differentiated pilates reformer footwork perceptive tool body awareness

Differentiated Pilates Reformer Footwork

Charleston Samu Rii Marquis Blog, EN, General, In-depth Pilates

A perceptive tool for efficient bodyweight distribution from your feet to your Power Engine – your Powerhouse!

„F**k, what is this crazy teacher doing?”

If you are a Pilates instructor, teacher, student, or enthusiast, looking at the header image, that is what you might think. You might even be tempted to say, “This is not the way we were taught to do the Reformer Footwork!”

Well, I am not saying to you that the Reformer Footwork should be done this way, but placing the feet on the teacher’s torso will expand your understanding of the Footwork.

Now, when you look at the picture again, what do you see? It looks like one of the Pilates Reformer Footwork positions, right?! But wait, why are the feet on the teacher’s chest? The feet are supposed to be on the bar.

Would you explore with me?

… allow yourself some time, close your eyes, relax your shoulders, upper chest and neck, and exhale. Then open your eyes, sigh and smile, and ask yourself these two questions: “What is the teacher trying to convey to me?” “What is the purpose of using his body instead of the bar?”
Let the seed of these two questions grow in your mind for a few minutes and appreciate whatever may come up in your mind’s eye.

To fully understand, innerstand, and overstand the premise of the above questions, let us dissect, inspect, and throw some light on the faulty patterns governing the Reformer Footwork.

Faulty Pilates Reformer Footwork patterns

The most common mistake both, experienced and inexperienced students as well as teachers make when doing the Pilates Reformer Footwork is drilling over 50% of your bodyweight into the bar when pushing the carriage up and down. This happens even when they are “somehow” using their Powerhouse.

My suggestion is: This is a perceptive mistake, and it overrides the technical information. Having the right information of how to do the Footwork will not necessarily help you to do it correctly and effectively.

“Perception is the new reality”

… as I like to say alluding to the great Jamaican singer and poet, Bob Marley, who said,

“He who feels it knows it.”

You know, to work beyond our habitual pattern, we need a new perception; and this is what this differentiated footwork-tool provides you with.
Was anything close to this going on in your mind? A new perception!

Well, let’s go deeper. What’s the purpose of our student’s feet on the teacher’s body, instead of the bar? Check out our 1-minute-video below.

3 essential purposes

1. It disciplines the mind to take care of the “how” by shifting our awareness from an object (the bar) to a relationship (human).

2. It perceptively causes us to predominantly use our Power Engine to move the carriage upwards, instead of pushing the total weight of our body into the bar.

3. It provides us with kinesthetic concerning the need to use the Power Engine in the upwards as well as the downwards movement of the carriage.

A perceptive tool for our Powerhouse

In a nutshell, the Differentiated Reformer Footwork is a teaching tool to help us to perceptively make use of primarily our Power Engine to push the carriage upwards and downwards.
In no way, though, I am suggesting that this is the way to do the Footwork. The Footwork is done with the feet placed correctly on the bar.

The Differentiated Footwork serves our perception, and that is what it is good for, because there are countless amounts of students and teachers alike who are pushing the carriage primarily by drilling their feet into the bar or by using a faulty posterior tilt of the pelvis.

Perceptive understanding gives you wisdom!

That is what Bob Marley meant when he said: “He who feels it, knows it”. This kind of knowing is not “head knowing”.

This art of knowing is wisdom that comes from the complementarity of opposites
– of intelligence and intuition
– of the feet grounding downwards and the Power Engine grounding upwards to move the carriage.

The cause of the movement though are not our feet. The cause of the movement is our Power Engine or Powerhouse as it is called in Pilates parlance. Because it is the Powerhouse – our center – that brings our feet into play so that we can move the carriage.

Try the Differentiated Reformer Footwork, perceptively feel your Power Engine and fly with it!