Teaching Pilates is a multi-tasking effort. The purpose of each exercise is an important piece to this multi-tasking puzzle. The best time to layer in cues, key phrases and make corrections is while the client is in motion. Explaining proper movement is not the same as the actual “doing” of the movement making the mind/body connection. To develop and improve the technique of appropriate cueing, the cues used should exist symbiotically with the movement of the exercise.
For example ongoing cues to glide the shoulder blades on the back are not the primary goal throughout each exercise. To say over and over to a client the same cue no matter what exercise they are doing will more than likely not have the desired effect. Resist the urge to get caught in this rut.
If the action of the exercise is the Roll like a Ball, at it’s simplest level the goal of the exercise is a massage of the spine with abdominal support. At it’s most advanced level, it’s to prepare the client for a controlled roll up into an exercise such as the Teaser. In order to progress clients from Beginners to Advanced. To advance their skills and teach proper technique from the very first c-curve we must take our cues to a new level with a new purpose and a new understanding.
The same is true for exercises in extension like Swan Dive or where the “Box” should be square such as Kneeling Side Kicks. Should the arms or the legs should be lengthening during the action of an exercise? If so we must speak of that while the client is moving and use specific verbs, cues and key phrases. Is the exercise a massage/warm up or cool down like Seal? Or is it a more dynamic action like Jackknife?
By questioning the purpose of the exercise, performing the exercises ourselves to think and feel the action in our own bodies and to properly cue with that purpose in mind will develop proper and supportive teaching techniques for you and your clients.