October 25, 2017

What would happen if …?

By Sunni Almond


What would happen if … you dropped your risers (you know, the things that stick up at the back end of your reformer that hold the ropes that attach to your handles or loops) or you did your Hundred on the Reformer with the long loops, or Short Spine with the short loops, or if you didn’t go all the way out when doing the Long Stretch Series, and you pushed out with low abdominals and your feet, not your arms?

Or get crazy and just STOP and articulate your spine in the smallest space you can, because even on an 80-inch reformer, you shouldn’t use up all the space doing Semi Circle.  How about if when you did the Wall Series, rather than walking your feet away from the wall, you instead let your back be against the wall (meaning you walked right up to the wall and used your abdominals to move your spine closer to the wall)? You see, I read on many Pilates forums that people are looking for variety.  They ask such things as, “How do I add interest? How do I use my creativity? How do I make this exercise more fun? How do I keep my group classes entertaining?  Can we put a straw in our cabernet and sip with every push up? [That, of course, would be Drinkilates™.]”


Well, pretend your reformer foot bar is only 20” wide.  What if you marked it there and tried things in that more narrow position?  For example, what if you did your Bottom Lift with your arches in the narrower position, kept your low back on the carriage and really did just lift your bottom?

I think you can add variety in the Stomach Massage if you resist the lowering of the heels while pressing the carriage back out? OR get wild and resist the springs on the return during Footwork? What if your ladder barrel DID NOT ADJUST (yeah – even for the guys!! Gentlemen, a well-placed pad may work wonders here)? Are all these things kind of shocking?

What IF the variety you are looking for already exists? You see, I think that Pilates done in a way that encompasses going back to its roots provides the variety you seek.

There is a general myth in our community that in ‘classical’, ‘authentic’, ‘original’ Pilates (whatever you choose to call it), there is a specific order to a workout, so there must not be any variety. There is a general sense that the ‘classical’ is way too challenging even for the strongest mover, so it isn’t available to everybody. The myth continues, saying people with injuries or issues are not suited for classical Pilates…. LIES!!! We are not doctors (unless we are), so after someone has been released from PT, we work with their strengths while the injury heals, we don’t poke the inflamed bear or do anything with the injured area. It gets to rest and heal. WE don’t rehab them, they rehab by staying strong around the injury, the other stuff gets used while we wait. Then the injured part is slowly brought back in as the person gets stronger.

So, I ask you, the variety seekers … do you actually believe this? Were you told this or did you decide on your own?  Because, you see, I encourage you to examine your beliefs.

Let’s debunk the myths!!

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PS: I’ll be teaching in The Canary Islands in February, 2018.  Check it out here:  http://www.azulfit.com/retreats/pilates-retreat-in-spain/ and take a winter Pilates vacation!

sunni-headSunni Almond is a comprehensively trained classical Pilates teacher, she has been teaching for nearly 20 years, and remains a student studying with the most gifted and solidly trained classical teachers. She is a published author with many articles in PilatesIntel, PilatesGlossy, and The Pilates Bridge, a member of the PTA, Pilates Teachers Association. Holds a cert in Pilates for Breast Cancer, and Pilates for MS and other Neurological Conditions..
Website: www.temeculapilates.com