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Inner IDEA® Conference Explores Range of Topics

Pilates instructors and enthusiasts left their studios behind for a weekend to delve into the evolving body of Pilates education presented at the 7th annual Inner IDEA Conference at La Quinta Resort & Club in Palm Springs, California, October 25–28, 2012. This event, which is a haven for mindful movement, invited a deeper exploration of the world that revolves around the reformer—not to mention various other apparatus. The progressive curriculum gave attendees a well-rounded overview of current trends in Pilates, as well as skills and techniques to help them move deeper in their personal practice.

With session topics ranging from classical overviews to contemporary offshoots of Joseph Pilates’s work, the next generation of Pilates professionals received a solid foundation in the method. Here are some highlights from this year’s event:

The work as functional. Life does not happen exclusively in the sagittal and frontal planes. Presenters shared biomechanical nuances in the repertoire and explained how to “upload” the nervous and musculoskeletal systems to prepare for more advanced exercises. In his session “Balanced Body®: Work the Core in Three Dimensions,” Tom McCook, founder and director of Center of Balance in Mountain View, California, reviewed the importance of approaching core work from all planes of movement “while maintaining the integrity of the Pilates principles.”

Kathy Corey, director of Kathy Corey Pilates in Del Mar, California, urged attendees to “change the dynamics” of their workouts by adding rotational movements. This, among other key points, was the topic of her session “The Rotational Reformer.”

New views on standards. Firm footing fosters strong steps. Pilates practitioners who have a solid understanding of the classical repertoire branched out to try variations on old favorites and new ways of supporting the body and developing the powerhouse. Sessions such as “BOSU®: Pilates 3-D,” “STOTT PILATES®: Core Stability Barre® Training With the Reformer and Cardio-Tramp™ Rebounder” and “Pilates Core Challenge by CoreFitnessRoller™” showcased new and exciting ways to progress the practice and enliven a client’s Pilates experience.

Special populations. A big area of growth in Pilates is stemming from the need to give specialized attention to different abilities and stages of life. Many from the ballet world already know how Pilates can help with injury prevention and recovery. As instructors become more knowledgeable and obtain practical field experience, they are better able to work with special-needs clients. In “STOTT PILATES Programming for Osteoporosis Management,” with Kim Kraushar, attendees learned how to create effective programs that address the specific needs of people with osteoporosis. Other sessions focused on sport-specific options, pre- and post-natal women, and male clients.

Bringing on the balls (and rings and bands). While no one denies that a full studio of polished and well-functioning equipment is the Pilates jungle gym of delight, many have discovered the joy of using small pieces of equipment to enhance sessions. Small balls, both weighted and “sponge”-type, support precise movement and can be used to increase awareness of stabilizers. Resistance bands are useful in mimicking some aspects of reformer work on the mat, and the more traditional magic circle is still useful in helping people find correct positioning, while adding an element of fun.

Sharing creativity and fusion fun. If you think Pilates is only for serious-minded people, think again. The method has evolved, and teachers today are able to relax while teaching and can enjoy introducing new concepts to students. While the original repertoire will always have its place in the hearts and minds of Pilates practitioners, the industry has opened its arms to the multistudded creative forces that complement tradition. At Inner IDEA, many flow and group-based classes took attendees through well-configured transitions, while “ZEN•GA™: V2 Vinyasa on the V2 Max Plus™ Reformer,” with PJ O’Clair, presented a “one-of-a-kind vinyasa routine.”

During the closing ceremony, Inner IDEA attendees had a chance to share what they were grateful for. In expressing their thanks, Pilates professionals—time and time again—echoed the theme of networking and building a community where everyone thrives. This take-home message, seasoned with the heart and soul of a retreat atmosphere and a deep educational exploration, now lives on in studios from the United States to Peru to Japan.

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