Here are ten key tips to stop treating pain and to start treating dysfunction:
1. Get off the floor. Unless you are a mechanic, training yourself, especially your core, solely (or the majority of the time) on the floor will not get you the results you are hoping to achieve. Think about how you can do what you are trying to do on the floor standing up. Lying flat on your back for core work only triggers about 10% of your transversus abdominus, your core most muscle (which is also a back muscle). So how about a standing “Pilates” 100 or what about the standing “Saw”? Look at what the movement is trying to achieve, not necessarily what it looks like, so you can morph it into a more body-friendly version.
2. Get your shoes off. If dysfunction starts in the feet, have your students get their shoes off. Shoes can shield a person’s feet and not allow you or them a good look at what the misalignment truly is. Pronation, supination, bunions, etc. and then look at the soles of their shoes what is the tread pattern. Many people wear over-supported shoes to help not feel what their issues are, so then you are “training” their bodies around those issues instead of acknowledging them. I recently took a training and was the only one that was working with their shoes off so I could “feel the difference” and really see how my body moved. By the end of the session several people around me had done the same. I joke with my students that I make horrible eye to eye contact and great eye to foot contact. You can learn a lot about a person by their feet.
3. Learn neutral. It’s important to understand that “neutral” for many is not “natural," and they must relearn where and how their bodies should be placed. So as teachers, for some, we may unintentionally be just teaching the postures or the movements without acknowledging how to practice them effectively. And the truth is, there is a big difference. So help your students help themselves by teaching: