16 Aug 2015 Why Squeeze is a Swear Word in my Class
I choose my words carefully when I teach. Every word we utter will have an impact on the body we are teaching and will have an implication as to how that word has been interpreted. This is what makes being a teacher of movement so fascinating and rewarding. No two bodies are the same and no two people will interpret what you say the same way. The ability to recognise this in clients and to adapt your choice of words appropriately starts to bring huge changes in how clients respond.
My clients know they will never hear any of the following ‘swear’ words in a session with me – Squeeze, Push, Pull or any other such words that imply a use of forced contraction. Try it now for yourself – if you were given the cue “Squeeze your Glutes really tightly” notice the reaction the body has. Did you notice that you probably stopped breathing while you were squeezing really hard? Did you notice the tension that was created around the pelvis and abdomen? Do this day after day, class after class – apart from building up a great deal of unnecessary tension in the body that it really does not need to function well, you are teaching your body to move in an abnormal way.
For example, when you throw your dog a stick in the park, does the dog stop, think about it, contract his muscles really hard before running for the stick? I have never noticed my two very energetic and sporty children squeeze their buttocks or pull in their tummies before they start running, rolling around on the floor, jumping and skipping. In both cases they move freely, without tension and yet their muscles are certainly working.
In my work with my clients, I avoid words that have connotations of force. It is unnecessary. What we surely want to encourage is natural movement, for a body that understands and responds to the activities you are putting it through. The choice of word is crucial, as is the delivery of the message and the global observation of how the person responds to what you have said. Did they receive the message – not just academically but in a sensory way. Get to the senses and you can start to make a change.
As I say to my clients when they enter a class or session, leave your thinking brain outside the door!