Skills Active Aotearoa shares Rebecca Harford’s commitment to yoga and Pilates as well as supporting and mentoring staff as they progress in learning Skills Active Exercise Professional.
Rebecca Harford (in photo below) and her husband Jeremy are the co-owners of Adapted Yoga and Pilates, a unique studio based in Christchurch whose mission is to help everyone find a safe, fun and rewarding practice.
For Harford, teaching and learning have always been her passions. She was introduced to yoga during her college days when she was pretty sure yoga was frivolous. However, his instinct was to learn more about it to confirm his suspicions.
Harford advises “I played rugby and was also interested in weightlifting and powerlifting. Yoga was therefore quite a different way of looking at the world.
In the end, she refuted her theory and discovered the start of a long-standing passion for yoga, which also grew to encompass Pilates.
After Harford completed her degree in physical education she went to work on cruise ships and for three years taught up to 28 yoga and Pilates classes per week – a very solid foundation for her career in teacher.
After returning to New Zealand, she found herself in a role with ACC, and it was there, working with ACC clients, that the seeds were planted that would ultimately lead to the creation of Adapted Yoga and Pilates. . The studio welcomes everyone through its doors, including those with disabilities or those with disorders, so they can enjoy the life-changing benefits of moving their bodies and using their breathing.
Harford explains “that there are so many broken people out there who need exercise and wellness, and there just isn’t a lot of support for them out there. I am frustrated by this [at ACC] and I wanted to do more to help people.
“The difference between us and some of the other studios is that we are really open to everyone. Our teachers are able to create a stimulating classroom for people who need a challenge and a safe classroom for those who need more support. And our philosophy is always “do no harm first. “”
Harford notes that yoga and Pilates can help anyone, regardless of their limitations, and it’s inspiring to see that happen. She adds, “I love seeing people having their ‘aha’ moment. So even the really simple things like how to breathe deeply. Or how to activate their kernel. Those really basic things that they can fit into everyday life that will make life better.
These things can be basic or straightforward, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy for everyone, she adds.
“Even how to work the right muscles [can be challenging]. Especially for people who were too afraid to try. There are so many women, in particular, who are unhappy with their bodies or who are in pain or who are anxious.
“In my job, I see these people change and I’m like, ‘Hey, this is actually something I can do, and I can do it well, no matter how broken I am.’ It’s really special to see things click for people.
Broadening horizons through learning on the job
Harford enjoys supporting his teachers as they complete their Skills Active learning. She meets with the apprentices for regular practical and theoretical sessions, and is always available for questions, advice and encouragement.
“There is a lot of work but it’s worth it. It was a really interesting experience and I learned a lot as a mentor from my team.
“You have to have an environment where people have the right to make mistakes and ask questions. And I think it’s helpful to have more than one person on hand to ask, because we all learn differently and present information in different ways.
She is also a Certified Skills Active Evaluator and assesses parts of the program that fall within her scope of assessment. Harford notes that many yoga and Pilates teachers haven’t experienced what others in the wider exercise industry would consider to be the foundations of a fitness professional.
“The training they’ve taken usually doesn’t come with the same level of attention to anatomy and physiology, or to the cultural side of things. So it’s great to be able to give them that basic foundation and fill in the gaps that might have arisen between their teacher training and the future. “
It also helps broaden their horizons as exercise professionals, adds Rebecca.
“They can start having conversations with allied health professionals and personal trainers about their mutual clients. And it gives them the opportunity to work more broadly in the different roles that the industry can offer.
“It’s just great to see people who were already good teachers, have more confidence in their knowledge and their abilities. And it helps them give even more to their students.
Skills Active Aotearoa is the transition industry training organization for recreation, exercise, sport and the performing arts. It is a non-profit organization 50% owned by Maori shareholders and funded by the government to support businesses, organizations, iwi and community enterprises in Aotearoa to train and qualify their staff. and their volunteers.
For more information on Learning Skills Active Exercise Professional Click here
Superior Courtesy Image Adapted yoga and pilates; Image above: Rebecca Harford
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