Anytime I find myself feeling stagnant in my teaching it’s usually because I have been neglecting self practice. I am not talking about personal fitness when I say this because taking a class from another person is not necessarily inspiring and sometimes workshops are out of the budget or not convenient.
Diving deeper into the work and how it truly functions is very helpful when I get in a rut. For me, remembering that Pilates teaches concepts not just exercises makes thinking outside the box easier. This constant play, brain storming and analysis gives me endless tools to engage my clients and mentor with fresh relavent material geared towards understand what my client needs to succeed in a task.
Try out these methods to create classes and find inspiration during self practice. All of these prompts get the creative juices flowing.
- Empathize: Put yourself in another persons shoes. Start with your personal clients and choose concepts they need to grasp and exercises their body is capable of doing.
- Apparatus focus: limit yourself to one piece of equipment and no props.
- Prop focus: Choose one prop to use with a piece of equipment or by itself.
- Positional focus: supine, prone, side lying, seated, standing, quadruped, kneeling or upside down.
- Plane of motion focus: Choose one plane or combine multiple planes of motion.
- Joint, muscle or system focus: (Ex: challenge awareness by closing eyes or playing around with how the breath impacts each exercise/concept)
- Flow focus: go around the world and creating smooth transitions from one exercise to the next.
- Music or rhythm focus: adding pulses, holds, full range ROM and half ROM.
- Strength building and a resistance focus.
- Mobility and flexibility focus.
- Body check focus: Identify strength, weakness and imbalances. Great for checking in with clients and yourself.
- Spring and vector focus: Play around with how resistance or lack of resistance effects and exercise. Play around with angles of pull to see how vector affects an exercise.
- Special population focus. ( Ex: If I had a cast on my foot what exercises can I still do?)
- Principle focus: Pick one to consider. Identify their roles. Hone in on breath, precision, strength, mobility, flexibility, ROM, stability, endurance, and etc.
- Progression focus: break down each exercise into it’s foundational elements to create a scaffold to achievement.
Bonus Tip: Concept Focus: Take the abstract idea of “whole body movement and breath” as an ultimate achievement. Think about everything the mind, body and spirit must endure or experience when going through a move. We are dynamic multilayered and intricate beings. Movement is a test of will both physical and meta-physical. Sometimes what holds people back has nothing to do with their physical body. Pay attention to emotions and sensation that arise during your practice. Acknowledge them and consider if they are valid.