Emerging Instructor in Focus: Cecily Hemphill

Cecily Hemphill

Cecily Hemphill

Alive Yoga & Pilates, Greensborough VIC

Emerging Instructor in Focus

Instructor Name: Cecily Hemphill
Studio(s) you study or work at: Alive Yoga & Pilates
Location: Greensborough, VIC
Instructor training: National Pilates Training Diploma of Professional Pilates Instruction
PAA Level: Professional Instructor Level 1

What originally motivated you to try Pilates and then go on to train as an instructor?

I have danced since I was 4 years old so grew up having done Pilates within my dance training. After I had graduated from my full-time Musical Theatre training when I was 21 and had started performing in some dance gigs, I was looking for something to do in between gigs that was within the same world and that I would find equally as fulfilling. That’s when I enrolled in my Certificate IV in Pilates Matwork and Reformer.

What did you eat for breakfast?

Porridge and a soy latte! Perfect for these cold winter mornings.

In one word, describe your first Pilates teaching/apprentice teaching experience?


What impact has the recent COVID-19 virus had on your world?

It has changed it completely! Nearly all the experiences I have had when it comes to career progression, wouldn’t have happened had not the past two years happened. Not only did it force me to put more faith into myself when it came to my knowledge and what I had to give to the Pilates industry, but it gave me that push I needed to act on it and take the next step.

I went into the pandemic with a Cert IV and about 2 years of work in the industry under my belt and I came out of it having run my own online classes, having become a MoveActive ambassador, having obtained my Diploma in Professional Pilates Instruction and having bought into a Pilates studio (Alive Yoga & Pilates). So much is different about my life now compared to pre-pandemic.

How have you handled your Pilates teaching or training with COVID-19?

Only a couple weeks after going into lockdown in March of 2020, I was on the phone to Katrina Edwards having a discussion about the structure of the NPT Diploma course as I had been thinking for a while about furthering my studies. I was really eager to put my new found free time to good use and I couldn’t think of a better way to take my feelings of anxiety and uncertainty about what was happening in the world and dig my teeth into something new, something that I was excited about.

Within the same month I had started up my Instagram page @cecilydoespilates where I offered short at-home workouts, then eventually started running weekly Zoom classes. These classes and seeing clients come back week-after-week was one of the biggest motivators throughout that time and was an excellent way of giving my life in lockdown some structure. Teaching online compared to face-to-face is very different, so this new format also challenged me to refine my cueing and get creative on the Mat.

What was the most unexpected part of your training?

Probably the fact that (due to lockdowns) I didn’t get onto any studio equipment for the first time until about 2/3s of the way through my Diploma course, just a few months out from sitting my final assessments!

Your ‘go to’ website for all things Pilates (other than PAA)?

MoveActive!! The best grip socks in town 😉

The best advice you’ve ever had?

Not so much a piece of advice but a hot tip…instructor maintenance is crucial. It sounds like a no-brainer but I used to smash my body with back-to-back late nights into early mornings of Pilates and dance teaching and then wonder why I was sore, getting migraines weekly and/or injured. I now visit an osteopath once monthly religiously for a tune up and make sure to prioritise my own movement and down-time to make sure I turn up to class ready to give my best and feel my best, mentally AND physically.

An indulgence you can’t live without?

Taylor Swift’s music 😉

How long have you been a member of PAA and how did you hear about PAA?

Since 2020 when I signed up for a student membership. I heard about PAA through my training at NPT.

Do you have a motto?

All you can do is your best.

What’s the most challenging aspect of learning to teach?

Trusting yourself and finding your voice. Things resonate differently for everyone. I think finding the way you authentically communicate and educate a class takes time and can be tricky not to succumb to the pressure of feeling like you “need to” or “should” teach a certain way.

How do you use PAA?

First and foremost, I use PAA to stay up-to-date with professional development opportunities. Their range of workshops, masterclasses and conventions cover an array of topics with instructors specialising in all different areas.

Who is your Pilates idol or would love to meet, and why?

Since becoming a Pilates business owner, the people I look up to have slightly shifted. This time last year I would have mentioned people who were killing the online Pilates scene as I was inspired by the idea of opening my own online studio. But since buying into a physical Pilates studio, I look up to many other business owners, within the Pilates industry and beyond.

I am always looking to others for inspiration of what kind of leader I want to be, where I see me and my business partner Lauren taking our business next and how I can use those things to inspire my staff to be the best they can be. I think I take small nuggets from a lot of different people.

What do you appreciate most about your body?

How easily my body adapts to new movement due to my Pilates foundation. I am obsessed with feeling strong in my movement. I have recently taken up running and I feel empowered by how well my body has taken to it in such a short period of time.

The book you’re currently reading?

The New Hustle by Emma Isaacs – a great one for business owners!



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