Forum / Let's Discuss! / Inversions

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On: August 28, 2013 06:47 AM
I would love some tips and cues for helping my class with inversions. And how can I modify this part of the sequence for others?
On: August 30, 2013 05:18 AM
Hi there Dalores! Inversion taught in a group class setting can be very tricky. It is best to introduce this concept on a one on one basis if at all possible. Obviously this type of exercise which can be done on the cadillac, mat, or reformer is contraindicated for many individuals such as those with spinal issues, si joint dysfunction, pregnancy, osteoporosis, or for those who are extremely overweight, or have blood pressure issues. But for people who are healthy and have an advanced level of body awareness, inversions can be a wonderful addition to any wellness practice! Here is how I build to an inversion on the mat with those that it is appropriate to do so: 1.) I start with an over all opening of the body. This can be foam rolling, or trigger point release. Anything to clear out the sticky bits of the body to prime it for movement. 2.) Then I will usually go into some sort of wall roll down to see how the body and spine are articulating that day using gravity as a guide. This will give me the information I need to support the client in their difficult spots... especially when working against gravity later. 3.) I will have them do some sort of abdominal warm up with their pelvis propped on a balance pad, or foam roller. This will introduce the feeling of an elevated pelvis, again with support. There will be many leg variations here to challenge the torso and warm the midline of the body. 4.) Now back to the wall for some pelvic bridging with the feet on the wall and knees at 90 degrees. Here the bridge can be higher in the body and you can teach proper height of the inversion as not to harm the neck. It also demonstrates how the body, no matter what, should always move sequentially while rolling up and down out of the inversion. 5.)Now I will grab big a large fitness ball, and place their legs fully extended between the ball and the wall. From here, they have to roll the ball up the wall, into an inversion where they feel safe. This is important because before you can add all the lovely choreography that Pilates has to offer, this skill must be mastered. Once the client can do this, little by little I start to take away support so they can feel this on their own. Also a wonderful help in inversions is obviously the Pilates equipment. The straps and springs on the cadillac and reformer help to guide the body through these complex movement and give the clients the support needed to find the required contrast to do this type of exercise safely and effectively. In addition, if you are doing this exercise on the mat, your hands as a teacher can go onto your clients feet or legs to act as the equipment's straps for this contrast cue. This will help many people feel what the exercise is requiring of them as they move through the choreography. Also, do not forget about upper core support in this exercise. Many people have a difficult time pressing their arms into the mat because of pectoral tightness. So using the posts on the reformer, or the uprights of the cadillac for a place to press the hands into overhead are especially wonderful. Wow! I feel like I could write on this all day! So start with those ideas, and let me know how you do! We can always brainstorm from there! Much Love, Casey Marie Herdt
On: December 06, 2013 08:24 AM
Great question, and terrific tips! Love this forum!
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