• jennallenpilates

F.O.M.O on Pilates...It's a Thing!

Updated: Mar 6, 2020

Have you ever been up at night feeling fearful and overwhelmed that you might be missing out on something? Last night, right before going to bed, I picked up my phone to set my alarm and was drawn into social media. This is a HUGE no-no if your goal is to get a good night's sleep, but there I was breaking the cardinal rule. I scrolled and saw Pilates Teachers reporting fun experiences at the POT (Pilates on Tour) event that was going on in Chicago over the weekend...I had been to this particular conference four years ago and yes, it was a blast with lots of learning from experienced and well-respected teachers in the industry. There were others announcing their plans to be at the PMA (Pilates Method Alliance) Conference which is the biggest industry weekend of workshops and networking coming up this week. I saw advertisements for various continuing education specialty programs. Do I need to specialize within what I originally thought was a nice, small, little cozy body of work that I felt I could wrap my brain around and "know" the answers? Do I really need to become specialized in pelvic floor health? Foot health? Prenatal and Post Natal Pilates? How to work with neurological conditions of all kinds? I've spent well over my budget for continuing education this year, and I knew all of these options would be off the table at least for the remainder of 2019.

The truth is, we can't do ALL the things ALL the time. This is the reality. It actually feels pretty good to say that!

After not getting an adequate night's sleep, I woke up feeling overwhelmed and tired. My body felt sore and tight and I was thankful that my schedule was not crammed today so I had a couple of hours to investigate some of the topics I'd been curious about in the middle of the night. I started by looking at the website for a continuing ed workshop involving the feet. There were several exercises to practice in the free tutorials on the website and having met the founder at another continuing ed weekend earlier this year, I had been given her product and some workouts with the Rescue Loop she had created for these exercises. I was thankful to be doing this workout. It was only fifteen minutes and I felt informed and more competent after reviewing these exercises once again. (

Next I moved on to my questions about specializing in pelvic floor health and why I might need to learn more than I already know about this as a Pilates Teacher. I'd have to save the neurological conditions topic for another day. The pelvic floor is one of the structures that is considered part of the "core" so this was something that was covered a good bit during my initial training. Advertised on Facebook last night was a program called in Pelvic-f(loor)-ates. I'd be willing to bet that Mr. Pilates is rolling in his grave about the name of this program of study, but in any event I was curious and encouraged to find MANY classes and tutorials on reputable sources about the topic of pelvic floor health within the Pilates community. That said, I'm not a physical therapist! If somebody wants to pay my way to go to graduate school, then I'm happy to talk with you about your pelvic floor.

On the other hand, did you know that one in three women have or have had incontinence issues and fifty percent of Pilates teachers (with over ten years of experience) studied five years ago were not able to engage the pelvic floor properly even though they thought they were doing so? Men can have pelvic floor issues as well although this is not as common. I'm reminded of the relevancy of this problem. I settled on what turned out to be a AMAZING discussion about pelvic floor health addressing all of my questions followed by a fifty minute class designed to address hyper-tonic pelvic floor muscles...and guess what...there were many foot exercises that were a lot like the foot exercises I had done earlier relating to foot and lower-leg fitness. As it turns out, the health of your pelvic floor is linked to proper function, strength, and flexibility of the feet, ankles, hips, and lower leg muscles, effective breathing, among lots of other things such as your ability to relax the whole body. I had been right. I don't have to cue the pelvic floor...I just have to teach proper movement for the whole body in front of me. I will mention that this class incorporated myofascial release techniques on the legs, stretching, and Feldenkrais, but these other modalities were layered out in a practical and easy to apply manner. (

Did you ever notice how hard it is to release tension in your body? This lack of relaxation affects your foot health. It also affects your pelvic floor health. Mental and psychological stress is a big factor with all of this. The whole body is connected throughout and may be effectively addressed holistically. Put another way, movement focus in one area of the body can and will alleviate inflammation, pain and issues in a seemingly unrelated body part. Literally, everything is connected and affected. We are each individually one big three-dimensional matrix.

So, the moral of the story is that you don't have to feel overwhelmed by the plethora of conditions that you or your clients might have because addressing the body as a whole can inadvertently resolve many of the same contraindications. If you've been teaching and exercising for several years like I have and keeping up with the required amount of continuing education and teaching clients on a daily and weekly basis, you know a great deal about the just forget how much you already know. Keep reviewing and learning one new thing at a time, but trust your knowledge and be confident about your ability to teach all walks of life. Your body and your clients will appreciate it.

Lastly, don't look at social media after bed time.

I'll try to remember my own advice. :)

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