We stopped offering group classes awhile back and are excited about re-launching them virtually. It’s the perfect time to tell you how learning to see “gray” helped me become a proficient Pilates teacher and how my version of the best mat class was created.
Growing up, I was taught black and white by my parents. Things were good or bad, right or wrong, one way or the other. I got really good at picking sides, making judgments and becoming a fabulous debater about why I was “right”. My husband, Rico, says that even when he knew I was completely wrong, my argument made him believe it was his fault!
I am not sure when seeing gray became a thing for me. I do know it’s directly related to the work I’ve done through talk therapy, meditation and all those self-improvement books sitting on my shelf. But today, seeing gray was clearly part of my being when I opened my studio in 2007. The 2008 economic downturn certainly took my very black and white business plan and forced me to re-invent and survive in a very gray time.
Pure Pilates opened with private sessions and mat classes. Multi-level mat classes. From the beginning, anyone who wanted to participate in group classes at our studio had to learn the ABC’s of Pilates or what our teacher’s call the Fundamentals. To get the most out of Pilates, we wanted a new student to know the basics of breath, where to move from (the core of course) and become an independent mover. Our clients would be guided through movement by their teacher, but ultimately, we wanted the student to understand what was best for their body. This was not the one size fits all approach.
Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced mat classes were (and still are) very popular, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around how we could “label” which clients could be in what class. I have trained amazing athletes who could muscle their way through an advanced mat class, but truly didn’t have the core strength or the flexibility to do it correctly! And you can be an advanced mover but have limitations that must be taken into consideration. So multi-level mat became our thing – come in, invest in your private sessions, learn the fundamentals, learn how to move your body safely and you could join group classes. The rest was up to our talented teachers!
Doing Pilates takes focus and precision but there are so many ways to be a successful mover in a Pilates workout. Teaching multi-level mat is challenging – it’s all about seeing gray. It’s problem solving in the moment. It’s assisting the student to find their “Pilates Body” versus the one size fits all approach. Up-leveling or down-leveling Joe Pilate’s original work is how our staff offers a unique and successful workout for each and every client.
I invite you to give the multi-level experience a try. Our instructor, Laura K. teaches the class virtually on Thursday nights at 6pm. For some of you who are new to the PP community, I don’t recommend this format until you understand the ABC’s of Pilates or if 60 minutes of movement is just a bit too much to start with. If you want to start a Pilates practice, try a virtual flash 15 package or schedule an in-studio Private Consultation.
For the experienced movers, you may enjoy the challenge of this class. Laura will take you through a total body mat workout, while offering modifications and variations to give options for what YOUR body needs. They will offer shades of gray – no black and white.