Monthly Wrap Up – January 2022

By: Carla Ricalis

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

— Dr. Wayne Dyer

These monthly wraps are new for 2022 and are meant to quickly summarize things learned, reflected upon, considered, discussed, forgotten about and tried over the last month in the studio. 

For January 2022, the theme has nicely evolved into looking at familiar things through a different lens..enjoy! 

A different perspective:

One thing that refreshed the online teaching experience this month was getting clients to reposition their computer screens.  

Simple, but extremely effective – and surprisingly very rewarding because I could see where improvements had been made in vantage point I hadn’t regularly used…

Training clients online with a Reformer/Cadillac? 

After working regularly with the camera positioned at the side, we moved their screens to the back of the Reformer and some were even able to place it on a shelf above the footbar in order for me to see their alignment straight on in addition to from the side. 

Training clients virtually on the mat? 

Same thing! We found a spot that provided a view from the top of the mat. And for many clients, I got them to face away from the screen which challenged their balance, focus and listening skills plus gave me a great vantage point to see how they were moving, adapting and engaging in every position. 

A different exercise:

There are a lot of exercises that have become staples in most clients’ workouts at the studio. 

As instructors we’re constantly ‘borrowing’ and being inspired by one another in the space so naturally when we see something we love or haven’t taught in a while, we want to incorporate it where it’s possible and appropriate. 

For me, one of those exercises is the modified Stomach Massage Prep and I’ve found it surprisingly effective to incorporate into my online and in person client Reformer training. 

Depending on your client’s range of motion and ability to easily access the position, it’s probably a good idea to drop the footbar by at least one notch so the arches of their feet can be placed on the footbar shoulder distance apart (and probably wider for most)…

Emphasize that this isn’t an exercise about legs, but rather about drawing awareness into their breath. Figure out how to cue them so that they are able to sense the domino effect of how connecting into a strong breath pattern leads to an abdominal connection that encourages their movement to be initiated from the center of their body. 

Tips: Unlike in person where cuing a client through this type of movement can be a bit more dynamic, I’ve found that online clients tend to listen a bit better when they’re learning something new. So take the time and space to explain to them first what the goal is in doing the exercise. Then let them try….

Temporarily different and getting back on track.

Since the beginning of this year, a few clients have come back to their Pilates training after experiencing covid-19; specifically the Omicron variant…for most of them, the symptoms were mild to moderately severe and thankfully all have recovered or are in the process of recovering, slowly but surely. 

What I’ve discovered is that certain elements of the workout need to be adapted to allow for their return to their Pilates workout to be accessible and rewarding versus overwhelming and frustrating.

For some, their capacity to breathe deeply has been impacted and so we’ve gone back to focus, awareness and connection as a way to begin the session. 

Sprinkling moments of focused breath into their workout by getting them to connect with it in different positions (supine, 4 point kneeling, shell stretch and side lying which is very effective)  has allowed them to bring focus into that area of their work and from there incorporate movement into it. 

Changing their positions throughout the session has also brought their focus and attention back into themselves. 

And this has been another area where some clients have been a bit challenged; the general brain fogginess that is triggered by covid has temporarily impacted the usual focus and attention they bring to their session.

Therefore as instructors, it’s key to initiate their movement by building upon exercises they know in order to bring their mind back into their workout. A great way to start is just at the beginning; slowly, mindful movement that builds progressively and smartly will increase their stamina, focus and enthusiasm for getting back into their routines. 

Different, but still great:

In Toronto, studios and gyms were forced to lock down again for most of January. 

But we’re back on track starting January 31 and getting excited about resuming our small group, in-studio instructor workshops with our first one being offered on Sunday, March 6. 

As always, we’re taking the necessary precautions as we attempt to glean opportunity from all the chaos. And for us and our community that means our workshops are a lot smaller than what we’ve offered in the past (4 people instead of 12). 
We’re hoping it will be a way to help instructors reconnect with ease and confidence and continue to develop their teaching skills. Check out the March 6 workshop details plus the other workshops we’re offering on our website