The Seesaw in Pilates

Take a moment to close your eyes and picture a seesaw (or teeter totter). The seesaw is at the playground with no one sitting on it and leaning to one side. Now picture two kids on the seesaw, one heavier than the other. Notice how the seesaw tips to one side because of the weight distribution, the lighter child has no change of bringing his side down to the ground. Change the image to two kids of equal weight and visualize how the seesaw tips from side to side with ease and almost balancing equally. 

The seesaw balances on a fulcrum, at the center of the board. This allows the board to tip to one side and then the other side equally. Now think of your body as a seesaw, regardless of your height, length of your legs, or length of your torso; the fulcrum is still at the center. Your center of gravity is at your sacrum, the back of your pelvis. 

Now visualize your Pilates movement and whether the body is still balanced on its fulcrum. Do you find yourself tipping to one side more than the other? Consider Hundred with your legs extended, do your legs pull you forward when you should be leaving back? What about Swan? Do you tip more forward into your chest or more into your legs? 

The tipping of the seesaw will give you insight into the muscularity of your body. It will tell you if the upper body is stronger than the lower body, or if the front is pulling on the back line of the body. An unequal rotation will tell you about the sideline of the body. 

Practice an exercise that is difficult and see how you can balance your weight without using extra force or exertion. Look for ways to connect the two parts to one whole. As an instructor, consider how you can cue a balance between both ends: visually, tactile, and verbally. 

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