Pilates Teaching Tips 6
One of the key characteristic of the BASI Pilates approach to the work of Joseph and Clara Pilates is FLOW. An additional Pilates principle added by Rael Isacowitz to highlight the importance of continuity in movement, focus and concentration.
In order to have flow and continuity in a class, you as the instructor have to give special attention to the transitions used between exercises. It is definitely an aspect that comes with years of experience and is not natural in the initial stages of teaching Pilates.
The exercises you teach in a class are not separate entities, but are smaller slices of a large cake, in this case – the class you teach. Your aim as a BASI Pilates teacher is to construct your class in such a way to prevent your client/s to stop moving at any time during the class. In order to do this you need to use transitions between exercises. Transitions are movements that can develop into an exercise, but the general rule is to keep it simple and concise.
Transitions are the glue between exercises, not interrupting the pace and rhythm of the class.
The use of transitions is really up to the creativity of the instructor. To cue smooth transitions, ensuring that one exercise flow into the next. Gluing exercises together that is proper, efficient and appropriate to the level of the class.
In a mat class transitions are mostly required when moving into the following positions:
Supine into Side lying
Side lying into Prone
Prone into Kneeling
Kneeling into Standing
And any other combination possible…
In an equipment class the use of transitions is mostly effective when constructing a class in the Block System, ensuring that you do not jump from one apparatus to the next for each exercise. At times this will require you to swop blocks.
Should you have a client that find a particular exercise very difficult to do or has an injury preventing them to do a certain movement, encourage them to continue doing an exercise that they can do. The golden rule is not to stop and cool down. Keep moving, even if it is different.
The concept of Flow and the use of transitions have led to a huge following from the athletic community. A continuous flow without stopping ensures that the client’s heart rate increase and has a dramatic effect on endurance and strength building.
Ultimately the use of transitions ensures that your class is constructed as a continuous dance. Exercises flowing effortlessly from one into the next with highlights, low lights and a crescendo, and then tapering down into relaxation. Not one moment sacrificing the flow and quality of movement.
Have fun teaching.
Theo van der Riet – Botha
BASI Pilates™ Principal Instructor