At the end of a class, many Pilates instructors tout the line “feel that you’ve grown an inch taller today.” What’s more accurate, probably, would be to say “feel that you’ve found and extra inch in your height today.” And that might actually be possible for some.
Consider for a moment, sitting up straight, as tall as you can. Could you possibly sit up any taller? Most likely, you could. If you were told to hug into your midline, lift your pelvic floor and create space between your vertebra. All fine and good, but what about your clients? Would that granular instruction work for them? Where is the midline? And how on Earth do we find the pelvic floor (more on that here)?
Today’s cue has the purpose of giving the client a goal when it comes to axial elongation; something they can reach for, quite literally. Ask the client to imagine a witch’s black, pointy-tipped hat (still going with the season here, but a top hat works just as well) hovering just above his or her head when she’s seated. Ask the client to sit up straight and reach the spine into length in order to fit the hat onto her head.
I find this is most effective at the end of a movement. For instance, as the client comes to the top of Assisted Rollup and is meant to find a neutral spine and pause, give the cue as she is reaching for axial elongation and neutral spine. You’ll find that the client will give you a little extra reach, possibly that elusive extra inch, if you give her a something to reach for!
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