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Effective Cueing Why Pilates Teachers Need to Mind Their Language
14 Oct 2019

Effective Cueing – Why Pilates Teachers Need To Mind Their Language

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Movement Therapist, Speaker and Author, Jeannie Di Bon is our guest author for a series of three blogs written for Polestar teachers and readers on hypermobility, flexibility and cueing. This third post is about the power and impact of your words or cueing practices on the physical body.

Words are powerful. Cueing might have more impact than you realise. 

Words have the power to inspire us, and even motivate us to take massive action. Think of the great speeches by Martin Luther King and Winston Churchill for example. And inspiring people like Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama. I’m sure you have your own favourites. These people chose their words very carefully – because they set out to make an impact; whether it was to rally a nation or buy new technology.   

As a movement therapist or Pilates teacher, you have the power to influence how your clients feel with your cueing, or your choice of words.

The words you use impact how your clients feel and move.

Why? Because the language creates emotions. When you hear Martin Luther King speak, how does it make you feel? 

Effective Cueing: why Pilates teachers need to mind their languageEffective cueing can create feelings of freedom, relaxation, strength, fluidity and ultimately, help create pain-free movement. The wrong choice of words or poor cueing, can create stress, fear and restrictions in the body.  

Have you attended a class where you were told to squeeze your shoulder blades together, brace the abdominals and tighten your glutes – all at the same time?

It happens. If you do that now, how do you feel? And then consider trying to move from that place. You are attempting to move from a place of tension created by the words you heard.  

Have you ever attended a class where you were asked to soften your breath, sink the weight of your spine into the floor and create space in your joints? Just writing that makes me feel better. It makes me feel better because it creates a sensory feeling, and internal feedback that encourages fluidity, engagement and natural movement.  

If you happen to be working with hypermobile clients, your cueing or choice of words is particularly important. With hypermobility, it is common for the mind to feel disconnected from the body. The body is often seen as something troublesome; the cause of pain. One client even called her body her enemy. 

You might also be interested in: Facts and Tips for Working Safely with Hypermobility

Effective Cueing: why Pilates teachers need to mind their languageYour role as a teacher is to help these clients fall in love with their body and its true potential. Cueing movement with a calm and gentle tone has far greater benefit than phrases that encourage stress – even if subliminal.

Be mindful of the impact your comments can have on your clients. The body listens to what you say in your cues, and it shows up in movement. Letting go of old history and stepping into positive reinforcement is one of the first steps to pain-free, confident movement.

For a practical approach to working with hypermobile clients, join my workshop for Polestar Pilates teachers on Wed 6th November at Moss Pilates’ King’s Cross:

Movement Strategies for the Hypermobile Client.

Click here to read more on my website.

Jeannie Di Bon for Polestar Pilates UK, October 2019