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Technique Thursday: Embracing the Diversity of Pilates Reformers

A Pilates teacher expertly demonstrates a lunge on a traditional Pilates reformer, highlighting the adaptability required when encountering diverse equipment.
Embracing the challenge, a Pilates professional adjusts to the heavy springs and leather straps of a Legacy Reformer, enhancing movement dynamics.

Welcome to another Technique Thursday! Today, let’s delve into how different reformers can profoundly influence our Pilates practice, providing both challenges and opportunities for growth.

As Pilates teachers, we often develop a deep familiarity with our personal reformers—the ones on which we trained and teach daily. However, my recent experience here in Turkey with a distinctly different type of reformer has underscored the importance of adaptability in our teaching methods.

This week, I've had the chance to work with the Legacy Reformer, crafted right here in Istanbul. It’s a traditional model that features heavy springs and leather straps instead of the more common ropes. These elements alone change the dynamics of many familiar movements. The heavier resistance and the texture of the leather require adjustments in both the effort and technique used.

Teaching on a new reformer is akin to speaking a dialect of a language we know well. We understand the fundamentals, but the accents—the nuances—are different. Whether it's a change in spring tension, strap material, or carriage glide, each reformer brings its unique character to the movements.

In the US, I remember a convention many years ago where we experienced reformers from various companies side-by-side. It was eye-opening to see how the same movements varied across different machines. The sensations, the slight shifts in positioning, and even the foot bar placements differed, altering the overall experience.

Such experiences remind us there is no "one-size-fits-all" in Pilates. Each reformer brings its challenges, but also its lessons. As teachers, it’s our job to understand these differences and harness them to enhance our practice and teaching.

Adapting to various reformers not only keeps us on our toes but also enriches our understanding of Pilates. It encourages us to remain students ourselves—constantly learning, adapting, and evolving. This flexibility enhances our ability to teach effectively across different settings and equipment, ensuring we provide the best experience possible for our students, no matter the reformer.

So, whether it's your trusted machine at home or an unfamiliar setup in a studio far away, each reformer offers a chance to deepen your practice and teaching expertise. Embrace these opportunities and let them shape you into a more versatile and thoughtful Pilates teacher.


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