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The Power of Words and Cuing in Pilates: Lessons from Everyday Phrases

Getting Ready to Teach a Class
Pilates Class

"Turn a Blind Eye"


The phrase "turn a blind eye" originates from Admiral Horatio Nelson, one of Britain's naval heroes. During the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801, Nelson chose to ignore a signal from his superior to disengage, believing victory was within reach. Raising his telescope to his blind eye, he claimed he saw no such signal. His audacity turned the tide in Britain's favour, giving life to this phrase.

Relevance to Pilates

In Pilates, teachers should never "turn a blind eye" to the nuances of posture, alignment, or technique. Precise cuing can make the difference between a beneficial workout and a potential risk for injury. Just as Nelson's attentiveness was crucial, so is a Pilates teacher's in a session.

"Steal One's Thunder"


John Dennis, an 18th-century playwright, invented a machine to create the sound of thunder for one of his plays. Though the play didn't succeed, his thunder machine was used in another production without credit. This act led to the phrase "steal one's thunder."

Relevance to Pilates

Pilates teachers often craft unique cues and techniques that distinguish their teaching style. When these cues are borrowed or replicated by others without proper acknowledgment, it feels like having one's "thunder stolen." Ethical practice in Pilates cuing involves giving credit where it's due, thereby maintaining professional integrity.

"Under the Weather"


This phrase traces its roots back to the 19th-century maritime world. Sailors who felt ill were sent below deck, away from the harsh weather conditions, leading to the term "under the weather."

Relevance to Pilates

Knowing your client's condition is essential for any Pilates teacher. If someone is "under the weather," it might be best to modify the session to suit their physical state. Just as sailors needed to take cover for recuperation, sometimes clients need to dial back and focus on lighter, more restorative exercises.

The vocabulary and cues a Pilates teacher uses are more than just words; they carry the weight of history, responsibility, and integrity. Just as these phrases have deep-rooted origins that offer lessons in human behaviour, they can also provide insights into effective and ethical Pilates cuing.

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