I have heard that Romana asked at the end of her classes “What did you learn today?” Then when Moses Urbano taught a workshop at my studio he said, she always asked him to just remember one thing from each day, so instead of writing reams of notes in classes or workshops remember just one brilliant thing from the day and at the end of the week you’ll have five and at the end of the month you’ll have 20…
So I put this question out on a Pilates facebook forum and I asked teachers to name a few brilliant things they remembered from a class or lesson they took or a workshop they attended. My thinking was that we can all learn A LOT from each other’s a-ha moments~ Here’s a few gems that appeared:
From Siri Dharma Galliano: ”It’s not a spa treatment, you don’t need to applaud every time a client pushes out the reformer and then returns it. Let them work.”
From Jay Grimes: ”Just watch them move and then correct 1 thing with few words.”
From Amy Taylor Alpers: ”Let the tail chase the nose so much that you roll back.”
From Ruth Alpert: ”Just nod the head, that’s all the range that cervical vertebra are responsible for, the larger vertebra behind the sternum (upper abs are required to lift the head, the neck doesn’t get to do that much work, give necks a break by not leading with that appendage the chin…yes, the chin is an appendage)”
Kathi Ross-Nash: The Red Thread or the connection of each move to another in the system.
Benjamin Degenhardt: ”Each move prepares you for the next move What’s old/What’s new? An adding on, so to speak.” Another Benjamin-ism: ”Find the dot of the exercise. What’s the core of it. The signature can come later.”
Benjamin Degenhardt: ”Do not over correct. Allow the body to move, watch for incorrect movement patterns that keep showing up. Then correct and work with that. Absolutely correct something that puts the person in danger, otherwise, be selective in your corrections.”
Julian Littleford: “Nuts to the guts, men, nuts to the guts!”
Moses Urbano: ”No tortilla tushes, squeeze your butt.”
Kathy Grant: ”Joe was a man, if you’re not sure what to do remember Joe was a man”
Bob Liekens/Jay Grimes: “Remember, every exercise has a beginning (a clean, swift set up), a middle (the exercise) and an end (a clean, controlled exit)”.
Cara Reeser: ”It’s not that you eat too much bread that you have a double chin, there are muscles under there that you need work!
Another Cara Reeser~ ”You can’t rotate or lift your arm fully if you are pulling down the end of your cape!”
“Activating your TVA is like turning on your car. Just because it’s at a stoplight doesn’t mean your engine turns off. Keep your “engine” on theoughout the session.” –Roger Gonzalez Hibner, Core Conditioning, Studio City, CA and Balanced Body faculty
Michael King: The Saw – ”imagine you have a $50 note under your buttock and if you lift it when you reach toward the foot its mine!”
Romana: “Don’t breathe like a steam train.”, “Be one piece of steel from head to heel” (long stretch), “bend like a willow in the breeze” ( side bed short box), “be poetry in motion”, “don’t just eat the raisins from the cereal” (when spending too long on the cadillac).
Romana: “A 100 pound exercise requires a 100 pound breath. A one pound exercise requires a one pound breath. Breathe accordingly”
Romana: ”You are taffy being pulled equally from each direction from the center.”
Louise Taylor: In back extension…”imagine a marble under your nose and trickle it along the floor for as long as possible before floating away, and ”Never wear your shoulders as earrings” and, ”Lift your crown jewels gentlemen.” ”Imagine a waterfall cascading down your back at all times”
”Just because you are on your stomach, don’t spill your guts.” Kathy Grant
Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle, ”Down the back and up the front” Imagining a waterfall
Ed Yong: Tells his baseball players to keep their “bling” away from their shoulders!
Bob Liekens: “Pilates is a practice, not a performance!”
Lucie Bécus: ”Think of your scapula as a cape and that cape needs to move with you when you move”
Cathleen Murakami: ”Imagine you have diamonds on your collarbones and you want to sparkle your diamonds in the light by opening your chest”
”If the movement does not work for your student – change their relationship to gravity – find a plane where gravity can work with instead of against the action” Trent McEntire
Tiziana Trovati: ”Squeeze your bottom and lift” and on shave on the Reformer, ”Elbows open wide enough to see the ears”
Andrea Maida: Two way stretch and opposition. We only have one exercise – double leg stretch.
From Michele Larsson: “It’s movement people, just move!” and “Everyone steals (movement), just steal from the best and acknowledge who you got it from”.
Dana Brown: One leg circle – ”Think of your hips as a canoe and do not rock the boat!”
“Activate the core before you do the chore.” -Unknown
Alan Herdman: Leave your baggage outside the Studio door. Focus on the work and your clients, never take this precious time to talk about your problems!!
“Effortless effort! Make it look easy” “don’t work so hard , you are making me tired ” Romana.
Lolita San Miguel: “Really, it doesn’t have to be so serious. Smile. Have some fun. Meet me at the party.”
Carole Amend: Teach your clients how their bones move and then have the client tell their bones what to do.
Romana-”How can I stretch you if you’re tense?”
Jay Grimes say this: “You ain’t dancin’ honey, you’re doing Pilates. Butch it up!”
Kevin Bowen: ”If you want to promote healthy living to your clients, don’t come to the Studio hung over, reeking of cigarette smoke!!”
Colleen Glenn: ”Graceful is powerful. Try effortless effort.”
Romana: ”Neck like Audrey Hepburn, waist like Vivian Lee”
Troy Hyatt: Dorothee Vandewalle is magic! One of my absolute favorite memories of apprenticing with her was watching her work with a morbidly obese middle-aged woman. She worked her hard but at the same time gently encouraged her to stand tall, be proud, and take on the world. I still use Dorothee’s words when I end classes: “You’re now tall, lifted, and floating. Now go out and enjoy your evening at the opera!” And Dorothee actually does float!
Benjamin Degenhardt: See if you can take the tension out of your neck and put it somewhere more useful like your abdominals
Ron Fletcher quoting Joe ”You’ve got to in de air to out de air”
Angela Barsotti: ”Keep going this way until the only thing you can do is go the other way”
Romana: ”Stretch with strength and control.”
Chris Robinson– “Imagine you are holding the winning lottery ticket in your heels. Don’t drop it!”
Bonnie Saunders I think quoting Michelle Larrsen There’s $1000 bill under your butt and if you let it go it’s mine
From Moses Urbano, simply ‘I teach Pilates’ without defining C or C, he simply won’t engage in that conversation.
And from Jennifer Kries: keeping cuing simple: ”as you ____, pull this, or lengthen _____” hold hold hold.
From Sunni Almond– ”No one gets worse” You know how everyone stresses over their inability to grasp a new concept in their body, I remind them that once they didn’t even roll over, let alone crawl or walk or run 😉 I also say, ”Stop the madness”, if they refuse to slow down and try for control, we all know what that one looks like.
Kathi Ross-Nash ”Don’t blame the victim, blame the culprit ” (when referring to the area of the body that actually needs the help)
“Shut up and move” the brilliant Jay Grimes
“You can’t see Waldo for them!” Aubrey Johnson
“Loose feet tight seat! ”Romana
Some of these are brilliant cues, some of these are to remind us to keep cuing simple, and bring the professionalism as well as the fun. It’s just exercise.
Have anything to add? Leave it in the comments…Thanks for reading and contributing. This was a Pilates community contribution effort, initially from members of Reiner Gootenhuis Pilates-Contrology Forum on Facebook
I respectfully disagree that “it’s just exercise”. PILATES is a system where the student is always learning. Yes, have fun but allow the student to appreciate the process.