Going Back to the Basics

I’ve been teaching Pilates for a little over eight years now. Prior to that I taught spinning for about 12 years and other random fitness classes that needed a sub! That’s a long time to be in the ‘fitness industry’.  By now I should know it all, right? Wrong.

Even medical professionals are still learning about the body and discovering new aspects of our muscles, fascia, recovery, and more. Any instructor who tells you she/he knows it all probably knows very little in my opinion. It would be impossible to have dealt with every possible body scenarios – tall, short, overweight, fragile, scoliosis, parkinsons, hip replacement, arthritis, missing a limb, and the list goes on and on. Add to that many people have more than one “thing” that needs to be addressed. The options are limitless … not to mention all knee replacements, for example, are not the same just as all scoliosis clients are not the same and should not be treated as such. So I am still and will always be learning! So should you!!

Lately, I’ve been interested more in the small movements and the building block movements. I believe as a newer Pilates student or instructor we are drawn to the big! The large movements, the challenging movements … short spine, roll overs … all of the impressive movements. I imagine it’s similar to the desire to master a hand stand in yoga … one of the showier poses. I doubt you hear folks talking about their desire to master warrior one. Just as you don’t hear Pilates students bragging about their Pilates V or first position on the foot bar! But maybe you should?

Maybe it’s those movements we’ve made mechanical we should be improving. I think so. Those are after all the building blocks for the big, fun impressive movements. If you can’t hold a good Pilates V with your feet supported on the footbar … however could you hold it with your legs above your head in mid-air performing short spine? Not very well I would imagine. Maybe these ‘boring’ or basic movements deserve little more attention and appreciation.

I subscribe to a Pilates service that offers online Pilates classes for instructors by instructors. It is a great resource for me to learn new movements and cues for you. It is also a place for me to practice moving my body with some guidance. I went through a period of seeking out the harder, more challenging classes. I’m not a beginner after all so why would I bother with those classes?

Lately on my recover day after a long run, I have found those basic classes to be just what I need. When I slow down and really work to perfect the simple building block movements, I progress more than I do powering through the challenging work. It is often the nuances of the basic work that we need to accomplish or ‘get’ to do the more challenging work.

I think we could all benefit from taking a step back to the beginning … working on the fundamentals from time to time. Maybe there are things you’ve forgotten or you are in auto pilot and not feeling the work. A simple cue like engage your glutes may be the key that helps you when you get to the tough stuff! Maybe the tough stuff won’t be so tough once you re-master the steps to get you there.

My challenge to you this week is to pay attention to the building block elements in your class. Feel what you feel, perfect what you can and apply what you learn as class gets more challenging!



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