Instructor in Focus: Kim Paxton

Kim Paxton

Kim Paxton

Principal Trainer, The Pilates Studio Blackwood, Adelaide SA

Instructor Name: Kim Paxton
Studio(s) you work at: The Pilates Studio Blackwood
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Instructor training: Integration Pilates Studio – Edmonton, Canada. APEI – Bridging Program
PAA Level: Principal Trainer

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

As a young dancer in New Zealand and later in my full time dance studies in Melbourne, I had been introduced to a number of the Pilates exercises in my conditioning classes, however I wasn’t really aware at the time that they were specifically Pilates exercises. Years later, I moved to Canada and was finishing up my Ballet Teacher’s Certification with the RAD and wanted to add another ‘string to my bow’ so decided to take classes at my local studio. I did their teacher training and taught for several years at the studio (and decided that I loved teaching Pilates more than I loved teaching Ballet). At a PMA conference in the states, I did a workshop with a well known Classical instructor and fell in love with the Classical Method. I’ve travelled to the US, Canada and Australia – most recently with Olga Tamara at APEI to learn all I can about the Classical Method.

What did you eat for breakfast?

Poached eggs on toast with decaf Coffee. It helps me to have the energy to power through a morning of teaching. I had to give up Coffee a couple of years ago because I was suffering from some pretty nasty adrenal fatigue.

In one word, describe your first Pilates experience?

Because I had done some Mat Pilates without knowing it, my first true taste of the method is hazy. I remember taking a Mat class at the studio I did my original certification through and I remember feeling intrigued and knowing I had to explore it further.

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

This is such a big question on so many levels! My studio was shut for 3 months here in South Australia, and we were lucky enough to reopen in June (We did a lot of Zoom classes in those 3 months!). It’s been tough, but I know for many of my colleagues and friends in the Pilates industry around the world that we have also been incredibly lucky (and our health officials here in SA have done a great job). On some level it gave me the space to think about the bigger picture for my business and where I wanted to move forward, so it has had some upsides. It has been difficult personally because my family lives in NZ, the UK and Melbourne, so I haven’t been able to see them for quite a while. They are all well thankfully, but it has been challenging.

How have you handled your Pilates teaching with COVID-19, any advice to other teachers?

It’s been hard not being able to be so hands on, and reconfiguring the studio for social distancing meant a lot more work and while I lost a number of clients, I gained more than I lost. I think people are looking for smaller classes outside the traditional gym setting and they want to engage with small independent businesses to keep them afloat, so I think we are well placed to thrive into the future.

What’s the best thing about your job?

That it’s always about challenging yourself and your creativity! I work with a diverse group of people, so giving them the best of my knowledge and seeing them move forward in ways they didn’t think was physically possible is so rewarding, it feels like my calling!

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

Pilatesology. I also like looking at the websites of Pilates studios I admire to see what they are doing moving forward, I find that inspiring.

The best advice you’ve ever had?

Probably something around the lines of ‘Perfectionism is a hindrance’ I am a recovering perfectionist that lapses often!

An indulgence you can’t live without?

My weekly pottery classes, it ticks the artistic/creative boxes for me and allows me some time away from the demands of the studio.

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

I believe since around 2011-12, shortly after I moved to Adelaide from Canada.

Do you have a motto?

Not really, my clients might say it’s ‘2 more’ !

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?

Avoiding overwhelm and exhaustion as a small business owner, teacher and Mum and staying very strong in my boundaries. Burnout comes when I over do it, so I really need to check in and take stock of where I am often.

How do you use PAA?

I attend the conferences, stay up to date with the latest industry changes and use it as a networking tool to stay in touch with friends and colleagues throughout Australasia. I have met the most fantastic inspiring people through my affiliation with the PAA.

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

Brooke Siler – Smart, empathetic, amazing hands on – I’m a big fan!

What do you appreciate most about your body?

As a young dancer, the emphasis was always on the external self and as I’ve gotten older, it has been a challenge to not get wrapped up in this concept. Like many of my clients, I want to feel good, be physically capable and feel empowered with the strength that Pilates gives me. I feel stronger and more connected physically than I did in my 20’s.

The book you’re currently reading?

A couple at the moment:
Vesper Flights – Helen MacDonald
Breath – James Nestor – Making a strong case for Nasal breathing and a reminder that Joe Pilates was well ahead of his time!

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