Several years ago I hosted a number of short workshops called Get a New Lens. The idea was to take an alternate approach to teaching your Pilates clients. See it a new way, adopt a new perspective and deliver a fresh, engaging and targeted session each and every time. A teacher who had attended most of the workshops approached me and said she had figured it out, no matter which lens you looked through – “it’s all about the cueing”. She was excited and I wanted to preserve that moment in time for her. I agreed.
Later however, I considered her words. The cueing is key of course. But it is the result of something bigger. The Cueing is the last piece. And can only come into play well after you’ve visually identified, cognitively coalesced all the information and intuitively established a plan of action. Only then, will you be able to cue effectively. It’s the visual and instinctive components that inform the verbal instruction. Put simply, you can’t say it differently, if you can’t see it differently.
Our theme at Real Pilates this month is the “grid”. In Pilates we work with respect to the “box” – the grid formed by outlining the shoulder and hips in a linear box like configuration. Taken to the equipment you can see how most of our apparatus are structured with this same rectangular like box shape. From the long rectangular Mats and Cadillac and Reformer frames to the shorter reformer carriages, and finally to the chairs, this box like surface area is a constant.
For many teachers, the body works independent of the surface area. For some time now, I’ve been using this visual framework to guide my clients through their sessions with tremendous results. Seeing how the body fits in these boxes and works within the frames, forms the basis of what I call “teaching from the grid.” Rather than looking at the body first – look at the grid first. Then align the body to the grid. It’s easiest on the Mat. Takes a bit of practice on the Reformer where a small frame is moving within a larger frame. You may get tripped up on the Cadillac but you can actually use the metal frame above to cue effectively.
At the end of the day it’s the simplest tools and techniques that are carried out mindfully that make the most profound difference. With each passing month, dedicate time to your teaching craft, whether it’s one cue, one idea or one “box” at a time.