bodies.
If you are traveling abroad for Pilates, what would be your goal?Are you available for bookings in the Netherlands?
I have travelled for Pilates many times, both within North American and Europe. I am hoping to be able to present at an event in Europe in 2015 or 2016. Yes! I would love to teach in the Netherlands!?I have a list of 6 different workshops that I offer. I prefer to work only on traditional Pilates apparatus. (Gratz, Tirado, Basil, Frederick) I can provide you with a list of workshops if you are interested.
Did you read The Biography of Joseph Hubertus Pilates by Javier Perez Pont and Esperanza Aperico?
I am still reading it. The amount of work that went in to this book is mountainous. I am grateful for their years of hard work.
What is your Pilatesdream?
My Pilates dream is to see my children grow to love and embrace the work of Joe Pilates the same way that Kathi Ross Nash’s children, Zak and Zoe, have. They are amazing and strong practitioners and it will serve them well in their lives beyond the obvious physical applications.
Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada