"If you start to rush a
My Teaching Style
I adore Pilates. It works!
My approach to it, both doing and teaching, is practical, straight forward, logical – possibly even ‘square’. I view Pilates as an effective method of achieving physical functionality, body awareness/balance, core strength and back support.
Although I acknowledge there are other ‘dimensions’ in the original Pilates teachings – such as the ‘Mind, Body, Spirit’ connection, I prefer to leave such ethereal aspects to others. Frankly, that’s just too ‘out there’ for my palette.
Likewise the breathing – it’s a subject that is covered by entire books and, rightly so, it’s sort of, erm, well ... important :) Although I touch on aspects of breathing to either facilitate the moves or to make them more challenging, that’s about as far as I take it. Anything more smacks of meditation and, again, that’s just too ‘out there’ for me. I’m not anti meditation – it’s just not for me.
I’m not particularly flexible and the types of moves I tend to favour for teaching reflect this. No teacher wants to look inept in front of a class :) However, if requested, I am able to provide suitable moves to challenge those who are flexible - just don't expect a perfect rendition from me!
I appreciate participants making comments/asking questions during a class – sensible or otherwise :) Although I am passionate and serious about Pilates, it’s equally important to me that people find it fun, relaxed, personal. Oh... and I also welcome someone telling me ‘that the King has no clothes on’ - so to speak. If I say something which doesn’t make sense, I’m always grateful for being challenged – after all, I’m learning all the time too!
I typically demonstrate and then walk around a class watching and correcting – mostly verbally but sometimes being quite tactile.
I constantly stress the importance of maintaining the ‘core set up’ * DURING a given move and continually remind people Pilates is more about this aspect than any other ‘fun things’ we may be also happen to be doing with our arms and legs.
* ie activating pelvic floor, pelvic tilt etc
Likewise, I constantly check people are performing moves s-l-o-w-l-y and under control. This works the entire length of a given muscle – leading to toning, not bulk. If you start to rush a move in class, expect to be gripped by my steely gaze... :)
I will often ask you to focus on 'the bit wot doesn't move rather than the bit wot does'! I find that by focusing on STABILITY, it tends to give you more CONTROL.
I mostly follow the Polestar approach to Class Planning/Mat Sequencing – ordering the moves starting in supine, then prone, side lying, upper body weight bearing , seated, full body movements and ending with inversions. I also like adding in ad-hoc balance challenges to the moves and often use the ‘toys’ – ie therabands, wobble boards, foam rollers, chi balls and my beloved Fit Balls.
I far prefer to work at ‘ground zero’. In my CBD classes and most of the ones at Fitness Centers where I am a cover teacher, I do NOT sit atop a stage! As a gymnastics coach once put it: "Simon, would you PAY just to WATCH a teacher when you could buy a DVD instead? Doesn't the term 'teacher' imply watching students and correcting them?" OK, at some fitness centers, with 40 plus in the class, there's no choice but thankfully, I don't do too many such sessions - way too scary, far too large a class.
If I play music, it is quiet and I therefore rarely need to use a microphone ……………. (Maybe I am just ‘old and out of touch’ but if you need your voice amplified in order to be heard above the music, the solution would appear to be rather obvious…..)
At the end of a class, when I remember, I like to cite a quotation, usually something Churchilian.