Saturday, November 23, 2013

Peeling Back the Onion: The Power of a Private

"I cannot teach anybody anything.  
I can only make them think."

Back in the day Joseph Pilates taught just one person at a time.  He taught them the exercises they needed for their body.  He mentored them.  He made custom workouts to allow his clients more success through movement.  Some had special needs or injuries.  They were given a program design on the equipment to accommodate this and Matwork as their homework.

Sadly at this day in age most people experience Pilates in a group environment.  Why pay someone up to 10x the amount for a private compared to a group session?  For the exact same reason Joe would teach you one-on-one.

Learning Pilates is a way to discover how your body moves and learn to make it more efficient and balanced.  You may think you are doing a movement correctly.  You may be able to fudge your way into a Teaser but the real point of Pilates is to learn the best movement pattern for your body to be able to do that Teaser effortlessly.  That's where the beauty, grace and flow of the system come from.

Let me prove my point.  Right now I want you to get up from your computer or phone and stand up.

Cross one foot over the other and without using you hands descend to the floor with ease.  Now come back up the same way you went down.

How did that go?  Not easy is it?  If you had someone helping and coaching you through that basic movement of survival it would be easier and I argue you would find more success in your movement patterns.  

Privates are a way to dive in deeper.  To peel back a layer of your onion so to speak.  Something as little as how to breathe better or discovering a better alignment for a certain exercise can make all the difference for when you do jump back into classes.  It provides you with feedback and helpful cues to ensure more success to your regular sessions.

As Albert Einstein said, "Any fool can know.  The point is to understand."  Don't feel intimidated by a private.  Use it as a chance to learn and grow.  A time to have your questions addressed and to peel back a layer of your onion.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pilates Hottie

"You are beautiful!  
You are strong!  
You are amazing!"

These are powerful words.  When is the last time your instructor told you this?  When was the last time you told yourself this?

In my early training Pilates was all about perfection.  You were to do an exercise on a certain spring weight, look graceful (even if it was your 3rd attempt at it), and cue just like your master instructor did.  It was like going to Bootcamp some days.  At times you felt lost or not good enough.  You would long for the day years from now when the cues would spill off your tongue and the anatomy would not seem like a nasty crossword puzzle.  Looking back I honestly feel that Joe would disapprove of this approach.

Yes, we need to learn the purpose of the exercises and be able to execute or modify them for our own bodies (let alone clients).  I would never teach an exercise to someone that I could not do myself.  It is important to know the good placement and alignment of the body.  Efficient words simplifly teaching.  However, when did it get so technical?    

I know in my personal practice I have off days.  I may start my Footwork and not get to the 100s till halfway through my routine.  Some personal workouts have a plan and other times I listen to my body and move accordingly.  At times I close my eyes to focus inward and other times I have to hurry to answer the phone mid ab series.  That's life.  

I've found this attitude translates to my clients.  The first month the client is curious and excited.  They start to see and feel changes in their body.  They are able to touch their toes or hold a plank.  It's like a new relationship...budding and romantic.  Than after months or 30 sessions later they reach a comfort level or slight frustration.  Where is my brand new body in 30?  Footwork is boring and I'm sick of the 100!  You want Pilates to be your soul mate.  

It can be...if your heart is open.

Pilates is a relationship and a personal journey.  It's a process.  It's a discipline.  There will be good and bad days.  One day the Roll Up will come easy and the next you are stuck again.  You must remember to always breath and use your core.  Movement is both physical and mental.  Trust in the process to unlock your best self. 

We as instructors and teachers need to remember to be loving toward each and every body that enters our studio.  Be accepting towards imperfect bodies.  Acknowledge the success of a class able to do a Teaser.  Build up body confidence and good self esteem.  Allow the body to move safety.  Come into each session with a simple mission.

Pilates Daily Goals:
  1. Move your body.
  2. Learn something new.
  3. Explore and expand your borders (challenge yourself).
It takes time like any relationship but after a decade of doing Pilates I can look back where I started and feel proud of where I am today.  Same goes for my teaching.  Each day has its challenges yet I focus on being my authentic self and have fun with my clients.  Its an hour in their day I want them to enjoy and look forward to coming back.  I personally feel that everyone who does Pilates is beautiful, they become stronger quickly and are amazing inside and out.