Posts tagged #Level 3 in Mat Pilates

Be a little more serious and a lot less solemn!

This week I found myself flicking through a gardening images-15magazine in a waiting room, (not my usual reading material but there was not much else on offer!) and I came across an article which really struck a chord with me and my thoughts on some aspects of the Pilates industry. The writer, Monty Don, was proposing that gardeners should be more serious and much less solemn  and I could see how his thoughts could definitely be also applied to some Pilates instructors, especially those who are incredibly vocal on various social media sites and forums.

"Seriousness underpins any endeavour worth doing and every life worth living. But whereas seriousness can be worn lightly, with grace and wit, solemnity carries with it the dead hand of the pedant and killjoy"

This is no more true when reading some of the comments and criticisms of those instructors who see themselves as being superior either in their training or knowledge to other fellow instructors. Sometimes Pilates just takes itself far to solemnly!

As Monty says,

"There is a time and place for solemnity. It is appropriate for births, funerals and grand occasions of state."

whereas being serious in our work shows a mark of respect for the Method, our clients and each other. It  still encourages discussion, healthy debate and (fingers crossed) a little  humour without producing the fear of reprisal and ostracism from the very community which should inspire and encourage us.

It is important to remember that as human beings we live in pursuit of happiness, of enjoyment. For us as Pilates instructors, this means encouraging the joy in mindful movement, the sense of well-being and health in a vibrant yet serious environment not only in our classes but in the Pilates world we live in.

So the only question now is do I subscribe to Gardeners World!

The Pilates Bean Bag Roll-up Device

IMG_0053Joseph Pilates was undoubtedly an inventor and a genius! He was definitely at least 50 years ahead of his time as so many people say. How did he know to create a piece of equipment to alleviate stressed out wrists, fingers, elbows and the upper body from hand-held devices and everyday living? This simple piece of equipment is fantastic for targeting those issues from carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritic fingers, tennis elbow to frozen shoulder. Instructions on how to use the Bean Bag Roll-up Device

1. Stand in Pilates stance, heels pressed together, toes pointing slightly outward or parallel with big toe knuckles together, depending on the needs of your client.

2. Stand tall, lengthening through the spine, focusing on each body segment being lifted and correctly placed over the one below.

3. Roll up the bag so it hangs just below the dowel. Hold the dowel in both hands straight out in front of you at shoulder height. Do not lock your elbows. Relax through the shoulders having a sense of the arms originating from the mid back.

4. Open the fingers of one hand, and point them toward the ceiling, wrist flexed backward as far as you can. The opposite hand grasps the dowel, fingers wrapped around it, wrist fully extended with knuckles facing the floor.

5. Slowly unwind the bag toward the floor, alternating the hand grasp between (a) open fingers pointing upward with flexed wrist and (b) grasped hand reaching downward in full wrist extension. Maximize the full flexion and extension of each wrist, and maintain good whole-body form from head to toe. Don’t forget to breathe fully in and out.

6. Once your bag reaches the floor, reverse the process and rewind back to the start position. Maintain full wrist flexion and extension on each move, and also maintain the correct body stance.

Note: If the exercise is too difficult, reduce the starting weight, and/or limit the length of the cord, so you unwind and rewind over a smaller distance. Concentrate on perfect whole-body form.

To increase the challenge, stand on a stair or a stool so you have to unwind and rewind over a greater distance. Begin with one full repetition, and then gradually add more weight. Work up to three full repetitions over time.

Here is also a short video demonstrating its use.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S444tTQSzxo]

The JPilates Bean Bag Roll-up Devices are available to buy for £20 each (+postage). Please contact info@jpilates.co.uk for more details

How to encourage clients to practise Pilates at home.

"PATIENCE and PERSISTENCE are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavour"  So states Joe Pilates in Return to Life, yet how do we encourage this diligence in our clients? Joe Pilates insists on us never taking "the night off" and not succumbing to momentary weakness and Mary Bowen recalls how he required his clients to commit to a minimum of three sessions a week. We all know how such commitment to the system would produce incredible results but realistically many of our clients attend only one or two sessions due to financial, time or other restraints. So how can we encourage our clients to practise more in order to progress and address any issues? An easily accessible and effective way is to give them short videos to do at home and here is an example of the Swan Dive taught at a low level as a 3 minute fix.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HRkBdHLV9g]

It is simple to record, upload and edit on YouTube and even though I hate to see and hear myself on camera, clients love it-so lights, camera, ACTION!!

I would love to hear how you encourage your clients to practise more!

Never Stop Learning!

At the beginning of any of our courses or workshops I tell instructors that we never stop learning, to question everything and to ask anything! This is the most crucial founding principal of JPilates training- to constantly learn and enhance our teaching skills and knowledge and to realise that we can not know everything. When a client asks a question or has an injury or condition that you are unfamiliar with or unsure of, it is much more professional to admit that you need to further research the subject and to promise to get back to them once you have sought further advice or knowledge. (You would then email or phone us if you wish!!) Guidelines and research constantly develop, evolve and sometimes contradict and so it is imperative that we keep up to date with changes and have a reliable source to refer to.

Each year I allocate time and finances to attend courses and workshops to further my own knowledge. This year I am looking forward to a workshop from the fabulous Amy Taylor Alpers and the Pilates On Tour Convention. I'll definitely share with you my thoughts on both events after.

Continual professional development needn't be expensive. It could be attending our monthly Instructor Only Classes or another instructor's class in your area and evaluate (to yourself of course!) aspects you enjoyed and areas which could be improved. Webinars are a great way of developing your knowledge of specific areas such as Scoliosis and we are always open to new topics for us to present.

For more information on all our qualificationscourses and workshops please visit www.jpilates.co.uk or contact info@jpilates.co.uk.

How to teach a beginner class to an experienced exerciser

Recently I have been asked by several Pilates instructors how to teach beginner Pilates classes to experienced exercisers without boring them to death! Often these clients are used to training at high levels of intensity and it can be difficult to strike a balance between encouraging precision, integrity of movement and technique and maintain suitable intensity, focus and interest. First and foremost we need to understand and recognise the needs and goals of the client- why are they attending the class?

Since September I have been teaching at the beautiful, newly opened Reformer studio, Akasha Wellness. Almost all of the clients are new to Reformer and are attending in order to increase strength, flexibility and to be challenged!After ensuring that there are no injuries or conditions that may impact on their exercise programme, I teach fairly demanding classes, designed to enhance their strength, mobility and flexibility. Although I constantly embed and cue correct movement and technique, I see the achievement of precision as on-going task which can take weeks, months even years to attain. Perfect movement is not something that can be taught in the first few classes and in attempting to "over-correct" and "over-talk" we can restrict natural movement and reduce the sense of well-being. We need to allow clients to make mistakes without fear of failure. This is how we learn. Giving time to make mistakes and self correct teaches increased body awareness and self-responsibility for ones own practice.

Both instructors and clients should acknowledge that to achieve results, Pilates requires dedication and commitment. As Joe Pilates stated, “PATIENCE and PERSISTENCE are vital qualities in the ultimate accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavour” It is a long-term, lifestyle choice giving you time to strive for and achieve precision, control and flow.

For JPilates Associates, this month's Class Plan is a Matwork plan for the beginner but experienced exerciser. Contact info@jpilates.co.uk to request your copy.

Side note: We always need to have full understanding and knowledge of any injuries or conditions which may impact on exercise choice and intensity and seek medical consent if necessary.