“F**k, what is that crazy teacher doing?”
As a teacher, student or Pilates enthusiast, you might be thinking this as you look at the picture above. You might also be thinking to yourself, “We’ve never done Pilates footwork like that before!” I don’t mean that this is how the Reformer Footwork should be done either, but placing the feet on the teacher’s torso expands our understanding of the footwork.
“The differentiated Pilates Reformer Footwork – Our perception tool for efficient body weight distribution from our feet to our power engine.”
If you look at photo again, what do you see? Looks like one of the Reformer Footwork positions, right?! Only, why are the feet on the upper body of the trainer? The feet should actually be on the Reformer foot bar.
Why are the feet on the body of the teacher?
Give yourself some time and space, close your eyes, relax your shoulders, upper chest and neck, and exhale. Open your eyes, sigh with relief, smile, and ask yourself these 2 questions:
“What does the trainer want me to know? “What is the benefit of placing the feet on the coach’s body instead of on the Reformer foot bar?” Let the seeds of these 2 questions ripen in your mind for a few minutes, and appreciate and notice whatever comes into your mind. Keep your thoughts in mind.
Now, to fully understand the premise of the 2 questions let’s analyse, inspect and look closer at the most common mistakes of the Reformer Footwork. So we fully understand, innerstand and overstand!:)
Lack of awareness
The most common mistake that both experienced and inexperienced Pilates students and instructors make in the Reformer Footwork is that they push over 50% of their body weight into the foot bar. This happens even when they are using their powerhouse in one way or another.
My idea about this is: The error is based on a lack of awareness. This lack of awareness also overrides any information regarding technique. Without body perception, the information on how to do the footwork technically correct does not help to do it correctly and efficiently. So, let us work on our awareness. Because …
Perception is the new reality
As Bob Marley said: “Only he who feels it knows it.” So, in order to train outside our ‘usual’ movement pattern, we need a new perception. And this is what the Differentiated Reformer Footwork is for.
Kinesthetic feedback for our core
Let’s go deeper into it. What is the purpose of the trainee’s feet on the teacher’s body instead of on the foot bar?
- It disciplines our mind to attend to the “how” by drawing attention to a relationship – a person – rather than an object – the foot bar.
- It perceptually “forces” us to use predominantly the power engine to move the carriage upwards instead of pushing away from the foot bar with our entire body weight.
- It gives us kinaesthetic feedback regarding the use of the power engine in both the upward and downward movement of the carriage.
Perceptively perceiving our core
In a nutshell, the Differentiated Reformer Footwork is a teaching technique to help us to perceptively make use of primarily our power engine when moving the carriage up and down.
Get insight into the Differentiated Reformer Footwork in our 1-minute video just below.
Under no circumstances, however, do I recommend doing the Pilates Reformer Footwork in this way. The footwork is done as usual with the feet on the foot bar. However, the Differentiated Footwork serves our perception and can be used for this purpose because there are countless students as well as instructors who push the carriage up and down by either predominantly pressing their feet into the foot bar or by using a faulty posterior tilt of the pelvis.
Perceptive understanding gives us wisdom
This is what Bob Marley meant when he said, “He who feels it knows it!” And this kind of knowledge is not head-knowledge. This knowledge is wisdom that comes from the complementarity of the oppositions – intelligence and intuition. From the knowledge that our feet ground us downwards and our power engine grounds us upwards, which enables us to move the carriage.
Last but not least. It is not our feet that cause the movement, but our power engine – our powerhouse as we call it in Pilates jargon. It is the powerhouse – our core – that brings our feet into play so that we can move the carriage.
Now, to you! Try our Differentiated Pilates Reformer Footwork and renew your perception of the Power Engine.
Try it & fly with it!
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