Entries in Teaching Strategies (73)
Back in November, when we were working on Pilates Equipment Circuit Classes, we had the chance to talk at length with Margy Verba, who runs FlowMotion Pilates in Bishop, California, and discovered that she had worked with members of the 2006 U.S. Olympic ski team. In the spirit of Vancouver 2010 Olympic fever, we invited her to share a behind-the-scenes look at the Pilates program she designed for skiers training for the 2006 Winter games in Torino.
By Margy Verba
In the spring of 2005, I was pondering the next step in my Pilates career. I had been working in the mountain resort town of Mammoth Lakes, California, and was in between studios. Then I got a very interesting call. Both the men’s and women’s U.S. ski teams were coming to do some training at Mammoth Mountain: Did I have time to work with them? Could I start the following week? After reflecting for about half a second, I accepted. I had already put together a Pilates program for skiers; when you work in a ski town, most of your clients are skiers, after all.
By Shari Berkowitz
Pilates conferences are a relatively new phenomenon, but what a phenomenon they have become! Every major training program has at least one and many independent trainers have them, too. Navigating the conference landscape can be tricky. How do you know which ones to go to? How do you know when it’s time to go to these conferences? Most important of all, how do you make sure you’re getting the most for your time and money?
The first thing to consider is what you’re looking for in your continuing education. You need to know what it is you want to buy in the marketplace and then find who is selling what you want. Figuring that out is key, and it’s not as difficult as it seems to determine what it is that you want in your continuing education. Though there appear to be so very many directions you could go in, there are only three things to truly consider:
By Christine Binnendyk
Pilates and dance conditioning have a long history, and they make for a highly effective combination. Joseph Pilates himself was well-known for working with many prominent dancers during his lifetime. I’d heard the buzz about barre-style workouts such as Lotte Berk, Fluidity, and Bar Method. I had even tried out a few videos. But it wasn’t until I ran across Barre3, the Portland, Oregon, based studio with the tagline, “Where ballet barre meets yoga and Pilates,” that it hit me: Dance conditioning can be a breath of fresh air for Pilates studios, to draw new clients and keep existing ones coming back for more.
Mt. Pleasant Pilates studio owner Nicole Wallen launched a program called Body By Barre just over a year ago. “It’s been a great success,” she says, and the ticket to bringing in new clientele.
By Nicole Rogers
Continuing education workshops are something I go back and forth on. Don’t get me wrong; they are absolutely essential to high quality teaching. Yet, sadly, I often zone out at some point. Sitting on the floor for eight hours makes me want to jump out the window and I don’t like eating raisins out of my purse for “lunch.” But if I learn even one good cue or variation from a workshop, it makes all of the discomfort worth it. The infusion of knowledge enriches my teaching and gets me excited about the process all over again.
Jillian Hessel’s new DVD, Learning From Two Masters, basically solves my problems with workshops since I can watch and review at my own pace. And there is a bounty of information to review. No matter what your background, you would be hard-pressed not to find something of interest here. Though Hessel started her Pilates education in New York, plenty of variations have found their way into her work. And I think there is something here for everyone with an open mind. Hessel trained with many of the elders, and most intensively with Kathy Grant and Carola Trier. Here, she teaches a workshop sharing her vast knowledge as an instructor, specifically as influenced by Grant and Trier.
As 2009 draws to a close and we refocus our energies on the year to come, it’s nice to reflect on the year past. Thus it’s time for our very own Pilates-Pro.com “Year in Review,” a countdown of the site’s 10 most popular articles in 2009. (This is a great place to start if you’re just discovering us!) We’d like to extend huge thanks to all of the innovative, thoughtful, dedicated and generally amazing Pilates experts who contributed to Pilates-Pro.com this year. Kudos as well to the growing number of community members who use the articles and forums as a place for lively, insightful discussion. Pilates-Pro.com continues to grow because of you. And of course, if you have topics you’d like us tackle in 2010, please drop a line and let us know!
1. Pilates for Scoliosis by Suzanne Martin, PT, DPT
2. Pilates for Feet by Madeline Black
3. Five Ways to Combine Cardio and Pilates by Nicole Rogers
4. Pilates on Call with Siri Dharma Galliano
5. Postpartum Recovery: Helping New Moms Get Their Bodies Back by Debbi Goodman, MSPT
6. 16 Fitness Wear Discounts for Pilates Instructors by Christine Binnendyk
7. Pilates DVD Review: The Jump Board Workout by Nicole Rogers
8. Pilates on Call: Core Conditioning PTs
9. Five Ways to Hook Men on Pilates by Julian Littleford
10. Five Ways to Build Successful Client-Instructor Relationships by Devra Swiger
2010 is just around the corner! Have you thought about your Pilates continuing education plans for next year? If not, the time to start is now. If you’ve never attended a Pilates or fitness conference, check out the offerings below. Conferences are great opportunities to get out of the studio, meet new colleagues and build on your teaching skills. Don’t forget to check out our workshops calendar, where these events are listed, along with dozens of others worldwide.
February 12-13, 2010
Power Higher: Power Pilates Annual Conference
Las Vegas, NV
February 26-28, 2010
Pilates on Tour
San Diego, CA
February 26-28, 2010
2nd Australia/New Zealand Polestar Pilates Regional Conference
By Lauri Stricker
The exhilaration of soaring down a mountainside over a blanket of sparkling white snow, surrounded by pristine evergreens and an endless blue sky inspires millions of people to ski every year. It’s no small reward for countless hours spent in the car, in lift lines, and on bristling cold lift rides to the top of the mountain.
In the Colorado Rockies, where I live, I have cross-trained skiers with Pilates from October to March for the past seven years. My sessions often start with snow reports, gear reviews, and tales of anticipated heli trips and back-country hut adventures. I’ve worked with all kinds of skiers, from strictly downhill resort skiers to purist tele-skiers (who make use of a style of cross country ski that leaves the heel free). Whether they prefer groomers, moguls, or powder, they all want to be in top form for skiing. Many of my skiing clients can only make time for Pilates workouts midweek because of their weekend skiing excursions. They might range in age, fitness level or ski preference, but they train with me religiously every winter for the same reasons: to get strong, stay injury free, and enjoy winter fun in the mountains. A client with a goal is a motivated client, and skiers are both. Pilates is an excellent way to keep skiers fit and coming back to your studio season after season.
Pilates and Fall Line Fitness
If you made a snow ball and let it roll down the side of a mountain, the path it rolls down is called the fall line. To ski the fall line with finesse and control requires flowing motion, rhythm, and precision. This agility on the slopes is what I call “Fall Line Fitness.” A strong core, muscle balance, and flexibility are essential elements of Fall Line Fitness. You do not have to be a ski instructor to make a direct impact on your client’s ski fitness. However, you do have to be an alignment specialist skilled at teaching high quality movement.
by Lauren Charlip
We’ve noticed several Pilates group equipment circuit classes pop up lately, so we decided to rustle up the instructors who teach them for a closer look at this new trend. Some teach just one circuit hour a week and some base a large chunk of their business on group circuit work. Each has their own unique way of running things. A few themes did emerge among the instructors we spoke to: They all agree that multiple-apparatus work allows for a deeper, more well-rounded experience for the client, and that a circuit class is an affordable way to reap those benefits. They also stressed the importance of previous experience on the Pilates equipment for clients before they join a circuit class; the more machines involved, the more complicated the skill set. For more details on how different studios and instructors are adopting this format, we’ve provided five takes on Pilates equipment circuit training from around the country.
Chicago Pilates instructor Laurel Silverman teaches out of her home and rents space at One Mind Body & Being to teach group classes. She hit upon the circuit idea when only one client showed up for her Reformer class and she realized she could move her onto other apparatus. Because that client had mostly Reformer experience, the difference in the work was readily apparent. Silverman noted her client was making new connections and that it was much easier to gauge her strengths and weaknesses. “I started thinking clients who are only able to afford Reformer classes are being done a disservice without access to other equipment,” Silverman says. She began to spice up her Reformer classes with a new apparatus exercise here and there. “Clients really took to the idea. I first started incorporating one exercise that we would circuit through, then we would talk about it and compare,” Silverman says. “It was amazing to see changes when they got back on the equipment that they’re used to.”
By Alexa Thorson
Curves, Twists and Bends: A Practical Guide to Pilates for Scoliosis is a useful introduction to the topic from Annette Wellings, a Pilates instructor with major scoliosis, and U.K. master Pilates teacher Alan Herdman. The book is a useful tool for addressing scoliosis through exercise, both for those who have the condition and for Pilates instructors with scoliotic clients. Wellings makes it clear in her introduction that the exercises in this book “are not designed to restructure the curve,” but to enable the spine to be “as healthy and supple as possible.”
Wellings and Herdman have assembled a set of 34 exercises primarily focused on stretching and lengthening, that are appropriate for people with symptoms ranging from mild to severe scoliosis, and even for the general population. I often incorporate similar exercises in my mat classes to warm people up before harder Pilates choreography. This book does not address Pilates equipment or even the classic Pilates mat choreography.
Curves, Twists and Bends is structured in three parts. The first, called ‘Understanding and Awareness’ is a straightforward, uncomplicated overview of the condition of scoliosis, and a discussion of curve patterns, with an explanation of how to identify different types of scoliotic curves, complete with drawings. It even includes a section on “the psychology of scoliosis.”
The second, called ‘Exercises for Flexibility and Posture’ establishes a set of exercise principles that Pilates instructors will find familiar, such as pelvic stability, balancing dominant and weak sides of the body, and de-rotation of the pelvis, ribs and spine.
by Mary Kay Hausladen Foley, PT, GCFP
Pilates instructors know well that the Reformer is an excellent tool to work on strength, flexibility, motor control and balance. For these reasons, the Reformer is also an extremely useful tool for working with people with multiple sclerosis. I have worked with a wide variety of MS patients over the last 23 years, as a physical therapist and as a Pilates Reformer instructor, in association with The Heuga Center for Multiple Sclerosis (the mission of which is to empower MS patients; its motto is “Can Do”). Some patients have such mild symptoms that an outsider would never guess that they have the disease, while others can be quite debilitated it. For the MS population, the Reformer can be invaluable for work on functional changes in areas where motor control or muscle function is compromised.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. It is a chronic and usually progressive disease in which the immune system attacks the myelin—the layer of insulation around nerve fibers—in the brain and spinal cord. This leads to a decrease in nerve function, which causes symptoms that vary from patient to patient and in severity, such as weakness, fatigue, spasticity (a condition we’ll discuss later on in this article), bladder dysfunction, pain, vertigo, decreased balance, cognitive deficits and speech and swallowing difficulties. Because multiple sclerosis affects motor control, the majority of people diagnosed with the disease experience walking difficulty at some point. Research indicates that number is somewhere between 64 and 85 percent. In fact, 70 percent of MS patients report that walking is the most challenging aspect of their disease. Within 15 years of diagnosis, 50 percent of multiple sclerosis patients require assistance walking and, in later stages, up to a third of patients are completely unable to walk. More than 400,000 Americans have multliple sclerosis: most are between the ages of 20 and 50, and women are twice to three times as likely to be affected than men. Worldwide, MS may affect 2.5 million individuals.
Though Pilates exercise will not change the disease process, it can help people maintain strength and function longer than would otherwise be possible. There are, however, special considerations that a Pilates instructor should be aware of when working with someone with MS.