In observing classes during my training and teaching classes these past few months, I’ve come to realize that a Pilates class can be totally useless if your teacher does not explain basic Pilates terminology. As with any sport, hobby, or skill, there is a universal vocabulary that makes it easier for Pilates instructors and other folk to communicate.
Don’t worry, no need to take notes. A great instructor will be able to guide a beginner with excellent cueing and will continue to refine the advanced student, but I thought I would outline a few of these basics in layman’s terms for those looking to get the most out of class.
Let’s start with the spine, which is a central point of focus in Pilates. Joe Pilates said:
“If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.”
PARTS OF THE SPINE:
- Cervical-Neck area, upper seven vertebrae
- Thoracic-Middle, next twelve vertebrae
- Lumbar- Lower, bottom five vertebrae
SPINAL FLEXION: Similar to a cat stretch; the head and tail are curling to the front of the body, engaging the abs (in any position).
SPINAL EXTENSION: Similar to a cow stretch; head and tail are reaching up and back from the body, engaging the back muscles (in any position).
SPINAL ROTATION: Wringing out the waist and rotating the torso to one side while maintaining a stable, still pelvis.
Next Up, Part 2: The Pelvis.
Don’t forget: We will have a Pre-Patty’s Pilates for Performers on March 17th at 11am at Ripley Grier. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP, or like heels together, toes apart Pilates on Facebook.