Friday, July 13, 2012

Perfecting the work

As a Pilates instructor I have the wonderful chance to help my students change not only the appearance of their bodies, but how they carry themselves.  How they stand, how they sit.  One of the biggest compliments that I receive is when a student tells me that during their day-to-day life they begin to make changes in how they hold their body.  "I was walking at the grocery store and remembered to draw my shoulders down" or "I was standing at church and I lifted my ribs from my hips" are some of my favorite things to hear!  This means that the work (Pilates) has gone from "just" a workout to a frame of mind.  A way of living. This takes commitment from the student and from me.

I spend my days watching bodies.  Watching movement.  Adjusting form, correcting alignment, perfecting posture.  I touch feet.  I lift torsos.  I hold booties into place.  And I love every minute of it.  But it can be quite exhausting "holding people up" all week long.  There are many times throughout each week that I wish I could be like Patrick Swayze's character in the movie "Ghost" when he jumps into Whoopi Goldberg's body.  That sounds kind of creepy when it is actually in print, but what I mean is that I wish I could just do the exercises for my students so that they can feel the full benefit immediately.  I can't.  I have to use words, touch and even the inflection of my voice to coach them where they need to be. So quite often on a Friday I NEED to go through the work myself.  Sometimes it's the complete beginner Reformer order.  Sometimes it's mat work.  Maybe it's just a handful of exercises that I have really worked my students on that week.

In my trainings, I am taught that I have to have an exercise "in my body" before I can teach it correctly. Meaning?  That I have to feel it and know it properly.  Sometimes I need to be reminded where the shoulders go, how the neck feels, the timing of the exercise.  Other times, I have seen it done wrong and corrected it so many times that I need to do it correctly just to feel at peace.  On the other side of that, I may need to go over more advanced exercises in order to keep up with my advancing students.

I know that I am not alone in this feeling.  Whether you are a fitness instructor or any other profession I know that, throughout the work week, there are instances where you are using your expertise in your profession and it is sometimes tiring.

I would love to hear about how this relates to you.
What do you do at your job to find peace at the end of a busy week?  When my studio is quiet I like to get on the Reformer and work through the exercises.  What is your version of that? 

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