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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Drop and give me twenty! (actually, we do more than 20 in my class)

A few weeks ago in a Pilates class, I finally figured out why one of the practitioners never listens to me (no, she's not hearing-impaired and I'm not insensitive).

I always offer options when doing Pilates routines. I know that every body is unique, and wants different challenges on any given day. So I start by demonstrating the "easiest" level, and then describe how I'm making it more difficult. As the practitioners perform the posture, I walk around and give tips and encouragement.

Every class, the same woman does the same thing to decrease how effective her workout is. Instead of easing herself slowly through an ab posture, she uses her arms to fling herself up into a sitting position. I have casually mentioned that flinging isn't toning, so the slower we all go through the posture, the better it will be.

I took a minute to approach her and give her a guiding hand as she rolled up one morning into the posture. She did so with the flinging arms and I asked her why she does it like that. She explained to me that, DUH, her abs won't get stronger if she doesn't force herself to sit up all the way. I explained to her (without the DUH) that by using her arms to create momentum, she was actually using her abs less, which will prevent them from getting stronger.

I talked her into performing at a more effective level, and I've kept an eye on her since. She is doing so much better! I feel like we had a breakthrough. She's now listening to her core and doing what it needs instead of trying to hurl herself off her back into a sit up.

Being an instructor can sometimes be extremely frustrating. No matter how many ways I cue a posture, I will always have at least one person not performing at the level they need. So to have a woman make such an amazing change in her thinking made me feel like I don't totally suck. And I hope she feels better about herself too. I hope she feels the difference in her core and that someday she'll reach that goal of sitting all the way up in that posture.

And I hope I'll remember this moment when I want to give up teaching because I feel like I'm not making a difference.

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