The body gets stuck in rotational patterns. The rotational pattern becomes dominant in a preferred side. Every movement reinforces that pattern unless we understand the compensations, and can begin the process of re-mapping the pattern.
I learned about the rotational patterns by doing my own research. I had to go outside of the Pilates community to look at body energetics, structural integration and massage therapy books.
Structural Integration & Energy Medicine by Jean Louis Green states:
“Every movement should be an extension in space. Our enemy in the body is that we get short. We protect ourselves. We get small. There is only one way to get small: Rotation!” So if something is shortening, rotation is involved.”
“Patterns in the body do have a way of perpetuating themselves. Rotation patterns particularly need to be understood, recognized and addressed.”
So how do we see rotational patterns in our students?
We have to assess their rotation patterns. With rotation movement.
What side is the rotation dominant?
What foot is taking most of the weight during rotation?
Is the rear foot moving in supination and pronation?
Is there differentiation between the head, shoulders, ribs, spine and pelvis? If not, where is the pattern stuck?
Is one side of the pelvis elevated during the rotation?
Is one side of the ribs elevated?
Is one side of the ribs stuck in a side translation or shift?
Rotational patterns can be either primary or secondary. Sometimes the foot is influencing the spiral of the pelvis and sometimes it’s the pelvis influencing the foot. Past injuries typically lead to compensations even if they are OLD injuries. Exploring different rebalancing patterns and working collaboratively will help your students.
Once we find out the patterns of habit we can help them by reminding them of their tendencies giving them feedback with vocal cues, tactile or demonstration.
This re-patterning or brain mapping is one of the incredible ideas of the Pilate exercise system. We teach proprioception and introception. These principles allow change to happen.
Other modalities like body work, massage therapy, chiropractic can realign the fascia - for most people the benefits wear off quickly due to the lack of brain mapping.
What about all of the Pilates Exercises that have rotation like, Saw, Spine Twist, Criss Cross, & Corkscrew? How do you address rotation?
The most common over compensation is the fascia glide of the arm lines to rotate. I first take away that possibility by either putting the hands behind the head or crisscrossing over the chest. Secondly, I cue the biomovement patterns of the hip drop, lumbar translation, thoracic translation, very clearly - we practice that pattern first before the Pilates exercises mentioned above. Additionally I do not teach end trange patterning on their dominant preferred side. I teach the end range on the less preferred side as well as additional reps on the less preferred side.
These teaching tips can help student work more clearly and efficiently work more connected to their body.
Movement can be transformative. We give our students tools to transform, encouragement to do the work, and hold space for them to flourish. As teachers, we play an important role in connecting body, mind, spirit.
Let me know if you have any questions.
I love supporting teachers. Try these out and see how it goes.
Sending Light and Love,
Carrie Miller Smaczny