TTrina Altmanunnel Vision

There’s so much more going on than what’s in front of your eyes

There’s so much more going on than what’s in front of your eyes
We bipedal humans are oriented to the sagittal plane, focused on what’s in front of us. Our eyes are forward-facing lenses through which we orient ourselves and navigate the world. But what are we missing?

Being tech savvy takes a toll on the body. With all the time we spend staring at screens, our peripheral vision skills are severely underdeveloped. And plenty of exercise programs, like treadmills, stationary bikes, and ellipticals, keep our eyes glued forward while our bodies aren’t moving anywhere at all. Unfortunately this all adds up to a lack of proprioceptive skills. Difficulty in applying motor control and coordination in spatial navigation—that is, knowing where to move a body part without looking at it—can make it tough to teach frontal/coronal plane reformer exercises in a group setting.

I absolutely love the side-over on the reformer. Except when I hate it. On the one hand, I love the feeling of shooting through the air like a torpedo with only my outer ankle pressed against a thin strip of fabric. On the other hand, I hate feeling like no matter how hard I try, if there isn’t a mirror, I can’t tell if I have rotated, extended, or flexed my spine instead of easily gliding through lateral flexion and extension with a neutral spine. That’s a proprioception problem. This conundrum sparked me to design a workshop that would prepare me and my students to practice the side-over without always feeling unsure of our place in space. One of the many exercises I teach in my Pilates Deconstructed™ Side-Over Workshop is called the “Buoyant Boomerang.” It is a wonderfully relaxing, dynamic side stretch that I learned from my friend and colleague Louis Jackson. I love it because it mimics the movement of the side-over while providing feedback from your hands to your feet and the ground beneath. Watch the video below and give this “sliding side-over” a try.

If you want to learn more fun creative preparatory exercises that will help you and your students to navigate the side over with grace and style, join me at Fusion Pilates in Asheville, NC, on Saturday, August 29th. Sign up here:

Trina Altman, E-RYT, is a STOTT PILATES® certified instructor, Roll Model™ teacher trainer and Integrated Yoga Tune Up® teacher trainer.  Trina is the creator of Pilates Deconstructed™, an innovative interdisciplinary approach that fosters an embodied understanding of Pilates and its relationship to modern movement science. Emphasizing the importance of inner focus, she teaches anatomy for yoga teacher trainings across the country. She also leads teacher trainings at Equinox fitness clubs worldwide for the myofascial release format Rx Series and is a regular presenter at fitness and yoga conferences. Her teaching fosters body cognition and self-discovery, firmly grounded in anatomical awareness. Trina works out of Los Angeles at Equinox and The Moving Joint. Find her at


Pilates Deconstructed™: Toolbox for Your Reformer Classes


Master teachers know that conveying concepts—not just repertoire—in a group reformer class is what truly sets them apart from novice instructors. Concepts keep clients coming back for more. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to sequence reformer classes by teaching preparatory movement skills that are a microcosm of more complicated exercises.

Think of it like this: Master chefs don’t start out preparing seven-course meals. They begin with ingredients, proportions, and how to combine them into a single dish. When you teach your students the necessary elements at an appropriate pace, you give them what’s needed to master new and more complicated exercises.

Saturday, August 29, 2015 in Asheville, NC


Leave A Reply (No comments So Far)

Please - comments only. All Pilates questions should be asked in the Forum. All support questions should be asked at Support.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

No comments yet.