Episode 006 Tom McCook, Lifelong Learner, He has been Passionate about Movement Since Age 11

Tom McCook, co-owner and director of Center of Balance in Mountain View, California, is an internationally-recognized fitness and movement specialist. He is a Master Instructor and teaches Balanced Body’s comprehensive Pilates certification program, CoreAlign training and the Bodhi suspension system and has been teaching certification courses since 2000. He is a level 3 Franklin Method Educator and teacher trainer.

Tom’s teaching approach integrates his extensive training in mind-body practices including the Franklin Method, Yoga, Shiatsu, Body Therapy, Somatics, Resistance Stretching, BodyCode, Meditation and Life Coaching. Tom is a frequent presenter at international conferences and he has multiple classes and tutorials available through PilatesAnytime.

Tom’s passion for movement as early as 11.  Tom was curious about what made good movers coordinated and better than others.  Tom started his own business personal training in a gym at age 24 and by age 28 found shiatsu which catapulted him into the mindful movement direction. You can learn about Tom’s vast and varied background in the movement industry including somatics, bodywork, Feldenkrais and Pilates.  And after more than 30 years into his career, Tom says he feels more curious now than ever. Something that stuck out from one of Tom’s most authentic and memorable mentors that he has held onto is the idea that respect is not negotiable, respect is where we start.

Tom took his first Franklin workshop in 2002 about relieving shoulder and neck tension.  Tom immediately loved the approach on embodying your anatomy as opposed to just learning anatomy.

“If you educate someone about how their shoulder girdle works, then you can give them a cue that related to their anatomy, in real time when they are doing a Pilates exercise.”

Do you know about mirror neurons?  Neither did I.  Tom shares what it’s about and how it can help you as a movement instructor!  You’ll also hear why Tom is such a fan of using imagery when teaching movement to his students including his three Olympic gold medalists that have benefited from Tom’s teaching.  Additionally, Tom has seen some dramatic improvement and progress working with clients with spinal cord injuries as well as strategies for the aging population.

What’s your opinion on where the physical fitness industry as a whole is going?  Have you seen some of the trends that the industry has gone through over the years?

One of Tom’s big learning experiences stems from a personal injury that encouraged the development of more empathy for his clients with injuries.  He also talks about his strategy for healing his injury 2-3 times faster than others with the same injury without developing any muscular compensations.  Hint–there are no strength exercises involved for the recovery strategy.  There was also a humbling experience of learning to ask for help and the power of what that does for both people involved.  “I believe that people want to help and they want to be asked and that’s how you empower people.”

Changing gears, Tom gives advice for the aspiring business owners you won’t want to miss.

“You need something to reset your perspectives.” “The whole world should meditate.”  “Teachers need to actually have time to drop out of their persona and just kind of sense them self. It’s very restorative.”

“The whole purpose of meditation is to learn to cultivate your attention, it’s not to stop your mind, because that’s not possible.”

Mindfulness is “Being present to what is without getting taken out by your internal story or interpretation.”


MCCOOK for one free month on http://www.pilatesanytime.com/




About the author, Sara

Sara is the founder of The Mindful Movement and the owner of Coreworks Fitness, a Pilates and Yoga studio in MD. Sara is also a Master Pilates and CoreAligh instructor with Balanced Body.

Sara is passionate about helping others grow and live mindful, fulfilled lives. She helps others move better, feel better, live with a deep awareness, gratitude and their whole heart. She strives to inspire others live authentically and passionately in love and abundance.

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