web 2.0

Phrasing as Support for Movement

Within each Pilates exercise we can play with Phrasing which allows us to be responsive to clients day to day. In this sense, we have the macro phrasing of the session as well as the micro phrasing of each exercise. With Foot/Leg work we can change our tempo to put the accent at the beginning (Impulsive Phrasing), middle (Swing Phrasing), end (Impactive Phrasing) or have no accent at all (Even Phrasing). Generally speaking, with Pilates we encourage an even quality to movement to facilitate constant sensing as the intent. Especially in the beginning, this is an important quality for experiencing the support for and awareness of movement. Once a client is more familiar and confident with an exercise, we can introduce different phrasing to round out a richer exploration. We can observe whether a client is able to shift their phrasing or whether they are so patterned into moving with a specific style of initiation/action/recuperation that they are unable to make another choice. This is common with some beginners who require encouragement to spend time in preparation, as they tend to skip over this crucial time of having an intention and just want to ‘do’ the exercise.Swing or Even Phrasing may be best to focus on. In this way, preparation is included to maximize initiation and sequencing.

Phrasing in body movement is linked to breathing patterns. Noticing whether a client takes a quick and impulsive inhalation and never pauses at the end of an exhalation will give you information about their tension holding patterns as well as how their movement is sequencing. Bringing awareness to the inherent accents within the breathing cycle creates an opportunity for change in the dynamic rhythm of movement. Our breathing supports our intention as well as the exertion/recuperation cycle. If we are doing mid back series we may call upon an Even Phrasing of breath and movement, whereas if we are using the jump board we may want to access either Impactive or Impulsive breath and movement phrasing. What provides overall ease and efficiency for that client?

Phrasing is one of many rich components of the LMA framework and I particularly enjoy how we can become aware of our preferences and begin to explore other options. I have written about a session’s phrasing as well as how it can be applied to each exercise, but the concept can obviously expand far beyond this. We have phrasing throughout our days, months and years as well as within each minute and second. Our breathing is always a good indication of how we embody phrasing from moment to moment. Becoming aware of breath is an excellent inroad for working towards balance as well as range.