I remember how petrified I was when I sat on that mat on the first day of the BASI Pilates mat course as I quickly realized that this academy does things differently. Their focus is hands on and cueing through imagery. And adapting your imagery to suit each of your clients’ individual needs. I was completely new to this, and it was something completely out of my comfort zone, but I also realized how much fun this can be as I love turning a scenario into a world of magical imagery. It obviously took a lot of practice and a lot of hours and now 8+ years down the line I'm sure that I've got it mostly waxed. The other upside it had for me is the fact that I'm slightly obsessive when it comes to doing things perfectly. I’m not necessarily OCD but I've got my sense of perfectionism. Plus, who doesn't love a good play of words! I mean, how obvious does it sound to tell someone to “STAND AS TALL AS A GIRAFFE” or “TO BE AS CONFIDENT AS A TORTOISE, HEAD HELD PROUDLY OUT OF ITS SHELL” (shell referring to your shoulders in this instance). It's the fun creative aspect you've got with imagery especially when it comes to teaching. It's amazing to see how quickly in certain scenarios when hands-on teaching does not work in the moment, when you give them a story or scenario as an example of what you want from their bodies and you can just see it clicking in their minds. Their eyes lighting up in that moment because as frustrating for the teacher it may get, imagine how it feels for the client who is trying their best to make us as the teacher proud but most importantly themselves proud too, and to see the pure joy as they proudly move their body in position is priceless.
Thank goodness BASI was very focused on using cueing and imagery during training, because when COVID hit, and everything moved online it made that transition much smoother for me and my clients as they were already in the swing of things and understood my verbal cueing. It made it a little bit easier during such a difficult time. The other great thing about focusing more on using verbal cueing to teach your classes, is the strain and pressure you put on your body as a teacher if you had to physically demonstating and do each class with your clients; doing the same movements over and over, can cause a lot of fatigue and burnout and injuries on your body and muscles.
One of my favorite sayings is “A PICTURE SPEACKS A 1000 WORDS”, which is very true, but imagine trying to explain that perfect picture setting to someone who does not have the picture in front of them. That’s where the real challenge comes in with verbal cueing. It's a lot of trial and error and a lot of changing or adapting your queuing to each clients’ individual understanding and needs. I am a very technical perfectionistic personality and I want to know that I will have all eyes on me most of the time when I do my own physical online practice. That's where I love a good play of words. Not only does it show the personality, character and sense of humor of the instructor but it also shows you how the mind of the instructor works. Plus, you might just understand the exercise and the positioning of the body in the specific move a bit better. I believe that is why my classes are loved by my clients. I am extremely dedicated to precision, placement and positioning of not only the body but ALSO the mind.
Appreciate and enjoy the powerful imagery your instructors use during their classes, as it didn’t happen overnight, but with years and years of experience. Have fun and be as STRONG, BRAVE AND FEARLESS AS A LION when taking on your Pilates classes.