Pacific NW Pilates blog

Pilates NW Pilates Education (PNWPE) teaches Pilates teachers. Each class they take teaches them new skills and opens their eyes to what the client experiences. Leslie Braverman is devoted to training Pilates pros how to share the principles of Pilates—and to do it with keen attention to the individual client. One such course is Intensive Stability Chair (ICHR) on March 1, that reveals how “the Chair” can increase stability, peripheral strength and mobility with split-pedal options that challenge the whole body and each side. Leslie really invests herself in XMG (March 6), a 6 CEC course. Participants zero in on how to make group Pilates mat classes challenging—by simplifying or intensifying instruction—with proven methods that engage and keep clients safe. 

The art of teaching Pilates is to connect with clients in ways that are meaningful to them. Pilates teachers need multi-layered ways of communicating with clients in a group or private setting; it is a creative process that keeps teaching vibrant, dynamic and engaging. We practice and perfect our skills, finding the right combination of cues for each client at every stage of their experience.

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Learning is a multi-sensory experience. In a group class with students of varying capabilities and learning preferences, an experienced instructor accesses different tools to communicate effectively.

Just like children, adults use their senses to discover new things about themselves and the world. When we were small we observed how others stood and walked and tried to emulate them. A parent used their hand to guide and shape our hand around a pencil. We listened to others speak words to learn language.

Many of us learn movement best after a demonstration. The adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” is exceptionally true when teaching new or complex choreography.

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Leslie explains how to do the exercise “Adductor Press” on the Split-Pedal Stability Chair.

Kinesthetic learning happens when moving our bodies or watching others demonstrate movement. Physically learning or dramatizing a task can help anchor information. And nothing compares to an instructor experiencing what their clients’ will feel. 

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Leslie describes and demonstrates how to put the handles on the Split-Pedal Stability Chair while a student models her actions.

Auditory cues are essential in classrooms. As children, we learn to listen through singing, music and the stories that unfold around us. We hear words, but we also receive information based on tone, rhythm and other sounds. A chime signals that it is time to become quiet and pay attention. An alarm signals danger.

SONY DSCIn a Pilates studio, we instructors use our voices to direct movement. Language, of course, expresses details about the movement, but voice is also used to tell a student where the emphasis should be placed during an exercise or to indicate the quality of the movement. We vary tone, pitch, speed, and volume.

We will, in a single word, deliver more complex information: “Reeeeeeeach your leg away from you.” We can alter timing or rhythm with our voices and add other cues, such as clapping or snapping our fingers.

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The power of touch or “hands on” cues provide important feedback, spatial orientation and situational awareness. A strategically placed prop—a ball or flexband—provides excellent input.

Pilates teachers ultimately link movement with the reward that client’s feel when their efforts mesh with good direction. It feels good when movement is aligned, new patterns become routine, and progress is achieved. Try it for yourself. We’re always thrilled to welcome you to explore—or continue—Pilates at PNWP.

— Leslie Braverman, Owner, PNWP and PNWPE

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by Trixie January 26, 2015

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