Monday, November 5, 2012

Fletcher Intensive in LA

Just returned from a 5-day Fletcher Intensive course held at Pilates Bodyshop located in Los Angeles. It was an awesome time spent with Pilates teachers trained in the other schools, and having the privilege of having Kyria (Program Director of The Ron Fletcher Program of Study) teach us over the 5-day workshop.

It was a good time to revisit the Pilates Principles, what do they mean and how do they apply to the Pilates work.

What exactly is Fletcher Intensive about?
This licensing course is for existing Pilates teachers, Fitness Instructors and Physical Therapists who are keen to learn the Fletcher Pilates® tecniques, comprising:

•    Fletcher Percussive Breath™
•    Fletcher Fundamentals™
•    Fletcher Towelwork®
•    Fletcher Floorwork®
•    Fletcher Barrework™

Well, personally, this is very timely for me to revisit the fundamentals and to take stock of what I've done since I committed myself to teaching this work (about 27 months ago) and where I could step up in my teaching.

As I review the notes written...

First Fletcher Fundamental - Percussive Breathing
The percussive breath comprises lateral rib motion, anterior/posterior rib motion, engagement of all four layers of the abdominal muscles, and has volume and control.

The main reasons the Breath is important:

  • oxygenation of the cells and body, a detoxification of the body
  • works the core musculature (most of the muscles of the trunk)
  • improves posture
The sound that is produced and heard is a by-product due to the narrowing of the mouth aperture that forces the abdominal muscles to work.

Fletcher Percussive Breath has sounds and rhythm, and lead the movement!

Next is the Seven Standing and Centering Cues
Starting from the feet, the cues are meant to help align our body alignment.
  1. Foot Centers - ensuring we place weight evenly on the 3 foot centers (on the ball of the feet below the big toe, between the last and second last toe, and the heel)
  2. Magnets - first pair of magnets between the 2 legs is at the ankles, second pair is at the knees, and the last is at the top inner thighs. This is to bring awareness to one's body mid-line, help to prevent supination and pronation of the feet.
  3. Bolts - there are 2 sets of bolts. One is on the front (pubic bone) and back (sacrum), the other set is on the side of the hips where the hipbones are. The placement of pelvis is critical to one's spinal alignment and is a link-way between the upper and lower hemispheres of the body. At the same time, in order to assist with the correction of one's leg alignment (in the case of a person with knocked-knee legs), the correction usually starts from the pelvis.
  4. Girdle of strength - the trunk (abdominals - front, sides and back). This is where most Pilates movements are initiated from.
  5. Percussive breathing
  6. Shoulder Girdle placement - placement of shoulder girdle in relation to thoracic and cervical spine. The shoulder blades ideally be 'sitting' at the back of the ribcage, with no elevation, protraction or retraction.
  7. Head and Neck placement - we want to think about lengthening the throat (front) and back of neck evenly, so there is no forward or posterior placement of the head.

Applicable Application!
Now, what do we do with theory and fundamentals explained? It's the application that matters! For the past year, I often found myself questioning the application of certain Pilates movements that would be beneficial for a specific client. Sometimes, I figure it out intuitively sometimes, I had to seek advise from colleagues. I like that during this course, I learnt the application of teaching the Breath, depending on what the person needs.

For example, a client with kyphotic posture would need emphasis on inhalation to elevate the collapsed thoracic spine and ribcage. This means bring emphasis and awareness to anterior/posterior rib motion breath, using a cue like "reach through the crown of your head as you exhale" to help the client retain the lifted spine on the exhale.

What I liked and one which I thought was a good takeaway personally, was the discussion and application of the Pilates movements segment.

We were asked to pair up and do a postural assessment for one another. Then, we were to recommend/'prescribe' 3 movements that may help improve the person's posture and/or weak/tight spots of the body.

Stepping Up!
I'm now on to hone my skills in determining what a client should work on first to address their concerns and subsequently how to progress their movements as they improve.

A final point on an observation I made.
In addition to the difference in teaching style, I noticed a difference in tonality, pitch and vocabulary used - in terms of words of praise and encouragement, the teachers in the US had. Perhaps, culture has a part in this.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Movement should be approached like life - with enthusiasm, joy and gratitude – for movement is life and life is movement, and we get out of it what we put into it.”

~ Ron Fletcher

Blog Archive