Using the Mat to Assess

As a Pilates teacher do you ever wonder how do I plan for this client? Did you get out of Teacher Training and know the work but, not how to apply it to what you are seeing? Teaching Pilates is seeing the body in front of you each day, each session. In the Pilates studio do you think what can I do to get this person where I need them to be? Yet, for the Pilates client, they want to move and work right? How as Pilates teachers can we “fix” and see that correction we need to “spotlight” yet, our client just is enjoying movement and being challenged? In other words, in the Pilates studio how do you use that Mat work to start them out and Asses? Where do you go?


Joseph Pilates had an order for the Mat and Reformer work. The Reformer was to give that body some “tactile” the springs, to tell the body this is what you need to do! It is brilliant if you think about it. Struggling on the mat? Jump on this moving carriage and use that spring for support and feedback and it will help you understand. Your body will figure it out.


As a teacher the first half hour or so is really letting the client move through the work and see what patterns and issues arise, for me, this is the joy in Pilates. Watching and just seeing what movement looks like for them that day. What patterns start to show up as they move? Does it get better as they continue with the work? As we head over to the Reformer does it change with the addition and feedback of the spring?


For me, every session with my client is like Detective work and even after over 20 years teaching some clients it still is like that each week. The body is different every day right? In my teacher training program, we teach a lot on Assessing in movement and “correcting” and then Re-Assessing the client. The great thing is all the client knows is they are moving, they are working and feeling strong, feeling better, being challenged. All the while I am thinking how do I get that shoulder to move better and get unstuck from that ear? Why is that hip all out of whack today? Why are those legs not really working today?               


Joseph Pilates used the mat and Reformer to really assess what was going on for the client. This workshop is on how to see what “speaks or shouts” the loudest in terms of what is going on in the body in front of you. How do you take what you see in terms of the client’s body and improve that pattern that you see? Learn how the exercises on the Mat can transfer in a different way to the other apparatus and help the connection and movement for your client. Then seeing how things changed for them back at the mat. It is a workshop I absolutely love teaching as you never know what we will discover.


This workshop started as a tool in my Teacher Training Program as students went through the course. We would do one of our weekly meets and we would hit the mat with one of the students as the client and then figure out what we saw in terms of the body and any patterns or issues happening. Then figuring out what was the best option in terms to get this body to feel or connect, lengthen, or move a more functional way. We may not fix it to perfection but, could we make it better for that body. It was so fun, such a learning experience that I put together this workshop!


It is a workshop full of participation, sharing experiences and working as a group to really “see” and figure it all as we utilize the studio and all the apparatus available to us. No matter what training program each teacher has gone through we all do the work and want our clients to continue to come to us, to get stronger, more functional and move better.


I am excited that this year I will be presenting this workshop at the 2018 PMA in Vegas!

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