Balanced Body COREterly
From the Studio
Assessing Pelvic Alignment for New Clients: Part 1 of 3 Simple Strategies
By: Joanne Bezzina
Getting a new client started and excited about movement is a one of my favourite aspects of my role as a Pilates teacher. While keeping our clients safe and working precisely is important, we also want to foster joyful movement practice rather than overly tentative movement. Here are my favourite ways of creating awareness of pelvic alignment through movement that clients can take away and practice as they develop more autonomy.
First Up: Teach the bony Landmarks
If your clients know their sacrum from their pubic bone your job will be SO much easier. While we don't expect our clients to take on anatomical jargon, we can encourage them to understand their own bodies in more detail. Teaching your clients that their pubic bone sits at the front of the pelvis and that two fan shaped bones form the sides is an easy place to begin. Our sacrum sits between those two fan shaped bones. We have a tail bone below our sacrum and our lower back vertebra above our sacrum. Nothing scary. Nothing overly technical. Just a simple way of explaining the body and speaking the same language.
1. Pelvic Curls/Hip Rolls
Pelvic curls are a simple movement that are often used to introduce our clients to the position of their pelvis. Often this movement is cued in relation to the lumbar spine rather than the pelvis itself. Have you heard the cues, "rock back so that your back flattens" and "roll forward until your back arches"? While eventually the lumbar spine will be affected in the ways mentioned, why not keep the focus on the pelvis itself? "Roll along your sacrum and reach your tailbone towards your knees" and "Roll along your sacrum and reach your pubic bone towards your heels". While my word count may have risen in the second cueing style, the intention is much clearer. By keeping our attention on the pelvis itself, our clients are more likely to be successful in the movement we are asking from them.
Teaching our clients that movement occurs during muscular release AND activation will help our goal of efficient movement and allows space for the breath to be involved. The quietness of these movements will give your client the opportunity to listen to what their body is telling them. Before they know it, our Pilates newbies will "be in control of their body and not at its mercy".
Parts 2 and 3 will soon be available on the Balanced Body blog.