Musings from your neighborhood Swan Instructors: Pt. 1

We love picking the brains of the instructors at the Swan. They are such a lovely bunch of deep thinking individuals. Check out what they have to say about the current state of their swan brains!

What are you thinking about in the body right now? We all roll through concepts as we teach and learn from watching our clients? What’s on your swan brain?

Kathryn: Right now conditioning bio mechanical patterns is a big part of my focus. Having clients that could use more balance in aspects of their structure has encouraged me to create small daily routines to help over-active tissue relax with adjustments, rolling, & stretching paired with specific exercise to wake up lesser/weaker tissue. These 5-10 minute set ups train the structure to rebalance during everyday movement as well as during bi-weekly sessions, getting major results in a very short amount of time.

Eleanor: I have been noticing and working on how important it is to connect to your lumbar and pelvic stability before progressing into advanced movements involving bilateral movement and flexion through the spine. This means taking the time to breathe, stretch your quads, figure out how to engage the pelvic floor, really feel length through your hips, activate the tops of your hamstrings evenly and even figuring out how to use your butt as an aid for stability! I have seen lots of really positive change in my clients' general stability and muscle development around their hips. It only takes a few minutes to get really organized but the change it makes in deepening stability and strength is monumental!

Katie: Thoracic extension. I find it a tricky concept in my own body as well as my clients and trying to make it more accessible to multiple bodies. I continue to find fascia a fascinating topic.

Alexis: I'm really interested in what the whole body is up to. Pilates can get really specific, which is interesting, informative, and helpful! But when we think about it, our whole body is connected and we are with the whole thing at all times. Eg. Even when we are doing leg-based work I'm interested in how the rest of the body is responding (shoulders, neck, breath) Sometimes we get so task based that we start to steal from other parts of the body to achieve said task (maybe the spine compresses to try to achieve hamstring length...). This doesn't really win in the long run. We want a whole system that supports itself while supporting the motion.

Johanna: It would have to be connection of the serratus into the abdominals. In addition to Pilates, I take TRX sessions to cross train my knee after having ACL reconstruction surgery. When I am working my upper body in push up like motions, I take my time to get my serratus engaged so I am not dropping my weight into my wrists. It helps me activate my whole trunk.
I love teaching mat-class at The Swan. I love taking it regularly when I am not too busy in my life. It makes such a difference in my body when I do.

Julia:  Hmm my Swan brain is so busy and stimulated it's hard to narrow down! I learn from my clients, my fellow teachers, and the wealth of information available through reading each day. I spend a lot of time ruminating on practice in general (my clients and my own), the body, the mind and movement. Here's a few themes I have been thinking on in recent months.
- Tensegrity As a way to stabilize and reign in a hyper mobile body. As a method to make space in tight places. As a path to find simplicity for the practitioner's awareness of organizing multiple joints in movement. As a clear sensation of efficient movement for the mover. 
-Getting people to standing - It's possible to be very organized on the mat or apparatus and have a hard time translating all that work to standing. It's easy to assume people will be able to take the practice with them when really we need to spend as much time making their beautiful movement patterns function in the planes in which they live.  
-The difference between making it hard for the sake of being hard and when it's hard because you are doing it right, connecting well and working at an appropriate place for your body. This takes patience, deep digging and understanding. I think it leads to longevity and health in movement. 
-What you see vs. what you feel - Hands on listening has started to play a bigger roll in my teaching. Sometimes what you see as a clear initiation is preceded by micro movements or unnecessary tension that is easily felt and not visibly detected. Different than directive touch cues, it has helped me clarify and deepen what the choices of exercises we do.