Why I Can’t Count!

It’s true – in class it seems sometimes I can’t count. I also don’t always know my left from my right!?! Early onset dementia?  Alzheimer’s you ask … no actually this is an affliction that affects many Pilates Instructors. We could start a Pilates Instructor’s support group for those of us who’ve lost count or said left when they meant right. There would be a big turnout I am sure!  And overwhelmingly you’d hear instructor after instructor say, “I was cueing my students and fixing a student’s form and all of a sudden the hundreds turned into one hundred and twenties.”

You see as instructors, we learn it’s not about the number. It’s not about hitting a specific quantity. Three sets of twelve doesn’t work for us. We’d rather do three really well executed moves or maybe 11 if it takes an extra one or two to figure it out. Instructors are easily distracted by opportunities to improve form and modify movements. Kinda like a squirrel seeing an opportunity for a nut … we jump at the chance to fix a sagging tabletop or help lengthen a slightly bent leg. Broken wrists, craning necks, pouched bellies … we jump into action and counting goes to the wayside. I tell my students – sometimes you get a little extra! Is that really a bad thing? Not in my book.

And what about right and left? Don’t we all learn that in kindergarten or maybe at home even before that? When you spend your days facing people and demonstrating moves so your students can mirror your movement, you have to teach your mind to say lift your left arm as you are actually lifting your right. It’s a bit of a mind game at times. I’ve learned if I say lift your left arm and demonstrate by lifting my left arm… my students will nine times out of ten lift their right! We like to mimic what we see. Maybe that helps you understand why at times your Pilates instructor may be a bit confused about these simple concepts. She’s got a lot she’s processing as she is observing your movements, considering what to do next, and making sure to keep her class safe and engaged. She’s not losing her mind; she’s giving you all it!

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