The Self-Guided Group Class: It’s a Movement!

Self Guided Online Group Pilates Class

Hello there and welcome to another awesome week on the Pilates Path!

Thanks for reading and sharing your time with me today.

Foot Corrector February

It's nearly the end of February and the finish line of my 28-Day Foot Corrector Challenge is within sight.

If this challenge is news to you and your feet are crying out for some love, get all the deets in this post. This challenge in tandem with MarchMATness would be a boon to your Pilates Mat exercises.

Another bonus: You'll have 31 Days!

More about the unexpected treasures found in daily foot exercises comin' atcha in just 6 days!

The Self Guided Group Class

Illustration of Pilates Teacher and Laptop

Do you know I offer online group classes?

It's true.

My home studio is fully virtual and I've created the Zoom equivalent of Joe Pilates' gym: students working out, sweating, and having fun all together in the same room.

Remember that?

I love witnessing a new a-Ha! moment, a glimmer of new understanding, or a funny Pilates anecdote. I'll take all the humanity I can get right now.

All of my classes are self-guided.

Yes, you read that correctly.

You'll do your own workout on whatever pieces of Pilates apparatus you have on hand.

If you've got a whole studio to use, that's fantastic!

If you're an enthusiast or at home with only a Mat, that's perfect as well.

You'll work out at your own pace, doing exercises appropriate for you with the supervision of an instructor.

Me!

As you move through your workout, I'll offer suggestions, a correction or two, and perhaps a round of polite golf applause for a job well done.

If you're working on learning the order of your exercises on the Mat or Reformer, keep your list of exercises nearby while you build your program.

In the virtual world, you're literally on your own. You must take ownership of your workout and therefore of your health and well-being.

All that being said, if you're used to a group class with a teacher telling you what to do from start to finish, you may feel unsure of how to proceed. Or even wonder why you might want to…

No worries, I'm happy to help.

Autonomy in your Pilates Workout: Practice what you Teach

The Private Lesson and Instructor-Led Group Class models are modern inventions.

They're not bad models by any means.

But they lack a key ingredient to harnessing the full power of the Pilates Method: the voyage of discovery.

No journey on the Pilates path is complete without this vital component.

Joe's Original 8th Avenue Studio

We are what we repeatedly do...

All accounts of life in Joe Pilates studio describe it as a gym: everyone working out – moving – together in the studio on one or more pieces of apparatus.

From Caged Lion: Joseph Pilates and His Legacy by John Steel:

Eventually I got the message it was necessary to be able to do the routine by yourself. While that may seem difficult, it really isn't. The routine teaches itself to you.

This is not a speedy process.

The Pilates method takes devotion. It's literally a practice.

Self-practice outside of the studio setting increases your proficiency.

YouTube videos have their place as well.

But the benefits of nurturing your workout under the watchful eyes of a teacher are unparalleled.

My ability to do the exercise routine slowly but continuously improved from session to session. I was getting stronger, I was moving better, and my posture was improving.

I was enjoying the feeling of well being.

I had only to show up at the gym, get down on the Reformer, and clear my mind so I could direct every bit of my attention to moving the right part of my body in the right way at the right time using the right muscles.

True progress is made over time.

You're developing skills in your body as you would learn any sport or physical discipline, by repeating the same exercises many, many times.

Your body and mind are learning together.

Joe was trying to help you learn and acquire exercise, his particular exercise routine, as a habit to improve your life…

You were there to learn, not to work out.

An Experience is Worth 1000 Words

You Can't Teach Pilates Quote

Ideally, teacher and student work together as a team.

And without true ownership of your Pilates workout, there cannot be real change. As you learn your exercises and become more independent, the exercises and the apparatus become your teachers as well.

They're often better teachers because they give you an experience.

The experience may lead you to discover a skill or a moment that I've been telling you about for years.

Talking is easy to tune out. And talking isn't teaching.

An experience, however, you'll remember. You'll feel special.

Like you've got a secret (weapon) no one else knows about.

One that's well worth the price of admission.

Ultimately, it's not about me, the teacher.

It's about you.

Who knows you better than you?

How to Do your Own Workout

Pilates Teacher Gives Thumbs Up for Job Well Done!

Wanna get started?

Use this link to book into one of my self-guided, supervised classes and join me!

But wait…

There's more!

The Pilates System is Alive and Well and Living All Around the World

It's not just me.

It's a movement.

Continue your journey on the Pilates Path with a trusted guide.

Self-Guided Online Classes Worldwide

Depending on location, some self-guided classes may be in-person as well as online. Contact the studios for more information on their specific protocols.

“If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team.”

“We are what we repeatedly do…”

Joe Pilates Quote

“We are what we repeatedly do.

Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

If you're a new subscriber to the blog – welcome! Thanks for joining me on this wonderful roller coaster of a ride called The Pilates Method.

Foot Department of Corrections

Last week I threw down the gauntlet – to myself as well – to visit the Foot Corrector and the 2×4 every day in the month of February.

“Why do I do this to myself?” wafts through my brain as I struggle to make foot exercises a habit one day at a time.

I almost failed my own challenge on Day 3.

By Day 6 I had an epiphany. I think my stomach actually connected to my feet when I used the 2×4.

I usually do the Foot Corrector exercises first, followed by the 2×4.

On Day 7 I “accidentally” did the 2×4 first. What a difference it made for my connection to my feet! I'm gonna use this order for a while to see if it teaches me further.

How's it going for you? Hit me up in the comments if you're playing along. Go nuts and give yourself a pedicure!

Jay Grimes Strikes Again

Recently I read this blog post by Nathalie Gonthier-Thomas, a teacher at Westwood Pilates in Los Angeles. The owner of the studio, my friend Daniela Escobar, shared the post via Instagram.

I urge you to give it a read.

In a nutshell, the author shares a story of her experience in class with Jay Grimes. As she works a particular exercise, she feels that one body part really wants to take over. When she comments about feeling the exercise in this way she is expecting to be guided by Jay to work more correctly.

To her surprise, Jay turns the tables on her asking “What are you going to do about it?”

I witnessed another version of this comment as well.

Years ago at a Pilates conference produced by the lovely Amy Kellow of Everybody Pilates, one of the workshops included Jay teaching a first-time student.

Jay taught a young, coordinated, reasonably fit woman. She really caught on to how he asked her to work the exercises. He could see she was smart. She soon realized that what Jay was looking for on the various apparatus she visited – Reformer and the Mat – was similar in many ways.

When she got to the High Chair for the Pumping exercise toward the end of the lesson she told Jay that when she pushed the pedal down her back came away from the back of the Chair.

“Well, who's fault is that?” he asked with a smile.

The next time the pedal went down her back stayed against the Chair.

Jay has a way of sending a clear message that only you can create true change in your body. He is merely a guide.

The Virtual Pilates Studio

One of my favorite things about our current era of online teaching is that it helps me curb my people-pleasing ways.

I'm often too happy to help. Or I hover when I don't need to. I have also been known to enable…

Now, with clients in their own space, the ball is literally in their court. I can suggest and guide, but you're truly on your own in your designated Pilates space.

I like how this situation quietly sends the message of ownership.

Jay is right. Unless you know your workout and claim it as your own, there cannot be real change.

The Open Leg Rocker in your Workout

I've got a few super motivated and nerdy clients. Frankly, they're all awesome.

One, in particular, is extremely diligent. Janet practices her Mat exercises daily.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Daily.

This dedication –  this devotion – to Pilates and to her well-being has sky-rocketed her understanding to nerd cult status. You know, no correction too esoteric, no exercise too insurmountable. On the Mat.

Recently, we've been working on perfecting her Open Leg Rocker.

We are just beginning to do the exercise without the assist of foot straps on her feet.

Open Leg Rocker with Strap Assist

In the Pilates studio, you can use the foot straps from the leg springs for this assist. At home, lots of everyday items can serve you: a folded-up towel around each foot or a longer stretching (or stretchy) strap work just as well.

For a while, used regularly (every time you practice), this simple assist can open up the entire back of you.

In Janet's most recent lesson, I suddenly realized she was not using the straps to assist and her hands were nearly all the way at her ankles.

It's steadily getting better over time, over many months.

In addition to the Open Leg Rocker, we've been talking about the lift in the trunk of her body since Day 1.

Open Leg Rocker in your Life

I nearly swooned last week when Janet told me a story about noticing a new skill in her body.

I love when that happens.

We've often bonded over being similarly sized humans.

We're short. About 5'3″ but, you know, sorta…

Post showering, evidently many people hang their towel over the shower curtain rod to dry. I do this too.

Historically Janet could never reach up to the top of the curtain rod to stretch out the towel if it gets a wrinkle in it. Vexing, I agree. How will it dry like that?!

Turns out now she is able to reach up there with no problem.

I know you know all this, but this is why we do the Pilates exercises. To hang up our fricking towels in high places like it's no big woop.

Sure! Open Leg Rocker is a great ice-breaker at parties – and the next party I get to attend I'll be sure to bust one out – but if you can reach and bend to get stuff, that is where the money is folkx.

Rant. Over.

Meanwhile, how's it going with your feet?

Use this video to give your toes some love this Valentine's Day.

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